Saturday, January 30, 2010

January recap

January's finishes:

1. Steampunk by Ann VanderMeer
2. Hana Kimi manga volumes 1-23 by Hisaya Nakajo
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
4. Spice and Wolf by Isuna Hasekura
5. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
6. The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede
8. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
9. Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
10. The Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
11. The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle

1. 4 Saisons - Block 1 and 2 - by Anagram Diffusions
2. French Country - Amour by JBW Designs
3. French Country - Flower Basket by JBW Designs
4. Be Mine freebie by The Sampler Girl

I hope to continue to get more reading done during February and start stitching on some LHN designs that I have in my stash.

Until next time ^___^

Be Mine

Hi, again! I started and finished this design while watching Elizabeth Gaskell's Wives and Daughters on DVD this afternoon.

Designer: Be Mine freebie by The Sampler Girl
Threads: DMC 3608
Fabric: 28ct antique white Zweigart
Start/Finish: 1/30/2010

I think this little freebie by The Sampler Girl is lovely! I don't know how I'm going to finish this one. Maybe a pillow or pinkeep.

Until next time ^___^

Well, blast!!

I decided that I would spend the day stitching on Loving and Faithful. I happened to look down at it a few moments ago and realized that I am running out of fabric to stitch on and I'm only at the 'faithful' lettering.

I looked at the chart and the arrows for marking the center are at the bottom of the friend block since underneath it is an alphabet to personalize it?!?! I didn't even realize it until now!!! (sigh) So I'm going to have to pull out all my stitching or start over completely on a new bit of linen. I think I might have to order some more Petticoat Blue thread since I was using it to stitch the lettering and flowers.

LOL My stitching is also hampered by a couch stealer!

Sneaky little devil! He was sitting beside me while I was stitching and soon as I got up to post this rambling, he stole my spot on the couch!!

(sigh) I don't know what I want to do now. I absolutely hate having to start something over! It drives me nuts. I think I'll put Loving and Faithful aside and start something else until I have the patience to deal with my mistake O_o"

Until next time!

Friday, January 29, 2010

A fun trip and new stash

Hi, everyone! My friend and I have gotten back in town from our trip to Huntsville to see the Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London exhibition.

Our adventures with driving through Huntsville were plentiful. We arrived around 10:30am and spent the next fifteen minutes searching for public parking for the museum. After driving around in circles and asking for directions, we finally found some parking and walked to the museum from there.

The exhibition featured gorgeous examples of Victorian art that were purchased by Thomas Holloway, the founder of Royal Holloway, University of London in Egham, Surrey to decorate the walls of the Founders' Building on campus.

While at Royal Holloway, I never got the chance to see the university's collection of oil paintings with enough time to truly appreciate them. I was ecstatic when I found out that RHUL had decided to plan an exhibition that would showcase their collection while traveling to museums in the U.S. and Canada.

Some of my favorites in the exhibition were:

1. Edwin Longsden Long's The Babylonian Marriage Market (1875) with its exquisite detail and ornate frame which featured Assyrian numerals and the 'tree of life' motif.

2. Sir John Everett Millais' The Princes in the Tower (1878) showing the final moments of Edward and Richard, the only sons of Edward IV, who were imprisoned by their uncle Richard III in the Tower of London.

3. William Powell Frith's The Railway Station (1862), a beautiful example of the meshing of the upper and middle classes who are waiting at Paddington station.

There were many other paintings featured in the exhibition that were beautiful and full of little details of social history of the Victorian period.

The exhibition ends this Sunday (January 31st). If you are in the area, please stop by and enjoy the exhibition!

After viewing the exhibition, my friend and I had lunch at the museum's restaurant, Pane e Vino. The restaurant serves handmade pizza, calzones, and pasta. Yum!

With time to spare, my friend and I drove to Patches and Stitches, a lovely cross-stitch and quilting shop a few minutes away from the HMOA.

I came away with the following additions to my stash: ^___^

Lovely, soft threads by Crescent Colors for a LHN design that I plan on starting in the future!

The newest issue of Sampler and Antique Needlework magazine, Blue Ribbon Designs' Hugs and Kisses pattern, and 28ct cream cashel linen!

I can't wait to read through the magazine! I've always wanted to purchase this magazine, but it isn't available at my local bookstores or needlework shop! Of course, the BRD pattern is perfect for Valentine's designs!! Woohoo ;)

Checking into the hotel, my friend and I watched a few episodes of a new Korean drama before eating dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. LOL My fortune: "You are heading in the right direction" which was hilarious since my friend and I were just talking about the craziness that is her GPS!

After dinner, I taught my friend how to stitch on linen using free scrapes of linen that we picked up at the cross stitch shop.

All in all, it was a fun trip!!

Until next time ^____^

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Friendly Start!

Hi! I started this LHN design today after I came home from work.

Designer: LHN Loving and Faithful
Threads: Crescent Colour threads
Fabric: 28ct antique white Zweigart
Start: 1/27/2010

To me, this design is perfect for Valentine's Day as true friends are a part of our hearts as much as family and loved ones are.

A dear friend and I are going on a trip to Huntsville tomorrow. We are going to see an exhibition at the HMOA. If the museum allows photography, I'll have some pics to share! I hope to stitch a bit at the hotel later in the day :) I will at least have this design finished by Friday (hopefully!).

I haven't decided on how I'm going to finish this design. I think I might make it into a tin or pinkeep.

Until next time ^____^

P.S. Sorry for the dark photo!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Beautiful Flowers

Hi! I managed to start and finish another small design today. I have been digging through my stash looking for designs that are Valentine-themed. What do you think of this one?

Designer: French Country - Flower Basket by JBW Designs
Threads: DMC 3326
Fabric: 28ct evenweave antique white by M.C.G. Textiles
Start/Finish: 1/26/2010

The design actually called for DMC 3328, but I thought it was too dark so I chose DMC 3326, which is a lovely soft pink.

Sorry for the dark photo. I just finished ironing the fabric so it is still damp.

I'll let you know if I start something else this week!

Until next time ^___^

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Amour finish

Hi, everyone! I started and finished this design tonight while waiting for Masterpiece Theatre to come on. We are watching it now, but I think I'll watch it again tomorrow online as the sound is quite poor. Are we the only state who is having problems with their local PBS channel? This is the third Sunday in the row that something has gone wrong.

Designer: French Country - Amour by JBW Designs
Threads: DMC 3350
Fabric: 28ct evenweave antique white by M.C.G. Textiles
Start/Finish: 1/24/2010

I hope to start another JBW design sometime this week.

Wishing everyone a great work week!! Until next time ^____^

Block 2 finished - half a happy dance!

Design: 4 Saisons by Anagram Diffusion
Fabric: 32ct olive green Belfast linen
Threads: DMC 498 and B5200
Finish: Block 2 - eight days total

I was able to stitch the last of Block 2 this afternoon. I was also able to finish reading The Hound of Baskervilles. I hope to start Valley of Fear later today or tomorrow at the latest.

What do I plan on stitching next? You might suggest Block 3, but I think I'll leave my WIP for now and start something else. I'll let you know later if I see something in my stash that strikes my fancy.

Until next time!!

P.S. Masterpiece Theatre is airing the newest adaptation of Emma tonight! Be sure to watch it. I'm hoping our local PBS channel is working correctly tonight. Last Sunday, the volume was all wonky.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stitching, reading, and future trip ;)

Hi, everyone! I've spent the day stitching on my WIP 4 Saisons. I am almost finished with Block 2. I am working on the ornate letter D, which is the last bit in the block. I should be done with it tomorrow. I hope to have pictures of the complete block by then.

In other news, I am currently reading The Hound of Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle. There is one more novel and two selections of Sherlock Holmes' adventures to read before I have finished all the stories written about him.

I have not decided on what to read next. I'll have to look on my shelf of 'to read' books and see what jumps into my hands ;)

Next week, my friend and I are taking a trip to Huntsville to see the Paintings from the Reign of Victoria: The Royal Holloway Collection, London exhibition at the Huntsville Museum of Art. I can't wait to see it!!

There is also a very good cross stitch store in Huntsville called Patches and Stitches. I hope to persuade my friend to take a detour there while we are in the city!

Until next time!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Marielon the Magician

Marielon the Magician written by Patricia Wrede in 1991 is a delightful read set in the imaginary world of a magical Regency England. Our heroine, Kim is a young girl posing as a boy in order to survive the grim world of a street urchin in 19th century London. Kim has been given the task of obtaining information about the whereabouts of the silver bowl that might be in the possession of a traveling magician named Marielon. Little does she know that her encounter with this man will change her life completely.

While in pursuit of the silver bowl, Kim is caught by Marielon and his servant Hunch. Much to her surprise, Marielon realizes that she is a girl and decides to keep her in his employ for her skills in thievery. In exchange for teaching him how to pick locks, he promises to teach Kim how to read and write in addition to learning various tricks in his magical act.

When asked about the importance of the silver bowl, Marielon reveals his part in the story surrounding it. The silver bowl is one of a group of magical objects called the Saltash set, which when grouped together allows the owner to cast a powerful truth spell. It was given to the Royal College of Wizardry at the request of the previous owner. There is remained until it was stolen. Unfortunately, all the evidence points to Marielon as the thief. He flees to France, changes his name to Marielon, and starts a traveling magic show with the sole object of retrieving all the Saltash objects and clearing his name.

Without ruining the entire story for those of you who would like to read it, Marielon, Hunch, and Kim travel to Essex to discover the location of the Saltash platter, which is rumored to be in the possession of the Sons of the New Dawn, a druid group.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves Regency-era England with a twist. I was hoping to find a copy of the sequel Magician’s Ward at my local library, but my luck ran out! There are very few Patricia Wrede titles at my local libraries. I will have to search on eBay or Amazon for a copy!

Until next time ^___^

Monday, January 18, 2010

Stitching mania (Updated)

Hi, everyone! With a three-day weekend I was able to get a lot accomplished on my WIP 4 Saisons in between laundry and house cleaning.

Stitching: January 16-18, 2010

As you can see I'm almost finished with Block 2. I think I might be able to get this block done by the upcoming weekend when I start stitching on it again.

You may have noticed that there is quite a large tree in the middle that I haven't started yet. I plan on stitching the tree at the very end once I have all the surrounding blocks completed.

At the moment, I have no other stitching projects started as I want to get Block 2 finished before starting something new. I do have my eye on several charts that I would like to purchase soon!

In other news, I went by my local Abba Temple to an antique show on Saturday. I didn't see anything that really caught my attention, but it was nice to browse.

I've finished The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and The Return of Sherlock Holmes with the 'death' of Holmes and his return in the Case of the Empty House. I was able to check out a 1930s copy of the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes stories. I hope to start the novels and other case files after finishing Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede.

~Recap for January~

Stitching: WIP 4 Saisons

Finished reading:
1. Steampunk by Ann VanderMeer
2. Hana Kimi manga volumes 1-23 by Hisaya Nakajo
3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
4. Spice and Wolf by Isuna Hasekura
5. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
6. The Return of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
7. Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede

Currently reading:

1. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle - the first novel in which Sherlock Holmes is introduced to readers in 1887. Not the first detective-type in the literary world since Inspector Bucket in Charles Dickens' Bleak House claims that role, but still a clever one!

Until next time!! Happy reading/stitching!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Return to Cranford

Last night, my aunt and I sat down to watch the first half of Return to Cranford only to find that our local public television station wasn't working properly. We sat for about ten minutes waiting for the volume to work and then ran around the house seeing if the same was true for the other televisions in the house.

I was so glad to hear that has the first episode of the show available to view online! I just got finished watching it.

Change has finally come to the small town of Cranford with the arrival of the railway. Despite the ups and downs of deciding on what is best for Cranford, the ladies of Cranford are comical as ever.

My favorite scene happens with the arrival of Mr. Peter Jenkyns, Miss Matty's brother, from his travels abroad. He brings back all matter of exotic items including a tiger rug and a parrot! Of course, with Miss Matty taking care of Martha's baby such things are a bit of risk around a child so they are given away.

Mr. Jenkyns gives his parrot to Miss Octavia Pole (Imelda Staunton). She is advised by her neighbor to purchase a cage from Paris. She entirely misunderstands and purchases a crinoline dress cage! LOL It was the funniest thing to see Miss Pole put the cage outside on a peg to show off her parrot and then run inside her house when she finds out that it is an undergarment by the town's shopkeeper!

Hopefully, this Sunday night I will be able to see the conclusion of the Return to Cranford without any problems!

The rest of the Masterpiece Classic 2010 season looks great! I can't wait to see the newest adaptation of Emma and the encore presentations of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The Diary of Anne Frank and Small Island look promising as well. I wish I knew more about the Sharpe films. One of these days, I'll have to watch that series :)

Until next time ^___^

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Weekend stitching

Hi! I managed this weekend to get more stitched on the second block of 4 Saisons while watching Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South yesterday and the rest of the Christy series today.

Here is my progress:

Stitching: January 9-10, 2010

In addition to stitching, I've been on the lookout for some Valentine's Day patterns. I've seemed to have forgotten that I have a back subscription to the Gift of Stitching. I'll have to look through the old issues and see if anything catches my eye.

I think from now on, I'll stitch on my WIP during the weekends when I have the time and devote the rest of the week to reading and stitching other patterns. I'll let you know if I find any new patterns :)

Have a good week everyone! Keep your fingers crossed for warmer weather on the Gulf Coast.

Oh, don't forget that the Return to Cranford is airing tonight on PBS!!! *squeal* ~Sorry historical geekiness has taken over my mind~

Until next time ^____^

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stitchery and books

Hi! I hope everyone is staying warm tonight. It's quite cold in the South right now. We are definitely not used to extreme cold weather for such long periods of time!

I made some progress on my WIP 4 Saisons last Saturday. I didn't have a chance to show you a picture until now.

Design: 4 Saisons by Anagram Diffusion
Fabric: 32 ct olive green Belfast
Threads: DMC 5200 and 498
Start: Block 2 - January 2, 2010

Not too bad for a half a day of stitching while watching Christy on dvd ;) I usually always watch some sort of period drama while stitching.

In addition to my stitching, I've been reading during the evenings after work. I've read the following books so far this month:

1. Steampunk by Ann VanderMeer - a collection of short stories under the literary genre of steampunk. My favorite was Victoria by Paul Di Filippo. It is a shame that the story wasn't a full-scale novel. I love the author's wit and humor.

2. Hana Kimi manga volumes 1-23 by Hisaya Nakajo - a cute story following the adventures of Mizuki Ashiya, a girl who has disguised herself in order to enroll in an all-boys school to be friends with her favorite high-jumper, Izumi Sano. I borrowed this series from one of my friends. I've heard from my friends that there are two TV drama adaptations of this series, one Japanese and the other Taiwanese. I can't wait to watch them after reading this delightful story!

3. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Coyle Donan - When I was growing up, I always meant to read Sherlock Holmes, but I never got around to it. I read this collection in about two days.

Currently reading:

1. Spice and Wolf by Isuna Hasekura - the story of Kraft Lawrence, a traveling merchant and his (mis)adventures with the wolf-goddess Holo.

Future reading:

1. The Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle - a collection of all the short stories and one novel that were published by the British magazine The Strand from 1891 to 1905. I picked up this book from the library after work today. I was hoping that it would have the first Sherlock Holmes novel A Study in Scarlet, but no luck there. After I'm finished reading this collection, I'll have to hunt down a copy of A Study in Scarlet.

Aside from books, I am on the hunt for Valentine's designs to cross stitch for the SAL that I belong too. I haven't come across anything yet. I had stopped by my LNS last Saturday, but I didn't see anything that caught my eye. I did buy some lovely pink shades of Anchor thread while I was there though ;)

Hopefully, I'll have better luck this weekend finding some nice designs to stitch. I hope to work on my WIP too!

Until next time ^____^ Happy reading/stiching!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Birthday fun ~

Hi! Two birthdays today, my mother and our chocolate lab, Sam.

My sister made a cake for our mother at work. What do you think? I love the dog paws in the right corner ;) The cake has a vanilla whipped cream, vanilla cake, and strawberry filling!

Herb Garden by Little House Needleworks

My gift to my mother this year was this design that I stitched last year and had framed before the Christmas holidays. The picture isn't the best, but you get the idea ;) It has the same frame as the Morning Berries design that I gave my mother for Christmas.

I hope everyone is keeping warm on the Gulf Coast. It is cold!! I'm not used to wearing several layers, hats, or gloves! We might have snow tomorrow O_o"

Until next time ^____^

Friday, January 1, 2010

4 Saisons - Block 1

Design: 4 Saisons, Block 1 by Anagram Diffusion
Fabric: 32ct olive green Belfast
Finish: Block 1 - 1/1/2010

With time off from work I was able to finish up Block 1 of my WIP 4 Saisons by Anagram Diffusion. Hopefully, I will get more time to work on this design this year ;)

I hope everyone is having a great New Year!

Until next time ^___^