Sunday, December 30, 2012

WIPocalypse - the year end wrap up

Well, here we are.  The year will be over in a little over 24 hours, and it is time to take stock of what I have accomplished in relations to the WIPocalypse challenge (next year's signup and an explanation of the whole challenge can be found here.)

My original list looked like this:
1. Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler - Shakespeare's Peddler
2. Sarah Hatton McPhail Sampler - The Essamplaire
3. Sarah Johnson 1793 - The Essamplaire
4. Anne Maria Clarke - The Essamplaire
5. Sous le Soleil de la Lune - Reflets de Soie
6. Rachel Mauger Reproduction - my personal collection
7. Peapod Purse - Catherine Theron
8. Tulip Slip - Thistle Threads
9. 3 Halloween ornies from JCS issues
10. 1 Christmas ornie from JCS issue

The final list for the year looks like this:
1. Jenni Bean's Creation Sampler - finished Jan 2012
2. Sarah Hatton McPhail Sampler - finished Feb 2012
3. Sarah Johnson 1793 - finished Feb 2012
4. Anne Maria Clarke - not even touched
5- Sous le Soleil de la Lune - finished Aug 2012
6. Rachel Mauger Reproduction - some additional charting done
7. Peapod Purse - not even touched
8. Tulip Slip - abandoned as a horrible idea to begin with (for me, not for everyone else.  It's pretty if you do it right)
9. 3 Halloween ornies from JCS issues - one finished Nov 2012 (and I'm not sure this was correctly described.  2 of the finishes listed below may have been part of what I inteded to finish, so all may have been done)
10. 1 Christmas ornie from JCS issue 2011 - finished Dec 2012, additionally, one other started

not on the original list, but still progress made:
Waiting for Harvest - finishing completed
2002 Heart's Content Christmas Ornament - finishing completed
Janet Gibson reproduction sampler - stitching completed
Black'd Skie - stitching completed
3 Homespun Elegance ornaments - finishing completed
1- Ink Circles ornament - stitching and finishing completed
Boughs of Holly - stitching completed, finishing still to be done
Wicked freebie pattern - finishing completed

pieces actually put into frames:
Sarah Hatton McPhail, Quaker Christmas, Jenni Bean Creation Sampler, Janet Gibson, The North Wind, Winter in the Park,  Sarah Bateman sampler, Elisabeth Ramsay sampler, Spot the Cat, Shores of Hawk Run Hollow, Sarah Johnson sampler, Salem Sisters, Mary Ann Henderson sampler

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the amount of old stitching projects that got finished this year.  Way more was finished than was begun and left unfinished, so that's progress too!

I hope everyone else is happy with their final WIPocalypse results as well.  Now to make a list of things that I'd like to finish over the next year!  Stay crafty, and stay safe over the coming holiday.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Final Ort Report of 2012 and a quick jaunt to NYC

What happens when you put off going upstairs to get the camera all day long?  You end up taking not-so-great photos of your ort jar long after the sun has set.  Since it was too late to take a photo in my usual spot, I decided to get a little festive and take my last pic under the tree.  Two of the cats supervised the process:
I think I'm going to get one of those clear glass (or plastic) ornaments and fill it with all the orts.  Then I can start all over again next year!

As I mentioned in my last post, my mom, sister, and I took a road trip to New York City over the second half of last week.  Mom hadn't been to NYC since the 60's, and I hadn't been at Christmas time in several years, so just seeing the city all decked out her holiday brightness was a treat.

We caught a matinee showing of the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.  Words cannot express how thrilled I was to see the Rockettes performing in that famous location.  And the nativity, complete with live animals, was stunningly beautiful.

After the show let out, we hoofed it across town to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  There, we joined several other women who are taking Trish's Cabinet of Curiosity online course.  They had generously allowed Mom and I to join them even though we don't live in the area.  Once inside the Ratti Textile Center (located inside the Met), we saw about 20 exquisite antique needlework and beadwork pieces from the museum's collection laid out before us.  No glass between us and those lovely ladies.  We could photograph to our heart's content.  They would turn things around for us.  In a word, heaven.  There were two caskets available for observation, although we weren't able to see either opened up and pulled apart.  I wish I could show you all the pretty, pretty photos I took.  Sadly, this craptastic photo is all I can share:

Catch me in person in a few weeks and I might have some more interesting photos to share.  ; )

We finished our day with a stroll through Times Square, and dinner at Bubba Gump's.  I know, I know, chain restaurant in NYC.  But we don't have such things here in North Carolina.  And Mom really likes the food there.  We made friends with some funny British guys while waiting for our table, much to the amusement of the restaurant employees.  They kept asking Mom if she had a Dolly Parton cd.  Made me wonder if there is some sort of joke about the lady that we're just not aware of.

The next morning, we visited the 9/11 Memorial.  Beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.  I visited NYC for the first time in 2010, and spent time in one of the towers.  The next time I came, there was nothing but a big hole in the ground, and some damage to surrounding buildings was still visible.  Now, there is still lots of construction going on.  And the memorial:

We wandered around the financial area, saw the Statue of Liberty, shopped at Macy's, and finally, ended the day at Tinsel Trading.  Wow.  What an amazing place to shop.  Here's a few photos to give you the general idea.

Although it isn't exactly the kind of cabinet our course is covering, we still got a laugh out of this window decoration.

I bought some glass glitter and vintage ephemera for scrapbooking, and some gorgeous trims for edging some of my stitched ornaments and pillows.  Mom went nuts over the giant wall of trims.  Can you tell how much fun she's having?

And there you have our whirlwind trip to New York City.  Throw in one night at Foxwoods Casino, followed by an all night drive back to North Carolina, and I've covered it all.  We had a blast, but we were completely worn out.

I hope to post again with my final WIPocalypse update over the weekend.  But just in case that doesn't happen, Merry Christmas to my fellow Christians, and Happy Holidays to everyone else.  May the final days of 2012 find you safe and warm with someone you love.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More holiday stitching

Posting two days in a row!  That hasn't happened in a very long time.  First, I wanted to say thank you for all the kind comments about my decorating efforts.  You are too kind.  I'm back today to share a few more stitching finishes from this month.

First up, an ornament which I stitched last year, but which I had yet to put into finished form.  It's another Homespun Elegance ornament... I love her ornament designs!

It's backed with a fabric from Blackbird Designs Blueberry Crumbcake line:

Next up, this ornament had about 12 stitches in the border before this year.  The design is by Ink Circles, Celtic Beasties, and I stitched it with the called for fibers on Silkweaver linen (cookie dough, I think).  I stitched it up one day last week and backed it with some pretty Weeks Dye Works green felt.

I also stitched up "Christmastide" by Pineberry Lane.  I'd had my eye on this pattern since it was released last year, and finally broke down and bought it in October.  It was a really quick stitch.  Of course, I probably won't get it framed til next Christmas, but that's okay, it will be waiting for me when the time rolls around.  Stitched on 40 count 'cauldron' linen by Picture This Plus, here's my wrinkled, unironed finish:

Finally, I gave the winner of my '100 Followers' giveaway her prize this past weekend.  Kim (Miss Pants) just happens to be a member of the Piedmont Sampler Guild (as am I) and we met on Saturday at Mimi's Cafe for our holiday breakfast.  Admist all the fun and sharing, I was able to pass along a small pin pillow I stitched for her, along with a couple of other small items.

I asked everyone to tell me their favorite months in the year, and one of the months Kim mentioned was September.  I just love the peacock on this pattern, so September is what I went for.  The pattern is by my mom, Cherished Stitches.  It's part of her Birds of a Feather series.

Speaking of Mom, she has shared a free Christmas ornament pattern on her blog.  She is still taking baby steps into the world of blogging, so she doesn't post very often.  But her ornament is really cute!  The photo on her post really doesn't do it any justice.  If you'd like to grab the chart, go to her blog here.

Well, that's it for today.  Tomorrow, I head to New York City for a chance to explore some of the Met's collection of antique embroidery.  Don't know if I'll be able to take any photos, but I sure hope so!  I'll share more about the trip when I return.  Til then, have a crafty day!

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yes, we finally have all the Christmas decorations and lights up, inside and out.  It took a little while because of illness, injury, and weather, but we are now ready for the season!  I thought I'd share a little of our holiday look with you today.  First up, of course, is the foyer.  I've swapped out the old metal ornament stand for a 3 ft fake tree.  I thought I would have more room for my hand stitched ornament collection.  I think I was wrong.  It's already almost completely full!
To the right of the tree, you can see my newly framed Quaker Christmas sampler.  I finished it in '09, but just got it framed this past weekend.
Here's a closer view:
During most of the year, this spot on the wall is occupied with a papyrus art piece that we picked up on our travels to Egypt, but over Thanksgiving, this Shepherd's Bush piece hung there:

I know, it doesn't go with the Christmas decor theme of this post, but I wanted to share anyway.

Moving on to the living room, we have the world's most crooked, but stable, Christmas tree:
This photo doesn't show how crooked the tree really is.  Try as I might, I could not get the darned thing to stand straight.  So I gave up and decorated away.  I love each and every ornament on this tree.  So many fun memories are attached to each one.

I had a lot of fun decorating the mantel this year.  As of 2 nights ago, the kitties have been having a lot of fun removing balls from the mantel.  This may not end well for some of my decorations.  Sigh.

And finally, here is the dining room:

One of the samplers that usually hangs here has been replaced with Celtic Christmas, which I don't think I've ever shared before:

In other news, there's been plenty of stitching and finishing going on.  I will try to get another quick post up before the end of the week to share those.  Meanwhile I leave you with three of my favorite 'decorations.'

She knows she's not supposed to be up there, but that never stops her!

I have to say, Lucky looks rather squished.  But he didn't complain when Scout jumped onto the couch and joined us, so I guess he enjoyed the snuggle.

Til next time, happy creating, everyone!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Scarlet Letter Year

Many of you have probably already heard about Nicola of "Stitching by a Cornish Shore" blog and her fabulous plans for her birthday year.  If you have not, well, she has invited her fellow stitchers and bloggers to join her for a year of stitching samplers from one of her favorite companies, The Scarlet Letter.  There will be prizes along the way, and just some general fun and sharing as the year goes by.  I have, of course, decided to join in.

I have stitched a couple of Scarlet Letter pieces over the years, and have long admired the many beautiful patterns that she has available.  My chosen pattern for this stitchalong will be "Coraggio," pictured here as seen on the Scarlet Letter website:
I do not yet have the fabric or the threads for this pretty piece.  I will do some stash digging for the fabric soon.  Hopefully I'll have something on hand that will work.  As for the threads, she calls for au ver a soie silks.  Those can be rather challenging for me to come by, so I am reluctantly leaning towards stitching it in DMC instead.  I'm just not sure yet.

If the stitchalong sounds appealing to you, head over to the stitchalong blog.  It's gonna be a fun year!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Wow!  Only one more WIPocalypse update to go after this one and the year will be over!  Hard to believe it's been that long since we started.  I was actually in a bit of a stitching slump for the first half of this month.  Things have picked up a bit recently.  I did some rather boring looking stitching on the border of my Girafa sampler (not worth taking a photo of that progress), and I will finish the stitching on my giveaway piece tonight.  But I won't be sharing a photo of that for a while either.

This coming month is going to be dedicated to stitching all things Christmas.  To keep things rolling from last month's stitching finish, I have actually 'finished' three ornaments that were stitched last year (or possibly earlier, at least one having turned up during my massive hunt for old projects to be framed).

First up, we have this Peace ornament which came from a JCS ornament issue, I think 2011, but it might have been 2010.  I stitched it using Belle Soie silks on some sparkly Silkweaver linen.
This is a flat ornament.  The back is covered in some fabric from Mom's stash that has just a hint of sparkle to it:

Next up, one of the annual ornaments from Homespun Elegance.  I stitched this one using the called for fibers, and I think it might even be on the recommended fabric.  But I stitched it quite a while ago, so I'm not positive about that.

I backed this one with some fabric that was intended for some patriotic pin pillows I was stitching a while back, but seemed perfect for this little guy:

And lastly, we have another Homespun Elegance design, stitched on the same fabric as the previous ornament.  Which means that they were probably stitched in the same year.  First, the back, which is made with some Weeks wool.  Please disregard the bits and pieces of the rope trim that have deposited themselves onto the fabric.  I didn't get around to cleaning that up til after the photo was taken.

And the front, again using the called for colors.
So that's 3 less unfinished ornaments sitting in the pile.  That leaves about 5 that need finishing, plus the pillow from last month's post.  And of course there is also all the new stuff that I plan on stitching.  Yup, it'll be interesting to see where my needle leads me in the coming month.

That's it for today my friends.  I have caught a bit of a cold, so the Christmas decorating and card writing have been progressing very slowly.  I am hoping to get most of it done by Friday evening.  Saturday, weather permitting, the man and I will go get our Christmas tree and hang the outdoor lights.

Til next time, stay crafty and stay warm!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope those of you here in the States have had a pleasant day, and that you were blessed to find yourself surrounded by loved ones.  Here at the Patrick household, the dishes have been cleared, and the leftovers stored in the fridge.  Most of the menfolk are at the movies watching the new James Bond movie, while the women paid a visit to a dear friend who is in the hospital.

As I'm gearing up for my Black Friday shopping (no Thanksgiving shopping for me, thank you very much!), I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone well, and to say that there was only one more mishap added to my Thanksgiving adventures.  I got up early this morning to start the turkey.  I pulled the neck and a bag of giblets out of the bird's chest cavity, stuffed it with celery and onion, and into the oven it went (with a little help from my man; no need to break another toe by dropping a big ol' bird on it).  It only took 45 minutes or so longer than I really thought it would take to cook (which was factored into prep time, so no biggie, we still only waited about 15 minutes for it to come out of the oven beyond the promised time for lunch).  BUT, I did leave the bag with the gizzard inside the turkey.  I didn't realize there would be two bags.  Oops.  But it didn't mess up the bird.  I'm happy to say that the turkey was quite moist, the broccoli casserole was creamy and tasty, the gingered potatoes had a pleasant warm undertone, and the red velvet cake was baked to perfection.  Yes, I am patting myself on the bag.  By the grace of God, my man and I were able to present a perfectly edible (okay, more than edible) meal on our first hosting occasion.

Okay, that's all for today.  Stay safe, everyone.  I'll be back with stitching updates before too long!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Preparing the Feast, part 2

Noon: I start mixing the cake.  Not much can go wrong here.  It's been a while since I baked anything from scratch, but I think I'm pretty good at it.
12:10 Spike yaks in the middle of the kitchen floor.  Gross.  I briefly consider leaving it there while I finish with the cake, but decide that the risk of forgetting it's there and then stepping in it is too high.  I clean it up, wash my hands again, and finish prepping the cake.  Into the oven it goes.
12:20 I fill my new salt and pepper shakers.  They match my fancy wedding china.  I ordered them in July and they finally arrived on Saturday.  Just in time for THanksgiving, hooray!  But where are the plugs for the bottom of the shakers?  I. Have. No. Clue.  I can't find them anywhere.  They're brand new, how is this possible?!  Sigh.  Masking tape it will be.  Wonder how long it will take someone at the table to notice what I've done.
12:30  I start washing the first of what promises to be many loads of dishes.
12:45 I declare the cakes to be done.  Temporarily distracted by the realization that our oven IS NOT LEVEL, I bobble one of the cakes.  THankfully, it doesn't land on the floor.  Not so thankfully, I partially catch it with my upper arm.  Just a flesh wound, really.
12:48  Ow.  Even minor burns hurt.  Oooh, icy turkey bath water.  Aaaah.  Relief.  I wonder if this is sanitary.  I don't think I care.
1pm  Icing is made, lopsided cakes are cooling.  Dad's baked sweet potato is slowly cooking in the oven.

My feet hurt.

Preparing the feast

Mostly for my own amusement, I have decided to post once or twice during the process of preparing for our Thanksgiving feast.  Since it's my first time making several of these dishes, this could turn out to be verrrrry interesting.  And no one who will be at dinner reads my blog as far as I know.  Except my husband.  And he'll never tell, will you sweetie?

7am: run the last load of laundry so there will be clean sheets on the guest bed and a clean tablecloth on the table.
7:30: prepare the sausage balls (appetizers in case the turkey takes too long to cook).  Hmm, Mom's recipe says this should make about 90 sausage balls.  I have 48.  Hope they cook all the way through.
8am: hubby leaves for work, sausage balls go in the oven.
8:30: sausage balls look done.  I haven't eaten one of these things in decades.  They just aren't my thing.  Break one open to see if it looks cooked through.  It does.  Decide to taste it to make sure it isn't too mushy or something.
8:32: Oh crap!  These things are tasty!  I want another one.  Or maybe two.  Just to be sure.
9:15 call Mom for clarification of her vague candied yam recipe.  Wake her up.  Seriously, Mom?  Sleeping?  No fair.
9:45 sweet potatoes boiling, first pitcher of sweet tea is cooling on the counter
10am to 11am type and email a long list of properly formatted children's names and Christmas wishes for the Robeson County Giving Tree event.  Choose a name for myself and another for my sister.  This is always such a bittersweet experience.
11am sweet potatoes are done, cooled, and ready to go in the casserole dish.
11:15  whoops!  I could have sworn that jar said cinnamon.  Exactly how much ginger have I accidentally added to the pan?  And do I think it's bad enough to start over?
11:16 Nope, not bad enough to start over.  I'll just add extra brown sugar.  This could be fun to serve.
11:20 sweet potatoes go into the fridge.  I pat the frozen turkey.  It's still frozen.  That isn't good.  I thought it was supposed to thaw in two days?  Why do I believe such silly lies?
11:21 begin filling sink with cold water.  Tom goes into his bath.  According to the bag, this is going to take about 8 hours.  Guess I won't be brining the turkey, huh?
11:45 what to start on next?  What will go wrong next?  Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A winner, TUSAL, and prepping for dinner

Yeah, I made that stupid title just so I could do some rhyming.  Maybe it's the early hour of the morning.  Or I'm just in a silly mood.  Who knows?  Sorry I've been away so long.  It's just been a blah kind of month, and I haven't really felt like blogging very much.  Haven't stitched all that much either (eek!).  I did finish a couple of scrapbooking layouts, so that's something.

The toe, and foot, and tailbone, have all been healing nicely.  I see the doctor tomorrow for a progress review.  Hopefully I'll get a big thumbs up and be out of this stupid boot before too long.

November TUSAL update:
If you want to read about the TUSAL, go here.  Daffycat will be doing this again next year.  I am thinking that I will sign up again.  That jar is almost completely full.  I think I will look for a clear ornament to stuff with orts during my post-Thanksgiving shopping.

While I was trying to photograph my ort jar, I let Princess enjoy a little outdoors time.  After I was done with the jar, I took a few photos of my sweet girl.  Some of my cats could care less about going outside.  Some don't go outside because they won't let me catch them when I am ready to go back in.  But Princess not only loves the outdoors, she doesn't run away from me.  Some might blame this on her large, fluffy size.

 Most of the time, this was the view I got when I tried to photograph her.  Not her best side, I'm thinking:

Okay, enough delaying.  An announcement of my 100 followers giveaway is looong overdue.  I used the random number generator, but I'm not tech savvy enough to figure out how to share a webshot on this blog.  Without further ado, the winner is...

Miss Pants!!!

Heather, I don't think I have your email address, so please shoot me a line with your snail mail... and be patient with me.  I will start stitching on your prize ASAP, but I doubt I'll get much done over this next week as I will be very busy with Thanksgiving prep.

Yup, that's right.  My man and I are hosting both our immediate families for Thanksgiving dinner.  And I'm cooking a turkey for the very first time.  I have to admit, I'm a bit scared of the whole idea.  Turkey totally intimidates me.  I'll let you know how it goes.

That's all for today folks!  Stay safe and stay crafty.
I'm ready for my closeup now.

Monday, October 29, 2012

October WIPocalypse update, and a little BAP too

Good morning!  I hope everyone is staying safe and dry on this blustery morning.  I'm certainly thinking about those of you living to the north of me here on the east coast.  Sandy has brought us some high winds, and the rain started overnight, but nothing like what seems to be in store for others.

It's time once again for a WIPocalypse update.  If you want to learn more about the WIPocalypse fun, check out Measi's blog.  I certainly got some stitching done since the last update, but not a lot of it was truly WIPocalypse related.  However, I'm going to share everything that I have been stitching on recently.  First up is my Girafa sampler, which has been slowly coming along.  I have my doubts about whether I'll finish it this year or not... I think the siren call of Christmas themed stitching my pull me away from this one.  Here's where I was last update:
 And here we are today:
Lots of progress, but a lot left to go as well!

I took some simple stitching with me on our trip to D.C. earlier in the month.  This piece is from this year's JCS Christmas ornament issue, and I used the called for threads.  I can't remember who this is by off the top of my head, but I'll be sure to include that info whenever I 'finish' the ornament.
Wow, that's a really crooked looking photo!

I've been stitching like a madwoman on the newest Blackbird Designs pattern.  But I'll be taking a break for the rest of this week because I need to acquire the rest of the threads I need to stitch it.  But I got pretty far with what was already in my stash:

And finally, the only real WIPocalypse piece.  I started stitching With Thy Needle and Thread's "Boughs of Holly" last holiday season.  Since I didn't finish it before Christmas, I put it aside.  I really didn't have that much left to go.  Here's where I was when I set it aside:

 And with just one day's worth of stitching, I am done!!!
I have already picked out the fabric I want to back the pillow with, so as soon as I'm in a finishing kind of mood, I'll whip this baby right out... well, unless I decide to finish one of the half dozen or so ornaments that need finishing first!

Ugh, I had thought that I might hobble out today for a much needed shopping trip.  I completely failed to consider Sandy and her rain.  Hmmm, not sure whether this will deter me or not.  For the rest of you, stay safe, stay dry, and maybe work in some nice crafty time while you are stuck indoors!

PS.  Don't forget about my giveaway from two posts ago.  The chance to enter ends on Halloween!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Visiting D.C.

First, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes and concern.  I'm doing better now.  Not well, but better.  At least I can sit up on the couch now without being in complete agony.  And I have seen the doctor.  He is a little concerned about my habit of pitching myself down the stairs, and confused by my protestations that my broken toe is normally rather sideways, but he is also confident that I will heal up as good as new.  I am back in the stinky black boot, and much less grumpy now that I can stitch for more than ten minutes at a time.

Now, on to the much talked about trip to Washington, D.C., from week before last.  On the Saturday following our visit to the State Fair, hubby and I hit the road.  First to Greensboro so that I could hang out with my fellow Sampler Guild members, then on to D.C.  We took 29 north through Danville.  Much of the drive was through beautiful countryside.  The skies were blue, the leaves were barely beginning to turn, and the traffic was light.  It was really a very pleasant, relaxing drive.  At least until we hit the city traffic.  : )

Saturday night, we stayed at the historic Willard Hotel in the downtown area.  What a beautiful hotel!  It is on the national register of historic hotels, and really, it has seen a great deal of history.  Martin Luther King, Jr. finished his 'I have a dream' speech at the hotel, and it is believed that the term 'lobbyist' was coined in reference to persons lurking in the Willard's lobby in an attempt to connect with the rich and powerful who were staying at the hotel.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time there.

Exterior of the hotel:

Here's a view looking into that famous lobby.  The ceiling is decorated with the State Seals of 48 states.  The last two, Alaska and Hawaii, are the two round images you can see just above the archway in this photo.
 And the view from our room.  Granted, it's nothing special.  But trust me, the room was pretty.  And I was in love with the silky soft sheets on our bed!  And no USA Today at this hotel.  Sunday morning we had a complimentary issue of the Washington Post delivered to our room.
Saturday evening, we wandered around the downtown area a bit, just soaking in the atmosphere.  There was a street fair and live music a block from the hotel.  Another block up and you could see the capital in the distance.

 If you walked a block in the other direction, you came across this little white house set back on some lovely grounds.  Seriously, I had never walked around this side of the White House before.  I'd only ever seen the other side on previous trips.  The road on this side is closed to all but pedestrian traffic.
Sunday turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day.  We walked to the National Building Museum and toured it (no photos, sorry).  After checking out of our hotel, we wandered around Capital Hill and the National Mall for several hours.  Really, the weather was so beautiful.  We'd stroll a bit, then sit on a bench and watch the world go by.    

I think this patrol vehicle defeats the concept of 'secret':

For some reason, I was fascinated by the diving ducks and their little duck butts.  I love the curly little feather sticking up from this guy's rear.

This was just wrong.  In so many ways.  (note the vanity tag.  Also wrong).
Later in the evening, we traded our swanky downtown digs for the Holiday Inn in Rosslyn, which was near the convention Alton was attending for the first half of the week.  The view wasn't too bad:

On Monday, while Alton was working, I headed back into the city on the Metro.  I toured the Supreme Court, took a quick peek into the Library of Congress, and toured the National Postal Museum before making my way back to Rosslyn via Union Station.  The weather wasn't so nice that day... grey and slightly rainy.  And for some reason I didn't take any photos!

When Alton had finished work for the day, we walked from our hotel across the Key bridge into Georgetown.  Dinner was some delicious pizza.  Afterwards, I insisted that we get cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes.  The shop and its owners are the stars of the TLC show "DC Cupcakes."  I don't know if it was the weather or the fact that it was a Monday, but there was no line.  Seriously.  There was one person in front of us.  I barely even had time to admire this blingtastic mixer:

I soooo want one of those!!!  The cupcakes were delicious.  I ordered two (one for the next day), and Alton picked one out for himself.  My favorite by far was the cinnamon cupcake (the one with the little heart on top).
 Tuesday, I again headed out on my own.  This time, I met up with my friend Jennifer for a quick bite of lunch.  I then spent a few hours in the National History Museum before joining my friend Steph for a tour of her new school, followed by a little taste of home at Bruegger's Bagels.  We explored a few of the rooms in the beautiful National Portrait Gallery before Steph had to head off for dance class.  Alton then met up with me on the mall and we walked (a very looong walk) to check out the MLK memorial, which neither of us had seen before.  It is a lovely memorial, and I think it was especially striking in the darkening evening:

There was a nice view of the Jefferson Memorial from the edges of the MLK Memorial.  I know my photo is slightly craptastic, but you get the idea:

On Wednesday, it was time to head home.  But not without a quick side stop at In Stitches needlework shop in Alexandria.  
 What a great shop!  And the people who were work there are really nice.  I was going to snap a quick photo of all the little goodies I picked up there, but, ahem, I dug into the stash and started stitching some of it before I got around to taking a photo.  Trust me, they had great stuff.  I even got the newest Blackbird Designs pattern straight from the shipping box!  (that's the one that I'm working on right now.  It's THanksgiving themed, and I decided to try and finish it for this year).

Well, that's all for today.  I'm keeping an eye on this monster storm brewing out in the Atlantic.  Are you?  It makes me a little nervous.  I'm definitely hoping that the weather casters are being overly dramatic about this one.  Meanwhile, I think I'll stock up on lots of stitching and scrapbooking supplies.  Wouldn't want to be caught without enough fabric and thread, right?  ; )  I hope everyone stays safe, dry, and has lots of crafty time over the weekend!