Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lazy Summer Days

Good morning everyone!  Hope you all had a great weekend.  Ours was very busy.  Among other things, we tried to watch a Durham Bulls game.  Instead we watched it storm over the infield for 2 and a half hours.  Hopefully, we will find the time to go to another game, and they will actually play the game next time!

I have a stitchy finish to share with you.  I got one of the limited edition kits that Blackbird Designs released in February, Wild Garden.  I finished the stitching pretty quickly, in fact, I believe this is the last piece that I placed the initials "RH" on before my marriage.  I've been working on the finishing for a couple of weeks, and this weekend I finally got the whole thing done.  This is my first time playing with ric rac.  The spool I bought was just a little too bubblegum for the pattern, so I tea dyed it to make it a bit more muted.  I decided to finish the design into a wall or door hanging, and I think I'm pretty happy with the finished results:
As you can see, I simply pinned the green lace onto the back of the piece.  The whole thing is very light, so I don't think there's enough strain on the fabric to create big tears in it, and I thought that it might be nice to be able to detach the lace easily should I find some other piece I like even better, or have a need for the lace in some other project.  This was a fun little stitch!

After my last post, I think I put about 20 more stitches in my Giraffe sampler before the business of the weekend caught up with me.  And yesterday morning, I picked Soleil back up.  I don't have any pictures to show, but I'm cruising along.  Hopefully, I will be very close to finished by the time Friday evening rolls around.

It's been quite toasty here in North Carolina, which always makes for an excellent excuse to be lazy, at least as far as outdoor activities are concerned.  The cats take the need to be lazy very seriously, of course.  Princess took the box:

 Spike monitored the computer:
And Scout, well, Scout thinks he has ninja skills:

Poor kitty, he's nowhere near as ninja as he thinks he is!  That's all for today.  Til next time, stay crafty my friends!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TUSAL and BAP, how about that?

Yup, it's time for my monthly TUSAL update:
That Prima jar is filling up nicely!  If you want to learn more about the TUSAL, follow this link to Daffycat's blog.  I've started thinking about what I'll do with all these orts at the end of the year.  I believe I've seen a couple of fellow TUSALers stuff theirs into clear glass Christmas ornaments.  Given my adoration of Christmas ornaments of all kinds, I'm thinking that might be the way for me to go too.

I've spent most of last week and all of this week working on my Giraffa sampler for BeckySC's BAP challenge, which you can read about here.  I'm quite pleased with my progress.  However, I'm about 4 lengths of thread shy of being completely out of the pale yellow thread, and I've got yellow all the way around the border.  Guess I'll be making an emergency stash run of some sort here in the near future!  Which is bad because emergency stash runs often involve the purchasing of non-emergency patterns.  Anyway, here's where I am on Giraffa as of this morning:
Look, there's a man leading a giraffe in this sampler!  And even though it's kind of hard to tell from this photo, there's another robe floating behind the giraffe, waiting to be filled in with a head and body.  Then it's palm trees and the borders.  Lots of palm trees and lots of border.  I will probably set this sampler aside at some point over the weekend and pick up Soleil again for at least another week.  

Lest you think that the scrapping bug has left me, let me share the two layouts I punched out yesterday afternoon and early this morning.  This first one is a layout about my many trips to Biltmore Estates for their Christmas candlelight tours.  That house is gorgeous on an average day, but in the evenings at Christmas, there's something magical about it.  I caught this picture of the guardhouse at dusk, and it's one of my favorites of the estates.
And finally, I made a multi-photo layout inspired by Lisa Andrew's layout.  Among the many CHA-related scrapbooking challenges going on at Two Peas in a Bucket, was a challenge to create a layout based on her lovely work.  And here's what I made:
Look at all the pretty little fishies!  Of course, I realized this morning that the song I'd been humming while I made this layout (and slapped that lovely little title on the page) was actually "Under the Sea" instead of DOWN by the sea.  Which makes a lot more sense given the subject of both the songs and these photos.  Sigh.  I can be such a dingdong sometimes.  Regardless, I'm excited to have made the first of many layouts documenting our honeymoon in Hawaii.

I guess that's it for today.  I'm off to put some more stitches in Giraffa.  Til next time, I hope everyone has a happy, crafty day!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In the mood to scrap

Hi everybody!  I thought I'd share some of the layouts I've made this week with my blogging buddies.  This week is the biannual Craft and Hobby Association show where all the big scrapbooking companies go to show off their brand new releases for the second half of the year.  Looking at all those beautiful papers and products online has gotten me in the mood to use some of my own massive stash.  No theme to this group of layouts, they're just stuff that I felt like scrapping.

First up, The Lake.  A couple of summers ago, I was able to spend a couple of days out on Lake Waccamaw with some of my RobCo friends.  We had a house directly on the lake, with its own dock.  It was a wonderful, relaxing time away from the stresses of work.  I tried to capture some of that lazy tranquility with this layout:
I also made a layout about a certain rotten little cat that's still scampering around my house:
And then I made a layout using some old photos of me in my little parade costume for my baton twirling group.  These were taken in Mississippi, so I was not very old at all.  I can remember how much I loved marching in parades though.  The cold weather, the anticipation of the start of the march, and the joy of spinning that little baton around and around as we move along.  Good times.
Hmmm, I just realized that I have been on a Basic Grey tear here recently.  That's a good thing.  I own waaay too much Basic Grey product, and I haven't even acquired that much in the past few years!  I need to create a bunch of BG layouts so that I can buy some of their new releases.  They've got some really great stuff coming out later this fall.

Moving on, I also created one 12 x 12 layout showing the ladies who threw/attended my spa party back in March.  I have decided to create an 8x8 album about the entire event, but I wanted one of my usual sized layouts as well.  We had the most fun on the limo ride to the spa and then getting our nails done once we were actually there.
While I'm sharing paper crafting stuff, I thought I'd show you a photo of a banner I made a few years back.  It's been waiting for a cat-safe place to display it, and I think our bonus room had just the place:
Of course, even if they can't reach it, the cats are still interested.  I'm not positive, but I suspect Lucky is thinking about those lovely dangling pearls as he lounges in the window sill here:
Tigger, on the other hand, is too busy looking for embellishments (or rolls of glue dots) to chew to be wasting his time looking at a silly banner:
Sigh.  He even sits outside the bonus room door when it's closed and tries to convince me to let him in there to go play.   Little stinker.

Well that's it for today.  I'll have a stitchy update tomorrow or the next day.  Til then, I hope everyone has a lovely, crafty time!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How I spent my holiday week (and behaved very badly)

Wow!  It was a very busy week last week.  I didn't even get a chance to do any stitching from Tuesday until Monday of this week.  To begin with, we left for a whirlwind retreat to the NC Outer Banks on the 4th of July.  I haven't been to the Outer Banks since I was young, and I was looking forward to seeing everything there is to see there.  While we did not visit any of the lighthouses (we're saving them for another trip, ideally when the temps are in the 70's rather than the 100's), there were plenty of other things to keep us busy.

Among other things, we drove through the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in search of black bears and red wolves.  Sadly, the animals we saw were dragonflies and one very nervous blacksnake.  But we did see lots of scat along the road.  It wasn't horse scat, so I proclaimed it to be bear scat (it probably wasn't) and decided the bears were taunting us.  We did get to see watch the zookeepers feed some baby alligators and admire some adorable little turtles at the NC Acquarium:
Doesn't he look like a wise old man?  I loved all the fish and water animals we got to see at the acquarium.

We also attended the outdoor drama The Lost Colony.  I think I might have enjoyed the play more if I hadn't been marinating in my own sweat the whole time.  But check out Queen Elizabeth's costume.  It's simply delicious!
I wonder if someone hand embroidered all that lovely gold work on her skirts.

We returned from the Outer Banks late on Friday evening after a quick visit to his father's home on one of the sounds.  The next day, we hosted both our families at a cookout.  Almost everyone came, and Alton grilled some delicious burgers, dogs, and braats.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  I know I did.  But I was way too busy to take any photos!  After almost everyone had left, Alton and I and my mom and dad all piled into their car and headed over to the state fairgrounds to check out the antiques show that was going on that weekend.  And that's where I got into trouble.  Because I spotted this little beauty and I just HAD to have her:
I'm such a bad, bad girl, because she wasn't cheap.  But she's mine now!  I know it's not the best of photos, but surely you can tell how gorgeous she is!  Susannah Turpin stitched this sampler in 1742.  It's on a fine, fine piece of linen, probably about 50 count, although I've not had the courage to try and count all those threads.  There are gorgeous shades of red, blue, green and yellow in this piece.  She used satin stitch, montenegrin, long arm cross, rice stitch, eyelet, and a couple of others that I'm struggling to identify.  The workmanship is so fine and delicate.  I am just beyond thrilled to have her in our house.  Mom, of course, is itching to get her own hands on her.

I know that this piece came from England, but I had two conflicting locations to start with.  I've tried an internet search of her name and came up with a possible candidate for being 'my' Sussanah.  If I found the right one (and really, how likely is that), she would have been 7 years old when she stitched this.  I'm going to try to dig through some of mom's reference books to see if I can find any similar samplers pictured there with more definite provenance.  Beyond that, I'm not sure what else I could do to learn anything more about the maker of this sampler.  If any of you have any thoughts on other avenues I could pursue, please feel free to share!

In other stitchy news, I have decided to set aside Penny America until September (or until the Olympics strikes a need to stitch something patriotic) and returned to my BAP challenge piece.  When last I left my giraffe sampler, I was slogging through the bottom half of the piece.  Well, I decided that I was tired of all that ground and feet, I wanted something identifiable on my sampler.  So I parked the thread that was in progress in the ground, and turned to the upper left corner.  I've been stitching since Monday, like I said, and I'm almost down with the first page of the pattern (only bits of the border left to stitch in).  I am so happy to have palm trees and most of a person now living on my sampler.

Here's where I was at the last update:
Here's what I've finished this week:
I plan to stick to this piece for the rest of this week and all of next week before (probably) returning to Sous le Soleil.  I'm also working on getting together the pictures I want to use for my shower, wedding, and honeymoon albums.

That's it for now, I suppose.  We've finally gotten some rain here in the past day, and it's just started up again as I sit here typing this post.  I'm glad, because it makes things cooler and we needed the water.  Hope everyone is having a cool, crafty week!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

July WIPocalypse

I can't believe it's time for another WIPocalypse update!   I didn't think I was going to post again this week til I saw someone else's update earlier this morning.  I haven't done a ton of stitching on my WIPocalypse pieces, but I did make what I consider a ton of progress on my WIPocalypse goals for this year.  First off, let me show you the progress I made on Sous le Soleil.  I put a good week in on this piece before putting it down due to traveling and a desire to work on some patriotic pieces.  Last month, I was here:
And I am now here:
As you can see, most of the progress was made on the upper portion of the sampler.  At this point, I am working one color at a time, and doing all of the remaining stitches in that color before moving on to another shade.  I have one shade of purple left to add to the border and, of course, quite a bit left to do in the rest of the sampler.

The main WIPocalypse-related accomplishment of mine has been getting old, long ago finished pieces framed and ready to display.  Along those lines, I have managed to get six older pieces pinned and framed this month.  Two more are well on their way to being finished up as well.  I hope to get several more framed by the end of the year, but for budgetary reasons, those pieces will have to wait a month or two longer before I place more framing orders.  To see the pieces that I have framed, go to this post and this post and this one too.  I would put them all in this post for convenience, but there are a lot of them and it just seems too redundant to put them all up again.  Besides, most of you have already seen them.

My most recent stitching time has been devoted to Penny America.  I really wanted to have this one done by the weekend, but I strongly suspect that isn't going to happen.  Something about this extreme heat just is NOT conducive to lots of stitchy time.  At any rate, here's what I've got so far:
That's it for today.  Once again, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and is able to stay cool and safe in this crazy heat.

Monday, July 2, 2012

My Egypt album is finished!!!

Hooray!  It's only taken me a year and a half to do it, but I'm finally done.  I've loved every minute of reliving that wonderful trip, but really, this was a ridiculously slow album.  I guess planning a whirlwind wedding is not conducive to daily scrapbooking, huh?  Anyway, this is going to be a picture heavy post, because I think I'm going to share every single one of these last layouts in this one post.
We visited two mosques during our last two days in Cairo.  The first one was in the old citadel, and is known as the Alabaster Mosque due to the large amount of alabaster used in its decoration.  It was a beautiful piece of architecture.  I have no idea what the religious significance of most of the elements of the building are, but I  was at least able to admire the beauty of the building itself.  The second mosque we saw was the Sultan Ali Hassan Mosque.
Such beautiful, colorful, geometric designs!  We had to remove our shoes to enter each mosque, but weren't required to cover our heads or western clothing, despite the fact that our tour guide warned me that I might be asked to cover up my arms (I think he meant my cleavage but wasn't comfortable saying it).  I did see a few other women who had been put into these long green robes, but no one from our group had to.  We squeezed our visits to these mosques into the afternoon of the day we flew from Luxor to Cairo.  There really wasn't any time alotted for lunch, so our guide jumped off the bus on the way back to the hotel and came back with falafels for each of us.  I don't know if it was because I hadn't eaten in so long, but that falafel was delicious!  I've tried several falafels here in the US since we came back, but nothing has matched the yumminess of that meal.

The next day, our last full day in Egypt, began with a visit to the Cairo Museum.  I think a month would not be long enough to explore the treasures of this amazing museum, and the few hours we had certainly weren't enough.  No cameras were allowed inside the museum, and there were way too many people for me to get a decent photo of the front.  So I made a layout using a backside view taken from our hotel room.  I also used my ticket as an embellishment on this page:
Just driving around the city provided so many interesting things to look at.  (this layout is a QuickQuotes layout that I got at last August's convention... I just waited til now to share it so it wasn't way out of order)
This layout was designed to fit a lot of photos in it.  The following pics are of all those photos.  It shouldn't be hard to see what I mean about there being so much to watch from the bus windows.

 That last, sideways photo shows the entrance to then-President Mubarek's palace.  And in the photo below, those lips you see were on the front of the key card to our hotel room.  Odd, but totally memory-worthy.
From the Cairo Museum, we went to the Hanging Church, which is certainly the oldest church that I have ever visited.  It's the home of the Coptic Church's Pope, and it was beautiful.  It's called the hanging church because it's built over an ancient watergate.

 Our hotel room had a great view.  In addition to being able to see the Cairo Museum, and the site of future demonstrations, we had a wonderful view of the Nile.  In the late evening, the river was filled with the red sails of feluccas, and later, there were dinner boats alight with hundreds of multi-colored lights.
 As you can see, there is some hidden journaling on this layout.  I decided to include a little bit about the revolution and how my experiences in Egypt affected my interest in the whole proceeding.
I also devoted one layout to the wonderful dining experiences of our trip, including the last night when we chose to eat at a local McDonald's to get a break from the spices that are so different from what I eat back here at home.  There are two hidden photos in this layout.  One is of a glass bottled Coke sitting in the window of our boat cabin (I have a special fondness for glass bottled Cokes, and I was thrilled to have one every day at tea time on board our cruise boat).

Well, that's it for the Egyptian album.  What's next?  Wedding albums, pre-wedding albums, and the honeymoon album, of course!  I just hope that I'll be able to get these albums finished a little more quickly than the last one.  Only time will tell, I suppose.  Til next time, I hope everyone in the US has a wonderful 4th.  I'm looking forward to spending some time relaxing with my hubby, who has spent a lot of time on the road here lately.  Happy crafting everybody!