Thursday, March 3, 2016


Hey, look, I'm posting something! It's too late for a Happy New Year post, and I don't have any new stitching to share, but I wanted to post *something* for anyone who comes across this blog in their internet travels. Last year was kind of insane, and this year hasn't started off any less crazy, but I really do want to try to get back into some stitching in 2016. It's a good stress reliever for me and I know I definitely need to do that more! So stay tuned, there might actually be something new here in the next few months!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Happy New Year!

Well hello there random people who still periodically stumble across this blog! It's been a while since I've posted because I haven't done much stitching to post about. But as I sit down to write about the new year and my goals for 2015, I realized I should also mention the stitching-related ones here. Last year I did really good on my goal to frame/finish a number of projects (which you can see in the post from August), but I fell short on the number of projects I wanted to finishing stitching. I did manage a few, but not the 10 I was aiming for.

Since I still have a huge pile of unfinished projects and projects that need framing (to need to be finished into ornaments or flat folds, etc.) I've set a goal to do 5 of each. Given the limited stitching time I get most weeks, I think those are reasonable goals, especially since I count small projects (like Christmas ornaments). I'd really love to be able to finish at least one medium or large project, but I'm trying to stay realistic. :)

So, happy new year and let's hope I find more time for stitching and blogging about it!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Another ornament finished

I guess for this blog, a month still counts as 'sooner, rather than later' per the previous post. But over the Labor Day weekend, I did finish the beaded ornament I mentioned before.

This is another of Mill Hill's musical instrument Christmas ornaments. (I've done the harp and the mandolin so far.)

Next up for the small projects is a Mill Hill beaded snowflake ornament that has been in my to-do pile for even longer than the musical instruments kits!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Catching up on a few completed projects

Time for an update! (Actually, it was time for an update a few months ago, but today is when I finally got around to writing up the post.)

I went through a finishing binge back in May when I took a mini-vacation from work and here are photos of the pieces I worked on:

This is a mini log cabin quilt that had been waiting for me to put a binding on it for YEARS, which I finally managed to do a couple of months ago.

And I finally framed this cross stitch of Hever Castle that I stitched ages ago. (And to preempt any questions about the chart - I bought this as a kit at the castle gift shop when I visited in 1998 and I no longer have the chart from the kit. I'm not sure if they still sell it, but you might contact them if you really, really want to stitch this design.)

This is one I finished stitching, but haven't framed or made into an ornament yet. The picture is Castle Coch in Wales, stitched from The Cross Stitcher's Guide to Britain - Wales. This castle is one on my list of "places I must actually visit" - i.e. places that I've driven by or walked past but didn't actually go in to for one reason or another. (Other places on this list include the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Lord Leicester Hospital, and the Liberty Bell. One place that used to be on the list that I DID make it back to visit properly was Tintern Abbey.)

And now for something completely different... This is a bookmark I did of the Arecibo Message.

Only one Christmas ornament in this round-up. I finished stitching this back in 2011 and just now got around to making it into an ornament.

And all of the rest of the projects that I finished were fall and Halloween designs (I think all of these came from various Halloween issues of Just Cross Stitch magazine.) I realized long after I took the photos and cropped them down for posting that I should have also taken photos of the backs so you can see the coordinating fabrics I used, but I'm too lazy to do it now. But I'll try to more in the future, especially since I now have a bunch of cute Halloween fabrics to use on the many remaining Halloween designs I still have to finish.

That's it for this round-up! I have another beaded Christmas ornament that I'm getting close to finishing, so maybe there will be another update sooner rather than later. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Last finish of 2013

This is "Autumn Harvest" from the 2011 Just Cross Stitch September/October issue and I put the final stitches in a few hours before midnight on December 31, 2013. I mentioned in the previous post I have a few stitching goals, albeit modest ones, for 2014. I am expecting it to be a very busy year so I don't think I'll have a ton of stitching time, but I do hope to meet my goal since I'm including small projects in the count. I think a bookmark that I started a year or so ago will be the first target for finishing since it is relatively small. Stay tuned for the occasional update!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I'll have a proper update later since I finished stitching on one last project a few hours before midnight last night, but I wanted to put my stitching/crafting goals for 2014 here to keep me honest. I've posted my whole list on my "everything" blog, but the ones for this blog are as follows: My goal is to frame (or finish into ornaments or whatever) six projects that I've already completed the stitching on and to finish the stitching on 10 projects (small ones count!). This won't make a huge dent in my backlog but at least it will be progress!

Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm on a roll!

I finished the little witch hat over the previous weekend, so here it is:

This is from the Just Cross Stitch September/October 2011 issue. It's supposed to have a little string of beads and a specialty button hanging of the end, but I didn't have either, so I'm probably just going to leave it as is.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


When astronauts stay on the International Space Station, they usually have a little down time for personal projects. Probably the most famous use of that personal time was Commander Chris Hadfield's cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity". But Astronaut Karen Nyberg's use of some of her personal time is something I can identify with a bit more - she's sewing in space!

In the video below she describes some of the challenges of sewing in space:

And as she mentioned in the video, she's working with the International Quilt Festival (headquartered, like the NASA Astronauts, in Houston) and is calling on quilters to contribute a quilt block for a project for next year's festival. You can find out more here (PDF)! I'm planning to contribute a block myself... I have lots of astronomical fabrics to choose from too.

Besides quilting and love of space, one other thing that I have in common with Karen Nyberg is that we're Texas Longhorns! I got my Bachelor's in Astronomy in 1994 from (and still work at) the University of Texas at Austin and she got her Master's and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from UT in 1996 and 1998 respectively.

Karen and two other crew members will be coming home from the ISS today. Safe travels!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I have actually been doing some stitching!

This was a Mill Hill kit that I picked up when my LNS closed last year. In hindsight, I shouldn't have backed it with a dark felt since now you can't see the antennae, but I'm happy with it.

I've started on another old Halloween design that has been in my "to do" basket even though we're now past the holiday itself. But it's a small project so maybe I'll have it finished before the urge to work on Christmas stuff takes over. :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dabbling in old projects

I have been going through my storage bins of old quilt projects to try to finish them up and make some space in my too-small-for-all-these-hobbies apartment. I had a few small blocks from a sampler quilt I started ages ago while I was first learning and then stalled on so instead of finishing the original project, I decided to just do things with the pieces I already had. The first thing I did was sew the log cabin blocks that I did by paper piecing into a miniature quilt, which you can see in its almost finished state here. A few weeks ago I did the machine sewing for the binding, but it is still waiting for the hand stitching to finish it up.

Of the remaining pieces, I had five blocks of an Ohio star design that I was trying to figure out what to do with when I thought that ornaments might be a good idea - especially since I have way too much fiber-fill around too. So I tossed the block that had some wonky alignment and made two ornaments out of the other four, a photo of which you see above. The colors are dark red and green, so they are good for Christmas, but I have them hanging on a peg board in my living room right now anyway.

The other thing I did was to finally frame this old lighthouse cross stitch that I finished stitching ages ago (see previous mention here) but has been sitting in my "to be framed" pile ever since. One down... a gazillion more to go. For now it's on one of my bookshelves, but it may end up on the wall eventually.

That's it for this weekend. I might be able to get a little more done over the long weekend coming up for the 4th of July, but as always, we'll see!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

My quilting story

I was looking back through my old posts for some reason and I realized that I have never posted any quilting things here other than a small kit that came on a UK stitching magazine.

There isn't really much of a "story" here, but I figured I should post a little about how I got in to quilting since I've written so much about how I got in to cross stitch and embroidery. I think I've always liked quilts, but I actually got interested in making them in 1994-95 while I was working at Hobby Lobby. I was working in fabrics and needlework, so of course I occasionally got quilters at the counter. They were easy to spot, they would come up with 10 bolts of fabric and only want a quarter or a half a yard from each (finding pre-cut fat quarters at craft stores wasn't as common back then). And we had to stock notions, books, etc. and during that process I saw a book from the "American School of Needlework" collection called Decorator Quilts in a Hurry that had a really cool celestial-themed fabric and design on the cover quilt. So I bought that book to make the quilt on the cover (which, to this dates, I still haven't done).

Right about this time, the first of my friends from college to have kids found out they were pregnant with twin girls (who graduated from high school yesterday - I cannot accept that!) so I figured that making them some baby quilts would be a good way to get into quilting. I picked up another book called Stitch it, Snip it & Flip it that had a neat quick trick for making, among other patterns, star shapes. So, the first two quilts I ended up making were the two for them. I don't have the scans handy, but I'll eventually post some pictures.

I also bought yet another ASN book Quilting for People Who Don't Have Time to Quilt (I ended up with a bunch of those books because of the sales and employee discounts!), which was - and still is - a good description for me! The blue rail fence you see up top, as well as the brown shades one on my Flickr set, come from that book.

Of course I got in to reading and posting on quilting newsgroups, lists, etc. around this time too, since I can't have any hobby or interest after c. 1991 that didn't involve looking it up on the internet (and eventually the WWW). I eventually joined the Austin Area Quilt Guild, although after a few years it got harder and harder for me to make it to the meetings so I eventually decided not to renew my membership. I did get a chance to work at one of their shows while I was a member, which was a blast. I have some photos from that show, but since it was back in the old film days, I'll have to scan them. You can see photos from the 2006 show here though.

I've done a variety of small projects that you can see a few photos of on my quilting Flickr set (link below). I'll eventually go through and write a bit more about some of the project individually. There really isn't a whole lot to them, but as usual, I like this blog to be my personal journal of my projects, so the write-ups might not be all that interesting to other people. :)

You can see all of the pictures of my projects that I've posted so far up on my Quilting Flickr set. And you can see photos from the 2006 AAQG show here.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

OMG, I actually finished some stitching

Yes, I finally finished the project that I showed in the post from last August! Needless to say, I haven't been doing a lot of stitching lately. Some of it is that my spare time was occupied with some of my other (way too many) hobbies, and some was that I moved some lights around and discovered the new arrangements weren't great for stitching (so I moved one of the lamps back to a better position). I might be getting back in to the mood to do some more, although I have that age-old problem of new things I want to start even though I have a bunch of other works in progress! I think I'm going to do a cute monarch butterfly Mill Hill kit I picked up when my LNS closed last year and then tackle some stuff in my "to do" basket.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Gosh, I can't believe my last update here was in August, and it wasn't even a stitching update! The project in my last stitching update post is still on my lapstand waiting to be completed - I only did a few stitches on it over my holiday break from work. (Which is really pathetic given that there isn't a whole lot left to do on it!)

So, it probably should surprise no one that one of my hopes for 2013 is to get more stitching and finishing done. I think I say that every year. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

RIP Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum

I just saw in the Nordic Needle's weekly newsletter that Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum of Told in a Garden (and Lavender & Lace and Butternut Road) has died. I've only stitched one of her designs to date - Celtic Christmas - but I have several others in my stash that I intend to get to one of these days. Thankfully her talent lives on in her daughter, Nora Corbett of Mirabilia Designs and in the many beautiful projects her fans have stitched, and will stitch, from her designs.

Marilyn L. Imblum obituary from the Finger Lake Times.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fifth Blogiversary!

I feel a little ashamed to be celebrating the 5th anniversary of this blog given that I update it so infrequently!

I thought I would have some time over the summer to get more stitching done, but the time just didn't materialize. A combination of a really busy summer at work and the fact that it wasn't atrociously hot this year just made it fly by. This year the summer was pretty mild other than a short stretch in June and we've actually had some rain. And, most importantly, everything's not on FIRE here in central Texas this year.

I really haven't done a lot of stitching since the last update, but here's the little Halloween haunted house that I've been working on sporadically:

I have one or two small Halloween projects in the queue and then maybe, just maybe, I'll tackle some of those larger projects that I've only barely scratched the surface on.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stash enhancement, but at a great cost

And I don't just mean the amount of money I spent (which was a little higher than my usual stash enhancement experience, even with everything on sale). No, the real cost was that my local needlework shop, Ginger's Needlearts and Framing, is closing at the end of July. I get their email newsletter and when last week's arrived I started skimming it as usual and noticed that EVERYTHING was on sale. So, yeah, I had missed the top of the email where she said she had decided to close the shop. The reason was that the landlord had raised the rent again, this time to the point that it was no longer viable for her business. She had already had to shrink the size of the store once because of this, but now it was just too much. It's really a shame since she had the only shop in town I know of that really catered to cross stitchers. We do have some needlepoint and quilting shops, but not much for the other forms of needlework. I can remember at least two stores that have popped up that had cross stitch supplies but neither made it. (Which is a shame since one of them was really close to where I live now.)

I admit that I occasionally shop online for supplies or would buy at big chain stores, but I was still a loyal customer of Ginger's for about 20 years and I'm really sad to see the store close. Best wishes to Ginger and her staff and here's hoping that eventually someone will decide to try to fill her shoes.

No stitching updates this time since I didn't have much free time for needlework last week!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Fall owl

I managed to squeeze in another quick finish before heading back to work tomorrow! This is another one from the 2011 JCS Halloween ornaments issue. I used DMC for the stitching except the border, which is a Weeks Dye Works thread that I had bought for another design that I thought would look cute here (and the colors did match great!). I still have two more designs from that issue in the works, but I have no idea when I'm going to get around to finishing them since I have a feeling this is going to be a fairly busy summer, at least through July. I'm really hoping for a calm August since it's usually so hot outside that it's a good time to sit inside and stitch!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Witchy Kitty

"Witchy Kitty" from the 2011 JCS Halloween Ornaments issue.

I usually take a little time off between semesters which is a chance to catch up on movies, books, and stitching! This design had been on my lapstand for a while now and sitting there taunting me and making me feel guilty for not getting any stitching done this year (although I knew going in that this was going to be a busy year - and I wasn't wrong). So I was glad to finally finish it up. I used DMC floss and I wish I had chosen a slightly darker green for the "potion" so it would show up on the gray fabric a little better, but too late now.

I have a habit of occasionally pulling out all of my WIPs and putting them on my craft table just to see how many projects I've got in various stages of completion (not including things that need to be framed or made into ornaments) and this round was kind of sobering. I have A LOT of WIPs - although not as many as when I first started stitching and put about a dozen stitches into about 20+ projects and then left them in a box under my bed for 10 years (I tossed a lot of those after a point since they were all on Aida cloth and I now prefer linen/evenweave). So I'm making a pact with myself to not start any new projects until I finish at least three of the current unfinished ones. We'll see how long that holds up when this year's JCS Halloween ornaments issue shows up at the end of the summer. ;)

Sunday, February 19, 2012

"By the Full Moon" Finished

Although the parts have been sitting on my craft table for several weeks, I finally got around to doing all the glue today. It has been taking me way too long to do the finishing on these things - I did the stitching back in September 2010!

I have three other things that are *almost* complete - I'm still working on the final trims. Part of the delay has been trying to figure out the best way to go about it. I have the perfect trims for all three but I'm still figuring out the best way to attach them!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop SOPA and PIPA!

I decided not to blackout any of my blogs or sites today mainly out of laziness (and fear that I'd totally screw something up) but I support those who did. I wrote my congressional representatives and I hope those of you in the US will do the same. I also want to take issue with those who claim that people who are against SOPA and PIPA are by default FOR piracy. Of course that is not the case, it's a false dichotomy. I know there has been a big problem of piracy in the needlework industry and I find it shameful, but laws like SOPA and PIPA are NOT the answer.

BTW, Lamar Smith (R-Tx), author of SOPA, was at the American Astronomical Sociey meeting last week and spoke for about 10 minutes before the "Science and Society" talk. Unfortunately he didn't take questions, but I was sorely tempted to yell out while he was trying to tell us how much of a nerd he was "Then why did you write a bill that could break the internet??".

If you want to learn more about the issue here are some great places to start:

Google: End Piracy, Not Liberty

EFF: Strike Against Censorship

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.