Monday, March 29, 2010

The bane of my existence...

or at least, of my WIP's. I wasn't going to ever post about this piece until I had a finished picture to show but here goes.

I could safely say I don't have any UFO's (in cross stitch, anyway. Quilting might be another story.) I was always a one at a time stitcher working on, almost exclusively, large pieces. I picked one pattern to work on and stitched it until I was done. I was fearless. Nothing was too big to tackle.

About 10 years ago I started adding a small piece here and there while a larger piece was under way. Then I just threw caution to the wind and started multiple large pieces. About 6 years ago I purchased Holiday Express, a Stardust pattern 'specially designed from Artwork by L. Kotila'. That should have been my first clue, but what did I know? I'd never stitched a piece designed specifically from a piece of art. I should have also noticed that the picture on the front of the pattern (which is VERY tiny, by the way) is of the piece of art, not a finished cross stitch. But, heck, I've been stitching forever. I can do this.

So, about 4 years ago I pulled out the specially purchased piece of recommended fabric [from hell] and started stitching. I can't even begin to describe the challenges this piece has offered. No matter, I won't be defeated by a piece of fabric, a picture, and some threads. I've just put it to rest and gotten it back out when it's in a better mood. Fast forward to today, when the piece looks like this.....

Not so bad, I know. It's just Taken me 4 TIMES LONGER THEN IT SHOULD HAVE TO FINISH IT! Hence my frustration.

Enter Jinger, a fellow blogger over at (for whatever reason I can't get a hyperlink to work) who has been working on the same piece for almost twice as long as me. An angel in disquise! We are going to cheer each other on thru the final stretches of Holiday Express.

So, cross my fingers, this time I really will set a finish date and make it happen. By August, when my LNS has it's biannual frame sale, I'd like to have the piece finished and ready to take to be framed.

And now, I've said it out loud so there is no backing down.

Wish me luck.

The Queen Bee

Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's cooking

en la casa de la Queen? I have a cold and don't feel like doing anything so I'm going to talk cooking. Plus the new piece I started stitching yesterday is all white on white. Hardly an interesting photograph.

I am fortunate enough to live outside the city that is the birth place of the best grocery store in the world. Wegman's. While they've moved into other areas and states, they're still at their best in this part of New York. Here is the newest item I found while shopping recently.

I'm never going to be a great cook nor do I have the desire to be one. I do like to try to find new ways to cook the same ol' same ol'. But, often, when browsing a new recipe magazine or cookbook I don't try a new recipe because I have to buy too many expensive spices. If the recipe gets a thumbs down from the kids I don't make it again, yet the spices linger in the cupboard. So, when I saw these cute little items I had to add them to my cart. Even better then the premeasured spices is.... the complete recipe is on the back so if it's a good one I can invest in the spices and make it again. Cool, huh?

So far, the Garlic Lime Chicken Fajitas got a thumbs sideways*, the Spanish Chicken Skillet hasn't been tried, but Apple & Sage Pork Chops got thumbs up! I have since bought the 2 spices that were missing from my cupboard so I can make it again.

Anyhow, that's about all I've got. Now I'm going to the couch to waste my afternoon watching on old PBS series on Henry VIII's wives.

The Queen Bee

*Thumbs sideways is an expession the kids use to sort of poke fun at how they were taught in elementary school to say they didn't like something. You know..... no negativity or anything.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A progress report

on The Library by Little House Needleworks. It's hard to escape the shadows today because I waited until late afternoon to snap a picture. Also, no ironing went on so we'll just overlook those wrinkles. I really don't like to iron something too many times.... especially something that will be handled as much as this piece will be. I do all my stitching without a frame so I can really work in the wrinkles.

All is quiet in my neck of the woods. I'm heading out for Chinese take-out then to a school concert. (The Chinese is a treat since we only get it when my husband is away.) Not to imply that the concert isn't a treat... it's just.... you know... a school concert.

Until next time....

The Queen Bee

Monday, March 22, 2010

Ahhh, rainy days & Mondays.....

are my favorite. The kids are back in school, the Scholar has returned to campus after a whirlwind weekend, and my husband is away for the week (which means simple early suppers leaving a nice long evening for stitching). A rainy day in March is just about perfect, because, IT'S NOT SNOW. Oh, and I don't work on Mondays. What more could anyone ask for?

Here is a picture of Prairie Schooler's Daffodils that I finished last night. Can't say I'm happy with the Crescent Colors conversion. There wasn't enough contrast in the letters so I used all different thread for that. Also, the trumpets on the daffodils didn't always have enough contrast from the rest of the flower. Lucky for me, I'm not a perfectionist or I'd be picking those stitches out today. The overall pattern is quite pleasing, so I'm done complaining.

On Mondays I work on LHN's The Library along with my stitching pal Rebecca. I plan to take a picture after today's progress so you can see how that's coming along.

I'm off to see which project I'll spend a little time with next.

The Queen Bee

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here are 3

of the little wall hangings I made this past weekend. They are all Patch-ability kits. They make up pretty quickly and can either hang on the wall or lay on a table. I have quite a few of these..... both finished and in my 'next' pile. They're hard to resist when I see them all stitched up at the quilt store.

I need to make my other projects more presentable before I can take a picture. Everything has been folded up and packed away since the weekend. I have to figure out how to quilt the table runners and I still need to put the finishing details on another wall hanging.

So, back to work.

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

This is where

I've been for the past few days. A quilt retreat hosted by my local quilt shop. For 3 solid days we sat at our sewing machines stitching up whatever we wanted. I worked on some table runners and a few wall hangings. I haven't taken pictures of anything. In fact, nothing is unpacked 2 days after getting home. Too many other things to work my actual job and laundry. That stuff grows in piles every time I turn my back for more then a day.

Anyway, it's fun to get away but now it's back to reality.

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Mysterious

wallhanging takes shape. A mystery quilt can be fun, but not knowing what the end will look like, makes it tough. If I'd known, I would have made the stars red and green so that they really popped out. But, when starting a project like this, we don't know what is what. So, anyway, there it is.

I have an extra busy night at work so I'm off.

The Queen Bee


by Prairie Schooler is coming along. There is a lot of work in the bottom portion so it will be a couple weeks before it's finished. I'm not happy with a two of the color conversions. The first is with the left side of the house. It's supposed to be a shade darker to add dimension to the house but it is actually lighter. The second is that there isn't enough contrasts in the grass to make the alphabet letters stand out. I won't change the house color but I will probably pull out the 2 letters I stitched and stitch them in something lighter. Even so, this is a nice spriny design which is fun to work on this time of year.

My mystery quilt 'mystery' has been solved. This month's installment included 2 steps. The written instructions and the drawings were switched. So I was reading the words for one step and looking at a picture for the other. I will snap a photo this afternoon.

Until then, I'm off.

The Queen Bee

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Two Cute Finishes

First.... Happy Camper by Raise the Roof Designs.

Second, Little House Needleworks: Necessities Sampler.

Deb at Artistic Needle did the finishing. She does such a great job. Sending her my unfinished pieces and seeing what she does with them is almost addicting.

We're being teased by spring like weather today and enjoying sunshine and above freezing temps. The snow should be mostly melted by the end of the weekend. It's too soon to think we've seen the last of the white stuff, though.

I'm off to try and figure out what went wrong with a mystery quilt I've been working on for my quilt guild. Something doesn't work somewhere and I can't figure out where.

The Queen Bee.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The right jewelry

for the job.

On Saturday my order from Keepsake Quilting arrive with this very cute Kitty Scissors Sitter pin . I'm sure everyone knows how hard it is to keep track of your cute little scissors while stitching the evening away. I can hang my cheaters as well as rest my scissors and needle on the magnetic kitties. Voila... no more lost necessities. Perfect.

I have just finished reading Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. This book was, seriously, hard work to read. Each chapter was a short story about either Olive Kitteridge or someone else in the same town. Aside from disliking Olive for the bitter ogre that she was, I had a heck of a time figuring out when and how the chapters tied into each other. They spanned 30 or 40 years with no clear indication when each story took place. Olive cropped up in each story in one way or another sort of linking them. Sometimes I could figure the timing out by something that was mentioned, and sometimes not. I also couldn't always figure out what the point of some of the stories was. I was constantly trying to remember if a previous story had mentioned these same people or not. I really should have remembered my dislike for short stories and skipped this book. Is there anyone who did like it? I'd love to hear what it was about the book or Olive that you found enjoyable.

I think I'll find something lighter and easier to read today. The sun has dared to peak out so I don't want to hide away in my basement sewing room since the sun has been absent for so long.

So, I'm off to finish the day's cleaning and pick up something new to read.

The Queen Bee