Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The napkins have been

altered to create a matched set. 
I was recently in a quilt shop that had a sample on the counter.  Theirs was made with just a half circle.  Aha!  I came home and cut one in half, restitched it, and like magic, I now have a matched set.  I will wrap it and have a homemade gift costing the appropriate amount for my quilt guild Christmas party. 

I am trying to finish one last fall project before digging into some Christmas projects.  Soon I will take some update photos of Bent Creek's Christmas Mantle and Jenny Bean's Sampler. 

The Queen Bee

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What the heck...

..... I'll join.  The Crazy January Challenge 2011, that is.  You've probably already read about it.  The idea is fairly simple.  On each of the first 15 days of January, start a new cross stitch project.  The challenge part is to complete those 15 projects within 2011. 

Sounds like fun even though I don't normally like having that many things started.  The idea has appeal, though, because I like to finish what I start and because it makes me feel like I have less stash if I've actually started things. 

The down side is that I will have to accept the fact that the rest of my stash isn't going to get stitched any time soon.  Right this minute, every single pattern has a fair chance of getting stitched 'next'.  There is no chance any of them will get started once they don't make the January line up.  It's always possible I'll pick something to start despite having a number of things in the works, but doubtful. 

Then, the question arises as to what to do with my current WIP's.  I will try to finish the 2 current WIP's by the end of 2010, but there are no guarantees.  Especially Bent Creek's Christmas Mantel.  That's a big one. 

I am not planning to post a list of the 15 projects.  I've been following Carol's 30 days of sewing blog posts this month and thinking I'd do the same thing in January.  Since it's just something she created there aren't really any rules.  The 2011 January challenge will give me plenty of post opportunities so I should be able to fill the full month. 

I've pulled a few potential projects.  I'm trying to think about the size, the necessary supplies, and the season of each piece.  Realistically I can only stitch a couple big pieces a year so I need to mix mediums and smalls together.  Then I'd like to pick a few from each season..... Christmas, winter, spring, summer, fall, etc.  I would also prefer to NOT go on a big shopping spree to buy ALL the supplies.  Obviously, I need the fabrics and a few threads to get started.  I have a dozen or more patterns kitted up so they'll be first in line during the selection process.  My birthday is in December and a few online stores will send coupons and ABC Stitch is having a big cyber Monday sale so if I get busy picking soon I might have to do a little shopping.  Just a wee little bit

First, we're off to replace 2 of the kids' broken cell phones, do a little shopping around the mall now that there should be a lull in the shopping frenzy, and see the Scholar off to College Town.  3 more weeks and we'll be moving her home again.  Time sure does fly.

The Queen Bee

Friday, November 26, 2010

That's me, if I dyed my hair.

The Boy Wonder got an acceptance letter to his second choice college today.  (Insert sounds of celebration.)  Big day for him.  We're still holding out for a letter from his first choice school.  They told us they'd let us know 'around Thanksgiving'.  In 'kid speak' that's BEFORE THANKSGIVING.  He's been finding excused to come home each day between school and track practice to check the mail.  We're all crossing our fingers that we'll know soon so he can focus on matters at hand.

Did anyone brave the stores?  It's not for me.  I will shop a little tomorrow with some coupons for Saturday and Sunday only. 

Back to folding laundry.

The Queen Bee

This won't be me today.

No way, no how.  Back when I used to shop for toys and bargains, I remember sitting in the lobby of Walmart on the Friday after Thanksgiving waiting for it to open.... in the day light!  That was before the world went crazy.

So, what I'll be doing today is shopping online.  Not a lot, just a little, but I bet it takes me just as long as if I'd driven to the store, waded thru the mobs, waited in line, and driven home.  If the whole world is at the mall, why can't I get online?? 

On the upside..... now that Thanksgiving is over, I can start decorating for Christmas.  I promise not to change my blog background everyday.  Back before I had a blog I looked forward to getting to use all those great backgrounds.... now I'm just happy one of them finally works right!  I might change it part way into December to mark a special day, but no guarantees.  I tried a dozen and a half other backgrounds before I found one that worked.  Took forever given the rate the Internet is working today. 

Hope everyone had a nice dinner yesterday.  I found a new sweet potato recipe that gets 2 thumbs way up from the 2 of us that like sweet potatoes.  It had cranberries in it.  So delicious. 

Ok, back to shopping. 

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A cute little finish

I finally managed to finish Country Cottage Needleworks 'Pie Menu'.  The boarder took longer then I expected..... isn't that always the way? 

We've been getting ready for Thanksgiving.  The Scholar is home, The Boy Wonder and Buttercup are on break, and food has been shopped for.  Tomorrow I will begin the cooking.  It will just be the 5 of us around the dining room table, but I like that.  It makes for a nice quiet weekend before the really busy holiday activities shift into full swing. 

I don't have much by way of Thanksgiving decorations.  I just let the Halloween stuff carry thru until it's time to decorate for Christmas.  I do put away the more whimsical stuff and leave the more primitive things out.  
I generally save this cute Silver Needle Secret Needle Night piece until after Halloween.  It includes the cutest pumpkin pie button.
After Thursday I'll start decorating for Christmas.  It's such a crazy busy time of year.  Every club, group, organization, etc wants to have a celebration of some sort.  It's hard to keep up some days.  And, of course, there are the 'anti helpers' like this little she devil. 

I had to stop what I was doing 4 times yesterday to clean up her messes.  Anyone who has a cat knows that sound.... that sound that means there will be a mess right in the middle of the living room carpet.  Ugh.  Each time I went to clean up the mess I wondered where the heck she'd found rubber bands to eat.  My kids don't know a home without a cat, so they know you can't leave rubber bands around.  Then..... as I was doing the dishes I happened to catch this sight.....

Oh, not rubber bands.  The stinker. 

Hope all my US readers have a great Thanksgiving.

The Queen Bee

Friday, November 19, 2010

One more down, 1.1 million to go...

or something like that.  But, who's counting?  My latest book was Every Secret Thing by Ann Tatlock.  I really enjoyed this book, up to a point.  The premise:  a group of teens with a secret.  Not your typical teen secret, but something I've not encountered in a book before.  They knew what happened to a favorite teacher that left his job under mysterious circumstances.  When the main character, Beth, returns to the campus of her private prep school as a teacher some 30 years later, she seems to be the only one of her friends that can't let it go.  The story moved along quickly but towards the end took a religious turn.  I hadn't expect that.  It was only later, after reading some other reviews online, that I discovered this book was considered Christian Fiction.  So, taking that into account, maybe I wasn't exactly the target audience.  It explains the total lack of real personality traits..... like swearing, worrying about what your hair looks like, or sexual tension between characters.  I understand that people want to read books like that, so I can get past that.  What I really found perplexing was the lack of effective editing.  One character tells Beth that she has the whole evening free to visit and catch up with her but then rushes off.  They also claim to have kept in touch over the last 15 years but then they don't seem to know the most basic things about each other's lives.   The other glaring error was in the telling of a favorite childhood memory by one character where she use to visit a cottage on 'Lake Conesus'.  Being from the Finger Lakes Region of NY, I know that the name of the lake come before the word 'Lake'.  Probably an inconsequential error, but obvious to anyone familiar with the names of any of the lakes.  What, maybe a hundred thousand readers? 

I never want to discourage someone from reading a book because we all like different things.  Rarely does a book strike 2 people in the same way.  It's just that I have the means and desire to share..... so go forward and read whatever pleases you!  For some, though, there are far too many books in our 'waiting to be read' pile to spend time with anything we're not going to enjoy.  So, hopefully I've spared some people and peaked the interest of others.

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Oh, Happy Day!

This very cute little guy turned 18 today.  Amazing.  His first year was spent in more doctor's offices and hospital beds then most of us see in the first 50 years of our lives.... but look at him now! 

Once you get past the bad photo cropping.... it's a real learning process and I'm learning on the go.... you'll see just how grown up he is.  Wonder how much longer I can call him The Boy Wonder.  I'm so lucky to have him as my son.

Take a minute to look at the previous post and let me know what you think about the napkins.  I've refolded them making them taller and narrower but with another swoop across the middle.  I'm still undecided about giving the mismatched set.

The Queen Bee

Monday, November 15, 2010

Seeking opinions

on an exchange gift.  For my quilt guild Christmas exchange we are to make a small gift costing around $5.  We are supposed to adhere to that price, which can be hard if you're just digging things out of your stash.

Anyhow, at our last meeting someone brought, as a show'n'tell, cloth napkins that can be folded like a Christmas tree.  Very clever and easy to make.  I thought that would make a good gift item.  So, today I dug thru my fabric to see what Christmas fabrics I could come up with.  I had 6 fat quarters from a bundle purchased a few years ago.  Each napkin takes 2 fat quarters.  Since I didn't have more then 1 fat quarter of each fabric, none of my napkins are the same.  So, here's where I need help.....  would giving 2 that aren't the same, but compliment each other be ok?  I was leaning towards the 2 with the green/black combo.  (There's something about that 3rd one that makes me want to go back and refold and repress it, but for this exercise it will be ok.)

They can also be refolded to feature the other fabric.  I tried that with each and thought this was the best way.  If you click the pictures you can get a close up look at the fabrics. 

I have a couple yards of fabric with Jim Shore Santas that would work well, but I'd need to purchase complementing fabrics.  I also think the Jim Shore fabric is more my style and think I'll make napkins for myself. 

Any thoughts you have would be appreciated. 

The Queen Bee

Saturday, November 13, 2010

How many times

do you have to do something before it becomes a habit?  Probably far fewer for a bad habit then a good habit.  Whatever the number, I do not intend for this PICTURE LESS posting to become a habit.  There were simply no photos taken today to help illustrate my post.  Sorry.  I won't let it happen again, any time soon, anyway. 

Today we drove to College Town to sit thru an information session with The Scholar about her stay in Spain.  Interesting.  While I have the normal anxieties about letting a kid go to Europe for 5 months, I've been to the country, twice, so have a level of confidence the other parents lack.  Lucky me.  I wish I could be young again and embarking on a similar journey.  Modern technology is wonderful.  I will learn to SKYPE. 

But, here's what I learned today....... sophomore girls are SO MUCH tidier then freshman girls.  Phew.  I was considering staying in the dorm lobby today.  Last year I saw more then enough dorm messes to last me a few years.  Here it was Saturday morning, hallways were clean, doors had fall decorations, and best of all.... their suite was clean and they had a CROSS STITCH decoration on the wall.  The best surprise came when we returned to the dorm after the meeting..... The Scholar and a suitemate are learning to knit!  Will wonders ever cease?  I even taught them to purl.  I'm speachless.

The Queen Bee

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes.

Alas, no pictures today, however I was entertained by the 50 or so 3rd graders that came to tour my court room and listen to the judge explain what happens in court.  The kids sat, listened and asked questions.  And, questions they asked!  Clearly they've been influenced by TV.  A common thread was about how fast someone would be sent to jail, how long they might be there and if they would have a lawyer.  One little guy put his hand up and said something like this...... say a 7 year old, not me, did something really bad, would he get an attorney?  We answered... then he proceeded to tell us what he did that got him an attorney.  Lucky for us his teacher was very quick and stopped him!  The adults saw it coming and were freezing our expressions just in case.  TMI moment averted.   Hopefully they learned something and they've made their one and only visit to a court room. 

So, I've done my civic duty for the day.  Think I'll go read.

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's fun to be the winner!

After work this morning I took a drive to pick up the quilt I won at the local shop this past weekend.  It's throw size and will be a nice addition to the collection on the couch in our family room.  I'm not sure what the pattern is called.  It's like a rail fence but each square is just one piece of striped fabric giving it the basket weave look.   

Check out the back.  No cheap muslin backing here.  Probably if the sun would shine I could get a picture that reflects the colors better.  Who wants to wait until then? 

I've been stitching on Jenny Bean's Christmas Sampler.  Maybe in a few days I'll have some progress worth showing.

Tomorrow 2 groups of 3rd graders will come tour my court room.  At that age they're thrilled to try on hand cuffs and bang the gavel.  Here's hoping that's their last up close and personal look, though!

The Queen Bee

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday updates

Mondays are a good day for an update.  Blogger can get very slow on the weekends making any posting a challenge.  I'm catching up on housework and laundry this morning.  I've had a terrible head cold for the last week so I've let things slide.  Fall sports are officially over...... happy dance....and holiday planning is under way. 

Meal planning is part of the fun of fall holidays.  Fall makes me want to bake, too.  So, while this piece doesn't look exactly fallish it reminds me of this time of year.  I couldn't resist starting it despite having several other pieces in the works.

'Pie Menu' by Country Cottage Needleworks....

This past weekend was Customer Appreciation weekend at the quilt store closest to my house.  I rarely go, though.  Recently they featured a quilt pattern in an e-newsletter that I wanted so I stopped in.  They were giving out tickets for drawings based on the amount of $$ spent.  I didn't pay attention to what the prizes were, figuring I'd never win.  Well, surprise, surprise.  I got a call this morning that I'd won a quilt!  I have no idea what quilt but winning was exciting.  I'll take a drive at some point this week and pick it up.  It's kind of fun having another surprise to look forward to. 

Back to the laundry.

The Queen Bee

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another book finished

I don't think I've ever read a Joanna Trollope book before.  The idea of this one was intriguing, though.  A man dies, and at the reading of his will, his current family learns that his previous family will inherit the bulk of his estate.  The book is told from both ends.... the old family and the new family.  I think we are supposed to feel for the current family.  Somehow I found that hard to do.  They felt like they'd been wronged by the man's first family, as if the new 'wife' (they never actually got married despite having 3 children) didn't have an affair with him and steal him away.  The man never had contact with that first family again!  Huh... hard to muster much sympathy.  I don't want to spoil the book because it's not a bad story.  In fact, I kind of enjoyed the story and the drama of the family getting themselves back in order. 

I have no idea what I'll pick up next.  I've found it best not to plan because sometimes I shuffle thru the books and pick up something other then what I thought I'd read.  We'll all just have to be surprised together. 

The Queen Bee

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A new start

I started Bent Creek's new Christmas piece:  The Christmas Mantle.  Besides being partial to Christmas stockings, I thought it was neat that the piece had 5 stockings... the right number for my family.  I haven't received the second installment but I've seen it online.  I'm hoping to keep up with this and have it done by Christmas. 

Life will settle down after swimming and cross country sectionals are over this weekend.  While The Boy Wonder is between seasons  he'll be appearing in the school's production of 'The Crucible'.  He's never once shown any interest in being in a school play so this will be fun to see.  

The Scholar got her passport... phew.   Just in the nick of time because the trip organizer has an appointment in NYC Friday to get the visas and she needs the passports in hand.  We still have a few more hoops to jump thru to get this semester abroad set.  Maybe the stress created by all this red tape will make me so relieved to have everything in place that I won't spend the next 5 months worried about her being so far away.  Here's hoping, anyhow. 

Snow has arrived in Western NY.  I took a picture on Halloween afternoon but it didn't come out.  I was on the screened in porch and the camera focused on the screen, instead of the snow.  We had our last snow of the year on Mother's Day in May.  Gotta love the snow to live in these parts.

I'm off,

The Queen Bee

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's good to be two people....

First off... no post is complete without a picture so here is today's.  Has anyone ever seen this needlepoint of Key West?  It hangs in the art museum in Key West.  It's easily 8 X 10 feet.  I'd certainly need to be 2 people to create that! (I really didn't have a picture today so I went back thru and when I spied this one I knew it fit the title.)

So, anyhow, the title..... a number of years ago my parents were assembling a piece of furniture... a bookcase or tv cabinet, I don't remember what.  It was one of those things that comes in a flat box and needs assembling.  The badly translated instructions said:  it's best to be 2 people.... We thought that was funny but somehow it really fits. 

Today for example..... my husband is away.... again... not that I'm counting or anything but that's like 4 times in 6 weeks... and I have to work tonight.  Buttercup's swim team is having a dinner... and again, not that I'm counting but this is the 3rd celebration of the end of the season.... come on now, enough already.... and I'll be at work.  So, The Boy Wonder will step in to be our household representative.  He'll stop by the dinner between cross country practice and play practice.  He'll have to slip away from play practice to run Buttercup home then head back over to school.  We live in an absolutely enormous (mile wise) school district... I once heard it's the largest in the state.... so there just aren't people who can run your kid home because it's possible they have 15 miles in their own direction to go.  So, tonight, it would be good to be 2 people so I could be in 2 places at once.