Thursday, December 13, 2012

Miss Cleo, et al

Somewhere on the road, slipping and sliding through the snow, Miss Cleo really developed an attitude. Her eyes flashed whenever eye contact was made - she was definitely not a happy camper. "It is well below freezing and you leave me in the car?!!!" Well once we slid into Edmonton, and my parents place she came out once again. She wouldn't speak to me, she wouldn't make eye contact but she followed me around. I picked her up and again started to stitch. I only had 5 partitions and her ears left to stitch. These quickly came together and I finished her. Then I sat her up in the midst of the excitement of the visit in a place of honor. She was oohed and ached over - she was slowly won over. But everyone who saw her agreed, she definitely has an attitude.  Then I placed her back in the car on the back seat, facing the seat and supported by the very bag she should have been traveling in. 

As I traveled the passenger side of the car I stitched on the Patchwork Santa. Somewhere between Butte, Montana and Las Vegas, Nevada he was finished. he is wonderful!  Ready to be made into a pillow when I get home and inspire a lap quilt to lay beside him.

Throughout the travels, the conversation often turned to the very needlework that I was doing. I tried to convince my DH that he needs to learn how to do one of them at least. He emphatically replied each and every time - No thanks. not interested! He thought that if he would do anything it would be knitting: this after we made a stop at a yarn shop for me to pick up some sock yarn.

Christmas came early this year - I received a new smartphone and as soon as I:
a. learn how to work it
b. learn how to download photos
I will upload photos of the above projects. I had my camera stolen in Mexico and I believe I am receiving a replacement for Christmas. But for now, it is the big DSLR or my NEW smartphone.

On to something else ... does anyone out there have Christmas crackers as part of their Christmas traditions? As a family when I was growing up we always had a cracker on our plates for Christmas dinner. You "cracked" them before the meal started, after grace, and then had your little "prize" which would sit above your plate and a paper hat which would be worn during dinner. Corney? Well maybe, but what fun we had with it. In one of the Needlepoint Now magazines I had seen an advertisement for a series of Christmas (and Halloween) crackers by Melissa Shirley. Talked with mom, who is always looking for new projects that can be used for Christmas gifts (for their heirloom quality), about them. She is going to make a set for each of us kids (we are 6) and I am going to giver her the series for her Christmas present, with all the supplies that she needs to do them.    (I chose the gold ones to coordinate with my dishes)
(she chose the traditional ones)

But I will have to make sure that she has copies of all the how tops for the stitches used in each one which means I will get them first, tai the patterns and then copy all the pertinent stitches out of my favorite needlework stitch book "The Needlepoint Book" by Jo Ippolito Christensen
Oh my, I see that it now has an updated version and it is on Kindle as well. Oh boy! Shopping! Aaah another project to do before next Christmas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

On the road some more...

I tried to put Miss Cleo into my "travel bag" made especially for the carrying of projects. She wouldn't fit! So now she sits, lonely and upright, against the back seat of the car as we make our way north towards Canada. She will get worked on a little as we travel but I am afraid that she might be superseded by Patchwork Santa as I would love to finally get him finished. (This while traveling in the car) She will be worked on when we are within the confines of my parents place in Edmonton, Alberta.

As we travel through Missouri and Iowa/Illinois, I will look for a FEDEX office to get the Christmas present work sent to the finishers. Luckily it won't take all that long to finish it. More than enough time before Christmas for that. Once given as a gift, I will post a photo chronology of it.

We had a great time in Mexico and a subsequent Thanksgiving with my DS and DIL in Tulsa, OK. We are headed to Edmonton, AB by way of a direct rout north from Tulsa, into Ontario/Manitoba then taking a left and veering NW to Edmonton. Hopefully we don't hit too much in the way of winter storms but if we do, we are ready.

Happy holidays ...

Friday, November 16, 2012

I can't believe I ...

The colors, the sounds, the smells all assault me as we tour around one area in Central Mexico - the Silver Cities or Colonial cities if you will. Here we experienced El Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead.

Today I stepped into a fabric shop for the first time on this trip. The two things that I find most intriguing? 
1. no cotton fabrics
2. wonderful cashmere and woolens from Britain.
Too bad, my suitcase is way too small to haul woolens home so I sadly walked out empty handed.

But then when I got online to check my emails, there was one about a 12 week class for needlework Santas and it doesn't start until January. Way to go Shirley, I joined and paid as soon as the invoice came in. Now to discover a Santa canvas that I want to do - hmmmm maybe the Santa ornaments that I have on the go would work. I have almost completed the Canadian Santas (hmmmm I probably need to update that as well) and I have the American Santas and Mrs. Santa to go. Yes, I think that will work! Will update as I go along.

As for Miss Cleo - well I will be taking her with me on a very long car trip once we return to the US. We are heading to Canada to visit with my parents, a drive of about 4 days one way. My father continues to have good days and bad days but he consistently asks when are we coming to visit. So we go.

Quilting? well naturally that will fall by the wayside. I will deliver the ones that I finished for my mother however. Whoopie! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

traveling ...

We are traveling once again - this time to the Silver Cities area of Mexico. We will also be heading to Morelia to explore a possible winter home. What this means is ... NO stitching, NO sewing, but lots of idea planning.

See you when we get back. In the meantime, greetings from
and the festival "Día de los Muertos"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A busy 3 days ...

Since last blogging My husband and I have cycled the Katy Trail in Missouri, all 228miles of it. We had a great time; riding was great, weather was fantastic, photo ops superb, mets lots of neat people, and then raced the foul weather. Weather 1, Shirley & Danny 0  You can read all about it and see the photos at
The colors were changing and by the time we were finished what we saw was

Today I finished up a marathon 3 days of sewing. I finished the 2 quilts for my mother and an UFO that I discovered in the closet above the bed.
Mom had asked me to quilt 2 quilts for her. I was given 2 sets of 12 cross stitched blocks, all different sizes. They are for 2 of her great granddaughters.

I decided to put them into a Friendship pattern because that would allow brightening colors that bring out the block without overwhelming it. Then I wanted them to be completely different. This is what I came up...
 sewing in cramped quarters

The UFO that I discovered in the closet was a Halloween table runner started in Panama. It got packed away unfinished and sat. The end panels needed to be quilted and then the whole thing bound. Here you go ...

Perfect and now ready to once again pack away! This time she goes into the Halloween box, not the UFO box. Love working with those jelly roll and cake cuts.

 When our friend came to visit us in Missouri I was able to persuade her to pick up and bring me my finished Enchanted Sleigh pillow. I was a little apprehensive about the color that I had chosen, but turns out it is a perfect shade for the pillow and the bedroom decor.
 sorry about the lack of lighting

As for Miss Cleo, well she is coming along slowly even though she has been on the back burner now for a time. And ... she will remain there for another month as we head off to Mexico. She is too big to take with us as a bus riding project. I will just have to find something else to do. Learn more SPanish maybe?????

Finally, I have finished my friend's Christmas gift. Now to get it to the finishers as well. They will take it up to the first of Dec to get it done before Christmas but I want to get it in right away for easier mailing.

Wow, I guess I really have done a bit of work here, all in between the bicycle riding, the hiking, the touristing, and the traveling. Somehow I think the next month will not be as productive - riding public transportation in Mexico, touristing areas that we haven't been in before.

Tah dah ...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Miss Cleo's personality

A little here and a little there, slowly the stitching continues as we attend various functions at the Escapees RV rally here in Sedalia, Missouri. It is amazing what can be accomplished in so little time.

As I continued with Miss Cleo's face, she continued to look like an alien ... whoa, I hope that is not her end personality.  You know, those huge bulgy eyes with a focal middle black iris area that so often frequented the sic-fi movies. What a shame that would be. The first of the three sections were completed - broken byzantine with 4 threads of Splendor.

I am learning how to use a laying tool but still can't get those darn threads to lay flat and untwisted at times. There must be a trick that I am not catching onto. My new tool:

Then the second of the three stages is completed - turn your canvas 90degrees and do the same broken byzantine. Then the third of three - fill spaces with a scotch block. All done with 4 threads of the same Splendor. Looking less and less like an alien but those eyes are still pretty focal. So next the eye outline and the mouth and nose. Wow, a true cat, not an alien as I thought.

Is that a smirk that I see? Is she making fun of me, when I have worked so hard to give her a personality before I continue on with her body?  Is it a "I told you so!" Aaah I get it, playful and full of mischief. I like that. She will lead me forth on a journey of discovery, enjoyment and relaxation. Ah what a time we will have, Missy Cleo and I ...

Oh yes, I promised no photo of me stitching but as my husband read my entry he got a gleam in his eye. He fumbled around a bit as I stitched and then called me. Ok, so I broke my promise, here it is, pj's and all, courtesy of my DH.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Miss Cleo

A milestone, the first of many, with my newly christened "Miss Cleo", Cleopatra's Cat, in that I finally finished all the outlining. Everything matched up. Wahoo!

I eagerly sought time to begin the actual filling in of the blanks. The instructions called for section A as the beginning block. This was the tip of her tail - very pretty when done too.
... lines of silver Kreinik first (you really can't see this), then satin stitching using a variegated floss, and finally a dark blue with colored highlights Kreinik in the cross stitches between the satin stitches and over the silver.

But oh she was so lacking in personality, in feeling, in, oh I don't know. Somehow she just wasn't there. So I asked myself, "What can I do to make her more alive?" Ah ha, how about giving her some eyes and at least a partial face. So I hunted through the instruction booklet and, wow, she didn't get her eyes and face until almost the end of the project. No way, she is getting them now. So I started in - first one, then the next. Yes they are talking to me. She has something there for sure, and it is starting to come out. Next I started on the face. Oh oh, this makes her look a little like something out of an alien-type movie. (using Splendor and a "broken Byzantine stitch" in 3 stages)

Still the eyes egg me on, as if to say "keep looking Shirley, there is more here than what is surfacing." So I will do just that! Keep tuned for her personality to show and a synopsis of the stitching.

I am learning how to use a laying tool with this project. IT is quite difficult to hold the canvas in the stretcher bars and still have a free hand for the laying tool while stitching with the other. I have the perfect solution - I sit in the Laz-y-boy and hold the bars with my knees. It is actually quite comfortable. There will NOT be a photo of that, I can assure you. LOL

Saturday, September 8, 2012

An uninterrupted afternoon

My DH went on a hike this afternoon, leaving me to an afternoon of uninterrupted sewing machine usage. I had planned on sandwiching his nap pie quilt but with all the suggestions to use a spray adhesive to prevent movement and stretching of the fleece, I now have to wait until I can get into a store that would have that. At the moment my options are Wally World and WalMart - nada.

So I dug out a project started in Colombia of which I only had the first month done Craftsy BOM class. Each month has two new quilt squares and the way to piece them, both traditionally and in a new manner. I had completed exactly January's 2.

The squares completed today account for 1/12th of all the squares - 2 for February. Scanning through the various ones left to do I can see that they get harder and harder as time goes on, all interesting.

I made some decisions about the end product. I am going to use the squares to learn how to FMQ - in fact, I might even have to follow a blog or two to do it. We shall see. Also there are the Craftsy classes that I could take and FMQ along with everyone else.

Cleo's Cat is coming along slowly. DH's nappie is still sitting forlornly on the chesterfield as I haul out another bag to put to put it in until I get the spray. Tomorrow Tulsa so hopefully there will be  store or two there to be able to go to.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Wild Wacky Wonderful Woman

Danny hikes. Danny cycles. I cycle but not nearly as far nor as long. Simply too hot for me. So I have spent the last couple of days working on projects interspersed with housework, cooking, and ....

I completed my Wild Wacky Wonderful Woman wall hanger this afternoon. I had to add an outside border fabric as the wild stuff I had was too overpowering. Found this ecru faintly mottled fabric in another project that needs to be finished. It even has faint purple mottling in it that is more prominent because of the binding.What a thrill to hang her up. No wall space to put it in but I found that a couple of quilting pins through the stitch in the ditch and I could attach it to the valance over the window. Looks awesome and vitalizes me when I look at her.

I don't often keep my work, in fact, they are usually started as a gift in mind. My WWWWoman was just that. Started in 2002 as a Christmas gift, never finished, gift not needed, I love her, she is mine!

Now on to the original UFO Challenge project - Stairway to Dreams. It still sits on the chesterfield looking forlorn and dejected. Never mind, you will come out of the bag tonight and be aired for a tomorrow start.

I have also finished up my special project that can't be shown yet as it is a gift for a dear friend. It goes to the finishers next week. Received notice that my Enchanted Sleigh is finished as well. Now to get it mailed to me so that I can finally see it. The shop people are raving about it and how it looks. I can hardly wait. Will have it sent to the park where we are going to the Rally so will have it by the beginning of Monday week.

As for Cleo's Cat, nothing new to report.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cleo's Cat Update

Mr. Rippitt has come to visit on more than one occasion as I get started on Cleo's Cat. I finally had to enlarge the pattern so that I could see where I was making my mistakes. All in all, I used up one whole skein of the dark navy with the mistake but am now going great guns as I sit in the evenings. It is a lot of fun and will be fabulous when finished - I just know it. It is bigger than I had in my mind but all the better. When finished it will sit in the front of the RV by the TV.
I am thinking that I will have to make a Mr. Rippit to come and sit by my chair so that I don't have to invite him any more. I have a quilting pattern that could be adapted to needlework, but only after Cleo is finished.

A replacement skein is on order.


Sometime ago I joined a Yahoo! group called Stashbusters. I wanted to join their UFO group but discovered that I couldn't amount for my stash - most of it is in storage in Nacogdoches and all I have with me are the UFOs that I had decided to finish while on the road. I can add up the yardage with those but it certainly won't be indicative of the reality of my stash. So I change focus -

I signed up to finish a UFO on bother group instead. I have decided that I will finish Danny's nappie quilt for him. He has mentioned it a couple of times. So I pull it out and the aargh, black fleece that he chose for the backing. At least I won't have to use any batting in it.  This is how it looked when I pulled it out of the stash cupboard.
 This is how it looks full out.
"Stairway to Dreams"

I signed up, uploaded the required photos, pulled out the equipment from the basement, set up the machine, gathered the supplies and ... found another UFO that I decided to finish first.

These are the front and back panels for a tote to carry my various supplies for quilting classes that I had made let summer while waiting for my Peace Corps assignment to start. I will need the bag the middle of the month at a RV rally that I am almost positive they will have at least one quilting class at. I had received the squares in a stash exchange that I had participated in while in Panama. So I re-measured, planned, cut, sewed, lined, and finished the bag in a marathon sewing day yesterday while my DH was out exploring various hiking trails. The finished product, lined with a deep pocket to hold rulers in:

I tried to be somewhat liberated with this but found that even when I tried I was rigid and regimented. I have to work on that concept harder and more persistently. 

And then I came across another UFO in the closet. This is for a small wall hanger for the kitchen area of the RV and I just had to finish it. (I wonder if all these finishes will count for the UFO Challenge?)
 This is what I started with: a cross stitched worked in floss and Kreinik blending filament to give it a shiny appearance. The wild print was originally planned for the border but I am thinking it will overpower the motif. So I am planning on making only a 1/2" border and then finding an off-white piece for the rest of the border. I will back and bind with the purple. As of tonight, I am ready to bind it, but that will have to wait until tomorrow as a headache is brewing.

As for my original idea, well, it still sits beside the machine on the chesterfield, looking forlorn and dejected as it waits in line. "Next, I promise." I say but it has a hard time believing me. ha ha

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tiny Trinkets

Back in February I talked about a project that I had finished stitching but as I hadn't finished it, I could not claim it as a finished UFO. "Tiny Trinkets" ( was an online project of CyberPointers, an Yahoo group that I belong to. This project finally spoke to me in the form of a wonderful gift for Mother's Day. Truly a garden for a gardener!
 I quilted the inner borders and made it puffy with batting.

I finished it up and sent it on it's way to arrive in Canada while we were on the road. What a hassle - now the shipping company has to have Power of Attorney to take things like that across the frontier into Canada. What a hoot! But it arrived safely, without duty, and now holds the place of honor on the TV in the living room for all to see, enjoy and comment on.

The Saga of Cleopatra's Cat

In 2010 while in Panama, I came across a wonderful needlework project called Cleopatra’s Cat.  Tracking it down, I was informed that it actually was an American Needlewrk Guild’s (ANG’s) class and I would be able to get it through my local chapter ad a group project. Wel, as I was currently in Panama without a local guild I wrote to my online chapter. Yes it would be offered but not this year. Keep watching for it and no, the pattern can not be bought outright nor shared .

So I enjoyed the online chapter, joined in a coupe of other project events and then, word started to pop up now and then about a possible upcoming class. I wrote, I begged, I waited … finally it came up for late 2011. I immediately put my name down for it. Again I waited, I wrote, I waited, I wrote … finally it became apparent that due to internal issues, yes it is offered; yes, you are signed up; you shold get notification in January 2012.

By this time I am in Colombia, again waiting. January came on, no notification but a new Yahoo group is originated. Joined in as soon as I got the notice. Finally a bill comes through which is promptly paid. At this time I moved back to the USA and changed all my addresses so as to continue to receive the magazine and any ordered items. I wait … then low and behold, the class is to start in June and the instruction booklets should be mailed out shortly. I won’t be in the US due to holidays at the start time but it will all be there when I get back in. I have ordered the supplies and have them so just need the instructions.

Off I go to Europe, enjoying my holidays and reading the postings of the various people in the group receiving their packets. Oh boy, I can hardly contain myself with impatience.

Upon our arrival back in the US the last week of June, I coerce and cajole my DH into going immediately to pick up the mail. Bear in mind, that was a 4-hour drive each way. Needless to say he was non too happy about it “why don’t you just have them mail all the mail out?” “But that will take 4-5 days! So he gives in and off we go. Happily we retrieve the 6 weeks of mail and I literally paw through it looking for my instruction packet. IT’S NOT THERE!

When we get back, I write to the coordinator asking to where she sent it, hopefully to Livingston. A couple of days later, an email comes in, No, it was sent to your Miami address. Shocked and whining I return with “but that was closed in February. I don’t get any mail nor have any way of getting mail for that box. And probably it as been reassigned by now to someone else.” Not getting any where either a new booklet nor the authorization for a copy to be made, I pout and my mind goes ballistic.

Finally I look online. A couple of days of trying to access my old account – nada. Next I try and send an email – no account, no email allowed. Then I try for the chat – not available. Now we are talking days have gone by. Aaah let’s try a phone call to Miami. No I have to call Panama and here is the number. So I call Panama’s office and “there is another person now using that box and we have no idea if they received your packet. We don’t look at the names, only the box number.”  “Ok, so if I send you a note for these people, will you send it on to them for me without charging a delivery fee?” Nope, I have to pay the delivery fee but they will do as I request. She readily gives me her name to send the note to. So I write it and mail it off. I ask if they have it, and if they still have it can they please send it back to me in the US by FEDEX. I will pay the fees for this as I can get them from the office person in Panama City. Off goes the letter. I wait and wait and wait – finally a “yes, we have it and will send it back.” The person in Panama City says, “if they will bring it in, I will find out all the fees and costs, email you the amount, you can pay by credit card and then I will send it out per your requested mode.” Ok, a done deal! Again I wait and I wait, and I wait. Ah finally an amount is emailed and I call to pay by credit card.

I can see the end is in sight. But wait, they still have to bring it in to the city. Ok I can go with that!

And today, August 22, I pick up my mail, and YES there it is!   the instruction packet – WOW it is huge.
 my colorway and supplies
 the choices for the Christmas Cat on the opposite side of Cleopatra.
YEAH now I can get started!