I heard Phil did not see his shadow, though my little groundhog would beg to differ. One of the local weathermen assured viewers that poor Phil has a pretty low accuracy rate, but I am personally all for an early spring!
Am stitching away and updates will follow very soon!
No rest for the wicked as they say. I actually started this just before I finished PS's "February".
And now that I am officially finished I can concentrate on Birds of a Feather's "Valentine Holiday". I stitched this once before but I gave it away. This time I am stitching it for myself. If I work as industriously as I did this past weekend, I might even be able to finish it by Valentine's Day!
A little perserverance really pays off. I did say the next photo you would see would be a finished sampler, and here it is!
"February" by Prairie Schooler Stitched on 32 count Lambswool DMC floss
I won't say when I started this--it was so long ago, but better a finish late than a UFO in a plastic bin languishing away.
The sampler actually stitched up fairly quickly, but it was all the white snow that had to be filled in that was so tedious and took so long since I was not very motivated to pick it up a often as I should have. Still, I've finished it well in advance of February 2013--and who needs to know when I first put in those initial stitched, right?
I should really pull out another UFO from my bin, but I have already started on a new project and will share my progress here soon!
Just seven more rows left. Well, seven more rows and some backstitching. I'm too embarrassed to say how long I've been working on this. It has been all but finished except for the white filling in at the bottom, which is tedious going so I have been putting it off. However, since I am ready to move on to new projects (and have actually already started one or two....but more about those later), I guess it's time to finish poor "February". The next photo of this you will see, will be a completed sampler!
And, voilá. Did you wonder if I would ever finish this? I did!
It's been so long since I have picked up a needle and thread and so long
since I've even shared any progress at all on any of my projects you
have probably forgotten all about it. So here it is, Blackbird Designs'
"Pink Hill Manor" finished and ready for framing. I made a few minor
changes and only had a few motifs to fill in and finish along with the
words to stitch over one (I am very slow when it comes to
stitching over one linen thread!), which I finally managed to do today.
It's been a cold, grey and very gloomy day so I popped in a movie (have been having an Alfred
Hitchcock marathon of sorts) and have been happily stitching away.
The design was actually charted to read 'Dear Emily' and had more
sets of initials, but that didn't really work for me. I wasn't entirely
sure what the significance was, so I decided to personalize it in my
own way. As February is my birth month and the color scheme is pink (a
February sort of color it seems), "February" it was. The letters are
all stitched over one linen thread and the rest is over two. I'm quite
pleased with how it turned out and just in time for the end of 2012!
Now, do you remember this project? Best not to remind you how long
it has been "in progress". Ahem. I am determined to finish it before
the end of the year. I am ready to switch from Alfred Hitchcock to
Inspector Lynley. I wonder how many seasons it will take before I can
finish the last chunk of stitching.
All I have left is to finish filling in this middle section with
white and a little backstitching to highlight a few motifs. I don't
like working with white floss and both filling in and backstitching is
really tedious, but that's all that stands between me and having another
project all ready for framing.
As soon as I finish this project I am rewarding myself with choosing a
new design to stitch. I do have other unfinished projects, but the
draw of stitching something new is too strong to pass up. I've had a
really abysmal year when it comes to my needlework. I wonder if I
should set myself some sort of goal for next year? Will have to think
about that one. But it's great getting back to stitching again, even if
it has only been for an afternoon (and now into the evening as well).
It's been a while since you've seen this, hasn't it? I'm almost
finished with my "Pink Hill Manor", and I am itching to put in those
last stitches so I can move on to something new.
Mostly it is only small motifs and a few over one words and letters that I have to stitch yet. As always it's a matter of finding a nice chunk of time to sit down with this and get through the last bits yet to stitch. I've been making slow but steady progress nonetheless. I've been stitching for a few minutes each day before work and it seems to add up, as here I am so close to the end!
I'm not sure if I ever shared this design here or not. It's by
Lizzie Kate. I started stitching it a while ago and am almost finished
with this one as well. Just a little backstitching and a few more
motifs to finish. I want to finish this as a pincushion (like this one).
Have I mentioned lately how much I miss stitching? I can't seem to
get the energy to stitch on the weekends these days, and it goes without
saying I never seem to have enough time to accomplish all the things I
want to when I do have free time (but I know I'm not alone with this problem!).
Of course lack of enough free time doesn't stop me thinking about
what I might stitch next (much like looking ahead in my reading). These
samplers are by Prairie Schooler and are from their "Country Seasons"
chart. I think I'd stitch the "Autumn Sampler" if I can pick one soon.
Or maybe something quick like this little sheep from Shepherds Bush
called "Queen Bee". They have a whole series of sheep designs, and I've
been trying to stitch them all.
I'm not sure how I'll finish them all--little pillows maybe to fill a
basket? Anyway, I think I'm ready to add a new sheep to my collection.
But, first things first. I'm not allowing myself a new project until
I finish one first!
for part two? Sorry, I meant to post this ages ago but got busy all of a sudden. Just a few more photos, I promise. It's nice to have
them to bring back fond memories of my time in San Francisco. This is
the Bay side of the city. It was pretty brisk there--around 55-60F
(12.7-15.5C) while I was there, which is about ten degrees cooler than
normal according to the weather forecast. Most days were pretty sunny,
but a couple were foggy and overcast (some days clearing in the
afternoon and some days not). The view is from Fisherman's Wharf
looking out at the Bay Bridge. I could never tire of a view like this!
Outside the city, however, it was sunny and warm--around 80F
(26.6C). We spent a day in Napa Valley visiting four different
wineries. This is the V. Sattui Winery.
It is very beautiful in the valley, but again my photos don't do the
view justice. V. Sattui, by the way, had the most delicious deli!
There were acres and acres of grapes growing all over the valley. It
was interesting learning about how wine is made and the differences
between the varieties. The drive up was beautiful and felt very
European at times!
Muir Woods was really amazing. It was another highlight of my time in California. I have always wanted to see the Redwoods, and while there are even larger and older trees than these, I found Muir to be pretty spectacular.
We didn't have a car, so we went on a small tour with a Sierra guide, Tom Martell.
He only takes six people into the park at a time. We arrived early,
just as the park was opening and well in advance of the crowds. We went
on a hike through part of the park, off the beaten track by the way,
that lasted nearly three hours. It was a great experience. We saw very
few tourists as we were walking through the forest. It was only at the
end when we got back on the main trails that the crowds began to
materialize. It was a really great experience--such peacefulness
And then back to the hustle and bustle of the city. I loved Chinatown, which is such a unique and busy place. We ate dim sum,
which was a new experience for me (and a tasty one, too). Have you had
it before? Waitresses push around these carts of bite-sized portions
of traditional Chinese food. You point to the things you want to try.
I'm not entirely sure what I ate, but one of my favorites was red bean
paste sesame balls.
Of course we had to check out the famous Painted Ladies. They sit right across from a lovely little park. Imagine living in one of those!
We did a little window shopping in the downtown area around Union Square, where they seemed to have every store imaginable (including Ghirardelli--had to bring back chocolates for my coworkers...and maybe save back a square or two of chocolate for myself).
You already saw my bookish finds from City Lights Books. It sits in a really cool area called North Beach, where we spent lots of time walking and eating (great restaurants there).
Our last night was spent at Alcatraz,
where there is yet another stunning view of the San Francisco skyline.
It's an interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't want to be left on
the Island alone at night! The birds that live there (do you see the
little guy sitting on the wall?) are all protected as this is a bird
sanctuary--they greeted us loudly as we disembarked from the ferry.
All in all this was a great vacation. I saw and did lots. Ate lots
of great meals, and visited some very cool places (and I didn't even get
around to telling you about the museums!). I can't wait to go back.
For my next trip, however, I'm thinking of traveling to the east coast
for something a little different. Now it's back to saving.
I do have some updates to share on my needlework projects--photos to follow this week!
I think I mentioned that I was going to San Francisco? I Loved it there! I took loads of
photos, but I promise I am not going to bombard you with holiday shots.
I'll try and choose a few highlights. San Francisco is such a
picturesque place that I could take endless photos and would never tire
of it. I only wish I had taken more pictures of the neighborhood where
we stayed (I guess that means I really must go back, right?). We rented
a studio apartment in the Castro neighborhood (really it was right in
between Castro and Mission Districts). It was a lovely place, so I have
to share what it looked like inside. There was also a kitchen and
small bath as well as a private hallway.
After we dropped off our luggage and settled in a bit we headed for
Ocean Beach--the Pacific side of San Francisco to visit the beautiful
coast. It was sunny but a little on the brisk side. Isn't it
gorgeous? And I know my photo doesn't even do it justice.
It's so pretty let me share another shot of it. We ate at the Cliff House
restaurant, which is perched on the hillside. Look at the misty
hillside in the distance--it was breathtaking. The Cliff House sits
above the former Sutro Baths.
They are just ruins now--you can see just a little edge on the lower
right corner. By the time we finished eating it was a little too cool
to make the trek down to the ruins, but they were interesting to look at
from above. As cool as it was, there were people out surfing (in wet
suits of course). That's dedication. I am pleased to say that we had
no trouble getting around the city using the excellent Muni. As someone who walks a lot and doesn't own a car, San Francisco is a dream city for me!
The Japanese Tea Garden in the Golden Gate Park
was really pretty. Lots of tourists there, but if you could find a
nice quiet corner, quite peaceful as well. It's amazing to think of
such a quiet green space in the heart of such a big and bustling city.
And it's a city with lots and lots of hills. I'm told that the
steepest hills have steps (but I climbed a few hills that didn't have
steps that my calves assured me were pretty vertical!).
I'm not joking about those hills. We climbed up to the Coit Tower, down the hill and up to the other side to get to Lombard Street.
Every step was worth it, though, to get a view like this! There were some really amazing views out over the city. That's the Bay Bridge in the far distance.
Just to give you a little perspective. Remember how I mentioned Coit
Tower? There it is in the distance. We walked from there to here
(just around the corner from Lombard Street--the twisty street) in one
It's a good thing we did all that walking, as we also did a lot of
eating! Do you see those two big, hungry bites out of that pizza. It
had mushrooms and ricotta cheese--yum. Everything we ate in San
Francisco was delicious!
Today I splurged and bought a lovely new Sony 18.2 MP digital camera. It's quite an improvement over my very old HP 5.1 (!) MP camera that I've been using. It's on it's on its last legs and I am surprised it made it even this long. So, what do you think about the image quality of this new camera? Quite snazzy really. I'm pleased with it so far but will need to mess about with the camera settings to see what works best. These older finishes sit on my nightstand as they are some of my favorite little accessories!
I have been stitching away and promise an update soon--as soon as I can take some photos that I am happy with. Also I am going on vacation in just two days time--to San Francisco. I can't wait. It's been a very long time since I went on a proper go somewhere vacation, so I am greatly looking forward to it. I've never been to SF, and needless to say my new camera is going with me (that was really the impetus to buy one finally).
Also I have received several emails about charts that I have stitched--I do plan on answering those emails, so please bear with me. I have been so busy at work that I when I come home at night I am often nearly exhausted and computer time of late has been at a minimun. If I can, I plan on answering those emails before I am off on Tuesday.
By the way, the weather has finally started cooperating. Today it almost felt autumn-like, which pleased me to no end as I much prefer cooler weather to warmer. It puts me very much in a stitching mood. I have been spending about 15-20 minutes before I start working in the morning working on a couple of projects and can't wait to share them with you!