Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wrapping Up

The year has just flown by, I can hardly believe it!  We have had such an amazing time over here, and despite missing my wonderful friends back home in Texas, I have so enjoyed my first year back in Germany.

I have gotten to see my dad three times this year.   I have stood on the beaches on Normandy where so many of our brave men spilled their blood during WWII.  I have stood in the first French town liberated by our men.  I have eaten a great deal of French cheese, wine and bread. I have gotten to use my long forgotten French.   I got to stay at a wonderful place in Italy where the view took my breath away.  I have eaten more Gelato this summer than I have in all my previous years on this planet.  I have gotten to see the majestic Alps 3 times this year, and stood on the highest peak in Germany.  I have walked more this year than I probably did in the last 10 years put together.  I have tobogganed down a glacier, ridden a horse along the beach, zip lined, and driven really fast on the Autobahn. I have stood at the gates of a German concentration camp in the driving snow mourning for those who walked through these gates, never to leave, and on the other hand, I have seen some of the most beautiful castles in the world.  Best of all, I have been able to share all this with my family.  What a year it has been, and I feel fortunate beyond measure.

On the stitching side of things, I did get one stocking completely done - and I am so proud of it.  Oops - I see I cut the toe part off during editing.

Ok, here is another one.

The inside is lined and the back is quilted.

Thank you Michelle for sharing her finishing tips with me.  

Erika's stocking is not done, due to my misplacing the fabric, and then finding it the day after Christmas.  However, now I am having second thoughts about my color selection, so I am headed back to the store with stocking in hand, to see if I can find something better.

Although I did not finish all the ornies I stitched, I put a collage together of my favorite ones.  Don't know why the collage maker cut some of them off, but you get the idea.

I also received two wonderful stitched pieces from Margit - one for my birthday in November and one for Christmas.

They are both from L'R de Rien and will one day ( with a few others) be made into a wall hanging quilt. The wrinkles I put in, Margit gave them to me perfectly ironed... Thank you Margit, I love them both, and cannot believe you stitched both of these for me.

I also received one of my favorite little samplers from Ava, a dear friend of mine from Texas.  Can't even tell you how much I love this one.

The best birthday present though, came from my darling daughter Olivia.  She stitched me this in one day.

She is a new stitcher, and I am so touched by her hard work.  I am thinking of a creative way to finish it, but I will treasure it, and it makes me happy every time I look at it.

 My dear friend Gloria sent me this for a combined Birthday/Christmas gift.

She even framed it herself, and the frame is perfect!!

Despite being a winter theme, I love it so much, it is staying up all year!

That wraps up the present portion of this post.  

To finish, here are the current states of the two WIPs that are seeing any action at this point.

Well, actually Ann Pennsylvania Peacock is a bit further along than this - the house is now completely done and the dress is done as well.  I am pleased with the way she is looking, and I think once I get the tree done, the majority of the stitching will be complete.  She is deceptive, that one,  there is so much stitching in the bottom half of this sampler - although you can't really see it, the house is solid stitching as well.

ATS hasn't seen the light of day for a few week, but will be worked back into its Sunday slot next week.
Here is where I left off:

I did get some knitting done as well, but that will have to wait for another day, since the pictures were taken with a different camera and are on a different computer, and that computer is constantly occupied by a child.  Once they go back to school, I will get on and grab those pics.

I wish each and every one of you a safe and happy New Year, and may 2011 bring many good adventures and experiences into your lives.  I am looking forward to knocking out a few of my WIPs and starting a few new ones.  Until next year,


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

Dear Friends,

I wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you are surrounded by loved ones, and can take to the time to enjoy each other as we celebrate the season of our Savior's birth.

We are having a very White Christmas and it is breathtaking, both visually and temperature wise.

Now that we are back up and running, I will be back soon with lots of photos of things I have finished and wonderful gifts that found their way to my door step.  Until then, Seasons Blessings from our house to yours.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No Phone, No Internet

Well, I think the threats that the Blogger Police issued were not idle threats.  On Tuesday we lost both our phone and internet.  Long story short - we are switching providers and we got lost in the shuffle one turned it off early and the other does not have us scheduled for our new connection until the 18th of December, but I called to beg for mercy and see if they could do it any earlier... we just got our notice in the mail and now our  new connection date is 21.12... say WHAT???  That is not better - that is worse, like 92 hours worse!!!  Well, lesson learned, no begging for mercy, no phone calls. I accept my punishment from the Blogger Police and will wait it out ( with some private wailing and teeth gnashing).   I will update when my beloved internet is back. Until then, here is wishing everyone a wonderful pre-Christmas season.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I am thankful for all the blessing God has bestowed on me, especially for the gift of salvation through his son Jesus Christ.
I am thankful for my family.
I am thankful for a husband who works hard and allows me to stay home.
I am thankful for my amazing country and the wonderful country I currently live in.
I am thankful for all the travel and the wonderful things I have gotten to see this year.
I am thankful for living closer to my dad, and getting to spend more time with him.
I am thankful for my stitchy and non-stitchy friends.
I am thankful for the bounty of food that graces our table every day.
I am thankful for my warm house since it just started snowing outside ( hard!).
I am thankful for my two sweet dogs who keep me company all day.
I am thankful for the internet, so I can keep in touch with my friends, find plenty of stash enhancement opportunities, read lots of blogs... generally it makes the world a much smaller place, where I can reach out and make friends in every corner of the globe.
I am thankful for my hobbies which provide me with endless hours of joy and entertainment.
I am thankful that even though I have not updated my blog in many weeks, the blogger police has only issued me a stern warning and has given me until the end of this weekend to get the job done....

I wish everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving a wonderful and blessed holiday.  I hope that you are surrounded by those you love and that they are doing all the cooking!!  

For those of you participating in the Black Friday insanity, I wish you good luck, be safe and happy hunting.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Little of This and a Little of That

Big news!  Ok, sorta big new... well, alright, its actually not such big news, its more like totally overdue news -  I finally got my rear in gear and took my German driver's license test - I did study pretty diligently for it and passed with a 96.  So, now I own this little slip of paper that allows me to roam the country.  My husband had some serious concerns.  He said in a sad voice:" Now you won't be home anymore."  Oh silly man, where else would I stitch???  But it does open some new possibilities....

Now, on to what I have been working on while I obediently sit at home.
Olivia's ornie for this year is done ( stitched - not finished), and since she gets star and heart ornaments each year, this one from this year's JCS Ornie Issue was perfect.  I stitched this on 40ct Liberty Gathering Grey from R&R  with some Indigo Ocean floss from HDF.

Next up is the start of Alex's SB stocking.  This one is just coming together quick and I predict, optimistically that it won't take me 7 years to stitch, like Erika's stocking.... A big thank you to my PIC, who went out and got me all my missing string  floss, popped it in the  mail, so that I could get going on it.
Don't ask me what that little dark spot on the lower right is... I don't know, and its not there now.

Up next is my progress on ATS - its two Sunday's worth.  I think there are a number of people in blog land working on it  now.  I am enjoying it quite a bit, now that the cloud of doom is behind me.

Finally my progress on Ann Pennsylvania Peacock.  See the railing, the part that looks like there was a brawl, and someone fell through it?  Well turns out that I counted wrong ( again!!) and the whole railing was one stitch too short, I am in the middle of frogging and fixing.  I love Ann, but man, it seems I am stitching and stitching, and it looks like I am virtually in the same place.  I have to say that dress is huge!!  The colors look a bit sad on the picture, but they are very pretty in real life.  My picture taking session was done in record speed today, since the sun just barely peaked out, and it has been wicked foggy all day.  

Last weekend Margit and I went to this small needlework expo in a delightful city about 45 minutes away.  We drove over hills and through valleys - it was like a fairytale.  That cute little building is the city hall, and there were 3 floors of vendors.  

I tried to be good, but somehow things just were calling my name.  I came home with a sampler pattern that rivals Dutch Beauty.  Check it out.

This sampler is huge - 510 x 550 stitches.  It has two Adam & Eves on it.    I saw it, and my jaw dropped at the sheer size.  I consoled myself that, surely, on 40 count it would be a more reasonable size.  Well, turns out it was stitched on 40 count already.... hmm what to do?

Alright, because I am getting asked about this sampler ( and Margaret made that good suggestion), it is called Mustertuch 1783 by Mikusch-Design. They actually have the original in their possession.  If you can't locate it in the States, and really really want it ( I must say it is fabulous, but not for the faint hearted), drop me a line and I will get for you -  the pattern cost 16.50 Euro.    My own copy will start winging its way over to stitcher extraordinaire  Robert tomorrow.  If anyone can whip this puppy out its Robert.  I hope he shows us WIP photos on his blog.

Alright, I am off to try and do some home maintenance on Ann, and bring her railing back up to code.  Hope everyone is enjoying the Fall season.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's a Bird Thing

Well, I have been busy over here - the weather has turned very Fall-like, with overcast skies and rain, rain, rain.  The dogs and I are back to walking in the woods now that the ticks have abated.  We have a real tick problem here and Lyme Disease is an issue.  After coming home twice with the dogs covered in ticks ( I do mean covered - it was GROSS), and me getting bit by ticks as well (GROSS, GROSS!!), I gave up walking in the woods for the summer.

Other than that, I have staid busy here at home.  My dad and stepmom ( who live in Germany) were here for a few day, and it was fun having them.

It was Erika's 18th birthday on Tuesday - I cannot believe my firstborn has hit that mile marker already.  One of our neighbors in Texas ( who's baby girl is now 1 1/2 years old)  reaction of  " Oh, crap" to the news that  Erika was turning 18 sums up my feeling on the matter very succinctly.

I made her some fingerless owl mitts ( she is big into owls) from a pattern from Ravelry.  It's my first attempt at mitts, and things turned out well - although on the first one I knitted the pattern backwards, and had to start over again... sheesh

These were knitt with some Wollmeise yarn from my incredible stash haul when we were down in Bavaria.

I also pulled out ATS on Sunday again - after the cloud I needed a break.  But I enjoyed the stitching I did on it this weekend- although the bluebird gave me fits, but then I realized that the ray of sun that I was using as a reference point was one stitch too short.

So, I am supposed to be stitching on all Christmas all the time right now, but have rebelled and started a new project that I am just loving.  Miss Ann Pennsylvania Peacock by Little by Little.  I just picked my own threads from my vast HDF stash, selected some PTP 40 ct fabric ( don't ask me what it is - label fell off)  and started stitching.  Did I already say that I love her?

These pictures do reveal my technique of stitching one strand of color and going on to another strand of color.  Since I have no self discipline, I  tend to switch color with every strand rather than finishing a motif.  I am thinking she will be less scattered looking on my next update.  

Now I do have a little beef with her - on that vine border, just to drive me insane, one of  the straight parts has 13 stitches in it, whereas all the other straight parts have 15.... of course, I did not discover this until I went back and started putting in the pretty, pretty flowers.   Well, by that time, all that you see on the bottom had already been stitched.  Uhhh, its not being frogged, that is for sure!!  Now, why can't designers point that out in their instructions?  Just a little FYI - it would be so helpful.

Alright, off to do my housework at lightening speed, so I can sit down and stitch some!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Finishes & Stash

So, I got to do some retail therapy while in France.  Here is what I managed to come home with.

The upper left is a book of alphabets but in cartouche style, then the latest issue of Mains & Merveilles with a couple Renato Parolin chart and a cute sampler in it, the newest book from Isa Vautier, a Marquoir book that is very out of print' the latest issue of Broderie, and the new book from Refletes de Soie with 5 reproduced English samplers.

This is the project that I liked in the Isa Vautier book - among some others.

I also finished some ornaments

Now the upper left  ornie, which was designed by Milady's Needle, I mostly finished last year for Adam. I pulled it out to put the last few stitches in and what do I notice...

The brown deer have some haloing going on around them - you can see it more towards the antlers.  This was stitched with the recommended Belle Soie.  I really have to say I am so disappointed with this silk.  For this kind of money ($7.50 per skien), I expect to receive a top notch product, not something where the dye rubs off or starts spreading onto the fabric.    When I say rubs off,  the Peacock Pinkeep by Blackbird Design used Belle Soie, and when I received my package, the red Belle Soie had left pinkish streaks across my fabric, from the friction between the two during shipping.  So, I have to honestly say I am not a fan of Belle Soie.  Love some of the colors, but there are some serious quality issues going on. Ok, enough of that.

The next item I finished was this 2002 Prairie Schooler Santa for Alex

Up next another BoaF angel for Erika.

Finally - not an ornie but one of the scissor companions from Ewe & Eye 

Wishing everyone a very stitchy weekend.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We have a Winner

So, in accordance to the blog giveaway rules I  wrote down everyone's name, cut them up folded them twice and put them into the lucky, red, sure- to- produce-a-winner bowl.

My lovely assistant, the soon- to -be-18 Erika did the honors, even though she had to take a break from talking on Facebook and watching Grey's Anatomy simultaneously...

And the winner is....

Laurie in Iowa!!  

Congrats, off to e-mail you now.

Since chocolate seemed to be the hot item, I will do another giveaway soon, just with chocolat.

Le Jardin

The gardens at Versailles are amazing.  The property is so huge that it takes over one hour of vigorous walking to go from one end to the other in a straight line.  Here are a few pics to you can get the idea.

Does this tree make me look fat???

Now, this looks familiar - See our visit to Bavaria

Check out how big this place is

Hey Mom, remember him - take a picture!

Remember her?

I leave you with a beautiful bust of Marie Antoinette

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vivre La France!!

I know that sentiment is not the most popular over in the States, but I must say that we had an amazing time in France.  The people were very friendly and helpful, the scenery beautiful and the history amazing.

We left home very early in the morning and zipped on through to Paris (which is a massively big city).  About 10 km outside of Paris is Versailles.  Now, remember that we just saw an incomplete copy of Versailles a couple of weeks ago down in Bavaria, but I was totally blown away with  my first sight of the palace.

It's huge!  It has got lots and lots of guilding.  Its gorgeous!!

How many movies have I watched where the Musketeers or the peasants were at these gates...

Check out the fabulous top - the thing below the crown looks like a sun  -  for the Sun King and it has got Fleurs de Lis  on it , topped by that very nice crown...all in sparkley gold!

Way in the front we are greeted by a massive statue of the Sun King  Louis XIV himself.  Liv is in the pic to provide some perspective.  There are ankl -spraining cobblestones that lead up to the main gate.  Behind the gate, the cobblestones become very sooth and even - it would not do for the royals to twist their ankle.

No comment on this one...

The inner courtyard - actually only half of it.  See all the gold on the buildings.  It actually stops right outside the of this photo, as they are redoing it, I am sure by next year the whole thing will be beautiful and golden again.

There is one of these on each side of the palace - they both say the same thing - "All for the Glories of France"

A peek inside Louis' chapel - I think the furniture is gone courtesy of La Revolution... Louis (14) really found religion late in life and this chapel was an add-on to the palace.  

Here is a shot of the ceiling.  The chapel had two floors to it, and the seating/standing order was in accordance to the strict hierarchy of the French court.  


This hallway is filled with statues of all the Who is Who at the time in France.  I hope you can see how long this hallway was, and there were two of these hallways filled with, sometimes very handsome, men.

Here is the king's bed - his first audiences of the day were done in the bedroom. 


No mix and matching here.  The fabric was stunning.

But who cares about the king - what about the queen - Marie Antoinette?  This, unfortunately, is the only picture I was able to find of her, there were supposed to be others, but they must have been off to restoration.  

Her bedroom rocks.

This bedroom is actually a recreation, since the good citizens of France destroyed her bedroom.  The fabric had to be rewoven from pictures.  Its a perfect princess room, really girlie.  The door that you see open was the door she escaped through when the revolutionaries entered the palace.  

Here is a close-up of the curtain - its protect with plexiglass from the likes of me, who would have to reach out and touch it - the curtain has roses, lilacs, pansies, carnations, and many other flowers I could not identify, on it.  

This is the bedroom she has prior to Louis XVI ascending to the throne - not bad if you ask me.

Last but not least, here are two shots of the famous Hall of Mirrors - can't you just imagine it full of French royalty dressed to the hilt, all bathed in candle light?

I will post some pics of the amazing gardens tomorrow and then on to our visit to Normandy - what a visit it was.

Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway on the post below, I will draw a name late tomorrow, which will be mid morning US time.