and what a week it’s been

This week saw me with some time spent at the linen, much to my surprise. I’ve begun the third color (Chestnut, in Vikki Clayton’s HDF silks) in this gorgeous design. It took *forever* to fill in the band. And there are three of those in the design … sigh.

mermaid wip

A Haunting Mermaid designed by Kathy Barrick

So why am I surprised to have had any needletime this week? Well, as long-time readers may remember, both Nick and Rowen have their birthdays in the same week. Nick’s was Tuesday and he turned 13. Another teenager in the house!

THIRTEEN

Nick celebrated with fully-loaded, all-you-can-eat, home-made nachos. And let me tell you, that was a lot of nachos! His dad wanted to be in charge of gift buying this year, and as you can see, Nick was pretty pleased with the robotics set that Niek splurged on. (Between you & I, I think Niek also wanted to get his hands on the set, LOL.) Nick will have his party at the end of the month to avoid the Superbowl conflicts with which his birthday is always fraught.

And on Friday, Rowen turned 12! Mother Nature cooperated by dumping a snowstorm on us, with more than a foot of the fluffy white stuff accumulating. School was cancelled, but the UPS guy managed to deliver her gift – a Breyer horse and book. And for some mysterious reason, I failed to capture the moment with a photo. Rowen celebrated her party this weekend by having four of  her best friends stay overnight. She also opted for nachos, with the addition of cheese pizza and strawberry shortcakes. I won’t be posting pictures of the festivities because I don’t want to infringe on the privacy of the other girls. Lots of high-pitched squealing and a very late night are the long & the short of the tale. ;)

While the girls engaged in their supersonic hijinks, the fellas got busy with their robotic kit. After a full day of feverish building and programming, we now have a robotic snake that can slither and strike. Best of all … no mice will be harmed by its upkeep. ;)

robotics engineers

boys & their toys – meet “Raptor”

Wishing one and all a great new week! Thanks for visiting!


life & other stuff

I’ll start off with a picture of my very  limited stitching progress. Still only working with two colors, but they’re lovely, warm colors. :)A Haunting Mermaid WIPIt’s been a busy week without much stitching, but we’ve had a good time. We had a little bit of snowfall that made our small town look like a movie set. Here’s my view from my window on campus:smalltown usaThe view driving home in the late afternoons has been pretty spectacular, too.driving home

And I enjoyed watching the horses while waiting to pick Ro up from her riding lesson yesterday, too. pretty horsesCome to think of it, everything’s been beautiful lately. <3

Rowen and I took a little road trip after her riding lesson yesterday to pick up a new farm family member. I haven’t purchased livestock in a while – grad school and work have really limited my time for the farm – but Eve needed a friend, and I think we finally found the right companion for her. Meet Moonrise (aka Moonie) formerly  known as Snowfake.

moonrise

When the rest of the farm family saw me out with the camera, there was a lot of mugging going on, so here are:

chickens

The hens, meeting their new goat roommate.

winter geese

Hobart and two of the lady Pilgrim geese outside the barn, enjoying the warmer weather today.

ducks on ice

The ducks, complaining good-naturedly that the pond is *still* frozen.

handsome roo

One handsome roo keeping a beady eye on me.

Although Moonie and Eve aren’t quite sure what to make of each other, I’m hopeful that in a couple of days, they’ll be frisking happily with each other.

Rowen and I enjoyed our road trip. We treated ourselves to some excellent New York style pizza on the ride home.

Finellis with Ro

Yum.

Finellis Pinball Wizard

Pinball Wizard.

Today, we enjoyed some family and friend time, with a few good friends joining us for lunch. I had a great time doing stuff with the kids. And tonight, at bedtime, Arden was too adorable. <3CutieArden

Wishing you and yours a wonderful upcoming week!

 


slow going

Instead of two fab finishes, this week there’s only a teensy start to share. Last week, I’d hoped that both Cape Cod Boys and Cape Cod Girls would fit on my gorgeously distressed linen. Alas, trying to cram them both on would’ve meant dangerously little fabric left on the sides for framing … so after a great deal of deliberation, I chose Kathy Barrick’s A Haunting Mermaid. (Who can tell that she’s my favorite designer? LOL.) I had to do some serious stash diving to come up with silks, as I don’t have the required NPS. But who really minds pulling out *alll* their earth-tone silks and having a fun rummage? ;)

Here I am, just getting started: photo 1 (15)You can see why I was so excited about the fabric, can’t you? This was a white mystery linen that I first soaked in chaga tea for the afternoon. After wringing most of the tea out of it, I laid it flat and randomly scattered some ground espresso over it. I put it in a warm oven for a little too long (I forgot about it!) and then dry-ironed it. It’s gorgeous, IMHO.

Here is where I took the last photo of my progress: stitchy

It’s such a warm, lovely piece to work on. I love browns. :)

Looking forward to sitting down with this for an hour or so tonight after the kids are in bed.

I hope this little note finds you well, and for those caught up by winter storm Jonas, I hope you are safe.

 


two finishes? yes, indeed

To be fair, I was pretty far along with Rowen’s “Spot the Horse” but that darned tree felt like it took forever. ;) And then I promptly put “Gnome Sweet Gnome” on the Q-Snaps and finished it up for Arden. Hot off the presses!

RosCrossStich

Spot the Horse by Carriage House Samplings

ardencrossstitch

Gnome Sweet Gnome by Raise The Roof Designs

 

Next up, I have a gorgeous piece of linen that I’ve been distressing. It’s a big piece, and I think I might split it to do both Cape Cod Boys and Cape Cod Girls on it. I’m kind of excited to do them.

We’ve had some snowfall this weekend – just enough to be enjoyable & pretty (as opposed to last winter’s unrelenting storms).

photo 2 (14)

Fallow gardens …

DeepSnow

the first step is a big one

photo 1 (14)

Eve does *not* approve of the snow

During the snow day yesterday, we hung out and relaxed. :) I plan to do more of the same today, as this is my last weekend before I resume the grueling 6-day-a-week work schedule.

photo 1 (12)

Ro seems to know that her brother is photobombing in the background…

I hope you and yours are safely & happily tucked in, wherever in the world you may be. Thanks for visiting!


welcoming 2016

I’ve been luxuriating in a couple of weeks of shortened work schedules, more time with the kids, cooking up a storm, and doing what passes for lazing about in my universe. I hope everyone enjoyed holidays full of love and laughter and that your new year has begun hopeful and healthy. <3 Ours has been marked by togetherness and beauty. And food. ;)

Whiting Collage

oliebollencollage

Niek was a hero and got the kids’ rec room set up down in the basement. That’s been a huge hit. With Ro and Nick having birthdays next month, I imagine their parties will make full use of the extra fun stuff. No TV or electronics, you’ll notice. ;) Just a trampoline, ping pong table, dart board, and lots of board games.

basement3

During my brief hiatus from 6-day workweeks, one thing I desperately wanted to fit in was a day in Belfast with Patti of Stitching in Lobster Land and we were able enjoy that yesterday. I took along Spot The Horse, an oldie from Carriage House Samplings. I’m making this for Rowen. Anyone who starts this design using the DMC should note that there are charting errors and that the DMC does not at all resemble the silk-stitched model. I’d suggest stitching it in daylight … words from one who has done some frogging.

spot

On the way our of town, I stopped at my favorite little art and fabric shop and picked up a few small treasures that made me happy.

photo 1 (11)

We have been busy on the farm reducing our hog population while filling our freezer. The new bacon is fabulous. ;) It’s really an honor to provide healthy food for my family, and I’m very grateful to be able to do this.

bacon

Next year’s bacon is growing and enjoying lots of time with Fish and Thing Two. The other barnyard family are doing well and enjoying the mild winter.

babygirl

lovely hogs

goosewins

The kids are all doing well and keeping everyone super busy. While talking with Patti yesterday, I realized that next year will be Max’s last year of high school and Nick’s last year before high school. Where does the time go? Wherever it disappears to, it’s going there far too fast!  As much as I enjoy watching the kids grow into wonderful & fascinating young adults, I do wonder where those adorable babies & toddlers went. photo 2 (11)

Wishing everyone a wonderful new year, marked by whatever makes your heart sing. <3


goodbye, November, you passed too soon

bigger babies

Wow, I keep thinking the months cannot possibly go faster, but then they do. To keep track of the passage of time, we can watch the baby hogs getting bigger. (Hey, it’s more interesting than flipping calendar pages!)

We enjoyed a lovely family day on Thursday, celebrating and being thankful for the things that mean the most in life – family & friends, home, good food raised by ourselves and our neighbors, and good health (to name a few). I had a few days off work, which has been very restorative, and spent most of the time cooking. Not too many pictures, as the eating seems to go faster than the preparation, but here’s a quick shot of one of last night’s pizzas. ;)

pizza

I have turned my stitching attention – this week, anyway – to ornaments. Tokens & Trifles is apparently going out of business, so I tried to stock up on a few holiday shapes. Most were sold out, but I’m enjoying the ones I did manage to scoop up. The mitten is finished with a wool felt back so I can put little candy canes & treats in it. I’m planning to make a little garland of the ball-ornament shapes to hang in my office. The ball ornament is an excerpt from an old Brightneedle freebie. The mitten has a reindeer from one of Annemiek Koning’s older seasonal smalls series. I used my own colors and, as always, took great liberties with the charted designs.

tokens n trifles ornaments

While I wish the days would please slow down a little bit, I guess this is the nature of life. I am hopeful that in another year, once my own education is complete, I’ll be able to spend more of these slightly-slower days with the kids before they are out & gone.

Hoping this finds you and yours well! Best wishes to you!

Ro and Arden

 

 


hello again!

Silly me, I came down with pneumonia and was out of commission for a bit. Luckily, I’d been keeping up well with everything, so I only fell behind a little bit. Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t really allow for falling behind at all, LOL.

I did finish Bee True by Chartmakers. It’s not stitched crookedly, it just needs to be ironed & set straight. ;)

BeeTrue

Bee True by Chartmakers

The cats enjoyed the final days of lingering twilight before the change of the clocks for Daylight Savings Time.

Flip

Flip

I finished a few smaller pieces that I intend to finish off for Christmas gifts.

BentCreek Lighthouse

Bent Creek “The Lighthouse” from Summer Snapperland

Santa and his ducks

Blue Whale Designs “Santa’s Parade”

The weather has gone from this:

autumn

Autumn splendor

to this:

frost

frost as heavy as snow

seemingly overnight.

And I finally finished the “Crowned Owls” kit.

Crowned Owls

The next prim kit came in and I’m really disappointed. The difference between the cover photo and the materials is so vast that I contacted the company and was told that the linen is correct, but the designer photo-shopped the cover photo to make the colors stand out better. Huh? That doesn’t seem quite above-board to me.

photo (75)

I started stitching it last night and … ugh. The colors look hideous. Even my kids said it was gross looking. So I guess I’ll sub out a linen from my stash. At the price of these kits, this is very disappointing. What are your thoughts about designers digitally enhancing their cover photos, to the point that the colors are not at all true?

I’ve also started a dragon freebie for Max. It’s my intent to make each of the kids a nicely framed cross stitch that reflects their interests for their birthdays.

dragon wing

So that’s about it from me for now. Thanks for stopping by after my lengthy absence. ;)

 


atmospheric conditions

stormyskies

Stormy skies over Machias …. It’s been a busy week! I’ve been pretty grateful to have stitching to fall back on in my spare time. ;)

I’ve been relying on my phone to take pictures, so the quality isn’t great and the colors are kind of screwy. But here they are.

This is Photobooth Snowmen by Bent Creek done with my choice of fibers (which means I was too lazy to pull the required fibers, LOL) that corresponded to the color photo of the design. This will be a holiday gift for a friend who doesn’t read my blog. ;)

Photobooth Snowmen by BC

And this is something I cobbled together out of DMC patterns. I’ll be adding text below the chickens. Too bad that the colors don’t show up well here – it’s a nice, pastoral palette.

Chicken cluck

I’ve been working on Crowned Owls by Kathy Barrick and again, the colors are much better IRL. This is a kit that I purchased as part of a year-long primitive group.

crowned owls WIP

And I started this sweet little design the other day. This is  Bee True by Chartmakers and I actually did pull all the called-for fibers to stay totally true to the design. This will also be a Christmas gift. :)

BeeTrue WIP

When I picked Ro up after horse riding Friday evening, the clouds were purple. Truly purple. I took some pictures and although the startling color doesn’t come through, you can still get the idea.

purple clouds

And that’s it from me. It was kind of fun to have a blog post again so soon, but as next week is jam-packed, I doubt I’ll have much to show again for awhile. Wishing everyone well!


in the holiday spirit

While I have started the gorgeous “Crowned Owls” by Kathy Barrick, most of my stitching time has been spent on small holiday pieces that I’ve been sort of making up as whimsy dictates. They’re small enough to make me feel productive, and creative enough to distract me from feeling like all I do lately is whatever someone else tells me to do. ;)

This is a slight adaptation of “Quiet as a Mouse” by Birds of a Feather. Hopefully the reference to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is obvious. I stitched it over one on some 27 count Danish linen.

QuietAsAMouse

And this is a cute vintage pattern that I got in one of those eBay oh no, what have I done now lots. I removed at least half the actual design to make this sort of ornament-sized. Although I guess it would be a rather large ornament. Oh well, finishing is a headache for another day.

winter

This is a little piece I started last night, using some hens from an old DMC book that I’ve had for ages. I was inspired by a recent post by Stitch Bitch, and this will be in a Subversive Stitcher vein for some friends who live locally.

chicken wip

It’s been busy days. I’ve felt more than a little consumed by the demands of work, internship, and school but hopefully that will soon diminish. The kids are all doing great at all the things they do. Max has a job and we rarely see him. Nick and Rowen are busy with school and extracurriculars and socializing. Arden, though still the baby of the family, is growing up fast and keeping busy as well, although we still have time for snuggles. <3

Take care, all. Thank you for spending some time with me here. Make sure you get out there and hug those people you love!


swoosh …

… the sound of time passing too quickly!

(Note: all the pics are clickable for a larger view.)

In the whopping two months since my last post, a lot has happened and I’m grateful that most of it has been wonderful. I hope your summer (or winter, for friends in the other hemisphere) has passed with as much happy activity as ours has. <3

ArdenSunflowersEndofSummer

Here’s Arden, volunteering to open up our “summer retrospective” post. :) I forgot to water the sunflowers, so they are not quite at their full glory, but they’re pretty magnificent nonetheless. There are also some other late-season goodies up there on the balcony, including some comfrey I just picked up this  morning from a friend. Orca, our black kitty, was a stowaway on the comfry-gathering expedition and escaped in a busy downtown area. Fortunately, she came back pretty quickly and we have decided that we’ll limit our future car trips to no further than the end of the driveway. ;)

RoCommonGroundWaaLaa NickCommonGroundHandspring

Z and Ro

Z and Ro

We went to the Common Ground Fair on Friday. I took Rowen, Nick, and Ro’s buddy Z. The ladies stayed down in that part of the state for some overdue bonding time with a dear friend who moved earlier this summer, but Nicky and I managed to find our van at the end of the day and head safely home.

There was, as always, so much to see and do at the fair that it sort of blurred together. I didn’t take as many photos as usual, but in no particular order:

gone to seed

gone to seed

late harvest

late harvest

sweetening on the vine

sweetening on the vine

my next goat endeavor?

my next goat endeavor?

hand-done stone etching

hand-done stone etching

We took a few end-of-summer trips after the family returned home from the Netherlands. There was a riotously fun trip to Bar Harbor:

someday, I hope all weapons of war are used to dance upon!

someday, I hope all weapons of war are used to dance upon!

to infinity and beyond!

to infinity and beyond!

let's transform weapons into crazy-uncomfortable benches

let’s transform weapons into crazy-uncomfortable benches

life's uncertain - eat ice cream in the lobster chair!

life’s uncertain – eat ice cream in the lobster chair!

We also took our annual trip to the Blue Hill Fair, an old-fashioned agricultural fair. I love doing things with my kids that I did as a kid.

fair boys

fair boys

back in time...

back in time…

And we finally got back to that amazing place in Trenton with the fresh lobsters and smoked pork, LOL.

BarHarborDinnerOut

Hmmm. What else was there? Well, I’ve been to the dentist, but I don’t suppose you want to see my teeth.

We’ve spent a lot of time along the shore.

mermaid sighting

mermaid sighting

SunsetGloryMore

SunsetGlory

One can never grow weary of the beauty of the sea. Fortunately for us, there are also some fun educational opportunities that teach us about the ocean and the marine industries that our region depends on for survival. We went to the Oceanarium this year for the first time, and it won’t be the last. We saw so much!

berried lobster

berried lobster

Did you know that lobsters are “pregnant” for two years? I’ve quit complaining about my measly 40 weeks! This lobster is “pregnant” – she’s covered in eggs, a phenomenon known as a ‘berried lobster’ because the eggs look something like tiny berries.

OceanariumMadScientistsWhen the eggs come loose from the  mama lobster, the tiny lobster babies are fair game for anyone – including mama and siblings – so they go into these mad-scientist looking tanks of moving water in an attempt to curb cannibalism.

OceanariumFeelTankThe touch tank lecture was full of gory stories about how the marine life forms eat each other. The kids loved it – the more gruesome, the better.

OceanariumCrustacean

We made a few new friends there. ;)

OceanariumArdenDrivesTheBoat

And Arden drove a lobster boat. Well, sort of.

Also a local economy, Washington County saw another good blueberry harvest. One of my best friends lives in Florida and I took some pictures of a migrant crew at work along Route One one day when I was traveling for my own work.

BlueberryHarvestMigrantRakers

And I’ve been stitching – when not in school, at my internship, working, farming, or hanging out with the family doing cool things. ;) I finished this fun piece the other day. It’s a slight adaptation of Bittersweet Gatherings by Scattered Seed Samplings. I used my own colorway and I knocked off the floating keys at the end, relocating a tiny squirrel who was under the keys. Sorry about the darkish lighting and lack of ironing.

photo 2 (6)

photo 3 (5)

The stitching has been my nighttime “chore” to make sure I’m not studying or working around the clock. So as soon as I finished those adorable squirrels, I needed to immediately pick something else up but I hadn’t kitted anything. So I created my own fragment from a larger piece in a recent SANQ (and who else is bummed to hear that this magazine will no longer be published?!):

photo 1 (6)

I subscribed to a mystery club and received my first kitted design, which I hope to start today. I’m pretty excited about it:

photo 4 (3)

And now, sadly, it really is time to finish up the homework that’s due tomorrow night. Thanks for spending some time with me here! I hope your days are full of beauty!


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