If you would like to write me more in private, please send me a line at OneStitchNirvana@gmail.com

Friday, February 25, 2011

....Friday.... sigh!

Have you ever had a looong week at the office that ends in a Friday that made you wanna cry under a blanket when you got home?  That was my Friday today - I was even seriously contemplating calling in sick on Monday....  Time to realize that the weekend has started - it's high time to get myself up to do something fun, right!?  Time to start stitching!

But first, if anyone else out there needs some cheering up - these movies made me happy!  Froggie sent this one out to a gang of us earlier this week - hilarious, cute, and made me recall that swim-season is around the corner...  Oh, and even DH laughed and it takes a lot to make him smile!

Here is another one that DH showed me last evening.  I am sure that it is a fake, but it is pretty hilarious nevertheless.

It was probably extra funny, since I got to enjoy it while actually spending some time with the man I married years ago and whom I don't really get to see anymore..  Stupid 3rd shift!!!  Oh and yes, I totally agree - I am beyond pathetic today.   It's probably a combination of too little sleep, a really depressing work situation, the pouring rain, and to top it off, the Eeoyre time in the month....

I got a package in the mail today, from Stitching Bits and Bobs, containing the new large book from Blackbird Designs and a Mirabilia Annual Christmas Tree 2008 kit. 
Well, to cheer us all up, maybe I should share the BBD book content with you?  Yes, that will most definitely make us smile, right?
 Front Cover
Kildare Model School Sampler
 Seaside Retreat
 Experience Leland's Needlebook
 Tulip House
 Tulip House Stitching Companion
 Pincushion on the inside
 Thistle House Sewing Box & Oh, My Stars! Pinkeep
 Birds and Berries Needlebook
 Birds and BerriesPinbox
Prairie House Sewing Case & Summer Stars Pincushion
Summer Sachet
Not bad at all, huh!?

And finally, if you listened to the pop song La Voix with opera singer Malena Ernman from my latest post, here is a really funny parody on her from Swedish TV, complete with English sub-titles!  You should probably watch the La Voix video first if you haven't yet, since there is one scene in the parody that is especially hilarious and it is building on the music video.  Oh and if you would like to learn Swedish, here is a great chance...  ;-)
Also, note how this parody ties in with the themes of the two previous videos - work-outs and zebra crossings!  LOL!!! (BTW, there is a video of Malena doing push-ups on YouTube.  That video is NOT a parody...)

Thanks for reading and for laughing a bit with me - I feel so much better now!!!  
Have a Wonderful & Fun Friday Evening and talk with you in a bit,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stitching and Opera

Good Morning!  Here is finally a stitching update, as promised! 
I am starting to get pretty comfortably convinced that I will actually finish this sampler!  I still have some invisible stitching left to do - all the grout between the bricks needs to be stitched in, of course using the color that looks pretty much exactly the same as the linen color.  I also have to fill in the outlined sunflower and add one more.  I am still lacking the two men riding on the horses and Anne Maria's text is missing from top.  After that, all I have to do is "fill in the colors".  As may be visible in the photo below, I have finally started on the queen stitches. 
I took the step and begun by filling in three of the baskets - the ones resting against the bottom border - this weekend.  I would estimate that one basket takes about 1 hr to complete, so give me 9 more hours and all the baskets will be in!  ;-)  There is not telling how many more hours the border will take....  I am having a lot of fun with this project still, so I am delighted about that and not really in a hurry!

Other stitching updates!  When I told you that I wasn't "really in a hurry" 2 seconds ago, guess what - I lied!  I am in a hurry!  I have a few things that I really would like to finish quickly, because they are to be gifts for very important occasions and people in my life.
The first one is a birth sampler.  My Little Sister is having her second child any day now.  She is doing great - she has been on sick-leave to avoid an early birth.  She is a high-risk case and we are so happy that she lasted over the magical 36 week mark this time.  As a stitcher you start to think about which birth sampler to stitch, right!?   So, this gets so much trickier when the parents-to-be-again refuses to find out if the child is a boy or a girl.  Last time, I stitched a really large sampler that took a lot of energy to stitch thanks to a very bad chart job and the fact that the design is Assisi work (which is a style I love BTW).  Not only were the symbols minute, but the chart designer opted to eliminate the thicker grid-lines that mark every tenth square... bah!  Well, after a lot of sweating, it turned out all right, if I may say so myself:
My thought was that this may be a sampler that the grown-up child may actually hang on her wall, since I don't see it happening while she still is a child....  No offense to the parents; some people are simply not into stitched pieces or hanging stuff on their walls period.  Well, needless to say, I would like for the new baby's sampler to be of equal "stitch-time value", comparable size, etc.  I'd rather not re-stitch the same design, as can probably be understood.  I have finally made up my mind - it will be a Prairie Schooler from Wedding and Birth Samplers II - look here, the one with the birds (of course):
The photo was borrowed from Be Happy's blog!  Ok, so it may be quite a bit smaller, but I like it, it looks like a fun and quick stitch, it is definitely a unisex design, the extra colors is a bonus and makes the finished work look "more complex", and it has birds so there is not going to be any doubts that it is from me!
Here is a picture of the runner up - I stitched this one for a coworker's daughter a few years back:
I am thinking that maybe it is a tad too girlie for a boy?  By the way, the new mother actually cried when she opened the package with this sampler!  That is a reaction that I have never whitnessed before or after since.  What about you guys - any stories to share in that department?  (Reminds me of a comment that P.Snickety gave me after a cross-stitch show-and-tell at work a few months back: "oh, did you do that yesterday?"  She laughs about that now, after she started stitching herself....)
Before I stop on the birth sampler theme, let me just say that suggestions and comments would be much appreciated!  Nothing is set in stone yet - I have not bought any linen, floss, or beads, so if you have an idea, please, please, please feel very warmly welcome to share; the train has not left the station and there may be other trips to take that are even better!

Other great news:  Just Nan's Birdcage is coming along quickly -  half a bird more and the outside of the folder is complete.  We have also recruited a new member; The Boss.  She is really interesting to talk with, very smart, and really generous with sharing her experiences from the perspective of a lady who has been with our engineering company for close to 25 years!  She was very happy to join us for our lunch stitching sessions and it is wonderful that the group keeps growing.  She is stitching on a really long book-mark for her daughter and she is making quick progress.

Another fun thing - I won a charm pack from Fig Tree Designs during the Moda Pillow Talk.  P.Snickety and The Barbarian were not impressed at all, since they didn't really see the use of the 5" by 5" charm squares.  Me, I am thrilled to win something - period!!!   I knew that there was no chance that I'd win based on pure luck - that is just not how I roll (hah -  get the joke!?!?), so already going into it, my strategy was to rely on hard work.  Fig Tree's owner Joanna Figueroa had 4 different ways to win something from her Pillow Talk post, one of which was to get at least 5 fabric line guesses right from either the buttons or the strips that she used to make this pillow (picture taken from Joanna's blog):
She posted the correct answer today - 10 collections were used for the 13 creme strips used (these were the ones that I tried to get right).
Let me tell you, my eyes were pretty much bleeding by the end of the 2 hr session spent on looking at the teensy photo and all the fabric collections that Joanna has released through Moda (19!!!).  I got the congratulation-send-me-your-address e-mail from her yesterday!  She picked out 40 charm-pack winners - out of a total of 1,503 comments...  Can you imagine the time it must have taken to go through them all!?  So, how did I do? - I got all of them right except from one.....  I tell you - this puzzle made the Superbowl fly by...  :-D

Well, before I go to bed, I have to share some great music with you.  I have always loved powerful & charismatic singers.  Theatrical is not a problem for me either.  I loved Whitney Hueston,  Mariah Carey has some pipes on her, I am always impressed with Celine Dion, and my absolute top-dream would be to be a fabulous and celebrated opera singer.  A dream that I have been told that my father's mother had too.  Unfortunately, she was told that "one artist in the family is enough" (my grandmother's older sister was a very talented painter).  Anyway, the opera dream is not a joke!  I would pick opera over being a successful cross-stitch designer (or engineer) any day!  One of the songs I used to "practice", while running between classes, in the awesome acoustics that the stairwells offered in my high school was this aria, "Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" ("Hell's revenge boils in my heart"), which is the Queen of the Night's furious demand that her daughter kill the Queen's enemy (there is a long dialogue in German first - try to see if you get what they are speaking about.  I speak some German, but not well enough to grasp the details...):
This is the best interpretation I have found on YouTube - she is not hastening the tempo during the hard-to-sing (and very high) stacatto parts.  She is also making sure that each tone can be heard in the very advanced running passages towards the end.  Beautiful!!!

So, I know that many people (at least where I come from) wrinkle their nose at the mix between opera and pop music, even though I get the impression that The Three Tenors made it more acceptable to make opera more accessible to the everyday music lover....   So, tonight after I listened to about 10 interpretations of the Queen of the Night's aria, I continued by listening to the pop song La Voix with Swedish mezzo-soprano Malena Ernman - repeatedly.  She is only 2 years older than I am....  sigh!  I could have skipped the engineering path and done something with my life!  (Yes, I am slightly bitter... ;-))
If you are a Swede and reading this, I bet that you have heard this song so many times that you can't stand it any longer, but I just found this on YouTube today and I love it more and more.  I kinda' wish that DH would go to work already, so that I can sneak down to the basement to "practice"....  ;-)
Plus, her make-up team are welcome to move into my guest bedroom any day - they can pay me in prep time before work...  The eyeliner won't be necessary, but the skin - wow!

No stitching or blogging tomorrow!  I have to finish the two designs that were chosen to be printed on shirts for the hash group!  I am excited, but I'd better get them done before I celebrate too much

So with this, I am bidding you adieu - you have to imagine me singing it to you!
Happy Stitching and Singing!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

How was Your Weekend?

Let me tell you - my Saturday was great!  Maybe I mentioned a while back that I got 4 tickets to Mamma Mia for Christmas from DH?  He had asked one of his co-workers for tips and she is a serious ABBA fan and I am Swedish (and I do love ABBA too!) - so there you go!  When I unwrapped the Christmas card that he wrote (since the tickets weren't released until about a month later), he also mentioned that it was for me and "three friends" and specified that he was not to be included.  Yes, you are right, he is NOT an ABBA fan!  Or a musical/theater kinda' guy.

We left for Louisville to have dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in St Mathews Mall.  That did not work out well at all... the waiting was 70 minutes!  Too bad, I really wanted the other three ladies to try it out, since the other (all of two) times I have been, I have really enjoyed the food.  Anyway, we ended up at Red Robin instead, which worked out just as well and no wait!  We also had time to hit Pottery Barn (no, we did not have the moolah to buy anything) and we got a quick ice-cream at DQ on the way back to the car.  After frantically looking for a way to park the car we got to the theater in time to visit the ladies room and rush into our seats.  The theater was jam-packed!  I was not surprised, since when I finally got around to get the tickets, a week after the ticket release, there were just a few select tickets left - I was lucky to find us seats together!
The show was great!  It started out slow but got better and better!  The singers playing the mother and her two friends were fantastic!  It is amazing how they fitted all the songs into this musical without rewriting the texts much at all.  Best of all was that after the actual musical ended, the three "mature" women dressed up in 70s "space" costumes and sang together with the audience. 

 We were all on our feet, waving, cheering, clapping with the beat, and belting out "Dancing Queen", "The Winner Takes it All" and a few other sweet hits!  Parts of the audience came prepared with feather boas and the rest of the kit!  Oh, one thing that was really funny was that the young lady that sat next to P.Snickety sang along to all the songs during the entire show...  I told P that she should have given the girl a couple of bucks at the curtain!  ;-)

I am pretty at home with most of ABBA's songs, being a Swede born in the early 70s, you really did not have much of a choice!  My friends and I did a fair share of of singing in the ends of our jump-ropes in front of the mirror.
ABBA is probably considered "light-weight pop/disco", but I am always amazed when I hear many of their songs just how complex and advanced they are.  "Slipping Through My Fingers"did not become much of a hit in Sweden as I recall, but is an excellent example of the talent of the writers Bjorn and Benny.  The message is important, timeless, seldom brought up in songs and the melody is simply beautiful; elegant, flowing but not at all simple.  Here is a link to an original live recording - isn't it just beautiful!?  (I can tell you that I have listened to it about 10 40 times while writing this post....)
The other few clear favorites of mine are Dancing Queen, Thank You for the Music (can totally imagine Liza Minnelli singing this one btw), One of Us, and The Winner Takes it All (favorite comment on YouTube in regards to this song: "Today the bankers take it all").

So, since I am a Swede and this is part of my heritage, I know that all of you are twisting my arm to get some really important and ever useful ABBA facts, right!?  (Shamelessly copied from Wikipedia, of course!)
  • ABBA was formed in Stockholm (my home town!) in 1972 (my birth-year!), consisting of Anni-Frid, Bjorn, Benny and Agneta (note how clever they were, the first name initials gave the group their name see - it's like IKEA all over again!)
  • They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982  ABBA sold over 375 million records worldwide, making them the fourth best-selling popular music artist in the history of recorded music. They still sell two to three million albums a year (I am guilty to buying a few ABBA CDs myself....)
  • During the band's existence, Agneta and Bjorn were a married couple, as were Anni-Frid and Benny. At the height of their popularity, both relationships began suffering strain that led ultimately to the collapse of first the Bjorn/Agneta  marriage (in 1979) and then of the Benny/Anni-Frid marriage in 1981. In the late 1970s and early 1980s these relationship changes began manifesting in the group's music, as they produced more introspective lyrics with different compositions - can you imagine going through a divorce and still work together, recording music and go on tours!?  No, me neither!!!!
  • After ABBA split, the men achieved success writing music for the stage while the ladies pursued individual solo careers with varying success
  • In 1999, ABBA's music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide and had a movie version released in 2008, becoming the highest grossing film in the UK at the time (who knew!?)
  • The group was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010 (blast, I missed that - DH's parents live in Cleveland and I was at the RRHF in 2008....)
And we have to check out some photos too of course!!!!  I mean, they are just too good not to share...
Also a good-to-know fact; Agneta was almost as famous for her derriere as she was for her wonderful voice and beautiful, "Swedish" blond hair (this was back in the days when us Swedish girls were actually allowed to have curves in Sweden...  nowadays you're more expected to look like a man/stick than anything else - thank goodness I have an American hubby who appreciates my "childbearing hips" - his words, not mine.  No wonder that I had to move across the Atlantic!!!)
Also no wonder us Swedes got the reputation that we have in the rest of the World, thanks to photos like this one!  (Have you heard it rumored that we are supposed to be "easy"?  One of the reasons for this is supposedly Anita Ekberg's fountain frolic in La Dolce Vita back in 1960.  Shocking then, not so much today....  Anyway, I can tell you that quite a few ladies in my Guild has heard that one before - and I assure you that this was not based on my conduct!  Unless you count fondling charts and linen as risque...)  Well, if you haven't heard that one before, here is the picture proof I guess...
I especially like that the Swedish flag hangs in the back-ground.  Thanks a lot guys!  ;-)   At least we don't have to worry about the wardrobe cost for this shoot was too high.  I am however worried about the temperature - the Swedish winters do get quite harsh, so hopefully the studio was warm that day...
This photo totally reminds me of the 30th Rock sequel where the staff strongly advices Liz Lemon against using props in her photo shoot...  (Ok, something really freaky happened here!  I went Googling to see what the name of that episode is and guess what!!!!!  It is named, you guessed it, "Mamma Mia" - the main plot is that Jack Donaghny "Mamma Mia:s" three men to find out who his father is...   OMG, that is just too weird!)

A final shot from the Mamma Mia! movie premier in Stockholm!  They look fairly content, nice with a somewhat happy ending.

Believe it or not - I got a serious amount of stitching done on Sunday, so next post will be more stitching and less 70s music..  (Unless you beg me for more good-to-know ABBA facts...)
Take care and Happy Stitching,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Quick Tweet Before Bed

Hello everybody!
Before I share any stitching, I wanted to thank all of you for leaving comments for me.  Thanks especially for the kind words in regards to the loss of Hogsie.  I do miss him a bit.

I also got a really neat comment back from Joysze in regards to the expression "it's raining cats and dogs" and being a Swede.  She writes: "Raining cats and dogs, yup... I say that too. It's to do with the olden days where cats and dogs would rest on the thatched roofs and when the rain was really heavy, the roofs would give way and down would come the cats and dogs. "  How cool is that!  I had no idea that this is the historical background to this saying, but it totally makes sense!  (Joysze is from Malaysia btw, not Sweden, but still....) 
Beth commented that she also uses this phrase and she is half-Swedish!  Hey Beth - who did you pick up the phrase from, your Swedish parent or your American parent?  Curious minds are dying to find out!  :-) 

Since I have been pretty boring on the stitch-front lately - lots of invisible stitching and slower than sloooow over-one sections - I thought that I'd show you my lunch project.  We, that is P.Snickety, Hip-Hip and myself, have actually been really good at keeping up our lunch-time stitching this week!  I think that we probably had 4 stitching sessions.  We even scouted out the locations of the conference rooms that can be locked from the inside, so that we can stitch in peace.  All of us are coming along nicely and I am surprised to discover how refreshing it is to work in a quick stitch in the middle of a long day at the office.
Anywhere, here is a scan of The Birdcage:
The colors are much nicer than the scan indicates - it is a very happy piece indeed!  Look at all those birdies running around on wobbly legs!!!  Let me also inform you that I spent a good 20 minutes getting this baby scanned!  Yep, I left the office late just to be able to share the progress on my blog over the weekend.  Have I mentioned that I have a PhD in Engineering?  Does not matter - I still can not figure out how the blasted scanner/copier/fax machine works!  Seems to be a lot of hit-&-miss and accidental successes + I have a feeling that the printers are pretty temperamental....  they probably figured that it was an early Friday evening and about time to shut down.
I guess that I could have brought my Birdcage home to taken a photo of it, but I felt that I did have to scan it at work, since I did not want to bring it home with me - way too tempting.  I have to spend more time stitching on the Richmond sampler and a lot less time on funny looking birds flapping about.  As you can see, 11.5 birds are done and there are 8.5 left to go, so before too long it will ride home with me to get finished anyway!

Other than that, I have been spending time with the Richmond sampler.  I managed to dodge a cold (knock on wood) by eating Zycam, drinking a lot of fluids and taking it real easy in the evenings.  I have spent most of my stitching on the "automatic" parts, like the big field in the front of the house that just need filled in with the grass.  I am still very much into this sampler, so that is fun!  As a matter of fact, I have it spread out on the floor in my cross-stitch room.  Every morning when I get ready to go to work, I open the door to that room, turn on the light and stare at it for a few seconds.  Then I sneak a peak every time I pass by...  Yes, I know that I have a problem!  But it is a good one, right!?

Well, off to bed with me!  Will be a bit hard to go to sleep - I just watched a really disturbing Sherlock Holmes movie on Netflix, The Eligible Bachelor.  Shrug!
Good night and have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quick Update - Invisible Stitching...

Well, I am being a bad girl and staying up way past my bedtime.  Again.  I just have to write a quick note before bed!
I have been busy doing stuff other than stitching the last couple of days.  One of my co-hashers and I have been discussing T-shirt designs for our next set of shirts.  I like drawing, even though I am not skilled in any way - it looks so much better in my head than on the paper... :-(
Anyway, I have pumped out 4 designs in 2 evenings, which is not too shabby, right?  You can check'em out in this pic:
We'll see what the verdict is later this week.  I may have gotten these done too late in the game, but we may be able to use one of them in the years to come.  When I showed DH, the comment was "it's for the hash, so they don't have to be perfect..".  Hmmm, translation is probably something like "not too great, honey, but at least you tried...".  It's been fun drawing,  but I really do get stitching withdrawal and end up being a tad cranky.  Anyone else notice this type of reaction to events interfering with stitch time?
He is on my list of people I adore today though - I actually squealed when I got home and walked into the kitchen, since he had left some Valentines Day surprises on the kitchen table for me.  Best of all was a tiny pot of baby crocuses.  I can't wait to see what color they turn out to be.  Wait, I lied - best of all was the waist high pile of freshly washed and dried laundry that was magically folded away before I got home from work.  THAT is my kind of Valentine!

I did get a bunch of stitching on Saturday and Sunday, but unfortunately most of it is invisible!  :-b  If you click on the photo you may be able to see the fruits in the vine resting against the right side of the house.  It is not real motivating to stitch for hours on something that does not show up at the end of the day (over-one at that).  At least I am done with the white on white stitching on this piece.  The left side vine is also completed and I got in all the colorful blue doves flapping around the house.  The motives that are left to get down are the two riders and the tiny black dog galloping across the yard.  I am NOT looking forward to figuring out where all the over-one stitches are to be placed....

Oh, and here is the last photo - I never showed off the finished 7th DT SAL part.  I got in the silk I ran out of last week and whipped out the last stitches.  I am really pleased with this project.  I was pretty unimpressed and unmotivated during parts 4-5, but now I am back to being happy both with stitching it and with how it looks. 

Before I get ready for bed, a piece of sad news.  Poor Hogsie passed away Friday night.  He seemed a little bit tired the last few days, but he kept running in his wheel and eating and drinking, so I did just not understand that he was sick.  I have now learned the hard way that it is really tricky to keep track of the health of a nocturnal pet.  He was generally not up when the rest of us were out of bed.  I think that it got too cold and he started to go into hibernation mode, but pet hedgehogs should not do that because it can be mortal.  When I checked on him before going to bed, I found him cold, damp and fatigued.  I fell dozed on and off with him on my chest and folded a rice warmer around him to get him to warm back up.  He seemed to be doing better, but I fell asleep and when I woke back up he had passed away.  Poor, poor little guy.  He is buried in our backyard now, so we can visit him whenever we want to, but I will still miss him. 

I have hugged and kissed all the birds a little bit extra today.  I am very glad to have them!
Well, off to bed with me!  I am awful about responding to your comments and e-mails right now, but I will do better this week!  Last week was a whirl wind, but now I should be able to get back to what's important...  ;-)
Good night and talk with you in a bit,

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fun with Foereign Languages

So I guess that I am pretty easily amused (DH would insert a nod here...), so I have to share a couple of stories about language difficulties with you.

We start to learn English in Sweden at the age of 8 and it is mandatory.  Many of us have also picked up a few select phrases by then, like "I love you" and so on.  Foreign movies imported to Sweden are always subtitled, so I know that some of my friends were helped to speed up the language skills through TV.  Their parents would simply tape a paper strip over the lower part of the screen so that the subtitles were not visible.

I feel that there are some really well defined steps that I have taken in the English language skill development since I was 8.  Some of them I have noticed through how other people react to my speech, I guess.  I get the question "you are not from here, are you?" way less often now than I did a few years back.  I also speak English with an American accent, compared to the British English that we were taught in school (and that I spoke until I moved to the States).  A few examples of big leaps forwards were: the ability to follow conversations in TV shows and movies, being comfortable with reading school books/magazines/novels/blogs in English, decipher what the vocalist belts out in various tunes (including rap!), and understanding a wide range of accents and dialects.
Anyway, here are a couple of examples of pretty funny, in retrospect, mistakes I made when I just had moved to the US.
A good one was when I asked if anyone had a "rubber" in the middle of grad school math class.  Another student actually turned around, half giggling, and hissed "You may want to ask for an eraser!".  As soon as he tipped me off, I realized what I had asked for in American English.  Luckily our professor was from India, so I guess he was speaking British English too...  Note that this is one of the first words that we learn in school - ball, dog, pencil, rubber!
I also yelled out at a party during a conversation with this really cute guy that "Everyone, this is so cool - he is a virgin and so am I!".  I remember people looking at me kinda' oddly, but none commented on this statement.  What I meant to say that we were both Virgos, but I made the mistake of direct translating the Swedish term to English.  (I must have been very taken with him, since I don't generally think that it is cool to be a Virgo...)  The best part was the the guy that I was talking with/about looked at me like I was somewhat amusing, but ina veeeery strange way, said nothing - and four years later we got married.  :-)
By the way, he never corrected me, but I figured this one out all by myself months later when I flipped through a magazine and saw the horoscope page....  He was really hard on me in other ways though!  Every time he wanted to call in a pizza order, he made me do it, because I "needed the practice"! Blah!!!  Now I am glad that he did, but it was not too much fun in the beginning I can tell you!  How is it that "carry out" does not mean "we carry it out to your house" but "you come over and pick it up"?  That is another big threshold btw - the ability to keep up a conversation in a foreign language over the phone.  It is so much harder to understand a person when you can not see their gestures, facial expression, mouth, and body language!  Plus, you can not do the "smile and nod" routine (which I have to confess that I still use every now and then... it is just easier sometimes!)

Oh, and as a side note I can mention that it has been said that the easiest way to tell that a person is a Swede is that we keep saying "it's raining cats and dogs" when we talk about a rainy day in English.  Apparently no true Britt uses this expression, but it is printed in every English language book throughout the entire Swedish school system....  I bet that all the English-language-school-book authors are huddled together, giggling about their successful coupe - they tricked an entire nation into sounding like clueless fools!  (No offense meant to the Americans or Englishmen who actually use this expression - it probably just means that you are of Swedish decent!  ;-))

Well, the point I am working really hard to get to may be more amusing to me than to the average American (actually very likely so), but I really have no clue.
Part of really learning a language is to learn expressions and slang.  Well, L-bug taught me a really neat one for the "male reproduction organs" that you may be familiar with; "twigs & berries".  Have you heard that one before?  I bet you have, but it is new to me and I find it really amusing - especially since a Twigs & Berries design is to be released on the Nashville Marked pretty soon....  I almost fell off my chair laughing when I saw the title on Stitching Bits & Bobs web-site the other day.  I especially thought of my stitching peep Big Dog, who boycotts any design with an Adam and Eve, since she doesn't stitch "nekki" people.  The best part was that SB&B had a "sorry, no photo available yet" comment instead of the design picture.. censored, no doubt!  Yep, if anything, I am easily amused!
Well, I did tracked down a picture of Twigs & Berries by The Primitive Needle, so here it is:
Cute huh!?  But that does not matter, I will always think about L-Bug, Big Dog and the true meaning of "twigs & berries"...

All right I am done being immature (for now...)!  Next time, I promise to post a very proper, serious, and grown-up post about the Richmond sampler progress.  (Yawn!)

Have a great weekend and talk with you in a bit!

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Quick Update on a Slow Project...

Wow!  Work is pretty overwhelming right now, so blogging and e-mailing has been suffering lately.  I just about threw my computer out the window this morning at the office, when I lost two Excel workbooks full of data and analysis work due to Excel compatibility issues...  The most annoying part was that the work I lost took 3-4 hrs to generate - on my Sunday evening!  Nope, I was NOT a happy camper.  What did I learn from this?  Never, ever bring your computer home over the weekend - it is better to just stitch!  :-(

Anyway, I realized that if I don't post before bed tonight, chanses are that it won't happen for a few days, so here we go!  I am slowly stitching along on the Richmond sampler and here is the update:
It probably doesn't look like much, but right now I am stitching a lot of whites - see that bird inside the bird-cage hanging on the right side of the house?  Yep, that now contains a white over-one bird, which is hard to spot even in real life, even with the linen about 2 inches from my nose....  The over-one directions are still making me frustrated (main chart, sampler photo & detail graphs have not-so-many-things in common....), so I mix it up with "filling" sections - see that hill that the house stands on?  That will be completely green one day.  I also have to fill in the white grout between all the bricks, so that too is a good amount of no-brain work....   
There are a few sections of over-ones that probably won't be an issue - both vines next to the house need fruit, there is a little branch in the lower right corner right at the border that needs some blue berries, and the verse over the scene is stitched completely over-one.  There are also two absolutely glorious sun-flowers that are missing form the right hand urn - those will be a lot of fun to plant, I think!  Oh, and click on the photo to check out the three violas in that same urn.  How cute are those!?
The windows would have been complete, but I ran out of the dusty green color, so that will hopefully make itself over here in the mail soon.  Next session, I will probably devote to finish the birds.  I think that there are about 6-7 more to go and then the flocks are complete.  

Did I tell you that all the basket will be filled with queen stitches, by the way?  Oh, and the entire border will get filled with two rows of queen stitches too!  I think that I will have a lot of fun with that, since I actually enjoy queen stitches!  I love the texture and if you use the sewing method, queen stitches do actually whip up pretty quickly and neatly.

Before I log off, I also want to thank all of you for your sweet comments in regards to the Silly Spring pin-cushion in my last post.  Thanks, I really appreciate them!  I am still a bit torn about this one, but it is standing on the mantle in the living-room, so maybe I will get happier about it in a few days?
Henny hasn't even looked at it twice since we got it done, so I assume that she wasn't exactly overjoyed either... ;-)  (However, I noticed earlier this evening that a very long, very sharp, and very thin beading needle went missing from my TUSAL pin-cushion top.  I know exactly who flew off with that one.  Wonder where she dropped it?  I  have a feeling that DH will find it with his feet - he usually does.  I am already ashamed...)

Speaking of DH - he almost threw a complete fit this weekend when I did not let him use my needlework scissors to open a plastic pack with.  He thought that it was outrageous that I told him to get the paper scissors from the kitchen (3 steps away) , instead of tossing him the scissors I was using.  (Doesn't make it better that the pack in question contained parts needed to fix the flushing mechanism for the toilet....)  Does anyone else have to guard their needlework tools with their life around here?  Just wondering...  I guess some people just don't get it.  Sigh!
Well, time to hop into bed.  Hopfully I'll dream about filling in a lawn with green grass and not about disappearing  data...

Good Night and Sweet Dreams about Stitching to All!

Friday, February 4, 2011

A Silly Spring Pin-Cushion

Here it is - my silly little spring pin-cushion set:
Those eggs were a bit tricky to make, but I was surprised to see that the hardest part was to get the chick into a nice round ball...  Anyway, it didn't turn out as fabulous as I had envisioned it, but it is all right.  I think that in my head, the cup was much, much larger, so the eggs wouldn't have to be all crowded.  On the other hand, what I love about Easter (and Halloween) decorations is that it is all right to be a bit "over the top", right?
I'll probably bring it in to work today to hear what the co-peeps think.

What is even better is that I got done with this little excursion and both my SALs before the weekend, so the Richmond sampler can get undivided attention on the stitch front.  (It will be hard not to jump the gun and start on Ann Rayner right away though...)
DH and I will probably go hashing tomorrow, so there won't be a whole lot of crosses done tomorrow and Sunday is the Big Birdcage Cleaning Day, so there will probably not be a whole lot of progress.  Oh well, that will just extend the fun with the Richmond sampler!  :-)

Oh and I forgot - something completely different - my MIL forwarded this e-mail to me yesterday: "ATTENTION all: There's a site called Spokeo.com that's a new online USA phone book w/ information such as pics you've posted on FB, your approx credit score, home value, income, age, family members, even cc #'s. Remove yourself by searching your name, find your page, copy the URL and go to the bottom of the home page and click on the Privacy link to remove yourself. Copy & re-post so your FB friends are aware.."
I found both myself (twice!) and DH on this site and we have been removed now.  It was pretty scary how much info was posted - marital status, age (they were way off for me though, I was listed as being a lot younger!), and our household income, which was pretty close on the penny for the year before last.  We are now removed!!!

And to finish off on a more relaxed subject; have you seen this gorgeous remote control organizer by Kristy from You Had Me At Bonjour?  Best of all - it is a tutorial, so she makes it easy to recreate + the fabric is available on Etsy.  (Yep, I have bookmarked a great deal of it... ;-))  Love it!  Now I just need a house that is not swimming (flying?) with birds who want to make nests in anything with a pocket...  Sigh...  Maybe in my next life.  Or I could just make the hanger and relabel it Parrot Nest Organizer!

Take care adn Happy Stitching!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Hurray - I am very, very excited - I have 25 followers!  I am so happy and I want to thank all of you for following my blog.  I found during my first month as a blogger that I really enjoy writing and sharing my needlework projects, but most of all, it has been very rewarding to get readers and the comments that follow.  Again thank-you-thank-you-thank-you!!!
(If you look at the follower list you can see that it looks like I have 26 followers but one of them does not count, because it is me....  Yep, I feel pretty stupid - I added myself to see how this "follower thingy" works early on and when I tried to remove myself, I could not figure out how....  Now it just has to look like I find myself really fascinating.  LOL-sigh!)

Other things to celebrate:
- Another coworker has been lured over to the dark side...  Hip-Hip-Happy asked for the link to my blog last week she came back and said that she wanted to try stitching!  (She has stitched one project in the past but it was a while back, so she was very excited about working on another project.)  She picked out a good project to start with on-line.  We chose from the Prairie Schooler portfolio (since I have the better part of it at home .... ;-))  She opted for the angel ornament from the Starry Night chart, so I pulled everything needed from my stash on Sunday evening (here is a link to Lennu's finished angel, so you can see what she is working on).  Yesterday's lunch was spent in an empty conference room at the office, just P.Snickety, Happy, and me, stitching away!
P.Snickety is working on the cute freebie Christmas stocking with a penguin from Brookes Books Designs (here is a link to Michelle's stithched ornie posted on the WLCoS).  She got three rows of pink stocking in!  Happy is currently working on the black cross-stitches and she seems to really enjoy herself.  She even took the "kit" home on Monday and stitched a bunch of it in the evening.
I took our new stitching lunch as a great opportunity to start on a new project; the Birdcage by Just Nan.  I counted the birds and figured out that if I stitch one (very reasonable and realistic) bird per lunch, I will be done with the stitching in 4 weeks.  Not bad!  Except that we all got really busy over lunch today, so I am already running behind... :-(
- We did not get hit by all the ice and snow here in town.  Very, very lucky!  L-bug just sent me some photos from her yard and it looks like the ice is pretty much an inch thick or thereabout.    Absolutely crazy!  I am so grateful that I don't have to worry about DH driving 2 hrs on the highway in the middle of the night on ice for now (he is on 3rd shift right now).  It was really hard to go to bed and not think about him being on the road the first weeks.... Anyway, I hope that all of you are safe and comfy out there!!! 

- All the comments and thoughts about the posts about the introvert personality traits.  It was interesting to learn what some of you think about the topic.  Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed and appreciated every minute of it!
- The spring bulbs in my garden have been doing really well in the last weeks snow storms.  They still look green and perky, so they may make it yet.- We are more than half-way to the weekend!!!!

On the stitching front, not a whole lot to report...
- Bzz*Bzz*Bee guessed right - Henny's cup and saucer will be a spring pin-cushion.  L-bug brought in the adorable "attitude bug" to one of the all-day stitch-ins last year.  She found a very clever idea for a pretty little needle-minder on-line.  (I think that the needle-minder idea was posted at Daffycat's blog, here is the post.)  Who does not fall in love with that attitude of that bug right away!?  The bug is taken from a Brooke Nolan sampler published in JCS magazine March/April 2010.   There are some other super-cute elements to this sampler as well, so I decided to try to expand on the needle-minder idea and make a little "tea set".  Here is the progress as of right now :
The blue eggs was included in the originalk sampler, but I decided to make a few other colors as well.  I think that it turned out quite nicely, if I may say so myself....
- I finally got in the blue silk that I need to finish part 7 of the DT SAL.  Wohooo!
- Together with the blue silk - as a bonus - came the Ann Rayner sampler.  The Attic picked out a fantastic piece of linen for me - can't wait to start!!!!
- Oh, and the TUSAL is going great - I am collecting much more bits o'orts than I thought (I am cheating a bit here - official progress post due date is 2/4):
Note the birds in bed in the background ('cause what lady does NOT want flocks of birds nesting in her living-room!?!?), the IKEA book-case filled with XS stuff, and that Monk is up next on Netflix...
Here are a couple of close-ups of the shelves in the book-case, so you can have a look at the "goodies" inside:

Well, time to go make some chili for DH.  He has the night off, so it is time to have a bite to eat together!

Take Care, Keep Warm, and Happy Stitching,