The other event was a more unusual type of meeting - a friend from Sweden, who now lives in Switzerland, sent me a message that she was in KY for a couple of days and wondered if we could meet for dinner. We did and had a really nice time! We have actually never met in Sweden, but she was here as a guest researcher over a summer while I was working on my PhD, so we hung out for a few weeks over that summer. That was 10 years ago! After that summer, she went back to Sweden, graduated with her MSc and proceeded to Switzerland for her PhD in Engineering. She "got stuck" doing a post doc there and was hired on by the company she did the research for after the post-doc work was completed. Anyway, it seriously felt like no time had passed - I know that it sounds like a cliche, but it was absolutely great! She looked exactly like herself and we reconnected instantly. We talked about work cultures in different countries, women in engineering, dating in a foreign country, language (both of us had a bit of a hard time to switch over to Swedish), and home, missing family and friends and other pretty serious topics. We did have a lot of fun! It sounds like she will come back more frequently (on business) for a while, so I am hoping that we will see each other soon again!
Other than that, and after a seemingly short weekend, I feel well-rested, calm, and pretty satisfied with life. Before showing you the calming projects I got to spend time with over the past few days, I wanted to share a couple of photos depicting a couple of sleeping beauties: DH and Scrappy.
Scrappy is our tiny little snuggle bug. He craves warmth and he will do just about anything to get some. If I sit on the couch with a blanket over my shoulders, he flaps over in an instant and looks at me with his enormous eyes. I usually lift up the blanket a tiny bit and he runs right in under it. He generally does not come back out on his own, but he can sit there for hours without a problem.
The other day when I came home, he was looking pitiful. I had chores to be done, so no sitting on the couch under a blanket for me. However, DH was sleeping in bed and I took scrappy over to the bedroom to see if that would suit him. Yup, he ran straight in and nestled himself up right under DH's chin. He is just too cute! I took the photos with flash on, so that is why he is giving me these less-than-happy looks.
Here is what I can report on the stitching front. Since I can't seem to help myself when it comes to starting new projects, I have to show what I picked out of my stitching room on Friday evening. This is the Sampler Bits Sewing Clamp kit from The Heart's Content. As you may already know, Maureen Appleton designs pretty much exclusively over-one designs. This itty-bitty pin-cushion clamp was just too cute to pass up. I do believe that she has one or two additional designs in her sewing clamp series, Floral Monogram and Bird of Colour. Here is the progress as of Friday evening:
And here is the finished top section early Sunday morning (yep, I was a bad, bad girl and stayed up until 3.30 in the morning, just to get that final stitch in....). I have placed the finished piece on top of the cover photo so that you can see how the finished clamp will look.
I do have a few comments and thoughts about this kit, if anyone is thinking about stitching it in the future.1) The instructions refer to a border design that is supposed to be included in the kit (for the side of the cushion), but I can't seem to find it. It looks like it is a pretty simple design, but maybe the chart would be helpful in indicating the length of the border. (I am already thinking of potential options, to "spruce up" the border design!)
2) First AFTER I completely finished the top piece, I realized that the model on the cover is stitched in tent-stitch and not cross-stitch!!! However, I am pretty certain that the instructions call out cross and not tent stitch... Now I realize that
a) I seem to be running low on floss, especially if I am to stitch an entire border piece - even though Maureen uses DMS, so it shouldn't be a problem to get more.
b) I feel that some of the details "disappeared" in my piece... One example is the reindeer's and parrot's eyes that do not show well in my piece compared to the model (the photo above is clickable, if you would like to have a closer look). The details in the fruit in the basket did also disappear somewhat.
3) I was really missing a linen lay-out diagram that many designers include with kits when 1 linen piece is to be used for several separate stitching sections... I am not patient enough to read through a booklet to try to figure out the smartest way to lay out the sections. I am generally very anxious to jump in and start with the fun stuff - the stitching - right away....
4) So, if I ever decide to stitch this design again, I would use tent-stitch and also switch the DMC for a gorgeous dark color over-dyed silk. Yum! Maureen sells the clamps separately and they were not too pricey - below $20, I believe .
5) The linen is absolutely great - a 40-count hand-dyed in color "Muffin". This linen actually allows the stitcher to stitch the over-one cross-stitches the same way as over-two; complete an entire row of half-crosses and then cross them on the way back, instead of completing each x before moving to the next.
I did e-mail Maureen most of these comments earlier tonight, so it will be interesting to see what she has to say.
I did also stitch on one of the projects that I really should be stitching on - the Goode Huswife pocket for my mom. I really like how this one is turning out! I must say that I am less than impressed with myself though - I have done countless errors and I have not been ripping this much in a very long time (I seem to write this type of statement about once a month though....). I would say that I am over 1/3 towards completion now.
I was lying in bed the other evening thinking about this design and suddenly it hit me. I realized, I do find it ironic, that I absolutely love samplers, but I very much dislike stitching the alphabet. Blah! I have no idea why, but again - Blah! I love to stitch repeats and borders and filling in large areas and pretty much anything that many stitchers find incredibly boring, but I can't seem to handle alphabets. Yep, there is one such included in this design. Not looking forward to it...
Finally, before jumping into bed, here is a greeting from my very happy Hoya. She is doing really well, I must say.
One of my colleagues gave me a stickling from one of his house plant last week, so I am very excited about taking care of this new cutie. If I recall correctly, it is a Jade plant (a succulent) that will turn into a hanging version once it grows bigger. My mom has a beautiful Jade plant back home. It is not a hanging one but it pretty much looks like a small tree. I have always wanted my own Jade and now I have one!
Well, bed-time for me. It is already Monday and I have morning meetings at work in just a few hours...