November 27, 2010

Christmas Decorations

Instead of heading out shopping on Black Friday, we put up Christmas decorations. This is something I look forward to for quite a few weeks before-hand. We don't do too much apart from putting the trees up. We used to have just an inside tree, but a couple of years ago, I bought a smaller one from Target's clearance for $2. It was 90% off and who could resist??! So, since then we also have an outside tree. :D

This year, there was the extra excitement of a few new ornaments and garlands from Michaels... purchased at 40% off their regular price plus an extra 20% off on top of that!! It seems like more and more ornaments get added to our tree every year, and it's nice to revisit old ornaments and reminisce.

Inside tree. We started the tradition of a yearly ornament and this year's ornament is a skiing moose that's hand-made in Germany.

Outside tree. The decorations are really simple on this one.
Just a string of lights and some red flowers.

Front gate and side rails all decked out in poinsettia garlands.

Front door. The wreath on the door is self-made and at least 10 years old.

The little drummer boy was handcrafted in Germany.

Nativity Scene.

When do you guys put up your Christmas decorations? Do you go all out or keep with tradition? I would LOVE to see some pictures of your decorations. :D

November 26, 2010

Taj Mahal Garden - East & West Taj's Done

I'm very happy to report that Thanksgiving has been kind to me time-wise so far. Of course, it probably helped that we didn't hit any sales for Black Friday. *giggle*

Soooooo, all the stitching for both the East and West Taj's are done. I have never stitched so many algerian eyelets in differing shades in my life!!!! And since they have to be pulled taut, my poor little fingers were not too happy at all, but they got over it as soon as they saw how gorgeous the eyelets are!

The floss color for the backstitching around the sheaf stitches that took me awhile to figure out as it wasn't in the instructions. After lots of reading and sifting through previously asked questions, I finally found Martina's reply that this is to be stitched with PB02. (For my friends who will be stitching this later, do take a note of this.)


There are quite a few variety of specialty stitches in these little sections: the algerian eyelets (as previously mentioned), blackwork for the honeycomb shapes, rhodes stitches, rice stitches (these are found right under the roofs), sheaf stitches, and Jessica stitches combine together for a spectacular effect!! Martina is an amazing designer!!


November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010!

I am thankful for so many things... but most of all, a wonderful husband, a loving family, and great friends–both online and off. I am blessed to have you in my life.

Wishing you and yours a Blessed Thanksgiving.
May you be surrounded with everyone and everything you love.

November 24, 2010

Stitching Stand

Isa was asking me about my stitching stand in a previous post, and Isa... as promised I took a picture of it.


I guess it's a lap stand, even though it doesn't technically sit on my lap. LOL! It's a really inexpensive brand that I picked up from Joann's at least 12-13 years ago, and it has served me well. I've bought extra scroll rod sets through the years, for the seldom occasions when I rotate, but the stand itself hasn't failed me yet.

Every now and then I toy with the idea of getting a more expensive one, but can't see paying upwards of $100 for them and abandoning my trusty companion.

What about you guys? Do you use stitching stands and if so, what kind? Or do you stitch in hand?

November 22, 2010

Taj Mahal Mandala - Taj's

Well, it's been a rough couple of weeks on the stitching front. I don't know where the time has gone, but I'm not getting as much done as I'd like. Of course, there was that little mishap where I doubled the ply of the half crosses behind the Taj's. ;) That's all sorted out and the frogging wasn't too bad, I have to say, thank goodness!

The in-laws are due in any day for the next couple of months as well, and I think there will be less time. I'll try to stitch as much as I can though, cos Taj was getting to the point where I was picking up speed.

Here are a couple of pics of my progress as of last week. The East-West Taj's are halfway done. All the stitches are in and I'm working on the specialties... there are a LOT of algerians in this one. LOL!!!


November 19, 2010

Let's Play!!

Andie was bored a few days ago and came up with some great stitching questions. So I'm going to steal them from her *giggle* and invite you gals to play along.

1. What are you stitching at the moment?

Chatelaine's Taj Mahal

2. How many finishes have you had this year? Small? Medium? Large? Extra Large?
Hmm... 7 to date. How do we categorize the sizes? LOL!!! 3 smalls (Hedgehog Baby, MM06, Vis-a-vis), 3 mediums (Circle of Friends, Nursery Prayer, Sabrina), 1 large (Japanese Garden Mandala).

3. Do you think you will finish any more in the next month and a half before the end of the year?
Nope. I'm currently working on Taj Mahal Garden and there ain't no way that's going to be finished.

4. If you could buy 1 thing for yourself what would it be? (Doesn't have to be stitching)
Wow... hmm..... I'm going to presume it's all paid for and can be as big or as small an item. So... a nice house in Australia.

5. What is the best thing you have ever stitched?
The one I love most is Wentzler's Peacock Tapestry, even though that was a PitA piece. The one that I felt the best stitching was MBT's Ps. 23.

6. Do you like making lists?
Yes!!! Doesn't mean I stick to them. ;)

7. Do you stitch in rotation (how does it work?) or OAAT?

OOATer. I can't rotate... it drives me mad.

8. What is the next thing you plan to stitch?
Mirabilia's Petal Fairy

9. What is your fave ONS? And why?
123stitch because they are sooooooo friendly and helpful and efficient.

10. Do you have a stitching chair?
No. I stitch on the couch or the love seat in the living room.

11. Do your children/pets get into your stitching things?
No kids, no pets. LOL!!

12. Do you participate in any stitching forums?
Yes. The Crafty Coven, MirabiliaStitchers, and Chatelaine mostly. I'm also in some Yahoo groups.

November 17, 2010

Lion Country Safari

It's been awhile since hubby and I took some time off. We take the occasional day off work here and there for appointments and errands, but this past weekend was ours to do something instead of just sitting at home. Since his birthday was on the 16th, we decided to make a 4-day weekend out of it, starting with Kooza.

We've been talking about going to Lion Country Safari for a long while, but we're good with putting things like that off. There's always an excuse: "when the weather is better," "when we have more time," "one of these days"....

Well, Monday was THE DAY!!! We got up bright at early, at 8am, and were out the door by 9:30. It was a perfect day in South Florida–clear blue skies, puffy white clouds, nice warm sun couple with soothing breezes.



The park itself was awesome!!!! We got so up close and personal with the animals there that it closely rivaled our safari trips in Africa. My two favorite animals are the lion and giraffe. Unfortunately, they have the lions behind enclosures, so we didn't take any pictures of them. However, I got to feed the a giraffe... OMG!!! I was so happy! :D and another one came really close to us when we were on the drive through safari. Words seem so inadequate to describe the beauty of these animals so I will just post a few pictures here and say that it was "a great time for our souls."

I wish I could see this waterfall every day!!










For more pictures and videos: LION COUNTRY SAFARI ALBUM.

November 16, 2010

$%@^#*% Frog

I just discovered that I used 2-plies instead of 1 for the half crosses of the skies behind Taj Mahal. I kept thinking that the sky was awfully blue, and it wasn't until I finished backstitching around the Taj's that I read my handwritten note about the 1-ply.

Not sure what I'm going to do at the moment. Hubby thinks I should let it be till the specialty stitches are done and then re-visit the look. But I have a feeling that with the morning light, I'll be frogging those damn stitches out.

Right now, I can't be bothered. So the damn frog can bask in his glory for awhile longer while I go play Wii. Grrrrrrrrr!!!!!

November 15, 2010

Cirque du Soleil's Kooza

We saw our first Cirque du Soleil show eleven years ago. Since watching O, one of hubby's things-to-do is to try and watch every one of their shows and to date, we have seen seven of them: O, Dralion, La Nouba (twice), Varekai, Corteo, Saltimbanco, and today, Kooza.

The year we saw Dralion, we drove down to Dallas from Oklahoma City (where we were visiting family) during Thanksgiving. It's something we look back upon fondly, as it was the only time we bought VIP tickets, which included hors d'ouevres, champagne, special gifts, and hang-out time in a separate tent with some of the characters from the show.

Every two years around this time, a new Cirque du Soleil show travels to Miami, and coincides with hubby's birthday. This year, it was Kooza, and as usual, I purchased our tickets the minute they went on sale. One goes to a Cirque show expecting a certain level of "wow"-ness. You expect to see the high level of skill amongst the performers, the comic relief, and the versatility of the musicians.

After months of waiting, today was the day, and all I can say is WOW!!! I haven't seen a show this good from them since Dralion, nine years ago. Everything flowed beautifully, from one act to another and as expected, the music was great, and we were pleasantly surprised that they had quite a bit of Indian influence in this show. But what stunned us were a few of the out-of-the-world-acts.

For this show, we will always remember the "Wheel of Death", which had the audience going back and forth between gasping in awe and horror as the two performers rotate these two gigantic wheels while doing heart-stopping acrobatics at least 50 feet high; and the "High Wire" act was unlike any other we've seen.

I read online that there was also a juggling act but unfortunately that wasn't included in our show today. It's ok though, I think the juggler we saw in Dralion was the ultimate in perfection!! :D

November 9, 2010

A Different Kind of Pretties

It's coming up to phalaenopsis blooming season and I'm hoping that my babies start to spike soon. It usually takes them awhile to gather steam but come early next year, they should be in full bloom. *finger crossed*

A couple of months ago, I saw some little leaves spring out on an old spike on these pink ones, and I was ecstatic to have a forerunner among the crowd!! I guess decided to greet winter a little early this year.


Here are new blooms on my dark pink 'lady of the night' (brassavola nodosa). The weather is getting nice enough for us to sit out in the patio now, and it makes for the perfect end-of-the-day treat to lounge out there with a glass of wine and unwind to the smell of these gorgeous blooms.

November 8, 2010

Taj Mahal Mandala - Portals

The past week has been really a really tiring and hectic one, and I didn't get to stitch as much as I'd have liked but I'm happy to report that the East and West portals are done. :D What I thought was a lot of peach stitches in the framework, from looking at pictures online, was actually Waterlilies' Frangipani floss-a delightful mixture of soft pinks, peaches, and cream.


I'm so glad I thought to take a picture of the portal before the scroll work went in, as it totally changed the look. The floss is actually a charcoal color, but it looks to be an almost delightful bluish-purple against the frangipani, doesn't it? It's too bad the sparklies of the Treasure Braids doesn't show up, cos they sparkle so beautifully and with such subtlety around the portals.


I'm well and truly smitten with this design. The colors are so reminiscent of India for me, from the variety of colors in the center, so the pinks and golds of the portals. I can't wait to discover what the next section of stitching will showcase!!

November 4, 2010

Petal Fairy

As usual, the "Darth Planner" (a friend's nickname for me that stuck) in me has started thinking about the next project. Never mind that Taj Mahal isn't even 1/5 done, never mind that a new start will not see the light of day till 2011, never mind that there's a Chatelaine "WIP Kill" to slay, 'we' want to plan NOW!!! ;)

My next project is probably going to be something I've loved for years and years–Mirabilia's Petal Fairy–she's always spoke to me, it was like a love-lust-desire-want, all of that rolled in, at first sight.

There is this wall that you see coming out of the guest bathroom and there's nothing on it but an electrical panel that I've painted the wall color, and after much thought and deliberation, hubby and I decided that Miss Petal could be perfect there. I say 'could' cos sometimes, things just don't work out as planned.... but regardless, at the end of it all, I'll have Petal Fairy stitched!!! :D

Ok, so, here is where I am... I've narrowed it down to 4 Picture This Plus fabbies: Glory, Heather, Masquerade, and Rosewood. I think it's pretty safe to say that Masquerade and Rosewood are out, at the moment, and my favorite is Heather (which also happens to be the name of a friend :D).

What do you guys think?

Glory
Heather
Masquerade
Rosewood

November 2, 2010

Whatever happens, do not say "Awwwww"

That's what The Chive titled their post. *snort* Like that's going to happen.

Aren't they cute????? Don't you just want hug and hug and hug? For more, head on over to the link above. :D







November 1, 2010

Taj Mahal Mandala - Center

Stitching's all done on the center!! :D All the specialty stitches are in and I'm absolutely loving the colors! I'd never have thought that purples, blues, and lime greens can work together so beautifully, and am almost tempted to stitch in some bling for eye candy, but I'll resist. ;)


I learnt a new specialty stitch today, the woven scotch, and boy, it took a lot of time weaving the stitches back and forth, but it's such a cool effect for the border that I just had to take a close up to show them off. :D