December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!


Wishing everyone a very happy, healthy,
hale, and hearty new year!!


May it bring us much love,
happiness, and contentment.
(Not to mention LOTS of stitchy, and some hunky, pictures, hehehe.)

December 28, 2011

Orchid - Finished!!

Orchid is done!! Thank you all so much for playing along on my first contest!

I'm at 10:32 am EST as I type this and the contest is officially closed. :D For the record, I've taken a screenshot of the last entry by Rahenna.

Through this process, I've discovered that I don't like having to keep tabs on my stitching time. :) It made me antsy to know that time was tick-tocking away and I felt like I should hurry along. Do those of you who keep a lot of your stitching hours feel the same way?

Without further ado, here are the pics taken when the last bead was stitched last night.  I diligently took pictures of the time log and WIP every night (They were housed in a locked album in Picasa for the duration.) and they can be FOUND HERE.


I looked through your guesses right after a took a screenshot of Rahenna's comment and GUESS WHAT, RAHENNA??? YOU'RE IT at 29:30:00!!! Maybe we should have a new saying about the late worm, huh? LOL!!! A 123stitch GC will be on it's merry way to you shortly. :D

Here are better pics of Orchid that I took this morning, more close ups can be found in the link in the third paragragh. I couldn't be more pleased with how she turned out. I hope my friend will love her, if not, I have just the spot for her. ;)

The Particulars:
Orchid by Mirabilia
Fabric: Opal, 32ct hand-dyed opalescent lugana by Picture This Plus
Stitched 2 over 2
Floss: DMC, Kreinik
Beads: Mill Hill
Started: December 19th, 2011
Finished: December 27th, 2011





I framed her with a metallic frame from Michaels.
The pink was perfect and suited her to a tee.

December 27, 2011

2012 Stitching Plans and WIPocalypse

My 2012 stitchy plans have been rolling around in the noggin for a few weeks now. I had things pretty set, but much to my delight, Martina threw a wrench in it when she released the first pictures of the Serengeti Mandala. :D I've only been waiting for an African mandala for years so, needless to say, plans got changed. ;)

I've joined Measi's WIPocalypse 2012, and am looking forward to loads of drool-worthy updates from everyone involved. If you haven't had a chance to head over there to see what it's all about, there's still time.

Ok, all the planning and shuffling have been boiled down to this:

Chinese Garden Mandala - Chatelaine
The last part will be released in March 2012. Hopefully, I'll have kept up nicely
and we will have a finish in the first quarter of next year.

Butterfly Lace Mandala
This will be a Jan. 1st, 2012 start. I'm stitching this for my mommy,
and it needs to be done for my trip home next year.

Spring Knotgarden - Chatelaine
I'm way behind on this project. All the parts have been released,
so it's just a matter of catching up... HAH!!!

Serengeti Mandala - Chatelaine
Release date: March 1st, 2011
I won't be starting this till I finish Chinese Garden. However, since the kits take awhile,
hopefully everything will line up nicely and it'll get to me right after CG is done. :D

Year of the Pig
For Big P, the oldest boy of a dear friend.

Year of the Tiger
For Little P, the younger boy of the same dear friend.

Oriental Grace - Joan Elliott
I bought this kit awhile ago, and when a friend sent me PTP's Valor,
there was no doubt in my mind that Grace will have to be stitched sooner rather than later.

Mermaid of Atlantis - Mirabilia
The challenge is to have her finished in 55 hours.
I highly doubt I'd be able to do it. :)

Pixie Couture - Mirabilia
From to left: Bluebell, Sweet Pea, Gardenia, Magnolia, Poppy, Lilac.
I'm going to try and fit them in between bouts of Chatelaines.

December 26, 2011

Christmas Dinner 2011

Christmas dinner this year comprised of Malaysian, Chinese, and Indian food. MIL and I spent a few hours prepping and cooking in the afternoon, hubby skillfully pan-fried the fish cakes, and by 4:45, it was time to dig in! :D

Top row (L to R): Assam Shrimp, Fish Cakes, Cilantro Chutney
Bottom row (L to R): Malaysian Curry Chicken, Mixed Vegetable Stirfry

Mixed Vegetable Stirfry: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushroom, and wood ear.

Fish Cakes: salmon, mashed potatoes, green chili, lemon juice, cilantro.

Assam Shrimp: coated with flour and pan fried, then coated with a chili tamarind sauce.

Curry Chicken: spices from Malaysia and cooked with coconut milk.

Rice Pudding for dessert: garnished with raisins and ground cardamom.

December 25, 2011

Final 2011 TUSAL

Here we are with the last TUSAL post for 2011 with lots of pink at the top for Orchid. :D

If you haven't yet signed up for some TUSAL fun, head over to Daffycat's blog. I'm looking forward to seeing your ORTs next year.

December 23, 2011

My Warmest Wishes...

... for a Blessed Holiday Season.


May the spirit of Christmas
bring you and yours
peace, joy, love, and blessings in abundance!

December 21, 2011

A Slight Interruption...

... to your regularly scheduled programming...

I'm going to put the Random Afternoon Question on hiatus for a couple of weeks. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, one less thing to think about is a good thing. Don't you agree? Oh wait!! That's a random question... Does that mean today is taken care of? LOL!!

I have yet to do my WIPocalypse 2012 post, but plans have been rattling around in my brain for awhile now, so I just need to put it down.

I'm thinking of doing a pictorial look-back on my finishes this year after Orchid is done. Can you hazard a guess yet as to how long she'll take me to finish? :)

It's four days to Christmas, let's not forget the reason we celebrate this glorious day.

December 20, 2011

Orchid - New Start and A Contest

I'm one of those stitchers that never keeps track of their stitching hours. A two hour sit-down session might entail ten minutes of emailing, ten minutes of intermittent tv watching, five minutes of daydreaming and staring at the chart... You get the idea.

Awhile back, Vanessa challenged me to a 55-hour Mermaid of Atlantis finish. Although it's at the back of my mind and I have yet to do it, it got me thinking about a trial run.

You see, I'm stitching Mirabilia's Orchid for a friend's very late birthday gift; so why not keep tabs on my stitching time (minus the mucking around time) and have a contest out of it for some fun? :D

The Culprit

THE CONTEST:
Guess how long it will take me to finish her, in hours, minutes, and seconds. The winner will be the closest time without going over.

The Reward


THE SPOILS:
A $15 gift certificate to 123stitch.




THE RULES:
  1. Please list your guess in this format - HOURS:MINUTES:SECONDS. For example, 59:59:59. The winner will be the closest time without going over.
  2. Please check previous comments before responding. If there are two winning times that are the same, I will go with the first comment.
  3. You don't have to be a follower. That decision is yours to make. :) However, I'd appreciate you clicking on the ads on the sidebar (under "Cool Treats").
  4. Please make sure your email address is listed either in your blogger profile or on your comment. I will need this information for 123stitch.
  5. The contest will close when I post the pictures of the finish and the countdown timer. (My deadline for finishing this piece is Dec. 30th, 2011.) I will also take a screenshot of the last comment on this post as the cut off time. This information will be included in the "Orchid - Finish" post as well.
  6. If you'd like to pass on the GC but still participate, please feel free to do so! The more the merrier. :D

HELPFUL TIPS:
  1. I'm counting the entire process of stitching. This includes unwinding the floss from the bobbin, separating the strands, winding the floss back on the bobbin when I'm done with the color, and deciding on the next symbol to stitch. I won't be watching the clock when I'm stitching. I'll just start the timer and let it run.
  2. I am NOT counting water breaks (in or out, ROFL!) and other small diversions.
  3. I won't be watching TV, but I might listen to audio tapes or shows to alleviate boredom. :)
  4. I'm a slow starter, but tend to gather up steam as I'm finishing a piece.
  5. I'm often told that I'm a fast stitcher. To this effect, let me say that we have no kids or pets, and when I marathon stitch, it's in the truest sense of the word. For example, finishing Olde Irish Blessing over the last weekend meant that I spent 80% of my waking moments on it. I'll leave it to you guys to work out the hours. ;)

FINALLY:
Here are pictures of last night's start and the timer. I'm stunned at how long it took me to do that little bit...



Your guess is as good as mine as to how many HOURS, MINUTES, and SECONDS Orchid will take. Let the fun begin!! :D

December 19, 2011

An IHSW Start and Finish

Hello, fellow hermitters!! How were your weekends? Mine was very fruitful, but I have to say I'm sick of stitching after it. :)

You see, I decided on a last minute Christmas gift and wanted to stitch up Olde Irish Blessing. Seeing as how I didn't have the threads called for in-hand, and I wasn't crazy about the color changes in the tips of the T's and Y's, I rummaged through my meager stash and charted my own colors. I really liked how it turned out, particularly the variegated green for the words. :D

The Particulars:
Olde Irish Blessings by Erica Michaels
Fabric: 32ct linen
Floss: Caron Wildflowers "Jade," HDF "Imperial Green," "Quince," and a yellow gold.
Started: December 16th, 2011
Finished: December 18th, 2011



Now I'm off to check out your pics! :D CLICK HERE to do the same!

December 16, 2011

Friday Randomness & Happy IHSW


'Twas the Friday of IHSW when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The sun was in hiding, the clouds were at play,
The perfect weather to do nothing all day!

The clock chimed one, Joyce got out of bed,
To pay some attention to fabric and thread;
She'd taken vacation to stitch all day through,
On a last-minute Christmas gift she had to do.

The Olde Irish Blessing was calling her name,
She'd better stop blogging and get on the game;
So she bids you adieu and shouts out a call:
"Happy Hermitting and Stitching Weekend to All!!"

                                                                                                          - by SB & JL

It's still not too late to join us for IHSW!! :D

December 15, 2011

Yiotas Xstitch - A Product Review

Yiota emailed me awhile back, asking if I'd like to review one of her cross stitch kits. "Sure," I said, "it'd be fun!"

Of course, that meant I had to spend some time (ok, who am I kidding, LOTS of time) looking through every single category and studying all the pictures. Sometimes, we just have to suffer a little for the sake of art, right? ;) LOL!!!! There is such a variety of designs on her site, but I finally decided on Koi Fish in Stained Glass.

The package arrived safe and sound a couple of days ago, nicely packed in a white Par avian envelope with "Please do not bend" stamped in nice big letters. There's even a cardboard taped to the inside back of the envelope to further stress this point.



The cover page is printed beautifully. In looking at the floss as compared to the picture, I'm happy to report that they match to near perfection. In this case, what you see is certainly what you'll get. :D The stitch count, finished size (based on 14ct aida), and contact information are all readily available on the cover page.



The kit comes with all the threads numbered and bobbinated (perfect!!), a needle (size 24, I think), and 14ct aida; all neatly encased in a cellophane envelope sleeve. When I stitch this, I'll probably use an evenweave, but it's important to note that the aida nice and soft.



The chart is printed on a nice medium to heavy stock paper. The symbols are crisp and easy to read, the legend nicely laid out, and the accompanying directions are clear and to the point.


I'm not sure when I will stitch this, as 2012 is looking really jammed up (blog post to come on that topic), but I know I'll have fun with this design. :D

December 14, 2011

Random Afternoon Question

Today's question came from Mireille during one of our email chats:

I was wondering if everybody has the problem that in the morning they have lots of sewing work in their mind but in the evening they do nothing cause of different excuses. I have often that problem :-)

I go through stages. There are times, like now, when I'm planning for next year, where stitching is constantly on my mind. I'm mentally sorting and resorting over and over without putting anything down. In a few days here, I'll probably have most of the plans solidified.

More often than not, if I'm thinking about stitching during the day, I'm doing just that at night. The only thing that would stop me is if I'm exhausted after work and just can't get up the energy to stitch.

December 13, 2011

My Mirabilia Wall

I got a call from Michael's last Saturday night from "Tom, your friendly neighborhood elf," he said "and your beadwork is ready to go home!" This was about 8:30 and I was already in my PJs, but did that stop me? Noooooo! I threw on a t-shirt and some shorts... yes, shorts (winter in S. Florida is, as hubby says, paradise) and out the door we went.

15 minutes later, we were heading home with my babies. I didn't do a good job photographing the frames, the shine in them just won't come out quite right. :(

Petal Fairy
The left side shows the color of the frame. It has a greenish gold tone that
plays off nicely with the flower stalk and her dress.

Mermaids of the Deep Blue
The silver inner section and filigree mirrors the beads
on their tails perfectly. :D

I lucked out with my plans for my Mira wall. Circle of Friends had been in residence for quite a while on it. When I was stitching Petal Fairy, we thought it might be nice to have her on the same wall. Some measurements later, what do you know?? I can stretch her to be the same width as CoF. That's when the scheming began...

How could I have a fairy and the girls without mermaids? Wouldn't it be awesome to have three major groups of Nora's designs on the same wall?!! I had Mermaid of Atlantis slotted as my first mermie design, but she was too small dimension-wise but my other favorite, MotDB, worked perfectly!

I present to you, my Mirabilia landscape:
  • A fairy - basking in the warmth of the sunset. We have the most beautiful purple/lavender sunsets in SFL. My cousin says the fairy reminds her of me... who am I to argue? LOL!!!
  • The ladies - dancing in the fields. They represent me and my two 'sisters-of-the-heart.'
  • Mermaids - gathering treasures deep in the ocean. They represent four of my closest friends, Bren, Jen, Heidi, and Vanessa, who are treasures to me.
My Mirabilia wall. 
This is the view as you look to the left from the front door.

December 12, 2011

IHSW - December

Guess what everyone?? It's our last IHSW of the year!! Hermie's a callin', so let's go out with a bang this year. If you haven't joined us yet, what are you waiting for? ;)

Any Christmas and holiday stitching you're still working on? Got that last minute dash for a year-end finish? Haven't had enough time to sit and stitch with the holiday rush? Well, this is the weekend to do it!! ;)

We were at 94 hermitters last month... what number do you think we'll hit this month? ;)

December 9, 2011

Friday Randomness

I found out yesterday that Martina is working on not just one, but TWO, african based pieces. I about died from sheer excitement!! With these pieces, our home with reflect hubby and my ethnicity and personalities... Taj Mahal since he's Indian, Chinese Garden for me, and Africa 'cos he's from Zimbabwe and he loves Africa down to his soul.

There is just a preview picture in the Yahoo Group right now, but isn't the Serengeti Mandala magnificent already??



The companion piece is going to be a rectangle shaped, banner-like design with lots of wildlife folks, and a background of various "typical" landscapes. I have the PERFECT spots for these pieces.... right in the living room with all our african stuff.

Taj Mahal will find a new home and Serengeti will reside next to the giraffe.

I'd like to display the panel above the entertainment center.
There's a nice wall expanse there. :)

Don't you think the elephants in the mandala resemble our ironwood elephants from Zimbabwe?

My biggest concern? Part 1 of Serengeti will be released in February 2012. How am I supposed to fit that in?? I'm afraid to even think about the panel...

December 8, 2011

Chinese Garden Mandala - Some border

I will admit that working on the outer border for Chinese Garden has been very trying. :) I tend to forget how big the mandalas get, and stitching repeating lines is not usually in my list of "Top 10 Exciting Things To Do." ;)

But I persevered, no matter how many times my heart tried to talk me into stitching another Mirabilia pixie. Last night, the final stitch for the Greek key (for the bottom half) went in and I will be scrolling up for the top half tonight. Adding that gold Treasure Braid totally transformed the whole look of the border. Martina is a genius!!! :D


See the algerian eyelets? They're so darn cool in here!! :D

Once the top half of the border is done, bring on the ming vases, bamboo, flowers and *squeeee* over 1 phoenix for the top border!!!

2011 Online Advent Calendar

Jo had the great idea of doing an Online Advent Calendar this year. Each stitcher that signed up was given a day to post about a Christmas piece they've stitched and also their Christmas tradition/s. I get Day 8. :D

Since I don't do much holiday stitching, I had to think long and hard on if I could join in the fun. So there I was, wrecking my brain, thinking surely there is something Christmas-sy I've stitched... and then WHAM, it hit me like a freight train... our musical house!!

I can't even remember when this was stitched, but it's probably safe to say that it was about 10 years ago when I saw this and had to have it. Hubby and I are both musicians and it suited us perfectly! :D We added a gold string to make hanging it easier.

It comes out to play every year and can usually be found either on the wall or as a display piece. This year, it's home is under the Christmas tree, right next to hubby's stocking.

Yup, the stockings are found under tree this year. Being in South Florida, we don't have a fireplace, so I get creative with where they should go. I quite like them hanging under the tree, so that might be the start of a new tradition. :)

As far as Christmas traditions go, we don't have any per se. Growing up in Malaysia, my big thing was putting up the tree, buying a pair of socks for my dad, flowers and stuff for my mom, and then candy for my brother. We went to church to celebrate the birth of Christ, and hung out with friends.

When I moved here, I continued with putting up the tree and my nativity scene. For a few years, I made us dress up and take a picture with the tree, but we haven't done that in awhile... getting old and lazy, I think. LOL!!! We don't do gifts, since that's not what Christmas is about.

The in-laws come for their annual 3-month visit from Oklahoma in the winter, so in recent years, I've cooked a Malaysian dinner for Christmas. Maybe I'll continue with that tradition this year... or start a new one... ;)

December 7, 2011

Random Afternoon Question

This question came as a result of my nosiness, and since it's such a broad subject, I'd be interested to see how many people will comment...

What will you do after you're done on the computer for this session, and what plans do you have for the rest of the day/night? (Told you I was going to be nosy. Hehehe.)

I'm going to go have lunch... a chicken caesar salad, and then it's back to work. Tonight, I have to teach 2 lessons after work, so won't be home till after 9pm. Some dinner and then, hopefully, it'll be Chinese Garden all the way so I can finish the outside border of the bottom half. So, a pic might be forthcoming. ;)

December 5, 2011

Butterfly Lace Mandala

Early this year, when my folks were visiting, I 'talked' my mom into me stitching Hummingbird Sparkly Garden for her. ;) You see, I've been wanting to stitch her a Chatelaine, but I'm nothing if not my mom's daughter when it comes to being picky about artwork for our homes. LOL! So, after showing her some of the designs she liked on countless fabrics, she decided on Hummingbird on Wichelt's Ray of Light. The fabric and kit were ordered and all the DMCs were pulled, waiting for me to start.

Fast forward a few months to Martina's release of Butterfly Lace. One look at this design and I thought, "Mommy is going to like this more." But, just to be safe, I sent her both layovers on Ray of Light, and her response, bless her heart, was "That's much more colorful, huh? But you already bought stuff for the birds." Long story short, I told her not to worry as I love Hummie better anyways (LOL!) and I'll stitch it for myself on a later date.

Layover on belfast "Ray of Light"

The kit was ordered the moment Martina released the material list on November 1st... and it arrived from EuropeanXS today. Just silks and beads, but man oh man, the bling!! I had heart palpitations just laying them out for a floss toss picture! ;) All in all, there are about 87 DMC colors, and with the over 1 butterflies, this thing is going to be spectacular!!! :D I can't wait for my mom to see it, but first I'd have to finish it. Hahaha!

Beautifully packaged silks and beads from ECC.

Floss Toss

I'm thinking a January 1st start? I can hear the hootin' and hollerin' starting, hehehe. Before that happens, I'd like to finish another Mirabilia pixie before the year ends. It's a gift and I really need to get that out of the way. It's also important for me to keep up with Chinese Garden (the outer border is kicking my butt). Spring Knotgarden is going to have to go on the back burner for awhile though, cos Butterfly needs to be done inside of 6 months or so...