Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, and stitchy stuff, too...

Halleluia, it finally arrived!!!!

I went outside Saturday morning, and glanced over at my neighbor's flower beds, and saw... daffodil babies! I whipped my head around to look for them under my tree so fast I gave myself a neck spasm, lol! And here are the little beauties (I don't think I've EVER been so thrilled to see them poke their heads out of the ground as I was that morning):

Note - This picture was taken in full darkness tonight (I haven't managed to get myself home in time to shoot a pic in daylight all week)... All I have to say is my camera has a heckuva on board flash!

So, after that point the weekend was a flurry of vitamin D absorption and fully disengaging from the iron grip of the winter hibernation I've been living under... I may even be moved to remove the "winter pelt" (as some who shall not be named, but who are HIlarious might say) shortly.

Saturday was gorgeous (it hit nearly 60 degrees!), so Leah and I spent a few hours clearing out and cleaning up the winter detritus from the front flower beds, and by the time we were done our front yard was 100% snow free! The back yard - being north facing, and 100% shaded until late spring - however, still has about a foot of snow. I think I lost my hydrangeas back there. :( The front beds were pretty well spared - the weight of the snow only decimated one (really, rather scraggly and ugly builder grade anyway) small tree/ shrub. Which, actually... is sort of okay with me. I might get my "Skyrocket" juniper after all!!

The fun continued on Sunday. Leah & I went with my friend Jennifer to the Woodlawn Plantation 2010 Needlework Show. Oh, was it ever wonderful! If you live in the DC area, you definitely need to make a trip to see it (it will be going on the entire month of March). Just lovely. How to even describe it... It's a beautiful (and appears to be well preserved) old manor house southish from Mt. Vernon. After you pay the admission (proceeds go to preservation of the plantation), and walk in... oh my. It's like a stitcher's dream come true. The walls in the central hall were nearly covered with the more traditional samplers (I hope I live long enough for my home to be even half so full - Siobhan, you've got a great start!!). Every room in the place was filled practically to the brim with needlework of all sorts. Embroidery, stumpwork, Japanese embroidery, needlepoint, crewel, blackwork, smocking, hardanger... I'm sure I'm missing some! Oh, and of course, cross stitch. It was very cool to see patterns I recognize, some I have in my stash, and some that are WIPs on your blogs. Let's see... there was Garden Glade, Janet Gibson's Sampler, And They Sinned, several Mirabilias (which of course, were Leah's favorites)... and so much more. Of course, there were also many that I had never seen before.

My friend, Jennifer asked me a lot of questions (she is not a stitcher), and it was wonderful, but at the same time humbling - oh, how little I know about anything other than cross stitch - and even that it was revealed to me that there are rather alarming gaps in my knowledge. It was really a good thing - I've been inspired to go find out more about this craft I love so much. At the very least read up on the other forms (I don't really have a desire to try many - if any - of the others), and get myself in gear and take some classes (online, or live) so that I can learn some stitches beyond the basic "x". I mean, really... expanding my horizons is a good thing, right? I've been looking at cross stitch books as well. One in particular I've been looking at is the Proper Stitch. Do any of you have it, and would you recommend it?

Anywho... Leah seemed to enjoy looking at all the "pretties" as well - I heard "Mommy, will you sew that for me?" more times than I can count, lol! She was such a good girl - I was so impressed with her! She really only had one mishap - she reached out to touch a beautiful ribbon embroidered silk bag (My heart squeezed looking at it, it was so beautiful... I wanted to touch it, too, truth be told!). Gah! I almost had a heart attack right there on the spot! The voice that came out of me when I said "NO!!" was foreign to my own ears, and it must have been even more so to Leah b/c she looked at me and I could almost see the thought bubble form right above her head. It went something like this "Who are you and what have you done with my mommy???" I was sort of surprised she didn't cross herself, lol! Oh, and don't worry, no beauty was marred.

After a while though (well over an hour - which was far more than I thought I'd get) she was "done", so my friend and I made our votes for "viewer's choice", and made our way outside. I challenged Leah to run laps around the "forecourt" as fast as she could to burn off some 4 year old energy, then my friend Jennifer took this wonderful picture of my sweet baby and I:

After we were done there, Jennifer & I decided to hot foot it over to In Stitches. I had never been, and since it is quite a distance from my home (due more to traffic, than miles) I wanted to take advantage of my proximity. Here's where it gets exciting, ladies!!!

You see, Jennifer is not a stitcher. I invited she and her girls to come along because I thought her two eldest - who knit very well - would be interested in seeing the show. As it turned out the girls had a birthday party to go to, but Jennifer decided to come anyway. Well!! On the way to the shop, Jennifer asked me if I would mind/ would it be any trouble to help her get started with stitching. Would I mind??? Would it be any trouble??? Clearly she didn't understand that verbiage of that sort is to a stitcher as waving the red flag is to the bull! :) OF COURSE I'd love to help!!!

So, in the end she came out of the shop with a small Prairie Schooler kit, a set of Q-Snaps, and a piece of 32 ct. LL Vintage Lt. Examplar (gotta start her off right!!). Leah and I are going to her place Friday night for a "slumber party"/ stitchy extravaganza. Ohhh, I can't wait! I'll be sure to post about that, and if she'll allow it, will post pics to go with it. Truth be told, I'm a little bit nervous. What if I tell her the wrong thing? What if I confuse her? Can I actually teach her? Who am I kidding?? But, regardless of my success or failure at explaining and instructing, I am sure she will figure things out just fine... She is one of the most intelligent women I know. Thank goodness! Takes some of the pressure off, you know!

Good grief, I need to end this post!

This week and last have been pretty hectic, so stitching time has been at a premium, but here is where I am with The Blessing:

Coming along quite nicely, all things considered (sorry about the craptastic pic.. I'll try for better lighting next time!).

Well, that's it for me for the night, folks! Thanks for all of your comments on my last post!! It was great to see input from you ladies re: audio books, and so great to see that so many of you share my love of books! So cool that we seem to have lots in common, isn't it?

Enjoy the rest of the week!


Terri(TerriBoog) said...

What a great post and what a great picture of you and Leah!!! You're both so beautiful!! And what a wonderful day you must have had! I wish I could get there for the exhibition while it's still going on. Which sampler did you vote for as your favorite and any inclination to start one of them?

Isn't the store awesome. I think I've been there twice and spent a small fortune both times - love their fabric selection. You'll do great teaching your friend how to stitch - it's making x's and counting - how hard can it be? LOL! With all the mistakes I make and all the frogging I have to do, I'd say it's not that simple but the basics are simple. Always cross the same direction is my biggest tip!

Great start on your WIP !

Can't wait to see you!

Catherine said...

What a fun post!! I live a couple hours from that area, but never seem to make it to the show! The picture of you and your daughter is beautiful!

I will have to try and get to that store some time, it sounds awesome!

Good luck with your teaching!

Berit said...

My first audio book read by Phil Gigante just came in at the Library and I picked it up day before yesterday! :D Now, I just need to listen to it! Got one other in line first!

I think a PS design is an excellent starter; the charts are very easy to read, so that's good. I think I'd have talked her into some evenweave rather than linen, though. *scratches head* I think it's a little easier to get your stitches to lay nicely. But...LL is nice stuff (not that I've used it yet myself), so it'll be worth it. I'm so curious to know what design she's working on/see her start.

Have you seen the two "World's Largest Collection of Smalls" blogs? Those are what I looked at to get an idea of the work styles and designers that are out there; also smalls seem more achievable to a beginner (I know they did to me!) I also was recommended to look through Stitching Bits 'n Bobs' website as they have a moderately exhaustive selection posted online. Though it sounds like you saw enough at the show to spark your imaginations! :D

What a cute pic of you and your girl; the sunshine looks so warm!

Melissa said...

That's a lovely picture of you and Leah. She has your smile, so sweet!

That needlework show sounds lovely - a stitcher's dream really!

It's wonderful that your friend is interested in starting stitching! I'm sure you will do a great job teaching her. She will develop her own way of doing things as she gets into stitching - we all do!

Thanks for the lovely post!

Glenna said...

I love the post and the pictures! You and your daughter are so cute! And isn't it a relief to see the daffodiles come up!

I haven't been to Woodlawn yet--I'd have loved to run into you (although like you, how would I have recognized you?). I'm still meaning to go because I hear it's really fun and I need another fix at In Stitches. Speaking of fix, I see you dragging that poor woman into our addiction and I applaud. And thank goodness you started her off with linen. A friend from my bus bought Holy Moses because she liked mine, but she bought aida for it. She was worried she couldn't see the holes!

Linen Stitcher said...

Hooray! Another cross-stitch convert!! I love that you're bringing another stitcher into the fold. A friend taught me to stitch nearly 30 years ago, and I've been stitching ever since. Hope your friend loves discovering a new craft.

Siobhan said...

What a great picture of you & Leah! Your weekend sounds like it was a blast. I would love to go to Woodlawn... some year I have to go over to the US in March just so that I can go. Good for you for starting your friend off right with the good stuff. I think a PS design is the way to go, either that or a LHN... a beautiful thing to stitch on beautiful linen, all purchased at In Stitches where she can fuel the fire you've started. ;) I can't wait to hear how next weekend goes!

Love the WIP!

The French Bear said...

Great photo, you look so happy and healthy!!! I love the idea of learning stitching from a friend, what a delightful idea, she must be thrilled to start! I love the design you are working on, very nice.
I would love to go to a show of stitching and even better, if I could see an actual stitching shop..... can't seem to find those here in Edmonton.... too bad, but maybe better for me, I might be there everyday!
I can feel for Leah, my sister did the same thing at a quilt show, I almost died, and I am sure she never got over the way I screamed at her, he he, kind of was embarrassing....
Oh well, I am sure they hear it a lot!
Margaret B

Sherry said...

Sounds like a fantastic day! I agree with Terri - wish I was in the area to see the exhibit as it sounds fantastic...and I'm always game to check out a new shop! Enjoy spring, I am sitting out on my lunch hour right now enjoying the sun and beautiful Michigan weather!