Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Book Tour and A Silly Face

Let me take you on a book tour of my new book, "Sweet P's Stitchery Journal".
Here is the currently dull cover. I'll be making a fabric cover for it in another week or two.
There are four floss sections. One for each brand of floss I currently have in my collection: Cosmo, DMC, Finca and Kreinik. Each list is a complete list of the colors in the collection and a check box for me to record the floss I already have.
There is a section for my growing yarn collection. These pages are set up to record the type of yarn, the size of the ball of yarn, where I bought it, what project(s) I think may work for the yarn and a comments section.
There is a section for yarn projects. These pages have the same info as the yarn inventory pages, but are designed to record yarn projects I want to make and what I need to make them.
There is also a page for my inventory of crochet hooks and Tunisian crochet hooks and finally several lined pages for notes.
I was racking my brain trying to figure out how to divide the sections. I thought I had colored card stock to use. Then I had an AHA! moment and realized I have a big box of scrapbook paper. So I chose several of them and cut them to size.
I made the book to bring with me when shopping or traveling so I don't buy duplicate yarn or thread. Or to look for yarn or floss for projects I want to make. After I printed it I brought it to Staples and had them add a sturdy back and cover and bind it. For a few hours of my time and $4 to Staples I have a custom stitchery journal to bring with me. Not bad, huh?

Mr. E is learning what a camera does. Today while taking photos of my book I asked him to show me a silly face. This is what he showed me:

Happy Stitching! Tomorrow I am flying to San Diego to meet my Hotel Man for a long weekend. I can't wait for a few days away.

Sweet P

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Journals, Crocheting and Valentine's Day

I had a wonderful weekend (my weekend of Monday and Tuesday). It snowed both days. I love getting to stay inside when it storms.

Monday morning I straightened up my studio and spent some time sorting through my bookcase. In the process I found six . . . count them six journals. I have a "thing" for journals. I love them. I collect them. I have plans to make a few more. I never seem to fill one before I start another one. These are my creative journals (I have another collection of personal journals). The tulip one in the top left is used for quilt and sewing project planning. The one in the top middle holds graph paper and is used for charting blocks. The one in the top right is the newest one of the bunch and holds notes on crocheting projects. The bottom three are still empty. Maybe someday they will be filled. Do you collect journals? How do you keep your creative notes?
I received the last of my Christmas book purchases yesterday. I skimmed it last night. The process looks a little challenging, but fun. I can't wait to spend a few afternoons playing with the patterns.
I'm still crocheting my Paradores Scarf. I have all three panels done, now I need to block them before putting them together.

In the meantime, I saw Leanne's Be My Valentine cross stitch pattern and decided I should stitch it. I'm using Finca and Cosmo floss and having fun working the pattern.
Mr. E is now crawling . . . the world will never be the same. Mommy is already learning babies find everything she missed when cleaning the floors!

What are you up today?

Sweet P

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Yarn and Giggles

Well, Miss P's dive into floss was quickly changed when I received my Naturally Caron newsletter on Monday afternoon. The highlight of the newsletter was this gorgeous Paradores Infinity Scarf. I have a stash of Spa Yarn and couldn't resist starting this scarf.
I finished the first panel this morning. I'm using blue, sunshine and coral. The blue is the top panel, sunshine in the middle and coral on the bottom. I'm hoping to finish it before I fly to San Diego the end of this month. The panels work up quickly so I should be able to meet that goal.
Mr. E and DIL spent the day here yesterday.
Mr. E pulled himself to a standing position for me. How cool is that?
Even better . . . last night he decided to have a big giggle fest at bath time. DIL was quick enough to grab the flip video and get some of those giggles. I can't resist sharing them!

My weekend is over and I'm back to work later today. I can't wait for next Sunday when my weekend starts again.

Happy Stitching!
Sweet P

Monday, January 11, 2010

From Yarn to Floss

Miss P allowed me to finish a pair of booties to match the afghan I completed last week. Now to get the package out in the mail.
Then I started playing with a skein of Cascade 220 Paints yarn I bought recently. I've tried two patterns and neither of them is working out. In both of them the colors get muddied together. Does anyone have any suggestions for a crochet pattern for variegated yarns?
This morning Miss P decided it was time to put the yarn away and play with floss instead. I straightened up my stitching corner and pulled out the last stitchery block from Gail Pan's A Christmas Wish BOM. I've had the block prepped and sitting in the hoop since she published it a few months ago. I have a plan for the blocks now I need to execute it.
Who knows what I'll work on tomorrow? Mr. E will be here and I heard that tonight he stood without holding onto anything. I wonder if he'll do it for me . . .

Happy Stitching!
Sweet P

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Discipline and Miss P

I like to ponder words and their meanings. I guess all those hours of philosophy classes and exercises discussing words paid off. Paula at The Quilter wrote about her quilting discipline yesterday after reading a post at Living Life at Lee Haven. The posts got me thinking about discipline and where it fits in my creative life.

Websters.com has a whole page of definitions for discipline. A few of the meanings are negative:
  • punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
  • an instrument of punishment, esp. a whip or scourge, used in the practice of self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious communities.
  • to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.
I don't think punishment is what many of us have in mind when quilting.

My favorite definition is this one: an activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training.

I quilt or sew or crochet or stitch because my creative inner self (I call her Miss P) expects me to have the discipline to be creative every day; to push my skills a little further than the day before. Miss P can get rather indignant if I don't make the time to create something every day. Not every project has to be big and grand. Sometimes Miss P is satisfied with a well-cooked meal. Sometimes Miss P is satisfied with a small sewing project. Sometimes she gets pushy and demands a large project with a short time line to completion. Miss P doesn't mind UFO's, WIPs or WHIMMs. She doesn't mind a pile of fabric, a tumble of yarn skeins or a neatly wound box of embroidery floss. One morning she will tell me it's time to cut the fabric or crochet with the yarn or stitch with the gorgeous floss. All I can do is have the discipline to listen to her.

I satisfied Miss P with this finished crochet afghan yesterday.
I also satisfied her by taking my pantry from this . . .
To this . . .
Now Miss P is telling me it's time to end this post and get back to creating the matching booties for the afghan so I can send it off to the little lady it belongs to.

Have a great week!

Sweet P

Monday, January 04, 2010

Welcome 2010, SSCS Gifts and 2009 Recap

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. I truly did. DH and I had lots of Mr. E time, took a mini vacation to celebrate 11 years of being a couple and 3,100 days of being married and are easing back into the daily routine. Here are a few of of my highlights from the holidays.

Granny Loz was my SSCS partner. She sent me this gorgeous table runner.
It will be going on my studio table later today.
She also included a wonderful covered journal (I'm already using it for tracking yarn projects), a cute bottle tote and a small mat folded up like an envelope. Thank you, Granny Loz!
The Tuesday before Christmas my DIL and I took Mr. E for his first professional photo session at Picture People. Here are scans of two of the photos we purchased from them. I call this one his "Resume Photo" - anyone want to hire a precocious 9-month-old?
This close-up of him is to-die-for. Mommy chose this one to be done as a 10 x 13 inch photo with a black mat and frame. The photo is simply stunning.
We were lucky that mommy, daddy and Mr. E spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with us. On Christmas morning we had breakfast before opening any gifts. I call this photo "Got Presents?"
"Oh . . . there's presents in here!"
Our mini vacation took us to southern CT for some relaxing and casino time.
Here I am in the whirlpool tub with lots and lots of bubbles.

2009 Recap
In 2007 I started tracking how much time I spend creating and how much money I spend on creative tools (fabric, yarn, thread, etc). Yesterday I completed my 2009 spreadsheet and here are is a recap:

2009 Total Hours: 473.75 hours, an avg. of 39.48 hours a month or an avg. of 1.3 hours a day. My most productive month was October with 50.25 hours, least productive was January with 26.5 hours. My busiest day of the month was the 24th with a little over 2 hours a day spent creating. My slowest day of the month is the 9th with less than 30 minutes a day spent creating.

2009 Money Spent: $1,906.59, an avg. of $158.88 a month. That's not bad considering I work at a fabric and craft store. Of course, if I didn't have an employee discount the value would be higher.

2010 Ahead
I don't make resolutions. I go with the flow. However, today and tomorrow are holiday clean-up days and reorganizing. I'll be back tomorrow with an update on that process.

Sweet P