Friday, July 30, 2010

Relaxing weekend

I did manage to do more than stitch last weekend as I recuperated from the conference.On Saturday we visited the Brauer Museum of Art at Valparaiso University. Wow! We were blown away by the huge exhibit going on now through August 8 featuring African artifacts. It was almost overwhelming. There was so much to see. Definitely worth a visit if you can get there.On Sunday we went out to Lubeznik gallery. They have several new exhibits worth seeing there.While I was waiting in the car for hubby to take a photo, I spotted these striking leaves and took my own picture. I'm thinking long and short stitch. I never would have done it quite this dramatically.After the doctor's on Monday, we went out to the Hammond Marina to walk along the lakefront. I spotted these flowers on the way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Conference pix

Since it was so much of my life the last few months, here are a couple of photos from the banquet at the end of last week's conference. Above is the decimated table after dinner. We went to Phoenix Restaurant in Chicago's Chinatown. (I can't link to it tonight, not sure what's up.) Wine figured prominently--there were many, many toasts!
Here's the group from my table: Ning, Ruoying, me, Cheryl, Joe and Zhimin. Lee didn't make it into the picture, nor did Cat, Bill or Hannah (who was taking the photo). Look at those smiles! I had an 80 hour week and mine was probably among the shortest. I'm missing everyone this week.This is Hannah, Bill and Cat from the beginning of the evening. It was a great treat to have them join us--they were only in town for a few days. We had a great visit.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Getting back on track

I had a quiet weekend after the fun of the conference. I was really pleased (and rather surpised) I made it through the long week in good shape. I began these two ornaments during the conference and finished them up Saturday. Their for our sale area at our guild show in October.I'm still getting ready for the upcoming stash sale at House of Stitches and in my cleaning I came across a kit for this ornament. Instead of putting it into the sale pile, I stitched it Saturday night and Sunday.I had some extra time Monday, waiting in a doctor's office for hubby, and got this one going. I finished it last night.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Not much stitchin' getting done...

I'm run ragged. Day 4 of the endless conference is nearly over. We've had our glitches, and an endlessly changing schedule, but mostly it's going well. So far my days have been about 14 hours per. About what I expected. I'm getting very tired.I did complete this felted ornament while waiting. Events like this are endless waiting--waiting for caterers, participants, hired cars, computer techs, etc., to show. I have two more ornaments well under way. I brought along a bunch of things to do, but these ornaments are easy to pick up and put down.

In a way I feel like I'm on a vacation. I'm not paying attention to anything but what I'm doing at work, so I'm ignoring household chores. I'm skipping my morning walks (I'm getting plenty of walking time in). This is certainly not my usual routine--there is no routine for my days except get here early and leave late and do what needs to be done. And I'm eating restaurant food for all of my meals. Sounds like vacation to me!(I took this pic last Sunday. It's been hot all week and the flowers are already fading.)

The food is a fun part--I ordered lunches and dinners from my favorite local Hyde Park restaurants and caterer. I picked the menus (except for one meal that was selected by a speaker who ended up breaking his foot and not making it for lunch). We've had Chicago Deep Dish pizza (Pizza Capri), Middle Eastern (Nile), French (La Petite Folie), Chicago thin-crust pizza (Medici), local catering (Catering Out the Box), Yuppie sandwiches (Z&H Market cafe), Caribbean (Calypso), yum! All my favorites and I don't have to pay!Last weekend I played with sequin waste, trying to find a style I like with it. I started a pile of bookmarks and finished stitching six. I still need to cover the backs with something and add tassels.I took this picture of our tomato crop last weekend, too. We've enjoyed these beauties already.This image may look cool and inviting, but it's been beastly hot. I took this very early in the morning last weekend.

Saturday, July 17, 2010


We received bounty from my brother and sister-in-law's garden. Zucchini and yellow squash, broccoli, and onions all went into Sunday night's dinner. One of the squash had this lovely blossom. We still have a bit more, green beans, basil and tender lettuce.These are some gifts my niece brought back from Japan for me. I love these clever designs with toothpicks. When I was in college, I always had a pair of chopsticks in my car glove box, for when I "had to" make a mad dash to Chinatown. The larger paper is a very cool way to store them. The toothpick wraps are charming origami.I believe the embroideries are meant to be used as coasters. They're far to pretty. I'll figure out something else or just enjoy them as I am right now.Another view of the squash blossom. What my photographs didn't capture was it's translucence and fragility. It looks rather sturdy here. I think I shall have to plant squash next year.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Well, not really, still. Long work hours and stress are taking their toll. The week-long conference is next week. Still plenty to do. And I'm working on the next one, for September I keep thinking, this is not my "real" work, not what I need to be doing. I need to be doing annual reports and writing grants. Maybe the week after next. I think I've survived fiscal year end, something to be proud of!

I spent many long hours last weekend vegging out to a Dr. Who marathon on tv (thanks to hubby who spotted it on Saturday). It was all the 1oth Doctor, David Tennant. All of the many episodes we saw were new to me--our local station runs Dr. Who too late at night for me to watch. It was just great. (can you believe it--Dr. Who and profiteroles in the same weekend!)So, while I was sitting there, I spent hours cutting up sequin waste into bits and shapes. My explorations were based on an article from Stitch magazine last fall. I plan to come up with some viable designs and use them for ornaments to teach at the YMCA in November. I'm not happy with my ornament, but I do like the bookmark. I think I need to find a happy medium between no stitch and too much.And I'm crocheting away on my second tote to be felted. It's gotten to the strange lumpy shape stage. I was rather anxious about the first one when it hit this stage, but it turned out fine, so I'm calmer now. It keeps my hands busy and lets my brain disengage. I do a row or two a night.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Party Time

Last weekend it was Party Time at my sister's. She's a great hostess and we had a great time celebrating Hannah and Bill's visit home (too short!) and Kim and Dan's 25th wedding anniversary.Typical of my family's celebrations, the dessert table held much more than the counter with "real" food--although that was in abundance, too. The dark thing in the middle is the remains of a pan of very good brownies. Not shown: banana ice cream and banana-caramel cheesecake. One of the guests is very fond of banana. That's my hubby in the background, in awe. (he doesn't touch sugar or wheat flour so he just looked. That may have been shock more than awe.)This is Matt making the profiteroles. Anyone who bakes like this will be a welcome addition to family events! They were yummy. And he made it look so easy!This is my niece.And these are my nephews and my other niece. It was nice to see them all together (a rare treat) and get hugs. More of the crew:Sister Kim's husband chatting with his daughter Hannah's husband.Nephew Pat, sister, and sister-in-law, Nan. Time to take off the apron and join in the party.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


A couple of weeks ago on our road trip my sister and I stopped in at a quilting shop (of course!) and I got this pattern and wool. I sat in the motel room and cut out ornament pieces and am beginning to put them together.They're going quickly, since all of the pieces are cut out already. I made the one above mostly at the doctor's office and at Tuesday's guild meeting.They're for the ornament sale table at our the guild's upcoming show. I dropped the one above off on Tuesday night.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I spent most of the holiday weekend finishing up the kitting for the crewel class and working up a couple of teaching samples. Here are the finished kits all piled up (and slipping off the chair). I was proud of the kits.

Teaching the class on Tuesday, not so much. I don't feel bad about what I did, just what I didn't get a chance to get to. I know the window of opportunity at these workshops is very short so I focused on finishing since I knew most of the students were vaguely familiar at least with most of the stitches..

I reviewed the kit contents and instructions quickly and then only talked about finishing. By the time I went around the group, the first people were packing up to leave and I never did get to go on about stitching (oh and I can go on about it!) I tried to make the instructions really complete so they'll be fine on their own, but, still...As part of my working on finishing models, I took lots of photos of the process of making a lined pocket. You can use this same technique for finishing holiday stockings and other open top items. I hope to use the photos to get a short tutorial up soon. I haven't done one lately and want to.

Right now it's all about work and getting ready for 50 conference participants in a week.

Monday, July 5, 2010

around the garden

They're pretty much impossible to see but there are really baby robins in that nest in that tree in our neighbor's front yard. They're so cute!My hubby took over, since I never got to it, and got and planted some cherry tomatoes in our pots--we already have a couple of little ones growing!I love the phlox--especially when their purples and whites are blooming at the same time as our tiger lilies in their bright orange. The tigers haven't popped quite yet ,but the phlox are just getting going. They're early.We keep milkweed for the butterflies--they love them. I do, too.The passion flowers are also blooming early. They're just the strangest flowers! I'd never seen them until we moved into this house. 30 years ago this winter. wow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy July Fourth

Wishing you a safe holiday weekend.I hope you're all enjoying this long weekend as much as I am!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

not really stitching

Work is nuts at the moment and taking all of my energy. What's left over is used up getting ready for classes--I teach the crewel chatelaine at the top of this page Tuesday, July 6 and I just submitted a flier and models (thanks to Jamee) for this fall's outreach classes at the YMCA. On the road trip last weekend, I began a second crochet tote. This one also uses leftover yarns. The bottom's done and I'm starting up the sides. It's for a friend.

Even my morning walks are getting to be more erratic. Most mornings I spread almond butter on toast and toss it in the car as I walk really fast and then jump in the car and head off to work (I wait 'till I get to work and am at my desk to eat). I'm trying to get in by 8 a.m. these days. If I need to be here much earlier, I tend to skip the walk, sad to say (although I often make up for it later in the day, having to walk across campus for something or other). I am soooo not a morning person!
A couple of weekends ago I managed couple of hours with this piece. I did the top pine needle spray. The plum blossoms have me a bit skittish. Several years ago I had major problems with them. (throw the piece away, there is no hope for this problems). I did make it to First Thursday--our monthly Japanese Embroidery stitch-in at the Hyde Park Art Center (come by and visit, we'd love to see you). It saved my sanity this week. I've been working on the clover leaves, which by now are somewhat bomb proof (which is good because we had a really enthusiastic children's yoga class in the room adjacent to ours this week). I've decided to remove the blue flower. I just don't like the way it's stitched and will be happier redoing it. My research assistant said I always look so calm and happy after these classes.

Friday, July 2, 2010

90th Birthay Party

Last weekend my sister and I took a long weekend and drove to Ohio to Party! Aunt Jane turned 90 and her kids (all of them and there are many) held a party, really a series of parties, in her honor.First, there was a gathering at a cousin's house with barbecue and conversation. People dropped in as they arrived. Then there was a reception the next day (after lovely long conversations around the breakfast table at the motel). (that's my sister on the right at the barbecue, with a cousin on the left.)And last there was a formal dinner--and of course more birthday cake. These are a few of the grandchildren and one great grandchild (there are many of them, too, just not in this picture). The big guy holding the baby is his dad, just back from deployment overseas (as in just back that day, big welcome back celebration for him). I don't know if he'd seen this child before or not (I suspect not) but he did not let go of him all night.

And, yes, that cake had 90 candles on it, all lit.