Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Stuff We Don't See At Home

Skip and I had a bit of shopping to do this morning. On the way off the island we stopped at a favourite nature area to see what birds we could see.


We immediately heard a great kiskadee and spotted a long-billed thrasher, a cardinal, a yellow-rumped warbler and a pewee of some kind.

I didn't have my good camera with me but got shots of a Cooper's Hawk,
a grey catbird,
a female hooded warbler,
and a great-tailed grackle.
Not bad for only 15 minutes of birding.
Happy to be back in the Rio Grande Valley

We then made our way to Walmart for some shopping. There, I snagged a couple of these.
They're in the little freezer in our hotel room as I write this. Lunch followed at one of our favourite restaurants, Mexiquito (May-hee-KEE-toh).
We read the local paper, the Coastal Current, while we waited for our tacos. We noted that we don't see ads like this in the Globe or the Star back home.

 Back at the hotel (La Quinta) I noticed one of the inlaid mosaics in front of the elevator.
We are located right on the beach (Gulf side) so a marine theme is seen throughout. It's going to be a fun two weeks.

Almost As Long As Flying to Australia

Yesterday morning Skip and I got up bright and early (4:30am) at our airport hotel in Buffalo so we could catch a flight down to Brownsville TX. As one can't fly directly to south Texas, we had two scheduled stops at Chicago/O'Hare (ORD) and George Bush International in Houston (IAH). Our  United flight to Chicago was like clockwork and, as the flight attendant commented, we enjoyed a 'textbook landing'. We had over 3 hours as a stopover 'til our connection to IAH and easily found the appropriate gate.

At boarding time, we were informed that there would be a delay because the two front tires of the aircraft were being changed. Once that was done, we got all boarded only to be told that there was a problem fueling the plane and there would be a further delay. We were told to deplane. People (like us) who had connecting flights were told to go down to the customer service area to see about getting on another flight to IAH or our final destination. There we were told to go back to our gate and await further instructions. Back at the gate we were told that the customer service people shouldn't have sent us back but they helped us anyway. It was only 2pm by this point and we had 'til 9pm to get make the last flight to Brownsville and were told to wait and see if another plane could be found to take us to IAH. Alternately, the guy at the gate found us flights on American Airlines that would take us to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and then on to Brownsville (BRO) at 10:30pm.

We decided not to wait to see if a plane could be found with United and made our way to American Airlines to get our tickets. Once there, 2 terminals away on foot,. we were informed that United didn't properly cancel our flights and AA couldn't ticket us until they did. So back we walked (with our carry ons and personal bags) to United and got released from our reservations and the information was sent American Airlines. Back we walked to AA again where the very helpful agent got our tickets and boarding passes organized. My iPhone reported that we had walked over 8,000 steps so far that day.

We then made our way to the AA gate to await boarding and our new flight to DFW. From there on, everything went like clockwork. Then our only concern was being able to pick up the rental car in Brownsville as our flight was scheduled to arrive at 12:09am and the rental place was scheduled to close at midnight. I called the rental place and was told to call Expedia  (with whom we had booked the flight/hotel/car package) who would then call the car rental in Brownsville and let them know we were going to be late and to wait for us to arrive so we could get our car. There are only 2 gates at the Brownsville airport so they would be well aware of the arrival of our flight from DFW.

The Health app on my iPhone:
So in spite of spending a lot of time sitting on our butts waiting, we did get a lot of steps in walking back and forth to customer service desks and gates.

You may be wondering about our checked luggage? Fortuitously, it had travelled from BUF to ORD on an earlier flight than we were on and it made its way to Brownsville by 5:25pm. (Travel tip - download the airline's app on your device so you can track your luggage, get flight updates, etc.). So through all of this, we at least knew our luggage would be waiting for us in BRO when we got there 6 hours later. In fact, somehow they knew we were coming in on AA and the United folks had put it at the AA luggage pick up.

The car rental pickup went smoothly. The only annoying thing was that Skip wasn't allowed to be the 2nd driver because he had a different surname than I do - even though we reside at the same address. I will be sending Dollar Rentals a scathing letter to inform them that this is the 21st Century and people do not necessarily change their surnames upon marriage. But I digress.

Those who know me well know that I totally rely on GPS navigation so I had packed my device at the top of my suitcase so it would be easily accessible. With our luggage stowed and GPS installed we made our way to South Padre Island in the blackness of night - 1pm by this point. We might have encountered a half a dozen cars along the 30km route. We were checked in and ready for bed by 2pm. Taking account that we had turned our watches back another hour when we crossed into Central time, we had been up, in motion, on the road, waiting for flights, or in the air for 23 hours. I believe it doesn't take that long to fly to Australia.

It is sunny and 28C today.
We have one more day to recover and then we'll be going on a birding trip up the valley to Estero Llano Grande State Park with our birding friends.

Monday, 21 October 2019

Organizing "Fancy Floss"

I have started accumulating quite a stash of hand-dyed floss - mostly Gentle Art Sampler Threads (GAST) and Weeks Dye Works (WDW). They're a bit unruly to use and I was starting to get a real tangled mess on my hands. Trish from my Monday morning stitching group suggested getting the snack-sized ZipLoc bags from the dollar store ($1.25 here in Canada).

I punched a hole in each bag and used a reinforcement around each hole. I wrote the colour name on each one with a Sharpie - making sure the pen marking wouldn't rub off - it doesn't.

In fairly short order I had all the GAST and WDW flosses organized.
I now keep them in this pseudo-book that I picked up at Michaels.


I have a couple of random skeins loose in the bottom from Classic Colorworks but the two rings of GAST and WDW fit nicely on top.

I'm doing another model stitch for Teresa Kogut. It arrived last Friday and I started right in on it. It has a very large red brick house in the centre that I've been working away on. The fabric is 40ct Legacy Linen that looks like it's been tea dyed. As a result it's really 42ct. I'm stitching 1 over 2.

Here are the fabric and threads. There are two skeins of almost every colour. All but two colours are hand-dyed so the dimension will be amazing.
And here are the skeins all organized.
I'm using double magnification to stitch this. The 3x magnification of my Magni-Clips  plus the 1.75x of the magnifier on my OTT lite.

I'm looking forward to getting the big house in the centre done so I can start in on the flora and fauna of the rest of the piece. It's called 'Heaven and Nature" and I think it will be a big seller for Teresa.

Friday, 18 October 2019

I Need to Spend More Time in My Craft Room/Office

The last few days I've been finding UFOs under things, in piles, and behind things in my craft room. Today I found a bag of stuff I'd bought on my NY state road trip with my stitcherly friends last July. It was like Christmas again! Especially since 4 of that gang are on their way to a sampler workshop by Catherine Theron in Horseheads NY as I write this. (We're texting back and forth as they make their way there).

Look what I found!

A whole bag of 'loot' from A Stitcher's Garden. Several fabric remnants, a JBW pattern of a lobster and sea turtle (turtles are my third favourite animal), and a Plum Street Sampler pattern with all the 'fancy floss'!
Every colour is there except for Hickory Sticks which I already have in my stash.
For storing my fancy floss (aka hand-dyed threads) it has been suggested that I get the snack size Ziploc bags. It will keep them a bit neater than just on rings.

The fabric remnants are perfect for some of the smaller projects I hope to stitch. I love that the proprietor of A Stitcher's Garden writes down the name, count, colour, and size of the fabric. I have so much trouble remembering what fabric I'm using once I've finished a project.

I also found these things I got at another store.
I wonder what else I'll find in there.


Wednesday, 16 October 2019

A Wee, Felted Ornament

Someone (altho' I don't remember who) recently gave me a little kit for a felted, wool ornament. The felt is very thin. The cat appliqué had already been cut out and the cuff, heel and toe were already glued into place and ready for embellishing.

I did a leaf-like lazy daisy stitch on the cuff, heel and toe. I then appliquéd the cat in place. Then I attached the back to the front of the stocking with a buttonhole stitch.
It didn't take very long and I have another finished piece.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Three More Projects

I stitched this little piece the other night. It's Pumpkin from JBW French Country IV. 
It's stitched on 28 count mystery linen from my stash with one strand of WDW Sweet Potato over 1 thread. I have always liked how JBW designs incorporate little elements within the bigger piece. See the squirrel, birds, basket, jack o' lantern, cat, acorns, heart, etc? Not sure how I will finish it.
I unearthed this piece the other day. All the cross-stitching had been done and about half of the stars. It's actually called 'Stars' by Drawn Thread. I love Drawn Thread patterns as they usually incorporate a few specialty stitches.
The red ones are Leviathan stitches. There were 4 sizes of gold stars. I used a brighter gold colour than called for in the pattern as the original colour was too dull for my liking. She's holding the Extra Large star in her right hand and a Large star in her left. The Medium and Small stars are also shown.
I just need 6 4mm buttons that are attached to the climbing vines between the houses. Barb and I are visiting our LYS tomorrow so I hope to pick them up then. I have plans to frame this in the near future.
I had a hankering to do some Hardanger last week so whipped up this piece on some Monaco remnant. The red perle cotton was in my stash so I only needed to buy #5 green to finish it up. There are supposed to be gold beads in the white squares in the centre but I didn't have them in my stash so will find something suitable. It measures 4" across. I'm not sure how I'm going to FFO it.
Tomorrow night at guild I'm doing a little demo on how to make cording using various items around the house. I need to start gathering up all the stuff I'll need.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Feeling Better

I caught a cold last week and spent most of Friday to yesterday (Sunday) either in bed or napping on the sofa.

I had to miss stitching this morning so I could sleep in and didn't want to spread my germs. I have my spinning and weaving guild meeting on Wednesday and a stitching day chez moi on Thursday.

While I was clearing off the dining room table aka, my sewing area aka Geri's Sweat Shop, I found the sheepy pincushion that I needed to finish up. I had already stitched the heart on the square and attached the button with some matching red thread. I just needed to sew 1/4" seam around the two pieces of wool leaving a gap for stuffing it with fibrefill and crushed walnut shells - all of which came with the little kit. I got all the sewing and stuffing done and just needed to do the buttonhole stitching around the edge and got that done during the Federal Leader's Debate this evening.
It's simply two squares of wool fabric. The back is plain.
Thank you again, Marilyn for giving me the little kit.
I finally bought the frame for Cinnamon Stars. The stitched piece measured 5 3/4" x 9 1/2" - not quite right for an 8 x 10 frame. Then I realized there were frames for 8 1/2" x 11" documents. I saw this one at the $1.25 store and it came with a mat. The actual frame was 11 x 14 with with the 8 1/2 x 11 mat. I'm happy with the proportions. I struggled with signing it and finally gave up so will put a sticker on the back of the frame with the particulars.
I put batting on foamcore that fit the frame and pinned the stitching into the edges. I also used two-sided tape on the back of the foamcore to anchor the loose edges. I'm glad I had a 3" margin all around because I needed every bit when using the mat.

I love the little pumpkin button I used.
Kim at Kimat designs had many shapes and sizes to choose from. This was it before I sewed it on.
I should have waited 'til daytime to take these pics but I couldn't wait. I'm happy to have another finish (FFO).