An Attitude of Gratitude

So early today morning my alarm rang, I snoozed. The alarm rang again, I snoozed again (What normal human being wakes up at the first ring of the alarm anyway?). Now on a regular day this ring-snooze-sleep cycle would continue unabated for anywhere between 30 to 50 minutes. On a regular day I would eventually wake up with enough time to spare. But today was not a regular day.

Continue reading “An Attitude of Gratitude”

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WIP Introduction – HAED #2

A couple of weeks ago I introduced you to the first HAED I ever purchased. Now although Serenity was the first one I purchased, it was not the first one I started stitching. Within 5 days of having bought my first HAED, I was forced (yes, forced! Shame on you HAED for putting out such irresistible baubles!) to purchase 2 more patterns. What sucked me in was one of HAED’s uber generous 50% off sales.

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Ramadan Kareem!

Muslims all over the world have started observing the holy month of Ramadan this week.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, believed to be when the Quran was revealed. It is a month steeped in prayer, fasting and charity for believers worldwide.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi

Continue reading “Ramadan Kareem!”

WIP Introduction – Heaven and Earth Designs #1

I had mentioned earlier that HAED was the primary cause for my steady decline into the cross stitch cesspool. Today I’d like to share with you the first HAED pattern I ever purchased.

For the longest time I have admired the work of Dona Gelsinger on the website. Her work to me is ethereal and carries a touch of magic.

The piece I fell in love with is, to me, the epitome of perfection. It has a child angel, pure and innocent (I believe we’ve already established my weakness for angels). It is set on a beach at sunset (Come on… that’s got to sell it for you right there. Who could possibly complain about a beach sunset?). It has a lighthouse of sorts (Can this piece get any better? O yes, it can!). To top it all off, the artwork features one of my favorite prayers of all time.

Okay enough buildup… Here is a picture of my very first HAED.

A Little Serenity by Dona Gelsinger (Picture Courtesy : HAED website)
A Little Serenity by Dona Gelsinger (Picture Courtesy : HAED website)

Those warm, autumnal tones, the golden glow of the setting sun, the delicately bowed head, the charming ruffled robe and those strong yet gentle feathers. My heart simply sighs in ecstasy every time I look at this.

I started stitching this on 01 January 2015 as part of a Facebook group SAL for the New Year (This was one of 4 large WIP’s I started that day. I know… worthy of being committed right?). I’m stitching it on a piece of 25 count evenweave I picked up while on holiday in Thailand. Talk about another reason to love this WIP. Every time I work on it I will be reminded of that wonderful trip. I am doing it 2 over 1 tent stitch and so far the coverage seems okay. I might have to increase to 3 strands for the darker colors but we’ll see when I get to those areas.

Once I had put in the required stitches to meet the SAL target I set the piece aside to work on other WIP’s. Here is a picture of where I stopped.

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Progress as of 13 June 2015

Just writing this post makes me want to pull it out and put in a few more stitches. I can’t wait until I can get back to this piece again. Do you have any tucked away pieces that are demanding some attention?

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WIP Introduction – Angel of Hope by Lavender and Lace

Today I want to share with you one of my many, many WIP’s which as the title of this post suggests is a Lavender and Lace pattern.

The late Marilyn Levitt Imblum, the artist behind Lavender and Lace, was a prolific and incredibly talented designer. Her portfolio includes everything from angels and Santas to ladies and children. Her figures are wistfully graceful often draped in flowing robes or gowns. While I am generally not a big fantasy buff, her angels certainly captured my heart. I was smitten at first sight and before I knew it, I was slowly but surely building up my collection.

One of the first angels I acquired was the Angel of Hope. Of all the L&L angels she is still one of my favorites. When I bought the pattern I was just getting my feet wet in the stash acquisition world. I was very careful about the purchase and thought long and hard before I committed to it. It was one of my very first online purchases and I lived in dread until the package finally reached me safe and sound a few weeks later. I was beyond thrilled when I received it and I distinctly remember some cooing and cuddling of the pattern before I put it away.

Angel of Hope by Lavender and Lace
Angel of Hope by Lavender and Lace

Another haul at roughly the same time had left me with a piece of 28 count Cashel linen that was big enough for this pattern if stitched over 1. It was not the color called for in the pattern but was dark enough that I felt all the white in the design would stand out more. I was also being very careful at the time about stash acquisitions because:

A) Lack of local options – I have no local stores I can visit and browse. There is only one store in my area that sells fabric in very limited counts and colors. But they are ridiculously over priced. I would much rather spend all that extra money on buying a few more patterns.

B) Unreliable online fabric swatches – I had to rely on online pictures of fabric swatches to judge the true color of the fabric. I wasn’t confident enough that anything I did pick would wind up looking the same in real life.

C) Astronomical shipping rates – The most reasonable source of supplies for me is the US. The rates there are far cheaper for me than any other country after factoring in the currency conversion rates. But often the shipping would cost more than the item thereby negating any savings I was making. Not to mention the shipping takes FOREVER! My larger packages from the US have taken up to 2 months to arrive! (I kid you not. You may now pick your jaw up off the floor). I’ve also had a package lost in the mail twice! O, the horror!

All things considered and being the cautious shopper I was back then, I wasn’t too keen on purchasing any new fabric for my Angel. I didn’t want to waste the fabric I already had and so decided to stitch the Angel of Hope on it rather than buy a whole new piece.

I put my first stitches in on the 20th of October, 2014. She is being stitched on 28 count cashel linen, full cross 1 over 1.

Fresh off the hoop after stitching on Day 1
Fresh off the hoop after stitching on Day 1

Much time has passed and since then I have turned over to the dark side and become a serial starter. My best (worst?!) day was when I started four (yes FOUR!!!!) projects in a single day. But more on that later.

Pretty soon my multitude of projects started to weigh on me. I felt like I was stitching and stitching but not making any progress. Most of my WIP’s were larger pieces and since I was switching back and forth so much I didn’t really have much progress to show on any one piece. I finally decided to make the Angel of Hope my focus piece. She was among my first starts and one of the smaller ones so hopefully I could manage a finish with her relatively soon. Once I made that decision and started concentrating on her it was like a weight had been rolled off my shoulders. It felt good to see how steadily she was growing and I was delighted to mark minor milestones like a wing or a neck or a sleeve. She is far from done but I do intend to keep working on her steadily. Here is my progress as of today.

Progress as of 06 June 2015
Progress as of 06 June 2015

Do you get overwhelmed too with multiple projects? How do you manage to keep the lack of finishes from bogging you down?

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