Thursday, March 22, 2012

I am better at thinking them up than getting them done

I have been thinking about what the goal of this whole project really is. If it's finishing things, then I'm toast. If, however, it's STARTING things - well, then, I'm good to go. I've got a dress without a skirt and a skirt without a waistband both sitting next to my sewing machine, which is unfortunately on the table where we attempt to eat dinner every night. I've got a pattern cut and waiting that's been cut and waiting since LAST SUMMER. I had this noble idea that I was going to finish a whole outfit this week, which I have off because of spring break. I can barely get my dishes washed and the recycling out of the damn house.

In spite of all this, I have accomplished a few things that I am going to let stand towards my total. First and foremost, I don't have pictures of the cooking things because I don't have five hands. So you'll have to imagine the St. Paddy's dinner I made: braised lamb shanks with pan sauce, tatties and neeps (mashed potatoes and turnips with cream), whole wheat soda bread, and not-quite-Carbomb cupcakes. These last were not-quite because I don't keep Irish cream liqueur in the house (I will consume it like I eat popcorn - absentmindedly in a single sitting) so the frosting was just whiskey buttercream. But I think that's worth #'s 9 and 10, at least - for dinner and dessert, right? I had to try a couple new techniques - I've never braised anything bone-in before. And the cupcakes had a new ganache. To top it all off, even though it was Saturday and I was off all day, I am not terribly efficient while cooking, and I gave myself a goal of finishing it all before 5 p.m. because we had tickets to a show that started at 7. I was done by 5:30 and we made it to to our seats with time to spare.

I called finished on the postcard project even though I didn't finish it. The last week slid right past me, and then another week, and once we were solidly into March I figured it wasn't really worth it anymore. Still, since week 3 was all handpainted cards, I decided a pat on the back was still in order. Postcard project is officially number 11, and my apologies to the seven who never received their final card. By far the nicest payoff for this particular project was getting a postcard back from C., who lauded the idea while she visited at the beginning of February.

And now onto the things I DID do!
I have had this Western style dress for HRH for about a year and half, always with the intention of embroidering it. When I bought it, it was two and half sizes too big. Now it's verging on uh-oh, maybe you should wear that before we have to send it back from whence it came (the White E for anyone who's interested.)
I did the roses on the front first. I don't love the leaves on these ones, but at least I got them even.
I asked the girl what she wanted on the back, and told her more roses were already in the works. She requested a butterfly. I spent about a day looking around on the Internet for one that I liked, then I spent another two or three hours getting the layout of this just right. The metallic thread I used for the body of the butterfly is evil, and looks wonky, and you will notice that I managed to stitch the whole thing askew, but all in all, I like the way this came out.

everything in my house is covered in cat hair

I feel like I get a little bit better with every stitching project I do. For the embroidery nerds out there, I like stem stitch the best for outlining and I am less afraid of satin stitch than I was. I used a tiny bit of backstitch to outline the upper wing of the butterfly, but that's it. Amazing what you can accomplish with a limited repertoire. And that seals up 12.

Finally, it's boring, but I might be proudest of this:

Yes, those are Ziploc freezer bags. It took my two episodes of Downton Abbey to cut those to size, triple tape the ends, punch appropriate holes, and get them in this binder, which is also from the White E. I wish they didn't have the logo on the front, but I can still see the patterns ok:
Eventually I want to have a separate Ziploc for each of my transfers, but I just got a few new ones and they are currently doubled up until I get another Downton Abbey disc from Netflix and so have something to occupy my head while I do the utterly numbing cut, tape, punch, fill.
For the PDF patterns I got plastic sleeves. I don't think I'll even have to take them out to trace, which is a bonus.
Yesterday HRH and I went to buy a new hoop - I needed a huge one for a delusion of grandeur that I am sure will not see completion - and HRH wanted to buy some new floss. I pointed out that I always just end up buying the same ones, and she implied maybe I could do something about that, like writing down the ones I have so I can get new ones that I don't. Coincidentally, when I got my newest patterns, they sent a DMC order sheet with all the colors they make conveniently organized by color number. It was a simple matter this morning to sit down with the order sheet and my floss box and mark which ones I have. I slipped it, too, into a plastic sleeve, and now I can pop it out and bring it with me when I get the urge to buy new colors. Like, always.

This marvel of organization (shut up, it's not something that comes naturally to me!) is my lucky 13, folks. That's a quarter of the way there!

Not affliated, of course, because why would I be?, but I'mma drop big props to the awesome places I get my patterns: I'm sure you all know about Sublime Stitching, and probably also Colonial Patterns (Aunt Martha and the new Stitchers Revolution), but I'm also enamored of Sew Lovely Embroidery and Urban Threads. I wish I could remember where the butterfly came from so I could give credit there, too.

That's it for now, kiddies. Hopefully I'll have something else fab for you really soon!

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