Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Memorial weekend at the yurt (PICTURE HEAVY)

For Memorial Day this year we joined our good friends at the Eagle River Nature Center at a yurt they had rented for the holiday. We just spent the afternoon (not enough room for us to stay all night) and it was raining so we just gathered together and had fun watching the Eagle River flow by.  It was a lot of fun and the company was awesome.
So the ERNC is about 10 miles from our house and is one edge of the Chugach State Park. There are 10 miles of trails that start there and many different views to be seen. We hiked in about 2 miles or so to one of several yurts available to rent in the Park.
 At the turn in the path we came across the notice that bears had been seen in that area the day prior. They are all around out there but the particular path we were on runs by the river and in August every year it is closed due to high bear activity as that is when the salmon runs are ending and they can get lots of salmon little effort. They are very territorial when food is scarce and the sign says two bears (grizzlies) were acting aggressively toward each other in that area.  All the years I have lived here I still am not fond of the bears. Brisk walking on towards the yurt for me.
 picture taken from the yurt down to the river, the rope is necessary as it is steeper than it looks and there are lots of rocks to slip on in the rain.
 the yurt. this is one of the smaller yurts, sleeps 4 it says-2 bunks, 2 on the floor. It has open screened windows that overlook the river.
 The path behind the yurt. Rock as far as you care to walk.
 The small green box on the right of the picture is the food storage away from the yurt. It is bear proof  for all the edible stuff to go at night.
 Coffee is a necessity for some of us and our friends teenager brought his Miniexpresso machine.  I just had to laugh. Nothing like expresso in the woods.
 We had planned to do a fire pit but the rain kept us inside. The park supplies the wood. We cooked our food over Sterno ovens and were careful to keep all the food away from the Yurt as much as possible. Bears have a strong sense of smell....we did cook S'mores over the sterno oven with metal tongs the Park provided in the Yurt. We made sure that all the crumbs were cleaned up and got the dog to do a final pass through for crumbs around the camp.

 Another shot of the Eagle River. It is glacier fed that is why the gray color to it. It is a fast moving river with rapids that are not for the faint of heart or untrained.
 Outhouse not far from the camp. With bears around I am afraid it would not be a trip I would be making at night.
 I love the mist over the mountains. Am always fascinated by watching it.

So no stitching on this trip but thought you might like to see a little bit of my corner of Alaska. Next update will have stitching updates I promise. I am off to stitch and hope you have lots of stitchy time in your day. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Stash Enhancement

I have gotten just a couple of new things in the mail. I am only getting small items or things that might be gifts for some of my favorite stitchers. I am quite taken with the small kits by Cherished Stitches. I am currently using the Winter one as my travel around so I got the Spring one as next up in the travel bag.
I love to shop Etsy especially for handmade stitching accessories. The fob is from TJB Designs

TJB designs on etsy

Next on Etsy I found this lovely Bird Needlebook. I loved the soft colors and the line drawing effect. The name of the Shop I found it at is Country Garden. Lovely items to look at there as well. The kit is the next in the Cherished Stitches Kit A Spring Gathering continuing on with the bird theme. These are fun stitches that have lots of nice colors and come with all you need including the fabric for finishing. Great to grab and go.
Country Garden needle book and Cherished Stitches Spring Gathering Kit

And last but not least is the next installment of Shepherd's Bush Fold a needleroll. It is the same lovely colors as the rest of the items in this series. These are another quick take along size pattern and easy to finish especially for someone like me whose is finishing challenged.
Shepherd's Bush Fold addition

Well that is it for today. Have you found any stitch related great finds lately. Feel free to share in the comments. I love looking at new items to help with our great hobby. Hope you find some stitchy time in your day, Marjo

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A whole lot of stitching going on (from last year)

For some reason I wrote this post last year and never posted it. This is from our last stitching retreat that our little stitching group had last year. I wanted to share all the wonderful work that my friends were stitching on.

Retreat!!!!! Instead of a call to move back this was a long awaited call to dig in and stitch, stitch, stitch and stitch we did. There were finishes. There always are even when we have gone to one day retreats. I seem to always be working on such large things that finishes are few and far between for me but I love to see all of the ones everyone else has accomplished. It is always fun and inspiring to be with this bunch of ladies.

Kay's Rosewood Manner 

close up of darning pattern

Kay and her start on the darning pattern by Drawn Thread I think

Spring Quaker by Rosewood Manor

Jeannette and her progress

Gretchen hard at work on her blue and white piece

Joan stitching on the bunny

Joan's Homespun Elegance design bunny from a pillow 

One of the Bride's tree ornaments

Map Of USA update

Besides stitching we had great food with everyone contributing something special. We never have to worry about running out of food.
I took the map and was pleased to be able to spend some concentrated time stitching on it. I also took the Home Ornament that I wanted to finish since I had gotten the threads I needed. I also took a long time WIP that I really want to get done for myself but didn't spend a lot of time with it because I really want to get the gift stitching done. Like many people there is so much to stitch and so little time in the day to get it all done. For me it is soothing, for the most part anyway.
We had a great day. Lots of laughter, and for real a whole lot of stitching going on.
Hope you have a day full of stitchy time.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Long overdue, stitching updates

I have so much to update since last I posted to my poor neglected blog. Life has been crazy busy and it has just gotten in the way of my doing several of the things I love and so I am resolving to add more of the things I love back into my life and that includes my stitching and writing about my stitching, and seeing what everyone else is posting about their stitching.
I still stitch with my wonderful stitching group every Thursday evening. I love those ladies. We are all quite different but I enjoy every minute I spend with them and look forward to it every week. I just got back from the beach where I got some stitching time (among other fun things) with my best friend of many years. I am blessed.
Sue Hillis Map of USA on 36 ct with DMC
So to the MAP. Yes, I am still working on it. I have stitched on it almost exclusively since I got the pattern but it is a half yard of 36 count and it is slow going. I am excited to say I am nearing the light at the end of the tunnel. Please ignore the wrinkles but this was just a quick photo as I move the q-snaps. I still have a lot left to do but compared to where I was I have come a long way. I was able to show it to the recipient and she was thrilled and we were able to iron out some of the personalization that she wanted done. It is definitely a labor of love.

last section finished
last section to go
I was not able to stitch on the map on the airplane, too big, too afraid to get it dirty and not enough light so I pulled out a small travel project that I keep with me. I still don't travel with scissors. I just don't trust loosing them in security so I am challenged by keeping up with cutting the threads on an airplane. I had a small needle threader I had gotten as a free gift from The Silver Needle in a mail order long ago that I kept for that purpose as it had a small cutting edge on it. It is missing in action buried in my still messy stitching room. Hope to spend some time this holiday weekend working in there. This is Winter Wonders by Cherished stitches that I worked on during the plane ride back to Alaska from our vacation. Fun stitch.
Winter Wonders by Cherished Stitches
 and the progress after the next leg. I am so excited to get back to the blog. I hope to keep up more often with updates. I hope you too have some stitchy time in your day.   Marjo

Sunday, October 12, 2014

More organizing going on

My stitching room is a shambles, and that is being polite. I have been working for a long time to get it cleaned up and straightened out. It isn't easy. I posted a few days ago that I had made some progress. One of the things I did manage to do was to get a good start on getting my threads organized and a very small start with my charts. As far as the threads were concerned I had originally had them on large rings alphabetically and then stored in a box that was lined in acid free material. I was not happy with that but it worked until I found something I liked better. I decided to go with the floss away bags and some pretty boxes I got with coupons from Joann's.

 The floss away bags fit perfectly inside the box and the box was big enough to hold my entire collection of Cresent Colors silks Belle Soie and the Cotton colors in a second one. The lid closes magnetically and I will label the end of the box so I know which box hold which threads.
 Once I figured out the boxes were a good size for the floss away bags I made several trips to Joann's to stock up. After all I still have GAST and WDW plus some NPI and AVAS silks to sort and store somewhere. I am thinking these boxes will work just fine for all my threads. They fit nicely on my restored shelving cabinet that lives in my stitching room.

I have finally gotten a small bookshelf moved into the room and placed in the closet so I can move all my needlework related books in there. I have a four draw filing cabinet to be moved next and that will take its  place next to the bookshelf in the closet. I am sorting my charts by designer to be filed in the drawers for easy access. I am using 3in wide hanging file folders that have been reinforced to hold all the charts and kits. Then I will either use the top drawer for WIP storage or the large trunk that I used to carry all my stuff back and forth to college to store them. Just depends on how much room I need in the file cabinet. My fear is that I will need a second file cabinet. 
I have gotten rid of most of the fabric that I had purchased over the years. I am not a sewer but a stitcher and really there was no need to think this was going to change any time soon. I save a good bit but I got rid of 4 boxes of fabric. I will probably end up weeding out even more. 
Next comes sorting out the magazines that I have collected over the years. I am not getting rid of all of them because I like going back and looking at them but really I have more than is even reasonable
mostly because I have several that people have given me as they have moved out of state. I gave 4 large rubbermaid boxes to a lady who took over running a stitching group for the local homeschoolers but still the number I have is overwhelming. I am keeping Stoney Creek, Piecework, Inspirations, a few Just Cross Stitch, all my SANQ and a few others that have patterns I particularly like. Jane Greenoff had a magazine for a while that I especially liked and the few copies of it that I own I plan to keep as well. The others are going to new homes or the recycle as a last resort. The large repurposed cabinet  (a gift from a friend moving out of state) has sections on the bottom that will hold the magazines I plan to keep and if not I have found some white wooden magazine holders that will work just fine. I hope to make a dent in that chore this weekend. 
 I have almost finished sorting the cross stitch fabric. I am rehoming some of that as well. It is sorted by count into big versions of the boxes I bought for thread. I will stack those under my open sewing machine and will be able to look for the size fabric count I want in a short check as opposed to hunting for hours for that "piece I know I bought" somewhere in that room. 
I already have a cozy chair and decent lighting so that is a plus. Once it is straightened up it will be a cozy place to do my favorite thing stitch. 
So there you have my current plan for digging out the stitching room for those that asked. When it is all done I will take pictures. Before shots would be just too embarrassing. 
Hope this weekend brings lots of stitchy time to your day. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Denali in the Fall

Every year we try to visit Denali National Park in the Fall. Having lived most of my life where there are 4 seasons it was a  huge change to come somewhere that has very lopsided seasons with Winter being the longest and Spring and Fall lasting a short time if we are lucky..some years they have lasted less than a week. There is not much easing in and out of our winters but summer is almost always worth it. For me to get my color fix for Fall we tend to head to the Mountain.
We were able to stay at a different hotel this year. We were lucky enough to win the road lottery so we could drive our car through and linger wherever we wanted to as we drove. We have won the road lottery many times and we never get tired of the drive. Always something beautiful to see.

We realized too late that we had forgotten our flashlights and realized that we probably needed to make more noise than we normally would as we walked in the pitch black back to our hotel room at night. Since the hotels cater to the tourists parking is not well provided for and we often have to park far from our room no matter where we stay. We are some loud sober people walking back to the room when we can't see what is out there with us.

This grizzly was asleep outside the building at the stop we made at Toklat River. I say building but in reality it is a large tent right on the river where there is a ranger and a small bookstore (we always hit all the bookstores). He was far too close for comfort for me and we looked at him from the car after this picture was taken. He on the other hand seemed totally oblivious of all the people gawking at him and was more interested in digging up roots to eat. Thank goodness.
A glimpse of Denali as we were driving back towards it.
 This artwork is in the Visitor's Center at Denali. I love the texture to it. There is a large wolf pack in the park and the place where the artist in residence stays during there time there is near where the pack is frequently seen.

 There is a large kennel of dogs for the dog teams that pull the sleds for the Rangers as they travel throughout  the park in the Winter. This is the latest new pup. He was cute but not interested in posing for the camera. He was isolated from the other dogs and hanging out with his mom.
Another bear we passed along the way. Eating of course as it is close to time for their hibernation.
 This picture was taken with my phone so not the best capture of a rainbow. I could actually see if as a full end to end rainbow but could not get a full picture. It was a nice end to our trip. Look forward to the next one as always. 

I always take my stitching along but am usually too tired to do much stitching. I hope however that your days are full of stitchy time. 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Stitching on the Home Front

Well, it has been forever since I updated the blog and today seemed like a good day to get that done. I have been reading a lot of blog posts lately and it seemed a shame not to update my own. I have not gotten a lot of stitching done lately. Just too tired by the time I get home to get it done. I am on a push to improve my health and have added walking as my form of exercise to the calendar. Sometimes by the time I get a walk in, get dinner done and cleaned up, read a bit then it is time to go to bed. Stitching has been confined to the Thursday night stitch group. I love, love, love having a group of ladies to stitch with each week. Several of our group have moved away but one has been able to come back for visits (no easy feat when you are talking about travel to Alaska) and that has been a real blessing to me. I am so blessed by our group. We are planning an all day stitch in next Sunday so I will have lots of pictures to update for WIP and probably a tada knowing those ladies.
I am still working on the map. Sad to say I was unable to get it done by the wedding. My DIL was most gracious about it. Just not enough hours in the day to get it done but I am still stitching on it. In fact the map is just about all I am stitching on lately. I did do two quick stitches, one for them and one for a friend and am still working on the ornaments for them as a travel project but most of my stitching has been connected to the map. I hope to make a lot of progress on our retreat day.
Sue Hillis Map of America

Home by Brooke's Books

The next two small ones are a Lizzie Kate Forgive Quickly, and the other is Nurse by Heinzit. I just have to get these framed.
Lizzie Kate 

Heinzit NURSE

Besides almost no stitching getting done I have been able to get some organizing done in my stash room. It is still a total mess but less a mess than it has been. I did get the fabric that was for sewing that I was never going to use donated to the proper places. I ended up with 4 boxes of fabric going out of here. Excessive considering how much I still have left. I have almost completed sorting all the fabric that is cross stitch and I am sending some of that to new homes as well. I have pulled out all the magazines I have and sorted them. I am trying to find new homes besides the landfill for them. I did get all of my crescent color threads, cotton and silks sorted, bagged and into lovely new boxes that I found at Joann's.

Still so much to do but enough done to know I am making progress. Sigh. I will do the Weeks Dye Works and then Sampler Threads next. I bought all of that size box they had at Joann's. They assured me they would get more. Next I will need to do the last of the miscellaneous silks that I have. Then the fabrics, threads, and magazines will be done. I am moving a 4 drawer file cabinet into the closet of that room beside an old short bookcase and there I will store all my charts. I bought file folders that are 3 inches wide to accommodate the different designers as I tend to stitch a lot from the same folks. I will do some by themes as well but have started unloading. The sale box is filling up as I sort and go through stuff.
Since last we spoke we have had a beautiful wedding celebration, a trip to Denali and now the snow is coming. I will do some Alaska pictures this week for those of you that like to see life on my side of the Last Frontier. Until then I hope you have some stitchy time in your day.