Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ornaments received and my Interview

I am so behind in updating you with my recent stitching retreat details. My apologies. I have been so busy the last several weeks between work and rehearsals, I'm tired by the time I get home. I have barely been stitching either, Monday night stitching at my LNS has been about the only time I've stitched in the last few weeks. I actually have very little planned this coming weekend, other than lots and lots of stitching time, so I promise to post an update from the retreats this weekend. The delay is me getting additional pictures taken of projects and things I bought and getting the photos uploaded.

I would like to share a photo of ornaments and goodies I recently received from my buddy Karen.

Karen and I, and 4 other stitchers, are members of the Ho Ho Ho Ornament Exchange and these were my ornaments from Karen. There's a long story about the flamingo, which if you find our post on the Ho Ho Ho Ornament exchange about our likes and dislikes, you'll get. Karen did a great job and I love both ornaments and the goodies. I love the fabric and am going to be keeping an eye out for a project where I can use that fabric.

Now on to my interview. My friend Ruth has interviewed me. Possibly you've seen this making the stitching blog rounds? The idea is that you ask a blogger a series of questions (of the interviewer's choosing), the blogger posts the answers on their blog, and, offers to interview someone else. So, here are the questions from my interviewer and my answers:

1. If you couldn't stitch, what would you do instead?

I would be spending time quilting and maybe get back into knitting. I have been trying to find time lately to try quilting and have only done a few very simple things. For things other than crafting, I would spend more time reading, practicing music (improving my banjo and drum skills), and get back into photography. About 20 years ago, I took some photography classes and learned how to process the B&W file and print my own photos. I sold my enlarger years ago, but kept my non-digital camears and lenses, and now also have a digital camera. I love what's called Infrared B&W photography and would love to try to capture some Infrared B&W photos. With infrared B&W photos, the blue of the sky will be very dark, white clouds will still be white, green plants (grass, leaves on trees, etc) will be white. You can see some beautiful Infrared B&W photos here. I would like to capture Pilot Mountain, near where I grew up, on a spring or summer afternoon when all the trees are full of green and when the sky is dotted with afternoon clouds. There is also an old cemetery in Raleigh that has huge 80-100 year old oak trees scattered around which I would like to capture in Infrared B&W. I would also spend time with digital photography and learning how to alter/manipulate digital photos with Photo software.

2. What's the perfect accompaniment to stitching (ie. music, tv, gossip,....).... which leads to the question where's your happiest place to stitch.

The happiest place to stitch is when in the company of other stitching buddies (hopefully in a place that has comfy seating). However, for the everyday, normal, stitching, my favorite / happy stitching place is sitting on my sofa at my house. My sofa has recliner built into the right and left spots, so I'm sitting there, feet up, my Ott light shining over my left shoulder, magnet board with pattern sitting on table (or arm of the sofa) to my left, scissors and flosses on the seat cushion to my right, and the TV on (probably playing something I have recorded on the DVR or a movie). The extra special stitching time at home has been when my friend Ruth is visting and she is sitting on the other end of the sofa, stitching along with me.

3. What piece that you've finsihed makes you most proud and why? And did you keep it or was it a gift?

Two projects come to mind. First is a 23rd Psalm piece. It was a Dimensions kit that I started stitching on when I was in High School (maybe a little before HS). The kit had 25 count natural linen (was my 1st linen project), using 3 strands of floss, a few were tweeds of 2 colors. The finished project is the largest I've ever stitched. Back then, I was what I call and on-again / off-again stitcher. I would stitch for a few months and then put it away and not stitch for several months. It was going to be a gift to my parents, a Christmas present, then later, "ok, for their Anniversary", then later, "ok next Christmas". As mentioned, back then, probably for about 10 or 15 years, I stitched in short spells, not stitching more than I stitched. My Mom never got to see it, she passed away in 1997. Not too long after my Mom passed away, I found Cross Stitch Pals and got back into stitching for good. I can't remember how long after that, a year or 2 maybe (I'll have to look at the date on my signature next time I'm at my Dad's), the project was all done except for finishing the border and I decided I was not going to put a stitch into anything else until it was finished. By this time I had been stitching on linen often, on 28ct or 32ct, and returning to the 25ct project felt like I was stitching on a burlap sack. It did get finished and framed, and I gave it to my Dad for Christmas and it hangs in his dining room. I had never stitched anything for my parents and when my Dad saw it, he looked at me and said, "you did this?" I was so proud. The funny thing about the project... when I worked on it those first several years, I had not known (or paid attention) that you should cross all your stitches the same way, so it has stitches crossed both ways. The 2nd project I'm proud of is Ursula Michael design "Families Are Like Quilts" (I think is the design name):

I'm proud of this because it is the fastest I've ever completed a project of this size. I was stitching it along with Sandy from Georgia (who stitches very fast). I stitched practically every night, staying up late, trying to keep up with her. I finished it in less than 2 months, starting it on March 26, 2001 and finishing it on May 21. I love symmetrical quilt blocks, which is another reason why I love this design.

4. If you could take any trip, any where, all expenses paid -- where would you go, for how long, and why?

For an overseas trip, a two week trip to Ireland. I've always wanted to go to Ireland, spend a few days here and there, hopefully travelling over most of the island over the 2 weeks. For North American trip: a trip I found on a website a few years ago for an 8 or 10 day train trip across Canada. The scenery was absolutely beautiful. For later in life, when I've retired, or can take at least have a month long vacation, drive across the US and back, stopping as often as I can, taking my cameras, my laptop (for photo uploading and blog updates), seeing as much as I can.

5. If you had to only make one kind of cake (from your vast pantheon of baking options) from now on, what one would it be?

Would be a choice between my carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or German-chocolate cake with traditional pecan-coconut filling (both home made from scratch). If I could only make one of these from now on, hands down winner -- German-chocolate cake with traditional pecan-coconut filling. Has to be homemade, using Baker's German Chocolate -- nothing store bought or made from a mix comes close in flavor.

Wow, some of my answers were a little long winded, sorry about that.

Now, that I've posted my interview/answers, would anyone like to be next? If you would like to be interviewed by me, post a comment to this post. If there are several volunteers, I'll pick at least 3.


karen said...

i am so glad you like your ornaments! I couldn't resist the flamingo! LOL

I would love to have you interview me.

german choclate cake, yummy! my favorite of all time is devils food chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting (for me it's from a box, as i can't bake a lick!). LOL Now, my sis can bake and makes a death by chocolate cake to die for. You will get to try that one when you are here! woohoo!!

Michele said...

I'd love to be interview too :)

Momyar said...

Awwww, I got mentioned in your blog!!!

That finish is one of my favorites as well!!!


Kathryn said...

I think if you are going to do more infrared photography, you should really look into getting a Fuji Digital Infrared camera. Samples from my husband here:

He did infrared film for years, but eventually the loading the camera in the dark, the hassle at airports and the tricky development meant that when he switched to digital cameras, he stopped taking infrared pictures at all. He now carries his infrared camera with him and when the light is right, he uses it a lot. I love these pictures, too, as they look so unworldly.

I love the flamingo, too!

Amy said...

Everything is great Chris!! It was good talking to you last week. Hope you have a great trip & hope to see you soon as well! :-)