7 hours later

April 9, 2009

So, today I stiched for about 7 hours. Now, I know that everyone’s first reaction to that must be “wow, this girl has no life.” And while I won’t contest that statement, I must offer a weak excuse — it’s spring break!!!!! I won’t have the time to do this again for a looooong time.

Today, I started the day with a delicious breakfast of leftover kugel from last night’s Passover celebration at my Aunt’s house. After breakfast, I went over to my grandmothers to drop off some leftovers for her. She is recovering from bronchitis, so she missed the family gathering last night. I stopped by the Crate & Barrel outlet on my way home. It’s probably a good thing that the outlet is closer to my grandmother than me — I could spend hours there!

Lunch was an openface matzoh grilled cheese and a raspberry smoothie. My smoothie making skills are definitely a work in progress, as I just got a blender on Monday. I used only frozen raspberries and yogurt, so the smoothie was far too thick. Next time I need to add ice or some fruit juice. Maybe both?

After lunch, I settled into my couch to catch up on my Yankee games. Since I was out last night, I had last night’s game and this afternoon’s game to watch. I had also found this amazing design that I was inspired to stitch. The pattern can be found here. I started stitching at 1:30, and with a break for dinner (leftover brisket on top of cauliflower, a large apple, and a piece of chocolate), I finally finished Part 1 at 8:30 tonight. Wow, that was a long stitching session. I know it’s supposed to be a common past-time for grandmothers, but boy are my shoulders sore!!!! However, I’m very excited about how it’s looking so far.

cross-stitch-1

An astute reader may point out to me that this is not a Needlepoint. I know…this is actually the first cross-stitch I have ever done other than bookmarks. However, I had all of the materials on hand and the design called for cross-stitch, so I figured I’d go for it! I usually shy away from cross-stitch because I don’t find counting to be fun at all, but this was a lot of fun to stitch 🙂 I can’t wait to finish, but I don’t know if I can (or should) sit for another 7 hours tomorrow.

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Oatmeal and Dragons

April 7, 2009

Really, what more do you need in life than Oatmeal and Dragons?

Oats

This morning for breakfast, like most other bloggers out there, I had my daily bowl of oatmeal. My usually concoction is a 1/2 cup of oats, 1/2 cup water, 1 tsp cream cheese, and either vanilla or almond extract. I choose vanilla when I have nuts for my mix-in, and almond when my mix-in is nut-free. Today, I went with the almond extract and I added 1/2 cup granola. As you can see, the granola smothered the oats, but the combo was delicious. I enjoyed it with a nice steaming cup of Teavana Spice Nut Mate, followed by an apple and a bite of chocolate. Gotta end every meal with a bit of chocolate.

So, onto the Dragon half of this post. My current needlepoint project is my second dragon that I’ve worked on. I received it as a combo birthday present from my entire extended family about 2 years ago. I hadn’t worked on it much until recently because, honestly, it intimiated me. I went to a wonderful store to pick out my threads and we came up with some fabulous stitch ideas, but since I’m a relative newby to complex stitches (read: anything other than a basketweave), I am hesitant every time I start a new section. But, I’m running out of easy sections to do. This past weekend, I finished the floor, so now I have no excuse not to dive into the tricky sections of the dragon!

Here is the “before” shot. I had only completely the outline of the wings and the dark sections in the body when I took this picture

dragon-2-before

Next, After the wings were finished

dragon-2-with-wings

And here is a picture of the piece as it stands today. It appears to be facing the other direction because I took this one with a real camera, rather than PhotoBooth. Boy what a different in the picture quality!

dragon-4-6-09-v22

Hopefully from this picture you can see that I’ve completed most of the ground (except for where it runs up against the dragon. The outer corners are a slightl darker color than the middle. I have also started the pattern in the background. I love the design, but I’m just not sure of the darker color. I’m trying to be true to the picture that has at least 3 different colors in the red family, but it just doesn’t blend well. Maybe if I do it all the middle color the paint will shine through? Any suggestions?

Well, I’m off to enjoy more of my spring break, which probably means playing video games, reading, or tv/needlepoint. So many choices so little (much?) time!


The City

April 6, 2009

The first needlepoint I want to tell you about is my most recently completed project. I call this one “The City”

I found this needlepoint at Annie & Co in NYC. Although I had another needlepoint at home in reserve, I simply fell in love with this piece. I loved the subtle shades of grey it was painted, with the brilliant highlights of dark blue. Furthermore, I thought it would a fitting project to remember my time spent living in NYC. I bought it at the beginning of my graduate school career and finished during finals of my last semester.

Here is a picture of the piece before I started it.

City - Before

For this piece, I chose to work with stranded cotton (embroidery floss). Stranded cotton is one of (if not THE) least expensive materials you can work with. I wanted to keep the cost of this piece down, and simply let the colors and stitch selection speak more than the choice of threads. (Keep on the lookout for another post about thread selection!)

City- Early

I snapped another picture when I was in the beginning stages of starting the piece. Although I’m sure everyone has their own way of attacking new projects, I started this one by completing buildings where I was sure I knew what my design would be. I think what this picture really shows is how a little change in stitch can add new dimensions to a piece. Take a look in the bottom left corner at the black columns. My choice to have vertical columns and horizontal columns, in my humble opinion, helps differentiate between the top of one building and the side of another. I continued to attack the piece one building at a time, aiming to give each one it’s own unique character.

Several months of wor, and one fantastic framing job I can’t take credit for later…my city (and my stay in the city) was complete.

city-finished

Please excuse the glare…I’m still trying to work out the best way to take pictures. The gloomy weather outside didn’t help much.

In this blurry close-up of the sky, you can see that I made it out of an open stitch — meaning the canvas shows through just a  bit. I did this intentionally because the canvas was painted so beautifully with the shades of grey fading as you get closer to the skyline. I didn’t think this could be replicated with such elegance without an open stitch. Also, I thought the open “bubbly” look would give the appearance of clouds.

city-sky

Finally, here is a close-up of the boat and the water. I think this really shows how varying stitches can add so much to a piece. I made the boat out of long stitches that covered the entire length of the boat. The water was made with 3 strands of black and 1 strand of blue and stitched over 3 at a time to give a rippling water effect. In this picture, you can also see a white buiding that was stitched in the opposite direction, and a grey building that has a patter of alternating rows over 1 and over 2.

city-water

Overall, I am VERY pleased with how this piece came out. I think it’s a fabulous tribute to my time spent in living in the city, and I am happy to display it in my current apartment that is thankfully NOT in a city!!!


The start of a new project

April 6, 2009

Hey everyone. My name is Micks and I am the youngest needlepointer I know. Not that I’m particularly young or anything, but I rarely go into a needlepoint store and see another pre-menopausal woman (not to even mention the lack of testosterone…).

I started reading blogs almost a year ago when my friend Hil told me about her wonderful food blog. Since then, I have been a silent reader of many food blogs, fascinated by the wonderful recipes that the bloggers contribute as well as a glimpse into the lives of others who have different hobbies and interests than me. In the fall, Hil let me guest-post on her blog and it was quite a thrill. It was fun for me to share a part of my life with her wonderful readership. I have been toying with the idea of starting my own blog since then, but I simply don’t think a food blog is for me. I’m the kind of kid who can eat the same thing for lunch for 12 years straight (and I did…turkey and white american cheese sandwiches from 2nd grade to jr year of college).

Finally, it dawned on me that although I entered the blogworld as a reader of food blogs, it’s okay if I want to make a slight left turn from the typical food blog. Thus, MickStitch was born. In this blog, my goal is to share fun recipes (see, only a slight left turn) and also share my passion for needlepoint.

My current plan is to share with you all a different needlepoint I have created every few days. We’ll see how the blog evolves from there!