Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Quarry, Part 8

Much like Han Solo, sometimes I amaze even myself.

Today's bit of amazement is March's stitching project, The Quarry:


Of the four Scarlet Quinces currently in my rotation, this one is my least favorite to work on because it's about 97.5% confetti stitching.  That means constantly changing colors and it gets harder to get the needle through the fabric to start or finish threads on the back, plus it goes slower because I have to pay strict attention to the chart and try not to go cross-eyed figuring out where I am.  Add all that to the absolutely INSANE month I had (see:  Mat Hatter tea party and comprehensive exam redux), and I'm rather amazed and proud at how much I managed to accomplish on The Quarry this month.


So I'm still not even at 1/3 of the way done yet (I'm at just over 30%) but I managed to do 4,875 stitches this time around, for a total of 39,779 done out of 130,968 total.  Way better than the 1,340 I did on the Quarry's last rotation.


Mostly I was working on that bit sort of in the middle that will sooner or later coalesce into a tree sitting in front of the building.


Yep, that bit.  Since this was also the last time I'll work on The Quarry before we move this summer, I also tried to clear off my needle board as much as possible, so that's why there's a bunch of random stitches done on the bottom.  Since I wasn't able to stitch for a lot of days in March (which means I crammed all that stitching into fewer days), I kept at this one yesterday too and I'll start April's project tonight.  But all in all, I'm pretty happy with the progress I made in March.  I just hope I don't have another crazy month like that for a while : )

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mad Hatter Tea Party, Part 2

Ok, I'm back with pictures of more tea party decorations because I'm procrastinating on studying for my test tomorrow.  Actually, I wrote this post yesterday, so I was procrastinating then, not now.  Except for I added this bit.  Anyway, to get back on point, all it takes is three friends, two die cut machines, and a load of crazy ideas:  put those together and you too can have a Mad Hatter tea party!


This points to the little cubbyhole under the stairs where a dog bed usually lives (we call it the Vader Cave).  I took the dog bed out and cut a rabbit hole-ish shape out of black cardstock and stuck it to the wall down there, not sure anyone saw it but I know it was there!  There was also a sign on another wall that said "Looking Glass" and pointed up toward the giant mirror above the landing.


Framed art made by Brittany, she did several with quotes from the book.


Almost everything we did was a collaborative effort--all three of us worked on the card chandelier and rose topiary in my last post, and for the signs I cut the letters and Jen glued them on while Brittany was working on a garland for the living room (pic a little further down).  I told Jen it made me happy every single time I walked by this one that she did one of the S's backwards.


We figured the Mad Hatter would be the type to not plan out the spacing on his letters so everything would get squished up, and he'd probably get distracted and not really pay attention to how his letters were turning out on the sign.  We also had a long discussion about the rose topiary and if all the white roses should be on one side or interspersed with the red ones.  I thought interspersed because there were several cards painting the roses and when they got interrupted then the white roses would be scattered, but Jen and Brittany voted for one side of white so that's what we did.  It's possible we went a little overboard with the psychoanalysis of fictional characters.


More of Brittany's fabulous framed art.


Die-cut teacups and teapots in the window of the study, a.k.a. the hat shop.


Hearts in the dining room in honor of the Queen of Hearts.


I admit, I did buy a few pieces of china in preparation for this...I found this Oriental-style teapot in a vintage shop.  I love that it's all hexagonal--the base, the lid, and even the teapot itself.  There was a matching creamer too, but I only got the teapot.


Here's the Dormouse...I know he's supposed to be inside a teapot, but he looked so cute in Brittany's pink heart-shaped teacup!  It actually took some searching before I found a mouse toy to use for our Dormouse, I even asked Mom to look around for me and she came up empty.  This one was more expensive than he should have been but at least I got one.


More framed artwork.


Signs in one corner of the room...I'd wanted to do the arrows alternating but the "No Way" one was pointing the wrong direction so I just figured it was okay to have it upside down.


Flowers and butterflies in the living room window, referencing when Alice finds the garden of talking flowers.  And butterflies just because they're pretty.  I did the flowers all warm colors and the butterflies all cool colors.


The left half of Brittany's art collage...


And the right half.  The garland was originally just hanging down in a big U, but I attached that center teapot to the wall because I thought it filled the space better that way.  Most of the pieces for it were from a Stampin' Up Sale-a-Bration freebie.


Here's the Cheshire Cat artwork again so you can see how it was placed with flowers on top of one of our speakers.


Brittany's army of teacups...after everyone left on Thursday, Jen and I gathered up all the dishes and she took all of hers home, so Friday morning I snapped this one of Brittany's teacups all gathered together.  Actually, this isn't all of them...she might need two trips to get all her stuff back home :)


I got this thinking I would use it for the teacup exchange, but then I found a different one that I used instead so this one is mine for keeps.


I got this Art Deco-style teapot for really cheap last year; the shop owner said it was supposed to be a tea-for-one set where the teapot sits on top of a cup, but the cup was missing.  I would never have guessed it was supposed to have another piece so I'm happy with it the way it is (and like I said, it was a bargain.  Plus, purple).


I found this teacup trio for 3 pounds, so I got one for myself and another one for the teacup exchange.  I didn't notice until I pulled out all my dishes for serving stuff just how much strawberry-patterned dishware I have--I've also got a serving bowl and my three-tiered serving plate thingy with strawberries, plus:


Got these two little teapots for cheap at the daffodil festival last year.


Isn't this pretty?  Couldn't resist it when I saw it even though I already had a few teacup trios by then.


This is Brittany's tea-for-one set and I'm kinda sorta a little bit totally jealous it's not mine because isn't it gorgeous!  She also has a creamer that she found in the vintage shop and if you look on the bottom, it's stamped "Made in the USSR."


Mo' dishes.


This is the teacup I got in the teacup exchange.  I had to steal it from someone else but then luckily I got to keep it in the end--I love it!  It's a pattern of Scottish bluebells.


Carrie got this one in the exchange and then left it with me so this can be Lee's more "manly" teacup to my frilly girly bluebell teacup.  Not that he drinks much tea.


I put this one next to all the dozens (literally) of boxes of tea in the kitchen : )


I put this on the door of the coat closet and I still saw a couple of girls put coats in there, even though I'd cleared off pegs on the coat hanger thing in the entryway, so they didn't believe the sign (they did believe the "Keep Out!!!" sign on the utility room, which is good because it's a wreck--we were tossing stuff in there that we didn't need as we were setting up the food and stuff.  I even saw a loaf of bread on a shoe rack in there...).  I'd thought about putting this sign on the baby gate keeping Sadie and Vader from coming downstairs.


But I put up this sign pointing to them instead.  Several of the guests did go say hi to the dogs, which made them both very happy.  Lee saw me making the sign beforehand and he asked, "So which one's Tweedle Dum? Oh, wait..."


Aww, we loves you Vay-Vay!

So that's it for the tea party decorations.  I'll be back later with recipes...I want the one Brittany used for lemon tarts, they're yummy!  And hey, 24 hours from right now, I'll be done with my test, so YAY.  Wish me luck.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Mad Hatter Tea Party, Part 1

So the Mad Hatter tea party was last night (you can see pics from last year's here) and I think that we managed to go over the top on it, which was pretty much what we were aiming for.  I had two lovely co-hosts, Jen and Brittany, and got some much-needed and super-appreciated last minute help from Karen and Laura and Lee (before he escaped when I wasn't looking to go across the street to Mark's house and be all manly).  So how 'bout some pics!  Giant pics.  Because I'mma toot my own horn here and say the tea party was awesome.


The door sign is a bit the worse for wear--it was really windy yesterday, so I found it under the trash can about 30 minutes before the tea party started.  I hung it back up with lots of tape to attach it to the door, and when Jen was leaving last night after some clean-up, that sign was out in the driveway underneath her car and it had been rained on.  Pity, too, because I thought it turned out so cute!


The three of us (Brittany, Jen, and me) collaborated on this rose topiary.  If I had it all to do over again, I'd have Lee confiscate my hot glue gun and just buy some real roses...I mean yeah, it turned out pretty cute but it was more work than I thought it would be (not to mention it used about 600 tons of red cardstock).  And if I was doing it again I'd paint the Styrofoam ball before adding the roses, because the white Styrofoam peeking out in places just kinda torques me.  Also, my camera seems to dislike vibrant reds so I need to try to get a better picture of this.


Playing card chandelier and the Queen's Table where all the desserts were.  All the decorations in the dining room window were hearts and the cupcakes have bitty heart sprinkles on top.  Oh, I still have extra cupcakes in my fridge, I should take pictures of them.  Can I tell you how much I love my mini muffin pan?!  First time I've ever used it and little tiny cupcakes and muffins and quiches are SO SO STINKIN' CUTE.


I moved DVDs out of this shelving unit to display teapots and cups and some artwork.  A bunch of these are mine, but not all of them.  Maybe half.


We did a white elephant teacup exchange, and these were all the wrapped teacups before we started.  There were over 25 people at my house at this point so how I managed to get a pic with absolutely no one in it I do not know.


Cheshire Cat face!  There's a mirror image of it on the other side of the glass so you can see it from the conservatory too.  Sadly I forgot to take pictures in the conservatory, it was our "Tulgey Wood" area.  We  had a table in there with Mock Turtle Soup (read: tomato) and veggies.  We were hoping to get some dry ice to make a good fog in there but it didn't happen.


I did not buy any tea specifically for this tea party, this is just what I had ON HAND (because I am crazy).  More to the point, this is just the stuff with caffeine in it that I had on hand.  Caffeine-free teas were to the left and I ran out of time to get out my loose leaf teas.


Caffeine-free teas in the corner there, flash boiler and water to make tea, and lots of mini quiches and sandwiches.  We made 4 or 5 kinds of sammies and cut them out with cookie cutters to make them look extra pretty.


Teacups and the tea cross stitch Mom made for me.  Since the cups we were using for drinking tea were only in 3 patterns, I had some colored ribbons to tie on the handles to help keep people from mixing up their cups.  (I was going to tie them on but ran out of time.)


Closeup of the card chandelier, made with only the heart cards.


Inside the Mad Hatter's Hat Shop...some of these are mine and Lee's, and I borrowed a bunch from Carrie plus a few from Jen and Brittany.


Mo' hats...I didn't get the very bottom shelves cleared off because a.) they're kind of blocked by the chofa, b.) I didn't have that many more hats, and c.) I'm not sure how many people actually went in there to check it out other than one girl who was nursing her new baby.


We did these garlands in most of the windows--hearts in the dining room, flowers and butterflies in the living room, teapots and teacups in the hat shop, and a mix of everything in the kitchen.  I found a big stack of old cardstock I forgot I even had, so that's what I used for most of the die cuts.  We also raided my stash of patterned paper scraps for some of the teacups and teapots.


Few more hats and fascinators.


So here's an example of the food and the labels I made to go with...Brittany made these tea cakes.


Oh super cute mini muffins!!  Half the food tags had teacups on them but somehow I got pics of two with teapots.


Jen got a bunch of glass bottles that we used for a "Drink Me" potion (we did some with alcohol and some without and now I have 3/4 of a bottle of orange vodka left over).  We didn't have a funnel to fill the bottles, so we got smart and used a piping bag like what you'd use to pipe frosting, worked like a charm.  Now I have 50 glass bottles and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them--trying to see if Jen and Brittany want any of them, though Jen left them all at my house last night.


Adrienne sent me this teapot and a bunch of flowering teas for...can't remember if it was Christmas or birthday, but we put one out as a decoration.


This is everyone after the teacup exchange with their new cups (I'm in the back right with the apron on).  As you can see, it was a pretty full house.  Oh, you can just barely see the TV is on...I was playing this version of Alice in Wonderland with the sound off.  When I was a kid, we had this recorded off TV on a VHS tape and the Jabberwocky used to terrify my brother and me, so we'd hide behind the couch when the scary music started and then come out when it was over to watch the rest of the movie.  I'm so not even making this up.


This is my beautiful friend Maika and also the only picture I got in myself other than the big group shot.  I took a bunch of pictures of the tea party attendees but I'm not sharing those here because you prolly don't know them anyway.


This was taken just after the tea party...hadn't gotten all the dirty dishes to the vicinity of the sink yet :)  The last hour or so of prep was absolutely mad--Brittany wasn't actually able to be here for the party itself so Jen and I were doing a three-person job with us two.  We did get some last-minute help but it was pretty wild.  Jen and I turned into generals ordering around the rest of our helpers and somehow we got it all set up and everything only about a half-hour late.

Well, I'm now supposed to be studying for my comprehensive exam (IF I get to take it next week, this university can't get its act together AT ALL).  So probably I won't get to post the rest of the tea party pics until maybe Monday afternoon...I took more pictures of the decorations and such this morning since I haven't taken them down yet.

Cheers, peeps!