Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Accolade, Part 9

Eagle-eyed blog readers will notice that today's post is not, in fact, pictures of Mount Vernon.  I have at least downloaded them onto the computer from the camera, but that's as far as I've gotten with them.  And since it's the start of a new month it's time for a cross stitch update anyway.  Actually I'm behind on these too, but we'll get to that later.

The project for August was The Accolade.  This is the largest Scarlet Quince pattern I've tackled so far.

I added 9,366 stitches for a grand total of 56,265 stitches done, or 37.51%.  Yeah, I'm still a ways away from halfway done, but I DID manage to make it to under 100,000 stitches left.  Yay me.

In other good news, I filled in everything around the queen's face so she no longer looks radioactive.  I was kinda obsessed with working on this for most of August but stitching her noggin took FOREVER because of all the confetti.  My needle board once more looks like a porcupine.  But the curtain behind her goes a bit faster, so I should finish that last bit on the left the next time it comes up in the rotation, and on the next row of pages I'll get to her sword and the knight's head.  So ya know, progress.

That's it for me today.  Cheers, peeps!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Wales: Rhuddlan Castle

Enough is enough.  Today is the day, y'all:  we're finishing up the pictures from Wales.  Ya know, since it's been more than a year since our trip out there.  Our final stop was Rhuddlan Castle on our way back home.  Now, Welsh is like impossible to pronounce unless you're a native speaker (and even then I think it's tough), but if I read all the pronunciation guides right then a U sometimes sounds like an I as in "wit" and a DD sounds like a soft TH like in "there" (not like "thistle") so I THINK this is pronounced Rhithlan.  But I could be making that up.

There it is.  And also the clouds that chased us all the way back home; we got poured on for a good part of the drive that afternoon.  Anywha, Rhuddlan was completed in 1284, went through a few wars, and then was intentionally slighted in the English Civil War in 1648.

Kinda looks like people came in here to steal the stone from the castle but only as far up as they could reach without ladders.

There's a view from the castle down toward the river, isn't it pretty?

Just looking for some interesting angles on this one.

And you know how I like to take pictures through holes in walls : )

View inside one of the towers.

And here's a closeup of how some of the stones have weathered.  I think it's interesting how the mortar is still in pretty good shape but the stones themselves have been eaten away.

Lookit that handsome man!

Ok, one more shot of the stones...

...and another landscape.  I like the colors in this one.

There's the new staircase inside the tower, as seen through a hole in the wall.  Yep, Rhuddlan is a little too drafty for me to want to live there right now.

And there's our very last European castle selfie. 

For my next trick, I might actually get the pictures from Mount Vernon uploaded from the camera...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wales: Plas Mawr

Well, I just realized that my last post here was, like, two weeks ago.  And I still have two more Wales posts to put up, and our trip to Wales was over a year ago.  My bad, like a lot.  Sooooo today's post is all about Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan townhouse just a few blocks away from Conwy Castle.  We had lunch at a lovely tea room on the way to Plas Mawr, which looks like this from the outside:

We saw lots of buildings that look like this in the UK.  I don't think they all go back to the Elizabethan era, but they do seem to like plastering over brick there.  Apparently it's a thing.

They really liked plaster, period.  Check out that fireplace!  Uh, so not my style.

And while the fireplace plaster is painted in garish colors, Elizabethan clothes are more...drab.  Well, half of them are drab.  That kinda orangey color ain't half bad.

So there's lots of plaster in several rooms of the house, on the walls and ceilings and of course decorating fireplaces.  Most of it is heraldry stuff, with the coats of arms of the owners of the house as well as royal heraldry.  You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page linked above (because we believe everything we read on Wikipedia, duh).

The "ER" stands for Elizabeth Regina (Regina is a name that actually means "queen") which is how she signed her paperwork.  Lots of kings signed with the second name Rex, which as you might expect, means "king".

So the house is pretty big; it had its own brewery.

I kinda like the stair-steppy look.

There's another "hey, Elizabeth is a pretty cool queen" fireplace and you can see some of the plaster ceiling for good measure.

That's the ceiling in the attic, which looks kinda cool.  I think they were supposed to saw off the ends of the pegs so they were flush with the timbers, but they never did.

And there's a plate of cookies featuring the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster from the Wars of the Roses.  Because even cookies (biscuits!) in the UK are educational.

There's a quilt hanging on the wall below some of the ubiquitous plaster work.

Last picture because somehow we forgot to do a selfie here?  Anyway, the gardens have been redone into what scholars think they looked like originally.  Because some people study garden history.  Which...okay.  If that's what makes them happy.

Cheers, peeps!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Great Wave Off Kanagawa, Parts 1-11

The surprise has finally been sprung so now I can share these pics on the ol' blog : )  Did anyone wonder why I hadn't posted cross stitching progress photos for the past year?  There was a reason.  I spent 11 months working on a birthday present for my mom, so here's the entire progression in one post.  Except the framing part, Mom has to get it framed and decide where to hang it up.

Part 1:  October 1, 2013.  At first I thought I'd be able to work on this concurrently with my other projects, but nope.  6,720 stitches in to 81,084 total (8.29%).  Actually I didn't remember that I started this that early.

Part 2:  November 5, 2013.  12,234 stitches done (15.09%).

Part 3:  1 December 2013.  14,778 stitches done (18.23%), and the start of the dreaded confetti.  Uh, at least half of this design was confetti.  It was eye-crossing, to say the least.

Part 4:  December 31, 2013.  19,092 stitches done (23.55%).  The first column of pages done.

Part 5:  November 8, 2014.  28,155 stitches done (34.72%).   What was I doing between December 2013 and November 2014?  I don't know.

Part 6:  December 1, 2014.  35,085 stitches done (43.27%).  By now I was taking this to the stitching group get-togethers in Alabama.

Part 7:  January 1, 2015.  39,458 stitches done (48.66%).  I start to panic that I won't get this done in time for Mom's birthday.  I decided to do all the bottom part of the design (so, where most of the confetti is) first because it was the hardest part and would take the longest, so then when it was crunch time I could go really fast on the sky.

Part 8:  February 1, 2015.  47,584 stitches done (58.68%).

Part 9:  March 1, 2015.  55,604 stitches done (68.58%).  Now we're cookin' with gas.

Part 10:  March 31, 2015.  67,323 stitches done (83.03%).   I start thinking that I'll get this done in time after all.

Part 11:  April 26, 2015.  81,084 stitches done (100%).  YAY.  The last day I worked on this was a total marathon, like no kidding I stitched for over 8 hours in a single day.  I actually finished it earlier than I thought I would!  And I'm so glad that I'm not staring at this anymore : )  This was never one of my favorite pieces of artwork, but Mom loves it and that's why I made it.  And now I'm back to working on other projects.

Happy birfday, Mom!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Old Car City, Part 3

Well, since I posted some Old Car City pictures on my mom's birthday, it seems only fair that I share the end of them on my dad's birthday : )  Not to say that either of them is a rusty old wreck.  Just that I thought they'd appreciate pictures of some old rusty cars.

I like the texture in this one with all the rust and the peeling paint and the nice angles and I think Lee took it.  I never once imagined I'd get at all excited about taking pictures of rusty old cars...

Yeeeeahhhh I never got tired of taking pictures of the car model names and the cool fonts.

Cool taillights!

We found a Hudson Hornet like the old police car on Cars!  So I took a ton of pictures of it.

Nice perspective on this shot from Lee I think.

Right here at the end, we switched out our 35mm lens for the macro lens and kinda had some fun playing with that for only about the last twenty minutes we were there.  I would have liked to stay longer...the trouble is, the mosquitoes definitely wanted me to stay longer as an all-you-can-eat blood buffet.

Still playing with the macro lens, probably could have gotten even more up close and personal than this.

This was Lee's shot, he wanted that bit of orange in the background from an old sign.

I thought this bulldog hood ornament was kinda cool.

Oh!  Now we're on some pics that were taken on our phones.

And that's what Lee looked like when he was taking pictures.

Thought this one was really cool, it's another one of Lee's shots.

Old Car selfie!

One more selfie...

And I think these got out of order a bit at the end, not that it matters really.  But that's it from Old Car City!  Now we just need to find cool things in the DC area to take pictures of as soon as Lee's back in walking shape.  He took a tumble on the stairs today and hurt his foot; his toe is purple and he doesn't think he'll be running for a few days but he's okay.  Poor Lee.