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.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wales: Conwy Castle

What's up, dudes?  Are ya surprised to see a new blog post here?  I'm still slowly working my way through pictures from Wales, and that trip was over a year ago now.  Sad, I know.  I still have two more Welsh posts to do after this one.

But anyway, today we're going to Conwy Castle.

I love the juxtaposition of the centuries-old castle wall and the modern road.  Conwy Castle is quite large and dead smack in the middle of town.  It's another castle built by Edward I during his conquest of Wales.

On our way up to the castle, there are a couple of the eight towers this castle boasts.

I find something endlessly fascinating about looking at the signs in Welsh and wondering how on Earth to pronounce them.

Hey, anyone remember where we parked the car?

I don't think there was a sign or anything explaining this sculpture, but I took a picture of Lee with it anyway.

Our fabulous luck with the weather pretty much ended the day we were at Conwy.  It was cloudy and windy and a little cold.

You can read all about Conwy's history on the Wikipedia page linked above; the short version is that Edward I built it as part of his campaign to crush the Welsh, and it was used off and on for centuries in several wars.  Then after the English Civil War, it was intentionally slighted (damaged to preclude its use as a military base) and later all the iron from the roofs and elsewhere in the castle was sold off, which turned Conwy into a total ruin.  Fast forward another century or two and like many other ruined castles, Conwy enjoyed a resurgence in popularity with artists who painted "romantic ruins" landscapes.

This was one of the larger castles we visited in Wales, maybe about the same size as Caernarfon.  And there's no way I remember now what part of the castle we were in for all of these shots (or...any of these shots) so I'm just picking the ones I like.

Oh hey, I found a wee patch of blue sky!

And there's another juxtaposition of ancient and modern:  on the right side you can see tunnels for trains coming into town that go right through some of the castle fortifications.

There's a view of the town.

'Nother view with the river in the background.

I think there was some legend about a king's ghost haunting Conwy but alas, I can't remember the specifics and I don't think we bought any guide books in Wales.  Anyway, this wire sculpture was hanging up in one of the roofless rooms; this picture was taken from the back since I couldn't get any of them to come out facing front.  You might have to squint and tilt your head a bit to see that it's a king; crown on top and the eyes are easy to see, but from this point of view the back of the crown goes through the middle of his face.

There's another view of the castle and the town...

...and one with mostly the castle as seen from on high.

Stained glass window in the chapel.

And just one more picture of a tower before...

...the obligatory castle selfie.  Gotta love my hairdo...I told you it was windy up there!