Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Entry for March 30, 2006

Well my last few entries have been about my basement finishing project so it's time for another needlework entry!

I've been a Girl Scout Leader for the past 10 years. One of the activities that goes on in this area, is a Mall Lock-In. We go into one of the local malls after 10:00pm as the public is leaving and the mall is closing on a Saturday night. Since the mall is on two levels, the Juniors (girls in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade) are admitted to the upper level where they setup their troop stations. The older scouts who are Cadettes and Seniors (girls in 7th - 12th grades) then start setting up activity stations on the lower level. At apx. 11:00pm the Juniors are permitted to come downstairs.

This is a unique opportunity for the Juniors as they are still to young to go to the mall on their own and there are lot's of fun things for them to do. The food court vendors are invited to stay open and many do until 3:45am. Since the mall is in a lock down situation the Juniors are turned loose on their own as long as they stay in buddy pairs. This is a wonderful opportunity for them to order a pizza and a drink on their own and for them to try out many activities. They also at this age think it's really awesome to stay up all night! For those of us who are older, this is not as fun!

The older scouts have a grand time also and they are also earning service hours and fulfilling requirements for older scout awards.

Adult volunteers are manning security posts, command central, and are running various activity stations that are not run by the older scouts.

We offer many activities such as finger nail painting, Karaoke, representatives from a Woman's Engineering club are onsite, line dancing, origami, balloon animals, aluminum tooling, gimp, quilting, embroidery, and several different badges are also offered.

The activities continue until 5:00am. The Juniors move back upstairs and start getting ready to leave and the older scouts start shutting down the activities. We are out of there by 6:30am and the mall is cleaner than when we arrived!

Why is this needlework related? Well two of the activities are Cross Stitch and Needlepoint! Several years ago I volunteered to take over the kits for both of these activities.

I was able to quickly revamp the Needlepoint Magnet kit. Since the activities do take place in the middle of the night when we are more tired than normal we keep the needlepoint activity fairly simple. The intent is to introduce them to the technique not to make them experts. The kit contains 7 count plastic canvas cut into 1" squares and many different colors of yarn. The younger girls love the variegated yarn! We have two display sheets with directions and samples of stitched needlepoint magnets. The girls then pick out which stitch they would like to do. We have adult volunteers who teach the stitches and help each girl complete her needlepoint magnet. Since the girls range in age from 9 years old to 18, their fine motor and concentration skills vary widely! Once the stitch is completed, the scouts then whipstitch around the outside of the square. A small piece of magnet tape is then placed on the back of the completed needlepoint magnet. The girls can then take their completed project with them or donate it to Meals on Wheels. We then give them an instruction sheet which has information on several stitches, how to make a needlepoint magnet and online references such as the American Needlepoint Guild.

Every year we get approximately 20 magnets donated as tray favors to Meals on Wheels which were made by the girls and the adult volunteers at this station. I usually make up enough later on so that we can make a donation of needlepoint magnets in multiples of 20. In other words, I'll make whatever we need so that our donation bags contain 20 needlepoint magnets.

I'm also thrilled to hear how many girls have not only tried Cross Stitch but are also familiar with needlepoint!

More on the Cross Stitch kit tomorrow!

Windy Meadow

Originally Posted: March 30, 2006

Entry for March 29, 2006

The basement finishing project is going only quickly. The basement was framed up in three days. Lot’s of sawing and hammering! They’ve been working on the electrical and the wiring and the bathroom fixtures are going in later this week once the first electrical inspection has been completed.

The one thing that we didn’t think of when the project was moved up three weeks was all of the decisions that we would have to make that we had not had time to make. In other words, we were going to use the three weeks before the project started to continue working on downsizing and organizing the basement and to start shopping for materials.

There are a lot of decisions that you need to make and HGTV makes it look too easy! Now, I am an HGTV groupie and I know that it takes more time and effort than what they can show on TV but when you are the one doing the running around and still trying to work, volunteer and just have family time it can get hectic! Have you ever tried to pick out a tub and a toilet? Do you know how many options are now on the market? It is truly overwhelming at times! But we are slowly getting there. The tub and toilet have been selected. We have also selected the bathroom ceiling fan and the bathroom hardware. We know that there will be delays in the project as we had not had time to order cabinetry and after ordering it may not be in for 4 to 6 weeks. Soooo we are going to order the bathroom vanity and sink this weekend. Did I mention that the basement is going to have a full bath? More stuff to pick out, tile, light sconces and a mirror and then of course the toilet paper holder, towel bars etc. Lot’s of fun but it does take time!

We are also working on planning out our snack bar. We are going to have an 8 foot snack bar with a microwave, mini-refrigerator, and a sink. Lot’s more decisions!

What does this all have to do with needlework? I don’t have time to work on my needlework until this is done!

Actually I am very fortunate that since our house is a one story we have a large basement. I will now have a craft room! Yeah!!! We’ve worked out the lighting for the craft room. I am also going to have a large closet. I probably won’t pick out the cabinetry until the rest of the basement is finished. I’ll be happy when I can put a table in there and I can work out of my storage containers for a while as this will be better than what I currently have!

If you have any suggestions about cabinetry, wall colors/treatments, lighting, countertops, I would love to hear them! I was able to go by last night and look longingly at my containers full of needlework projects…

More later!

Windy Meadow

Originally Posted: March 29, 2006

March 28, 2006

It’s been over a month since I last posted an entry! Goodness time has flown by!!!

I haven’t been doing much personal stitching. Sigh? But there are good reasons why?

We started a project to finish our basement at the beginning of March, 2006. The original plan was to start construction at the end of March, 2006. When we met with the contractor to sign the contract at the beginning of March, he asked if he could start the following Tuesday, exactly one week later from when we signed the contract and three weeks earlier than originally planned!

I’m not complaining as its sooooo nice to have someone want to start a project early as opposed to nagging them as to when they would start and when they would finish (remind me someday to write up what happened with our screening in the deck project from last summer which was finally finished in February, 2006. On second thought, I think I just did! It took that contractor nine months to screen in an already built deck with an existing roof. Don’t worry we aren’t using them for this project? Sigh!), but there went my plans to spend time getting organized and sorting and pitching before packing up items to move upstairs. It’s panic time!!!

The kids and my husband were terrific. The kids actually downsized more than I thought they would. We sent over six boxes of toys and about 6 bags of books to charity! We were able to sort and then pack up the toys and books that they wanted to keep and move them upstairs all on Saturday. We celebrated by taking them out to dinner. Plus I was toooo tired to cook!

On Sunday it was my husband’s and my turn. He was able to quickly pack up his stuff into Rubbermaid containers and set it aside to be sorted and dealt with later. Now my husband has a lively sense of humor and he frequently refers to himself as labor and I’m management! He definitely has the easy end of this project so far and he knows it! He didnt have to negotiate between two kids as to what was kept and what was donated!!!

Sigh… I was the challenge! During the Holidays I had begun a project to finally organize my needlework stash. I had set up Rubbermaid containers throughout our dining room. It was a funny sight to see the containers as they were all lined up against two walls with their lids propped up behind them. My daughter kept calling them my coffin collection. Aren’t teenagers fun?! Each of the containers were then labeled with the different categories such as Painted Canvases, Painted Canvases with Fibers, Stretcher Bars, Fibers, Needlepoint Books, Christmas Books, etc. I was startled to see that there are over 20 categories and now 20 containers! At the end of January, 2006 these containers had been labeled but they were still empty. During January, we had decided that we were going to finish our basement this year and we started looking for a contractor. I moved the labeled empty containers down to the basement where I lined them up against the wall. My plan was that when I had time, I would open a container/bag that contained stash and I would sort into the already labeled containers. This way, I could work in short amounts of time as I don’t have a whole day that I can set aside to organize stash (working full time with two kids). And with the size of my stash it would take longer than one day! The basement finishing project wasn’t supposed to start to the end of March, 2006 so I have plenty of time to sort? Right? Sigh…

Note I do have a container set aside for donations so hopefully I’ll be able to donate some stash for the Baltimore ANG Seminar in 2007!

When the contractor asked to move the date of constructor forward three weeks I knew that my plans to organize my stash would have to wait. The 20+ empty containers were moved up to our bedroom. Now that they are stacked up against the wall next to my dresser they make a lovely place to put decorative items!

On that Sunday I knew I had to deal with my unorganized stash as I would not have time on Monday after work. I had already placed a lot of my stash in large plastic containers over the years so they were quickly moved up to the dining room next to the kid’s stuff. The loose stash was my next problem area. I finally decided to place all of this in new plastic containers to be sorted later. Off I went to my local hardware store to purchase $150.00+ of plastic containers. Yes, I have that much stash but some of the new containers were to pack up the books that we couldn’t fit in the containers that we already had! Did I mention that we are all avid readers and we have a very large book collection which was also originally in the basement?!

The funny part is it took two trips/purchases in and out of the store to buy what I needed and to load it into the van. Thank goodness I could fit everything in the van in one trip to the store. I had to ask one of the sales personnel to help me by moving some of the plastic containers down to a lower shelf so that I could reach them. The man was very nice and helpful. He reminded me that for the containers he was moving I would need lids and he handed down the lids only to be startled when I said that I had already loaded the lids that I would need into my cart. He didn’t know that he was dealing with a profession plastic container buyer!

By the end of Sunday, I couldn’t move! But all of the kid’s toys and books had been moved up to the dining room. My stash had also been placed in containers and moved upstairs.

Now over the years I have been asked how many painted canvases and charted projects do I have in my stash and I have always side stepped the question. Since my stash has still not been organized I can’t answer this question but I can tell you that I have 20 containers full of stash that need to be sorted! Does anyone have more? Now in my defense I should say that each of these containers is a 45 gallon container but they all aren’t full. Does that help? Hey, it’s cheaper than therapy! Giggle, giggle, giggle?

I’m still buying as I see beautiful things that I’m hoping that someday I’ll be able to stitch! Actually it is a fun harmless hobby so I decided years ago that not only am I a stitcher, but I am also a collector of fine potential needlework and works in progress!

Windy Meadow

Originally Posted: March 28, 2006

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beginning of Blog -- February 17, 2006

I've started this blog today to begin sharing my love of needlework with others.

I have many completed items that I've recently taken pictures of that I hope to post in the next several weeks.

Let me know what you think!

I'm also currently working on completing a Cross Stitch kit for a Girl Scout activity. We hope to reach between 100 to 200 girls each year to introduce them to needlepoint.

Windy Meadow

Originally Posted: February 17, 2006