Saturday, December 31, 2005

Ready For Some Flakes

Starting Monday I'm going to attempt some snowflakes. Julie's Snowflake Mondays are going to be a part of my new year. Will I really have 51 or so by the time Christmas rolls around next year, probably not but I hope to be close. One flake a week, very doable. I also bought a ball of some white thread with silver metallic running through it but somehow I have lost it between here and the store who shall not be named. Julie also pointed me in the direction of the 99 Snowflakes book. I hope there's not another out there somewhere. This was the only one I saw at Joann's, had a 40% off coupon too. I'm hoping once I get a few snowflakes under my belt I'll feel confidant enough to attempt a doily or two.

Also planned in the crochet department for 2006, making DS#3 his own afghan. He insists on red, white and blue. He designed it himself, well inspired by the flag but he says skip on the stars. He's happy with one big ol' blue block then red and white stripes flag style. So I'll be figuring this one out as I go along. I'm wild that way. I'm thinking it's going to be pretty simple which means it's going to be a nightmare. For some reason I think before it's over I'll be searching for a star pattern I can crochet and sew stars on to the blue block of this afghan but I'll think about that some other time.

For dinner tonight I think I'm going to attempt this:

Williams-Sonoma Recipe View

A friend made it the other day and said it was great. I so love my crockpot. It's right behind the iPod and the computer as far as great inventions go.

We're planning a quiet New Year's Eve. Probably will watch a few episodes of Season 2 of The O.C. Although as much as I love The O.C. I'm not in the mood for teen angst at the moment.

Cross Stitching

Well, where am I? Let's see still no cow on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow but I'm getting there.

I plan to start Hands To Work-Bird In Hand sometime today because really shouldn't the year end how it began? Starting one more project that won't get finished in 2005. It just seems right.

Tomorrow I will start Sarah Tatum Reproduction Sampler-Scarlet Letter. This is kitted and ready to go. Some friends and I, Siobhan, Sharon, and Val, will be doing a SAL of this piece. With any luck we'll keep each other motivated and get this piece finished in 2006.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Works In Progress

With 2005 coming to an end and 2006 right around the corner it's time to own up to all the WIP I have going. It's kind of scary.

In no particular order here is the list of the projects that I have started sometime in 2005 or before. One project on this list was started as far back as 1985.

Fairy Grandmother-MLI
Lady of the Flag-Mirabilia
Deco Spirits-Mirabilia
Garner Dragonfly-Dimples Designs
Cowboy Boots-Design Connection
Dragon Isle-Stitchworld
Mermaid of the Pearls-Mirabilia
Three Pale Eggs-Shepherds Bush
Santa of the Forest-MLI
Serene Shores-Dimensions(started sometime in 1985)
Fantasy Triptyche-Teresa Wentzler
Tradewinds-Teresa Wentzler
Liberty Sampler-Hester's Needle
Klimt's Kiss-FAHS
With My Needle-Goode Huswif
Very Fine Sampler-BOAF
I'll Always Be A Wildflower-SamSarah
Santa B Good-Sisters and Bestfriends
Mouline Rouge-Long Dog
And They Sinned-Examplar Dames
Flip Flop Days-JABC Button Company
Betty Broomstick-Lizzie Kate
Wendell the Warlock-Mosey N Me
Vinnie Von Fang-Lizzie Kate
Remember Me On Halloween-BOAF
Romantic Rhapsody-JCS(this is from an issue in Feb. of '97 or '98)
Sanctuary-The Drawn Thread
Houses of Hawk Run Hollow-CHS
Change of Pace-Graphs by Barbara & Cheryl
Perfect Setting-Graphs by Barbara & Cheryl

If any of my stitching friends are reading this and you can think of a project I left off the list let me know. I kind of compiled it off the top of my head. No time to dig through stuff and pull everything out. I believe it's pretty close to accurate.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Morning Sky-Two Views

This morning when I looked out the kitchen window while waiting on the coffee to brew this is what I saw*:

This is close to the same view but using the dusk/dawn setting on the camera:

*I promise I resized these pictures. Not sure what happened.......

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Is Over for Another Year

Boy am I glad too. This has been a particularly rough holiday this year with problems related to my grandmother. I'm starting to feel better about things after I talked to her and made sure that she was asking questions and getting back a little bit of control of her life.

As far as stitching, not much was accomplished this weekend. I did knit a scarf. Pictures later since I can't figure out how to reduce the image size with our new camera software. I tried it in my old software and the picture looked horrible.

The holiday was quiet, which I love. I didn't over cook, actually I cooked way less than I normally do and it was the right decision. We had ham, two casseroles and some cookies and cupcakes and that was it. The leftovers of the ham will be made into some kind of ham and bean soup as soon as I find a good recipe.

Stitching: Looking Ahead

I hadn't planned to set any stitching goals but have decided that goals might actually be a good thing. Of course they will be more like guidelines, but you know what I mean. I refuse to feel bad if I don't achieve any of my goals. This is a hobby, it's supposed to be fun but I do have some things that need attention.

Priorities for 2006:

Finish MLI's Fairy Grandmother
Finish Mirabilia's Mermaid of the Pearls
Finish Stitchworld's Dragon Isle
Finish Mirabilia's Lady of the Flag

All four of the above mentioned projects are over half finished. Finishing them in 2006 should not be a problem if I work a little on each one every week. It will just take some discipline.

On the B* List:

Finish Houses of Hawk Run Hollow
Start and Finish By the Bay's 13th Colony Bay Parts 1-3 on the same piece of fabric.
Finish Mouline Rouge by Long Dog

New Projects for 2006:

sonne Spot Sampler by Long Dog
Sarah Tatum Reproduction Sampler-Scarlet Letter
Ann Medd 1742 Reproduction Sampler-Scarlet Letter
Mermaid-Teresa Wentzler
Tradewinds-Teresa Wentzler
Also on the new projects list for 2006 are Lizzie Kate's Block Its all stitched on one piece of fabric and Bent Creek's Monthly Snappers all stitched on one piece of fabric. I'd love to complete both of these by the end of the year but while I prefer my happy little dream world I'm reasonably sure that won't happen. I'll be satisfied to get half of each project completed.

There are other projects I hope to finish, many WIP that I hope see something other than the inside of a Rubbermaid bucket in 2006 and projects that aren't even kitted that I dream of starting in 2006 but I won't list them now.

Crocheting and Knitting for 2006:

I hope to participate in Julie's Snowflake Mondays in 2006. I'd love to make a snowflake a week. I'm in search of simple snowflake patterns right now. The patterns I have here are for someone with some thread crochet experience and mine is minimal. I'll see what I can round up this weekend in the way of easy snowflake charts and be ready to crochet my first one next Monday.

I want to finish an afghan for my mother that I started almost two months ago and set it aside for other things. It was wrong. It was supposed to be a combination housewarming/Christmas present so maybe I'll have it finished before the end of January.

I also need to crochet each of my boys new afghans. Just need to decide on colors and patterns.

I also want to get back to my 63 Squares afghan and start to work on several I have kitted up and ready to go.

I'm going to learn to flippin' purl in 2006. I didn't meet that goal in 2005 so I'm going to suck it up and practice. I want to knit my middle son a sweater, Jesse's Flames from Stitch & Bitch Nation.

Something that probably won't happen in 2006, but I'd really like to learn how to spin. I've been following some blogs Dave Daniels’ Cabin Cove Crafts, for one, the man has been spinning for what, 4 weeks, 5 weeks? Incredible! I want to do that one day.

Now what I need to learn is time management because I have a few other projects not fiber related that will be taking up a lot of time. It's ok, it's all good, I just need to learn how to organize my life so I can do a little bit of everything and not freak out.

I really want to be a better person in 2006 too. More thoughtful and caring, take a little time to make sure people know that I care about them. I tend to be a hermit and will go weeks without talking to people I care about, not the ones I live with, couldn't avoid them if my life depended on it but other family members I avoid calling for whatever reason. Time to get over myself and do the right thing. Life is short.

I also hope to plan for Christmas 2006 all year long so that I don't get all creative on December 23 like I did this year with scarf way back at the beginning of this post. I see some boogabags, some Sophie bags in my crystal ball and they will hopefully be gifts for next Christmas. I am going to do better all the way around in 2006.

*really the "A+" list but I have got to focus on the first 4 projects and get them done!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

2005-The Stitching Year in Review

In this post and previous ones you can see pictures of the things I managed to finish in 2005. I have no hope of finishing anything else before the end of the year. Not a very productive year but maybe that shows that I do have a life away from needle and thread. The picture below is Lizzie Kate's Welcome All Seasons. I have the frame purchased and maybe the DH can frame it for me this weekend. He gets things a lot straighter in the frame than I do. This particular framing project will be a little different though as he needs to add some brass cup hooks to the bottom of this frame and some brass eyebolts to the smaller frame I plan to hang from the bottom of this design. I will change out the month in the bottom frame using Lizzie Kate's Monthly Flip-It designs. I plan to just mount the monthly designs on *gasp* sticky board and pop them in and out of the frame as each month arrives. I'm also hoping to keep them organized in a nice little plastic shoe box so I'll know where each month is when I need it.

Things That Remind Me of What A Loser I Am:

Reading through the 2005 archives I had such high hopes in all my crafty endeavors. I had hoped to be able to knit socks for family members, crochet a baby blanket for a new niece, cross stitch a picture for a great niece, do something special for another niece I adore but never get to see, finish Fairy Grandmother for my grandmother who will now probably be going into a nursing home, finish Mermaid of the Pearls for another niece, finish the very easy and what I assumed was a quick afghan for my mom's Christmas/housewarming present. All in all I suck. Maybe it's great expectations, maybe it's poor time management. My heart is in the right place but nothing ever seems to work out the way I plan. Can I flake out and say I'm an artist and things will get finished when they get finished? No that's a selfish excuse. In my heart I'm not selfish, just bad with the whole timing thing.

My hopes for 2006 are that I finish some long overdue projects and that one will not be too late. That is where I am selfish. The project for my grandmother, I started getting all superstitious about it. If I finished it, she might die. Weird, flakey, I know, but I started to not be able to even look at it much less work on it. I'm an idiot. So the rest of 2005 will be spent working on this for my grandmother. She's so deserving of it. She gave me everything when I was younger. Comfort, love, a sense of place. There is so much emotion and love tied up in the cross stitch piece, that it breaks my heart to work on it and think of her and all my shortcomings and how she always deserved so much better in a granddaughter. I know that I always fell short of her dreams for me. Always a constant let down. I only hope that she knows, truly knows how much I love her and what she means to me. I only wish I had taken the time to be more of the person she hoped I'd be.

2005-The Stitching Year in Review

2005-The Stitching Year in Review

2005-Stitching Year in Review

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Shortest Day of the Year

So why does it seem like the longest?

The kids have been out of school less than two days and the whining and "I'm boreds" have already started. This does not paint a pretty picture for the rest of Christmas break.

We're going to bake cookies tomorrow. Maybe even attempt a gingerbread house. That will kill, oh say, 5 minutes and then I'll be doing it all by myself. The 10 yr old gets bored with the whole baking thing. He prefers the eating thing.

The 10 yr old also informed me that instead of turkey for Christmas dinner he wants Hawaiian Chicken on the grill. Since we live in the Sunshine State grilling outside in December isn't a horrible thing. Don't get me wrong it's a bit nippy around here but nothing compared to what's north of us. So maybe we'll have a late Turkey dinner and Hawaiian chicken for lunch. Then again DS#1 says he wants a Ham for Christmas dinner. I see that maybe for Christmas Eve instead. Only because I haven't even bought a turkey yet so it's no where near thawed as it's still in my grocer's freezer, I'll need the extra day to thaw the stupid turkey.

Today I called my mother and told her that I'd drive the 8-10 hours to Tennessee tomorrow and bring her down here on Friday so she can spend Christmas with us. She turned me down. My brother is going with his family to see my SIL's family in Mexico so my mom will be alone. I think Christmas with us scares my mom. She said something about bad weather and not being able to get back home, but I think we are too loud, too rowdy and basically just too wild for her. It's a loud house, ok. We like it that way. We are so loud that we are constantly asking neighbors if they hear us and begging them to tell us if they do. We tend to crank up the music, the tv, so that causes us to have to talk very loudly to each other because we can never find the remote to turn the tv down. I meant it when I told her I'd drive up there and get her and bring her back. I've got cabin fever at the moment with everyone home, but she turned me down and the oldest son and the husband were very relieved. I guess I should be insulted because I'm 99% sure that if it were my brother offering to bring her to his home however many miles away she'd jump at the chance but it's ok. I did the right thing and if she's alone it's her own fault.

In the area of stitching I've done absolutely no stitching in the last week. Time to get back in the habit. I miss it, but have just been too overwhelmed to drag something out to work on. Too many other things to do. Winter basketball has started for DS#2, the kids had exams all last week, the house looks like Christmas on top of a landfill, my grandmother is in the hospital in Tennessee and no one is really sure at this point what to do with her. She keeps falling for no apparent reason. It's to the point where she can't live alone any more. This is one of the times I hate being 8 hours+ from home. My mother is going to be alone for the holidays and my dad's wife is sick again which means he's stressing big time having a wife and a mother that aren't doing well.


Solstice: The View From Florida

Monday, December 19, 2005

Easily Amused

A friend sent me this link:

Holiday Snowglobe

And I find myself wasting quite a bit of time......

Another nice, ok not really nice, but fun:

SCARED OF SANTA GALLERY: Tis the season to be scared witless

Countdown YIKES!

Well it appears that Christmas is truly right around the corner. YIKES! I'm not ready. Honestly I'm never ready. I'm closer than normal at this time but I could use an extra week or two.

A shout out to Carol of the comments: Yes we still have the surburban. Can't seem to part with the thing. The DH is planning to paint it himself, we may go really artsy with it. We were thinking clouds might be a nice alternative to the rust on the roof. We do love it. Wish we had some extra money to really invest in it. DH's buds love it when he drives it for the carpool. They can all stretch out, have room for all their stuff. Of course with gas prices what they are these days he can only afford to drive it once or twice a week. We're going to get some new seat covers after the holidays since our upholstry has seen better days.

To Kiwi Jo, did you really have to mention Peppermint Mocha coffeemate on your blog? I had no idea it existed. I'm an Organic Valley Half & Half girl. Since reading about this on your blog I've been on a tricounty search for that tasty concoction and found one, ONE, at a local grocery. It's so good. Now when I find it I plan to hoard it up to get me through the first of the year. I wish Coffemate would add this to their line of regular flavors.

We had a busy weekend, took the kids to see King Kong. What a great movie!

Yesterday I started pulling out some thisclose to finished cross stitch projects to try and figure out why they are thisclose to finished and have been left to linger in Rubbermaid buckets. I found my Dimple's Designs Garner Dragonfly, Wee Beasties 5
Three wings are stitched and a good part of the body. So why I wondered to myself did I not finish this? Well it appears that I've lost a page of the chart. The page of the chart with the unfinished wing. ARRGGHHHH! I have no clue where it could be. I dumped out the bucket I had it stored in and found the chart with that page missing. I'm going to resume my search later today but I can't imagine why the chart wasn't all together in the same spot, I have the partially stitched design, the bag of floss, the chart, makes no sense why it wouldn't all be together. I'm scatterbrained and can be careless but I'm usually very good where my stitching stuff is concerned.

Then I ran across a kit I had started several years ago. It's a special kit by BrightNeedle that I bought at Expressions in Needleart in Canadaigua, NY at my very first stitching retreat. It's a sweet design. The verse reads, "My needle doth dance o'er the linen." The title of the design is Lake Country Spring and is a tribute to the Finger Lakes region of NY state that they both love. I picked it up and started working on it again and immediately knew why I haven't finished this quickie design. I dislike the linen included in the kit a lot! I'm too cheap to replace it so will work on it here and there and should get it finished in a timely manner. I don't hate the linen so much that I would start the design over but the holes are hard to see, it's almost like stitching on clothing linen. (Don't ask me how I know the difference in stitching linen and clothing linen--sometimes I get a little creative where fabric is concerned and I have no money). It's 32ct so it really shouldn't be a problem but this is a really tightly woven linen.

So it appears that my plans to zip through the Dragonfly and Lake Country Spring designs before the end of 2005 are on hold for the time being. That's what I get for being cocky and thinking I could just whip these finishes out and start 2006 with two less projects in the pile of UFOs I have here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

All Kinds of Stuff

Last night while on my way home from going to see the midwife with my pregnant neighbor and her family--I'm invited to participate in the birth--I was talking to my best friend Cassie on the phone. Her mother is one of the artsiest people I know. When we were growing up she would go through phases, cross stitching, crewel, making pillows, teddy bears, porcelian dolls, baking extravagantly decorated cakes, homebaked bread, sketching plants. You name it she did it. It was always fun hanging out at Cassie's house because you never knew what her mother would be doing on that particular day. Last night Cassie told me that her mother had taken up sketching portraits and that she was sketching pictures of all the family. Very cool. She also told me that right now her house was pretty much an art gallery displaying all her mother's artwork. Is that not the coolest thing or what? One of my goals with my home is to not have the same stuff on my walls as everyone else. I have a print or two, but for the most part the stuff on our walls are things I've stitched, photos we've taken or family has sent us, and I'm working on the DH to do a few paintings for me. I've seen some great paintings in Coastal Living on other people's walls and I think he could create a reasonable facsimile for me. If I could paint like my husband I'd have an easel set up in the living room all the time, drop cloths over the floor and furniture. Yes, I would. But he only makes time to paint when football season is over and softball hasn't started yet. Ok, back to Cassie's mom, I think she was the one that opened my eyes to the art of cross stitch. Sure my neighbor stitched shop models and had some awesome Paula Vaughn's on her walls that she had stitched but Cassie's mom always made it feel like art instead of needlework. I guess I notice the difference in her feelings about it and my aunt's. My aunt loves to sew, she teaches it at the high school level, but she never understood the attraction to handwork when she could create some pretty awesome artwork using fabric and applique on her sewing machine in a fraction of the time it takes to cross stitch something. Cassie's mom on the other hand just embraced the act of cross stitching, saw it as art and it'd get finished when it got finished. It wasn't a race to get it finished and up on the wall, it was a process, and when it was finished, then she'd decide what to do with it. She's one of those people that embraces her hobbies, her art, as obsessively as I embrace cross stitching. I stitch because I can't not cross stitch. It's a huge part of me. So much a part of me that even people that know don't know me that well but know my husband know that I stitch. Kind of freaked me out the first time one of his coworkers who I know but don't really "know" mentioned my stitching to me. So either my DH can't think of anything to say about me to his friends other than I stitch or he thinks it's pretty cool. I was so glad I called Cassie yesterday, I needed to be inspired and whenever I hear what her mom is doing, I get motivated to start working on my own stuff again.

The last few days have been busy with holiday stuff, cleaning up a flooded bathroom(that seems to be a continuing theme around here, 2005: The Year of the Constantly Flooded Bathroom), going to see a midwife, and having not one, but two Starbuck's Peppermint Mocha coffees. Are those things to die for or what? Those are definitely worth $4 a cup. Tastes just like an Andes after dinner mint. Fortunately for me there are no Starbucks within a 15 mile radius so I only get to treat myself to those when I venture into the big city, but then I treat myself on the way to where ever I might be going and then again on the way home.

We woke up this morning to a flat on the car, let me tell ya how fortunate I feel that this did not happen when I was cruising along the scenic highway in Pensacola yesterday about 6 pm. YIKES! Then the truck wouldn't start this morning so the DH missed his carpool and had to drive the Improbability Drive(85 Surburban and we've been calling it the Improbability Drive since the early 90s. I read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy long before it was a movie.) all the way to work, $20 worth of gas barely got him there. So instead of more cleaning today, a goal and yes I used the "g" word is to have a clean house by Christmas Eve and keep it that way through the end of 2006, 2 0 0 6! All the clutter is stifling my creativity. I don't need that right now but I digress, I'll be at the store that we shall not name getting a new tire put on the car. What a waste of $100 right here at the holidays. Oh and to add to my loser image at the moment I completely forgot to get a teacher gift or anything for the bus driver. The kids have school on Monday so I hope to get something together for DS#3's teacher over the weekend.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Guilt Free January

Well Guilt Free January is just around the corner and I have big plans. For those of you not familiar with Guilt Free January, I believe the concept comes from the TWBB Not sure if that's where the idea originated but that's where I discovered it. The idea is that in January a stitcher can start as many projects as she/he wants guilt free. No worrying about finishing any of them or all those other WIP sitting around the house. It's a new year, start as many projects as you want. I believe one year I started a new project almost every day. I have the piles and piles of WIP to prove it but that's a story for another day. Anyway this year my main big huge project is By the Bay's 13th Colony Harbor Parts 1-3 all stitched on one piece of fabric. Below you can see the individual designs. Aren't they going to ROCK all stitched together? When this is finished it will hang on my honkin' big kitchen wall. I'll take a picture of that wall and the one piddly little picture hanging there right now and you'll understand my excitement over this new project.

The inspiration for stitching these designs comes from this Lenox accent plate that I love:

Here's hoping that picture shows up, I forgot to upload it to the photobucket album before I started writing this post. If not I'll figure it out later. Anyway, I'd love to design my kitchen around that plate. If we ever win the lotto my first major purchase is the whole set of the Lenox British Colonial Tradewind china. Having three sons, there aren't a lot of china patterns out there that they might want to inherit so anything girlie might just find itself a yard sale bargain one day but these dishes, the boys might actually fight over. So I'm hoping the new year find's me starting this project and it's one of those I will finish and that's all there is to it. Write it down, Melissa WILL finish this cross stitch piece in a timely manner so I can get it on my wall and my reward will be the purchase of a couple of those accent plates. Then I get to start working on TW Tradewinds again.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Several Posts in One Day

What's up with that? Well things are on my mind and I'm feeling restless, so I come here. It's a nice quiet place, no one whining for something at the moment although that is subject to change at any time.

Last year around this time I posted my progress on Stitchworld's Dragon Isle. Since I didn't put one stitch in on this project all year long I'm posting last year's pic. I wish I was kidding but I'm not. I refuse to set a goal, but I am hoping to finish this project sometime in 2006(this is not a goal but a guideline). DS#2 would be really, really happy if  I did. He's been quite the patient kid for oh, 8 years. I'm pretty sure I started this sometime in 97 or 98. If you compare my stitched piece to the chart, there's only a couple of weeks worth of work left to be done, of course there's buttloads of backstitching, but what, you may be asking yourself, is my hold up? Finish the stupid dragon/castle already. The hold up is 1/4 stitches on 14ct aida! When I started this project, oh, so many years ago, I didn't think there were a lot of 1/4 stitches and I could deal with it. Well I was wrong. Way wrong! Would you believe that most of this piece was stitched in just a few months? Four at the most. It was a focus piece, then I get to the castle and the rocks and it's a nightmare. So I'm going to suck it up and work on this piece as much as I can. My reward for finishing it will be starting TW's Mermaid. Ever since I saw Kiwi Jo's finished Mermaid I've been itching to start this piece. So all I have to do to start TW's Mermaid is finish up the minimal amount of cross stitching left on Dragon Isle. It really is pretty. The colors are great, the dragon is beyond cool.

After going through last December's archives I have discovered that only one project from that end of year list was completed. It was my gemstone and black single crochet Q hook afghan. To top it off that was just finished last week or maybe the week before. Visualize me holding a big old L in front of my face using my thumb and forefinger.

I'm a fabulous project starter. How I love choosing a chart, buying the fabric, gathering the threads! What a rush! What joy there is in finding the top left corner or the center point of the design, threading the needle, pushing it through that first hole. Those early hours of continuous stitching so that I can see some actual progress after my first stitching session, WOW! I'm one of those geeks that loves to wake up at 4a.m., brew a pot of coffee, and start stitching. That is the best time of day.

The subject of starting new projects brings me to Guilt Free January. Boy do I love January, Guilt free and all. I have some ideas about what projects I'll start in January, Scarlet Letter's Sarah Tatum and The Ann Medd 1742 Reproduction Sampler are at the top of my list. I also have another big project planned and if my charts and supplies are here on time it will be my New Year's Day project. I'll share the project and my plans later.


Framed Stitching Witch

As you can see this is a picture of my framed Stitching Witch, excuse the glare this is the best picture I've been able to take. The design is from Branson Country Stitching. She's stitched on 18ct raw linen and the pumpkin's eyes, cat's eyes and the brim of the witch's hat are all stitched using Kreinik Glow in the Dark thread. She will hang all year in my bedroom. I was really going for more of a Goth look for the frame, something Dracula might have in his castle, but when you live in a little hicktown you have to work with what you've got.


Happy Belated Birthday

Yesterday was DS#2's 15th birthday. I haven't even had time to search for pictures of him to post here, he's probably very happy about that. Maybe I'll post some later today.

DS#2 is an amazing kid. He decides he's going to do something and be good at it and he practices and practices and practices until he drives us all crazy. He decided at 13 he wanted to play basketball. Had never ever stepped on a basketball court, had no clue about the rules or how to play the game, but he went, tried out and made a team. I would wake up in the middle of the night, check his room and he'd be gone. I would open the front door and there he'd be, shooting hoops at 2am. I'd make him come in, go to bed, apologise to the neighbors the next morning and they all love Jack. They said anyone with that much determination can practice outside their bedrooms windows as long as he needs to any time day or night.

When I look at him today, it's hard to believe that 15 yrs ago the doctors couldn't tell me if he was going to live or die. He was a preemie, 6 weeks early but weighed in at 6lbs 9oz. The emergency c-section was routine, but he swallowed amniotic fluid and his lungs were just underdeveloped enough that he had to be put on a vent for a few weeks. I can't even begin to write my feelings about this time of my life and his. My emotions were all over the place. Fear, love, lonliness, and a pain and aching for my child that I hope to never ever feel again because I don't know if I could ever handle that kind of pain again. My doctor kept me in the hospital as long as he could, but finally he had to send me home. I still find it hard to write about the weeks he was in the hospital, but to see him today, healthy, happy, well as happy as any 15 yr old can be, my heart is so full of love for this child of mine. I hope that one day he knows, truly knows, how much I love him and how much he means to me.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Framed Mairmaid's Song

Below is a picture of my framed Carriage House Samplings' Mairmaid's Song. Sorry I'm not a great photographer, this is the best I could do this afternoon.

This is pretty close to being one of my all time favorite designs that I've stitched over the years.

I tried to take a picture of my recently framed Stitching Witch but  the picture I took was a mess and my camera battery was dangerously low so I'll put in some new batteries and give it a try in the morning light tomorrow.

The last few days I've been going through my WIPs, UFOs, and charts for projects I want to start in 2006. I didn't finish anything I had intended to this year. I don't like to stitch with a goal in mind, I never follow through. It seems like when I set the goal, the project loses it's magic. So one plan for 2006 is to not really plan to finish anything, I just hope, HOPE to get a few longtime projects out of my house and into their new homes.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Got Nothing

Not much to write about the last few days. I still have not finished my cow house on CHS Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. For those of you familiar with the chart it's House #9. The house is close to complete, with any luck I can start the cow tomorrow.

I did manage to finish a crochet afghan I started sometime last year. It was a basic single crochet afghan only I held three strands together and used a Q hook. I'm a dork, and clueless about just making it up as I go along so I chained oh, maybe 100 chains before I started the single crochets so it's pretty big. That Q hook with three strands of yarn held together makes some mighty huge single crochet stitches. I tried to take a picture but it didn't turn out too well in the house so I'll try again tomorrow if the sun is out. It's got a nice tiedyed appearance to it. I held together two strands of black and one strand of Red Heart Gemstone. I can't take credit for the idea. I borrowed it last year from someone, Kristy maybe, over at Crafty Blog. If I were to do it again I would only chain 60-70 in my foundation chain. This afghan is really wide, really, really, seriously wide. It almost covers the top of our king sized bed. DS#3 tried to claim this afghan but I'm going to let him choose some colors and make him his very own afghan.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Couple of Small Finishes

Below is Brittercup's Britty's Christmas Kitty from the 2005 JCS Ornament issue. This will be DS#3's ornament this year.

And here is Houses of Hawk Run Hollow House #9. Whew! I never thought I'd finish this house. Each house is like it's own project. A lot more work intensive than I ever expect them to be. I'm not thrilled with the coverage of the DMC 310 using one strand of floss but I tried using two strands and it just looked too bulky. Only 9 more blocks left to stitch. My secret goal had been to finish this project before the end of the year but I'm reasonably sure, well 100% sure that ain't going to happen. Next up, finally, the cow house block.

I only have one more ornament that I have to stitch for a swap and then any other ornaments are just bonus ornaments for the year. Since I'm 17 yrs behind stitching my oldest son an ornament for every Christmas, and very close to 15 yrs behind stitching middle son an ornament to represent every Christmas of his life, and only, well now, 9 years behind on youngest son, I have plenty to keep me busy. My goal is for each of the boys to have a box of mom's handmade ornaments to take with them when they eventually leave home and start homes of their own.

Yesterday I pulled out the bread machine and baked some chocolate chip bread. I don't know what happened, maybe I removed it from the pan too soon but as soon as it cooled it deflated like a balloon. I thought maybe the chocolate chips made it too heavy, or maybe it wasn't completely cooked all the way through. I can't find my bread machine cookbook to check my troubleshooting so this doesn't happen again.

The baking fun has slowed down but it sure was good to have some home made enchiladas Monday night and crunchy taco shells. Amazing how happy the little things can make you sometimes. I have learned over the years to never take the washer, dryer and dishwasher for granted, now it's time to appreciate the oven just a little more.  

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Be Very Quiet...

We're hunting...


Sunday night we thought someone knocked on the door. That happens like all the time around here, someone knocking and knocking and knocking. It gets as old as it sounds. Anyway, the dog freaks out, which she also does when she's really got to go, big time. So middle son opens the door, the dog shoots out and disappears. She comes around our neighbor's house across the road chasing a critter that we can't really make out what it is. As it falls to the ground in Matt and Sarah's front yard, we then realize she's tracked a opossum. For a moment we thought she killed the opossum. Those things are without a doubt the ugliest varmits on the face of the earth and let tell ya there's many a dog that dreams of playing dead like the opossum. So we drag the dog away from the creature and it stays on the ground for I know 15 minutes after we had all cleared out and went back inside.

Well let's just fast forward to Monday night. Once again the dog is flippin' out. Of course this time I figure it's a pretty brave opossum to venture back up into our territory so I assume that Heidi has to pee like really bad. I open the back door and no sooner does she run out barking than the opossum drops to the ground. This time Heidi ain't playing. She hangs her head so close down to the opossum's face that I expect it at any minute to pop it's head up and bite her on the nose or rip her throat out. I have to go over and pull her away, drag her, both of my feet planted firmly on the ground and yanking her across the yard. This time Petey Opossum gets a clue and hightails it out of there before I can turn around and get a good look at him from the back door.

If I haven't mentioned before, we're like opossum magnets. They love us. A couple of years ago when we lived in another house, we had one living in the house for heaven only knows how long. How can this happen? Well best as we can figure, we had the garage door open one night while grilling out. We didn't shut it very late. Our buddy the opossum must have made himself at home in a nice warm corner of my cluttery garage. We never noticed him. The little guy got pretty brazen. We're pretty sure that one night he was helping himself to some cat food in the kitchen and we thought he was a cat. You see the litter box was in the garage so we kept the door between the garage and the kitchen open so the cats could run back and forth and we didn't have to have a litter box in the house. OK, so let's fast forward to a dark night approximately oh 4:00am. I get up to use the bathroom, for whatever reason I turned on the light, I was reaching for the toilet paper and cowering in the corner behind the toilet was Petey Opossum. I've never been so scared in my life. I'm letting out this moan that can't possibly be coming from a human, the husband says, "Missy, something wrong?" I mean it's 4:00am, I must be sick to be making a noise like that right? I say as softly as I can, "I really think you need to come in here." I'm easing my way away from the toilet, the husband looks in and says, "that's not good." We run out, slam the door and try to figure out how to get that creature out of the bathroom. Believe me there's nothing worse than reaching for some toilet paper and seeing a opossum, his huge ugly teeth and beady eyes looking at you from the corner. YIKES! So we start weighing our options. We may live in Hickville but we don't own a gun. So shooting him out of the bathroom wasn't really in the cards. I suggest duct taping our good carving knife to the end of the broom and pinning him against the wall. Well that wasn't going to work, too much blood and I'd be the one to clean it up anyway. Neither one of us could have killed him anyway. So we go to the garage, grab a fishing net and a cooler. We figure we can get him in the net, flip him in the cooler and drag him through the garage and out of the house. Believe it or not it worked. It was tricky getting him in the net from the corner but once he was in there popping him in the cooler was easy. We very slowly dragged the cooler through the bedroom, the kitchen and into the garage, raised the garage door, slid the cooler across the driveway over to the edge of the woods near our house, did I mention it was 4:00am and we're both in underwear and tshirts? We laid the cooler gently on it's side, popped open the top and ran like hell back into the garage, closing the door as fast as possible, and then started jumping up and down at our victory over the opossum. For a few minutes we knew just how Steve Irwin feels when he picks up that snake or crocodile. We did find the opossum's cubby hole in our garage. He obviously came in on a cold night, made himself or herself at home, ate well and decided not to leave. I guess we're lucky it wasn't a momma with a litter of babies or do opossums only have one baby?

So for whatever reason, the new opossum, he likes it here too. But he ain't getting in the house. Then again the cats can open the back door and it's not unusual to wake up at 3:00am and find the french doors wide open and a cat party going on in the back yard.

On to other topics, last night I managed to finish The Seventh Scroll. Pretty good book. I was up until midnight finishing it and I rarely stay up that late for any reason.

We are now officially hooked on Smallville. We've watched the first three shows of season 1 and are rationing out the episodes or we'll do a marathon. Discipline? Self-control? Won't find that here. The first episode was kind of slow but episodes 2 and 3 were good.

No real stitching news to report today. I started Brittercup's Christmas Kitty from the 2005 JCS Ornament issue but it's all over 1 and slow going.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cardinal's Christmas

Here is my most recent ornament finish:

It's Cardinal's Christmas by Lynn's Prints from the 2000 JCS Ornament issue. It's stitched on 28ct Platinum linen using DMC thread and Mill Hill beads. I finished this about 5 seconds ago. It should have been finished yesterday but I started reading The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith and couldn't put it down. Not sure what ornament is up next in the queue.

Random Fact:

If one drops a brand new gallon of milk in a plastic jug just the exact right way, the aforementioned  plastic jug will split right down the middle. Milk goes everywhere, don't ask me how I know this, but let's just say my cats are quite content right now.

You know you've married the right person when:

You and the boy are watching the last episode on disc seven of season one of The O.C. and he's crying just like you as Seth sails off. We're currently planning to sell some plasma so we can buy season two. We're pretty worried about Seth. Our only comfort at this tragedy is that we have had a glimpse at the current season and Seth seems to be alive and well.  

Quick Book Review:

MonkeeWrench by P.J. Tracy-Great thriller, likeable characters, some nice twists and turns to the plot.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher-Not bad, I figured it out early on but that's ok. I'll give book two in the Harry Dresden series a go.

Currently reading-The Seventh Scroll by Wilbur Smith-it's holding my interest but he keeps mentioning himself and a previous book as part of the plot. It's a little disconcerting, but the story is good.

Also reading Wicked-The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I've read mixed reviews of this book and am having trouble getting into it but I'm a bit distracted these days. I plan to give it another try in a week or two.

Here's a link to a new family favorite recipe. I've made it twice and one of the neighbor kids says it's the best cake he's ever had. Go Him!

Food Network: Pumpkin Bars


Friday, November 25, 2005

Second Ornament Finish

Well I'm feeling the joy right now. I've completed the stitching on my second ornament of the long weekend. It's Quaker Christmas Tree by The Workbasket from the 2002 JCS Ornament issue. It's stitched on 32ct Raw or some kind of neutral linen and I stitched the design using Needle Necessities #133 British Green. I do feel as though I stitched it twice because I had to frog all of the right side of the ornament because of a miscount that went unnoticed until the banner along the bottom was 99% completed. That's what happens when one gets up at 4:00am and starts stitching before the coffee is brewed and consumed.

For more Christmas stitching check out Kiwi Jo's completed advent calender. It's the first advent calender pattern I've seen that I have to stitch. I'm hoping to track down the pattern and stitch one for myself by Christmas time next year.

I tried coffee dyeing some fabric today, it was not a good thing. It turned out a little more yellow than I anticipated. Probably should have dyed white fabric instead of ivory, hence the yellowish result. It also smells very strongly of Hills Brother's Original Blend Medium Roast Coffee. I've washed it twice and the odor is still there, now it just smells of soapy coffee.

Here's hoping I can keep up my momentum and get another stitched tomorrow. I'm not counting on it but I do dream big.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today has been a nice, quiet uneventful day. Aren't those the best kind? My dinner was a success and my middle son has discovered the joys of cornbread dressing. This kid never compliments my cooking but he loved the dressing. Now I don't have to feel so guilty when I make it because someone else enjoys it too.

Other than forgetting the cool whip for the pumpkin pie I managed not to burn anything or screw it up. I made a mistake and cooked the turkey right side up, I usually cook it upside down because the one year I did that as an accident the breast meat was so moist we started intentionally cooking it upside down. It doesn't come out of the oven as pretty but the white meat is so moist. Since my oven has just recently been repaired I worried about the breast getting burned since the bottoms of muffins have been a little, hmmm, black, I didn't want that to happen to the best part of the turkey. Fortunately I basted it to death and it wasn't the least bit dry.

The boys have been unusually pleasant and QUIET today. Normally that would scare me but all seems well with them so I'm not going to question the peace.

I've been working an ornament from the 2004 JCS Christmas Ornament. Thought I might finish it before bed time tonight but it's taking a little bit longer than I anticipated. I may coffee dye some fabric I have around here for an over 1 ornament I want to try. Over 1 makes me a little nervous because I tend to not pay attention, have a miscount and then have to frog. That is not a pleasant experience over 1, but this is 28ct monaco and I think the over 1 on it should go pretty smoothly. I can't decide if I want to dye it tan first with RIT dye and then overdye it with coffee. I don't want it to be anywhere near antique white, but I'm not looking for a dark brown either. Just a worn kind of look.

I've been reading over some past blog entries the last day or two and I just realized how much I suck at planning projects for gifts. I had a few things I wanted to do for family and well they never got completed. A shawl for my grandmother, it's started but no where near completion, of course her chemo is already finished so I'm not even sure she needs it now. Then again everyone can use a handmade shawl right? Speaking of shawls, I can't wait to see Becky's Hazelnut Latte completed Triquetra shawl. I believe she charted out the pattern herself. But I digress, I also had a few baby gifts on the knitting needles that never saw the light of day, other than the cast on stage. Work really took away a lot of my free stitching/creative time. I'm hoping to wrap up a lot of WIPs over the next few months. There are one or two that I really need to finish, my Fairy Grandmother, a gift for my grandmother, this thing has been in progress for let's see 5, 6, 7 years maybe. Time to really get it out of my house and into hers. She's not getting any younger. For the most part my December project recap is pretty much the same as it was way back then. That is not a good thing. I'm trying to figure out exactly what I accomplished with my stitching in 2005. Yes I'm speaking in the past tense because if anything major sees completion before the end of the year no one will be more shocked than me.

Well disc 6 of Season 1 of The O.C. is calling. After disc 7, since the funding for The O.C. Season 2 is currently on hold, we'll start on Season 1 of Smallville. We scored this for the bargain basement price of $15.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Today I finished the stitching on my first ornament of the 2005 holiday season. Nothing like waiting to almost the last minute to start feeling the joy. This ornament is from the 2004 JCS Ornament issue and was designed by Brown House Studio. I used Crescent Colours threads. I didn't have the Cherry Tomato on hand so I swapped out GAST Buckeye Scarlett. I used an unknown linen. I believe it's 28ct and thought at first it was lambswool but now I'm not so sure. You can't really tell from the scan but the horizontal thread is flax or raw linen and the vertical thread is white.

This weekend is all about the ornaments. Every year I say I'm going follow Tasha Tudor's lead and feel the joy all year long. Of course I don't and only start feeling the joy right about now. Then joy quickly becomes stress so the whole fa la la la feeling is short lived.


I hope everyone has a blessed Thanksgiving. Hope the turkey is thawed and don't forget to remove the giblets and the neck bone!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Rainy Monday

We've had so little rain around this part of the country in the last few months that a dark, rainy day is a joy. Especially when one doesn't want to leave the house.

I'd love to have tons of pictures to throw up here on the blog but DS#1 has dropped the camera one too many times. He says, "Oh can't you just buy another?" Oh, sure, let me just go pluck a few $100 bills off the old oak tree and run up to Circuit City problem solved.

So you must take my word when I tell you much baking is being done here at the ranch. Let's see what the total of baked goods are to date:

2 dozen blueberry muffins
3 cans of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
1 Devils Food cake
1 batch of sugar cookies
1 batch of chocolate chip cookies
1 can of Pillsbury Grands biscuits
1 cookie sheet full of pigs in blankets(cocktail smokies wrapped in a bit of biscuit)
2 pumpkin pies

Tonight for dinner the baking continues with oven fried chicken for dinner, maybe even some pumpkin muffins.

Who knew a working oven could bring so much joy? I don't even enjoy baking that much but a fresh baked muffin or pie is so much better than anything one can buy in the bakery department of the grocery store.

Wish my stitching was as productive as my baking but I've been sidetracked the last couple of days. I have started a Christmas ornament and am beginning to feel the Christmas spirit kick in. The spirit has kicked in so much that this morning I popped in Christmas Vacation while working on my ornament. I do so *heart* that movie.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ovens Rock!

Well I am happy to report that my oven is fixed. That means much feasting on all kinds of oven baked goodness will begin in the next 30 minutes. As soon as the gas company repairman left I mixed up a Devil's Food cake and found some vanilla icing hiding in the pantry. WAHHHHOOOOO! Now it's time to give some serious thought to the Thanksgiving menu. Thoughts beyond, "If I buy a prepared dinner from Winn Dixie can we heat it in the microwave?" Holiday cookie baking here I come! Pumpkin pie, welcome to my mucho caliente oven! Peach cobbler, get ready to get oooey and goooey and crumbly, be prepared to melt some vanilla ice cream from your oven baked heat baby!

Ok, I do realize it's just an oven. I get it. My oven has been broken for so long I can't remember the last time I used it. I want to say New Year's, but I think it might have been closer to Valentine's Day. Being that it's a gas stove and the stove top worked just fine I've been able to make dinner for the family, we weren't completely stoveless but man, sometimes a girl just wants some warm Duncan Hines brownies fresh from the oven. Sometimes a fresh baked Pillsbury cinnamon roll would just hit the spot, a stupid hot biscuit for that matter.

It's amazing how such a little thing can rock one's world.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

CMA Awards

Anyone see the CMA awards last night? I have one question, who is dressing these women? I love country music. I love Sara Evans but the first dress she had on when she sang, please, that's a dress one would wear to the company Christmas party. It looked like something off the rack at Sears. Yes, she looked nice, for a funeral. Then when they put the camera on her when she was up for Female Vocalist she had on some Wilma Flintstone looking thing. She's had three kids, lost a lot of weight, has learned to work the camera, and then dresses so blah. Come on Sara, you're a star, embrace it!

Martina McBride, great singer, beautiful, cute figure. Her gown looked like it came from the tuxedo shop in the Mall.

LeeAnn Womack, her first ensemble, 20lbs of potatoes in a 10lb sack. Her second gown wasn't too bad, much more flattering but she still could have done better. The second gown had a prom dress feel to it.

Julie Roberts, her outfit made her look like she had two bust lines.

I looked at the DH and said, " Let me tell ya, Faith Hill will come out on stage looking like a star" and of course she did. Finally proof that someone knows what works and what is glamourous. Yes, I like Faith but no more or less than any of these other women.

Gretchen Wilson is the exception. She looked great, stayed true to who she is without looking like the softer side of Sears.

Now who am I to judge the way these women dressed? Well I read InStyle magazine. I have a clue. The aforementioned women, Gretchen and Faith excluded, are clueless about style. Pick up some fashion magazines before the next award show ladies.

LeeAnn Rimes looked glamourous as did Shania Twain. The red carpet chick from CMT looked into the camera when Shania Twain walked away and said, "She looks just like a movie star". What does that mean? Shania is a star, all these women are stars. They just need people to dress them like the stars they are.

Was shocked Sugarland didn't get the Horizon award, but I'm glad Dierks Bentley won.

What was up with them not letting anyone give any kind of thank you speech? I can hear the music any time. Let people talk, that's part of the fun. Alabama was inducted into the Hall of Fame and they shut them down before everyone got to speak. That's just wrong.

I'm glad Keith Urban won male vocalist and entertainer of the year. I have all three of his CDs and all are easy on the ears.

Wish Sugarland had scored the group of the year award but that went to Rascal Flats.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Well today has been spent waiting on the gas company to show up and repair the ignitor on my oven. My oven hasn't worked in ages and finally, I have time to waste waiting on the repair person. In case you haven't figured it out already, I'm still waiting.

Is my house clean? Well for us it's down right spotless at the moment but to the average person it's still probably pretty messy. All the clean laundry is on my bed, I'm gradually putting it away. The kitchen floor needs to be mopped but I'm just going to wait until the oven is repaired to even bother. I even remembered to remove the racks from the oven so that's one step the repair person doesn't have to bother with. Am I courteous or what?

No stitching accomplished today. Spent the morning cleaning, why I bother I'll never know. I clean for hours and while it looks better it still doesn't look "clean". I have cleaned out the entry way, moved some furniture around so the living room is almost ready for the Christmas tree and vacuumed and vacuumed, and vacuumed some more. I kept having to stop and declog the vacuum as the dog hair would reak havoc on the hose. I do have two tables piled with magazines, games and junk but I can't do everything in one sitting now can I? I'll depile things tomorrow.

On the subject of stitching, I'm still working on House #9 on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. I'm filling in the bottom part of the house and then all I have left is to fill in the black on the top section of the block. I think I'm going to save that for a time when I don't want to count and move on to the cow block next door. I love the cow. Why do I love the cow? Well I grew up in the country, seeing cows was nothing out of the ordinary, since we've moved down here near the Gulf cows are not common, beachy animals they are not. Horses are here and there in people's yards, yes, horses in the back yard. Chickens are pretty rare around here too. Well a while back we drove up to Florala on the Florida/Alabama state line and I saw cows. Lots of cows. I was so excited you would think I was 5. So this little cow block is very special to me.

Christmas is right around the corner, YIKES! This weekend is going to be a Christmas ornament stitching weekend for moi. I need to get in the mood and get rocking on some ornies. I'm hoping with the repair of my oven
I'll be in a holiday baking/cooking mood and then all kind of festive, warm fuzzy holiday feelings will take over. I'm reaching, I know.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that the oven repair is routine and is taken care of today, or we'll be eating turkey tv dinners for Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

A Couple of Finishes

Below is a pic of my finished Sirens of the Sea by Carriage House Samplings. When I first started stitching it the browns kind of depressed me. I couldn't imagine it being as pretty a piece as I thought it was, well I was wrong. The pic doesn't do it justice. I'll frame this one myself. It'll fit in an 8x10 frame so now I get to go in search of the  perfect frame for it.

Here is a picture of House #5 on Carriage House Samplings Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. These houses are so misleading. I think I can crank out a block in a day or two and each of the two I have stitched has taken at least a week each. I started House #9 last night while watching Disc 2 of Season 1 of The O.C.

You may notice the border around the house isn't quite finished. Well I'm not considering that part of the block. I'm saving the border stitching for a time when I don't want to count and just want to make little Xs. Last night I started the border around House #9 and #10. I would really love to get HOHRH finished this year and I do like to think it's a reasonable goal but I'll see how the stitching goes. I'm interested to see how much progress I can make on #9 today. That should be a good guide as to how much I can reasonably stitch on a block per day.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Finally a Picture

Ok, for some reason this pic blurred big time. But we'll just go with it for the time being and I'll take another when the sun comes up. Guess I had the camera just a little too close. It wasn't blurry in my editing software. Maybe I reduced it too much?

I'm delusional where my stitching is concerned. I truly thought when I started this piece it'd only take a couple of days to complete. The joke was on me. It's taking forever. When I first pulled the colors and started stitching I wasn't very happy, thought it was going to be kind of drab, but of course I should always, always trust the designer. At least when the designer is Kathy Barrick-Dieter of Carriage House Samplings. She has yet to let me down in the design department. The colors all started coming together and I'm loving it.

Yesterday afternoon I put in two lengths of floss on Mouline Rouge. I'm much happier since I pulled it out of my 11x17 Qsnaps and popped it into a nice, light, easy to handle wooden hoop. It's much easier to see the holes in the 40ct lambswool now that I have MR in a much more manageable frame. As soon as I finish Sirens of the Sea I plan to work on MR a little more often. It's going to be a lot more enjoyable to work on now.

Also, my Houses of Hawk Run Hollow has been screaming at me to pull it out of it's plastic baggie and finish House #5. It's so close to finished, at least block #5 not the whole piece.

So end of year goals are as follows:

1) Finish Page 1 of Mouline Rouge

2) Finish Page 1 of And They Sinned

3) Start and finish several ornaments

Other than that I'm just going to fly by the seat of my pants.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Two Weeks of Discovery

Or Adventures in Unemployment

Things I've learned about myself:

1) No matter how much time during the day I have to clean house I always end up putting it off until almost time for everyone to get home from school and a few minutes before the DH is due home from work. (kind of like cramming for exams the night before the test)

2) I really, really dislike housework.

3) I hate a dirty house.

4) The two halves of my personality argue all day long. Clean, don't clean, no one notices, no one cares. Sit and stitch. No, clean. Read some blogs, no, clean. Call me Sybil.

5) I love TV on DVD. It's the greatest invention since the iPod and the laptop.

6) I really can sit and stitch for hours on end. The worst part, I don't even feel guilty.

7) I don't miss seeing people every day. I thought I might miss that part of work, the whole human interaction thing, nope. Not one little bit. What does that say about me?

8) I really like my kids. I have time to spend with them these days and am never in a hurry. I have time to listen to them. My 17 yr old is a pretty interesting guy. I didn't realize how much I missed them. Sure I saw them every day, before school, after school, but I was always in a bad mood, tired.

9) I love the quiet. I embrace it.

10) A few weeks ago I had a few projects I had hoped to finish by the end of the year, now I'm frustrated because I can't complete a project a day. Who do I think I am?

11) Yes, a person can watch too much Law & Order.

Yes, I'm probably just a wee bit crazy. All in all though with the exception of the whole money thing unemployment is the best thing that has happened to me in a while. I have needed the break. I do need to learn to budget. That is a concept that I don't embrace, but it's time to act like someone my age is supposed to act.

Hopefully some updated stitching pics tomorrow.

Friday, October 28, 2005

No Pictures Today

But my first two full weeks of unemployment have been productive in the stitching department. Much more so than in the much maligned but necessary cleaning department. I'll try to have a good progress pic of Sirens of the Sea tomorrow. DS#1 likes to take my camera with him where ever he goes so it never seems to be here when I need it.

Unfortunately there are no pics of my first attempt at dyeing fabric and the project that I used it for. I could never get an accurate picture of the color and then when I finished the project my camera was no where to be found.

I did finish Blackbird Designs Black Cat Sampler and Boo! from the Trix or Treats book.

I've been obsessing for the last few weeks over a quilt in the October issue of Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion. It's on page 71 and I'm thinking about making up my own pattern and seeing how close I come to copying this one. I've been through most of my quilting books and couldn't find anything close to it. It's applique in the Baltimore Album quilt style but it doesn't look as tedious as some of the ones I've seen. I believe this quilt top might work up pretty fast. Then it can become my winter handquilting project and more than likely next winter's too. No just kidding. I do believe the applique itself will go fast. I like handwork. It's just the tracing and the cutting that I procrastinate on. This looks pretty straight forward and the applique pieces are all large. No teeny tiny pieces to fuss over.

This weekend I'm hoping to get a few things framed. I've purchased frames, just haven't had time to sit down and get it done.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

What Have We Here?

Could it be a new stitching hutch? Why yes it is. This has been stored in the garage because the DH said it was for TVs so what else could I possibly use it for? Sorry the top pic is so dark, not sure what happened but you get the idea. It's a medium oak stained tv armoire.

Which I turned into this. Can you believe the top pic and this pic were taken just a minute or two apart? My camera has been dropped several times and it's sorta got a mind of it's own these days.

Wow! Scissors and pins where I can find them. How long will this last?

Here's a stitching update, this is Carriage House Samplings Sirens of the Sea. I started it last Sunday and have been moving right along.

Hmmmm, is this really the beginnings of a new crochet project? Sure is. My mom is moving into a new house and I'm making her this afghan:

 Free Crochet Pattern: HOMESPUN Five-Panel Throw

I'm using the colors suggested in the pattern. What you see above is the first panel in Lionbrand Homespun Sierra(color distorted by sun and shade, sorry). I'm having trouble finding the other colors, but I have yet to make the day trip to a Micheals or Hobby Lobby. JoAnn's didn't have any of the colors I needed. What I'm using I rounded up at the local store that shall not be named.

The ball of Homespun was created using my new ball winder. What a cool gadget. Pricey but cool. It's a lot more fun winding balls using the handy dandy ball winder than it ever was using a toilet paper roll with a slit cut in the side.

Thanks Anna for your kind words regarding the birthday and age. Happy Belated Birthday to you.

I've really enjoyed my first week of unemployment. The laundry is almost all off the kitchen table and with any luck I'll have my oven repaired by Wednesday. There are rumors that the owner may reopen on Friday, but she has yet to call me or one of the other regular employees. So I have no clue what's up and I'm perfectly happy not going back. Don't get me wrong, the money I brought into the home will be missed, especially by me but I feel a lot better than I've felt in ages. I so needed this down time. Just wish I was using it a little more productively. I'm still procrastinating about getting things done but my excuse is I needed the rest. What ever works right?

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday Morning

First to the comments, thanks Jo for the kind words about the quilt in progress and to Gina-expect an email from me when you get home.

So what's been going on around here? Why have I gone blog silent for the last couple of days? Well at the moment I'm unemployed, not sure if the business will reopen and in all honesty I feel better than I've felt in long time. Worried about money but that will all work out eventually.

Yesterday I tried my hand at dyeing some 28ct lugana orange and when I removed it from the dye it was the perfect color, so I let it sit in the dye solution a little longer thinking that would aid the fabric in holding the color. Well when I rinsed a lot of my lucious orange rinsed out, but it's still a pretty shade. No pictures because DS#1 took the digicam to school and now it's not working.

I've been stitching on Carriage House Samplings - New Designs Sirens of the Sea. Not sure you can view it at this link, if it's not under new designs it will be under almost new. I've ordered Medieval Mermaid from Midsummer Night Designs and if you see a theme going then you're right. I like these primitive, funky merchicks. Medieval Mermaid isn't quite as funky as the other two(Mairmaid's Song is the other one to which I'm referring) but she's not your typical mermaid design either. Sirens of the Sea was moving along pretty well until I made the mistake of leaving my baggie of floss on the couch with my DMC 869 laying on top of the baggie, 007 1/2 one of our kittens, jumped up there and peed on my DMC 869 and my scissor fob! I knew better than leave my stuff just sitting on top of the baggie for any length of time. Kittens are babies. Sure they "know" how to use the litterbox but when you have to go you have to go and for some reason they have found joy in peeing on ziplock baggies. Threw the fob in a pillowcase and tossed it in the washer on gentle and it was fine.

Yesterday was my birthday and I found my mind filled with all kinds of reflections on age and if I'm too old to try to follow some dreams. Is it too late to write the great American novel? Am I too old to be aching so badly for another baby? Do I really want to move to the mountians and have chickens, sheep, horses? It's hard work for someone who's no longer in the age group 30-39. When do we let go of the dreams and move on with life? Are we being unrealistic holding on to some dreams? Do the dreams give us a reason to get up in the morning? A reason to look beyond the mundane existence of our daily lives?

Can you tell I've been unemployed since Saturday? All this introspective reflection, and time to actually reflect on it. Yikes!

Friday, October 14, 2005

Halloween Quilt-The Beginning

Below is a picture of the first two panels of my Halloween quilt.

The picture above is of Lizzie Kate's Fright Night and the bit of the border fabric.

The picture above is of the next two panels that I still need to sew together. I have to decide on a border fabric to go between the two rows. The bottom designs are ShepherdsBush and I can't remember the name of either one. The designs above are L*K's Happy Haunting and Bugs & Kisses.

This a close up of Mosey N Me's Frank's Witch Matilda and the fabrics surrounding her.

With any luck I might get this finished tonight. Yes, it's wonky. I'm hoping I'll be able to straighten it out when it all comes together but if not it'll just be a wacky, wonky Halloween quilt. I'm doing all the sewing by hand.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Introducing Super Action Hero Sprinkles

This good looking guy is my cat, Super Sprinkles. Why is his name prefaced by the word "super" you might be asking yourself? Well  DS#3 named him Sprinkles before we knew he was a boy or a girl. Well after awhile it came to our attention that Sprinkles was in fact a boy and I determined that Sprinkles was a demasculating name for fine looking male cat such as himself so to manly up his name I started calling him Super Action Hero Sprinkles. Yes it's a mouth full but hey, a good looking guy like him is deserving of a fabulous over the top name.

Why am I boring you with pictures of the Super Sprinks? Well, I got nothing today. My cross stitch pieces all have eyes and hair and are ready to be turned into a Halloween quilt but I am stalling as I hate the whole putting together part. Once I'm sure I won't be called back into work, I plan to lay the blocks out in the middle of the living room floor and try to get some kind of plan. The sewing together really shouldn't take too long once I know where I'm going to put which design. I have the center planned, so it's just figuring out how to make the other squares work with those two designs. I've decided not to over think it. It's going to be busy, it's probably not going to be perfect and that's an understatement so I'm going to just try to go with the flow on this and hope it turns out halfway decent. I set really high standards for myself don't I?

I started working on Goode Huswife's With My Needle but ending up having to frog a little on it yesterday when I discovered I was a thread off. That's worse than being a stitch off. It's amazing how much chaos one little thread can cause. It's more difficult to fudge than being a stitch off.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Sunday Stitching

I decided I needed to get a little bit of discipline where my stitching is concerned so Sunday afternoon I pulled out And They Sinned and was determined to put in one length of floss on the piece. As you can see it was a beautiful afternoon and the natural sunlight really helps me to see the holes in the 36ct dirty linen. Until I get a few things finished I'm going to try to put in one length of floss on this piece every week. Once I have more free time, I'll devote more time to this sampler. At one length of floss a week I should finish this four foot+ sampler sometime around 2085. Yes, I could have sat outside a little longer than the time it took to stitch one length of floss but I started getting bit by mean little yellow flies. The cooler weather is nice but the north winds seem to wake up this mean little creatures.

The picture above with the exception of the four light rows near her face is where my progress on ATS was when I picked this back up.

This picture shows what one length of floss looks like. That would be part of her wing to the left of her face and midskirt. I've got a long, long way to go on this piece.

I stitched a little on BOAF's Remember Me on Halloween but didn't take a picture.

I pulled out all my Halloween blocks and tried to find all my buttons to create the crazy eyes on a few pieces and only had enough for three pairs of eyes. I need to make a trip to JoAnn's to pick up a few more packages of the buttons so I can get these pieces ready to put in my quilt. The quilt will be my focus this coming weekend. I've been wanting to get this finished for about two years now and just keep putting it off because I hate sewing. I don't mind handsewing, I piece all my quilt blocks by hand but I loathe the sewing machine. One day she and I will be best friends but right now she is my archenemy.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to one of my LNS to put my Mairmaid's Song in for framing. I chose a simple, primitive type frame with a dark stain. Sorta of like driftwood but not yet bleached by the sun. I also dropped off my Stitching Witch to be framed. She'll hang all year in my bedroom. A picture of her can be seen in my Webshots album at this link:

Webshots Community - gulfskye

I finished her back in 2001 and had planned to make her into a wallhanging, but when I found her tucked away with all my Halloween stuff I determined that I would never ever make her into a wall hanging so I dropped her off to be framed and I'll hang her in my bedroom all year long.

Yesterday morning I pulled out Goode Huswife's With My Needle and put my first stitches in that piece. Yes, starting one more project. I keep hoarding up all these projects, saving them for some reason. I want to stitch this, it doesn't look like I'm going to be unemployed any time in the near future-that's why I kit things up 99% of the time. I'm afraid I'll lose my extra income and have all this glorious free time on my hands and nothing to stitch. Yes, it's a sick and twisted way for me to look at stashing but I know that when money is short my stitching fix is the first thing kicked off the budget. I don't mind being broke, but I can't stand being bored. So I'm an obsessive stasher and project kitter(is that a word?) upper. I have several TW projects I'm slowly kitting up, Mermaid, The Fortunate Traveller, Tropical Dream and Castles by the Sea. Tradewinds and Fantasy Triptyche are already started. I think Tradewinds might be my focus project for 2006.

Thanks to Kiwi Jo for her kind words regarding my Mairmaid's Song.


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Mairmaid's Song

Here is my finished Mairmaid's Song. The designer is Kathy Barrick-Dieter of Carriage House Samplings - Home Page. She is without a doubt one of my favorite designers. Please excuse the wrinkles my iron seems to have disappeared. This is a close up of the satin stitches in the center of the design. The whole piece can be seen below.

On today's stitching schedule, Birds of a Feather's Remember Me on Halloween and maybe, if I can gather up the energy, finally putting together my cross stitch Halloween quilt. A few summers ago I stitched a whole bunch of Halloween designs with no real plan for them. The idea of quilt came to me but I'm very lazy when it comes to sewing. I have a love/hate relationship with the old Singer, truthfully, it intimidates me. I prefer handsewing. To someone who has a clue they could put this quilt together in an hour or two at the most. For me, it'll take all day, maybe even part of another day and then I still won't think it's right. But I'm going to give it a try. It's a shame to leave all these Halloween pieces just tucked away in a rubbermaid bucket. They deserve better. Not sure my sewing is really better, but it does get them out of the bucket.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rambling Thoughts

The picture above is of the three green fabrics I showed DS#1 to choose as a color foundation for his quilt. He chose the one on the left. At first I thought it was a batik but I'm not sure that it is, as a matter of fact now I'm pretty sure that it's not. I only glanced at it before shoving it at him along with the two others and in the light I took the picture the fabric on the right looks way more blue than it is in real life. It really is  more of a green than a blue. Anyway DS#1 chose the fabric on the far left and now it comes down to me trying to find more fabrics that work this color so I can proceed to make him an Ohio Star quilt. He likes green so now it's time to play with color, a task I'm really not very good at. I hate playing with color, get absolutely no joy from it because I'm pretty much color blind. I'll think colors work together only to have someone tell me they don't go together at all. It's frustrating and I have no faith in myself at all when it comes to make any kind of color related decision. How bad is my judgement where color is concerned? Well let's put it this way, when I finally excepted the fact that I don't see color like everyone else in the world, my mother said, "You know your clothes never matched when you wore them to school." I asked, "Why didn't you ever say something to me?" She said, "Well I thought you might be trying to make some kind of 'statement'? What statement mom? Could it be the statement that I'm a bigger dork than most people at that school could have ever imagined? If so then I managed to accomplished that no problemo.

So I'm dreaming of all these projects, but I have no time. The lady I work for is considering closing the restaurant. As far as I'm concerned she can't close it fast enough. I'm exhausted. I never have time for my family. I don't have the time to really clean the house, it's all hit or miss you know? I don't even have time to wait on a repairman to come fix my oven. Do you know how bad I miss hot brownies from the oven? Lasagne? But I never have time. My days off tend to be consumed with the tediousness that is everyone's life, bill paying, grocery shopping, running kids here and there. Who has time? I need two or three weeks when I'm not working to get the house cleaned and ready for the holiday season, to get my oven fixed and to do somethings I want to do. Finish some projects, get organized. Ok, whine is over for the moment.

I had hoped to have a finished pic of Mairmaid's Song but not yet. With any luck I'll have her finished tomorrow. Oh yeah, I'm dreaming big. I think I can finish her fin tonight, then tomorrow all I have left to do is finish the black border and then all the satin stitched water. If I can just get to the point where I can work on the stupid water I'll feel so much better.

Also hope to dye some cross stitch fabric in the next day or so. I want to do some "quickie" Halloween pieces to attach to a grapevine wreath and decided to play around with some fabric dye and see what damage I can do there.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mairmaid's Song Progress

This is a pic of my current progress on CHS/Barrick Samplers Mairmaid's Song. I'd love to be able to get this finished this weekend. Not sure how long all the satin stitched water around her tail fin will take. I'm hoping it moves along fast. My goal had been to finish the verse this morning but as you can see I still have one more line to stitch and then the vine beneath the verse. Her fin is going to be a little time consuming also. It may be my focal point tonight. I'm off tomorrow so plan to stitch as much of the day away as I can. Yes, I'm in serious need of a life.

Thanks to everyone for your comments on my previous finish. It was a fun stitch. I'm hoping to work some crocheting in in the next few days too. I have several afghans all kitted and ready to go.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Some Stitching

The piece above is an Olde Willow Freebie-Mermaid 2002 I believe is the name. I started it a year or two years ago, set it aside, found it in a drawer and couldn't remember why I hadn't finished it. Then I found a mistake in the crab in the bottom left corner, frogged it and finished up what little stitching I had left to do. Since Olde Willow Threads weren't available in my area at the time I started  stitching this piece, I converted the Olde Willow Threads to Anchor, then converted the Anchor threads to DMC and then I  pulled  out my trusty DMC color card and converted the DMC to Six Strand Sweets. The water was stitched with a blend of three DMC colors and right now I can't remember what they were. I changed the design up a little. On either side of the word *mermaid* there's supposed to be a stitched a heart. I didn't really get that so I left it off and may add a small seashell to either side of the word. There's also supposed to be a heart next to the two fish swimming above the water in the center right, I didn't really get that either so I left it out of the piece. I looked around for a small fish button to place there but I don't know I might leave it as it is. This weekend I should have picked up a frame for it and forgot so I'll try to get it framed next weekend.

Sure felt good to finish something for a change. The rest of the weekend I've spent working on Mairmaid's Song and will take a progress pic tomorrow. I want to get as much as possible done on it before taking another picture. There's nothing better than stitching and watching four back to back episodes of Poirot on the Biography Channel, especially if the DH is off watching football with his friends.I enjoy quiet Sundays.

Other than these two projects I've mainly been planning future projects, quilting, crochet and cross stitch. I popped into JoAnn's to pick up some DMC for Carriage House Samplings Haunting Mermaid and determined that maybe before sticking the flyer in my purse I might ought to read it. They had huge sale going on and I picked up Scarf Style : Innovative to Traditional, 31 Inspirational S . Some wonderful projects, knitting and crochet, in there. I was able to scoop up the book using a 50% off coupon. That ROCKS! 

Also picked up three fat 1/4s in green so that DS#1 could give me a clue about what shade of green he preferred for his quilt. Of course he chose the batik green. I'll try to get an accurate representation of the colors tomorrow. Couldn't get anywhere close today. At least now I have an idea what color he likes best. Now to figure out what other colors to add to it.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Don't You Hate It.....

When you finish a really good book and then all books pale in comparison so you just don't bother reading anything else? That's the way it's been for me since I finished reading The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I plowed through those 700 pages in about two days. Nothing got done when I got hooked on this book. Now I can't seem to really get into any other book.

Been doing a lot of big project dreaming these days. Not that I don't have a gazillion large projects started, I'm just dreaming about all the other ones I want to start, and possibly finish in this life time. Finished projects may be in my future though. The woman I work for is once again trying to sell the restaurant and this time while the family will miss the income, I'm so ready to be a SAHM again and get my house and life in order for a change. One of the things I've noticed over the last few months is that while my income makes a difference, it really won't make that much of a difference in the quality of my kids' lives. That income basically finances our eating out and their lunch money. Other than that I've used it for my "luxury" purchases(that would be stitching, knitting, crocheting and quilting necessities and the occaisional CD or DVD). If we budget and pay very close attention to how we spend the DH's salary things should be ok. Yes, I'm kitting stuff up like a crazy lady. I hope to purchase a few yards of neutral lugana in several different counts for future TW projects and scoop up some charts I want, but other than that I'm pretty well set on the stitching front. I have several skeins of sock yarn for learning to knit socks, and probably three or four crochet afghans all kitted up and ready to go, just no time to work on them. I also plan to stock up on some favorite colors of Red Heart for some quickie ripple afghans. I know there are acrylic snobs but for a splash of color thrown across the couch or the foot of a bed you can't beat Red Heart or the price. For the Red Heart snobs, I'm slowly kitting up an afghan out of Hip to Crochet using Classic Elite's La Gran Mohair. "Slowly" is the keyword in that sentence. This is going to be one pricey afghan but I haven't really been able to find anything comparable or less expensive that I like or doesn't make me sneeze. I thought about subbing Caron Simply Soft and in the end if the price is too much for me I may do that but I like the idea of working with some different fibers for a change.

This weekend I worked on my Mairmaid's Song and while I don't see the end in sight I do believe it might be close if I stay focused. The satin stitched water around her tail fin is going to be a pain. I'm definitely investing in a laying tool before I start on that. That part of the stitching is at least a week off, if not two weeks down the road, so plenty of time of purchase a laying a tool and figure out how to use it.

Mouline Rouge and And They Sinned are supposed to be my Sunday football projects but due to a bad, bad cold I opted to work on the much easier to see 28ct Mairmaid's Song. I'll definitely stick with it through the end of the week or until I can stitch for 15 mins without having to blow my nose or cough my head off.

I've reinstalled my EQ5 software and plan to try again at designing DS#1's Ohio Star Quilt. Green is his favorite color so I'm going to stock up on as many green fabrics as I can and play with complimentary colors. My initial idea of a tropical Ohio Star didn't work out, so it's back to the drawing board.