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.