Thursday, March 30, 2006

La Vida Loca

It's been pretty wild around here the last two weeks so not a lot of stitching has been accomplished but I did finish House #8 on Carriage House Samplings Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. As you can see I also managed to start on House #4 just above #8. You may have noticed that the DMC 780 border around the block isn't completed but that's my outside or on the go project when I don't want to count and just want to use one color. The more I stitch on this design the more I love it. I don't usually say that about anything. Each house is so different that each block is a new project.

On Tuesday night DS#3 crashed into a neighbor's mailbox while playing frisbee. It was dark, he wasn't paying attention, just looking for the frisbee, kablam! He messed up the left side of his face, his left wrist, busted his lip and has a huge gash across the left side of his chest. I can't begin to imagine how fast the kid was running to catch the frisbee to mess him up this bad.

No more progress to report on my Alien Illusion scarf. I think I've added one more row to the scarf since I posted the picture.

Patti-thanks for the kind words about my scarf. I'm very new to knitting and this is a good beginner project. All I needed to know was how to knit, purl, change colors, and read a chart. I tend to jump into big projects when I don't really have a clue about what I'm doing, so this was something cool to make with just a few skills. I also have Stitch N Bitch Nation. I want to make DS#2 The Jesse's Flames sweater. It's basically a black sweater with a red stripe across the front, then the sleeves have intarsia flames knitted into them. Very cool. So I'm hoping after I do some scarves trying different stitches, I'll be ready to start the sweater sometime this summer.

My friend asked me the other day why have I been buying knitting books over the last couple of years when I didn't know how to knit and I told her that I knew one day I'd sit down and figure it out and when that day came I might not have the extra money for books or supplies so I've been picking things up all along using JoAnn's coupons, and getting yarn for easier projects at the LYS. My friend thinks I'm nuts but if the knitting bug had just bitten a week or two ago I wouldn't have had an extra dime to gather up supplies for a project right now so as far as I'm concerned hoarding stash ROCKS! I also was careful not to go off the deep end buying stuff for sweaters I may never be skilled enough to knit. The supplies I bought were all for fairly simple projects. So I took my hoarding very seriously and tried to stick to the basics. I do have some sock yarn around here but I plan to practice with double points on a hat or two before I attempt socks.

I've really been counting my blessings for the cross stitch stash lately. It seems like forever since I bought anything new but I do have enough around here to keep me busy and not bored for quite a while. I did double check with my LNS right after Market to make sure nothing that I was interested in was limited edition.

Monday, March 27, 2006

March Madness-Scarf-3 Melissa-1

This pic didn't look blurry in editing software but there ya go. Can you see just the beginnings of an Alien face in the pic above? This is the back of the scarf. I'm up to row 34.
The pic above is the front of the scarf and the image doesn't show up as well. If you squint you can just make out the alien's eye. I'm amused. I was right about working on the scarf in small sections, not to over do it. I kept stopping when I felt I was getting just a little too cocky about my knitting capabilities.

Friday, March 24, 2006

It's Just the Way I Roll

I have to crochet this welcome mat. Does it rock or what? You can find the pattern in Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker on page 260. The designer is Faith Landsman. It will be my first project from this book. I may do two, one for the front door, one for the back. I'm not sure I'll actually let anyone step on it though. Maybe a sign, "Please step around welcome mat" or "Please wipe feet before stepping on welcome mat" or what about "Please remove shoes before stepping on welcome mat". Yes, Home Depot, I'm so there this weekend. The rug is crocheted using Bevis Rope Medium-Duty Jute Twine in green. The flowers are crocheted using different colors of nylon twine. Love being crafty in the hardware store. Makes me feel like a macho crocheter. Which reminds me I never finished my Ericka Knight twine boxes or baskets or whatever from Simple Crochet. Maybe one of those would be a good "finish me this weekend" project.

Thanks to everyone for the scrapbooking advice. I know that the most important things are journaling and getting the pictures on the pages. I get all consumed with my idea of what scrapbooks should look like and forget what they are really about.

Laren when I read your comment I was listening to:

Nova 100 - never more than two ads in a row

Yes, I enjoy pretending I'm in Australia. It's really the best radio station around, at least for my music tastes. It's the only radio station I listen to around the house any more. It's only a problem when I start calling people "mate" or using the word "bloke" in everyday conversation. For example, "Did y'all see that crazy bloke on the beach the other day?" I bored my neighbor to death telling her about the cyclone destroying the banana crop and how Nova 100 was discussing not buying imported bananas, and how bananas are taken for granted, oh, and what a hard hit it will be for the Smoothie business since Smoothies are already $8. Makes me appreciate my $5 smoothie a lot more. Since I live in an area just trying to come back from Hurricane Ivan a year and a half ago, I understand what's going on in the communities down there and hope things are back to normal soon.

In cross stitching news I'm still working on House #8 on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. We've had a few distractions around here this week and stitching time has been in short supply.

I'm attempting to put my stitching in perspective, like not letting it take over my life, but sometimes when lots of things are going on all I think about is sitting down and stitching. Shutting out everything else around me. Just me, the needle, thread, the fabric and well a cat on my lap because with too many cats to admit to here, there's always a cat on my lap. ALWAYS.

Since it's 37 degrees this morning(I am in Florida and it's March right?) I may restart the Alien Illusion scarf one more time. I'm limiting myself to one knitting project at a time for the moment. The fact that I have 40+ cross stitch projects in various stages, several crochet projects in various stages, I believe it's best to limit my knitting projects, it's obvious I have a commitment problem. Once I finish Alien Illusion, sometime in 2008 at the rate I'm going, I want to make the Poster Boy bag from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation. The image I want to use is from the cover of Jackson Browne's self titled first record(often called "Saturate Before Using" by mistake). It should be pretty easy to create a chart using that image.

See it's already practically two colors.

This one would also make a nice bag.

I do believe I enjoy talking(writing) about projects as much as stitching, knitting or crocheting them. I have so many great plans, so many projects spinning around in my brain. I've been dreaming of quilts lately too. I hate that because quilting is not my all time favorite thing, I enjoy planning the quilt(even though I suck at scrapbooking, quilting is a different medium), I like, really, seriously like, buying fabrics(No I don't have a fabric stash--only buy fabric when I have a project burning a hole in my brain), I don't like cutting out the fabric pieces, I do like handsewing the fabric back together, I don't like making the quilt sandwich and basting but I do love handquilting. Go figure. So somewhere in the middle I will get a quilt or two or twenty made one day. I want to make each of my boys two quilts, one will be their life story up to the point where I make the quilt. House blocks, school blocks, blocks representing their hobbies/sports, states where we've lived. Lots of handsewing and applique. I like this. I want to dye a lot of the fabric myself because I'm dorky that way. I also want to handpiece the back-- have favorite quotes cross stitched in blocks because how can it be from their mom and not have cross stitch involved in it some way, maybe silly things like remember to wear clean underwear, wash behind your ears, etc. Things moms say...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Eighteen Years Ago Today

I was a little busy. I gave birth to the little boy you see above. 36 hours of labor, only to have him crown when everyone in labor and delivery was working on someone else. His dad kept telling me to just keep my legs together while he was hollaring for some help. He was beautiful, healthy, and didn't sleep, ever.
A year later his first birthday rolled around.
He's always been curious. Always questioning everything, every little thing.
This is a rare vacation photo because we moved to the land of the permanent vacation and never seem to go anywhere.
This is the first day of ninth grade. My oldest child heading off to high school. I'd have a more recent pic to post but for some reason my computer doesn't want to recognise my camera.

Today he's 18. EIGHTEEN. Where have the years gone? Just yesterday he was that baby in the first picture. Just yesterday he was my little boy, learning to talk, learning to walk. Now he's all grown up. No longer my little boy, but my grown son, planning his life, dreaming his dreams.

Ryne- I love you, may all your dreams come true.


Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Greatest Day Ever!

What could possibly make an ordinary Tuesday in March the greatest day ever? Well let me tell ya, when you've been cooped up with three kids for over a week, a broken car, a broken fridge, and a septic system that has decided it wants to take over the world, well my house, which is currently my world, the day the kids go back to school from a completely unnecessary spring break is the "greatest day ever".

So today was spent enjoying the quiet, doing a load or two of laundry, several hours apart so the pipes can clean themselves out and the septic doesn't burp, basically learning to think again after a week of not being able to concentrate on anything at all. Nothing important was really accomplished. I did make bbq in the crockpot, dinner can't get any simpler than that. Hardly any thinking required. Works for me.

I haven't restarted the Alien Illusion scarf but might later on tonight. I've decided that I need to set a row limit on my knitting. I tend to reach a point, row 10 or so when I get confident and careless. From now on I knit for ten rows and stop, put it way until the next time. That should keep me from getting just a little too cocky and maybe I can pay attention and not screw up. I "heart" this scarf and can't wait to get it finished. Why, I'm sure you're asking yourself, is a chick from North West Florida so obsessed with an Alien scarf? Well, you see, we're on the UFO sightings list. No, not for most unfinished objects where cross stitch is concerned, but X-Files like UFO sightings. Don't believe me? Check this out:

UFO Evidence : Gulf Breeze Sightings

Yes, the oldest DS was so into UFOs a few years ago we went in search of the sight of the famous Gulf Breeze UFO sighting mentioned in his Alien book. Yes, I'm that kind of mom.

I would bore you all with another progress pic of House #8 on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow, but have decided no more pics of that until it's done. These houses are each their own little mini project. Much more time consuming than I ever think they are going to be.

Here are some random thoughts on scrapbooking:

1)I can look at all the magazine layouts there are in the world and my pages will still look like a kindergartener made them.

2)Whenever I decide to sit down and scrapbook I never have exactly what I need. I guess scrapbook pages need a lot of fore thought, I always want to just fly by the seat of my pants.

3) Since I don't scrapbook very often, 2 or 3 pages a year, I start out scrapbooking thinking I have tons of supplies. What I discover is I have absolutely nothing, nada, zippo.

4) I will never manage to scrapbook the rubbermaid tote full of pictures I have here sitting under the desk because scrapbooking is the most stressful thing on the face of the earth.

5)Scrapbooking is stressful because I have not one teeny, tiny bit of artistic vision. I see pictures on pages. I see pictures mounted on colored papers. I stick them to pages and they are pictures stuck on pages. That's about it. Anything else I attempt, well my neighbor's 3 yr old would have a much better artistic presentation.

For the time being, my scrapbooking will be on hold until I get a clue.

Monday, March 20, 2006

March Madness Update 2

Scarf-3 Melissa-0

This whole knitting experience is interesting. I'm not stupid, I'm not uncoordinated, I just don't pay attention. I get comfortable with the process, I'm not scared of the whole purl stitch thing any more, I'm keeping track of my rows with my trusty row counter, yet I still manage to screw it up. I restarted the scarf, got to row 16 and somehow managed to do something wrong. So once again I unraveled the Alien Illusion scarf and will maybe start it over later today after I do some silly things like mop the kitchen, clean the toilet, you know those things that just get in the way of more pleasureable pass times?

Trying to track down a good meat loaf recipe for supper tonight. I've been craving meat loaf for a week or two and decided that tonight's as good a night as any to make one. Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, green beans, and cornbread. I could eat that meal right now at 9:35am. Chances are I'll be the only one to eat this particular meal and everyone else will whine, "why couldn't we have this or that?" I'm so sick of spaghetti, tacos, chicken. The same menu every week is getting old, but it's the only stuff my family wants to eat. Tonight I'm cooking what I want to eat for a change. If they don't want it they can have PB&J sandwiches.

My kids are home for one more day. One more day and the hell that is Spring Break will be over. Less than 20 hours to go.

Weekend in Review

My progress on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow's House #8 can be viewed above. Excuse the wonky scan. I write that a lot don't I? DS#3 is addicted to Toon Town and is rushing me. I can't seem to get the printer networked with the laptop so I must use the desktop for posting pics from the scanner.

Yesterday I had to run system restore on the desktop. The cats turned off the surge protector and the computer would never reboot. What a mess. Most of our pics are still stored in the digital cameras, so that's ok. I had just transferred some important paperwork to the laptop, so that was good but once again I lost my purchased music from iTunes. DS#1 has used up all my blank CDs so I never got around to buying new ones to backup my music. I hate that!

I restarted my Alien Illusion scarf from Stitch N Bitch and am up to row 10. I have learned that when I'm knitting, if I'm going to be interrupted I need to just put the knitting down and walk away. It's for the best. I hope that this is the last time I will have to restart Alien Illusion.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

March Madness

Current Rankings

Scarf-2 Melissa-0

So this afternoon, I settle in for some serious movie watching and restart my Alien Illusion scarf out of Stitch N Bitch. I'm moving right along, am up to row 30, no errors, I'm feeling like an expert. The phone rings, it's my mother, I'm in the middle of a row, it seems simple enough, talk while concentrating on the row I'm finishing up, 15 stitches left, a few purl, a few knit, so easy. No, it's not. I screwed it up. Tried to unravel that row, get it back on the needle, and well the whole afternoon's worth of knitting is now a pile of tangled wool. So no more knitting tonight. Taking a break. To think while I was sitting there knitting my little heart out I was planning my next project. What a joke! It's ok, it's a process, it's a learning experience. I'm not super anal, I'm not a perfectionist, but I want to do it right. So back to the drawing board. I live in North West Florida, it's not like I'm going to need this scarf before next December at the earliest.

In cross stitch news I'm moving right along on HOHRH House #8. Maybe by tomorrow I'll have something worth showing and I'll post a pic.

Thanks for the comments on HOHRH, Danielle and Anna. I'm really loving this design. It's the only project I feel like working on these days. Of course I'm delusional and believe that if I keep working on it I'll have it finished in a few days. Once that doesn't happen, I'll get mad at it and work on something else.

I had planned to have some pics of my newly painted front door and freshly painted porch this weekend but somehow we just haven't gotten around to it so I'm keeping my fingers crossed we get it done soon. I have a plan for the front flower bed and Crazy Aunt Purl has got my husband wanting to grow square watermelons. Yes, square watermelons. Go on over there, scroll down a few posts and read about the square watermelons, see the proof. Now my DH wants to try to grow square watermelons. We still trying to figure out exactly how one does this. Our big question of the day is does the fruit itself need sun or just the vine from which it grows? We're thinking that we plant the seeds, when they sprout and start bearing fruit (or is it baring fruit?) we'll put the fruit section in a square box, as it grows we move it up to larger sized boxes. Then again we know nothing about growing plants or engineering super fruit. Should be a fun summer experiment, because we have no life. Up until reading that post about square watermelons we had no summer plans. Now we're obsessed with growing these things. I know, it's disturbing.

What's more disturbing is that in our family, I'm the flake. The husband is pretty sane. Now I think he's crossed that line, he's come over to the dark side and is now just as kooky as me. Guess that's what happens after 20 years of marriage.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Of Sheep and Geeky Things

I finally finished House #11 on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow, or as I've been calling it the Sheep House. The camera battery died so please excuse the wonky scan. No the DMC 780 border around the block is not complete. That is my "I don't want to count" project. I keep a needle threaded with the 780 all the time so when I go somewhere or am sitting outside I can stitch on the block borders and not have to worry about a chart or counting.

I've also worked a little on By the Bay's 13th Colony Bay. Don't think I'll have this finished by the end of April. The honkin' big Qsnaps are hard to work around and slow me down, so until I can come up with a better plan I'll have to expect my progress to be on the slow side. I just can't work in hand. I've been trying to but need the security of the Qsnaps or a hoop.

To go along with the theme of the sheepy block, I've been doing some knitting and thought I might be able to wow you all with a picture of the scarf I started over the weekend but instead I have a knitting tale of woe. I was knitting right along on my scarf Saturday night, 28 rows into it, and picked it up again on Sunday morning about 4:30a.m. That was mistake #1, #2 was thinking I was some kind of knitting master and tried to watch tv, knit and follow a pattern. IDIOT! That's me. So I only have to unravel the row I'm working on and get the stitches back on the needles. That should be easy right? NOPE! No matter how careful I was I couldn't get the stitches back on the needles properly so I unraveled the whole scarf. So scarf 1 Melissa 0. But I can purl, I can knit, I can read a chart to create a pattern in the scarf, a great way to combine my love of cross stitch(the chart thing) and my new knitting skills. I just can't unravel, I think I'm going to knit something up and practice unraveling. It's a skill that might be useful down the road. DUH!

Other than the above updates, the family is on Spring Break this week. It's a nightmare. The kids were bored by Sunday afternoon. I can't understand why no one in this house can entertain themselves. I don't get it. There are books, there are DVDs, there are video games, the sun is shining outside, there are bikes, basketball goals. What's the deal?

Yesterday we watched Good Night and Good Luck and A History of Violence. I loved both movies.

A month ago or so I ordered a wireless router from Bellsouth so that I could network my laptop with the desktop. The instructions were simple, or so I thought. I spent a month trying to figure it out because I'm not stupid, actually I know enough about computers to be dangerous, dangerous to my computer that is. Anyway, I finally surrender and give Bellsouth Tech help a call. They determine that I have spyware on my laptop and it's blocking me from being able to go online. I don't understand that, I've guarded this laptop with my life, no one but me and the spousal unit use it. I have antivirus and spyware blocker running all the time but for some reason it will not let me sign on to the internet.

Today I'm going to attempt signing on via dialup and see what happens. Then I'm taking it back where I bought it since it's still under warranty and find out if they feel the same way Bellsouth does that it's spyware or just that one of my settings isn't right. The whole spyware thing just doesn't make sense to me. I don't believe that's the problem. I've searched every file on this laptop and can find not one little trace of spyware.

I've also been trying to design my own blog template. Since I have the same old template, you can see that's not going well.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Purl Stitch

The poor excuse for knitting you see above is me owning the purl stitch! Yep. I finally did it. Yes, it's messy, but above that glob that we'll call ribbing you will see stockinette stitch, baby! No it ain't purty. But that's not the point. The point is that I freakin' purled! It's no longer an enigma. I get it. I don't do it well, but I GET it! I created the above mess using my #13 Brittanys and good old Red Heart in Cornmeal. I'm so stoked!

In cross stitch news, I'm still working on the sheep block next to the cow block on Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. Thought I'd finish it today but I decided I needed a distraction from the reality that is my life so I popped in the Coats & Clark Knitting Made Easy CD-ROM and spent a few hours(yes, it took a few hours to create the above mess, I chose not to show you the other swatch) practicing my purl stitch.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

This, That and the Other

Not much going on around the Ranch these days. Routine daily life in suburbia. Currently the creative juices are flowing, overflowing actually. I'm trying to come up with some kind of landscaping for the yard. I should be honest and admit that growing things is not one of my talents. I don't usually invest a lot of money in plant life to only have to dig it up in a few months and use it for mulch. But I'm inspired by one little rose bush we purchased at the store that will not be named for about $3. We can't kill this thing. It's a survivor, a warrior of a rose bush. I think it's really more of a tree. At first I was afraid to cut it back, but now as cold weather moves in I cut it down almost to it's roots and as the warm weather arrives so does new growth, new little buds. I don't know what we're doing right with this rose plant whatever it is, but it's become a member of the family. We talk to it, we discuss it like it's a family member. If you haven't figured it out yet we're just a wee bit nuts. But that's ok. Anybody can be normal, we like being a little odd. This rose bush is coming up on it's 4th birthday. That's like 80 in plant years for any plant that comes to live with us.

Yesterday I picked up BH&G's Garden, Deck & Landscape magazine and found the perfect color for my front door. I'm so excited. Our front door is doo-doo brown. It's so ugly. Our house is brick and not a pretty brick so finding a nice color for the door has not been easy. The one in the magazine that caught my eye is light sage with dark green trim around the door. I think it's going to look great. Really spruce up the front of the house. Hope we get around to doing that this weekend and also painting the railing around the front porch. Boring white but a new coat of paint will give it a clean fresh look. Once that's all taken care of I plan to start a butterfly garden in the front flower bed. I've been planning this for a while and sort of have an idea about what I'm going to plant but I still need to do a little more research.

In the Workbasket:

Houses of Hawk Run Hollow has been my focus project these days. I'm working on the lamb house block, next to the cow block. I really love this piece. I don't see it being finished before the end of summer but then again when I obsess over something it usually manages to get finished in a timely manner.

I'll get back to work on 13th Colony Bay this weekend. I'm using huge Q-Snaps for this project and I can only work on it a few days in a row before I have to set it aside and give my hands and shoulder a rest. The plus side is that the stitching on it moves along rather quickly.

My oldest son will be 18 in a few weeks. Man it hurts to type that. 18 years old. I had always planned for each of my boys to have two handmade quilts from mom by the time they were ready to leave home. I think the 18 yr old is going to be around for a while, he's still got one more year of high school, but since I'm the slowest person on the face of the earth I really need to get started on one of his quilts. The first one is going to be an Ohio Star. He was born in Ohio so that's why I'm set on that being the pattern for this quilt and for a while I thought about a tropical Ohio Star quilt since he spent most of his life in Florida, but after months of collecting fabric, I realized that the colors just weren't going to work well together. He wants the main color in his quilt to be green so I'm going to rework my color scheme and see if I can get the fabric and this quilt cut out and handpieced by the end of the summer. The second quilt is a "My Life Story" quilt. I want to do blocks to represent everywhere we've lived, embroider the addresses on the house blocks, do school blocks for each school, do state blocks for each state, you get the idea. I want the back of the quilt to be photos printed out on fabric. I've had this in mind for a long time but when I do the "My Life Story" quilt I want to cut out all the school and house blocks for each son at the same time. All three will look similiar but there will also be blocks to represent their interests and sports. I don't know why I've been stuck on this idea for so long. Quilting is not my favorite thing to do. I don't mind the handpiecing at all. I can handsew til the cows come home. I just hate the sewing machine. Handquilting, no problem. What I don't like is making the quilt sandwich and the basting. It's like you're sewing it together twice. But I love the idea of my kids having something that mom made just for them.

So the last few days I've been dreaming of flowers, butterflies, stitching, quilting, and painting. I'm overwhelmed with creativity at the moment.

Friday, March 03, 2006

What I've Been Up To

We have a finished House Block #10 from CHS Houses of Hawk Run Hollow. No the border around the house is not completed, I save the borders for when I'm stitching outside or in the car when I don't want to have to pay attention. Some good mindless stitching. This is the fourth block I've completed on HOHRH. Below is my progress on By the Bay's 13th Colony Bay. I'm stitching parts 1-3 all on one piece of fabric. I started in the center of part 2, the house to the far right, worked my way over to the far left corner of part 1 and am now working my way back to the center. I'm stitching this 2 over 2 on 32ct Star Sapphire linen.
To give an idea of how large this piece is going to be, here's a pic of it stretched out on my patio table. Excuse the dead grass and the toy in the background.

After the tediousness of Fairy Grandmother 13th Colony Bay is a joy to work on.

The battery ran out in my camera or I'd show you the gift basket my neighbor gave me last night for helping out with the baby. Getting to hold him as much as I want is gift enough, really he's that cute, but in the gift basket was the new Stephen King book, Cell, some Sweet Dreams tea, some candles and some candy, Nerds(it's a joke between me and Pam). I can't believe they did that. It was such an amazing experience to be there during the birth and to be able to help with John and be apart of his life. It's no secret that I've baby fever for a couple of years so being able to participate in this baby's life helps to feel that void.

Today I hope to get in some movie time watching Walk the Line and Red Eye, but there's an X Files marathon on the Sci-Fi channel today, I don't think I can not watch Mulder.

I've become addicted to while working on the computer. You type in your favorite artist and then pandora plays music by other artists in the same genre. I ran across this a few weeks ago and really like it. I've discovered some new bands that I must eventually add to the CD collection.

Right now I'm reading Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. It's a Discworld novel and I'm enjoying it. I think I mentioned I recently finished The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman. Great book.

I'm listening to the #1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Have I mentioned how much I love the library?