Monday, November 27, 2006

The Long, Very, Very Long, Excruciatingly Long Weekend

Much turkey has been consumed, everyone is back at work and school and while I'd love to have a party all by myself, my day will be spent trying to figure out where I'm going to put all this crap: All of that stuff used to live in the armoire you see below:
The need to get the tv up off the floor made me give in and turn over the armoire for the good of the family and the overall appearance of the living room. Our living room looks huge now. Technically the tv should be in the armoire but I miscalculated the size of the tv and the size of the armoire. After much swearing from the spousal unit we opted to put the tv on top of the armoire. It's like watching tv at TGI Fridays now. The best part, we don't have to keep yelling at the dog for laying in front of the tv when it was positioned on the floor. We've hit a technical glitch though. For some reason the DVD player and the VCR refuse to work. Not sure what wires aren't back where they should be but we'll eventually figure it out when we tire of watching DVDs on the laptop.
Much holiday decorating took place on our little road this weekend, the picture below is as far as we got and yes, I need a new welcome mat. If my fish mat were alive it would be floating belly up in the aquarium. But it must do for now. The oldest son said I should have bought a bigger berry wreath for the front door. He said this one was skimpy. The concrete is marked up because the kids in the neighbor seem to enjoy skateboarding on my front porch. I had no idea one could scuff up concrete but there ya go.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday weekend and if you aren't in America hope your weekend rocked.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

It's 4:40am on Thanksgiving 2006. Since 2am I've baked a cake and three batches of muffins. The blueberry are still baking, not quite done yet. I'm getting ready to shower and then run our friends to Mobile to catch their plane to New Mexico. I've told my friend if they get tossed off the plane due to her breastfeeding, we'll come get them in Houston.

The last few weeks have been difficult and on this morning, on a day to be thankful for our blessings, I find it's not as difficult to find things to be thankful for as I thought a few hours ago. Battle with an 11 year old can just suck the everlovin' life out of one let me tell ya.

But, at least my boys can argue with me. On this day there are parents who wish they could have one more argument with their child, one more make up hug, one more phone call to say "I love you". So with all the frustration, anger, annoyance, I am thankful for my three healthy boys. I am thankful that I can look at their smiles everyday. I am thankful I can hear them slam the door when they are angry with me. I am thankful that they are a part of my life. I don't know if they will ever know exactly what they mean to me, but I love them so much.

I am thankful that I am married to someone who embraces my dorkiness, my flakiness, my moodswings(ok that's a stretch, but he's still here). I am thankful that he has never once told me that my dreams were stupid, ridiculous or anything other than realistic. I am so sorry it took me 16 yrs to surrender to the madness of football season and the Raider Nation. I am thankful that I don't live in Oakland, CA because if I did I would be married to a face painter.

I am thankful for my friends. Thanks for being there, listening to me whine. You know who are. I love you all so much.

I am thankful for family. I don't call as often as I should, I never go back home, but I love you. I really, truly do.

I am thankful for Kate. You rock!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stitchin', Crocheting, Quilting, and Bad Photography

I know my regular readers are just so excited that I can now add pictures to the blog. I mean you come here for those art shots right? For the stitching portion of this post, you can see below my progress or lack thereof on CHS Strawberry Blonde. I'm stitching her on the unknown fabric from JoAnn's with the selvedge to the left and I think the proportions look good right now. The test will be the plump strawberry above her head. Will it be summer ripe or end up drought stricken and thin due to the unevenness of the fabric? Here at the "Ranch" every stitch is an adventure. Below is my take on Bella Dia 's Vintage Stripe Throw based on this afghan seen at yarnstorm: my little eye. No, my afghan looks about as vintagey as say my neighbor's Navigator so I call my attempt at this afghan Cinco de Mayo. It's got a Mexican blanket feel to it. Something about the yellow, orange and pink it just screams "fiesta". I plan to make another one of these in colors that remind me of the afghan at yarnstorm. I love those colors. I just don't happen to have many of them in the stash. The afghan below is a stash buster so I'm working hard to stay within the color palette offered up by my minimal yarn stash.
Here are the quilt blocks from my class 19 yrs ago. Do these colors scream "We are the 80s?" or what? Don't they make you want to throw down to Midnight Star and No Parking on the Dance Floor? I believe they are destined to end up as a quilted floor pillow.

And you've been patiently waiting for today's attempt at the art shot, well this was the sky over my house a week or so ago. The clouds were so close they were suffocating. The color is pretty accurate. Even the oldest son commented on the sky. My family asks me constantly why do you take so many pictures of the sky? What's the point? My answer, "You guys never remember to look up." The sky is cool. It's always changing. Sometimes for the better, sometimes the worse but it's magic.

This weekend I started and finished Carl Hiaasen's Nature Girl. If you love Hiaasen and understand where he's coming from, you will enjoy this book. Some of the characters wackiness has been seen before between the pages of his books but living in Florida I can tell you, these people do exist. I related to the main character in more ways than I find comfortable to admit. I love Florida, I love her raw beauty, I hate development and there are very few places left untouched by the developers who pretty much want knock down every tree and build walls of condos along these barrier islands that were never ever meant to be built on but what do I know? Maybe hurricane damage wouldn't run into the billions of dollars if people weren't allowed to keep building on barrier islands that were never meant to be built on. Do I sound repetitive? But I have to agree with a review I read somewhere online, nothing really happens in this book. Sure there's a lot of stuff going on but I never really cared about the characters and was ready for the eagle to just eat them all. I hate that because I love Hiaasen and can so relate to his love for Florida. Was it a pleasant way to pass the weekend, yes but if you want Hiaasen at this absolute best read Tourist Season or Skinny Dip. Skinny Dip is my personal favorite.
I started the new Stephen King, Lisey's Story Sunday but haven't made a lot of progress.
My cornbread is baked for my dressing, my turkey is thawing in the fridge. I'm trying to figure out the rest of Thursday's menu so I can make a list and finish up my grocery shopping today or tomorrow. I'd rather get it done today. I suspect tomorrow the grocery will be crowded.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Houston--We Have Pictures

So I loaded my pictures backwards but I have some catching up to do so what you see below is the moon on Halloween night. Is that a perfect moon for Halloween or what? What is this? Could lack of 24 hour computer access stimulate creative energy? Looks like. Below you will see my Sugar N Cream Summer Splash iPod bag. I made the pattern up because every iPod bag pattern I found called for sewing up the sides. I didn't want to do that so I came up with this:
Is that an earbud in your pouch or are you happy to see me? Below is a close up of my mermaid button. I bought this at JoAnn's a couple of years ago. I knew it'd come in handy one day.

I made it a necklace so I could wear it when I walked and not have to worry about pants with pockets or holding it and possibly dropping it.

Below is my completed CHS Carolina Handley stitched on the unknown fabric from JoAnn's using DMC floss. I am very happy with this piece. She stitched up fast and I can't wait to get her framed. I like this fabric. I'm going to play around with dyeing some for some other primitive pieces. We'll call it adventure stitching.

Today while killing time in Books-A-Million I discovered that Carl Hiaasen has a new book out, Nature Girl. I wanted it, but knew I had to fork over the bucks to get the laptop back, even with a discount card it was just not in the budget this week, I also wanted the new Stephen King but I was responsible and walked away from them, feeling quite bitter I should add. But when I run in the library to pick up some books they are holding for me Carl Hiaasen's new book is on the new arrivals shelf along with the new Stephen King. Is life good or what? This weekend I plan to find a corner and read my behind off!
We have the DaVinci Code to watch tonight and I also picked up The Libertine to watch this weekend.
Over at Bella Dia, there's a great crochet afghan pattern posted. This afghan was inspired by one at yarnstorm. I can't find a link to the original post. I think if you scroll down a little or check October archives at Bella Dia you will find a link to the afghan at Yarnstorm. I love, love, love that picture. Anyway, I started my own version of this afghan today. It's easy peasy and I'm trying to use vintagey looking colors. I'm randomly striping it, Ok I've only done the very first row but the stripes are going to be as random as I can make them and I'm using stash yarn, so that's a very good thing. Totally rocks!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Switched to Beta Blogger

Can't wait to pay the ransom on the laptop so I can bring it home and see how I can screw up the blog now that I'm using BetaBlogger.

I started CHS Strawberry Blonde over the weekend. I'm stitching it on the unknown fabric I found at JoAnn's. While discussing this with a stitching friend she made me feel uncomfortable for using fabric that wasn't intended for cross stitch. It made me feel bad, like I was an unworthy stitcher or something. Like I didn't deserve to breath the same air as stitchers using the pricier linens. My response was, "I want to stitch this design, I can't buy new fabric for it, and this works just fine thank you very much." If, while working on this project, I determine that this fabric is ruining the design, I have no problems trashing it and starting over with "real" linen. But right now this is my best option and I can't understand why I'm less of a stitcher than someone using a $40 piece of linen.

After this conversation I started pondering, why do I stitch? I stitch because I breath. It's what I do. I feel better when I'm creating something. It doesn't matter if it's on linen or burlap, I'm creating something with needle and thread that didn't exist before.

I like using an unexpected fabric because over at Craftster I am constantly awed by the innovation and creativity of the stitchers you find there. They are creating outside the box. I can't draw or paint. Stitching is my way of creating art. Yes, I use a chart, I almost always use the recommended threads and fabric. I've had way too many disasters trying to be creative with fabric and threads, I don't trust my own judgement where colors are concerned, but the point is if I can use a neutral fabric and use a fabric that is a bit different, it makes the piece my own. Why does someone feel a need to make me feel like I'm commiting some crime against cross stitchers because I'm stitching on a fabric that doesn't quite fit their idea of proper cross stitch fabric?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Suffering Withdrawal

Computer problems suck beyond belief. My laptop is still in the shop. They had to order a keyboard, it hasn't arrived yet. The family computer is still broken, and I'm stuck using the oldest son's computer. When they go to school it's not a problem but everyone is home today. Why do these kids get so many days off? Keep them in school! It will be a brawl all weekend for anyone to score any computer time because the oldest son doesn't like his space being invaded. The whining started a little while ago when I wanted to check email.

So on to happier subjects. I've been working on Hester's Needle's Liberty Sampler. If you go to Hoffman, do a designer search for Hester's Needle you can see Liberty Sampler. I'm also gathering up some ornament supplies but I can't find my ornament sized cuts of fabric.

Had planned to do some blog redesign this weekend but with all my computer issues we'll just stay with the currently uninspired format for a little while longer. I need to write some more html for the changes anyway. Anyone use beta Blogger? If so do you like it? I've been toying with the idea but Blogger as it is now isn't too much trouble and I hate to rock the boat.

Started reading On Writing by Stephen King yesterday. I do love that man. Also have Live Bait by PJ Tracy started.

The youngest son will be 11 tomorrow. I don't know where the years have gone. It seems like just yesterday he was a baby in my arms, or my belly and now he's on the cusp of his teen years. I love you dude!

No big plans for the weekend other than stitching as much as possible, taking the youngest out for his birthday dinner of choice(this mean we'll all be choking down CiCi's Pizza, guess there are worse meals), and wandering the mall so he can spend his birthday fortune, oh and birthday cake and ice cream. Not too bad.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Best Laid Plans

I had plans of telling several stories with pictures today but due to all kinds of technical difficulties that isn't going to happen so today will be a random Monday.

Oh you want to know what the technical difficulties are? OK get ready for one of those "She couldn't make this s&%t up" tales.

Friday night the middle son uses my lap top. He's allowed. He's careful, doesn't do downloads. He uploads pics and videos of himself to his My Space page. His one issue is waiting for the laptop to shut down and closing the top. Why is this such a big deal? Well we have some cats and while I have never ever seen a cat on my desk, I've always been pretty sure they jump up there when no one is looking because that's just how they roll. Well Saturday morning I wake up, find the laptop open, I close it. Later I want to use it and the keyboard won't work. We're talking beeping, letters sticking. So I start asking "What was spilled on the laptop?" Everyone says, "You're crazy, we don't know what you're talking about. No way anything got spilled on that laptop." So I call the spousal unit crying and he says, "Well hold a blowdryer to the keyboard like you did with the cell phone that time you dropped it in the sink." So I did and I'm guessing you much smarter people already know that the laptop keys shrank up like Shrinky Dinks. So I break down and smell the keyboard. OMG! Cat pee. I ask the oldest son to smell the keyboard, yep, he concurs. One of the cats peed on the keyboard. So now it's going to cost $150 to replace the keyboard. Only $50 had I not shrinky dinked the keys but I'm thinking I don't want an eau d'cat pee keyboard anyway.

So it's cool. I get over my melt-down I'll have my laptop back in a few days since no where on my expensive extended warranty does it say anything about cat pee being covered. I'm reasonably sure that's covered under the whole liquid thing. I have the desk top. Have to fight for it but most of the files on the laptop are duplicated on the desk top, at least the important stuff and if you're family reading this you know what I'm talking about. So the spoiled child is on the desk top, it goes off. He accuses the middle son of stepping on the surge protector. I'm able to get the computer up and running again. Three hours later it does it again and it won't comeback on. My worst nightmare! I have meltdown #2. We have a huge family brawl over the deal as the spousal unit can't do his fantasy football stuff, I can't work on my important project, the middle son can't do his homework and the spoiled one can't access Club Penguin. We finally determine no one did anything to the computer, no one downloaded anything, it's old, it's has issues, we'll get it fixed. So the best estimate on it is $100. They tell me it might be the power supply. I'll take it in on Thursday when I pick up my laptop. They said I should have it back the same day if it is indeed the power supply. What are the odds of this happening? Must be the fact that Mercury is in retrograde, add in a full moon, and it's complete and utter chaos.

So I'm writing today from DS#1's computer which is all but useless with the exception of internet access. He does have word pad so that's one thing in my favor.

Fabric Info

The odd linen like fabric I found at JoAnn's is by Roc-Lon. It's Osnaburg #421, 100% cotton. Carolina Handley is working up pretty doggone nice on it. I will use it for some other projects that don't have to be exactly square. It's not a clothing linen, guess it's more like a pillow backing or something.


Finished Inkheart the other day. What a wonderful book! Every time I set it aside to do something important, you know get something to drink, go to the bathroom(I don't use the laptop for a toilet), I would find I had been holding my breath. I guess that means it's a pretty good story.

I'm getting ready to start Stephen King's Cell. My friend and her family gave it to me months ago for helping out so much with her baby, but the condition was I couldn't read it until I finished something I had been working on first. I stayed honest and finished my not Fairy Grandmother. So I plan to start Cell today. My dad is reading the new Stephen King novel Lisey's Story(hope I got the title right) I'm dying to read it and he said it's great.

Election Day Tomorrow

My 18 yr old votes in his very first election tomorrow. He's going with me first thing in the morning and then I'll check him into school.

I'm torn about the Florida elections. I do know that if I were in Texas I'd vote for Kinky Friedman for governer. I like him. I like his ideas, I've been bugging the DH to move to Texas for two years just so I could vote for Kinky. I think it's time to get the career politicians out of office and let some people who might have a clue about the real world run the country for a little while.

In Tennessee I'm leaning towards Harold Ford. I like him a lot. Of course I can't vote there either.

Florida is where I vote and where I'm undecided. I've been reading about all the candidates, discussing it with the oldest son, and I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.

The one question I want a politician to answer is "What do you believe to be rich?" They all say "taxcuts for the rich" what is rich? Give me a dollar figure.

At the moment I feel like voting a straight independent ticket. If more people would do that maybe both major parties would have to show their differences. You shouldn't have to vote for the lesser of two evils. Someone should stand for something.