Friday, June 29, 2007

Summer and the Living is Busy!

To show I still stitch, even though things around here have been crazy, what is up with that? Here's my most recent picture of 13th Colony Bay broken down into three pictures because I couldn't find a chair to stand on when I took the picture. Below you see the almost completed part 1. I bounce back and forth between the sections and I am now working on the clouds in part. 1 and finishing up those trees there along the left side:

Below is part 2, I've worked on the trees, and am getting ready to add some of the green, I've also been working on some of the fussier areas, around the island and the boat. I'm trying to get to the point where I just have to fill in the water. I am so in love with this design. At first I thought I would regret attempting such a big project just because it would take me forever to complete it but all in all the project has moved along at a nice pace and has been a joy. The charts are clear and easy to read and my horrible photography does not do it justice. I dream about this piece. I really dream about being on that island, living in that house, swimming in the bay, reading a book under the shade of the trees. Oh yes, this is my dream life right here.

And here is a ridiculously bad picture of part 3. I had to take it at a funny angle because of the sun and the shadows. The tree is in the center of part 3 so there's a lot left to do to the right of the tree. I wish I could stitch on this 24 hours a day, at the same time I wish it was completed and hanging on my wall.

Last Friday my neighbors had a yard sale. For the first time ever I beat the local antiques guy to the good stuff. I scored these old FireKing bowls, the large one is a Pyrex bowl and the red one is unmarked, I love them so much. I got them for the bargain basement price of $3, the whole set, $3. For 50¢ I picked up the cute cabbage tea pot and the Corelle Ivy print stoneware pot. I actually got two of the Ivy pots and gave one to my friend Pam. I never ever get a deal, ever. I was very happy last Friday morning.

For another 50¢ I scored the little music box teapot and for another $3 I got the cake stand and six dessert plates. I also managed to walk away with a spreader, a wheelbarrow and 8, count them 8, gas cans for another $7. In my excitement over the spreader I overlooked an antique sewing box filled with old scissors and buttons, a man bought it for $2. I was so disappointed but I couldn't complain too much, although I started to offer my neighbor $5 and start a bidding war with the guy but decided that would be in bad taste. I let the sewing box go.

The picture below is currently the background on my computer. The pier there was wiped out by Hurricane Ivan and then Hurricane Dennis did his fair share of damage. The county had decided not to rebuild but now I hear they are reconsidering. We miss the pier. We spent a lot of happy family time fishing off that pier.

On the topic of summer reading, I just finished the new Lee Child, Jack Reacher novel, Bad Luck and Trouble, read it in one day. Have I said how much I love my library and the fact that Lee Child's talents obviously haven't caught on down here yet? I also read Flush by Carl Hiaasen. I enjoyed it more than Hoot. I can't recommend Carl Hiaasen enough. Sure his plots are all a little, tiny bit convulted but the man loves Florida, hates developers and has a twisted sense of humor, my kind of guy. Skinny Dip is my favorite book by him. I also reread Swiss Family Robinson and have determined that I could have survived on a desert island if I had been able to retrieve all the supplies off the boat and if that boat had been really well stocked like to help set up a new colony somewhere. The Robinsons had it a lot easier than I remembered, then again maybe I am a bit cynical now. Next up in the pile, from the library, For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison. I'm also rereading On Writing by Stephen King.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Been Waiting

To post until I could show a progress picture of 13th Colony Bay but I keep forgetting to pick up some batteries for my camera, will try to do that this afternoon.

I've been working on it a lot the last few days. I went a week or two without stitching and my fingers got itchy to pick up the needle so I gave into the need when I should have been doing something else, but sometimes what is good for one's soul ends up being good for everyone around you because your mood is much improved. Monday I stitched and watched The Closer marathon on TNT, it was rainy here, finally, so I had a good excuse for hanging out on the couch with Brenda Lee Johnson and the hoop. Yesterday I needed a fix so I popped Key Largo in the VCR and stitched for a while to that. To top it off, I started playing around with a short story inspired by 13th Colony Bay. I really want to live on that center island, no neighbors, just some sheep, a garden, and a nice studio to work in, my own private beach, now that is Heaven right there. I also would love to live in this house, A Perfect Setting and spend some time on this veranda, Change of Pace.

Change of Pace is all kitted up in the stash but I believe I kitted it with 14ct aida and I'm going to swap it out for some 28 ct lugana, I have most of the threads kitted for A Perfect Setting, I see these as winter starts. I have put in a few stitches on Change of Pace but not enough to feel bad about switching fabrics, just the center start stitches. Anyone else do that? You're not exactly ready to start a new project but you have it all kitted so you go on and put in those first few stitches where ever you are so inclined to start your project and then just put it away until you feel less guilty about starting it?

I am absolutely not going to whine about the projects I have started or the stuff I have in the stash. I'm going to whine about not being able to stitch faster! I love everything in the stash, even some kits I bought years and years ago. I will get to them eventually, I might even really appreciate that 14ct aida included in the kits when I get around to working on them.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

It Was a Hot and Sunny

Tuesday afternoon. I'm minding my own business reading She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel when the middle son runs in the house yelling, "Bear's back!" I look at the clock, it's like 2:00 p.m. The bear is back? I run outside and sure enough BooBoo is in my neighbor's front yard.

The next picture is out of order because I am a dork. Here he is wandering around my backyard. I took this from the backdoor through the glass. He had been trying to have a nice lie down in a clump of trees and the dogs' barking annoyed him so he got up to apparently walk to my back door to tell the dogs to please do a bear a prop and let him cool off under these here trees and give him a break. They would not shut up so he headed back out front.

Here he is walking across my neighbor's driveway. He saw me standing in my yard snapping pictures and was not in the mood for the papparazzi so I slowly backed away and headed to my porch.

He spies my neighbor's trashcan, ahh a nice afternoon snack. But at this time he did not turn over the trash can, this is when he went in my backyard for the aforementioned lie down. But he wandered back around tumped over the trash can and carried a snack back through my backyard.

Below he is heading behind the clump of palmettos to tear into my neighbor's garbage bag full of nice poopy diapers and milk cartons better than a picnic basket with a pumpkin pie in it.

We stood in my backyard hiding behind the neighbor's fence watching him for about thirty minutes. He wasn't a very happy guy today, I say that because when he saw me, he walked toward me, directly in my path, not around, not to the next house but towards me. I don't blame him, I'd be annoyed too, hot, hungry, a drought probably drying up all his water sources, I gave him some space but was glad to be able to take a few pictures.
The garbage truck came just a few minutes after he tumped the trash can. Good timing or what? I suspect he now lives in the woods behind my house. We're grilling out tonight! Should be fun. Hope he likes brats!

Monday, June 11, 2007

No Oven For Me

Thanks everyone for the comments on my bad day. It's good to know that everyone has those horrible days. Sometimes you feel like you're the only one that that is struggling to get through it. It being all those things that cause one to feel as though she's Chicken Little and she knows the sky is falling. Once I sucked it up and realized that nothing that went wrong was truly the end of the world, I got over myself.

I wish I had some stitching to show you all but no, I've been too tired to stitch. Why have I been too tired? Well we splurged this year and bought season passes to a local waterpark. It's the best money we've ever spent. We've been three times and the passes paid for themselves on the second visit. So a waterpark and being tired what does one have to do with the other? Well this park is great, I truly thought I'd buy these tickets and then resent having to take the kids or hate myself for doing it in the first place. Was I ever wrong. The first day we got our passes, found a spot to put our stuff and started running all over the park to do this or that, well I was so exhausted on the way home because everything in this park is up. Up this stairway, then up that stairway, then you go down a hill on a tube for ten minutes and it's back UP again. I did this three days in a row, I swear if I don't lose weight by the end of the summer I am stuck with this body. To describe exactly how sore I am, today after taking the middle son to summer school I went over to the beach. I walked to the water across the sand dunes, it was ok, my calves weren't screaming, but on the way back I opted to use the freshly built walk across or boardwalk whatever you want to call it, I thought it would be easier. My calves were creaking. I'm not kidding. The beach was quiet, I could hear the muscles in my calves creaking and popping, my eyes were welling up with every step up or down. I finally made it to the car and let myself cry a little. Pain, I think, is a good thing. It means that even though I'm floating around on an innertube I'm definitely getting some good solid exercise in. I do believe that's the best of both worlds. Exercise and floating around--two very good things. We've got the trip to the waterpark down to a science now, with our passes we can go at two in the afternoon and stay til close and go all day on Saturday and Sunday. My kids have passed out early the last two nights, slept late and been happily exhausted. No more "I'm bored" and me, I'm getting out of the house and doing something that seems to be good for me. We never take our kids on vacation because when the spousal unit and I moved here, that was the point, we'd never have to go on vacation again- we moved to our regular vacation destination. It never dawned on us that the family might actually want to go somewhere else every once in a while. Yeah, we're giraffes. "Giraffes are selfish" anyone know where that quote is from? We use it a lot around here.

So I have been too tired to stitch but I have made a teeny tiny bit of progress on 13th Colony Bay, nothing worth photographing yet, and I did do a little on the grass on the Monkey Sampler nothing worthy of a photo though.

I am still slowly cutting out wave border pieces for Just Beachy, I'm dreaming of making this bag: Hello Yarn.... Skull Knitting Tote. I have some A.C. Moore 40% off coupons and am going to try to get the Patons Wool this week. I also need the size 13 circular needles too. I thought I had some but the largest I have are size 11. I'm also wanting to make a Vintage Granny Square-Ellen Bloom like Ellen Blooms. I love me some variegated acrylic yarn. I can't help it. What a great project this would be. Oh and I also picked up the latest copy of Interweave Knits Crochet and want to make a Larger Than Life bag. There's a CAL here: Larger Than Life CAL I want to make two, one in Sugar n Cream or Peaches & Cream for the beach and another in wool or maybe acrylic because I'm hard on bags and anything I carry ends up having to be washed a lot. My Vera Bradley Sherbert purse is a perfect example. It's been washed so many times and is all faded. I love that bag, so acrylic might be the best thing for a crocheted tote bag that's going to be used by me, a lot.

Ok, I've been doing some serious pondering regarding CHS Mermaid Stocking, The Deep Blue Sea. I have tried to get excited about the whole punchneedle thing, nope, it's just not doing it for me. I'm thinking of attempting it in embroidery. I'm also thinking about creating a cross stitch chart for it, I found my Patternmaker disc finally. I just can't get the warm fuzzies about punch needle. I know that the people who love it really love it, as much as I enjoy cross stitch, so I love this particular design and am going to play around with it for the next few weeks, I found a great quote at Posie, Alicia is writing about her creative process, the fact that she uses the sheets she embroiders and yes they eventually fall apart, rip, but that's not the point. She writes in her post Zing that she believes in just going with your gut, jumping in, just make something and if you don't like it, make another thing. After whining about this stocking I want to make being designed for punch needle and not cross stitch, I decided to just jump in and make something with this pattern. I have no idea if it will be good or not and I think I'll be able to just let it go if it sucks, and then I'll probably give in and do it in punch needle. I absolutely don't want to go down the punch needle road-not if it can be avoided. I don't need another craft in my life, embroidery I can do, maybe not expertly but I'm going to play around with this pattern and see what comes off the needle. Reading Alicia's post was so liberating, it's not that I don't know that I can do something differently than it's designed, it is the permission for it not to be good and I can toss it aside and make another thing. I love that. I get so focused on cross stitch and the time invested in my projects that the thought of letting them go becomes the worst thing ever. So much time, so much TIME, to be able to just let it go, what a creative gift.

Yes, I maybe take this stuff a little too seriously but it's a huge part of my life. One of my biggest problems is letting go of a project that isn't going well. I'm trying to do better. Move on to the next big thing. It's all a learning process, what fails on one project might work next time.

Speaking of Posie, I made the Chicken Tikka Marsala recipe in this post:

Tikka-Masala Makin'

And it was a major hit with my family and my neighbors, even my friend's son who won't eat anything loved this stuff! The middle son is requesting that I make it again this week. This is rare in my house.

I'm also making another batch of Farmgirl's Crazy Cookies. I'm sticking with what works these days and trying hard not to complain about the whole cooking thing. If I can make food that makes people ask me to make it again, then that's a blessing I'm not going to think too hard on the whole cooking thing any more.

Sopranos anyone? Disappointed? Greatest final episode ever? I'm torn. I wanted resolution but maybe this was more creative. I just don't know. I was left wanting to know more, is that what you really want from a series final episode?

I started She Got Up Off the Couch by Haven Kimmel today. I'm loving it. It is bringing back many memories of my childhood in the 60s and 70s. Over the past few weeks I've read Sleeping with Fear by Kay Hooper and also Chill of Fear by the same author. Hope I got that title correct. These books were ok. Nice beach reads.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


You just want to stick your head in the oven. That was my Monday. Nothing went right, everything was broken and unfixable. It was a long, long, long miserable day. One of those days when you cry the ugly cry all day long and your family is scared to get to close because your crazy might rub off on them. It was one of those days when you just needed that hug and the words, "It's going to be ok" to be uttered by anyone, anyone at all.

At my major meltdown point I was emailing my friends Sharon and Siobhan, crying, trying hard to get over myself, and I had to wonder how women a hundred years ago got through it? We have vacuum cleaners, we have Swiffer mops, we have washers and dryers, we have Kitchenaid mixers, ok some of us have those-not me but I do have a really good hand mixer, how did women do it? How did they handle everything they had to handle and keep their sanity? So many alone on the prairie or on mountian tops, what got them through? Was it knowing that it just had to be done and it was their job? We have just about every modern convenience known to man. I mean I can email my friend in Ireland to whine about my horrible, "I'm just going to go stick my head in the oven now" day, and those women had to wait months or even years just to get a letter from home. How did they make it? I thought about that a lot yesterday afternoon when I finally gave up, let my world come crashing down around me, surrendered to it all, everything that went wrong was not the most important thing in the world, everything was eventually fixable, maybe not immediately but eventually.

This morning I woke up, went outside to the front porch, started my woe is me crying again, because it was going to be another day of can this or that be fixed, can it be done now, can I just go to Publix and drown my sorrows and woes in a Key Lime Pie and feel better already, kind of day but I looked up in the sky, the clouds were moving slowly across my house, a rainbow was there among the clouds. It hadn't been raining anywhere near my house, but there was a bow in the clouds. It was a sign, a sign from my Mamaw and Papaw to get over myself, to deal with it, to get on with it. It was a sign that everything was going to be ok. Why was a mysterious, unexplainable rainbow such an obvious sign from my grandparents? Well I was a Rainbow girl, my grandmother was in Eastern Star and my Papaw, he was one of the most loyal members of the Masonic Lodge you might ever find. There was no doubt in my mind that that rainbow was my hug, my "It's going to be ok", the kiss on my forehead, and that tight grip on my arms, that look straight in my eye and the words, "You do what you have to do and get it done, and quit crying because it's absolutely not the end of the world. You are strong and you can deal with anything." I really needed that bow in the clouds this morning. Even if everything isn't ok today, if I haven't fixed what was broken, I know I'll be ok. I do believe in signs.

Now for some fun--Billy Bowlegs and his pirates came ashore over the weekend in Ft Walton Beach, fought the residents and won. They took over the town and flew their flags down mainstreet. Can you believe some folks in the local paper complained about something more worthwhile being celebrated than pirates? Sheesh, people, have some fun, get over yourselves!
This heron amused the spousal unit and myself a whole lot Sunday morning. It's time I kitted up Crossed Wing Collections Great Blue Heron and got to work on it. I love these birds.

I meant to zoom in on his/her beak, she's got a fish in there. No she didn't dive for it, a guy fishing on the pier would catch a fish and toss it to her. She/he would practically walk up to the fisherman and stick her/his beak in the guys lap wanting more fish. It was great!

These pelicans were just minding their own business near Crab Island in Destin.

This is the middle son, a.k.a. whiniest 16 yr old on the planet, at the beach on Sunday afternoon. Why is he whiney? He sprained his ankle skateboarding. You would think his leg is broken in ten places the way he was carrying on. On a positive note, it does show how very few times the kid has actually felt real pain in his whole 16 yrs. How many times did I sprain something or skin something before I was 16? I was always crashing my bike--anyone else fly over the handle bars the first time they rode on their new ten speed because ya forgot to check which brake was front and which was back? Well, DS#2 has had very few skinned knees much less a sprain of any kind so this was big to him.

Here's the spousal unit who asked me why I photoshopped a bigger belly on him. I told him I couldn't resist, uh--seriously dude, that photo is not adjusted, it is what it is!