Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Life in the Between

First a quick recap of the stitching accomplished in 2008:

I completed Plumstreet Samplers complimentary design, Coffin Buzz. I dyed my own fabric after I stitched the piece and also framed it myself in a frame from the "Store Who Shall Not Be Named" oh we all know it's Walmart, I shop there. Ok, I shop at WALMART.

I finished Blackbird Designs Beneath the Sunlit Sky. It is still unframed and folded up in a ziploc baggie, shoved in a drawer until I can get it framed. I have one complaint about this design and it's that the designers didn't include a stitch diagram. It bugs me. I love BBD, I have quite a few of their charts, but I think that leaving out a stitch diagram for whatever reason is like watching a movie where somewhere out of the blue someone speaks a foreign language and the director decides not to subtitle it. If the lines were important enough to leave in the movie, then they should be important enough to subtitle. If this speciality stitch is so important then a stitch diagram should have been included. I was fortunate to have some embroidery books around the house and access to Google to look up the stitch but not everyone is so fortunate. So please in the future if you want to include a speciality stitch please include a diagram.
This post is titled Life in the Between, because this year was the year that opened my eyes to my life and how much of it has been spent "in the between". What does "in the between" mean?
It means that I have spent a life divided between the me I want to be, wish I was, and the me the world sees.
For years, like 40, my deep dark secret was that I wanted to be a writer. When I was a kid and mentioned that dream to people, I was laughed at so writing became my secret garden. I filled notebook after notebook with stories, journal entries, random thoughts and the me that everyone else saw was a wife, a mom, a phlebotomist, a dental assistant, a data entry operator, a waitress at a BBQ pit on the side of the road, they were my cover, my attempt to be just like everyone else. Getting through life, being normal, accepting life as it is, living in the real world, just getting through it.
I created this blog as an excuse to write every day. The earlier entries are journal posts. Just a day in the life. A couple of years ago, I was approached to write a book of essays about cross stitch. I have an agent who worked so hard to sell the book and she did. I got paid. Paid to write. Paid to write about something I love almost as much as my husband and kids. I had an editor who loved the finished book, it was on it's way to a proofreader(copy editor?) and the call was made to pull the book from the November publication list. I spent most of the summer back "in the between". No longer Missy the writer, just Missy the mom, the wife, the friend. Missy the horrible housekeeper. I tried to get over myself. I tried to work on essays and a proposal for a second book but my heart wasn't in it at the time. I spent a good bit of Autumn crying for no reason, well there was a reason for my sadness but I wrote it off to friends as PMS, being Peri-menopausal, whatever sounded good at the time, but the truth is I was crying for my book that was to never be. I was crying because I was so flippin' close to that dream, my deep dark secret dream, and all of a sudden it was like it never happened, just some bizarre alternative reality. As November flowed into December I found myself coming out of the "between". I was tired of being normal. I wanted the writer me to float back up to the top. I got ideas for book two, I still wasn't ready to sit and write, but the thoughts were there and I wrote them down. I had participated in NaNoWriMo. Didn't come anywhere close to winning but it got me back in the groove. I truly believe if I wasn't having to share a computer, fighting for every minute of computer time, I could have done better.
So as of now I am no longer living "in the between". I'm sucking it up, I'm writing again. I'm going to face rejection and you know what? I'm going to face it over and over again because DAMN I want to write, I need to write. When I don't write, whether the writing be good or bad, there's this part of me that dies, that part of me has been on life support since late September. NaNoWriMo was a good kickstart and I'm crossing the line from "the between" to who I am and who I want the world to see. Why do I care if anyone thinks I'm insane because I say, "I'm a writer". All that matters is that I know that I'm a writer, because a few hours spent writing something bad is at least a few hours spent being true to who I am.
2008 was a year full of sadness. My dad died. I didn't go home before he died and I regret that but we talked almost every day sometimes several times a day. I miss him. I reach for the phone often to call and ask him about this or that and then I realize that he's not going to answer.
When I went back home, I slept in my old bedroom, now my niece's room. I saw people I have known most of my life. Looking around me I wondered why I spent so much of my childhood plotting my escape from Bartlett, TN. It's not a bad place, but I also learned that you really can't go home. You can return to a place but just like you, that place is living, it changes, it adapts to the times. You remember the things that made it home way back when, but you also remember that that place never quite fit who you are or those deep dark secret dreams. You go back to that place at 44 and you are just as awkward as you were at 14. For a nano-second you fantasize about buying the house up the road from the house you grew up in, spending mornings having coffee and eating cookies for breakfast with your aunt and uncle, spending afternoons after school with your niece and nephew, drinking wine at sunset with your brother, sitting around your bestfriend's kitchen and picking up the conversation where we left it the last time we said goodbye be it five minutes ago or two years ago. But nothing is ever exactly how we think it's going to be. The reality is, we ran away for a reason. We built a new life, a new home, 600 miles away and there's a lot of happiness in that place that we created for ourselves. It might not be perfect, it might fit with the memories because aren't memories always happier than the reality of that time? Aren't memories warm and fuzzy even though we know there was a reason we wanted to get the hell out of there when we younger?
2008- I will bid you farewell with a glass of champagne at midnight. You were a year that sucked balls, I'm sorry to be so crude, but that's the truth. But you deserve a nice send off because through all the suckiness I learned a little more about me and who I want to be when I grow up. I do believe that the lessons learned will help me be a better me and a better human being in 2009 and hopefully many more years to come.
I want to thank each and everyone of you that take the time to read this blog and comment on it.
My wish is that 2009 is a year where your cup is overflowing with joy and happiness. May all your deep dark secret dreams come true and may your quiet moments be filled with little Xs.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Postcards From the Bay

Christmas has come and gone, I hope all of your stockings were filled with wonderful presents and no lumps of coal.

In an attempt to start 2009 with one less WIP, one less BAP WIP, I've been spending some time with 13th Colony Bay Parts 1-3. Below you see part 1. It is very close to completion. I have to stitch the clouds and do some backstitching, minimal backstitching.

Here is part 2. I have to finish the sun. I have to do some backstitching on the trees and finish a clump of greenery on one. I have to also stitch the fence around the house and a teeny tiny bit of water.
Here is part 3. My main focus for the last few days. I have to finish the land to the left side of the tree, complete the right side of the tree and a lighthouse and water and who knows what else there to the right.

My mission had been to complete the whole thing before the ball drops in Times Square tomorrow night but realistically, if I can finish all of part 3 before 2008 is just a memory I'll be happy.
I can't stress enough how much I love this design. The fabric is 32ct Star Sapphire linen and it's probably one of my all time favorites. It's got color to it, you know the palest of blue greens, but in my humble opinion it's still very much a neutral color. I saw And They Sinned stitched on the Star Sapphire and it's was beyond gorgeous. I would have never thought of Star Sapphire for a sampler but now I see it as a nice alternative to more traditional foundation colors for samplers. It's nice to have an option-not that changing out linen is ever a good idea for me. My ATS is on 36ct Dirty Linen and it's just awful. I will be switching over to some good old flax sometime in 2009.
Keep your fingers crossed that I make some good progress on this in the next 24 hours and hey if your stitching just visualize yourself crossing your fingers. I understand completely!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Random Monday

Today's post is full of all kinds of randomness. Busy days, busy nights, just crazy busy. Guess that's the holidays for ya.

I knit the scarf below for my friend/neighbor-she's headed up to Maryland for the holidays and it's a little cold up there. The scarf is your basic garter stitch. I cast on 15 or so stitches on my size 13 needles and used three balls of Lionbrand Landscapes wool in the Country Sunset colorway. It needed a bit of blocking on the one end, I didn't realize it was so wonky.

Recently I've spent some time attempting to clear the clutter out of the house and it's been brought to my attention that the majority of the clutter is mine and from the overflowing top of the Sterlite container below you can see that I have a definite problem. I'm addicted to kitchen cotton, Peaches and Creme, Sugar & Cream, Lionbrand Kitchen Cotton, you name it, if there's a sale I'm going to be picking up a ball or two. This bucket was about half full when I initially dumped the kitchen cotton stash into it.

As I have been opening drawers, closets, cabinets, finding Walmart, JoAnn's, and Hobby Lobby bags all over the place, some with receipts from two years ago, I have found quite a few balls of the cotton. I had no idea I had this much. My Walmart recently cleared out their inventory of Peaches & Creme and I was able to buy a ball for like 75¢ so of course I would buy a ball or two whenever I went to the store. I mean what's an extra $1.50 here and there? From the looks of this bucket I should never be bored and I'll never run short of warsh rags.

While cleaning out the garage I found two crazy quilt squares that I purchased 20 years ago at a Flea Market in Ohio. I think I'm going to turn them into pillows for the couch.

I also ran across these old McGuffey Readers and Spelling books that I purchased at the same flea market for 25¢ each. The odd book on the bottom is interesting.

It's the Temperance and Prohibition Song Book. It cracks me up, especially since according to my family stories I had many family members in West to Middle Tennessee running from the Revenuers. Yes, my ancestors were moonshiners. This book was also bought at a flea market in Ohio.

Also last week I won Kwilty Kim's giveaway! The original post is here:

I love those Nest charm squares. Thanks Kim!
This morning I made a batch of Peppermint Bark Recipe. It didn't take very long and tastes pretty darn good!
Since it seems to be the season of I want, I want, I want(I hear it from the kids constantly) here's a bit of that "I want" from me, consider it my way to stimulate the economy:
I want a:
I want an: Ashford Traditional Spinning Wheel, $390.00 because seriously you can't have just one spinning wheel.
Or this:
Also I don't think I mentioned that a week or so ago I went to a house auction. The house was way too small for us, but it's an odd kind of house, more of an A frame kind of cabin. The opening bid was $1,000. Because I am a dork I just knew that if I showed up I would be able to buy this house for $1,000. Yes, really. It's that odd of an house, kind of angular and funky looking, not like anything else in the neighborhood. It's been vacant forever, even before the housing bubble burst. I had a plan. I knew how I was going to landscape it, I was going to add a woodstove to one corner of the living room. Once the two older kids are gone in a year or two, this house would have been perfect for the spousal unit and me and the youngest son.
I was outbid by $45,000. I was bummed, I just knew that through some divine intervention I was going to get this house. The spousal unit told me afterward that had he had any idea that house would sell for so little he'd have went through the steps to get preapproved for a loan. I never expected it to go for very much but everyone kept telling me it would go for at least $80,000 and realistically it was just too small and needed too much work to pay that much for the house.
Yes, I should have been more prepared but I went to the auction with a lot of hope and some faith. Guess that's not enough when it comes to buying a house. Funny thing, the guy that won the auction, he showed up late, they held the auction for him-he was at the wrong address. Had he not shown up the house would have sold for about $36,000.
So that's the news from here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sitting and Thinking and More Sitting

If I waited until I had pictures to post I might never blog again so I'm sitting here listening to the thunder, pondering making the spiced molasses cookies on the side of the Winn Dixie Light Brown Sugar box and decided I just had to share that with everyone.

Instead of baking I ended up making a cup of Paulette's Hot Chocolate:

PLUM STREET SAMPLERS: My Secret Ingredient pretty darn tasty! I may even have another cup, actually the size of my mug would make cup 2 actually cups 3 and 4!

But I still have all afternoon to bake.

It's pouring down rain, thundering and we're under a tornado watch until 2 p.m. I love days like this. Oh I forgot to mention the flashflood warning. It's been coming down in buckets, but we've been in some serious need of rain. As far as I'm concerned it can do this the rest of the week. Sunshine can get old, seriously. Then again I am dreaming of snow, mountians, a cabin, a fire in the fireplace, you get the picture. I shouldn't have watched the It's Tougher in Alaska marathon the other day.

I have absolutely no crafty news to report. My friend has given me and my friend Pam a project to consider, making her large dogs sweaters so that when she heads up north for Christmas they don't freeze their big dog butts off. I determined that since I'm on year 4 of knitting a scarf, Pam and I might do better creating dog jackets out of fleece. Pam suggested a mix of fleece and denim. We are both trying to come up with ideas that will be fast and cute and warm for Hemi and Lucy. I'm Hemi's protector, his god-mother sorta. It's sad that there aren't a lot of choices for people with big dogs for clothing.

Suz weren't you just wondering about what to do with Mona when she finally joins you in NC because there aren't dog sweaters large enough?

I'm interested to see what Pam comes up with. I have a general idea but the wheels were a turning in Pam's brain even early this morning. She comes up with great ideas.

This seems to be pretty much all I have at the moment.

Bake cookies or stitch or sew or do all of the above, or just lay down on the couch with the dogs and take a nap? That nap is looking pretty good right now.....

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Not For The Squeamish

Reader Advisory:

Many of you will find the following images disturbing.

They might bring on night terrors.

The gore and destruction that you will witness in the following images are not like any you have seen before.

Continue reading if you must but remember you have been warned.

Disclaimer--the author of this blog is not responsible for any nightmares or emotional distress created by the viewing of these images. You look at your own peril.

What you see below is a Longaberger Mistletoe Basket.

The handle met it's demise at the teeth of a viscious puppy. A puppy that didn't know that these baskets are expensive, didn't care that they don't make this basket any more, all the viscious beast cared about was chewing. Chewing through the handle until it no longer served any purpose.

Heartless and cruel, ruthless and uncaring, such is the heart of a puppy.

Now to the next victim. This one can't be blamed on a puppy. No, the damage done to this Longaberger Magazine basket rests in the heart of a stupid woman. A woman who filled it so full of Mary Englebriet Home Companion magazines, Southern Living magazines, JCS, Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly and then this stupid, stupid woman decided to move the basket, to keep it out of the reach of the aforementioned dangerous puppy teeth and the handle broke because while these baskets are quite durable, any idiot should know that the handle can't support 50 lbs of magazines.

What you see below is heartbreaking. It's a Longaberger Large Christmas Laundry basket. It like the Mistletoe basket has been the victim of a puppy. Not the same puppy but still a puppy. The puppy didn't care that the woman who owns this basket spent $250 on her own Longaberger party back in the 80s so she could then spend more money to purchase this basket. It was the 80s, many people snorted coke, this woman got high on the thrill of acquiring Longaberger baskets at any opportunity. She's pretty sure she went so far as to purchase one in a bathroom--or maybe she purchased one to specifically hold an extra roll of toilet paper in the bathroom, either way, at one time Longaberger was like crack to the woman.

I know what you are thinking, this careless woman does not deserve the glory that is the Longaberger. She should be ashamed, she should repent her evil ways. Karma will get her, it's probably already working it's magic to make sure she gets what she deserves.
On to a less disturbing subject:
The Vintage Vertical Stripe Afghan: Vintage Vertical Stripe Crocheted Blanket Pattern

It's crazy wide. Like close to 7 feet, I've crocheted on it every day since last Monday, 37 new rows. It was my mindless project for when family was around and I couldn't think to do anything else beyond double crochet.

I'm in love with this afghan. It's a great pattern and warm!
I hope everyone in the USA had a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Thanks for the compliments on Beneath the Sunlit Sky.