Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Warning, pictureless post ahead!

I've been pondering all day what to write about here today. 2009 was a pretty sucky year all the way around. It started out with so much hope and went down hill kind fast. I hate to rush through the years of my life but I am going to say a very happy "goodbye don't let the door hit you on the way out" to 2009. Nothing I planned worked out and I take responsibility for that. Bad management all the way around.

I want 2010 to be a year full of hope. A year when I work harder to be a better person, to be more thoughtful of my friends and family, and to get away from all the negativity that I have let take over my moods and emotions and surround me in it's darkness. Life should be a joyful thing. Something to celebrate. I haven't done much celebrating this year, mostly whining and I've tried to keep that away from the blog but the fact is I have been focusing a lot of energy on what I don't have instead of being very grateful for what I do have.

So 2010 is going to be, for me, the year of gratitude. I am going to try to focus every day on the things I'm grateful for and not focus on what I don't have and not let envy and jealously get a hold of my heart.

365 days of being grateful instead of the never ending whining I feel I have been doing for the last three months. I didn't realize how much the whining had taken hold until I just stopped. I stepped back and looked around my life and told myself to get the hell over it! Very liberating.

Today has been busy running errands and arguing with the spousal unit, yeah, we had a bit of a disagreement at the store who shall not be named and I'm focusing on the fact at least I've got him, someone I love, to argue with. So there's that. Gratitude.

I'm in the middle of dyeing some fabric for Plum Street Samplers' Garden of Eerie. I went a little crazy with the RIT Yellow dye and now my overdyeing with Tan is not grabbing on. But at least I have fabric and RIT Dye to attempt this with. Gratitude. I'm serious. Whatever happens I am a lucky girl to have the fabric to try this on. I'm honestly trying to give myself a serious attitude adjustment because I'm pretty sure I have not been too pleasant to be around the last few months.

Tonight we are staying close to home. On the menu:

Unless I can convince the spousal unit to pick up Chinese food for supper that is.

Cheese dip(1 lb velveeta, 1 can Rotel)
Bacon wrapped cream cheese stuffed jalapenos(check out Pioneer Woman, click on cooking, then click on appetizers, you will love me forever for this hookup, these are the ultimate in fabulous wonderful comfort finger foods)
Fried mushrooms
Chocolate Chip Pie
Reeses Peanut Butter Cookies

This will all be munched on while watching the Thin Man Marathon on TCM tonight-I really wanted to grow up to be Nora Charles or at the very least have her money! But she and Nick were and still are pretty awesome. Not a bad way to spend a New Year's Eve and I'll probably click over to Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin to catch the ball dropping in Times Square too.

Tomorrow's Menu:

Brats and Italian Sausages on the grill
Spinach Artichoke Dip(the green for good fortune)
Texas Caviar(the only way me or my family will eat Black Eyed Peas, even for luck)

Not sure what else, I haven't really thought the New Year's menu through at all.

Still trying to finish up an ornament so I'm not stitching on it in 2010 and my New Year's start is going to be Plum Street Samplers Garden of Eerie, the piece I'm dyeing the fabric for which is now in the dryer. Please let it work and not be too dark.

I will also put a few stitches in Enchanted Garden Storykeep, it's part of the SK SAL on the HAED BB. The link there takes you to the HAED website and the link to the BB is on the left hand sidebar.

Tomorrow, may be some goals, some WIP pictures. I haven't really given much thought to my 2010 stitching because I'm still stuck in Christmas 2009 at the moment but hopefully not for much longer!

Happy New Year Everyone. May 2010 be full of joy, happiness, good fortune, lots of luck, gratitude and most importantly to quote my good friend Siobhan, lots of Stitch Ass.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Year Without a Santa Claus

On December 23rd I recieved an urgent dispatch from the North Pole. Santa was running short of time and gifts and he wanted to alert me to the fact that my kids had been bumped from the list this year. The youngest is fourteen so it was just a matter of time. He said they had all been good but there is that whole recession thing and he really thought he was going to get by here but it'd be better if I could just hook up the fourteen year old myself just in case.
Fortunately for Santa, the fourteen year old's gift had been purchased the Sunday before so I grabbed one or two things to add to that and called it good. When presents were put under the tree on Christmas Eve, the nineteen year old said, "Presents under the tree before Christmas morning? What happened?"
It never dawned on me that my family even paid attention to our routine. Santa has delivered everyone's presents and come to think of it I have never ever put presents under the tree before Santa arrived because for years and years when kids were smaller I didn't want them messing with the presents and it was just easier to rely on Santa to do the work. I didn't have to yell at anyone over the holidays for busting into presents and it was then that I realized that maybe that rule of mine that saved me a lot of grief took a lot of fun out of Christmas for my kids. There was no package shaking and rattling and guessing because mom and dad didn't buy gifts, Santa supplied them and my kids believed in the miracle of Santa much longer than most because my middle son or maybe it was the oldest pointed out that "of course Santa exists because we didn't have the money to buy so many gifts". Even now I'm reasonably sure they all still believe.
As my family has grown older I have noticed a shift in our traditions and things that were once looked forward to with excitement have been greeted with a rolling of the eyes and a comment along the lines of "seriously?" Solstice for one.
I have always embraced the idea of Solstice. It was something that no one else I knew did(we also believe as deeply in the Great Pumpkin as we do Santa Claus and not too many people choose that path and each of my boys have a cross stitched Halloween stocking but not a stitched Christmas stocking, I guess you can see where my priorities lay). Solstice was something for just my family and while it wasn't celebrated like Christmas it was just one more day that was special, sometimes with a fire and roasting marshmellows, sometimes just with a yellow cake to represent the sun and the longing for warm temperatures once again. It was never a big deal but it was just something a little extra. It was also an attempt to keep my kids in tune with nature, the cycles of the earth, but now it's just one more thing they can't be bothered with and it could be that I didn't make it a bigger deal over the years, and this year it just kind of slipped by me before I knew it Solstice had passed. This has been a strange holiday season for me. While I'm not a big time Christmas girl I usually fall in to the spirit of the season before Christmas Day, this year I don't know that I ever felt the joy, not once.
As the kids have grown up our family celebration has become smaller and quieter, and this year it even felt a bit empty and I don't know if that was me or the family or just that 2009 sucked from the very beginning.
It was sad to tell the fourteen year old that Santa sent a message that he wasn't hitting our house this Christmas Eve, so he left it up to me. The fourteen year old looked at me and said with resignation, "Let's hope you don't screw it up". He's a funny one that kid. He got what he wanted so all is well.
I'm planning to do New Year's Eve right, not with a drunken bash, but with a feeling of joy. Joy that 2009 is gone and that 2010 will be a better year for my family and everyone else too. I am going to toast 2009 and kiss it goodbye, I am then going to toast 2010 and welcome it with joy and a prayer that we start the year out right. I'm going to spend this coming week trying to figure out how to start the year out right, because right now it appears that 2010 is going to begin the way 2009 is going to end so I have a week to fix the mess and get some kind of balance back because life has been kind of out of whack the last three months. Somewhere things got off track and I need to get things sorted and organized and all flowing in the right direction because chaos is just not working for me.
Speaking of chaos, I need to sit and organize my stitching and various other projects. 2009 was the year of guilt free starts for me and now I need to figure out where I'm out on several projects and get my focus back. I have had no kind of plan for the last six months and I'd love to see some finishes this next year.
We also have Winter Olympic stitching to look forward to and I'll open up the Olympic stitching blog sometime in January *ok just set one up, here:
and we can all plan what we want to stitch while watching curling.
Hey my mood has perked up a bit just thinking about some Olympic stitching. I am thinking that Sonne Spotte might be a good Olympic project. Good thing I have some time to figure it out.
I hope everyone had a Blessed Yule, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, and that 2010 will arrive with a sack overflowing with blessings and joy for all your families.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Eve of Christmas Eve

Well I've hit the serious Christmas countdown wall. I managed to stitch and finish three of the ornaments you see below: Candy Cane Seeds
SanMan Originals
14ct White Aida
(yes, I went old school with the stitching of these ornaments)

These are for my three great nieces. Have I mentioned I suck as an aunt? These are the first ornaments I've ever made for them. I was sewing on the ribbon hangers while the spousal unit was hovering, he had to get to work you know? I only had time to take a picture of one, but I did indeed stitch three of the EXACT SAME ORNAMENT. I didn't think through the finishing so the tops are kind of unfinished. I folded them over and hoped that when I sewed in the ribbon hanger it tacked the front and back flaps of fabric down a little. On the positive side the bit of excess fabric should hold the peppermints in the pouch. I can't believe I let it come down to the last five seconds of overnight shipping. Every year I say I'm going to follow Tasha Tudor's lead and start planning for next Christmas on Dec. 26th.

We put the tree up on Sunday and added lights, ornaments were added yesterday when my little buddy John was here. I let him decorate the tree to his heart's content.

I'm still working on his ornament and because I didn't really think through the fabric thing, 28ct linen, it's going to be kind of the size of a sofa cushion. Let's hope their tree doesn't fall over when he tries to hang it, it's quite possible that could happen. But the kid loves everything I make him so he's going to get this ornament before Santa hits the skies tomorrow night. With any luck he'll get it this afternoon. His last year's ornament is laying around here in an unfinished state because I've lost the pattern, the PS freebie of Santa and the canoe. I don't know what I've down with the pattern so 08's ornament will remain unfinished until the pattern comes marching home. I did mention how I suck right?

Last night I made a batch of Chess Squares:

Chess Squares - 16978 - Recipezaar

I had these for the first time in 1982. I was working at the University of TN College of Dentistry and Mrs. Chapman, the cashier, brought in a pan of these and OMFG! I had never tasted anything so wonderful in my life. These quickly became a family favorite.

I wanted them so bad last night too, and I followed the recipe and then forgot, completely and utterly forgot to set the oven 25 degrees less for a dark metal pan. I burned up the crust like you would not believe. I'm going to make another batch today and PAY ATTENTION while they are baking.

So far I have purchased one Christmas gift, for the 14 yr old. It was purchased after being insulted by a salesperson at a big name appliance/electronics store. We got there at the butt crack of dawn, were the third and fourth customers through the door, ad in hand, freshly printed on Saturday night, and was told the item we wanted was not in stock as it sold out the week before for the $400 and really what did I expect four days before Christmas? Can you believe that punk salesman said that to me? "What do you expect four days before Christmas?" Well I didn't make up the ad, it was brand new, so I expect you to have in stock what your ad says you are going to have on sale four freakin' days before Christmas. JERK FACE! So I walked out of the big name appliance/electronics store that happened to be an hour from my house, I called the store in Pensacola to see if they had the item was told no that no one in our part of the country received their shipment so the closest store was Tampa. So headed over to the store who shall not be named and tried to work the price comparison deal. Unfortunately while it was the same exact item, it was one digit off in the old stocking number so we paid the regular price at the store who shall not be named but at least they didn't insult me and ask me what I expected four days before Christmas. The first guy is lucky I didn't try to cram the Gateway he was trying to sell me in place of the item I wanted up his cocky, rude nose. If I could have afforded the Gateway at $450 I reckon I would have purchased the item I really wanted the week before for $400 duh!

The oldest wants gift cards for clothes and that's what he'll get. He also needs a new DVD player so if I can find one on sale I may add that to the gift cards. The middle son, a.k.a. money bags, has been buying everything he could possibly want and I was in a serious depression about what to get him and then remembered a recent conversation with some friends about a Sonicare so he's getting one of those with the whitening setting. I'll probably pick up each of them a pair of PJ bottoms and some plain tshirts to wear around the house and we'll call Christmas done.

I've pretty much had a reindeer up my butt the last few weeks and have had wanted to skip Christmas altogether(just call me Mrs. Krank or Mrs Grinch either one fits the person I've been most of the holiday season) and someone recently mentioned a gratitude journal and whenever the waves of depression have hit I've tried to think of all the things I'm grateful for. Instead of fretting over the son I can't buy anything for and who has no need for extra cash, I should be glad that he's employed, he's a hard worker and saves the majority of his paychecks.

Instead of complaining over not getting the aforementioned item on sale, I should be thankful that yes, four days before Christmas I was able to get the 14 yr old what he wanted even if I did end up paying more for it than I wanted to. I was still able to do that and not at the big chain electronics/appliance store--I won't be going back there, cold day in you know where before that happens and that makes me sad because I do enjoy this particular store. Anyway, it's the only thing he asked for so it's bought and hidden and he should be happy on Christmas morning.

So in 2010 I'm going to focus as much as I can on the positives in my life and not the negatives. I just have to get through the next oh, 72 hours, and I can put this Christmas season behind me.

I want to wish everyone a blessed Yule and thank you all for coming here and reading and emailing. In case anyone hasn't told you all lately, You Rock!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Dark Side

Well a week or so ago I purchased a punch needle, just the Clover one, using a coupon at AC Moore, but I'm crossing a line. I never wanted to do the punch needle thing but I haven't been able to convert Carriage House Samplings punch needle Mermaid stocking to cross stitch and my attempt at embroidering it sucked, major, big time sucked, so I got a punch needle. That's as far as I have gotten in the process but it's that first step that leads us down the wrong path.

I've also become obsessed with the idea of hooking rugs. It's all Lori's fault. I wander her blog, check out her rug patterns, click on links to other blogs and well, got lured in. I managed to score three 100% wool skirts at the thrift store yesterday for $1.50 each. Since wool off the bolt at JoAnn's is around $25 a yard I consider those skirts a serious deal. Now I'm researching wool cutters(expensive) although I found a much less expensive one but no where ever seems to have them in stock, it's kind of a rotary cutter deal, but designed for cutting wool strips, that will probably be what I end up purchasing as wool cutters are running $100+ on ebay. Not in the budget by any stretch of the imagination. I'm pretty sure our ancestors didn't have a wool cutter just for making rugs so I can adapt.

I also need to research the whole wool dyeing thing, as I will buy wool clothing and then overdye it the colors I need. Of course I didn't expect to find the wool I did yesterday, I mean this is Florida after all. I stopped in on a whim and I got lucky. I didn't even check out the men's clothing, there might have been some wool pants that I could take apart but $4.50 was about all I could spare yesterday so that was good, I stayed within my budget such that it is.

The ladies at the thrift store were ooooohhhhing and ahhhhing over what pretty skirts I was buying. I started to tell them I was going to dye them and cut them in to strips and turn them into rugs but somehow I determined that they wouldn't "get it" and it might be best to just nod and play like I was one of "them". Yes, they are pretty. These skirts sure will be warm during the next cold snap.

Another current addiction, Detritus bags from Vikki Clayton. I've ordered a few over the last couple of months and am using some of the silks to stitch an ornament right now. I love her silks. I recently tried another brand of silk thread and well it shreds like nobody's business. I am unimpressed and don't see what all the hoopla is about. Yes, I use shorter lengths but honestly for the price per skein it really shouldn't shred like that, in my humble opinion but what do I know?

I am also enjoying Vikki Clayton's linens. I've got a couple of pieces and have been real happy with the 40ct light coffee. At $11 a fat 1/4 it's budget friendly.

So that's where my brain has been the last week or so. Obsessing over rug hooking, buying a punch needle(I still can't believe I did that), trying 40ct linen for the first time and surprised that I can actually see the holes without the aid of magnifying glasses. Yay!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Five of Us Wouldn't Survive

If we had to depend on our gardening skilz for food. Last summer I had two tomatoes total. Not last summer but the summer before we planted a Key lime tree and a Satsuma tree(think Clementines). Last Autumn my Key lime tree was covered in Key limes, then we had a hard freeze and I didn't believe in that whole "oh Lordy it's going to freeze let's put quilts on our plants" and well the Key lime tree died, it's made a comeback, the leaves smell all limeyish but not one single lime or bloom. The Satsuma, all our hopes were in the Satsuma until the then 12 year old crashed into it while making a seriously awesome catch of the football. The Satsuma split, we tied it together with either bread ties or zippy ties, I can't remember and it's a pseudo-hurricane at the moment outside so take my word for it we tied this Satsuma branch together and while she didn't flourish she did produce a single Satsuma. Here's the citrus grove, a.k.a. our front yard.
Here's our harvest.

Here's the farmer and I use the word "farmer" very loosely.

And here's the crop. What should we do? Juice it, make an orange cake? Uh no.

We decided to cut her in half and eat her in wedges and she was mighty tasty. Yes she was. While our crop wasn't big on quantity it was one good quality Satsuma. We didn't even have to bring in the stunt orange and yeah, I had one ready to go because I could just see cutting into this baby and her being dry. Completely, utterly dried out on the inside but she wasn't. And we feasted. So our orange crop lasted from harvest to plate for about oh, five minutes and that's because we couldn't find a knife to cut her open with as I was in the middle of Thanksgiving cooking and every utensil in the kitchen was in need of a washing.

Thankfully we had chocolate chip pie and pumpkin pie to fill the lack of homegrown Satsuma void. And it was good.

And because doesn't everyone love seeing a nekkid Tom turkey here's mine, weighing in at just under 22 lbs ready to be tucked into a nice warm oven. Yep, that's a stick of pure butter poking out of his belly and globs of butter stuck under his skin. Butter is good, very, very good when it comes to turkey baking, almost as important as Tom turkey himself.
I hope everyone had a blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving and if you don't celebrate the U.S. holiday I hope that your fourth Thursday in November was good one.