Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas and After

Hi all. I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas with your families. I was able to finish all of my baking and then take charge of Christmas dinner (with some help, of course), even with an hour-and-a-half power outage (I KNOW!) while the turkey and dressing were in the oven. You should've seen all of the menfolk (brother, son, nephews, dad) hustling outside to get wood hauled in and start a fire. The man I hang around with showed up during the outage and saved the wine-drinkers with a fresh bottle. It all turned out great, and my son and I are considering turning the oven off during the roasting next year, just to see if it works out as well.

Mom was going downhill on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (her favorite days of the whole year), so we finally took her to the hospital Christmas Night. As it turns out, we did the right thing. She's perked up a little, and the docs are trying to bring on some improvement, but it looks bleak. My brother and sister-in-law left for home on Sunday to tidy up some work things. I'm picking up my sister-in-law at the airport in a little bit, and my brother will probably come back this weekend.

So I'll be in and out here, but mostly out. I'm gonna leave you with some happy pics of my tree and the stockings. I'll check in when I can. Make some fun. It's really important to make as much fun as you can.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shores Block 4 and More

Gee, I thought I'd be back before now. I had taken pics to post and had ideas in my head, and then I didn't sit down at the computer long enough. You missed my whiny how-many-days-left-'til-Christmas-break countdown, you lucky readers. My break started at 3:45 last Friday, but things have been koo koo since before that. During my last week of school for 2009, I was treated to a yukky cold and wicked laryngitis. That made the week extra fun, because I went to school anyway! What did I learn from that? If you go to school without a voice, many kids will whisper. Really!

How about some stitchy stuff? Here is Shores Block 4 all finished up.

Putting the last stitch in that block was delightful. I liked it, but it took so much longer than I thought it would. Doesn't it always? I'll probably put off the start of Block 5 until January, or maybe even February. We'll see. Plans don't work out well around here lately, so I think "we'll see" is the best way to handle Shores for now.

When I finished Block 5, I pulled out the long lost Miss Lila's House. I know! Long time no see, huh? It was my 2009 New Year's start, and I've hardly touched it since January. I've had a very tough time being happy with Miss Lila over one, and I've decided that it's the Needlepoint Silk over one on 30 count linen. I've stitched a lot of over one on 25 to 40 count fabrics, but the stitches on Miss Lila seem very crowded and irregular to me. To test my theory, I stitched the head and neck of the goose with DMC. Could I get a decent pic to show you? Not really. But there is definitely a difference, and I like the DMC better. So what does that mean? It means there'll be some unstitching between now and January 1, and I may restart Miss Lila for my 2010 New Year's start. Damn it! (Excuse me while I take two calming breaths.) Maybe unstitching will be somewhat therapeutic. Uh huh.

Then there's the new man I've told you about. There's been some progress on his suit and mittens since I last showed him to you.

He's pretty cute, isn't he? Wait 'til you see his fuzzy beard and eyebrows. In fact, this sweet Santa has been the one good thing about long days (yesterday we left my parents' house at 7:00 am and returned at about 5:45 pm) at chemo with Mom. There's nothing to do there but hang out and stitch. So when Mom is drowsing or doesn't need anything, Santa is my companion.

So about Mom ... there's no good news. That's probably enough to say. Thank you all, again, for your positive messages (all of you who comment), notes to check up on me (Faye) or say something nice (Lee), and fabulous prizes in the mail (Staci, I took a picture of your gorgeous fabric but forgot to load it into this post!), and good thoughts and prayers. I can never tell you enough how much every word is valued. Your bloggy friendship has been an unexpected treasure, and your blogs have provided me with entertaining info and hilarity, not to mention stashy encouragement (you naughty girls).

Tomorrow or the next day, I'll line up the pics of stockings and tree for you. Today has been a baking day (mmmmmm, cookies and fudge). Tomorrow will be last-minute running around, off to see family at the folks', and then baking in the evening. Make loads of fun.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Since Thanksgiving

Has it really been more than two weeks since my last post? It has! You know, I used to have some organization in my life. Sadly, it's gone now, and I still haven't adjusted.

Thanksgiving was a fabulous event at the folks' house. We ended up having 15 hungry people sit down to turkey and ham dinner. My sister, sister-in-law and I managed to get everything ready near the planned time, and Mom supervised as necessary. We had loads of fun. My only baking failure occurred when the pie crust I baked for one of the chocolate pies shrank about halfway down the side of the pie pan. Bummer. But in the true sense of accomodation, I covered it up with meringue. Hey, I'm not completely clueless.

I'm including pics for you today only to show you the pathetic lack of stitching progress since my last post. Oh ... my ... gosh! Get out your hankies, because it's rather sad. Here's what's happened to Shores Block Four ...

I know! Almost nuttin'! I'm gonna give it some attention tonight, though, so maybe a stitching miracle will happen and I'll finish the block. Yeah, and the lottery will be awarded to me for last night, even though I forgot to buy a ticket. And then there's the newest stand-up guy I've sort of been working on ...

Pitiful, isn't it? When I told Sharri (my sister) that I was working on this Santa, she said, "Oh, I did that one. It goes really fast." Uh huh, right. I guess I have to actually pull thread through the linen with a needle more than I do other things in order for progress to be made. He'll probably get some more action this weekend. I do enjoy seeing him in stages of completion. Now he kinda looks like he's wearing a hoodie or one of those hats with flaps.

So what the hell have I been doing instead of stitching? Well, let's see. I hung out with the family for Turkey weekend, and we did some fun things. Then I dragged out my tree and spent some days (ok, a week) working after school and in between other activities to get most of the ornaments on it. Today was the first day I've gotten home when the sky was cloudless and the sun was above the horizon, and the east side of my house (where the tree is) was still too dark to get a good pic. Saturday is the day for pics of the tree, so maybe I'll get 'er done.

Then we (my son, niece and I) decorated Mom's tree last Saturday. Dad was all about skipping the Christmas decorations this year, but Mom needs her tree up so rearranging the ornaments (a genetic OCD trait that's been passed on to me and now to my daughter) can be her non-stitching seasonal hobby. We got the job done, and Mom is content.

About Mom: the last chemo recipe didn't do the job the docs had hoped for, so Mom is now in a chemo drug trial. She'll be going once a week for eight weeks, and then there'll be another scan. These treatments require her to go to downtown Denver (about a 45-minute drive when traffic is good, like at midnight), and they take quite a while to complete each time. Because it's a great opportunity for her, the extra inconvenience is worthwhile. The big event the week before Thanksgiving was Mom's fancy new wig. Even though her head has a lovely shape, she wasn't at all fond of her Yoda-esque hair style. Her new hair makes her look a lot more like herself ... very cute. Again, I want to thank all of you who comment and email and ask about Mom and pray/think good thoughts/chant for her recovery. I tell her about everyone out in blogland who is doing what they can on her behalf, and she's very appreciative, as I am. What's most surprising to her about her illness is the number of people who do things to show that they care. That's how she is.

Before I leave you, I hope all of you affected by the gigantic snowstorm and extreme cold are doing OK and staying warm. Brrrrrrr! I haven't had much time to visit blogs, but I'll eventually catch up and read your stories about the storm. Now for some time on the exercise bike and then in the purple chair. Make some fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A New Man

It's been a while since I had a new man in my life (not that I'm dissatisfied). This guy is one of those quiet men. In fact, he never says anything, which is a relief. I get to hold him and work on him when I want to, and he has no say in what I do. He dresses a little funny, but he's pretty cute.

The picture makes him look like he has an earring, but it's just one of the spots. He's covered with them. So here's a look at this year's stand-up-Santa I'm working on. I wanted to wait until he had a cute face before I showed him off. I'll be dragging him around with me in my stitching bag during the holidays (hmmm ... gives me ideas for my son and the man I hang around with), and I'll show you more of him as I make some more progress.

Again I'm late in showing my TUSAL jar. I took the picture on the appointed day, but I haven't worked up the energy to do a post until now. It's looking kind of crowded in there.

I've also been working on Shores Block Four, and I was enthralled with the words and black silk. Hmmm ... I wonder what that means. Here's a little picture of how I put that black silk to use.

I thought that if I made a plan, I'd stick to it a little. I have. A little. I worked on this when I was conscious in my purple chair a few evenings last week. There were three evenings during which I didn't complete a single stitch! I've been cleaning and shopping like the rest of you. 'Tis the season, after all. My entire family is gonna be here this week, and a couple of them could possibly decide to stay here instead of being crowded into Mom and Dad's house. I wanted to be ready with clean bathrooms and fresh linens.

We're gonna have a big and very fun Thanksgiving. My brother, sister and I will all be at the folks' with our kids. There will also be a couple of significant others to bring the dinner total to 17. That's a pretty large crowd for us. Since Mom isn't feeling like cooking, she'll be supervising my sister, our sister-in-law and me from her post on the couch. We've helped for uncountable holiday meals, but the cornbread dressing and mmmm-mmmm-good gravy will still need Mom's sensitive taste-testing. My chocolate pies won't be nearly as pretty as Mom's, but I'm going for it anyway. They're the family favorites, even at Thanksgiving, but they'll be joined by a pumpkin and a pecan. We laugh a lot, so the three of us (joined at times by our eight kids who are unfortunate enough to think they're funny ... just like us) will be enjoying each other and the occasional (OK, more than occasional. I'm a bad influence.) kitchen cocktail while we handle the pre- and post-dinner chores.

Mom had a scan yesterday and will be meeting with the doc tomorrow. We're all worried because she's been feeling so poorly. Keep your fingers crossed and I'll keep you posted. Have a truly fabulous Turkey Day and, above all, make lots of fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Whoopee ... Shores Block 3

Finally, Block 3 is finished! What's taken so long? It would take forever to list all of my excuses, so I'll just say that I've been distracted. There's so much going on here, and I'm ready for the more boring part of my life to reappear. For now, just lots of sighing and a very crooked, dark (it's dark all the time!), wrinkly picture of my accomplishment.

I tried to get a picture of just the mermaid, but I couldn't seem to hold the camera still enough to get the job done. I love her.
I had good intentions of showing you some progress on my most recent start, but I really wanna wait until the face (yes, a face) is finished. Until then, you'll have to be content with the supply picture:
Doesn't it look fun? I know! I'm so excited to be working on another Ewe & Eye & Friends Limited Edition Santa. If this guy ever gets finished, it'll be my third. Gee, that makes me sound like a Santa slut, doesn't it? This Santa is from (get ready) 1994. Yes, kids, you read it correctly. It's been in my stash for 14 years (eeeeek). I know! Am I the worst person you know? The really bad news is that this isn't the oldest item I should've already stitched. There are several kits that are older and probably hundreds (no, I don't think I'm exaggerating) of charts that are older. Do you think an intervention is in order? Or do you wanna come over and check out my cedar chest and file cabinet? Uh huh, I'll bet you do! Anyway ... I took a picture of the picture so you could see what Santa will look like in a few weeks (yes, Delusional should be my middle name) ...

My new plan (really? a plan? me?) is to work on him when I'm hanging out with the man I hang around with. We usually end up watching football (sniff ... poor Broncos ... sob), and I can work on him (Santa, that is ;)) during that portion of the weekend. Another good place to work on him will be when I'm visiting Mom during chemo sessions. We always stitch together then, and this is a perfect take-along project. I'm also gonna give him one evening a week while I work mostly on Shores Block 4. I'm afraid that if I set down Shores for the holidays, it'll somehow work its way more deeply into the dreaded WIP pile, so I have to stick with it. Then, just to give myself some variety (a way to ward off distractability), I'm gonna give Sarah Esh an evening per week. Will some organization in my life help to keep my nose pointed toward my stitching? I reckon we'll see.
Another exciting bit of stitchy news is that I got to pick up my son-in-law's stocking from the finisher (who must be working at the speed of light) on Saturday. As soon as I can remember to get a picture of it when it's still light out, you'll see it.
Finally, yesterday I completed another trip around the sun. My 54th! How can that be? Do you ever feel like you're still in your 20's? Never when I look in the mirror, of course! But once in a while, when I'm skiing or riding on the back of a motorcycle, I feel too young to be in my 50's. That's one of my favorite feelings, and I'm thinking it's a good thing.
Make some fun.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

You've Gotta Love a Snow Day!

What's not to love? It's an unexpected gift of a day at home. Here's the view from one of the front windows.
That was about 9:00 this morning, and the snow is even deeper now. It also has more of that cool snow sculpture from chair to deck rail. It's been snowing since Tuesday night, and it's still going strong. Our school district, in its infinite wisdom (NOT), decided that we should go to school yesterday. The roads were slicker than owl snot, so getting to school was quite a treat. Buses got stuck and had a fender-bender or two. We're all much happier with the decision to let us stay home today. On really bad days, so many kids are absent anyway, and it seems a waste for us to brave the roads.

I've spent part of my day catching up in blogland. My brother was here over the weekend, so we spent lots of time at the folks' house. Work has demanded many, many hours at the computer screen this week, so sitting down to read and comment and post just didn't seem like much of a treat. I found out how much I've missed this morning, and ya'll have been so busy. It's so much easier and more fun to stay caught up.

Here's what I've been working on ...

Yep. Shores Block 3 is nearing an end. It seems like it's taken forever to get this far. Those gingerbread corners were tricky, especially when I was trying to keep track of what was happening on the boob tube. I'm very excited to get to the mermaid. When I wander back upstairs, I'm set to work on her hair. I'm hoping to make some good progress so I can show you what's gonna be in my hot little hands when this block is finished.

I'm running upstairs to get busy and enjoy what's left of this delightful day. Make some fun.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Try, Try Again

Thanks to all of your comments, I now know that I'm not alone in my frustration with Blogger f***ing up my last post. That thought is somewhat comforting, even if it doesn't fix anything. Maybe it's a sign that I spend too much time on one post. I'll stop analyzing and just move on.

First, here's how I spent some of my free Friday hours.

I know! I resurrected something from the WIP drawer (ok, ok, one of my WIP drawers) and finished it. Yay me! Exercising extreme self-control, I chose Small Sampler, 3rd in a Series, by Ewe & Eye & Friends. I can remember charting this one way back in the olden days, so it's kind of an old friend. I stitched all but the lazy daisy leaves and sheep wool way back in 2004! So why did I wait five years to finish it? Sadly, that's probably a question for a trained mental health professional, and there's no use discussing it here.

Anyway, 3rd Small Sampler is stitched as kitted with Anchor floss on 40-count Sandstone, but I changed the stitches for the sheep wool from Kam's coils (pains in the ass, IMHO) to large, loose French knots. Because of Murphy's Law of Changing Kitted Stitches, I ran out of floss, and it was one of the few colors not in my stash. That issue caused two things to happen: 1) blog reading/commenting sucked up some of my morning, and 2) I had to go to the LNS and buy other things along with the floss. So it turned out rather well!

For those of you keeping score, I returned to Shores Block 3 on Saturday. I'm making rather slow progress, and I'll have a pic for you next time. I'm gonna have to hold the Broncos partially responsible for my lack of progress. Their games have been so unexpectedly exciting that I find myself sitting in my chair with my needle in the air. Sometimes I even have to jump out of the chair and holler. All of that fan action tends to distract me from my stitching! That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

My TUSAL picture for the month was technically on time, because it was in the post lost in internet space. I was so proud of myself for doing something on time! Take a look at all those perle cotton orts from Reed's Stocking. They take up a little space. huh?

I was at Mom and Dad's a couple of times over the weekend, and look who's been hanging around over there!

These turkeys have absolutely no idea how determined my dad (alias, Mr Gun) is to remove them from the premises. The abundance of droppings they've left on Dad's wooden deck and paved surfaces could eventually motivate him to use extreme measures. So far, he's only used the leaf blower and pellet gun, but he owns quite an arsenal. I'm a little worried that one of these birds is gonna end up on my Thanksgiving plate. Before I shooed them out of harm's way, I pulled out my phone camera to get a shot (so to speak).
A few of you have been kind enough to ask (via comments and emails) about Mom. I decided back in June that I was going to try to give only good news, especially since Mom reads here from time to time. Sadly, there hasn't been much good news to report. Mom's been pretty sick (dizzy, weak, feeling generally shitty) for more than a month. After her last scan received less-than-shining reviews from the docs, they decided that they'd gotten all the good they could from the first chemo recipe, and they gave her a month off. She's on a new chemo recipe now, and it's much harder on her. Dad's taking care of Mom, and the rest of us are trying to help, and we're all hoping that this new recipe does some good work. If you have any prayers/good words/positive thoughts left in your hearts, we'd very much appreciate you sending them Mom's way. I know for certain that she'd welcome the help.
Hope you're all having a good week. Tomorrow it'll be half over! Make some fun.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh, Please!

I just spent an hour on a post, hit the button, and nothing happened! Dammit! I guess I'll hit the hay and try again tomorrow. Ugh, damn technology.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Reed's Last Week

The final stitches were in on Thursday night, and the charms and buttons were put on today. First, a picture without the embellishments ...

And here's a picture with all the fun stuff ...

I'm very happy to have it stitched, and it'll be going off to the finisher as soon as I find a moment next week. This really was the quickest I've ever stitched a stocking, and I have to hand it to all of you who helped me with fun comments. Especially thanks to Anna for lighting the initial fire under me. For the moment, I can say I'm a good mom-in-law, which still sounds funny to me.

As I said I would, I've picked up Shores to start on Block 3. It had to wait a while, because I had some chores to do. There were the usual things (laundry, cleaning, etc.) that we all do, but another chore had to be done a little early this year. It was 18 degrees when I woke up this morning (brrr!), so I had to put my comforter on the bed. To do that, I had to press the cover and wrestle it onto the comforter, press the matching pillow shams and put them on, and then wash the stuff that came off the bed. I know! All just to keep cozy on cold nights. Now you watch ... we'll probably have some nights in the 40's this week, and I'll be wondering what the hell I was in such a hurry about.

You know, I never know when I'm gonna write something here that causes someone out there to come up with a good idea. When I wrote about my plan to stitch in my jammies next Friday morning, Staci, stitcher/knitter/enabler extraordinaire, asked what I'll be starting that day! Is she naughty, or what? I hadn't even thought of starting something new, and I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it. But Staci's suggestion made me think about putting Shores down for the morning and working on something different. Heaven knows, I have lots and lots of WIPs to choose from, so I'll have to pick out something interesting. Maybe something that might be finished in a few hours.

On the health front, the poor little kids have been dropping like flies at school. Most of the second grade was out the first half of the week, and then a lot of the first grade was out later in the week. So many of us are coughing at school that I did extra wipe-downs of the tables and Lysol-spraying of pencils and shared books, computers and doorknobs. I'm staying home this weekend with some unidentified virus that, knock on wood, has only made me cough and have a headache. My doc who roto-rootered my nose last January fixed me up yesterday to try to head it off at the pass, and I feel relatively well. The bad news: no time with Mom or the man I hang around with. The good news: it's a nice weekend to be at home stitching. It's ugly out there! Everyone stay well and make some fun.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Reed's Second Week

Well, what do you know? I think I'm gonna finish this stocking in a few days! That's record time for me, so thanks for all of the encouragement you've offered. I've been working on it whenever I'm not at work and can avoid my chores. Despite the chunkiness of the materials (18-count linen and cotton perle), I'm enjoying the stitching. So here's this week's Sunday-to-Sunday progress.

We're having a very gray day in the Denver area, so the picture is a little dark, and the colors don't show up well. Those blues I was complaining about look great in natural light. Last week, I was stitching in a sunny Starbucks while waiting for my car to be serviced, and I couldn't believe how perfect the colors looked. So those readers out there who thought the blues looked good, you're right.

Since I'm so close to finishing, I'll stick with Reed this week and then get back to Shores as soon as the buttons and charms are on. Really, Anna, I promise. We have many extra hours at school next week (evening parent-teacher conferences), so when I get my work finished (hey, a girl can dream), I'm gonna have my stitching at the ready. In fact, maybe having my stitching there will motivate me to get all the crap off my desk in a hurry! Hmmm ... a plan is forming in my pea brain. Picture me stitching while waiting for the next conference. Because we'll be spending more time at school next week, we get next Friday off. You know what that means, don't you? Friday morning stitching-in-my-jammies time. Ahhhh, something to look forward to, even if it is eleven days away.

Make some fun.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reed's First Week

I have so little to show this week (sniff). I started Reed's Stocking last Sunday (that's eight days ago), and it's really all I've worked on all week. Of course, there wasn't that much stitching time last week, because I stayed late at school or went to school meetings three out of five days (she said whinily). On Friday (the day I long for), I went out with a group of teachers from my school that closed last year, which was extremely fun. I stitched terribly little Friday night, because my poor little eyelids just couldn't be forced to remain open very long after my butt hit the chair. The weekend was kinder, and (to make a short story long) some stitching was accomplished ...

I'm not sure I like the mixture of blues in this piece. I'm tempted to pull them out and use lavenders instead, but that's a lot of unstitching that I'm not really up for. Besides that, Nikki chose it, and she likes it. I'm wondering how much the DMC colors have changed since this stocking was designed. The Shepherd's Bush girls have changed one of the colors since then, but I think it looks a little funky. I suppose I'll just carry on and keep stitching.

Back to the progress thread of this post ... Anna said in a comment, "You could get the stocking done in three weeks definitely, possibly one and a half." Golly, I love her. Despite many previous posts containing visible evidence of my slow stitching, she thinks I'm capable of semi-fast stitching! That thought thrills me to death. When I first read her comment, I poo-pooed her estimate. But now that I've gotten this far, I may actually finish the silly thing in three weeks! Thanks for the encouragement, Anna! Nobody out there hold your breath, but I'm going for it. On October 1st, I'll have to make the decision to continue with the stocking and start Shores Block 3 after a finish, or begin Block 3 and go back to the stocking after that finish. I may go for the first option in the hope that the finisher (you really didn't think I'd sew it together, did you?) could have it to us by Christmas. And why am I boring all of you with this crap? I don't know! Maybe I needed to think it through. Thank you for your kind patience, those of you who are still awake.

I'm off now to get some stitching done before din din. Make some fun.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yahoo for Shores Block 2

Yep, I finished Shores Block 2 on Saturday morning. I got up, made some tea, and sat on my ass watching a movie until I finished it. Boy, that felt good! I'll start Block 3 in October.

Later that day, the man I hang around with asked me to go on a little ride in the mountains on the Harley. We looked at the pretty aspen trees turning pink and gold, and then all of a sudden, there was a bear (squeal)! I know! It was so exciting. The man I hang around with was a bear-sighting virgin before I spotted that cub, but this was my second bear in the wild. We made a U-turn to get another look, but he saw us seeing him and ran off to find his mama. There would be absolutely no good reason for us to meet up with his mama, who would not approve of her cub being anywhere near us, so we watched him run up the hill and went on our way. Now for the question you're probably thinking. Doris, where's the picture? Good question. Neither of us had a camera, and I didn't take my cell phone! We're dopes, but we've learned our lesson. No more rides without something for picture-taking!

Now for my TUSAL pic for this month. I really thought I'd be on time, but I came home on Friday and had a drink (ok, two drinks) and sat down to stitch instead of doing a post. And then I had to stitch Saturday morning. Don't I sound like the kids at school? This picture of my jar was taken on the actual day it should've been pictured. I pushed down the stuff so I can fit some more in there soon.

On Sunday I watched the Broncos and worked on Reed's Stocking for the son-in-law (that's still a shock to say), but it looks like so little that I'll wait to show you a pic. It's such a change to be stitching with perle cotton after all of these months of 40-count. The whole time I was working on it, I thought about how chunky it feels. So thick in my hands. I kinda like it ... for a while. My big hope is that I'll have the stocking finished by the time I'm ready to start up on Shores again. I know, I know, but I can dream, can't I?

On Monday (yes, that's today) I wished I was at home stitching on this cool and rainy day. Instead, I was at work (repeat after me: it's good to be employed). And while I'd love to slap a couple of adults upside the head, the kids are wonderful. My new kindergarten buddy, Joseph, calls me Miss Brownie (tee hee). I know! Isn't that so cute? He says it quite loudly when I see him in the cafeteria. The other kids keep correcting him, but he likes that name. I told him it's ok. I love brownies.

Thank you, thank you, all of you positive and sweet commentors out there. Your happy wishes for Nikki and Grady and their babe are very much appreciated. I know I've been a real smartass about it (someone has to do it), but I do hope they'll have the best life ever. In fact, just the thought of it working out any other way is unthinkable.

Hey, I have stitching to do! Make some fun.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another Week Speeds By

Oh, my goodness! It's only 7:25, and it's dark! I'm not sure why that's so shocking. Maybe I've been so busy that it's sneaked up on me. Finally, I'm to the point that I can see how my school year may work. I haven't completely adjusted yet, but I'm getting there. Dysfunctional schools require much more personal adjustment. I have to figure out how to do the right thing for kids within a climate/structure where that's not always the intention. Can you tell I've been thinking it over?

Enough shop talk. On to the stitchy talk. Here's a little pic of my progress on Shores Block 2. Just a couple of fish and the remainder of the eel, and this baby's finished. That seaweed took me a long time. I was trying to watch movies while stitching it, and I had to divide my attention appropriately. Also entertaining me during stitching time has The Help on cd. What a great book! I stitched at a much faster pace while listening to it.

When you're stitching something untamed like that seaweed, do you pick out paths to follow? I do! Is it just me? I pick out paths that will make my stitching more efficient (kind of like working my way through a maze), so I'll have fewer stops and starts and shorter carried threads. Could this be that crazy OCD issue I've written about before? Or is it my feeble mind trying to find something extra to work on? Or is it my brain trying to free me from all the other things I have to think about? Hard to say.

Wanna see a couple of planned projects? Below is a picture of the supplies I've gathered to stitch Reed's Stocking by Shepherd's Bush.

To understand why I'm starting it, you'll have to hear a little story. My 25-year-old daughter, Nikki, sneakily (so like her mother) got married this summer (sigh ... I think 30 is a good age to get married, and yes, I realize that this isn't about me.). So I have a son-in-law (oh, my gosh!) who needs a pretty Christmas stocking like the rest of the family. Being a stitchy kind of mother-in-law (Geez, Louise, I'm a mother-in-law), I'll be getting that stocking done ASAP. All of those other projects will have to take a giant step back to let the stocking cut into line. Ready for the good news? Nikki will be having a baby at the end of March (huge gasp)! I know! Then I'll get to stitch a grandbaby stocking ... when not holding that baby, of course. I'm from a family of confirmed baby nuts. We love, love, love babies. It's nice to have something big to look forward to.

Something else I'd like to start is Sarah Esh. It's an OOP reproduction sampler that I was lucky enough to find on Kathy Barrick Dieter's (Carriage House Samplings) Etsy site. It's been on my list of have-to-haves for a long time, and I'm very excited about (eventually) stitching it. In the picture below is my conversion from DMC to Gumnuts Stars (my favorite fiber ... so far) and one Silk 'n Colors that Stars didn't have a close match for. I think the fibers will work out well, but I'm gonna have to have a little fabric spa time in the kitchen to work one of my stash fabrics into a suitably splotchy state. The Lambswool in the pic just isn't vintage enough for me.

It's time for this post to end. It started two hours ago, but my slow-as-a-snail computer needed a restart a while back, and I got sidetracked. Hope you're all having a good week. Thanks so much to you who visit and comment. Comments are like getting little letters from people who understand what's been written.

Make some fun.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's Really After Labor Day?

Have you noticed that my recent post titles indicate that I'm struggling with time? I am. Seems like just a few days ago I was spending the Fourth of July on a Minnesota lake. Now Labor Day is over. Yep, I know it happens every year, but it also seems to happen more quickly every year. The new school (sorry, but I can't bear to call it my new school) continues to suck up my time, but I will get used to it.

The long weekend was a fun one. Each Labor Day weekend, the Taste of Colorado is the big event in the Denver area, and they always have an interesting music schedule. The man I hang around with and I are music fiends, so we found some blasts from the past to check out. We saw Grand Funk Railroad (if you remember them, you're old like me), the Spinners (huge crowd) and Robert Cray (not from the olden days). Robert Cray is one of my personal favorites, so I was enthralled, even with the huge outdoor crowd of talking gawkers. Enjoying free music is a great way to relax.

Even though I finished Evil Serpent ten days ago, I'm just now getting around to showing you the finished product. Here's a little picture taken as the sun was coming up one morning.

I changed a few little things. I put Rhodes stitches in the eyes of the peacock's tail feathers, giant eyelet stitches in the flower centers, and I stitched my children's initials instead of Vilma's charted letters.

The directions about how to stitch the grass were unclear to me, so I used satin stitches, as I did for all of the other bird's tail feathers. The date was a little too big and fat for me, so I stitched it over one.

I'm pretty happy with that little finish. This past week, there's been very little stitching (sniff), but I've worked a little on Shores and Women of the Mayflower. Eventually, there'll be enough progress to show you, but not yet. Speaking of progress, I'm gonna go make some.
Make some fun.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Better Late Than ...

My new work schedule is really getting in the way of my fun. It'll take some time to adjust, but it'd be nice if it happened soon. All of my work tasks are getting done, but my other endeavors are suffering.

Take, for instance, TUSAL. I should've posted a picture more than a week ago, but it didn't happen. So here you are ... One thing I could do on the way home from work is to pick up a newly framed item. Here's a picture of Twined Heart, a little Shepherd's Bush band sampler that I finished a while back.

I think the frame is so pretty that I had to try a close-up picture of it, even though my photographic skills are right up there with any seven-year-old's. Why did I let this project sit unfinished in a drawer for so many years? What was I thinking?

How about a little visit to Eden? Here's my progress on Evil Serpent. I kept thinking that I'd have this finished by now. It's getting close, so maybe on my next post ...
On 40-count, this is a tiny sampler ... only four by six inches ... or so. When I brag about finishing it, I'll show you some of the things I did differently than charted. I'll have to go close-up again, so get ready for some more amateur photos. Maybe I'll finish this weekend!

As soon as Evil Serpent is finished, I'm going back to Shores for Block 2. I've been watching FayeRaye's progress, and I'm gonna try to keep up with her. Debbie asked me if I'm gonna rest between Shores blocks or keep on keepin' on. I think I'll continue to work on a couple of things between blocks. Each block is such a good little project that it just makes sense to have a little different scenery in between.

Happy weekend ... make some fun.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Is Bath Day

What? Two days in a row? Don't get used to it.

I had to show you what I accomplished so early on a Saturday. You may remember my old man cat Merlin, aged 17 years. Even though he's suffering from kidney failure (used to be 20 pounds, now down to 11), he's still hanging in. Because he's so old, he doesn't take such good care of himself anymore, so he gets an occasional bath. Merlin would probably exact some hideous retribution (ie, pee in a corner, barf on the carpet ... oh, wait, he already does that) if he had any idea that I'm showing you these pictures. But I couldn't resist, and what he doesn't know won't hurt him. Here he is after his bath. Oh, and in the background is a piece of now-shriveled catnip I brought in for him last night.

I know (gasp)! Isn't he pitiful, but cute? Merlin's a little unsteady on his feet at times, but he's still jumping up on his favorite places. He's especially fond of jumping from my bed onto my lap while I'm stitching. You can just imagine how that turns out. He's our friend, so we'll take good care of him as long as we can. I can tell he's weaker, because this summer there hasn't been any bloodshed (never his blood, mind you) during our tub encounters. I almost feel bad that I don't have any wounds.

That's it for now. Make some fun.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Whew! Week #1 Is Done

Ahhhhhh, it's finally Friday. The first week with kiddos at school is done, and I'm pooped. I always feel very sorry for the first-graders. Many of them have never been to a full day of school until this week, and they're incredibly tired for the first few weeks. You can actually watch them droop during the afternoons. Poor sweet little kids. I can relate. Today a second-grader told me that I might be a little older than his dad. After I asked how old is dad is, he told me 28. Then I told him that my son is 28, so I'm old enough to be his grandma. His answer? "Huh-uh, I don't think so." I love this kid.

I don't have loads of time to spend here this evening, because I wanna go put my ass in my chair and stitch until I can't keep my eyes open. But I wanna let my stash giveaway girls know what's coming their way. Barb, the new stash queen (because I sent her something a few weeks ago), is the only brave soul to request the Paula Vaughan kit. You rock, Barb! I put three little slips of paper in the cute little Damariscotta dish for the L&L Angel. I swished and swirled them around and pulled out Jennifer, so the angel will be winging her way to Georgia. Thank you again to any of you who have requested my destashing treasures. As soon as I have more stashy stuff to pass on, you'll see it here.

I wish I had a picture for you, but my progress on Evil Serpent has been very slow this week. Maybe I'll have something to show after the weekend. Oh, the weekend. I love weekends. Hope you have a happy one. Make some fun.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Monday Quickie

The lesson I'm relearning this week is that time flies whether we're having fun or not! I had such good intentions, but time moves so quickly when that work day takes over.

I'll get business out of the way first, and then we'll go on to fun. Well, I guess the business part of this post is kinda fun. I'll be sending the Shepherd's Bush pillow kit to Diana (no blog?) just as soon as she sends me a snail mail address. Hooray ... another stash piece off to a happy home. No one asked for the bread cloths, so they'll go back into the cedar chest for a little while.

I have two more kits to give away, and then we'll stop until my friend Rhonda (no blog) decides what she wants from the bag I took to her house. The Lavender and Lace "Angel of Summer" kit below needs a new home. I'm thinking that this design uses 32-count Twilight Blue linen, and it includs all of the floss, metallics and beads. Since it was kitted, it has to be more than a decade old. It's a beautiful angel, but I know I won't stitch it.

Then there's this Paula Vaughan "Welcome Summer" kit. It includes an ivory fabric and all of the needed flosses.
If you're interested in either or both of the kits, just let me know by Thursday, and we'll do what we've been doing for a couple of weeks now. If you're new to the game, just look at the past few posts to catch up.

Here's what I've been working on in the little time I've had to stitch. Adam and Eve have appeared in Evil Serpent, as have the birdies. I really wanna finish this one and another A&E so I can put them together. Now if only my schedule will cooperate.

I had a very exciting weekend. On Saturday I met up with an old college friend who I hadn't seen in about 30 years. It was just like we'd seen each other last week! He looks and seems so much the same. Isn't that the strangest thing? We hung around a lot for the year we were in school together, and then we kinda went our separate ways, keeping in touch once in a while. It's good to see old friends. Then the man I hang around with entertained me with a little motorcycle ride up to Estes Park. It was a beautiful weekend, and it was filled up in the perfect ways. Color me lucky!
That's it for today. I'm off to watch The Closer and hit the hay. Make some fun.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Last Day of Freedom

Yep, I'm whining. It's the last day of summer vacation (sniff ... sob), which is my favorite time of year. I'm very happy to be employed, but I love, love time off. I appreciate every single minute of it. We all know those retired people who complain about being bored. I'll never be one of those people. Bored has always been a dirty word at my house. With all there is to see and do, how can anyone fail to entertain themselves?

As promised, I used an untechnological method to choose recipients for the UFOs and fabric. I got out my pretty little Damariscotta Pottery dish and put little slips of paper in it. Like this ...

Ellen will be receiving Home Sweet Home, Buttoned Hearts will be sent to Loraine (no blog?), and the fabrics will be sent to Pam. If you ladies will send me a snail mail address, I'll get those things out to you ASAP. Thanks to all of you who offered to give homes to my old projects and fabric. For those of you who are wondering, I'm thrilled to be giving stash items away rather than throwing them away. I hate waste! It is my extreme pleasure to keep the US Post Office busy carrying things from my house to yours. And isn't it nice just to get something you want with no strings attached? I love things like that. So enjoy.

I'd like to mail out two more packages. These projects aren't even UFOs ... they're ancient Shepherds Bush kits (just look at the packaging and charts). First is a selection of bread cloths that I'm giving away together. There's an angel cloth and a shepherd cloth.
I also have a cute little pillow kit. Sorry ... it's a picture of a picture, but you can get an idea of how it looks.

All of these items have fabric, cotton floss and chart. Again, you just have to let me know the item(s) you'd like to have. I'll give you until Friday to make your request. I think I'll try to get it all settled by Friday afternoon, because there's no telling what the weekend will bring.
How about a progress picture? Here's Block #1 of Shores of HRH all finished. That was fun!
I've worked a little on Evil Serpent and I've sat at my sewing machine for a little while, but that'll have to wait until next time. I'm off to play golf and enjoy the rest of the day.

Oh, by the way, the Harley trip to Steamboat Springs was great. We had wonderful weather and saw beautiful scenery. If you don't know about Steamboat, you oughta google the little ski town and see it before developers completely change it. Make some fun!

Friday, August 7, 2009

UFOs and an OMG

Gee, I was certain I'd be back here before now. Instead of sitting at the computer, I've been filling the last week before going back to school (NO!!!) with fun. Very little stitching is being done, but oh well. I'm forcing my butt into the chair at my computer desk to get this post done, because there are things to do and people to see. Shall we jump right in to the UFOs?

First up is Buttoned Hearts by Shepherd's Bush. I started it long, long ago, but didn't make much progress. It's stitched on 18-count white linen with Medici wools. It comes with the fabric, wools, chart, and buttons. Wanna finish it?

Next is Home Sweet Home, a kit by Emie Bishop (Cross 'n' Patch). I started it in a class I took with her at the Charlotte Market ages ago. This project has a hardanger section in it, which isn't really difficult, but it helps to have had some practice. It comes with the chart, instructions, silks and metallics, and fabric. Wouldn't you like to finish this project?
Those are really the only two UFOs up for grabs today, but here is a fabric assortment I'd love to give away. As you can see, there are several colors. What you may not be able to see is the count variety. These are all evenweave fabrics, but none of them are linens. There's some Linda, Tula, some Lugana (I think), and at least another type I've forgotten the name of. Care to add them to your stash?

That's it for today's selection. If you're interested in having these items arrive at your house, please just leave me a comment by Tuesday, August 11. If more than one person asks for any item, I'll do a decidedly untechnological drawing to pick a recipient. Sound good?
And now for the OMG! Look! It's And They Sinned ... framed!

How's that for speed in framing? The framer did a lovely job of putting my mother of all samplers into a dark cherry frame. I like it! But where to put it? Looks like there's a rearrangement in my future. The stairwell sampler wall will require some space to accomodate the new acquisition. Sounds like an appropriate end-of-vacation (golly, I hate to say that) activity.
That's it until next week. I'm off now to prepare for a weekend motorcycle getaway to Steamboat Springs (gasp!) with the man I hang around with. I know! Doesn't that sound like fun? What a good idea he had. Do you think I'll be stitching while riding on back? Probably not. Have a wonderful weekend and make some fun.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Last Tuesday in July

Is it Tuesday already? How does that happen so quickly? I'm amazed at how the summer is slipping by. I keep trying to dig in my heels, but it doesn't seem to be working.

In my mind, feeble as it is, that UFO giveaway idea worked rather well. I had a request from one person for each project, so I'm happy. The bunny band sampler is going to Kate, Barb is getting the log cabin quilt square, and Wanda (no blog) will get the seashells. There is quite a selection of items in my UFO/Never Gonna Stitch pile, so I'll be picturing them for future giveaways beginning with my next post. I truly appreciate giving UFOs a good home. It makes me feel less wasteful.

Speaking of being less wasteful, here's something that I finished from my olden WIP pile. It's Twined Heart from Shepherd's Bush, and I can remember beginning it at an old stitch 'n' bitch session about 12 years ago (gasp). I know! It sat for years in a drawer, waiting for me to put the ribbon and beads on it. What the hell took me so long? It took all of about 45 minutes yesterday afternoon to just get 'er done. So hooray!

What about the new starts? Well, there hasn't been enough progress on Mayflower Women to warrant a picture. I'll see what I can do to remedy that situation. In another moment of weakness, I started the Evil Serpent Sampler from Examplars from the Heart (oops). OK, I've been a naughty girl again. I think I can live with that, because it's really fun to stitch. And look ... it's so cute.
Since I have a newly organized selection of fabrics, I decided to use something I've already spent money on (imagine that!). So Zack (yes, he's visiting again this week) helped me give a piece of 40-count Sandstone a spa day in my kitchen. Under Zack's watchful eye (he follows me everywhere), I soaked the fabric in my jar of coffee from the fridge for an hour or so, and then baked it in the oven until dry. I love the splotches we got. The man I hang around with will be amazed at all of the marvelous things his dog has learned, won't he?
I've also spent some time working on Block 1 of Shores. For some strange reason, the grayish rocks and the blue in the water look like the same color. In real life, it's not that way at all. Let's see ... could it be the camera? Nah ... it has to be operator error. But you get the idea.

That's what's been happening around here. I'll be looking through my files with the idea of dislodging more projects from my collection. You can be certain that there are some oldies-but-goodies in there. After the UFOs are gone, I'll be putting charts up for grabs. I'd better go get busy. Make some fun.