30 August 2008

My lunch box is full

I hope my cubby partner likes it.

Happy Labor Day weekend, y'all! I can't believe summer is over. It went so fast.

I surely have earned my day of rest because I spent all day laboring. SO was off to the races this morning at 6:45. I woke up with him; it was hot in here, and I sleep light, so I told him to have a good time, then came and sat in bed watching Sleeping with the Enemy on A&E. Not the best movie to watch first thing in the morning, but I love it. Though I do have to ask myself why I jump everytime she opens the cabinets--seriously, it's not like her husband could fit in the cabinet, right, but I jump like a bunny EVERY TIME and I've seen this movie more than a few times.

I ran errands all morning--dog food for the twins because the brand they eat is sold at Tractor Supply and we don't have those in my county, oil change, and grocery store, plus a trip to the LNS. I kitted up Kingdom of the Ice Dragon, but only otherwise bought for my exchange partner. I thought I was pretty well behaved, but it was still an expensive trip.

I hope she likes what I bought her: 2 LHN charts, a JBW country French chart, LK Listen/Learn Flip-it (I thought that was good for a school exchange) which I kitted up for her with DMC and linen and a LK September Flip-it. Then I ran by Michaels to get her one of the $1 journals (love those) and to get Chinese takeout boxes to put SO's family's candy in.

Then I came home and started cooking for my daddy's family reunion. It's in Pennsylvania, so I have a 2-3 hour drive ahead of me tomorrow morning. I don't know if it's particularly normal the way my parents' families do the reunions. but we just do a potluck. Daddy's family is pretty large, and they are more adventurous eaters, so I am bringing watermelon feta cheese salad, and unstuffed chicken stuffed shells. Plus I made SO fried chicken and macaroni salad, because I don't think he's going with us this, due to the racetrack being in Southern Maryland and we're in Northern Maryland.

So I finally have some time to write. I am making amazingly fast progress on my geisha. I'm almost done the lining in her kimono. SO asked me last night how many UFOs I have that are in the same state of completeness as that one. I told him I think that was the only one. Usually I abandon them WAY earlier, LOL. I just think this one outpaced my talent at the time I worked on it. I know I keep finding missed stitches and counting errors. But it's OK now, she's getting done!

Please pray for the citizens of the Gulf Coast tonight as Hurrican Gustav threatens. I know anything is fixable, but a heart takes a while to repair when it's been broken, and they've just started to get their spirit back down there and they don't need this. Our country doesn't need this.

29 August 2008

Almost done filling my lunch box for the exchange

I don't think I am doing it right.

Well, I know I am not doing it right since I didn't get a pencil box. But my lunchbox is so cute. And bigger than the pencil cases they had at Target today. I bought her some crayons, and some apple pencils, and some really cool animal shaped rubber bands, and a pencil case. Tomorrow, I'll look for some fabric and put a skein or so of floss in the pencil case, rolled up. If I can get a small chart of a September-y thing, that will go in too, along with some graph paper. I didn't know we were supposed to stitch anything--I am little dense about these things. I hope my partner likes it. I tried.

I am struggling not to start some new Dragon Dreams charts I bought--ordered them early in August, so they don't fall under the no new stash rule. I ordered "Kingdom of the Ice Dragon" and "Santa's Dragon." It's killing me not to start them. Santa's Dragon goes along with the last two ornaments she did, and it's really pretty. Plus, since I still have the ornament from the 2006 JCS kitted up to do for Brea (Chotgun, I told you I was doing this for you, didn't I? Not as your this year ornie, but just cause? Anyway, you are getting this one, too, LOL). And I have been drooling over the other one for at least a year, I just need a different color fabric, so it pops . . . maybe a purple. See, I will never win this fight.

28 August 2008

Pay up sucka

The county fair has been over for two weeks, and I have yet to get the check for my winnings. I just realized this. I probably should not fuss about it, but it is about $55. And I need that for my new camera. Last year I had to turn over my entire fair season winnings to the state to pay my income taxes, so I didn't get to enjoy the fruits of my labor, and I want my check. Hopefully it will be there today when I get home. Otherwise . . . this is a problem.

I gave SO the ribbon for his stocking. He'll get the state fair 3rd too. He asked if I wanted to have the blue back, but that is for him. I stitched the stocking for him. I wanted to win all the time for him. I told him those ribbons were his, and he should keep them with the stocking so that, 300 years from now, people will know it was no ordinary store-bought stocking. He put it on the stand he has all the family pictures on. I am really touched, especially because he doesn't put great store in things like that whereas I am like a magpie, attracted to shiny things, LOL, and the ribbon I won for him is up and he doesn't have any of the trophies he won up. Pretty cool! He said he would keep the stocking up all year because it matches the livingroom. I am toying with leaving him little goodies in the stocking every so often. I figure it should be fun, and he does like when I do the unexpected. I just need to find a good lighthouse to stitch for him. That is harder than one would imagine, but I am hopeful.

She has a tree branch!

My plans got changed last night. I didn't go to SO's house last night, so came home and worked on my geisha. I finished the tree branch I have been working on for, um, 7 years, and finished off the little areas on her kimono I haven't seemed to finish in, um, 7 years. I wonder what I was thinking--was I fighting the man by not giving the lilies center? I did a lot of that kind of thing when I was 24. I've mellowed now.

And I solved a mystery. When I was cleaning out the car, I found a spool of gold braid. I was wracking my brain trying to think what I bought it for. It had to be recently, because it was still in the package. But I couldn't figure it out, so tossed it in a box of stash (see why I am so unorganized?) and moved on. And I sat down last night, took one look at Geisha with her tacky bright gold metallic thread that came with the kit, and a light came on. That was the braid I bought to replace the crappy gold thread she came with! So now I have to dig through the box to find it.

I'm liking working on her now. The hardest part of her, stitching-wise, is done. She still needs the rear of her skirt finished, but that should not be tooo bad. I am sure she will be much happier when she has ground to stand on, as it would be pretty cruddy to stand tippy toed on a smidge of ground for all this time. Though, realistically, she didn't have a head until 2004, so it wasn't like she realized she was doing much of anything, LOL.

I plan on going to my LNS this weekend to get some things for my pencil box exchange partner. I am not overly sure of the rules for that exchange and the more I read them, the more confused I get, so I will just go with what I think is right. Stitching supplies, a small chart related to September, and some useful office supplies. That should be enough, right?

27 August 2008

There is a method to my madness

I passed my Powerpoint class. Everyone of my co-workers wondered why I took a Powerpoint class, but it's three hours towards my 30 and it was pretty easy. Most of this stuff is common sense, and it's not like I will ever do it, but you never know . . .

Anyway, got home at 8:30 or so. The Democratic National Convention was on, so I turned the channel. I am interested in politics, but this whole election has just worn me out. Ever since the spring, people have been assuming I will vote for their candidate, and that's annoying. I don't like being pigeonholed. So I don't want to watch any convention coverage. Which leaves a lot of wierd TV options, so I enjoyed "Bizarre Foods" and "Million Dollar Listing" last night. I like that show, but I fully realize I can never be a real estate agent because I am just not serious enough to handle selling someone else's house. And I don't think my mouth can form the words, "I think we should offer them 6.5 million for this house," because I would just start laughing. Insurance, I can handle the big premiums because I know it's nothing personal, it is what it is, but not selling a house. But it was rather depressing to see people who are 21 making more money in one sale than I have made in this millenium.

So of course, watching TV, I needed something to stitch. I am starting to burn out on the Halloween fairy. I am wondering if I did the right thing by using two strands of braid on my 28 count fabric. I don't think it looks bulky, and the directions did say to use it, but I am just not sure. Of course I am keeping going with it, but sometimes, you get tired of tugging braid. My geisha is still sitting there, waiting for me to work on her, so I picked her up.

She is very slow going. It took me an hour to do the tiny section of the rose on her kimono that I hadn't done prior. But I got through it. And I only have one more little bit on her shawl to do. But I can't figure out what to do on her clothing next, so started doing the half-stitching on the cherry trees behind her. Half-stitching is not my favorite thing to do, I must admit; I get thrown off a lot on that and so I put it off, but I got a good little bit done.

I was planning on working on her for the rest of the week, but I ran out of the house without her this morning, and I am not at home tonight. BUGGER! I would like to have her skirt finished by the end of September, so that I can start backstitching, and this doesn't help. Plus, I need something to work on, LOL.

Fortunately, in my cleaning frenzy the other day, I left my kitted up Sleepy Hollow in the car. So guess what I am working on right now, LOL! I would love to have that done by Halloween, but it won't happen. But it's a fun, pretty fast stitch, so I can get some decent progress on it tonight, I think. I am so glad I didn't pull all my kitted up stuff out of that car! I have some stuff at SO's house, but it's not the same as having stuff you are definitely working on.

26 August 2008

No time to stitch

Well, not much, at least.

Like I said I would, I went through the trunk of my car last night and got rid of all the junk. Found some stuff I forgot I had in there, like my Timberland boots. I think I put them in the trunk when we were having all those, "will it or won't it" snow days last winter. I shouldn't have left them in there. I am lucky no one broke in the car and stole them. Also there was a Margaret Sherry design book, and a couple blank notebooks in there for my writing. Woo hoo! Anyway, it's pretty clean in there now. I threw a big bag of trash out.

I found the most fabulous show on MTV last night, Exiled. It takes the kids from "My Super Sweet 16," which is basically about super-rich kids having birthday parties that cost more than a lot of homes, and which a lot of them seem to not be thankful for, and, because they seem to have been extremely irresponsible (one girl was spending $1000 every weekend), their parents send them to remote places where they are of course upset about. LOVE THIS SHOW. It puts a nice end to the Super Sweet 16 mess. I am not against parents spending money on their kids if they have it; I was pretty spoiled, but I never took it for granted, and these kids do. So it was fascinating to watch the girl last night freak out because she was covered in ticks in Africa. And had to stay in a cow dung made house. She was upset because they wanted her to help with making a cow poop house. I would have hesitated. I would have done it, but it would have been gross. Anyway, looking forward to seeing how this goes.

This morning was another dental makeover appointment. Everyone was late at the dentists' office, so I sat in the car and stitched a little. I am on the vines of the Halloween fairy, so almost done the actual stitching. I was in major pain after the appointment. My teeth are very sensitive and the cold water hit them when he removed the caps, and you could have peeled me off the ceiling. I knew it was gonna be bad, so I took Aleve as soon as I got to work, and it seems to be OK, just occasional twinges. I found a photo of myself at 16, and, looking at my teeth, it's hard to imagine they were ever that ugly. And awesome to know they won't ever look like that again. Woo hoo!

I don't know if I'll be stitching much today. I have errands at lunch, and tonight, I am going to start taking classes for work. They have this new thing where we have to have 30 hours of career learning, and your girl has had NO CLASSES yet. Fortunately, they are web-based classes and you can take pretty much what you want to take, so tonight is learning Powerpoint, which I've wanted to learn for a long time. They also offer some classes on dealing with irate customers, and building teamwork. Pretty good and worth taking!

25 August 2008

My secret shame

I need to make a confession.

I think I've been pretty honest that I am fairly disorganized. I have not admitted I could stock a good-sized LNS with what is in the trunk of my car. I realized that this morning.

SO was getting his frowny face on this morning before work because he looked in my backseat. I didn't really think it was that bad. The car is full of CDs, and I have some plastic bins that I didn't take out just yet because I've been toting cross stitch in them for the last two weeks. Of course it's full of my hair--I shed worse than a nervous Persian at the vet's--but that's apparently normal when you have long hair.

So before work, I stood out in the garage and started going through stuff. And I realized I need to clean out the trunk and stop making lame excuses why I have that stuff in there, like, in the winter it holds the back end of the car down (stop laughing, quit it right now.)

There's a lot of stitchy stuff in there, more than you would think you could fit in the trunk of a Neon (darn you, last remnants of cab forward design!) . I don't know why I have been travelling around with stitchy stuff in the trunk. Judging from what I shoved in there, it's a sort of elephant burial ground for UFOs; I can't explain it, I won't even try. And I have $90 worth of DMC floss, bought when that rumor went out about how DMC was going out of business. That is actually kinda funny. Especially considering how I stood in AC Moore and tried to reason out how much floss I would need--apparently, I thought 5 of each would do. Another thing I can't explain. I guess when you are terrified, you do crazy things.

The good thing is, it's all coming out of there, and going into the house. As are the two winter coats that have been riding around in there waiting to go to the cleaners (they went to the cleaners at lunch). And it's not going back in. Well, maybe one or two things. I mean a girl has got to have something to work on.

In other news, I went to the fair on Friday. I don't know what upset me more, that my deer and bunny only got third in their class or there was no deep-fried fudge available. I know, third in the state is pretty good, and I think it was good, but I wanted to do better. But they are right in the center of the showcase. My sheep got zippy, my biscornu got zippy, the little cat got nothing. My Kitty Dreams wallhanging got 2nd, which is a step up from last year. Forest Snowfall and Lost Dragon sampler took 1sts; I guess the state fair people realize that you can travel one or two stitches on lettering! My ornament didn't get anything either. I'm a little bummed, since I did try really hard to do nice things, but, I did my best and I can't be upset.

I noticed a lot of the things that won were primitive or ladylike (read that as dainty) designs. All the stitching accessories were dainty little things. The pictures were a wide variety this year, lots of Native American designs, some Crossed Wings. There was a gorgeous Barb and Cheryl, Sunshine and Shadows. I suspect it was entered in the special contest, but it probably confused the judges, being a courtyard, and not really beginning with S. That is the only reason I can think that it did not get a ribbon.

One of Tony Stewart's cars was there. Too bad he wasn't there, but still, pretty cool to see the car. Watched them judge some beef cattle, and they had the sweetest little baby calf. He was just one day old, playing, trying to figure out how those legs worked. Super cute.

We didn't ride any rides, but we had fun. Sat and watched a demonstration of cookware. If I were not so broke, I would consider buying it, but $1600 for some pots and pans is too much.

Thank you thank you!

I got nominated for an award by Margie.! I am so touched! Especially since, before I started this blog, I NEVER let anyone read a single thing I wrote. Well, Brea read the first chapter of what I've dubbed "the great Maryland novel," but she is the only person who has read anything I wrote since college, and then only people reading my work then were professors and I had to let them read in order to graduate!

Even though I can't nominate everyone, all your blogs are wonderful! They keep me going!

So, with that said, these are my nominees:

1. Lisa's blog because I think she's brave to take on a home renovation and document it online.

2. Louise's blog because she is learning to quilt and her beginning work is wonderful!

3. Pumpkin's blog because she has beautiful finishes and her writing style is WONDERFUL.

4. Michelle's blog because she is so talented in so many ways!

5. Libertybelle's blog because it's just such a positive blog. And she links to other cool sites.

6. Julie's blog . Julie is a wonderfully talented designer and a wonderful person.

7. Natasha's blog . she is another great stitcher and a lovely person!

Here are the rules when you select your people for the award:
1) Put the logo on your blog;
2) Add a link to the person who awarded you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on yours
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

21 August 2008

Awesome stash from my SS

I came home last night and there was a package waiting from my SS. She was so generous with me, I almost cried. Britty Puppies! Perfect for my quilt! Plus all the threads and the fabric to do them. I was so happy. I mailed out my SS's goodies to her. I hope she'll like it.

I am gonna start working on my ornaments for my exchanges in the next week. My ornie exchange partner didn't tell me what she likes for Christmas ornaments, so I think I will just stitch what I think is pretty and hopefully she'll like it. Which reminds me, I have to start Brea's ornie too. I really hope she'll like what I make for her; I was just fingering the supplies in the car on my way to my part-time job tonight.

I am pretty proud of myself. I organized all my Sanman charts and put them in the Sanman journal. I was starting to worry that I would lose the charts I've printed off, which would be a nightmare. But now, they are all neat and organized and together!

We're off to the fair tomorrow. Can't wait. I hope I win a ribbon or so, but I just want to see all the different entries. And eat some deep fried fudge.

20 August 2008

Good news

I might most likely be getting a new computer. It's from someone else, and I don't know how good it is, but it's at least an interim computer til I get my very own. AND I am putting my fair winnings towards getting a camera. We found a decent one at BJs for $129. By my calculations, I should have about $50 coming from the county fair (those candy wins put me over the top, LOL), and I can put that towards it. Hopefully, I'll get something at the state fair. They were oohing and ahhing over my sheep when I entered it, and I think that is a good sign. Not that I think I will win that contest, but I can try. Anyway, $50 helps get me to the camera a lot. I'll just put that in a special account, so it's there to get it. Then I can start selling stash to pay for the computer. We saw a nice Dell with the monitor at Sam's Club (yes, I have memberships to both BJs and Sam's, LOL) for $600. That's not bad, but it's still a little pricey at this point, especially when I need new tires before winter.

Wow, winter. I'm already thinking about winter. Fair comes and goes and I am totally dissing fall.

I am still diligently working on the Halloween Fairy. I am about half done with her. She's so pretty, especially on that green fabric. And I am not having a hard time with her.

I am going to try to buy less stash this fall. That is my goal. I have this huge stack of freebies on my desk that I print off and then don't do. What is that about? And Mom has asked me to do some things for her. I'll do them instead of shopping; all I ask is that she buy the fabric. I did kit up two freebies lately--SMO's Pumpkin Pie on PTP Carnival linen and a Blackbird Designs freebie on sandy linen with navy blue Crescent Colors.

I got mostly decent comments back from the county fair. They said I travelled on Lost Dragon Sampler. I agree, I did, but just from letter to letter in the writing. I thought this was OK. It's not like I traveled over long distances with it. I don't know how to take that, but I am definitely not using 28 count linen again unless it's Cashel. They wouldn't have noticed if it wasn't on that linen, because it was basically see-through. They also suggested I back the wallhangings with fusible interfacing. This is not a bad idea. I can take that forward. They liked my framing. I was tickled with that. I am really good at picking frames--the lady at the LNS said she never saw someone pick out so many frames in so brief a time and then they turned out so good.

Two days til we go to the fair. I can't wait. It's so inspiring. And I can not wait for my dish of peaches and ice cream!

Pet funny!

We had a toy war this morning.

The little dogs have three toys that they like. One is a monkey, one is a gingerbread man, one is a squeaky dumbbell. Chancey is very toy-oriented and gets very defensive of the toys. Robbie likes the stuffed toys, not so much the rubber ones.

Today, Chance was playing with the dumbbell. She set it down and walked away. Her brother picked up the dumbbell, and started playing with it, which was unusual, but I figured as long as he is gently playing and not trying to chew it up, that's OK.

Chancey didn't see it that way. She came over and stood by him and growled and growled. He usually lets her have it, but didn't today. He got up and walked away. She went out the room and came back, then started with him again. I told her to leave him alone, and to go get on her chair. She rolled her eyes at me. Then our black cat walked over.

My children are beautiful, not brilliant. They get really confused over whether or not the cat is another Schipperke. Usually, they give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she is--this gives her better treatment than the other two cats. Today, though, Chance assumed she was in line to take the toy, and that was not happening. By the way, the whole time, the monkey toy, which is their absolute favorite toy in the whole wide world, was right by him. She didn't want that. I had to remove her from the situation.

Finally, Robbie got up and left the toy; I guess it's not fun to t'ant your sister when she isn't around to suffer. So Chancey came and took it. She was sitting, squeaking it, and he came back in. He loves to lick Chancey's face. It's very cute to watch, but she hates it. so he started that.

Such a growling. I couldn't figure out if she was madder about being kissed, or if she thought he was trying to take the toy again, but she was all hunched over it, snarling in impotent rage.

It was so funny to watch.

Pet funny!

We had a toy war this morning.

The little dogs have three toys that they like. One is a monkey, one is a gingerbread man, one is a squeaky dumbbell. Chancey is very toy-oriented and gets very defensive of the toys. Robbie likes the stuffed toys, not so much the rubber ones.

Today, Chance was playing with the dumbbell. She set it down and walked away. Her brother picked up the dumbbell, and started playing with it, which was unusual, but I figured as long as he is gently playing and not trying to chew it up, that's OK.

Chancey didn't see it that way. She came over and stood by him and growled and growled. He usually lets her have it, but didn't today. He got up and walked away. She went out the room and came back, then started with him again. I told her to leave him alone, and to go get on her chair. She rolled her eyes at me. Then our black cat walked over.

My children are beautiful, not brilliant. They get really confused over whether or not the cat is another Schipperke. Usually, they give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she is--this gives her better treatment than the other two cats. Today, though, Chance assumed she was in line to take the toy, and that was not happening. By the way, the whole time, the monkey toy, which is their absolute favorite toy in the whole wide world, was right by him. She didn't want that. I had to remove her from the situation.

Finally, Robbie got up and left the toy; I guess it's not fun to t'ant your sister when she isn't around to suffer. So Chancey came and took it. She was sitting, squeaking it, and he came back in. He loves to lick Chancey's face. It's very cute to watch, but she hates it. so he started that.

Such a growling. I couldn't figure out if she was madder about being kissed, or if she thought he was trying to take the toy again, but she was all hunched over it, snarling in impotent rage.

It was so funny to watch.

19 August 2008

Finally all the entries are in

I finally am done with the various fairs.

I took yesterday off to enter my things in the Maryland State Fair. I also needed some time to get my registration renewed, so spent two hours at the Motor Vehicle Administration. It was very frustrating; other than the fact I got much stitching done, it was not fun. Why have 23 stations available to help people if you have 5 people to actually work there? And why do people not have their stuff together when they go to the MVA? I bet people can mostly tell if there is going to be a problem when they go in there--you know if you have speeding tickets, you know if you neglected to pay your insurance, you know if you moved from another state--and so why try to get around it by showing up with random paperwork and an attitude? And I do pat myself on the back because I showed up with my check ready, my number in hand, and my paper. When I got to the window, it took, literally, 1 MINUTE. But Halloween Fairy had a bit more skirt when we left and that's good.

The line for the fair was shorter was shorter than the county fair line. Of course I created my own drama by realizing, a) my biscornu had a crab with one pupil and no eyeball and b)the beading on the stocking keeps needing to be reinforced. I had to half-ass stitch the eyeball on there. Fortunately, I had white in the car; it's not the best job, but it will hold. How did I do that? And I pinched the knot back behind the stitches on the stocking. Hopefully it will hold for the judging.

I didn't see a lot of the entries. One lady had a gorgeous Christmas piece she was entering, and there was a P. Buckley Moss and a quilt piece, but I didn't see much else. Lots of lovely quilts.

I don't know how well I will do this year. All I can say is, I tried. Other than my crab eyeball, and doing a better job with the beads, there is not a single item that I can say, "If I did this better, it would do better." I can't do it. I don't know how one gets Best of Show, but I've done all I can do.

Who are you people?

I got this idea from Pumpkin's blog.

Who is it that visits this blog? I am so very grateful that you all mosey over to my area of the blogosphere, and I love reading your comments! But I wonder just how many people actually read, and who y'all are. So this sounded like a neat game.

If you would like to play, leave a comment

1.) Leave a comment on this post. If you know me, tell me a memory about us, even if it's just a momentary memory. If you just know me through the blog, what was your favorite post?

2) Repost these instructions on your blog if you have one. If you leave a comment for me, I'll leave one for you!

15 August 2008

Friday foolishness: interactive this week

If you won the lottery and could have any job in the world, but it could not be stitchy related, what would it be?

I would open a chocolate shop. All kinds of chocolate goodies, from my Rolo drops and cracker candy to bark and chocolate covered nuts, to truffles. And have good rich chocolate ice creams and cakes. I have seriously thought about this. Chocolate is an affordable luxury. For me, I would much rather, after a really cruddy day at work, or when I need to strengthen up against a long day at my part time job, have a piece of chocolate than buy a pair of shoes. And, think about it, people are so happy about it--I noticed that the last time I was at the candy counter in the dutch market, no one is ever mad when they are pressed up against those glass cases. It's all anticipation and joy. Plus, there aren't that many stores out there to compete--the chocolate store is a rare thing.

What would your dream be?

I finished my biscornu

I don't think I stuffed it enough, and it's probably not the most beautiful biscornu ever, but I finished it yesterday. I think I did good for my first biscornu. It's going in the state fair on Monday. I figure, even if it's not the most beautiful, it's worth entering it. It might not win, but it definitely won't win if it's home in a box, right?

So I decided to treat myself for not only finishing the stitching in a week, but for getting it totally put together, and I started a pretty design from Cross Stitch Gold of birds on a bird feeder. It's been kitted up for a couple months and uses Anchor threads, which I like using, and so I thought I deserved it! But I also have a little Diane Graebner along with me, that I kitted up with fabric I dyed. I think it will work; it's a pretty denimy blue color, and I am doing Dandelion Play on it. It looks country enough.

14 August 2008

Drumroll, please

We went to the fair last night. We being SO, his parents, his sister, her husband and her kids, and MOI. I am taking my mom to the state fair, so it was OK that she didn't go.

It was the best time. Not overly hot, though hoofing it up the fairgrounds in jeans and flip-flops will getcha hot. We sampled a crab dawg (yes, you can google them), for all intents a crab egg roll dusted with Old Bay. This is new at our fair this year, and it was about time. YUMMY! We also had chicken on a stick. Let me say, life is good when you can sit on a bench, have a crab dawg in one hand, chicken on a stick in the other, and a lemonade waits for you. That, my dears, is Heaven.

We petted the pigs, and a bison, and saw the bunnies (I want one, I must have one), and rode the rides. Well, the kids did. I have a tummy that does not deal well with fair rides; my stomach is not set up to be pitched on its side and whirled in circles. It's more about the sensory experience: the colors, the lights, the smells. All that.

I did good. Both of my candy entries took 1st place. I am SHOCKED. Some of these people are probably really good candy makers, and their families wait for their candy. I just search out ways to get as much peanut butter, caramel, salt or sugar into my system as possible. And these weren't even my best effort, though I do think the almonds I used on this last batch were a good choice. And I won. Woo hoo!

My stitching did equally as well. 5 first places, 2 seconds, 2 fifths. The fifths were for a Twisted Threads piece and my ornament. I know that I need to improve my finishing skills. That's OK. The Twisted Threads piece was no biggie. The seconds were for Lost Dragon Sampler (bummer!) and my wallhanging. I wish the wallhanging had done better, but maybe they didn't like my dowel. I don't know. I did my best. Can't do more than that.

The afghan took 1st. There weren't any other afghans entered, though. My New Birth of Spring took 1st, as did my little cat, and that pretty Plum Pudding Needlearts sampler. SO's mom and sister fell in love with that. I think I am going to stitch them each a version of it, or something close. Forest Snowfall took first; I was surprised there weren't more entries in that class. SO's stocking also took first. I was so happy with that; it was up against a larger stocking with fancier finishing, but I guess sometimes simple is good!

13 August 2008

I am an exchanging fool

I have signed myself up for 5 exchanges for the rest of the summer and fall and Christmas.

I think it will be OK. None are too hard to deal with.

I have my SS exchange to finish for the 123 board. Tomorrow (payday), I have to place an order for some silks for my SS, and then get her some 32 count fabrics. I wish that 123 carried them in, like, 9X13 cuts, but that's OK. I don't want to be cheap, I just wanted to get a bigger selection for her.

I also signed up for the school box exchange and Halloween/fall ornament exchange on Sanman board. I already bought a really kick-butt metal lunchbox to put my school box exchange partner's goodies in--I know it's not a schoolbox, but it was much cuter than the pencil boxes, and you can store a project or something in it. Now to get some pencils--they had gorgeous ones at Barnes and Noble--and some other things to fill it. I am not quite sure if we are supposed to limit it to school supplies or if we can put stitchy stuff in, I figure I can do half and half. Colored pencils and a highlighter, maybe a tiny hot glue gun and some glue, a zippy pencil case--you can put stitchy supplies in that, and some floss. If I can still get them at the state fair, they have these wonderful candies like caramel creams, but they have apple in the center. They are THE BOMB, and those would probably be good in there. I don't think we were supposed to stitch anything.

As for the fall Halloween exchange, I need to know if my partner wants a fall or Halloween ornament before I get stitching. I found a really cute chart in the latest Cross Stitch Crazy that's a mouse in some poppies if she wants a fall chart. That would be really cute as a like a pillow. But if she wants a Halloween theme, I am not sure what to stitch.

I also signed up for a Christmas ornament exchange on 123. My partner is in Iceland, so this should be awesome. I am way more confident now about my finishing skills; I am not professional, but any stretch, but I can do it!

And then we have SS exchange on one of the other message boards I go to. I am really looking forward to buying for my SS. She asked for colored fabrics and she loves primitive things. Awesome! I can do that. She even said she liked aida--there are some gorgeous colored aidas out there.

It seems like a lot, but I think it's all manageable. There are staggered deadlines. That helps a lot. And when I quit my part-time job, I'll have time to do it all. I have to tell my boss tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it, but it makes no sense to keep doing this. Even when I am not at SO's, it's a 15 mile drive from my full-time job to the part time job. That's a half gallon of gas, and, even with the prices falling, it's still $1.90 to go one way, plus that to go home. So, $3.80 in gas to work two hours. I make $8.00 an hour so on the weeknights, I've earned $16, but paid out almost 25% to get there. Then when you factor in taxes and social security, I lose another $2 an hour. So, of the $16, I lose about $8 a day just to be there. And then I get stressed because some of the patrons act out, and I am way to old for that nonsense. I think, figured over the long-term, it makes more sense to just work full time, and then use the part time job time to work out or stitch.

But I am almost done with my biscornu. I just have the backstitch line to do. YAY!

12 August 2008

This is the stitch that never ends . . .

I probably would have my biscornu done by now if only

a) The dogs had gotten along last night

b) my dentist had my bleaching tray done Thursday like he said he would

c) I had stayed home from work

Instead, it's not done. I still have the back to do and the outlining, and the stuffing, and finding the buttons for it. I KNOW I have those buttons, bought in a spendthrift time when AC Moore had just opened and my weekend afternoons consisted of a trip there, and then hours at the pool. I miss those times. I think I know where the buttons are . . .

I got home last night to see that the twins had run amok all over the house. They ate all the cat food, someone had an accident (I have my suspicions who did that--totally inappropriate), and were mad because their food bowl was empty. And then Chancey got mad at her brother. I was eating crackers with cream cheese on them for dinner (well, gumming them, my teeth hurt like mad yesterday) and offered her one because she was looking at me. She didn't want the cracker, just the cheese, but when Robbie showed interest (Robbie is very food oriented, so far all I have determined he will not eat is cantaloupe), she snapped at him. I corrected her pretty quickly (when she starts acting like a thug, I make her lie down to show her she don't make the rules in this house, then I made her get off the couch), and gave him his cracker. Of course that only made her crankier; she then proceeded to growl at our little black cat, so she got in big trouble. I hate when I have to referee. I think Chance has a thyroid disorder, because she has hair loss, she is getting stunningly bad tempered--she snapped at my mom the other day--and she has gained so much weight. I think a vet visit is due in the next month or so; I mean it's fine when they playfight, I'm OK with that. And I don't mind when she gets on the cats when they are fighting, but snapping at her brother and jacking with the one good cat is not acceptable.

And I intended on stitching at lunch today after I picked up my bleaching tray, but that didn't happen. We are keeping my front left canine as is, but it has to be bleached to match the new color of my teeth. We couldn't do it Thursday, when I was in getting everything else done, so he said come back. My dentist is pretty close, and he'd told me the tray would be ready last week, but I couldn't get back to see him either on Thursday or Friday, so I went today, and it wasn't ready. I had to sit there and wait for like 20 minutes while they made the tray. So annoying.

But I am ready to stitch now. Hopefully I can get that done, because this really is the last night I am going to have the chance. I go to the fair tomorrow, work Thursday, who knows what Friday. We are having a party for my friend Doris on Saturday down in Virginia, and Sunday I go pick up fair stuff, then Monday I go drop off fair stuff. I'll get it done. I am just grumpy.

Maybe I have a thyroid problem. After all, I had an unexplained weight gain, and I'm cranky, and SO says I shed like crazy.

11 August 2008

I'm ba-a-a-a-ck!

I am back from my vacation. It was not really a vacation, more of a busman's holiday. I worked so hard getting stuff ready for the fair. I need to start making lists when I plan these marathon days because I kept finding I needed stuff and didn't have it. I realized, on the way to Walmart to buy the TV remote for SO that I have been promising to buy him for a couple months, that I had nothing to hang my wallhanging with, so I was off to Joanns to get a dowel, then got home and realized we have no saw, so had to take it to his house and have him cut it, then realized I forgot paint for it. So I was out at Lowes on Friday morning getting spray paint. It was such a PITA to get it all ready. And then I got to the fairgrounds on Friday afternoon and they had closed off the place I normally park to drop things off because they didn't want people sneaking into the fair. I gave the girl my best, "Do I look like I am here to pet the pigs?" look, then said the magic words, "The fair book didn't mention you couldn't park in here." Since it wasn't in the book, and I did have a lot of stuff to carry, she let me in. Next year, I put it all in on Thursday, come hell or high water.

Which is not to say it was all miserable. I did spend a few hours on my little beach on Thursday. It was the perfect day for a beach sojourn, hot, but not TOOO hot, water was just cool, not cold, and pretty clean for being bay water. It thunderstormed right when I was leaving, which was fine. I didn't even get sunburned.

And I went to the second appointment of my dental makeover. This visit, he did the prep for my veneers. I actually have an idea now of what the final teeth will look like. It's pretty trippy. They don't quite look real, the finals will look more lifelike, but I have white, aligned teeth in front, and I haven't had those since I was very young. I even tried on my red lipstick, and it looks great. The veneered teeth are a little sensitive, which is a little disconcerting, but I can't blame them. The one that is the most twinge-y had just one little filling in it on the back, and so, it's pretty much been left alone for 20 something years, since it grew in, now I shaved off some of it, and I am sure that was pretty disconcerting. Oh, and he did drill on one of my teeth after it was starting to wake up, so I yowled a little. Whew!

I even got a little stitching done watching the Olympics. I am still working on that biscornu by Barbara Ana. It's a lot of fun. The colors are so bright and hot and sunny. Perfect for these summer days.

05 August 2008

Off for a few days

I am off for three days to get ready for the fair. I think I am going to take everything over on Friday, not Thursday. That will probably work out better schedule-wise for me.

I did my final framing this afternoon. It's nothing major, just framed that Margaret Sherry cat in the wreath from a 2006 Cross Stitcher. I don't have many hopes for that one, but it's supporting the fair to enter, and that, as of now, is most important. I don't think it looks bad, considering that it was a chintzy little kit and it's not properly stretched or any of the things we are supposed to do. I chose a white frame and a white mat with a little red edging. I think I may take a touch of gold paint, and go around the edges of the frame, just to jazz it up a little.

Not much else is happening stitching-wise. I started Summer biscornu by Barbara Ana yesterday. It's stitching up pretty quick. I had to switch fabrics, because I started with Forget Me Not Blue linen, which I realize now I don't like. I don't know who makes it, but it's very thin and pale, and I don't like it. I should have remembered, since I did Forest Snowfall on it and hated it then. So at lunch I went and bought a little package of DMC blue aida and started over on that, and I like it. It's very crisp and orderly. I enjoy crisp and orderly!

I am going to try to get more stitching between now and next year's fair. But I decided, I will space my framing out more. $100 every few months is way easier to come up with than $450 all at once for the framing. I know better than that, and yet I do it. My goal now is to get the Halloween fairy done before November, then I can use my framing discount to get her done. I am already trying to figure out which way to go with her. I am not sure about going too luxe--suede mats and all--but not sure. She is pretty popular, so I am sure there will be plenty of examples to see of her finished, but definitely, no light frame. But no heavy frame either. At least not a stern important frame. She is wispy and airy, so we have to find something that carries that through.

04 August 2008

A cheery thank you--NOT

I would like to thank each and every person who, when purchasing floss for some craft project or stitching project or to make a nest or whatever, decides that they do not in fact need all that they have selected and puts it back in the wrong bin. Or throws it on the floor. I realize I should check more thoroughly because I know you people are out there--if you put floss in the wrong bin, you do fall under the heading of "you people." Yes, I understand, it takes an extra two seconds to play "Memory" and match up the shades of floss with the numbers on the front of the bin, and it's WAY easier to just shove it in the nearest bin of a color vaguely similar or to throw it on the floor. Because we all know their time is WAY more important than anyone else's, the store staff and mine. After all, the store staff is there anyways, and, well, I have a job where I wear flip-flops to work. How could my time POSSIBLY be valuable; I don't even wear socks!

Kudos to them for stimulating the economy without spending their own money. Thanks to them, I spent 59 cents at my LNS on a skein of DMC that I didn't need and will cost another 35 cents to get the right shade I didn't get because of them. That's 94 cents. Plus tax--it's a dollar. The students of Maryland are grateful. And when they throw it on the floor, and it gets dirty and can't be sold, or if it just needs picked up, Michaels gotta pay the staff overtime, or buy more floss. So, by this theory, their carelessness means more money in the pockets of the poor, more orders and more revenue. Woo hoo! But then again, they have to leave the lights on longer cause who is gonna pick up floss in the dark, burning more fossil fuel, or whatever they do to get power--methinks PEPCO uses a mix of hydro-power and nuclear, I don't know, though--and it costs gas to get it shipped here. That increases global warming, causes more traffic, and just generally messes up the earth. And it makes me mad, which falls under the heading of "Things that are not good ideas."

So, please, when you get the floss out, buy it or put it back right. Do your part to save the planet.

02 August 2008


I have just spent the last three hours cooking and baking and prepping to cook. Random acts of chocolate were involved. I have already sampled some of my handiwork. I figure I earned it, since I actually buckled down and made toffee. I am sure SO will be happy I used up an entire bag of chocolate chips--I have been amassing quite a collection on the countertop because I can't remember if I have them when I am at the store, and I imagine myself in some cooking baking extravaganza, baking all day. It didn't happen today. I have a meatloaf in right now. Comfort food is gangsta! I don't know how SO will react. He's not a huge meatloaf fan, but he's never had mine, and it's good. If not, I'll eat it. Meatloaf rocks!

But, in the dining room, setting up on the table, I have Rollo pretzels--yes, they are as heavenly as they sound. Rollo mushed on top of a pretzel with a pecan half on top. Sue has asked me to bring them to our friend Doris' birthday tea in two weeks. I can accomodate her. I also have saltine cracker candy (the poor girl's toffee) cooling. Tomorrow, I bake the first batch of oatmeal butterscotch cookies, and some chocolate chip for SO. He doesn't ask for much, so I can bake him cookies.

I finished my Julia Lucas ornament into (almost) an ornament last night. I still have to get ribbon for it, but I actually sat my little butt down and mounted it and stitched it together. That entailed a trip to G Street Fabrics after work. But I did pretty good. I only spent $20 and got half a yard of the most sophistocatedly adorable fabric EVER. It's not really Christmasy, but it is woodsy, and has a pair of foxes on it. And some skunks. I could not resist. Not at all. Mom said it didn't match too well, and it probably doesn't. But, to be honest, I decided I would rather lose on my terms and do what I want, than to win on anyone else's and feel like I sold out. My ornament speaks of home as a welcome respite from the dark world and that is how I want it. I think I will do it as a pinkeep, then pin the hanger to the upper sides so it looks like the rook of the house. Whatever happens, I am happy with it. And happy that I actually had the patience to lace it. That is some hard stuff to do! But it looks pretty good. Whatever flaws there may be, the ribbon will cover.

In my hot little hands . . .

I have SO's stocking. I can not post a photo, can't even ask SO because it's his, LOL. I am pretty happy with how it turned out. It needs pressed, but that's no big deal. I am just glad it's home, considering how long it took me to do it, and all the other issues involved in stitching it. SO knows I probably stitched him a lighthouse *something*, but he asked me if it was a lighthouse with a seagull and I can honestly say I was not lying when I told him that I was not stitching a lighthouse with a seagull for him--a dove is on there, not a seagull.

I went to my LNS this morning to pick it up and it was so cute. All of us that got there before it opened were in our cars, happily stitching. We all agreed, it was really nice to stitch in the car: cozy, plenty of light, convenient cupholder for a beverage, mobile in case of hunger and need for supplies. No one to pester us, no pets to sit on our projects. Perfection!

The stitching gods must have been smiling at me, because they had the Halloween issue of Just Cross Stitch. It's a great issue, worth waiting for. For once, there's a Cathy Bussi design I like. It has a pretty sentiment--"How beautifully the leaves grow old." And a design for a Halloween treat pail--it's nice, but I can't really see the kids using that and it coming back intact or even wanting to jazz up the hand-out bowl. That's a lot of effort--a Tupperware bowl is way simpler!

The ornament spooktacular is, in a word, spooktacular! Brittercup, Mosey n Me Monsterbubbles, and Prairie Schooler contributed designs. Need I say more? There is more than that, but those are the ones I really love! And a gravestone design from Carriage House Samplings. I really to start my Halloween tree. I have one ornament so far. Need more!

01 August 2008

Friday not-so-foolishness

Nothing serious today. It's been a seriously not-stitchy week. I got the projects my aunt finished for me for the fair back yesterday. I am super-pleased. Now I just have to pick up my JBW cat, and SO's stocking. I am so nervous about that stocking. I want SO to love it, and want it to be gorgeous for him. I wish Stoney Creek would do a car stocking, but they don't, so this was a good alternative for him.

It's been pretty quiet here this week. My teeth were achy up until Tuesday. Now they are just resigned to their fate. They feel a little funny, but I am getting used to it. My next appointment is on August 7th, which, come to think of it, is the anniversary of when we started this whole process last year. Pretty cool! Good that it's only taken a year to get this fixed, and that only because my insurance ran out quick last year and I didn't want to go over. So in 5 days, I get one step closer to my dream. Should be a good day, that Thursday, drop off my stitching at the fair, and get my teeth worked on.

Now, I know, you are wondering what that adorable cow picture is at the top of the entry. I treated myself to this chart. I have only been staring at it for months. It's amazing to me that, with the amount of nice designs we have here in the US, I always love the things from other countries better than our stuff. And the inside--see here: adorable. I needed this. I had to have it! I ordered it from La Cigale Brodeuse in Canada. I think I have heard of people ordering from them before. I managed to maneuver my way through the site (I really need to start practicing my French again), and even put <> in the comments. Cross your fingers I get this!
I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can’t be helped--Frederick Perls