31 December 2009

Race to the finish line

I have 6 hours til it's 2010. In that time, I am going to my fiance's birthday party and ringing in the new year. This gives me about 45 minutes to get this finished. Can I do it?

30 December 2009

End of the year stitching . . .

I am working like a dog getting the last few stitches into my final finish for 2009. We had a great at home date night last night and watched "Pearl Harbor." We saw bits and blips of it on A&E this year and it seemed good, so I bought the DVD for DF. Ben Affleck is my celebrity crush. DF loved Kate Beckinsale in the Underworld movies. Apparently the movie is not exactly historically accurate, but that doesn't matter to me; if I wanted to see something completely factual, I'd watch a documentary (which I do a lot). I think seeing war played out so personally makes it more real; I never appreciated what my uncle Frank went through in the Battle of the Bulge til we watched "Band of Brothers" last month. And this made Pearl Harbor "real-er" to me.

A three-hour movie gives you plenty of time to stitch!

I may give you a hint of what I almost have finished tonight! :)

28 December 2009

2009: A Year in Review

I like to do this every year, reflect on what I've accomplished, at least stitching wise.

I would grade 2009 as a C+/B-. Don't those kind of grades just annoy you? In college, one of my theatre professors, who was a thoroughly lovely man, very smart, good actor, brilliant Shakespeare scholar, used to grade us like that. He assumed we all started off with Cs and had to work our way up. It was a shock to little ol' me, used to getting stellarly good grades and not working hard to get them, to suddenly get grades with minuses in his classes. Even the pluses were a shock because they usually had Bs in front of them, not A's. And he wasn't the kind of teacher who let you make up the grades with extra credit on tests. Now, extra credit in and of itself was a pleasant surprise in college, since a teacher in high school told us there would be no multiple choice tests or extra credit in higher learning, and, let me tell you, there were plenty of both at the University of Kentucky. But his tests were different. Essays in blue books (and don't you dare make your own blue book with construction paper, crafty friends), and extra credit that had very little to do with what you were studying in class. I think in my years of having him as my professor, I got one question right, and that was because we read a play by Moliere in high school French class, and I knew the name of the play in the original French. I got the bonus point and a shout-out in class, but I did not get extra extra credit for having the accent marks in the right place, facing the right direction. BOOOGER. But, I loved having him as my professor. He had a strong BS meter and he graded accordingly. If you weren't giving 100% effort, you didn't get an A. I spent most of the first part of the semester balancing in a C zone, because I wasn't paying attention to my craft, and, when I focused in and committed, I got the coveted A-.

The reason I tell this story is that I don't know if I really brought my A- game to my stitching this year. I allowed myself to be sloppy in my finishing, at least up until the fair, when I got called on it by the judges--my finishing has been more on point the last two months or so than it was all year. That's an improvement, not a success. Also, I didn't have the success at the state fair that I'd been seeking. I know, I know, having the lions get honorable mention is a great thing, and having Halloween Fairy win her class and be up for the Special Award is an honor, but I can't help but wonder what I need to do to be Best of Show? What can I fix in order to do better next year? I am learning to let the judges' critiques roll off when they're, in my opinion, not logical, or too nit-picky, but I am absorbing the lessons when I can.

But that's not to say that I'm entirely displeased with what I accomplished this year. I finished my large geisha. That, in and of itself, is a BIG DEAL. Since I didn't manage to get it done any other year this decade. And I set some lofty goals for the fair, and completed them. My lions are gorgeous. I can't look at them and say, "I could have done this better." Likewise, it wasn't a small task to get the kitten throw started, completed and fully backed by fair-time. So I'm pleased with that. And I'm happy that I'm making some small progress on my UFOs. Not as much as I would like, but it's a start. I'd like to have several more finished by this time next year, if that's remotely doable. I am starting to wonder if I'll have time to enter things in the fair or even really stitch, with all the wedding planning that has to be done. But, we'll see.

I don't know if I'll be around the next few days. Thursday is HTB's birthday, so I've got a bit of coordinating with that. If I don't post back, I continue to wish you and yours a wonderful, healthy 2010. 2009 was a wild ride, but we made it through, maybe some a bit battered, with a few more grey hairs, but maybe we can focus on the moments of beauty and seek them out in the New Year.

26 December 2009

A very wonderful Christmas

Did everyone have a joyful holiday?

I had a lovely one. Got off work at 4 on Thursday and headed home. HTB cooked us steak and baked potatos, and then fixed brussel sprouts with golden balsamic vinegar. DELICIOUS. I also fixed a breakfast casserole for our Christmas morning breakfast, and taco dip to enjoy throughout the evening, which was a bit spicier than normal, since I used spicy refried beans, but I think HTB liked it. We wrapped each other's presents, and then settled in to watch A Christmas Story.

Yesterday morning, I woke HTB up early to unwrap gifts. I'm a dork. I admit it. Funny, the gift he seemed to enjoy most was a magazine/book about pitbulls. It was such an afterthought kind of gift, but he liked looking at it. He gave me a beautiful necklace with two layered hearts. I loved it, and told him it was perfect because I always tell him he is half my heart. I also got a Dallas tee shirt, which I will wear tomorrow when we watch the game, and a windbreaker in Dallas colors. I can wear that to go walking. And then he had me open a heavy box. It was a Tom-Tom. I've wanted one all year. Mentioned it briefly to him, but didn't actually think I'd get one. And there it was! He spoiled me!

Our families were so good to us. My brother bought us a new camera, which HTB loves and which will be so useful on our honeymoon. My mom bought me an apron--I am always getting messy when I bake and use up a lot of paper towels washing my hands--and gave HTB a gift card to Tractor Supply, which is his favorite store. We also got Hallmark ornaments from my parents, which is something they've done for my brother and I since we were kids, and is a tradition I plan on continuing for my kids. His parents gave us a lot of things for cooking, and a pretty snowflake necklace. The kids made us each a present: HTB has a grilling apron, and I have a tote bag. We went home, spoiled rotten.

I even made out like a bandit stitching wise. Mom bought me CHS Christmas in Hawks Run Hollow, with the fabric. She ordered it from Drema at Needlecraft Corner, so I had the best freebie packs to go through. YAY! One of my board pals sent me Linen Flowers Recipe for A Snowman, and a wedding sampler kit. And I got a gorgeous book from my friend Kathy, in England. It's Pollyanna Pickering's new book, and I love it. I am a sucker for her designs, and there are some lovely lovely charts, that just make my heart sing. I am so excited to get stitching on all my new goodies!

Today, I'm back at work. All the snow from last week, is well on it's way to melting, thanks to really warm temps and steady rain. I'm a bit worried, since they have not done the best job plowing, and there are only so many places for the water to go before it creates a problem. The Patuxent River was very close to the bottom of the bridge when I crossed this morning. Then I got re-routed and ended up going over a stretch of roadway that was submerged. I won't be going home that way.

Tomorrow, I may finally have time to bake all the goodies I've been unable to make this week due to scheduling. I guess I can still call them Christmas cookies if I bake them Christmas week, right?

22 December 2009

Almost ready for the holidays

I can't believe Christmas will be here in 3 days. I'm not quite ready, but almost there. I've had the gift-giving ups and downs. Misplaced one of HTB's stocking stuffers, a men's manicure set (because I live in fear that he will cut one of his fingers off trimming his fingernails with a pocket knife), and just found it this morning when I was on the verge of tears. I bought him a movie because it was hard to find, and my aunt bought the same movie, and I threw away the reciept. Then I went to wrap the other movies I bought and realized I had bought him "Public Enemy" on Blu-ray, which we do not have. So those two have to go back to Walmart tonight for an exchange. Darn it! I've started baking cookies. Last night was chocolate chip. Finally . . . I've just been planning this for weeks and never had time, and the poor man doesn't ask for much. Tonight it's going to be oatmeal butterscotch cookies and cheesy rice krispie cookies (let's be honest, they're cheese straws), which HTB does not like. I'll buy him the big tin of Danish butter cookies, he can console himself with those. Tomorrow night will be honey crunch cookies (we have a lot of butterscotch morsels to use up), 7-layer cookies, and fudge, and then I'm done with baking.

We did finally get the Christmas tree decorated. I was stuck at Mom's this weekend because of the huge snowstorm that walloped the East Coast. 22 inches of snow in a day. I was supposed to work. I did not work. I shoveled my mother's walk, and got my car out, and shoveled out the dog yard 4 times so that the twins could refresh themselves. Robbie is not happy about this snow nonsense. I guess when you're tiny, and not too bright, and not used to snow, it's a bit overwhelming. He wants to be taken back to Texas. I told him this is his third winter in the North, and to take it like the wee man he is. Chance is, of course, non-plussed. I think she actually enjoyed romping with him at first. Having my girl happy is a joy.

Anyway, I got home Sunday evening. And we put the tree up. It was not easy. HTB lost some of his ornaments in one of the boxes. I asked him what they looked like. He said, "Fragile." He said someone stole them. I looked at him and said, "Yes, dear, they walked into the house, past the keys to the high-performance sportscar, past the electronic equipment, and took the ornament from when you were in 5th grade. Totally. Buying. That. One." I knew he had them somewhere--he is very thorough, he wouldn't have thrown them out or lost them. He was a happy camper when he found them. We ended up putting my stitched ornaments on the main tree. The little tree was ruined and not fixable, and I just didn't want to deal with it. We'll buy a new one. I think it looks good with the hand-stitched ornaments on it. The angel didn't actually make it to the top. She wouldn't have fit, and, because it's so big, and curved, neither of us could reach it without standing on the top step of the ladder, and, as we all know from childhood, good people don't stand on the top step because you could fall and crack your head open. And that just screws the holidays up for everyone. So we got her pretty close. Below her is the horse best friend Brea brought me from Nashville last week. I like tucking stufties into the tree.

I finished Fa La La right before we started the tree trimming process. I think it's cute. Not show-quality, but, if I spent my whole life waiting to make show-quality ornaments, I'd have none done ever. It looks good on our tree! The little cupcake above it is a new purchase from the little hardware store in my mom's hometown, a real treasure trove. Up to the left is one of the ornaments HTB was so convinced were gone. I love it--it's from elementary school and he has a bowl cut, LOL.

And a picture of the icicles that formed up and down the back porch. I love how they're curved in. It's a bit trippy, like an ice dragon is curled up underneath the snow, and these are his claws.

In case I'm not back before Christmas, I wish all of you a joyous holiday.

17 December 2009

Awesome news

I guess only if you are a stitcher. Or love the store.

There is a Hobby Lobby in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania!

That is not that far away!

Just an hour, maybe a little more!

Up over the state line. Near Gettyburg!

I am totally addicted to this store. Brea always takes me when I visit her. She feeds my addiction. As a matter of fact, she took me to my first HL when, flushed with the possibility of finally being near one when I visited her, I meekly asked her if we could, um, possibly, visit one in Franklin. B said, "No, we can go to the one in Cool Springs, it's closer." B is a crafter. She understands the addiction.

Driving back from visiting her one time, I drove all over Ashland, Kentucky, trying to find a new one that had just opened. When I finally rolled in there, sticky and hot and frustrated, I basked in the loveliness of the store.

Remember when I drove to North Carolina
to get a Hobby Lobby fix? It took all day, but it was sooooo worth it.

Should I be ashamed for this? I know if you have one, you probably don't understand the obsession. But it's like any new store. Novelty breeds adoration. My parents loved AC Moore a lot more when they had to drive to Hagerstown to find one. They never go now that they're 15 minutes from one.

And the thing is, I don't love them for their stitching supplies. They carry the most beautiful Christmas decorations I have seen in a craft store. And gorgeous frames.

Since they are not open on Sundays, and I work Saturdays for the next few weeks, I will have to hold on my investigatory visit. But I will plan . . . and wait . . . and revel in the knowledge that it's there. Just up over the mountain.

Bwa ha ha.

16 December 2009

Welcome to Christmas in Crazyville.

We are still fighting the Christmas tree. I came home last night and HTB declared the tree was a mess, only not using those words. He said he had spent time trying to wipe the mud from the field off the branches, without success. He actually asked me what the deal is with artificial trees and said we're getting one next year. I'm fine with that; I like getting the live tree, but it is kinda messy to cut it down in the field and we bicker. It would be fun to just go along on the tree-getting party next year and not have to deal with getting the tree. He said he was going to go look at them today. I have a suspicion the tree may not be there when I get home tonight. I'm OK with it being crooked, really I am. He said, "It's really bad when you look at it from the side," so I told him we just wouldn't look at it from that angle. Simple, no?

I came home late last night, so not a lot of stitching occurred. I did sit down and sew buttons on two finishes, my Pine Mountain pillow from last week, and the LK Land that I Love. I'm glad the stitching is done, and glad the buttons are on. I tried to bead Fa La La, but that was not happening. I will get that finished TONIGHT. I promise.

We got our Christmas bonuses yesterday. I used most of it for Christmas shopping and to get groceries, but I also went to AC Moore. I needed to pick up some things for Christmas gifts, but I also wanted a little something for me--I mean, I was the one who earned that bonus, and it's the first one I have ever gotten since I started working at at 16. I treated myself to a pretty pair of scissors, and kitted up two Diane Graebner designs, Sharing the Harvest and Time to Leave. They put all their Christmas stuff on sale, and had some cute decorations for a tiny tree at 50% off, so I bought a few packs of those fixings--I thought they would be good to cover the ends of ribbon on ornaments. So they're going in my finishing tin! Woo hoo!

And, joy of all joys, they had matboard! I have been searching for it in ready quantities since October, and found a bunch of off-cuts at Joann's. I was OK with those, but I knew there had to be bigger size boards. Well, there were! It's only about $8 a sheet for the same size sheet as I've been getting in foamcore, so really, for a thinner finish, it's not such a bad buy. I knew I wasn't crazy when I thought I had seen it at a craft store. I have just been looking at Michaels, and you can't get it there. Woo hoo!

That's pretty much all that's going on here. Hopefully we'll get this tree situation dealt with tonight. I really don't have time to keep messing around with it and debating whether or not we should stick with this tree.

15 December 2009

Only in December

I had to work late yesterday because traffic was really bad yesterday morning on the way to work. We were going to try to bring in the magnificent Christmas tree last night, so I was rushing to make up the time and still get home at a decent hour. So I decided to brave the deer and take a backroad. The traffic is usually lighter on those because people fear the deer. And there aren't stoplights, which means I can get 20 miles in 30 minutes vs. 45.

And then life interfered. As I'm rolling up the road, following the car in front of me closely so as to make sure the deer understand it is NOT a good idea to come my way, up ahead, I hear the wail of a fire truck. "Great", I think to myself, an accident. I'm never going to get home." I see the truck and it pulls out in front of the cars. And another follows him. And who was on that second truck? Only the right jolly old elf himself! It wasn't supercold last night, so it was probably pretty fun to be riding up there. He did slow us down a bit.

HTB called to ask where I was, and I had to tell him that Santa Claus was holding up the line of cars. He probably didn't believe me, but I swear I'm telling the truth, LOL.

We got the tree in the house. No one cursed. HTB was patient with me while I stumbled along behind with the tree up through the yard. We got it into the holder. It's crooked--the trunk curves, which we didn't notice in the field due to the slope. Booger tree. I don't think HTB is too happy about that. He gave it his frowny face. The flipping thing intimidates me. I'm not ashamed to admit this. I just had these horrible visions of it coming down on the china cabinet, or on the stand we have all the family pictures on. Trust me, I kept my distance.

I didn't have time to stitch last night, and I really was not feeling well. My sinuses are acting up something awful, and that made my teeth hurt, but I know it wasn't a toothache because I just had a cleaning last Thursday and everything was fine, and I was congesty this morning. I honestly tried to stitch the beads on to Fa La La, but I couldn't find a beading needle, and was in pain, so I gave up on that one.

This morning I went Christmas shopping. I'm trying to scale back this year, but I wanted to make sure I got some good things for HTB. I found some movies he wanted, but I thought I'd get him a Dallas tee shirt or something, and they had NOTHING. Lots of Redskins stuff, lots of Ravens stuff, which was quite obvious, but it was a lot of Indianapolis stuff or Patriots otherwise. I could understand the lack if there were not a GAZILLION Dallas fans in the DC area and we love to razz the Skins fans. Since I think it's too late to order from the Cowboys store for Christmas, I bought him some U of Maryland stuff. As a devoted Kentucky fan, my soul screamed at spending money on another college's gear, but it's not for me, and I consoled myself with the knowledge that we're ranked #4 and his team is . . . not. If it were not December, it would not be in my cart.

I did head up to AC Moore to get some stuff for Christmas gifts as well. I bought some things for my friend Kathy, who lives in the UK. I don't think she'll get her gifts by Christmas, but she understands. And my exchange partner, LibbyD! I did talk myself out of a candy dish for us by telling myself we are pretty good for Christmas, til we get to the next house. And then I went down the Christmas aisle. They have all their Christmas fixin's on sale, so I bought some tiny instruments and candy canes and things like that to trim finishes. They were on clearance, so that was a good thing.

14 December 2009

Goals for 2009

Christmas is next Friday. That means 2010 is two weeks away. I've been so busy the last few weeks, I've lost track of time and forgot it was so close. The 0-decade is ending, we're 10 years out from the millenium. Is it just me or did we seem so innocent and hopeful in 1999? And then the world kinda seemed to fall in . . . Maybe the teen decade of the 21st century will see a better world come to pass. We can hope for it.

I did get a small finish done over the weekend. I started a Pine Mountain pillow kit for Thanksgiving, a gift from my Secret Sister Exchange partner, Thursday at lunch. Brea's plane was delayed an hour, so I plunked myself down at the airport and worked on it for a while, then finished it last night. I need to sew on the button, but it will be finished. I don't actually have a lot of non-Halloween fall things stitched and ready to use to decorate the house, so it will be nice to have this sitting out next fall. I also realized, after posting Fa La La, that it's not actually "finished." I forgot the checkerboard row at the bottom. OOOOPPPPPSSS. I did entertain the idea of leaving it off, but I know myself enough to know that would drive me nuts. No one else would care, but I would. SOOOOO . . . I am finishing that and sewing on the beads before tomorrow morning. And finishing it by the end of the week. No need to drive myself crazy on something so easily correctable.

I've been thinking long and hard lately about my stitching goals for 2010. I know I've mentioned that I want to focus my stitching to working on freebies next year. I still want to do that, but I have decided that I will not restrict myself to "just" freebies. I'm going to work on UFOs and WIPs too. And of course I have the wedding stitching, and a big project or so for the fair. And there's a Dragon Dreams I have had kitted up for a while, The Ice Dragon's Kingdom, that I want to finally start and get finished this year. It doesn't appear to be super-hard, and I've always liked stitching DD charts, so I want it done! I think that's a pretty reasonable set of stitching goals for myself.

I also want to push myself to get HALF of my unfinished finishes completed the whole way through. It's not an unreasonable amount, at least I don't think so. One or two need buttons or charms, and then framed; this is the year they will get what they need. There are some that need custom-framed--I think after all those years of stitching, Elegance of the Orient deserves just a bit better framing job than I can give her--but a lot of them, I can frame or finish into ornaments or cubes myself. It's just a matter of committing the time and effort into doing it. And I've made it easier to do by consolidating my finishing supplies. I even bought a big new bottle of glue so I can't say I lost my glue. There really are no excuses left for me, right?

09 December 2009


I promised pictures.

I know these aren't the best pictures of my sewing room. However, it is clean, it is ready to be used in its alternate incarnation. Like I said, it's cozy in there. But, if we keep this configuration, it will be much easier to turn on the lamp and get my chart binders. I am switching that lamp out though, to one my mom bought me. It's got patriotic sheep on it. And skeins of wool. It was meant for me. It's summery! I wuvs summer

From where the couch used to sit. The top shelf has some of my goodies on it. And my first dog. Have I mentioned I keep her ashes in the sewing room? HTB found the idea of keeping her in the bedroom distasteful. He wouldn't buy my argument that she is possibly the most maintenance-free dog we own and should be allowed in the bedroom. I don't know why people have such an aversion to pet ashes. I promised her I wouldn't leave her again, hence the reason she is cremated, and I'm not shoving her in a closet just because she's no longer alive. Anyway . . . I'm digressing. There's also a really neat book up there on Maryland schoolgirl samplers. I like looking at it. I'd like to stitch some of the samplers.

Standing in the doorway.

When it reverts back to its civilian usage, I'll take new photos.

Two finishes. LHN Fa La La. The snowman bear wanted to pose with it, since my Victorian Bearington Bears are packed away.

A quilt square for a friend. I don't know if I am particularly proud of this, but it's neat and pretty, and I love the design. I hope she likes it

Lastly, sometime in late September, I decided to send a letter to Cross Stitch Collection magazine about my lion picture, which came from that magazine. We took the photo after work, I wrote them an email, I sent it off. I didn't hear from them for the longest time . . . til last week. They are publishing my letter. I hope they do some creative editing because I look like I just got home from work in the picture. I am wearing my dog jammie bottoms and a twinset--terribly stylish, I know. My hair is parted down the middle, but I just didn't feel like retaking the picture. Anyway, the email said I was getting a prize from Madiera. When I got home, these were waiting for me. Aren't they gorgeous? I am trying to think of something to stitch with them. I've never used this brand of thread, but I'm willing to try anything free, LOL. I'll be in issue 179, so if the picture looks a bit rough, remember, I work in customer service, and somedays rough is all we can aspire to.

A blog contest

Chiloe is having a wonderful giveaway on her blog. Check it out!

Rearranged my sewing room

and I like it.

Actually, I didn't do the arranging. HTB did that yesterday since he didn't have any jobs to go on. My sewing room is cozy, and when we pulled out the couch for B to use, it was a bit too cozy. B wouldn't have been able to move, let alone turn the light on and off--the light switch does not work, has not worked since he bought the house, so you have to manually turn the light on, an annoyance when I come reeling into the room, half asleep, in the dead of winter, trying to find clothes. So he moved the couch around. It's now in front of my window, facing the closet. The light falls in over my shoulder now, which should make it a more pleasant place to stitch. The only thing I don't know about is that it's over the air vent, but I think, if we move it forward a bit, it should be OK.

The house is almost ready for B to visit. We made up the bed last night. HTB was so worried that the pull out mattress wouldn't be soft enough for her, so he put the one from the futon on, for which I am grateful, because that sucker is too heavy for me to carry and throw on there. We have all new bedding for her; Mom bought new flannel sheets to replace ones she lost, I bought new pillows, and I put the reindeer quilt we bought at the church rummage sale across the bottom of the bed for a festive feel. My Christmas Bearington Bears are on there to welcome her--B likes bears. HTB even hung one of my cross stitched pictures up because the walls felt a bit bare. I have to tell you, it was so cozy in there, I almost wanted to take a nap, LOL.

I will try to take some pictures tonight to show what I've been busy doing. I got the beads to finish Fa La La yesterday, so that will get done. I started a quilt square for an online friend from an old LK freebie on Monday night, and that should be done today at lunch. And of course, you must see the fabulous Sewing Suite at the Hotel New Windsor, your home for the holidays!

08 December 2009

So cute

Someone posted this on 1-2-3, and it is adorable! Too cute not to post here!

07 December 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

It snowed on Saturday. They'd been calling for 1-2 inches. I bet we got 4 in our little neck of the woods. I was supposed to drive to my hometown to sing at a Christmas party for senior citizens. Guess what didn't happen? We tried, because I had been rehearsing, and I didn't want to let everyone down, HTB even put his winter tires on the Tahoe so we wouldn't slip and slide, but the weather was too bad. I could have put up with not being able to see, since I was not driving. I was quiet so he could focus, I even was willing to deal with the huge chunks of snow hitting the windsheild. But when we came upon a car on its side, that was enough. The people were fine, the car was able to be driven onto the rollback, but I would never have forgiven myself if we'd gotten into an accident and HTB got hurt just to get to this party, and I know my mom would be upset, so we turned around and came home. We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for brunch and I sang Dido's "Christmas Day," and Beyonce's "Ave Maria" to HTB, since I am OBSESSED with those songs. We toasted each other with my hot chocolate and his coffee and that was our Christmas party. And when we got home, we fed the birds and squirrels, so we could watch someone enjoy a holiday dinner. Rather goofy, I know, but it was a nice safe way to spend the day.

Yesterday, we got our Christmas tree. It was a long afternoon, tramping around the tree farm. Every year we promise ourselves we won't get a giant tree, and every year, we end up with a tree bigger than the year before. We've hit the limit this year, of both his ability to pull a tree that large out of the field, and the ceiling of the house. I knew there would be a problem when he looked at me standing next to the tree and said, "The tree is twice as tall as you." And he was not kidding--the tree is 11 1/2 feet tall and will touch the ceiling. I know we have ornaments for it. Not terribly sure we have enough lights for it. But it will work.
He did scare the bejesus out of me, though. He was wearing flannel-lined jeans, which seemed like a good idea when I was thinking of him shoveling the long expanse of sidewalk in front of the house, but he wore them with a fleece-lined wind-breaker, a hat, and a rugby shirt, and by the time he cut the tree down, he was overheating. I was really worried about him, once I figured out he wasn't sitting down because he was tired. He said he thought he was going to pass out. The tree farmer made him ride back to the main house with him, which I knew embarrassed HTB, but it was for the best, and he did feel better once he got his coat off and cooled down a bit.

Our snow is still here, lying pretty on the grass. We're not going to decorate the house til next Sunday evening--it's too much to clean the house and decorate before B gets here and we want her visit to be joyful.

I finished my Fa La La ornament for the most part. I had to order the seed beads, but they were shipped from 123Stitch on Friday and they should be here either today or tomorrow. I'll finish it once I get the beads sewn on.

And another stupid funny thing: We got new pillowcases. I was pulling them out to put them on the bed this morning. Imagine my joy and delight to find cardboard in there to use for ornaments. I can do two or three with what was in there. Does anyone else love finding cardboard they can use for finishing?

04 December 2009

I think the stress is getting to me

Totally off topic, but I think I've been thinking too much about this wedding.

I'm having dress anxiety. There is a dress I really love. I have not tried it on, because I am a great large fat person, and they do not have sample sizes that fit a great large fat person. DO NOT get me started on why I find it wrong to spend hundreds of dollars on a dress without being able to try said dress on first. The bridal shop lady said it was in my proper silhouette--empire waist. And it's me. But my mother has those motherly concerns that it might make me look pregnant (UMMMM, it's 2009, I'm not pregnant, even if I was, it would be on my wedding day and anyone who would talk ish would be wierd), there was some discussion about sleeveless, to which I say, I have found very few stores selling dresses with sleeves (another question--why no sleeves or really shoulder-covering styles for winter weddings? What do brides do getting in and out of the car if they have no sleeves? Freeze to death? Supposedly they're returning for spring 2010, but I will believe that when I see it.)

I have tried on other dresses. I tried on one in Pennsylvania that felt like a costume. Cathedral train, draping. Beautiful dress, and if I was 50 pounds thinner, 4inches taller, and able to tan, it would have been super cute. But I'm none of those things and, although the ability to handle elaborate formal dresses is among my numerous varied skillsets, that train was a bit much. One dress reminded me of a kilt--any dress where your mother looks at it and says, "Can you just have them take that little part off there?" is a no. A couple dresses didn't make it out of the dressing room.

I look at websites, I read reviews, I ponder how a dress will look against the church backdrop or photos. Would I love it 20 years from now. Can my hair be done to make the dress look right? I am not kidding when I tell you I have put more manhours into the selection of this dress than I put into researching either of the cars I've bought, or the college I went to. PUT TOGETHER.

So, was it any wonder that I had the worst wedding related nightmare last night? I was wearing my pretty dress. And I looked thin and pretty and bridal in it. I had a nice veil. We were attempting to put my hair up. Into some fancy bridal 'do. Into which it would not go. My friends, current and high school, all kept bobbing into try to fix it. And it would not go. At one point, someone attempted to do ringlets. I don't know about y'all, but, after a certain point of hair spray and messing with my hair, any attempts to apply a curling iron don't result in a curl, but rather a perfectly straight, board stiff section of hair. It looked so horrible and I was so upset. And it didn't help that everyone kept saying it looked alright and they were playing wedding music. I think I threw something. I don't know if it means anything, I don't know if I should just calm down, or should I pick another dress. Or should I just stop drinking iced tea before bed?

03 December 2009

Not much stitching occurring

I'm in the middle of a very busy stretch here (but then again, we all are). My best friend is coming to visit me a week from today, and I have to get the sewing room converted over temporarily to a guest room, so I've been boxing stuff up and taking it to the garage, so that the couch can be pulled out and she can actually move in the room. This weekend, I sing at a Christmas party, we are going to try to drive to Sharpsburg for the Memorial Illumination if the snow they are calling for holds off, and then either working or going for a family event on Sunday. I've been to the Illumination before, and it was beautiful, but they don't have it if it snows (we had a slippery snowfall last year on the day it was supposed to be and I had to work the next week), so I want to go. Plus, we have to clean the house up, and work. But it will be so much fun to see B! I haven't seen her in two years, and I can't wait! And then the next week is pretty packed with stuff to do. If I can just get through til the 19th, it will be easier. And next year, hopefully, I can afford to request lighter hours at my part time job so that everything gets done and the holidays are what they're supposed to be.

I am going to try to get some ornaments finished before Christmas. I got my small white tree from my mom yesterday and bought some aqua/tealy and copper colored ornaments to go on it along with my stitched ornaments. Now to figure out where to put it, since it's a bit bigger than last year's tree and we have become a plant rescue this year and there is a large bamboo plant where the tree was. We'll make it fit. I'm keeping the other tree, even though it's not exactly pretty, we can surely find a use for it somewhere. The only reason I'm not still using it is because my mom was asking me to come get this white one, and I have more stitched ornaments this year.

01 December 2009

A New Start

but no picture . . .

My Joann's trip last night was spurred by my desire to get caught up on my ornament stitching. I'm a bit behind in my Bride's Tree, and my LHN Ornament came in last week, so I was ready to start.

I had an ulterior motive for going, though. When I was in at Halloween, I had noticed they had Christmas fabric with sheet music on it. I couldn't figure out what to use it for then, but I thought it might be good to use for the Fa-la-la ornament, so was checking on that. Of course, they didn't have any left--whoda thunk there would be a run on that in North Central Maryland? But I found some stripey fabric that matches perfectly. I was also looking for fabric to back an ornament HTB and I made together and that was fun--it's a frog in a martini glass saying, "Hoppy New Year," not exactly easy to match up, ya know? Joann's does not appear to carry either alcohol or Christmas frog-themed fabrics, and there are a bazillion shades of green, but I got lucky with another stripe. Stripe-y Christmas to me!

Anyway, I did find most of the floss I needed, and the rest I had in stash. And I am using fabric from my stash as well, some aida I had. It did feel a little odd to go in my stash, find the neutral bag, and then get out the fabric I needed, since I am usually so disorganized that I just buy new fabric, but it was a good kind of odd. I could get used to this.

I'm making good progress with the chart. I have the center lightpost done. It's nice. I think it will make a cute, albeit big, ornament and a nice addition to my collection.

30 November 2009

I'm not dead, just a bit disconnected

I've been off for the past 5 days, 2 for the holiday, two for the weekend, and today as a "use or lose" day at work. I don't like to waste things, particularly not LEAVE, LOL. I didn't do a lot of out of the family interaction, except at my part-time job yesterday, but did go out tonight to Walmart and Jo-ann's. It was a bit overwhelming.

Although a slight vent is due. I love Jo-ann's ETC. They have nice holiday decorations. I looked at a little bench, since I'm always looking for something to display my Bearington Bears on under the tree. They were having a 50% off sale. They had these benches marked at $34.99, so it was $17.50 on sale. Problem was, it was really probably worth $17.50 to begin with. I left it there. A lot of their stuff was overpriced, so I'm figuring closer to Christmas, it will be more reasonable. And if it's not there, I'll probably find something as cute in the thrift stores over the next few months. These bears have been sitting on the floor or the back of the sofabed this long, they're not picky! It just seems funny to expect people to pay pre-recession prices, when people just don't have it. Anyway, vent off!

I didn't get any ornaments finished. I moped around on Friday, but I did work on Boo Club. I've decided that I have to put this away for the holidays as it did seem vaguely wrong to stitch a Frankenstein while watching Christmas shows on HGTV. So I'm done with it for now. All December will be holiday stuff! But I wanted to post a photo. It's coming along.

25 November 2009

A Blessed Thanksgiving

I don't know how much I'll be around the next couple of days. HTB decided that he's gone meatless long enough--2 days, to be exact--so we're going out to dinner tonight--yay! And we're going to both houses tomorrow for dinner; before you ask, I'll be doing some pre-emptive ellipticalling, just so I can guiltlessly devour butter beans and stuffing. I hope that everyone has a restful, thankful Thursday.

This is the time of year to stop and think about the blessings of the year, our harvest of life! I am so blessed, mainly in that, most of the time, I get what I want, and not what I deserve. I have a good family, both birth and soon-to-be. I have a warm bed to sleep in, clean clothes to wear, there's usually food in the house, though, arguably, I don't know what to make for dinner when the meat is frozen, bread is too, and all I can lay my hands on are 7 bags of butterscotch morsels (for the record, I don't know why I have that many, it's a sensitive subject) and Rice a Roni, and I go to a job. I'm not sick, I'm not dying, I drive to work every morning and get to see the sun rise. And that is worth being thankful for.

And maybe this Thanksgiving is a bit more joyous, because the year was so hard. I don't know about anyone else, but I've learned the value of a dollar this year. I've stood in Safeway and told HTB that there is not enough difference in taste between store-brand pasta and name brand pasta to warrant spending 25 cents a box more on the name brand. I've learned I don't need new clothes all the time, and having a gym with low rates isn't a bargain if you never use it. And I can see the difference. Cash is a wonderful teaching tool, since I no longer spend thoughtlessly. My credit card balances are dropping--I've HALVED the balance on one of them--since, when you have to pay cash, having the perfect shade of red lipstick or a new outfit once a month isn't that important. They're now the treats they were supposed to be all along, and are appreciated as such. I had an appointment at the dentist yesterday to fix a broken filling and it hurt so bad that I went to CVS and treated myself to a gift set from E.L.F. $2.99 for 4 lipglosses--AWESOME, and I am getting as much pleasure from them as I did from the more expensive ones. So, there is teaching an old dog new tricks.

Enjoy your holiday. Eat plenty of stuffing. Forget that there is butter in the butterbeans. We can exercise in January.

Go Cowboys!

23 November 2009


I have two to show you.

This was made for me by Riona, who writes a wonderful blog. She read my post bemoaning the lack of pinecone charts and made this for us, as an engagement gift. I am so blessed! I love the ornie. So gorgeous! Thank you, Regina!

I almost feel ashamed to post this along with hers, but this is the ornament I have been finishing all week. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of it, although it's nowhere near perfect. I'm learning a lot of the fine-tuning of ornament making, and sucking in all the knowledge that I can get, and it's starting to pay off. At least I think so!
Picture 327

22 November 2009

Something's missing here . . .

Oh, yeah, photos.

Sorry I've been so lax in posting photos. It's been a busy weekend.

HTB brought home an elliptical machine. His buddy was getting rid of it, and asked if he wanted it. I've finally realized I don't like lifting weights, and our neighborhood is not exactly fit for cardio exercise (I actually made myself physically ill for an hour riding my bike one day--talk about embarrassing), and I've been toying with rejoining a gym just to get cardio. I don't know about anyone else, but there's something rather satisfying about finishing a cardio session and seeing how many calories I've expended. And I was losing weight like crazy when I was doing 25 minutes of elliptical, 20 minutes of weights, and then another round of cardio work. So I was more than overjoyed to have this new piece of equipment, and I had to test it out yesterday. I'm a bit out of shape, but I figure, give me two weeks or so, and I'll start seeing some progress.

Last night was the family birthday for me. I had a great time. We had a wonderful dinner, followed by cake with cream cheese mousse filling. My parents came over, too; it was a nice way for our families to meet, considering we have to start really planning the wedding now.

Today, I've been working. I finished another ornament today, an old freebie from Homespun Elegance called "Peace"--I don't even know where the chart is anymore, that's how old it is. I backed it with the same fabric I used for the ornament exchange ornament--I thought it would look good. And it does. I even bought invisible thread to sew the cording on--my first reaction to that was that it was like stitching with strands of hair, LOL.

I will try to post photos when I get home.

20 November 2009

Placed an order . . .

for Fa-la-la, the first of the ornaments in the LHN SAL Vonna started--link is in my profile for anyone interested. I've recommitted to Bride's Tree and am planning on stitching the angel ornie over the next week, and also this SAL. Part of me is a little bit, "Do you really want to commit to SAL when you are also planning the year of stitching freebily?", but, I mean, it's not like I've committed to stitching something big. These aren't that large, the bride's tree ornaments are not large, and, when it comes down to it, neither are most freebies. So I figure it'll be OK. As long as she doesn't use any funky, unobtainable fibers--I don't have time in 2010 to take a slowboat to Tibet, sweet-talk a yak into letting me comb fibers from his back, hand-dye them and spin them into floss. Plain DMC for me please. Thanks!

In other news, The Busy Needle is having their annual Diabetes Tree fundraiser. For a donation, you get a freebie packet and a handmade ornament. My goodies came in the mail last night. My ornament was made by Ozark Sampler and it's beautiful. The freebies are going to be a lot of fun to stitch and I can't help but think they'll be on our tree next year. Plus, you can design your own ornament for next year and they have some fantastic Ebay auctions. It's a worthwhile cause.

Heaven and Earth Cross Stitch Designs is now carrying House Mouse charts. Do you know how happy that makes my little mouse hoarding heart? They're a bit pricey right now, but if they ever release this one , I'm getting it. LOVE THEM MICE.

I'm hoping to post some update photos this evening. I am working late tonight. The theatre just opened our Christmas musical, and so I'm seeing it this evening. If not tonight, tomorrow morning.

19 November 2009


Erynne is having a contest! Head on over to her blog!

I had a revelation

I am sick and tired of being disorganized.

One of the things I am trying to do in my life, now that I am starting a family and hopefully becoming a role model for a young person is to stop the destructive habits of my misspent youth. Disorganization, and the resulting overshopping and chaos, is my biggest bad habit. I've fought it for years.

Some of it I can't fix. There isn't enough room in the house to have a beautiful sewing room with plenty of neat storage. As much as I would love to have the closet entirely devoted to stitching, it must also house my clothes. And some of my holiday decorations. This is life.

But, after I spent Tuesday night scrambling around the house, looking for thread to sew my ornament together, and then couldn't find it, I had to go to Joann's last night and buy more. And, of course, being of weak resolve, I bought some more Christmas fabric. And a votive candle holder. I am so annoyed with myself.

This happens quite frequently. I misplace things all the time. I think I own 3 Xacto knives, but I have no idea where two of them are, and barely keep track of the third one--it's in a candy dish in the family room, I know that much, but it was temporarily housed with a WIP til I realized how stupid an idea THAT was. And I'm forever misplacing ribbon, and beads and things of that nature. I know I can always buy more, but, really, it makes no sense. It's wasteful, and financially detrimental--at some point, the supplies start adding up, and I'd rather spend money on other things than a stupid Xacto knife because I just can't put it away.

Maybe this is why finishing anything is such an arduous, unwelcome process. Why would anyone want to risk dealing with stuff sliding, missing supplies, trips to Joann's, and general disarray. And then have to glue or sew things together? Would you?

But the question is, where to put all the goodies? I tried to put everything in the cupboard, but that doesn't work too well. Somehow, it's just not in me to open the sliding door (maybe because I put other stuff in there and it starts coming out, and I hate when that happens). But it has to be put away. Neatly.

My solution?

I'm cleaning out one of my large tins--the ones they put popcorn or Danish butter cookies in at the holidays, appropriate since I'm usually doing holiday ornaments--and putting all my finishing stuff in there. And I mean all of it. Knife, ribbons, glues, pins. ALL OF IT. (I say this like I have lots of this stuff, it's really not that much) I think this will work a lot better than shoving it in tiny tins and then trying to keep track of it all. At least it will look neater.

This is a small start. It's a good start.

17 November 2009

Pumpkin is finished

Woo hoo. I think I am back on track and that feels great.

I just have 5 more little charts to muddle my way through! Woo hoo!

I've decided I'm spending next Friday making ornaments. I will have the time, I need to do it. I have no excuses. I must have at least 10 ornaments all stitched and ready to go. I found all my supplies. I bought invisible thread. At least get done what I can get done--I know I'll end up at Joann's at some point next weekend, looking for fabric, but it would be a lot better to come home and just have to put the back on and sew the cording on than to keep staring at the finishes, waiting for the finishing fairy to come to my sewing room--I been wishing and she ain't come yet, LOL. Maybe if I leave her scissors and needles?

The frog is BANISHED

Dear frog,

I am ridding you from my stitching. I spent all day fixing the mistakes you brought with you. I apologize for commenting on the floss that made your buddy, Eek, up. It wasn't personal. I know he had no say in the colors he was born of! There was no need to make me pick out an entire word. Not this week at least. Can't we all just get along?

I know my house is inviting, being next to the marsh/swamp/drainage pond thingy. The wetland thingy IS inviting. My house, not so much. After all, we have dogs here. Big dogs. Dogs who are smart, yet have undiscerning palates. Trust me, I've pulled straw out of their mouths and watched them eat a marshmellow covered in dirt. They wouldn't hesitate to eat a frog, even a floss frog. And I don't want to put you in that situation. It pains me.

So I'm asking you, til I'm at least done with this specialty floss project, can you stay away from my house? I've got this fixed, but I can't take many more of these little incidents. Not after the great mis-count of Black Cat. I'll keep the boy-os sated with dirty marshmellows and straw, and we'll be good.

Your friend


16 November 2009

The EEK frog brought his friends

And I told that little bugger he was cute. BLAST IT. BLAST HIM. BLAST THIS CHART.

Do designers not understand that, when they mark center, that's SACRED? That they should check 4 times and then mark it once? The center line is different on the first three charts than it is on the second three. The way the charts are designed, when you stitch them in a row, the only way you have to center them is off that center line, and now I find out that's not right?

I am stitching the Pumpkin chart. I'm almost finished. I was proud of myself for managing to get such fast progress on it, since I started it last night. I got to the outer part of the P and realized it didn't line up right with Creepy and it's not three blocks in from the yellow border. I counted and triangulated off the other stitching, and that was fine. All it is is that center got moved one block to the left.

So now I'm frogging out all the lettering. I know, I should probably leave it alone because no one but me will really notice it's not right. But it's not right. And so I have to frog it out.

I guess the major reason I'm so upset is that this is going to waste floss. I can salvage some it (I know, we're not supposed to, but I don't have money to fling at floss, not to mention the dye lots differ), but it annoys me. Plus, all that time wasted . . . Sheesh.

13 November 2009

Friday night Illustrated post

I promised some photos yesterday, didn't I? I might be a day late, hopefully not a dollar short.

First, an older finish. I think from early this year? Not exactly sure. I found this today. Since the engagement, my mother has finally decided I'm probably never moving back home and is boxing up and giving me various things of mine she finds around the house (this has caused a wee bit of tension, as she keeps asking me if I will wear things I wore when I was 14. And was a size 7. And had big bangs. I'm 33. I'm not a seven. I only accidentally end up with big bangs when I go to sleep with slightly damp hair and sleep on my face. No, I don't need that rocking 90210-inspired jacket. Thanks, Mom!) This was a good find. I think this was stuck in a drawer, LOL. It's a limited edition Lizzie Kate. I need to put the buttons on, but the stitching's done! Cute, no?

I've been working on this. I don't know why I've been flitting back and forth on projects. Perhaps I need to stop having 100 projects going at one time. That would stop the flitting. I love this little funky frog. He's so cute, although, since he lacks eyes right now, he looks a bit like an alien. I figure if I get one little chart done a week, this will be done by Christmas.

And my little animal ornaments from the December 2007 issue of Cross Stitch Gold. I haven't made good progress yet because all the colors I forgot to get are the ones in the area I am working on. Booger. I have them at the house, I just keep forgetting to stick them in the project bag. I also added a picture of the finished ornaments, just to show what they may look like if I get them all finished.

HTB is out pit-crewing tonight in Richmond. Hopefully the weather holds out and they can run the race. The Mid-Atlantic has been getting hammered this week due to another coastal system hitting up the remains of Ida. It's very scary stuff--a barge loaded with chemicals ran aground in Virginia Beach, and they are talking major beach erosion. I am thinking of the people who are affected this, and a bit of me worries about the wild ponies and hopes they'll be OK. I imagine they are, though, they'll just be a bit damp and sandy when this is done. HTB'll be home tomorrow night. So, that means tonight is all about the ice cream and cheesy TV! Woo hoo.

Have a fantastic weekend. If you are in the storm affected area, stay safe.

12 November 2009

Thank for humoring me

I appreciate all the comments about my post yesterday. I admit, it's not my normal way to share stories like that, and I wasn't sure that anyone would want to read it, but it was something I needed to say. Especially, since back when I was going through all the bad times, I didn't think it was right to let my personal life intrude that much on this blog. I know better now.

Anyway . . . my fiance forgot it was our anniversary. He claims I forgot to tell him. I guess when I said, "Hey, our anniversary is next Wednesday, will you be OK if I don't get you a gift?", that wasn't precise enough. It's OK, he's had a lot on his mind lately, and I forgot til after I had gone to the store that I needed a card for him. He seemed much more upset by forgetting it than I was. He said he'd get me a card and we'd open them together. To be honest, it's just a holding anniversary. As long as he doesn't forget the REAL one next October, we're good. And, even then, as long as he shows up to the church and says "I do," and I get to dance with him, the other stuff is cake.

I have been stitching this week, but nothing very substantial. I keep jumping around on projects and putting a few stitches in each. I've worked on Summer Ball a bit, but I kept getting to places I needed the colors that I robbed back to finish the Forever Friends bears, having stolen them in the first place. And then I jumped to Boo Club. I'm working on EEK! right now. My frog looks a bit odd, since my skein of Forest Glade has a lot of brown in it. He's not ugly, just motley. But he's cute. And I also started another new project, though, in my defense, it's a Christmas ornament set and therefore seasonal. They are animal ornaments from the December 2007issue of Cross Stitch Gold. They're very cute, groups of animals--woodland, farm, housepets, and arctic animals--watching Santa fly over. So cute! I'll try to post photos, if not today then tomorrow night. I broke out a piece of Silkweavear Smoky Blue fabric from my second to last Secret Sister to stitch them on. I figure a set ought to go on the same fabric, right? I'll probably back them a bit differently, more in line with what's on the front, but the color makes it look like dusk is falling when Santa flies over. A good thing!

11 November 2009

Today is . . .

our anniversary.

Two years ago, HTB went out on our first date. We'd known each other for a while, and reconnected in a more romantic way. I often think how funny life is. I'd finally started recovering from a truly devastating series of events between losing my grandmother, almost losing my father, leaving a job that was thoroughly abusive, having a relationship end, and having to rebuild my life. I spent the first few months curled in a ball, only emerging to cut my hair (because, as a woman, we get back at our exes by cutting our hair), and then not cutting it again for almost two years. I couldn't believe this had happened to me. My life had seemed to be so set. We were discussing marriage. He'd bought the ring. I felt like all I had was him. How could he leave me when I NEEDED HIM.

Although I never really blogged much about it, I spent the early spring of 2007 fighting to regain my dignity, and failing miserably. I went on a trip to see Brea, who, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, is a saint for tolerating my meltdowns, and we went to North Carolina to gem hunt. I had fun, but my heart was hurting. And it culminated in a meltdown in the airport in Nashville. I'm sure you've had those, they start out just being sad and a bit teary, and then you get mad because you're sad and teary and you don't want to be, and that just makes the tears worse, plus your face gets ugly, and before you know it, your best friend is looking at you like, "You are being so un-Southern. I don't know you." She was blunt with me. She was firm. He wasn't coming back, and all my hissyfits, and whys and what ifs weren't bringing him back. And I could spend the rest of my life asking why and wasting the precious time I'd been given, or I could start living my life. She was right. Besides, who the hell would want a girl with a broken spirit?

My grandmother gave me a similar speech when I was 22, and lying on the kitchen floor, crying over some man (I'm a tad melodramatic at times). She told me to get my (pardon my French) ass up off the floor and stop crying.

Brea is a lot like my grandmother. She's short, cute and incredibly wise.

So I picked my ass up off the airport floor, and started to live. I'd given so much time up to grieving that I just wanted to do EVERYTHING. I drove places by myself, I got myself the dog I always wanted, and went to Texas to get him. We went dancing at a singles club one night. None of the men there were men who I wanted to date, but it felt so good to just dance and feel pretty. I started to get my spark back.

I'd resigned myself to being single, and was starting to look for land to build a house for me. I already picked out its name--Peaceful Hill, with a pretty house on a wooded lot with a huge garden patch and place for my dogs to play. They'd have their own room, and we'd have gladiolas everywhere. I just needed to find the piece of land I saw in my head. But, late in the summer, I visited my gramma's grave. I've related that I still feel her and I know she watches over me. And so, after I sent my mother away, I sat by her headstone and I talked to her. "I am ready, and I want you to send someone to me," I asked her.

And she sent me HTB.

HTB had known her from a while ago. She liked him. He liked her. He tells me that he started feeling a push to reconnect with me from right about that point. It just took him a while to realize what was happening. To listen to Gramma, LOL.

We went to the movies and dinner on a Sunday night in November. I had no real hopes. I just wanted to see if this was for real or just another momentary diversion on my way to having my own home. When your heart is battered, you hold back. Even my trusting heart held back. He said he was surprised I agreed to the date. I'm surprised I agreed to the date.

I'm glad I agreed to the date. How different would my life be if I hadn't?

I'm not really sure why I posted this. I've told the story of my summer of me a couple times, to women who were in the place of darkness I spent so much time in. I would like to hope they got something out of it. Sometimes I start to forget that I existed before HTB came in the picture. Sometimes, when I'm exhausted, or depressed, and I think I don't have the strength to pull through one more day of BS, I remind myself, I did it before. It wasn't easy, and I cried plenty of days in my car, but I did it. With the help of a good strong friend, and a determination to not fail, I made it through. And I am better for the struggle.

And so, on my anniversary, I am celebrating. Tonight, I'll bring HTB a card that tells him that I love him. In someone else's prose, I'll let him know he makes my heart race, and my life happier, but, for a few minutes, I'll reflect on how far I've come. I'll have my Peaceful Hill someday, hopefully soon, and I'll sit in my vegetable garden, with my dogs, or my children, and enjoy the sweetness of it all.

09 November 2009

Another finish

My needle is fairly flying! I must say that. I finished Winter Grows on You this morning. I'm pretty pleased with it. Now to figure out how to finish it. If I can find the frame I have pictured in my head, that would work, but I'm a realist and so I'm open to finishing it as a tiny cube, or as an ornament. I don't know yet.

The cats bought me the most amazing thing for my birthday this year: this. They are such good cats. So thoughtful. I don't know how they order the most perfect thing for me every year, especially since they no longer have a computer, or money, or thumbs for that matter, but they are felines with an innate sense of what I need. And this is perfection with a hook on it. I can now make cord for my finishes. I am truly stoked. I was a bit dubious at first, because tools and I have not the best working relationship, but this is fairly simple to use, and I made actual cording that did not look horrible. I do, however, need HTB here to use it, as I can not identify a suitable object to anchor the ends to, other than his fingers (plus, since he started growing a goatee for the winter, he is just cute as a bug and I like looking at him, it makes doing this more pleasant.) And I like having this. With Joanne's being a bit of a jaunt away, and the nearest one not having the best selection of cording, and this being so easy to use, it should pay for itself in a few months. And I can get some finishing done. I honestly did not like making cording by hand because it was not even, and this means that I can get some ornaments finished that I had been holding out on. Especially now that I also bought some invisible thread so that won't show. I am good to go.

06 November 2009

Friday Thank you!

thank you for all the kind words about my WIPs and my ornament!

I had a couple people ask about the issue of Cross Stitch! (yes, there's an exclamation point, LOL. I always get a bit of a laugh from the name, like it's an order. "Needles up, ladies! Cross Stitch! Use your jazz hands!" I know there is something seriously wrong with me!) It's Issue 37. I'm putting a picture of it up so that anyone who wants to find it on Ebay can at least see the cover.

It's a good issue. The cover design is a Waxing Moon. I thought it was a Sue Hillis, but it's Waxing Moon. That alone makes it worth a decent bid. I stupidly passed up a chance to buy the post card this is based on, which I kick myself over. Wouldn't that be an awesome thing to frame with it?

I also finished my ornament last night, so I thought I would share. All in all, this is probably one of the best finishing jobs I've done. I think I still have a lot of room for improvement, but I'm getting there.

I'm on my birthday festival now. We started celebrating early. I met one of my good friends for lunch at our most favorite deli, which has been on the Food Network, and has the BEST matzoh ball soup. I had that and a steak and blue cheese salad; they make their own blue cheese dressing, so worth the funk breath. Then went over to Mom's and picked up the twins so we could take friend Samantha home. The twins liked Samantha right off the bat; they sensed she was a skilled belly-itcher and so were competing for her attention. I also discovered there is a weight limit where the car feels whatever is in the passenger seat requires a seat belt and the twins have surpassed that weight limit when they are together. So I had to buckle Robbie into the seatbelt. Perhaps I should have told them to go the back or at least given Chancey the seatbelt, since she's already survived one airbag deployment, but instead, I just told them to lie down so I could pay attention to the road and not get in an accident. I have a beautifully-wrapped gift from my mom in the dining room; I can't open it til tomorrow, and it's deliciously heavy, LOL. I can't wait to open it!

05 November 2009

An illustrated post!

See, I keep my promises, just a bit late! Better to be a low show than a no-show! LOL

I thought I would share my WIPs.

First is Halloween Chorus from an old issue of Cross Stitch! Someone posted their finish of this on 123 two years ago and I just loved it. I found the magazine on Ebay and kitted it up and it's sat there for two years. I hope to get it finished quickly. I don't know what I'll do with it. Too cute for just a pillow, right?

And my finishing WIP of the PS Santa and Friends for Dalene. I chose this just because the deer are so prevalent here in the country and I wanted her to have a bit of Maryland on her tree. I feel very honored my humble little stitching will be going to South Africa. But on a sad note, keep her in your prayers tonight, she has sustained a loss in her family.

Lastly is my Waxing Moon Winter Grows on You. It's probably not easy to see the snow elements of the design in the picture, but there isn't anything else I can do. I am enjoying it, though the frog has come visiting a bit more than I'd like.

See, I'm still stitching. I will say, I like seeing all this progress on these smalls. I love my massive projects, but there's something about the short-term nature of a small project. It's like a spring fling that ends before the shine wears off, but in a good way, LOL. Anyway, once I get the finishing of the ornie out of the way, I will pick up my big projects.

Another one for the wishlist

I saw this today. It's beautiful.

Can I just admit this now? I learned Hardanger so that I could do Victoria Sampler patterns.

And, yet, I have yet to actually stitch any of the ones I have. I look at them quite frequently with looks of love, knowing that my life would not be so rich and complete if they were not in my sewing room, waiting for their turn to shine. They just intimidate me--maybe it's the cost of the threads?

And I want this. It's gorgeous. It's a Christmas carol, and I love anything Christmas carol-y. I guess this is going on my wishlist.

04 November 2009

Start-itis has struck . . .

I guess it's not as bad as the flu . . . or even allergies, but I have start-itis.

I was looking for something in my closet yesterday, and found Waxing Moon's Winter Grows on You, all kitted up from some time back when I was flush with cash. So I decided to start it. And then me little brain thought, "Hey, it's Monaco, that's pretty stable fabric, you could stitch this over one and make it really sweet and cute." So . . . . guess who's stitching over one? And enjoying it? I do have to swap out the Oatmeal I'm using for their cute little faces, since, as luck would have it, it doesn't show up against the tea-dyed Monaco. Whoda thunk, right?

And I'm choosing my ornament for the November Bride's Tree SAL. It's an angel this month. I think I found one I like in an old issue of JCS, and, since I dream of having my stitched ornament tree to have a theme of Christmas carols and animals, the fact that it says, "Glory to God in the Highest," which I know I've sung in choir at Christmas, works well. I'll have to see how far I can go keeping the ornaments in theme with that. If not, it's fine. They will be stitched with love, and I want to have the last one done by our wedding day!

And I've still got to stitch a square for Lovely Lee's quilt. I am taking a half-day on Friday, and, other than lunch at Parkway Deli with my friend and bridesmaid Samantha for my birthday, and working on Sunday for a bit, I'm open from 12 Friday to 9AM Tuesday. What shall I do with myself? Stitch and bake cookies, maybe make a nice dinner and greet HTB at the door in heels and lipstick? Too much? Maybe I'll just stick to stitching.

03 November 2009

After all the excitement

of Halloween, it's kind of quiet here.

I actually have put more work in Sleepy Hollow. Since the time changed and I'm up at 6AM (and OK with it!), I was up this morning and filled in part of the grey around the angel's wings. It went a lot faster than I remember, but, then again, I was doing some heavy thinking, and sometimes, while doing that, I stitch as fast as I think. I do think I'm going to re-do Ichabod's eye. It's a fantastic French knot, it just looks too big, and I'm anal about doing things right.

I started a new project on Sunday. I just . . . I haven't started a good new project in a while, and I had a really cute Halloween design from an old issue of Cross Stitch! of a . . . what else . . . black cat leading a pumpkin chorus. I have been wanting to do this design for two years, so I decided, it's my birthday week, and I'm gonna start me a new design. So I started it. It's going good so far, but I think they changed the dyelots on a lot of floss between then and now. It will all come together though.

I have to finish my ornament for my exchange partner. I went to Joanne's on Friday night and walked around the quilting section. I was looking for something in a red and black plaid, preferably a flannel, and had hopes of finding thin velvet ribbon. I don't know, it just seemed like the texture of the velvet and the flannel would be elegant together. But . . . they had no flannel. At least not black and red plaid. Heck they had no black and red plaid anything, and the flannel was all monkeys and jammie flannel. I guess the black and red tartan is not "in" this year. But I found a really pretty red, green and navy homespun that looks good with it. I am using hemp cord as a hanger. It has a more simple, rustic feel than my other idea, but it works.

I'll try to post some photos tonight, but I make no promises.

01 November 2009

The final update

This is as far as I got yesterday. really not as far as I wanted, but I think I set rather too grand goals. I did enjoy what I got to do. I'm a bit worried about Ichabod's eye, he looks a bit bug-eyed with three wraps of the needle, but two was not nearly good enough coverage. And I guess, too, if I were being chased by a headless horseman holding a flaming death pumpkin, my eyes would be a bit buggish as well.

This is definitely in my stitching rotation now. I think, once I get the tombstone road thing done, it will be a much faster stitch. Have you noticed that Cricket Collection charts don't look as detailed as they usually end up being? They're beautiful, they just aren't simple. And this is a big project. I was thinking that it ranks up there as definitely one of the big ones in my portfolio of work.

31 October 2009

6PM update

It's close to 6PM, which means the children will start coming soon. So I wanted to post an update on this. I didn't get as much done as I would have liked. It was a busy day--HTB wanted to go on a bike ride, truly terrifying in our hilly neighborhood, I had to go to the store, and I cooked supper, including apple crisp, which we'll have after 9PM. At least Ichabod has a head now--this has been more like a headless horse race for a while. Now to work on Gunpowder

Have a BOOOTIFUL day!

(edited to fix, because I have an issue with fast fingers)

Good morning! Happy Halloween if you celebrate that! Blessed Samhain if you celebrate that! Happy Fall if you don't!

We carved our pumpkin last night. It was pretty fun. Our pumpkin was 37 pounds, and needed an awesome carving. I found a book of templates at Walmart last night along with carving tools, so we went that route. I haven't carved a pumpkin in 15 years, HTB hasn't in 30 years. We decided to go with two carvings on it. It really is a lantern! The pittybulls helped us by eating the pieces of pumpkin that fell on the floor. And by wagging their encouragement!

His side. See the orbs on the right?

My side. This black cat fetish I have is getting a bit out of hand.


And my project for the day for my October 31st SAL. If anyone is interested, please participate! It will be fun!

OK, I have to run, I'm off to start work on this WIP.

30 October 2009

Happy October

If you celebrate, are you ready for Halloween?

Do you have your offerings of candy ready? I was just thinking about this. Are you the "cool" house on the block, giving out the full-size bars? It's not so bad to not be a kid at Halloween. Instead of having to rely on the kindness of strangers for your candy booty, and ending up with stuff you don't like (Smarties, anyone want to trade for Smarties? No? I don't blame you), you are in control of what YOU will be eating after Halloween. You decide if you're giving out good candy, and therefore snacking on it for the first few weeks of November, or if you're eating Mary Janes. Maybe you LIKE Mary Janes, though. One thing for this year--I'm not letting the trick or treaters choose, I'll do the choosing. Too much swine flu going around, and SIL's kids like to snack out of our bowl when they come over for my birthday. No need putting them at risk.

If you're not celebrating, are you enjoying the fall? This is the last little bit of, "Aaaaahhhh" before the rush of Christmas. The weather is still pretty nice, though I think I'd better wear a long-sleeved teeshirt handing out candy tomorrow night. I think we get so wrapped up in the quest for Christmas that we forget to appreciate the time between October 1st and Thanksgiving: the smells, the colors, the smells, the foods of fall (apple cider donuts, anyone?), and that general sense that the work of the year is done and we got through it. We can think about Christmas, but it's not worried thinking.

So, before I get caught up in the frenzy of tricks or treats, I am wishing you and your loved ones a blessed harvest season. Enjoy the fragile beauty of fall. And, please, if you run onto one, eat a caramel apple for me!

28 October 2009

Happy Wednesday

Still not much going on. Not much stitching wise, at least. I'm still plugging away at my Christmas ornament. I hope to have it done by this weekend. Actually, I hoped to have it done by last weekend, but I was busy last week and it didn't get accomplished. This is life, right? I even wanted to take WIP photos, but didn't have time yesterday. But I don't have much left to do. Friday night, I'm searching for fabric for it. I think if I go with a woodsy plaid, maybe a plaid flannel, that would be cute.

Has anyone else noticed the really great freebies that are out there all of a sudden? It's like the designers are giving us early Christmas presents! Or are they early adult stitching trick or treat gifts? Suzanne sent me a great link to Primitivebetty's freebies, which I love. They are on my list, and I'm already trying to figure out if they would be better as little pillows for on our coat hooks or as pillow ornaments. Thanks Suzanne for the link to the welcome additions to my stash for next year's stitching.

After I get this ornament finished and a quilt square for a sick acquaintance finished, I'm back to my UFO stitching. I've picked out my project, a Forever Friends project from an old Cross Stitch Quick and Easy (I miss that magazine, does anyone else?). I think it became a UFO because I apparently robbed a skein of the Anchor floss for another project. I think I even know which project it was--Summer Ball. I know why I did it; I don't find pulling floss in a store to be that much fun, and wanted to have to pull as little as possible, so I robbed myself and that project has lingered. But it's time to get it finished. They're cute lil bears and I'm ready to finish them! And I no longer do this sort of thing, since both Needlecraft Corner and 123Stitch carry Anchor and will pull the floss colors and ship them. Makes it so much easier.

26 October 2009

And how was YOUR weekend?

Mine was rather . . . disjointed.

I hadn't had my nails done in 4 weeks and my left thumbnail lifted like crazy, so I was up and out of the house bright and early for a nail appointment. She did do a really good job shaping them. She even put a spider on my ring fingers, which, to be frank, looks like a ghost doing jumping jacks under a chandalier, but I'm not complaining because she said she'd never done a spider before. And my nails were in such bad shape that anything on them was better than running around like I had been. It's hard to stitch with a lifted acrylic nail, and the little paranoid voice in my head that fears fungus was starting to yell, "There is MOLD under that nail, and water and fungus will grow, and your finger will fall off," just a tad bit louder.

I also went for our Halloween candy. We get so many trick or treaters, it's not funny, and I think I have the biggest kid of them all, at least when it comes to candy. He has a little pumpkin container I keep stocked through the year with goodies. And he was eagerly anticipating new goodies this year. Earlier this week, he picked out the Airheads left over from last year and sent them to my father, who loves them (why we did not do this in, say, November, I don't know) so there is room in the pumpkin. And made requests for Sweettarts. So I stocked up. I even found the most divine pumpkin spice Kisses. OMG. And some bouncy balls. The kids freaked over Play-doh last year, so I think this will be as much fun. I admit freely to bouncing a ball in the house on Saturday.

Of course, I intended us to not eat any of the candy until Saturday. So, I should have known better than to open up the bags with the intention of mixing some up for my mom to give her trick or treaters--she gets maybe 20, so it really is a waste for her to get a lot of candy. But I did. And then watched DF go crazy with it. He taste tested the Sweettarts and apparently found them to be so yucky he must eat them before the children get to them :). Then, later, when I was downstairs, watching the Travel Channel and stitching, he crept down with the 100-piece bag of candy bars. I said to him, "Please make sure you leave some for the children on Saturday." He told me he'd buy more. He is actually planning on going to BJs to get the full-size bags, or at least he says. I think I can safely say I'll be at Walmart on Friday night, replenishing.

I had to work yesterday, while he went to the pumpkin patch. He brought me a white pumpkin for pretty on the porch and a big green and orange one to carve. He said his family was suitably impressed with our large bag o' candy. They can't believe we get that many trick or treaters. We do! I left instructions for our niece and nephews to get their own bouncy balls, which they did and were happy with. MIL was drooling over my stitched decorations, most of which I didn't stitch. This is probably why they're so cute!

I do have to post pictures of the cute things I got in exchanges this year. I got the most adorable bat ornament, and a gorgeous Halloween pillow came from the Sanman board Hallo-Fall exchange. SO cute! I love them, and they take pride of place with my Halloween decorations. Oh, and I seem to have finally rounded up the last of those from Mom's. I brought home a candy dish, a ceramic trio of chipmunks, and a wall plaque that I didn't even know I had--DOH! So now it will all be centralized and we can enjoy it!

23 October 2009

Starting to celebrate my birthday early

OK, so it's two weeks from now, BUTTTTT . . . I've been very good the last few months, and all my bills are paid, soooo I decided to do a little birthday shopping for myself this week. I'm so bad, I know. But it was sooo worth it.

I went a little crazy at 123. Ordered Witch Hollow, by the Primitive Needle. I know people are saying that it takes A LOT of specialty thread, but, if there is one thing I have a lot of, much to HTB's chagrin, it's specialty thread. So I decided I'll kit it up out of my stash, and what's left over shouldn't be a heinous expense, right? And I saw BBD Midnight Watch on a few blogs, and fell in love with that--my fetish for black cats rears its head. So that came in my cart along with Pumpkins for Sale, the one Vonna did the beautiful finishing for, and a couple other small charts. I totally blame the twins for this expense. They told me I was a good mummy, especially since I figured out Chancey is a much happier dog when she gets to go for a walk. How did this happen . . . my fiance loves to exercise, my dog loves to exercise and I like to not exercise. Ey yiy. Anywat, since I am so fantastic, and I bring them cookies, they said I could treat myself. They're such good dogs.

And then, when I opened my blog today, there was an intriguing blog entry from Sampler Girl. All day today, a lot of her charts are just . . .$5.00. I have been drooling over several of her charts for a very long time. The Mary Lincoln Sampler, one about hope, and her new Seaside Memories, which I love. To buy them for $5 each was too tempting to pass up. That's three charts for just a little more than 1 chart regular priced. Head over to her website and see what tempts you!

22 October 2009

So I had an idea

Halloween is on a Saturday this year. I took the day off that day to take a punchneedle class at my LNS, but now that I know how much wedding stuff costs, and I realize I won't have time in the next year to become proficient at a new craft, I couldn't see spending the money on the class.

So that leaves me with a whole day to myself and nothing to do. And several Halloween UFOs and WIPs.

So I was thinking, why not spend the whole day stitching a Halloween project? I could make good progress in one day, right?

And then it morphed into maybe having a one-day Halloween SAL. I posted the basic idea on 123Stitch. Anyone that wanted to participate would, on the morning of the 31st, post a photo of either the fall or Halloween-themed project they want to work on that day, or what they want to work on. Then, at 9PM their time, post a photo of where they got to during the day. A couple people are interested.

And then I thought, bloggers might like to do that too.

So, this is my idea.

Choose a fall or Halloween-themed project you want to work on on October 31st. Post a photo on your blog in the morning. Stitch as much as you can all that day, even if you spend part of it handing out treats to kids (I'll be outside on our porch myself, since our doorbell doesn't work, and we have the wailing pitbull chorus in the garage on that evening). Then, at 9PM your time, post about how far you got. Maybe you'll finish. Maybe not. But, how often do we get to enjoy a whole day of holiday stitching?

Let me know if you would like to participate. It's nothing formal, I swear!

20 October 2009

Exchange finish and WIP

If I wasn't reasonably certain my partners don't read my blog, I wouldn't post these, but I am pretty sure they don't, sooooo thought I would share.

This is my finished Sanman board Hallofall exchange piece. It's LK Treats from the Boo Club. On perforated paper, backed with scrapbooking paper. Not too inventive, but I think it's pretty. I've discovered that spray adhesive works REALLY well to attach paper to these. I sent it to my partner with a trick or treat bag and some little goodies. I hope she likes it.

And my WIP for Dalene on 123. It's from Santa and Friends by Prairie Schooler, on 28 count Lugana that I had at Mom's. I had been going back and forth about this, remember, but someone on 123 stitched these for soldiers and I thought they were so cute. I thought I recognized the chart and started looking through the big binders and I had it, so this was the one I chose. I am having fun stitching it for her, and will stitch all of them for myself too. Eventually . . . I hope she likes it!

19 October 2009

A kitty story

We're in process of cleaning out my gramma's/mother's basement. It's a bit packed. I still have things there, my brother does, and we have my grandmother's things and now my mom's stuff.

On Friday I went over to start removing my stuff.

My Gussiecat has recently decided that my brother's former bedroom is his. He is technically, by dint of he's been there the longest, the man of the house. However, he can't go in the livingroom, because of the twins--they are doggies, they move quickly and they are loud, and he finds this to be upsetting, particularly if they attempt to lick him. Dogs are repulsive to him. He sometimes stays with my father, he loves to be in my former bedroom, and the bathroom sometimes works, especially in the summer, because there's an old cast-iron tub.

But he's decided that the basement bedroom is his--totally doggie-free, since Robbie hasn't mastered steps, and Chancey just don't like it down there. He has a couch, the couch is his.

I went over on Friday at lunch and my mom was down, gathering stuff up to give away. Gus was in his room, on his couch, surrounded by boxes. He was NOT happy. He told me, in no uncertain terms, was this acceptable. He voiced his fears he would be evicted from his beloved couch. He stretched out to show me he requires a lot of space to conduct the business of being a tabbycat. And those boxes were not helping him be content.

I told my mother not to put boxes on that couch. Because he needs space. And he will break things if they're in his way. Usually on accident--he has a flaccid tail which does not function--but sometimes I can see in his eyes, he means it.

My mother mumbled about how the cats don't make the rules in the house.

She's done this before.

The first time was the battle of "Why we don't bring flowers, live or silk, in the house." Felix won that one. Sucker chews anything with a petal. He's cute, but he's dumb.

The second time was the battle of, "We don't bring things that have feathers on them in the house, we don't draw attention to it if we forget not to bring them, and we certainly don't hang them on the Christmas tree where the cats can smell them, see them, sense them." There were casualties of that fight. Namely, vintage glass balls . . . it was bloody . . . because I stepped on one of them in my bare feet. Score one for the felines.

These battles never end in our favor. If they do, they are hard won.

I've known Mom for almost 33 years. I know she thinks someday these cats will act like decent cuddly creatures.

I've known Gus for 10, he is who he is. He wants things how he wants them. And they will be his.

So I was happy when I didn't get the phone call detailing what 'your cat' did. I guess she took me seriously, assessed the potential victims of a box on the sofa--half of the ever-dwindling ornament stash--and left him alone on his sofa happily.

Saturday when I went over, he was sitting in the bathtub, wailing. It was as if his whole little world had been torn up and he was in his refuge of last resort. Which shows he is pretty smart--neither of the twins is too heavily into batheing, so they weren't bothering him in the tub.

And then he came downstairs to make sure we didn't annex his couch again.

But, in retribution for the affront of the day before, he spent 7 hours "assisting" us in the organizing. By assisting, I mean getting in the way, getting in essentially every place we were trying to put things to get them out of the way, yowling indignantly like we had hidden his toys, and, then after we swept the floor, he indulged in one of his favorite hobbies, the litter kick for distance.

Bless his little barn cat heart. I love that cat.
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