29 April 2009

The week of smalls

I am working on my friend Nancy's project for her friend. She's doing Sue Hillis' "A Good Friend is Like A Bra" pattern for her and couldn't get the wording spaced right. So I am working on that for her. I can understand why she was having issues. I make a mistake last night while I was working on it, and had to frog. BUGGER. BUGGER. BUGGER. It's going pretty quick. I should have it mostly finished by the end of the night tonight, then try to get it sent back to her by Saturday.

I guess it's a little nutso that I have two big, deadline projects to get done, and yet I am so wanting to do small things right now, but I do. I was cleaning up the other night in the sewing room and kept finding cute tinies. I want to do them, like crazy, but I have four months to the fair. Everything going in a frame must be in at my LNS for framing by June 20th, in order to get it done in time for the fair. That sounds like a long time ahead, but it's only 6 weeks, and that doesn't allow for a lot of wiggle room if they don't have the frame moulding readily available. And I tend to get a little, um, frantic, about deadlines. And in turn, that gives me a month and 20 days to get that lioness finished. She will become my May focus. I know I'll get her done, but, it's gonna be a kicking push.

But I have July 2nd through the 6th off, so that gives me time to work on those smalls I love.

I continue to teach SO about the rules of stitching. He's learning that "don't ask, don't tell" is a good policy, LOL. Yesterday, I surprised him by wearing a belly-dancing top one of my coworkers gave me (we're moving and cleaning out our desk--you should see what these people pulled out of their drawers). I told him I was going to wear it to work over a tank top. We compromised that I'll wear it to hand out candy on Halloween, but he did laugh in the good way. He told me I sounded like Christmas, LOL. So I took it off and ran it out to where my deep winter clothes are stored, and of course, found some more cross stitch charts, these were purchased, oh, January of 2007. So I brought them in to drool over.

He of course wanted to know why I have to look at stash when I have so many UFOs. He says, "That should be illegal til you get all the stuff you have started finished." I glared at him. He asked how many I had started. I told him probably 20 things. I don't know an exact figure, probably more like 60. Having stash spread between two houses makes for inaccurate record-keeping. And there's always the, "Should I count it if I haven't worked on it in 5 years?" ethical issue. I just opted to go with what was in my sewing room, not choosing to count the WIPs in the mancave (because it's manly), in the bedroom (because we sleep there, and counting WIPS is stressful, and I can't sleep thinking of all the WIPS in there), and in the garage (the garage is almost outside, and we don't count what is outside, or nearly so). I mean, we need limits, right? Are you with me? So then he asks if all cross stitchers are like me. I shook my head and said, "No . . . some are worse." BUT . . . I just realized that the deck has been an ongoing project for as long as I've known him and, til that's finished, I feel no shame (but I am not being smug, we can't fit the pool and the table on the existing deck at the same time, and we don't live that close to the beach, and it gets hot in Maryland in August, y'all. That deck will get finished before August, I know it.)So I better get hoppin.

27 April 2009

Freebie wrangling

I think the heat got to me yesterday. I was a little snippy. And fighty. And hot. And frizzy.

In addition to my helper project for my friend, I have a couple other teensy projects I want to do. I am modifying a teacup and plate into a stitcher's caddy. My aunt made me a candlestand two summers ago from a saucer on top of a pretty water glass, and I liked the idea of repurposing items like that. I was going to give this teacup and plate to an exchange partner, but I found a chip, and I couldn't see giving that away to someone, knowing it was flawed. And while I was thinking of what to do with a chipped cup and not quite matching plate, it struck me to do this stitcher's caddy. I can make an ort collector out of the cup (or a floss holder or whatever), cover it with a removeable pincushion, and then make a needlebook and attach that to the plate. I think it's doable. I already have a design for the pincushion. Heck, I already stitched the little design, and I can do the needlebook with the coordinating pattern. I asked SO to cut me out some circles from posterboard. Not because I can't do it, but because he has infinitely more patience than I and is more careful. I asked my aunt what cement she used to do her project, and bought a tube of that. I figure with some ribbon and hot glue, everything else is possible.

But that is not my only planned project.

Have I told you all how I adore the 4th of July, because it's a holiday in the truest sense of the word: a really fun day that doesn't require you to give cards or gifts to anyone, it's warm enough to actually enjoy a parade, you eat good food, you don't have to wear fancy clothes (just red white and blue ones), and things get blown up usually without a hitch. SO I LURVE PATRIOTIC THINGS. Of all kinds. I could decorate the whole house in patriotic and be blissfully happy. I actually start looking for new knick-knacks to add to the collection about this time of the year. This year, I found little patriotic buckets with lids at Michael's. $1.49, and they were on sale for less than that. So I thought I could stitch a little something and make a really cute little bucket, just perfect to sit around the house. I totally blame this on Just Nan's toppers, but they don't seem hard to do, and it's a cute decoration.

But I needed a little design to put on the top. And none of my boughten charts had that right feel of whimsical, simple, small item that I need. So I spent a cheery evening delving in my binders of freebies. Which, to be serious, I doubt are all my freebies. I know how I am, I know how many freebies I've printed over the years, but, for now, we'll go with what I got.

It actually was a fun evening for me. I told y'all how I love looking at my charts, but I didn't realize that extended to my freebies. Even though a lot of them, I wouldn't stitch anymore. I have bunches I printed off the first day I yahooed the phrase, "free cross stitch" that appealed to me because they were millenium-themed, that I don't think I would actually stitch, at least not right now. But there were a lot of really cute charts. I have scads of September 11th themed charts. Don't know about those either, but, I mean, they're beautiful charts, and I never want to forget, so those may come back on the priority list.

Of course I did not find a chart I could use. But I am going to Mom's this weekend, and surely, I'll find some of those other charts, LOL.

26 April 2009

Where did spring go?

Hopefully this works. I'm too hot and too tired at this point to fight this computer.

At some point over the weekend, we lost spring here in the Mid-Atlantic. We're in August right now. To celebrate, we cooked out last night. Eastern Shore ribs and chicken with asparagus and a green salad, as well as fruit salad for dessert. I went a little crazy with the fruit, I have to admit. I wanted to get some, as I am on a new doctor-recommended diet that relies heavily on fruit and vegetables, and there are times when all the fruit we have in the house is whatever flavor is in our candy stash. Of course, I tend to go a little overboard, and spent 2 weeks' food budget on kiwis, mangoes, bananas, and asparagus. Oh, we're eating it all. Trust me! If I can't go to the craft store til the 14th, we're gonna eat every but-sour kiwi (they were not ripe) I brought home. Anyway . . .

We're trying to conserve electricity, so aren't turning on the AC. SO is holed up in the mancave, which we didn't use all winter because it was too cold, now it's perfectly, delightfully cool. And I'm sitting here, stitching an afghan. No wonder they say this is a winter project. I just have two more kitties to do and it's done. And I can move on to the other small projects I have lined up.

I may end up taking a break this week on it, because my friend Nancy asked for help centering lettering on her current WIP. Nancy is one of the ladies I roomed (and had happy hour) with at Sue Hillis' get-together and is SO MUCH FUN. She needed help with this. And it's just lettering. PIECE OF CAKE.

Let me run for now. It's so muggy in the computer room, I'm melting.

23 April 2009

Not much happening here

I keep meaning and trying to get home in time to show how to do the Nun-stitch, because Riona asked, but traffic and the weather seem to not be cooperating with me, and I've been rolling in close to 8 every night this week. This is getting so old. SO actually asked me why it takes so long last night. He can not believe that I leave the house at 7:00, get to work at 9:00, work all day, then leave at 6:00 and get in at 7:30, and it's only 40 miles. I told him I do the best I can. He understood after I told him it took 45 minutes to go 10 miles yesterday. He works his own schedule, so he never hits traffic at night, but I think people just turn into angry slugs on their way home. I keep praying something closer to the house will come open at pay that we can live on. Some people dream of opening their own business, of living in the city, and being glamorous. I just dream of having time to cook dinner for my boyfriend. That probably sounds bad, doesn't it? I can't help it . . .

I went over to Mom's to get my mail yesterday. It was a good stitchy mail day. One chart I ordered from ABC Stitch Therapy a while ago, 3 charts I had special ordered by 123 Stitch from Stitching Studio. An order from Picture This Plus. Three hanks of silks from China (I played with those last night). And my order from Violarium. I seriously never thought they would come. Not because the shop is bad--they're not, she responded right away when I told her that they never came, and sent new charts--but just because I wanted them so badly. I could have cried, I was that happy. I held them all afternoon; I just couldn't stop looking at the bunnies, and the horses, and planning how I would stitch them, what fabric I could use, if the Chinese silks would work on them. I get that way about lovelies. I was trying to figure out what the writing in French was, but it's been a while since I spoke French all the time, and, somewhere along the line, perhaps when we were learning smatterings of Creole, I didn't learn most of the words on the chart. If my French teacher were still teaching, I would advise her that future classes need a lesson in cross stitch. Far more useful than knowing that French people LOVE jeans and cafe au lait (written as cafe ole by me for far longer than it should have been).

I finally talked to my aunt about finishing off the kitty afghan. She said she would do it for me, after she gets back from the wagon train she goes on. That gives me plenty of time to get it finished. I am going to try to be prepared a little earlier for the fair this year, so I can enjoy my days off, so it's important to get it done.

21 April 2009

Teacups up for an LNS owner

I found out today the lady who owned and ran the closest LNS to my former home died. Inez Fowler owned Inez' Creative Stitchery, in Kensington, Maryland. She was 89 years old when she died last month.

Ms. Inez's shop was the first real LNS I ever went to as an adult. I found it on New Years Eve, 1999. I had a boring day at work, and started flipping through the phonebook, then went home at lunch. She was on the way home, so I stopped in, and bought a kit--my first evenweave kit--and I used to go there a lot. A lady I worked with who was crafty said she'd been in business a long time. It was 30 years, even on Sundays. Every Sunday.

She had treasures in that shop. I'd always come out with some little goodie. Now I regret the ones I passed up. The Gone With the Wind kits. Not getting all the Prairie Schooler nursery rhyme leaflets. But you could find things you wouldn't find anywhere else: napkins, placemats, unusual colors. Amazing finds.

She had a kind of prickly reputation. Her staff seemed afraid of her, but she was ALWAYS nice to her customers. At least when I went in. Even when she found out I was a Kentucky alumni--she was an LSU grad. Maybe she liked seeing a young, enthusiastic stitcher? Maybe she loved needlework and wanted to keep it alive; she stopped and gave me a lesson in needlepoint one day. I never finished that bird, but it wasn't for lack of a good teacher. Whatever it was, she lit a fire under me. For a girl who had never had beautiful threads and fabrics and charts to work with before, her shop was a whole new world, and I went from a hobbyist to an artist. And I am forever grateful to her for that.

Whereever you are, Ms. Inez, thank you.

20 April 2009

It seemed like a good idea in theory . . .

I am officially 2/3 finished with my kitten throw. I worked like a booger on it this weekend, even found a kindred stitching soul at my part time job, because I was working on it. A patron, really, who stitched a while ago, but had given it up because of her eyes. I told her she should go online and see all the new things available and be inspired.

And I was pretty pleased with myself because I managed to get my two kitties done this weekend, in spite of going dirt-track racing on Saturday night. The guy who built SO's drag car also races dirt track cars, and I've never seen that kind of racing, so we went out to watch. It was a nice night in Maryland, almost summery. And I had fun, other than when two people in front of me started having words because someone got hit on the track, and his fan didn't think it was right, and the other guy said he deserved it, so they had to start at each other. So stupid. Why face arrest and a night in the correctional facility for a driver who probably wouldn't care that you were in there? But it was fun, even though I am still coughing up dust, and my butt is still flat, and SO's friend did not win. Did not even win the consolation race. Did not even place in the consolation race. But then again, to go out on a track that looks slick as anything and drive around at a high rate of speed, drifting half the time, is well beyond my ability and frankly, the idea of driving fast around a circle makes me slightly nauseous. So I admire anyone who does it!

OHHH, plus, someone I knew in high school won his race. I didn't know him well enough to know he was into cars--he certainly was not in the group of guys who used to dragrace the backroads in their muscle cars, my brother amongst them--but I saw his name on the car. And I figured there could not possibly be that many people in the Western half of the state with that name; he doesn't have a common name. Now, I know full well Maryland is a decent-sized state and people move in and out all the time. But some of us do actually stay here our whole lives. My SO has always lived here, even I just moved away for college and came home. It does happen. And it was him, and he's actually a really terrific racer. I was proud. I'm always thrilled when someone from my hometown becomes known for something other than being on a reality show (Bachelor contestant who got booted out the first rose ceremony) or something illegal (we've had several of those people, it must be something in the water, thank God I bucked the trend), so it was good for me to see!

Anyway, about my afghan. I was sitting there last night, after work, playing with it. It's starting to shed threads off the side, and, from that store of useless knowledge I have accumulated for the past 32 years (because I think my destiny is to be on Jeopardy), I remembered that Stoney Creek magazine had a suggestion to use the fallen threads in order to do the nunstitch to finish your afghan. It seems like a good idea, right? Color matches, it's not wasteful of the threads, this isn't a large afghan, so it's not unreasonably wieldy to do this.

Well, I tried it. It's not so easy. And the threads don't go very far, not when you are nunstitching. It looks a little crappy right now. But, I'm trying to keep calm. A lot of times, things look crappy in the beginning, and fine at the end. And it's a lot of fabric which will end up relaxing during the stitching. And this is a safe, pretty way to finish it. It will be OK. I am confident of that.

17 April 2009

The resiliency of cat hair and other musings

I pulled my kitten afghan out at lunch today to work on it. I got a little stitching time last night, the first real time I've had all week to do so, and I want to get two more kitties done. I have three cats. My mother is keeping them because SO is allergic to cats (let's be real here, violently allergic--he ran out of the house, wheezing, because I touched his face after petting Gus) and my parents are very attached to them, so they keep them and I visit. Anyway, I don't usually take my stitching with me when I visit, because I'm there to socialize and cuddle. I know I haven't taken this project over there. The fabric hasn't been in the house, the thread hasn't been in the house. Neither has the magazine. The tote I have it in, was, but it was in plastic at the time. The shoes I am wearing were in, but they're on my feet, far from my stitching. Nothing else I am wearing has been. So why, pray tell, was there cat hair on my afghan today. I can't blame the pittybulls; their hair is black and white or brown and white, and this is distinctly of the orange tabby persuasion, LOL. That hair is resilient, I tell you. I guess when it comes from a former barn cat(er, kitten?), it's a little tougher than average. You have to be strong to survive in a barn. Anyway, I picked it off. I love Gussie, but his hair in my WIPs, especially in the unglassed ones, adds a certain something I don't really like. But I do treasure the one where his hair got in among some sea grass in the picture, so it belongs.

I really need to set some time aside this weekend to neaten up my sewing room. It's starting to become the catch-all room again, and I can't have that. When I was digging through the stash of bags in the closet to find issues of TGOSM, I kept finding charts. I was actually embarrassed about that. My nice room, with all this stove shoved in the closet. It shouldn't take that long, an hour at the most. I think, and then it will be nice and neat and springy. If only I could get my pictures hung up, it would be perfect.

16 April 2009

Happy Thursday

Happy Day to y'all!

So far, it's been a decent day. Woke up and let the boys out in the fog. They didn't want to go into the backyard because all the water from the rain has run down the hill and it was pooled at the gate and they didn't want to get their feet wet. I have to laugh at them, silly big bad dogs scared of a little water. And yet, throw a little dirt into that water to make it mud, and they're happy to run through it and jump on me. At least Shocka walked me back down when I filled up his water bowl. I guess he was afraid I would get lost in the fog?

My drive in was not too bad. The sun started to come out as soon as I got on the main road, and I was just grooving along down the road. I went to Mom's at lunch. I had the sunroof open. I treasure being able to do that, since I used to ride around in my hoopty with the roof open all the time, even in winter (but before you ask, since it was a hoopty, this normally involved prayers that the motor powering the roof wouldn't choose to die while the roof was open--that would suck). And, since I bought the car in October, I didn't get that many chances--it's one thing to roll with the roof open all the time in a $400 car and another to roll in a car that you make payments on and is actually cute.

The twins were overjoyed to see me. I have to say this: ever since Chancey has been on her thyroid medication, it's been night and day with her, at least as far as her temperment. She seems so much happier, and, wierdly, sorry she's been so cranky. It's like she is trying to say, "I wasn't trying to be mean, Mummy, I just didn't feel good fors a long time." Of course, if I was getting a daily dollop of cream cheese, I'd be in a better mood, too. Since there are two of them, and my son is a chowhound and would take his sister's creamycheese medication ball if he thought he could get away with it, he's been getting his own little bite, too. Mom says he loves it. And, it does make things a lot easier. Since he gets a little bit every day anyway, when it's pilling time, he doesn't fight or spit it out (he probably wonders why the creamycheese is sometimes chunky-style, but then again, he's a cute dog, not a smart one, and he eats it anyway.) I just feel bad that I wasn't more pushy about finding an answer as to why my dog was turning red and gaining weight, especially when I look at pictures of her, because she went from inky black with her brown undercoat to having a dull black with red tips, and, of what I know of Schips, that wasn't normal, it wasn't her aging process, she was sick. But I did try, and no one listened to me. But we've got her doing better and the fur that is growing in is LUSCIOUS and as soft as Robbie's fur. I get two teddy bears to cuddle with.

Anyway, the bunny finally arrived at my mom's. Mom thinks she is adorable. I may just end up giving her to her for Mother's Day. I know she would love her and SO's neice has her bunny now. I don't know, I'll have to think about it.

I didn't stitch last night. I got home at 9:30 because of the traffic and just didn't feel like stitching, so I put freebies into binder pages. I needed to do it, and it reduces clutter, which is a good thing. I will stitch tonight. I promise.

15 April 2009

In an organizing mood

I have all my issues of The Gift of Stitching magazine on my work computer, and the lease is about to expire, so I am trying to print them off and put them in notebooks, so that I have them neat and organized and available in case I want to do something from them. I assure you that I have religiously printed them off all this time, but I have no idea where they are and less desire to find them. Except I did get up this morning and looked in the sewing room and unearthed two issues.

You should have seen SO's face when I rolled in with five issues' worth of paper to put in binders last night. I only brought home five because that seemed like a lot of paper to carry, and I think if I do small amounts, I am not as apt to get discouraged--something tells me I've been in this situation before, I think that's how I stopped printing them off and putting them in binders in the first place, I got discouraged. Anyway, he's OK with it, it was just a honkin' lot of paper. Thank goodness since my company is moving, they have tons of old binders that they didn't want to move so they gave them to us, and I have those to put them in. Binders are expensive. but they make it all look so nice.

I visited the Online Needlework show when it opened. Not much that I was really interested in. Primitive stitching, maybe, but even that was one of those things I can back burner. But I bookmarked the site. I'm trying to be responsible, not stupid.

OHHHHH, I got my order from I am very pleased with it. Sometimes I sit and wonder if it's so smart to buy fabric online, since there are so many quilt shops around here. And you have to pay for shipping. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just shop hop. But it's hard to find a variety of fabrics in your chosen need at any one shop (unless it's the Quilted Cat, then I dare you to walk out with empty hands) and my car gets good gas mileage, but not great, so $4 shipping equals a 40 mile trip in the car, but then I don't have to actually be in the car (I am starting to hate being in the car; this is why I don't go to the mall, we don't go out to eat and I went to the grocery store for the first time in two weeks this morning, and that was only because SO would have had to choose between frozen meatloaf from a year ago, Jiffy blueberry mix, cheesy crackers we bought to go camping last fall, or feta cheese for dinner tonight) and I don't have to haul bolts of fabric around. So I guess, it really is a savings. Especially when the fabric is so nice. I have to really cut back on buying fabric for a while, especially since I am not using the machine. I told Mom I wanted a breadmaker, and she said, "Well, don't ask me for one, since you haven't used the sewing machine we bought you." AGGGGGGGHHHH. I am pretty sure she feels the same way about the Kitchenaid mixer I would sell my soul for. Only with that, she taunts me: "You know they had that Kitchenaid stand mixer on QVC as a special buy. It looked really nice." That mixer is not the same as the sewing machine. How can I explain to her that that sewing machine is SCURY, it's fancy. It's like handing a 17 year old the keys to a Ferrari. Yes, I know the basics of sewing, and I did get an A in costume design, but that doesn't mean I am the sewing goddess. With the mixer, it makes you feel like a more competant cook. With the sewing machine, somehow I bypass the cute dresses I made in college and revert to the gawky 11 year old making an UGLY gingham sundress(blue gingham, in the 1980s, what was I thinking) for the 4-H fair. It was so ugly. I think my mom still has it. That dress singlehandedly sparked my interest in fashion, because I never wanted to own such an ugly garment again, especially after I wore it to school with a white buttondown shirt, and penny loafers and white socks (go on with my badself!) I am going to TRY to use the sewing machine. I have my pretty shirt pattern. I found some butter yellow eyelet. It can't be that hard to sew, like riding a bike, right? If worse comes to worse, I can always wear a white buttondown. Can't look any worse than I did in junior high.

13 April 2009

The Wizard of Oz.

Look at this. I must have it. It will be mine.

I played the Wicked Witch in our high school's production of The Wizard of Oz; there's even a photo of me in our yearbook in my oh-so-sexy latex nose. I suffered for my art. I remember being distraught at the sight of several of my Lee Press-on nails (remember those?) flying across the stage during a performance, starting my disillusionment with acting in general and musical theatre specifically. When you can't dance too well and you can't control clawlike plastic fingernails, those are hints. After the next year, when I had to sing tenor (yes, girls, tenor) in a skin- tight satin dress while battling a mystery ailment that made me lose so much weight I sat on stage, shivering from cold, I was about done with performing. So I got out of acting, went into makeup and costume (probably I was searching for nails that would not fly off and the perfect Chinese brocade shift dress--these were my definitions of high style in the mid-90s), and then ended up in the insurance industry. It was a natural progression, I think.

Anyway, I still hold an affection for the story of the Wizard of Oz. Not for Dorothy. The witch. I love the book and musical Wicked. The witch got a bad rap. Yes, she was nasty. You'd be nasty too if you were green, and people made fun of you. And your fingernails flew off at a moment's notice. That will grate on you. And Dorothy broke in her house to steal stuff. I realize she needed to get home, but all criminals have a justification for their crime. Does that make it right? No.

So this is on my wish list. And it will be in my cart when it comes out.

Back away from the peanut butter eggs


Now that the holiday is over, I have some time to blog! Yay!

Easter went well. The bunny never showed up, so I had to go get a replacement bunny for my niece. I ended up getting her a Boyds bunny. Which everyone thought was cute. It's funny. I grew up literally the next town over from where Boyds Bears were started--I can pretty much show you where the company was started--but I don't have that many of them, and they're not quite my favorite bears. But I love their cats. And the bunny was cute. Not as cute as the Bearington bunnies, but that bunny is crossing the country. Oh well, it can join mine. Her brothers got Little People; the baby showed everyone his scoop. He was happy with his cookies, and wanted one right away. SO's sister said he's just learned the word "donut", and she heard him yesterday, talking to himself, saying, "Daddy donut? Donut." She figures he was dreaming about donuts. He's the Homer Simpson baby, LOL.

My dress was a hit. It could have stood for a little bit of alteration, but I still looked good in it. My hair managed to behave for one day--amazing what you can scare hair into doing with copious applications of product, heat, and threats. But it looked pretty good, just the right amount of pouf and yet it was not frizzy. I was proud of myself; this is a huge accomplishment for a Southern girl! The only stinky thing was, I went to Mom's house to drop some things off. She's been keeping Robbie for me (I think I said this before, but I forget), and, since it had been a day since he'd seen me, he was acting like a fool, even after I made over him. He scratched the living crud out of my legs, because his toenails grow so quick. After I told him to quit it and told him he hurt me, he insisted they were love scratches. They must have been cause I had them the rest of the day. OWWWW. But at least he had the courtesy to not eat Daddy's Peeps.

I even managed to get some stitching done yesterday. No, not at dinner. I try not to bring my stitching to family events for the simple reason that we're there to celebrate. I also don't bring it on my vacations, unless we're sitting around. It's just one of my wierd quirks. But it does make sense. The more exposure of something, the more opportunity to ruin or lose it. But, in the morning, before we got going, I was stitching while SO watched the Masters. I was so pulling for Kenny Perry--I must support my Kentucky people! And then last night, I was stitching while we watched "The Sound of Music." That is one of SO's favorite movies, and he was singing along with it. He is a big man, and he was singing along to "My Favorite Things." I had to laugh when he launched into "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria." He is such a tough guy, and it just makes me giddy when he has these moments of softness. He was so cute doing it, it was hard to pay attention to my stitching. It was so sweet. His Easter card for me was mushy too. He tried to tell me that that was not his first choice and he put it back, but I told him that he never just dashes in and buys cards. He puts a lot of thought into them and I knew he liked that one the best.

I even dyed floss yesterday. Woo hoo. I got a nice red white and blue skein that I am really happy with, because it came out JUST as I had it pictured in my mind. That doesn't happen a lot with floss dyeing. Usually, you hope for the best, but it worked out right. I'll try to post a pic if it's totally dry tonight and I can put it on the tag. I was playing with black too, but it didn't turn out right. But I've actually come up with a solution for that, based on how they paint model horses. I can finally tell my mom that those July weekends at Breyerfest were worth the money and the hassle, and all those times I nearly passed out because it was hotter than Hades and I had to stand in line to get the special models (for some reason, I never actually passed out, THANK GOD, just got really close. It was embarrassing enough to walk around with a red face. Can you imagine if I had actually fainted while wearing one of my University of Kentucky tee shirts, while my parents were somewhere else, usually trying to keep Chancey from eating horse poop, which she dearly LOVES, 500 miles from home? I would have been a discredit to my family name, my University and my dog!) were worth it, because they're helping me be a better dyer.

10 April 2009

Happy Easter!

We're doing pretty good in our Easter prep. The kids' Easter baskets are on the dining room table, with most of the goodies in them. SO's neice's bunny is not here yet, which I am LIVID over. It's being sent parcel post. I don't think it will be here by Sunday. I guess I am off to get a replacement tomorrow, since the Easter Bunny doesn't do rainchecks. But the boys are pretty much done, including the tall handsome one I adore. I just have to take The Departed and exchange it for a movie he doesn't have (I bought it Tuesday, came home and found him watching it on TV, asked him if he liked it, and found out he had it. Darn . . .), and see if I can get the Easter Little People for SO's nephew, and they're done.

I have my Easter dress, too, and think it's super cute. It was on sale at Sears the day I took Mom for her procedure, and, at $50% off, not something I could pass up, particularly since it looks very vintagy, and I rock that sixties style. It's pretty simple, a white shift with a retro print in melon, pink and black at the skirt. I even have cute spectator-y slingbacks to wear with it. What is it about Easter that we feel compelled to have a new outfit, even if we don't go to church? Which I feel awful about, but our small town does not have the denominations that either SO or I attend, and I don't yet know the procedure for changing churches. I don't even think we fall under the same diocese (is that right?) that we did in the other county, where the churches are that we belong to. SO has been rumbling and mumbling about going to the Catholic Church in the city nearby, but he hasn't made the commitment to go, and it isn't my place to push him. I told him I would go with him if he wanted, but that I was warning him, I can't take communion. I'll keep you updated, but at least if we go, I have something to wear.

I was also just sitting and remembering this morning how Easter is such a sensory holiday. The smells, particularly. We always had an Easter lily. We never saw them come in, but, on Easter morning, the stereo cabinet would have one or two on it, and that sweet smell is Easter to me. So much so that Mom used to send me a lily in college so that I could have a trace of Easter in my dorm room. And Gramma's house would smell different when we walked in on Easter, more chocolate-y, and our baskets would be there.

My first dog was an Easter present, 19 years ago. We had wanted a dog forever, and my brother saw a Schipperke and wanted it and my parents relented. But not a puppy; through my aunt's vet, we found an almost-5 year old Schipperke and went to a dog show in Hagerstown the day before Easter, 1990, to pick her up. I had never seen a Schip in my life, but it was love at first sight. Even my mom liked her; she was quiet and smart. Funny, she was supposed to be my brother's dog, and she hated him with a passion. That never ceased, never dimmed, not even when she was elderly and blind. He could never sneak in the house at night and come by my door after curfew. NOT HAPPENING. We had a game called, "Luke's at the Door" and all I had to do was, when all was quiet, whisper in her ear, "Luke's at the door," and she would get up, tear off down the hall or stairs, run to the front door, bark like CRAZY til you opened the door, then she would stand there, barking and glaring, looking for him out the storm door, like, "I'll get you, you son of a . . .". Chancey is like that with SO. Robbie adores him, lets him tease him (no one but me can tease him, he hates that); she looks at him with her, "I'm WATCHING you" look, and then looks at her brother or I with a, "I have done my best, if you let him tease you, and I can't bite him, it's on you. I'm done with you. You're dead to me" face. Schipperkes are like that. They hold grudges; you don't know what you've done, but they are pretty much teddy bear/security/chaperone/conscience in a tailless package. And all of it started on Easter!

Hopefully, I've not totally ruined your holiday. Have a wonderful day. Eat lots of peanut butter (or, in Pumpkin's case, creme) eggs, find lots of colored ones on your Easter egg hunts, save some ham for others, and don't lick the black jelly beans and draw on others' faces. It's a holiday!

Happy Easter.

09 April 2009

Nurse Ratched . . . or not?

I don't think I am a very capable nurse. I am supposed to be nursing SO back to health. But I rolled in at 9:00 last night after working to find out the Nyquil doesn't work for him, and he was really achey. And headachey. I wanted to go get him some better meds, but he didn't want any part of that, but I think that is a sign of improvement. When he stops fighting, he don't feel good, LOL. He said he feels better today. A little. I know when he can't work, he gets upset with himselfHopefully, me bringing home better meds tonight will put him back on the road to health.

I had to stitch last night. The lack of doing it was bothering me. A LOT. But I knew he wanted to sleep. So I took 20 minutes and stitched a few stitches, just to get something accomplished. I brought it with me to work on at my jobs today, just so I don't feel like I'm falling behind. As of lunch, I almost have the 4th kitten finished. I just have his foot, and his ball of yarn to do. But I do need another skein of 435. Four kittens has used up a whole skein. But that's to be expected with 4 strands. Keep your fingers crossed I won't pull any of the threads on the counter in the box office at my part time job tonight.

08 April 2009

Midway through Hell week

This is a wretched week. Wretched, I tell you.

I have barely stitched the last three days. Instead, I have been at work. Or driving.

I worked late shift Monday night, so did not get home til 9:15. I was so worried I was coming down with something on Monday, because I was congested and headachey. But I drank a Coke, ate some Popeye's spicy chicken, and got better. Whoda thunk? SO seemed a little croupy when I got home, but, then again, we function in a semi-permanent croupy state in the spring. And he was down where it was really pollen-y, and, not matter he says, he has pollen allergies. He gets sick every time the pollen kicks up.

Yesterday we had an 8:30 meeting at work, so I left the house at 7. Right as I walked out, I heard SO start coughing. Not his croupy cough, his, "I'm going down hard," cough. I hoped I had misheard, but he texted me at work for Nyquil and that was the end of that.

I meant to stitch some at work, but stopped for lunch at Taco Bell, and sat in line because some dummy up ahead didn't figure out that they had to pull up to order. It took another person going up to tell him to get him to move, and he still had to wait, in case that guy was lying, I guess. Because people will get shady for 89 cent tacos. So it ended up that I had no time at lunch. Phooey.

I had to stop for SO on the way home and had to get the standard sick person/caretaker fare: orange juice, cold medicine, and a trashy magazine to read. Got home, gave SO his medicine, and then did some cleaning up. He asked me to stop by his parents' house on my way to work this morning to drop off a tool he had in his truck that his dad needs. They live not that far from work, but morning traffic makes "not far" a relative term. So I set the alarm for 5:30 and then woke myself up all night, just to make sure I hadn't overslept. I so am dragging today. I would love to go home and nap, but one of the beauties of working two jobs is that they keep me honest--I can't just call out.

07 April 2009


Someone posted this site today.


06 April 2009

Kitty afghan photos!

My latest WIP is the Kitten throw from a recent issue of US Cross Stitcher. I posed it with some photos from my tabby cat collection. I wuvs de tabbies!

Ta da . . . floss on the tag

I finally took pictures. SO is in the other room, watching basketball, so I thought I'd take care of pics. For some reason, it's nerve-wracking to share it with people. I guess because it's real. Anyway, here the skein is, it's one I was playing with over the summer, and it ended up in that bag o' floss that survived the car accident, and has spent the winter in the garage. And it is such a spring-like color too. I may go stitch with it. Or I may just fondle it.

Apologies . . .

I intended to post pictures this weekend. I intended to do a lot of things this weekend. Didn't happen. Not much happened. From my extensive to-do list, I managed to make strawberry lemonade, and purchase most of the things I wanted for the kids' Easter. It is HARD to fill an Easter basket. My mom was so good at it, but I get indecisive, and work on a theme, and worry if the theme is right or overdone.

I was rolling pretty good Friday afternoon. Til my theatre boss called, and asked me if I could work Saturday because of some scheduling issues. I stupidly said, "Sure," not realizing that meant I got zilch done Saturday, even though I was up at 6 to let the dogs out to play. When you leave the big boys out, you can't go anywhere, you have to stay at the house with them. They're strong; Beazer almost chewed through the fence one time because SO was out talking to someone and I guess he thought they were shady (which doesn't make sense because he didn't try to chew through the fence when my car got killed, and I give them cookies ALL THE TIME. At least Shockaboo sings to me, at least he LOVES me, LOL). Anyway, so I was stuck with them, til I left at 10:30 to get to work.

I worked til 8 Saturday. I took my La-di-da Girl in the Red Dress sampler and worked on that, but it was slow going. Why does stitching over one take so much longer? But I did find out who designed that gorgeous horse that I loved at Woodlawn. It's by Classic Cross Stitch, The chart is Cart Horse Head, down at the bottom. I'm loving it. Also "Thunder and Lightning," the one with the two Clydesdales. They're pretty pricy, maybe as a treat if money gets better. So I didn't get to take myself out to dinner, which I am a little bummed about. Because that's not a thing I can say to SO, "Oh, by the way, I am hauling my cookies to the restaurant tonight alone to prove to myself I'm independent, so you are on your own. I think there's bologna in the drawer." I wouldn't like it if he said that to me, and he wouldn't dream of it. But, I'm not gonna fuss, it's racing season and I am sure there will be nights I can go eat out and be brave

SO said he would be home sometime overnight on Saturday night, so I sat up for a while, just in case he got home early. I knew the chances were pretty slim of that, because he was in Southern North Carolina, and eliminations didn't start til 5, and his friend is a good driver, so he wasn't gonna be home til late, but I was awake, so it was nothing. I watched Best in Show and worked on my kitten afghan. That is moving SO fast. I started it Wednesday night and already have 3 kitties done and one about halfway done. I am working on it only at home, so it doesn't get dirty and stays fairly pet hair-free, but, at this rate, I should be done by the end of the month. Plus the dogs were cooped up for 11 hours and needed a while out to play, so they were out from 9 to 1. They liked it, but they were ready to go to bed when I got them in.

SO came home at 6. His friend came in second. I woke up for a couple minutes to say, hey, but went back to sleep. I didn't get up til 10 or 11, then went to go play with floss, but realized I had no dish soap to use to actually dye floss, so had to go get some at the store when I went. And I decided it was probably not a good idea to keep raiding my boxes of hair dye for rubber gloves to use, and found out that those gloves are not cheap, so I bit the bullet and asked SO to get me some from one of his suppliers for his work (they give them to him for free.) I felt a little silly, but I'm working for a farm here, dang it! Pastures of beef cattle, two fireplaces, and a wide front porch don't come cheap! I gotta cut costs where I can, LOL! So he's going to do that for me.

I did get the kids' Easter basket stuff and that was important. I appreciate the effort my mom put into it when we were kids, making sure everything was perfect. I found SO's niece a fairy bunny, to go with her Tinkerbell goodies, and his nephew is getting Diego-ed out. They did have an awesome pirate ship 3-D puzzle for kids that I liked and thought older nephew would like, but they just had the display, but no actual kits, they had sailboats and battleships. Small vent: pirates are hot, why not stock more pirate ships, less battleships? The baby gets a stufty and some Easter cookies, and Mom will go back for Little People for him.

When I got home, it was time to start fixing dinner. Beef over noodles, which I love, cause it's easy to fix, and feels a little more fancy than not, with a slice of tomato, because that's how we ate it when I was growing up. And semi-homemade strawberry lemonade, which I've perfected! YUM!

03 April 2009

That'll do, pig, that'll do

First of all, pardon me if I get a little teary-eyed.

Last night, when I got home, I started playing with my new toys again. This time, I involved the stamp. It could have gone two ways. Fortunately, it went the right way. My cute little rear view of a cat went on the tag fairly well. I didn't do too many, though; I wasn't doing a consistently great job, and I didn't want to wreck too many tags.

Anyway, so I got one that was usable. And was DELIGHTED with it. Monet or Picasso never looked with as much pride at their masterpieces as I looked at that one patheticly stamped, slightly smudged, price tag/floss holder. I wanted to run up and down the street, yelling in delight, but I don't want the neighbors to wonder about my sanity, and the rain has been making the creek rise over the last couple days, and with my luck, I'd have slipped and fell in, and that would suck, and be a highly ironic thing to happen. So I ate some ice cream.

Now, I know, you are wondering, what could cap that experience? Not much, I assure you. But when I went down to feed the dogs, I started sorting through my dyeing floss. In amongst the random skeins of floss, the ever present paper of size 28 needles, and the roll of ribbon with shells on it (I probably had a good reason for buying that this summer, but I forget what that reason was. It stinks getting old.), I found a single skein of the floss I dyed. And charged triumphantly back upstairs, skein held high, to put that beautiful floss on my beautiful tag.

I know I play around a lot and take nothing seriously. It's part of my personality. But I'm serious now. I kept fingering that skein of floss all night. It was pretty when it was just wound. But, with the tag, that really didn't look homemade when it was on the floss, it looked beautiful. When I saw that floss that I dyed, on the tag that I made, and finally had that tangible proof that I can accomplish something I have dreamed about, and talked about, for what feels like forever, it felt so overwhelming. The last time I had this satisfaction about an accomplishment, I was 21 and a college graduate. And I did this myself, with my stitching. That's HUGE!

I'll put a photo up of that skein tonight. It probably doesn't look like much to anyone but me. And if you ask me in person if I'm proud, I'll probably say, "That'll do." But realize, if you want to, that my eyes have been dancing for the last 22 hours.

02 April 2009

Make your own floss drops

Sometimes, as I roll through life, I have moments of brilliance. Usually these are obscured my hours of blah, but today, one stuck.

I had to buy price tags and a hole punch today. They're for my floss dyeing (I swear that word NEVER looks right), at least til I get myself to the point where I can afford to buy a better system. And I bought a hole punch, because obviously, they don't have holes, since most people buy tags to write prices on, not put floss on. It's not a permanent solution. But it will get it done, and get me over one of my last major hurdles in starting (and has that ever been a hurdle--got the talent, got the drive, need something to put the floss on).

Of course I had to fondle them right away, because new toys are fun to play with.
Now I had been a little hesitant to invest in 1000 large price tags. This floss dyeing might not take off. I only bought so many because 100 were 4.99, and 1000 were 26.99, and it made sense from a unit pricing standpoint to go with more. And the hole punch made the little hole really well. And I had to show a coworker, because it looks odd to be playing with those sorts of things. she wanted to know how the floss was supposed to look, so I grabbed a skein of plain DMC and showed her.

Y'all, it looked so good. And it took all of two seconds to get it on the tag. When I have bought floss drops in the store, they're expensive. These are much cheaper. and there is plenty of room to write on them. No more jamming the writing in at the top of the bobbin. Pretty cool.

And they sell the rings at Staples. You might need a small hole punch to make the hole for the ring to go through, but still . . . This would go way quicker than bobbin winding.

01 April 2009

Fabric stash

The sewing machine was not a good idea.

I haven't used it yet. I'm scared of it. I need SO's mom to show me how to use it.

All it has caused me to do is to start buying fabric. I have a mighty stash of fabric. Stuffed in the closet, behind the couch, next to the bed. But I have to have it, I swear.

I've been ogling the fabrics at for the last couple months. Someone recommended them as a good source. I have been searching for jellybean fabric for some Easter finishes. It's funny, I am not a huge jellybean fan, but I'd give my right arm for them on a piece of fabric. And I found it at Equilter. They seem to have pretty much any kind of fabric you could want. Easter, Halloween, fall. I typed in "squirrel" and they had SQUIRREL fabric.

They carry blue fabric, with snowflakes. Not only are they snowflakes. They have Elvis' face on them. Now, when I saw the Elvis snowflake fabric, I could not figure out what someone would use that for, and then I realized I had the perfect chart. A 12 Days of Christmas Sanman chart, from 2004 that says, "I'll have a Blue Christmas Without You." PERFECT. And if you had 1950's themed ornaments, that would work as well. I could so run with this.

And the prices seem reasonable. At least you are not running around, looking. My aunt and I spent the better part of two days two years ago fabric shopping. Not such an easy proposition to find Halloween fabric in early July at Joanne's. Waste of gas. This way, no traffic, no fuss, just cool, clicking buttons, and fabric at the door.

Here she is

The finished, "I Love My Kitty." I finished her maybe two weeks ago, I think, but just took the photo. She just makes my heart sing.

And my new WIP, Frog the lion cub. At least you can see his eye now and tell he might could be a lion one day. It was looking a little dubious there for a few days.

And what he's supposed to look like. I keep thinking Thank God I don't have a magazine deadline to meet with him. I bow to the model stitcher. YOU ROCK.
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