31 July 2009

They know this is torture, right

This was on the Hoffman site today. It's so pretty. It looks like Maryland's Western Shore. Look at the herons!

The finishing factory is in full swing . . .

at our house.

I worked all last night on finishing SO's Christmas ornament. I can tell you, it's all finished but putting the hanger on it. And it's HUGE. I can tell you, the state fair ornament contest judges will NOT like that, but, when it comes down to it, this is not really done for them. SO liked it, I like him, and that is most important. I did realize I stitched the stocking in the wrong color. SO said it looked fine to him.

I did modify my design a bit. It was hard to center felt on the wrapped foamcore. It looked funny, so I made that the back. I think it looks a bit more polished done this way, but I am going to make me a wrapped ornament. I am hell-bent on finishing this tonight, so should have a photo tomorrow.

The geisha is nearing getting finished. I finished her shawl Wednesday evening. Now it's mostly back stitching and laying the gold details in her skirt, and finishing the cherry blossom stems. I hope to have that mostly finished this weekend, too, but I am running out of the gold braid. I ordered two more spools of it, just in case I need that much, but I have to wait til it gets here. But, at least I can get the rest done so when it's here, I'll be done quick.

I have decided to use the time I have off next week to put some order back in my sewing room. I want another drawered thingy for in the closet, so that I can retire the collection of tote bags full of fabric and stitching crap I've amassed. I am going to go through my WIPs and put them in a rolley-cart I got when the office moved, so I can get them finished, and then put some charts in binders, so they aren't in a teetering stack behind the closet door. I am pretty proud of myself that I finally took the two seconds necessary to clean out a cookie tin to put my buttons and tiny little clothespins in, and then put them in last night. Of course, I have no place to put said tin, but at least they're in there and not scattered about. I have another one that I think I am going to use for ribbon. And of course, some of the non-stitching things are going out of that room, including the Christmas quilt my mom bought at a yard sale. It's not a storage bin, it needs to be a functional room. Maybe if I had a TV . . .

On a more serious sidenote: Please remember to wear sunscreen while you're having fun this summer. Even on cloudy days, even under the umbrella. I grew up, with suncreen as an afterthought. At 32, I am seeing the results. A month ago, I found a suspicious patch on my shoulder. It was scaly, but I watched it. 2 weeks ago, it still wasn't healed. I spent a week in denial that I could have a problem. Last week, I finally went on WebMD, which frankly should be renamed Webdeathsentence, and, terrified because my spot looked like a carcinoma, made an appointment with my doctor. I've been panicked all week.

Yesterday was my appointment. The good news is, I don't have cancer. I have solar keratosis, which happens when the skin is damaged and doesn't know how to regulate sluffing dead cells, so it goes into overdrive. My doctor froze it, which didn't hurt at all. The bad news is, there is damage. I have to watch now. It's been a wakeup call for me. I use sunscreen now, religiously, but on top of everything else that comes with aging, I have this. Great . . .

30 July 2009

Happy Birthday, Twins

Robbie and Chancey are 10 today. Since Chancey's real name is Chanson, or "song" in French, that means that, for today, she is . . . wait a minute . . . hold it, a BIRTHDAY SONG. GROANNNNNN.

Anyway, my two babies are both 10 today. I have been in love with them since the moment I first spied them through the door of the breeder's house, all mismatched ears, beady bright eyes, with an attitude, in their puppy playpen, with their sister, whose birthday it is too. Happy birthday, Wyndsong's Regan, somewhere in Texas.

How could you not fall in love with puppies who scampered around a kitchen, chasing a paper towel tube? Or the puppy who promised to love me forever, if, when asked if she wanted to be Chancey, I would only call her some other name than Cordelia? She had me at the moment that she tugged on my skirt, and then chewed the tie of my dress.

And those awful months of early puppyhood, when, frustrated at her "moments"--tossing Felix in the air to make him holler, til she got busted doing that, much to our abject horror, and running my car up along a guard rail--and still grieving the loss of my beloved Dana, I would ask her, "Why can't you just be good." Her reply: I am trying to, but I have a lot to learn in a short time, and, while we're on the subject, I am not this Dana of whom you speak, I don't want to be like her, and I'm tired of being judged based on her. She's dead, and I'm alive, and you got to work with what you have. SO DO I." And that fantastic day, January 1st, 2000, when I actually managed to fall asleep with her off leash, and take a nap, and she was in the same place, calmly eating her pig ear, when I woke up. Pig ears got us through some rough times in puppyhood.

And through the years, when she got through the terrible teens, and we learned to be buddies. How I knew I needed a new car when, standing on the front seat of my old beater, she put her face up to the poorly working AC, and gave me a look like, "This ish must stop. My people do not ride in crappy cars with no AC. Not in the summer, not in the winter. NEVER." How after the accident, I worried that she'd been forgotten on the side of the road in the rain, this pretty little dog I'd promised to take care of, and how I asked about her, and then insisted to my boyfriend we had to go get her, because, deep down, I knew if I just had my girl back, I would be OK. And, at the firehouse, when I promised her, I'd do everything in my power to make sure she never went through that again; we both cried, I can't say if it was from shock, or relief, but I held my girl the rest of the day, and during the next few months, while I rebuilt our lives from the scattered pieces of the accident.

And along the way, I kept up with her brother. Cheered when he won shows, cooed over photos of his puppies. Chancey was so unmoved by her new status of aunthood. When I'd tell her to go do something, she would tell me she was the sister of a canine celebrity, and not to speak to her that way. I ignored her. But I never knew my paths would cross with him again.

Two years ago, I was given the gift of being Robbie's forever home. It is a gift I appreciate beyond anything. Because I got to give Chancey her fambly back. And of course, his sister puts him in his place. I have given him a life he enjoys, and, in return, he has blessed me by being my quiet listener, my #1 fan, and my protector. I am so grateful.

10 years has gone so quick. I can't believe it. I hope we have another 10 years.

Happy Birthday, Sweetness and Light!

27 July 2009

Back from the framer part 1

Things I got back from the framer. There is something about the way things look when they're put in a frame by someone who knows their stuff. They become like swans

Warm water Wash by Raise the Roof. This is the only one of this series I will ever stitch. EVER.

LHN Stars and Stripes and Sampler freebie from Blackbird Designs. I like the way the frame matches the Sampler freebie. This is for my mom to thank her for paying for all this to be framed. The Stars and Stripes was going to go on a box, but I decided not to do that.

Sweet Little Berries by LHN (I think). Nothing super special about it. They chose the frame. I just stitched it.

i think this is by Stitches of Olde? Maybe. It's supposed to be an ornament, but you'd have to have a big ol' tree to make it fit, and we have big ol' ornaments for our big ol tree, so it works as a little framed picture, probably it will be on an easel for the holiday.

Back from the framer, Part 2

The second of two posts to show what came back from the framers.

Green Apple's I Love My Kitty. I think the frame is just right for her. Matches her, goes with the fabric.

Simply Old-Fashioned's Like Feathered Wings. I didn't realize this would be this tight up to the design, but it works. Far better this than broad expanses of fabric. And the silver frame gives it a really modern feel. I think it really does speak "wind" to me.

Halloween Fairy by Nora Corbett. And detail of the frame. This frame was an accidental find. But, like anything good, it was worth the work. I love how the moulding picks up the green in the fabric, and has that free-flowing new agey feel. It's almost like it was meant for this design on this color fabric.

The lions, by Maria Diaz. The lady who was helping me said, "Oh, I didn't even know we had this moulding." I didn't tell her they don't. I think the frame might be a wee bit too big for this design, but I would rather have it too big and have a frame I love than too small and have an OK frame.

Just to prove I did actually work on her

My geisha.

I just realized tonight, she's a big girl. This is probably one of the largest pieces of stitching I have ever done.

I fought with the #4 braid today. That was pretty much all I could get done. It's not fun to yank that stuff through the holes in 18 count fabric, particularly when they already have floss in them. I found a few mistakes. I'm not fixing them. This is about finishing what I started, not being perfect.

25 July 2009

Pulled out the geisha again

This one.

I really need to get this girl finished. I've made great progress since the last time I posted photos of her. Which was 11 months ago. But she was supposed to be finished for SO for Christmas, and yet I'm not done.

My plan for the rest of this year is to work on UFOs and WIPs. I need to get things finished. I get so much satisfaction when I empty out one of the scrapbooking envelopes I keep my projects in, and I need to start getting more things finished. The projects take up less space in my finishes tub than the WIPs do all over the place.

The thing is, a good deal of my WIPs are huge and unwieldy. It's not that I really get bored with them. I get overwhelmed. The Hummingbird Trellis afghan, for example. It's gorgeous. I think I am doing a good job. I feel great when I finish a block, and then I realize just how many there are, and, well, there's a reason it got shoved under the coffee table. . .

But I am going to start making progress and getting things finished.

Starting with this.

I am also done the stitching part of SO's ornament. I have to put it together. Depending on how my day happens tomorrow, I'll do that tomorrow, along with putting together some non-stitchy penguin bell ornaments I bought last year and never put together. Somehow they ended up in my stitchy bag and have been jingling while I am walking, so it's time to get them finished and ready for the tree.

24 July 2009


I can not believe I did this. I am kicking myself.

Last year the fair was August 10 thru 17th. Entries had to be in by the 8th. The state fair was the following week. So, back in January, when we had to pick out leave, I assumed it would be the 7th to have entries in, so I took the three days prior to that off work to get ready. And haven't looked at the fair book one single time. I have been a little busy this year, after all.

Monday, I finally got my butt in gear and printed off the needlework sections. I noted that it said 21 days til the fair, but didn't really pay that much attention. I mean, I knew I had to have my stuff there on August 7th. And 21 days is not that easy for me to picture, so I just assumed it was August 7th. You know what they say about assume.

I got to thinking yesterday and realized that there was no way August 7th was 21 days away. And finally went on the website to see when the fair actually was. I totally screwed up. The fair starts August 14th. So I am off for three days for no real reason, have no way to get my stuff to the fair, can't reschedule my vacation, and I'm going to throw up. And of course the heinous thought enters my head, will that throw off entering the state fair? That is always the week after the county fair, so I worried that it would overlap. I ran to check their website. That's been moved too. I guess so it always runs through Labor Day. So, at least I can still do both. If I can get my stuff there.

So my blessed, sainted mother said she would take my stuff to the fair for me. Everytime we are on I-83, I try to tell her, "This is the exit for the fair, you just go down to the bottom of the hill, make two rights, and you go there." She usually never remembers. But my father has been to enough events at the state fairgrounds that he knows how to get there, and he's going. I sweetened the pot by telling her if she did it, she could have my car for the day. My mother LOVES my car--I think I almost have her convinced to buy one for her and Daddy, despite the fact it's a Pontiac, she adores the satellite radio, and it is pretty stinkin' cute. So she said she would take it over for me. I owe her some diamonds . . . or cookies . . . or a hug.

So I've averted a minor near-disaster. At least a stitching one for me.

23 July 2009

Drive-by Posting

with your PSA for Thursday.

If you need 1" clothespins for your crafting needs, don't bother roaming up and down the scrapbooking aisles of AC Moore, wondering where they are, and why the scrapbooking aisles are so light and airy and well-stocked, whereas cross stitch gets one aisle, a half aisle and some end-caps right next to the clearance row (oh, boy, aromatherapy beads . . . but I digress), and smells a little fusty. Take yourself right to the wooden stuff aisle (keep moving past the paper boxes, please, no stopping, we're on a schedule) and look down. Bend over (be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone, and, right at the bottom, next to the detritus no one ever uses, are the clothespins. $1.99 for 50. I don't know how many I will actually use in my cross stitch endeavors, but I have 50.

I also realized the felt I had bought the other week at Jo-ann's wasn't the right shade of green. And it wasn't like it just wouldn't go with the stitching, it was jarringly wrong. Since this is a project that has taken me 3 weeks and three trips to the craft store to do, I want it to look right, so I bought a better piece, along with a sheet of glittery felt, in case SO is feeling glittery. Although, as I realized walking out of the store, SO is the sort of man who prefers bling on jewelry and cars, not handicrafts, so I'll probably end up using this on one of my other ornaments, but, at least I gave him options.

That man is lucky he is adorable . . .

22 July 2009

Check out this blog

She is stitching an ornament a week for a year.

Some great links to freebies here, and really nice photos!

21 July 2009

Here comes Santa claus

I have time tonight to post a WIP photo. I have been working on this since Independence Day. He's cute, but man, is he a lot of work. SO is lucky he's cute, LOL. I probably have another couple days of work on him.

And check out this link:

I tried to tell SO I NEED it. I even told him he could have the sewing room back as the penthouse level of the man-cave. Not surprisingly, he didn't seem interested. DANG IT. But . . . he did say the next place we are moving will have land, so that I can have horses and a garden (I guess he has finally accepted that, as a Southern woman, it is my duty to grow vegetables in the dirt and wear funny hats) . . . and this . . . maybe. I just have to figure out how we get that place . . . and how I get time to enjoy riding horses, and digging in the dirt, and play in a sewing house.

The difference a year makes

I think I shared this photo a year ago. This is the mare my aunt co-owns, Sweetpea, and her brand-new mule foal, April's Calamity. When they bought her, they weren't sure she was pregnant. Surprise! I love that "Whoa" face Calamity is making. Apparently, those twinkly legs take some getting used to.

It's a year later, and I guess she got used to them. And everything else lovely in mule-world. She's been at the special trainer, since mules are a bit different than a horse.

And Mama Sweetpea a year later, hanging out with the girls. The pretty Appy/draft mare next to her is Missy. Don't her markings remind you of ripples on water? She's a big girl; she makes me feel tiny next to her. Sweetpea is such a pretty girl. My aunt loves paint horses, and she's such an unusual kind of paint.

Anyway, thought you might enjoy the photos. They made me smile.

*Updated* Thank you for the comments on Sweetpea and Calamity. I wasn't sure if anyone would like them. My aunt's horses are her children, since she never had them. I guess Calamity is my second cousin, or, in our parliance, my little cousin, LOL. I guess she takes after her father's side of the family, though, at one point, I did tell the dentist my veneers gave me horse teeth.

I just realized, too, in the far left corner of the Sweetpea and Missy photo is my brother's beloved Tom Boy, AKA The. Coolest. Horse. Ever. My brother has trained him (as far as Tommy could ever be trained) to allow a rider to stand on his back, and to jump on from behind him. Plus, he drinks soda from a can--he prefers Coke, thank you very much. He was a gift from our grandfather, and he's 26 years old. He still does good. He's in the field with the mares. I have no idea how he managed that, but he wuvs the ladies. It's a good life for a gelding.

20 July 2009

Totally off-topic Monday

I didn't really stitch this weekend. I had to work all day Saturday and there was just not time to stitch. Came home Saturday night to find SO had hurt his back; it wasn't surprising, since he put the driveway in this week, and was fixing stuff around the house, in addition to his regular work. But he actually hurt it doing laundry while I was at work on Saturday. I feel bad, but maybe he'll start letting me do some of the laundry now, so it doesn't pile up to the point he hurts himself. We were supposed to go to an art show at a tattoo studio in Dupont Circle, but, being hurt, he wasn't in any shape to drive an hour and a half, risk life and limb on the Metro, then walk around Dupont Circle, so we stayed home.

Yesterday, we were going to do to his sister's birthday party, but he still didn't feel good, so I went. I left the house at noon, and went over to Mom's to spend some time with the twins. We went to the dog park; frankly, they were more enthused about going buh-byes than actually having to go spend time with other dogs, but they were good sports about it.

I realized that my dogs really don't like to positively interact with other dogs. I am torn as to whether they just don't want to, or if it's because they don't think they're dogs and, therefore, don't know they're supposed to want to. I kept running around the dog park, so they'd at least have a chance to run, and Chancey would bolt off her own way, but her brother wanted none of that. He clung to me. He just didn't want to play, and he didn't want any of the other dogs to come over to me. It was like he didn't want to share HIS mummy. I told him to cut it out, and he did chill out.

And I can't even say he was intimidated, because the big dogs who were there started barking and growling and chasing each other, and, everytime they ran by, he wanted to go run at them and growl; he's a bit over-protective of me, and I guess he figured they were too close with their hijinx. However, he weighs 22 pounds and he was mouthing off at dogs much bigger than him. I told him his mouth was writing checks his body couldn't cash. Then, of course, the mob ran really close by and were actually bickering, and both of them started mouthing off. I had to grab collars (well, his collar, I put my arm around Chance because pulling on her throat would be a really bad idea--she walks on a harness for a reason), and hope that the big dogs wouldn't take offense to whatever smack they were talking. After that, I just kept Robbie on my lap; he wanted up there anyway, and I was getting a little worried about the rowdy level.

But I was really proud of Chance. She's had some very bad experiences at the dog park with dogs that shouldn't have been there in the first place, and, for her to go, and actually play a little and not be scared she would get hurt, is a big thing for her. She's very funny, though; she actively looks for my parents when we're there. I have to tell her that just because some lady has white hair, they're not necessarily her gramma. LOL.

Please don't think my dog is a bad dog. He just is what he is. I am who I am, so I understand him. The funny thing is, he isn't so snippy about other black dogs being around me (just like he treats the black cat differently from the other two cats). It's almost like he doesn't mind sharing me with another Schipperke (or what might be a Schipperke, he just can't be sure and wants to err on the side of caution), but if it's not something black, he's pretty sure it's not one of his people, and therefore he wants nothing to do with it, and it should not be around his mother. Chancey isn't like this, but then again, she spent the first two years of her life convinced she was either a cat or a person, so she is probably not the best example. She prefers to not associate with other dogs, but she spent enough time with other non-Schipperkes to figure out they can be of use to her. It just confuses her when they hurt her, because she is such a happy little dog in general.

17 July 2009

In the 9/09 issue of CS&N

I was window-shopping on Needlecraft Corner's website today and found this picture. It's the Sunflower Fairy by Nora Corbett, in the new issue of Cross Stitch and Needlework. What do you think? I like her OK. Though I wouldn't use that fabric. I would pick a blue fabric. I've been really loving how fall colors look against blues, particularly ones that look like sky. I don't know about you, but I think the color of the sky in autumn is amazing, a really crisp, bright blue. It's never really the same color at any other time of the year. I think the colors on this would pop against a sky-colored background.

16 July 2009

A brief pause in our scheduled programming

6750 days

I came across this blog posting in my rambles this morning. I had been enjoying snarky posts--please forgive me, I have been up since 5:15, worried I would forget that SO asked me to let the dogs out through the back door and not through the garage, like usual, because he sealed the driveway yesterday (perhaps the early hour is why I was a leetle bit too loud when I begged Shocka to get off the counter he had jumped up on and while I admonished Beazer to NOT EVEN think about going back to bed with his daddy) and, if it weren't for the early morning snarky blogs, I would be asleep. Anyway, it was a pleasant surprise to come across this blog post.

No wonder parenting is so hard. Such a short, sweet amount of time to set a foundation for a life.

I hope, if the time comes, I make the most of them . . .

15 July 2009

The Styrofoam cutter

Meari asked about it. This is what it looks like. They had a few different models. I really wasn't sure how one picks a styrofoam cutter. Heck, I didn't know they existed til I went to Michael's the other day and actually looked up instead of staring at the bottom shelf, as is my wont. Apparently they also use them to make race cars(no wonder the cars have been flying all over the place when they wreck), but the people I know who race buy all that stuff pre-fabbed, or pay someone else to do it. They're not out in the garage, shaving it down.

The one I got looks pretty safe. I didn't know it heated up, but that's probably a good thing to know before I lay it on the carpet while plugged in. At least it's small. But, if anyone is in the mood to have something more wicked (or build racecars,) there are plenty of videos on making one online.

Thoughts on freebies . . .

No, I don't have any to offer today. I didn't find any neat new ones.

On one of the boards I frequent, some people were all in an uproar because they wanted a freebie someone posted a finish of. Someone said to email the designer, and then it came out that she had told them she wouldn't email it to anyone else, and that it was coming out as a for-purchase design. And GOOD LORD did the indignation get righteous. Accusations that that was poor marketing, and not fair. And rude that she wouldn't email it. And awful that she was making money off something that was free. BLAH BLAH BLAH. And then she replied that it was still on her blog, she just wasn't emailing. She also said she got several HUNDRED requests for it. I was so annoyed and so embarrassed to be on the same board as these women.

I don't understand what gets in the minds of people sometimes. Freebies are a privilege, not a right. A designer doesn't have to make them available at ALL, let alone at the drop of a hat to anyone who requests or demands them. That design was on her website for MONTHS. Now, as soon as she took it off, and a person has to do a titch of work to get it, suddenly it's the Holy Grail of designs and worth trashing a designer over? Because she legitimately wants to make money off it? As many of you might know (or just B . . .) I studied Arts Administration in college. Despite my best efforts to do otherwise, I did actually learn something, mainly, artists have a right to make money for the art they create. And they ultimately control the dispersal of their art. So, if you don't like it, make your own art.

And to get SNAPPY over it? COME ON! It's a cross stitch design. If you don't get it, there are plenty of other free designs out there. I have several binders of them, and a desktop full of the ones I just haven't printed to prove this theory--I been collecting freebies for 10 years and rarely stitch the ones from my collection (hmmm, that doesn't feel that good to admit). But I've seen people get such ATTITUDES over the one that they didn't get. Sandy from Sanman has caught holy Hell before by requesting that people join her website to get her free designs and then not share them, and that's pathetic. Now this. There are plenty of free designs I wish I'd gotten. BOAF has a couple, and it hurts me to see them finished and know I can't get them. Also EMS' Animal Babies. I didn't get them while they were free. But I'm not going to trash those designers because I didn't get lucky enough to get their gift designs. Maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm a freak. But I have enough to be legitimately upset about in my life rather than being annoyed about not getting a design I want sent to my inbox.

Sometimes it amazes me that grown women can be so childish.

Those who can't, glue . . .

I am all in finishing mode, so yesterday, my co-worker and I went to AC Moore. She wanted to look for flowers for a wedding she doing the flower arrangements for, and wanted me to go with her. She is a horrible enabler. I insisted I could not go, and wanted to go to the post office, but she told me she needed me to go. And since I wanted some styrofoam, it was not a hard sell.

I am now the proud owner of an electric styrofoam cutter. It was $12.99, and probably will be pretty useful.

I ended up buying some circles of styrofoam. Hockey pucks, SO calls them. I thought I could do some Christmas ornament finishing. I thought I had more circular small finishes ready for mounting. I thought I had one in particular that would fit. Turns out, it doesn't.

But, in rummaging through my finishes from over the years, I found a freebie I had stitched years ago and just not finished. Spring 1999, which is available here. along with some other really nice ones! As luck would have it, it fit on the hockey puck! And, since I had to go through my fabric stash to find fabric for SO's ornament, I decided to look for fabric for this one. I found the perfect fabric, green and grey-blue with baskets on it. I think it will work out really nice.

I wasn't sure how to center it at first. But I figured out if I measured the circle, found center on both that and my piece, if I pushed a pin through the back of the styrofoam right at center with the point coming through the front, it wouldn't be so difficult. And it actually was not. I just lowered the batting over the centered pin, smoothed it and pinned it down, and glued the edges. Then, I lowered the stitching down with center right at the pin, smoothed it and tacked it down, so I can do the edges. It really was not that hard. Of course, it helped that SO held the pins for me, and would hold the puck while I was stretching. God bless him, he complains about how messy my sewing room is, but when I need his help, he helps me.

We're about as far as we could get with it last night. I had to let the glue dry on the sides. I can see that is going to be a problem, so I think I'll end up sewing it down, and I was kinda tired last night after all the decision-making and glueing. SO has to cut me another circle out of foamcore, or else cut up another hockey puck, in order to wrap the basket fabric around it. And I have to pick out some satin ribbon at G Street Fabrics to put around the edges. I thought that would make this look pretty and shabby chic looking.

I am pretty pleased that all I had to buy specifically for this project was those styrofoam circles. I had the fabric for two years, and it was, probably $2 for a yard of it. The batting for the top was part of the batting I bought to do my afghan. My aunt won't need the whole length of it, so why not put it to use? That was $10.99. I know the ribbon will cost a bit, but how much can it really run?

I'll try to post some progress pictures to show you all this.

13 July 2009

The finally finished finish

I was driving home on Friday night, after working at the theatre, trying to chart my course of action to get these ornaments finished, when I realized I had the perfect project to begin with. I'm so dumb about these things.

Last summer, I stitched Julia Lucas' Christmas door ornament for the Brides' Tree SAL. It was also going to be a fair entry before I realized my finishing skills and the stock available at G Street Fabrics were not equal to the vision I had in my head. I had planned to do peaks and such, and that didn't work out. I did find cute fabric at G Street, or at least I thought it was cute. My mom didn't feel that wild animals were very Christmassy, or homey, and didn't buy my logic that the home at the holidays is the refuge from the wild animals of the world, and that, on top of the fact that I paid an outrageous price for the glass wreath charm and I couldn't make the ornament look right, caused me to lose interest. Of course I did this after I had sewn it together, but before I put a ribbon on. What can I say? Sometimes I abandon a UFO within a few stitches, sometimes a few weeks, sometimes at the point of being almost finished. It's part of my charm. Or dysfunction.

So, I decided to finish it. I had pretty much all I needed: the finished piece, ribbon, glue, scissors, beads, even pushpins! So, when I got home, after I remembered to feed the dogs(sorry you had to remind me, Shocka, I was on a mission!), I pulled out my glue, ribbon, and pushpins, and commenced a'gluin'. And then realized the red pebble beads that I found in the bottom of my detritus popcorn tin wouldn't fit. I just added beads to my list of needed errands, went to Michaels this weekend, and FINISHED MY ORNAMENT!

It's not perfect. I've learned some more about finishing since I did this, and know not to sew so tight, and add batting to make it smooth and worthy, but it's not bad. It's Christmas tree-worthy. It doesn't look like a two year old glued it together--another little thing I learned is that I lack mad hot glue gun skills, but I'm OK with that. I prefer my Aleene's tacky glue. And that 527 cement. I've yet to lose an acrylic nail to good old Tacky glue, but I did get a fresh fill ruined by accidently touching the metal part of a cheap glue gun (before you think about how odd that is, I also lost a section of another nail with some sort of acetone-based fabric glue. Nail tech not happy about that. I was more not happy. What monster comes up with these products?

And the back fabric. It's not Christmasy. But it has a deeper meaning. You feel me right? Besides, I saw a fox the other week coming home from work. There might could be a tiger hiding in the woods too. This is Maryland, after all . . .

10 July 2009

A fantabulous idea

On the Sanman board, they are starting something called Finish-It Fridays. You are supposed to pull a project on Monday and aim to have it finished finished on Friday. Now, I don't mean take floss and fabric, stitch it, and have it ornately framed with suede mats on Friday, just take the finishes that hang out in my drawers, totes, the trunk of my car, under the bed and remain unfinished for no reason other than (at least for me) my lack of ability (or fear--some of those glues will melt an acrylic nail if they get on one, ask me how I know) to gather my finishing supplies together and complete something, and FINISH them. Into something.

It works for me. I could do that. Frankly, y'all, the pile of nonsense in my sewing room that needs to be finished is starting to drive me crazy. I mean, I took 10 pieces to be framed at the end of June, but I got a lot more to do something with. I am slowly gaining the bravery to take on the sewing machine. Between you and me, I think Mom took me to Kutztown because she KNOWS that, when I see the quilts on display, I want to make one. And it worked. Like I have the room, the know-how or the fabric to make a quilt. Well, I do have the fabric, but, all together, it would be really ugly. But I need to sit down and get that machine cracking and make something pretty with it. I'm not stupid, I'm just chicken. And I need to do something about all the crap I've been collecting with the idea of, "Oh, I could stitch something and stick it in there." I'm tired of tripping over it all.

Sooooo, my first project is to, next week, work on doing an ornament. I want to practice before I do SO's ornament for the fair. Fair entries should not be experimental. I figure it shouldn't be too hard. I have all the stuff. Fairly close at hand. SO is very talented at working out any technical problems I can come up with. I should be OK.

It's time to get those finishes under control.

09 July 2009

Woo hoo. Happy Dancing-vacation

I just got approval for our next vacation trip. In September, I am the proud owner of 3 vacation days, which we plan to use for a camping trip on Assateague Island. My most favorite place on earth. I spent all winter dreaming of when we were there before. I even bought a coffee table book about the ponies and have been pouring over that. And . . . instead of two nights there, I get four. I am happy dancing like crazy. I already told SO that I would like to go walking on the trails and I would like to go to Ocean City and go miniature golfing. Maybe, if I am really lucky, I can get to Salty Yarns, too.

Really, when I think about it, I've only been to a real LNS 5 times in 2009. That has got to be a record low for me. Not that I haven't bought stash. I just haven't gone to a store to do my buyin'. And I've been focusing on getting my projects finished, so, don't you think I deserve some S.E.X. on the beach? I can probably tempt SO with the promise of fresh Fisher's popcorn, or Rita's--he was moping the other day because he hasn't had any the . . . whole . . . summer, and I work down the street from one, and have it every couple weeks.

I've got two months. Is it too soon to start picking out carry along projects?

07 July 2009

Back to reality

My vacation is over. Blah . . . . I could so be a lady of leisure. Not that I was that leisurely the whole weekend. I ran errands yesterday. We needed dog food the day that the nearest Tractor Supply ran out of Bitty Bones, so I had to go driving to find one that had them in-stock. I know that we could have bought a small bag of something else to tide the Mongrel Horde over til the shipment came in, but I hate switching their food, and I am too cheap to buy a smaller bag, not when the big bag is a better value. At least I found it. And I got my workout chunking 100 pounds of food into the backseat, and then putting 75 of it in the container for the big boys.

Our 4th of July was nice, other than the beach issues. Despite a town ordinance against fireworks, the entire neighborhood seemed to have them. Our neighbor down the street put off a perfectly lovely and fairly professional display for over an hour and a half. I choose to remain silent on our participation in the festivities, but I figure this, if it's illegal to set them off in the town, why are they so available? And really, wouldn't it make sense to have the people setting them off work with the fire department to make sure they're doing it safely? But, that said, we didn't see a police car all night, even though the mayor and half the police force in the county live in my neighborhood, so I guess it must be one of those ordinances they ignore. At least we didn't see an ambulance, either, so neighbor guy did a good job. Of course, the dog was terrified. Shocka wanted me to hold him. He is too big to hold, so I put him to bed.

I started SO's Christmas ornament after the festivities, while our July 4th pizza was cooking, LOL. It's the Imaginating ornament from the 2006 JCS. Very cute. I bought some of the finishing supplies yesterday at Jo-ann's, but I told SO he has to come help pick out the fabric, since I don't have a lot of red and green Christmas stuff in my fabric stash, and he can not just pick a random fabric. I told him to be prepared to go to quilt store. He gave me such a look. But he'll go. We are a team.

04 July 2009

Happy 4th of July--I have photos!

I popped in to let you know I am still alive and well. I have been enjoying my vacation immensely. I am on Day three of five, and it's blissful.

Thursday morning, I met my mom at the orchard for berry picking. We got 14 pounds of blueberries in an hour and a half. Mostly pretty good, though I did figure out the ones on top, if they were dark and fat, were better than any other ones. We also got 4 quarts of black raspberries. I will never again waste a raspberry. They are such hard work! So fragile and so well-protected. I am still digging thorns out of my palm. SON OF A GUN. I had every intention of actually doing something with them when I got home, but I was so tired, and so filthy--red from the elbow down, wild hair, red stains all over my shirt--I just kinda collapsed into the shower.

Yesterday, I took my mother to the Pennsylvania Dutch folklife festival in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. It was a nice day. The food, on the whole, was good; being from sturdy German stock from Western Pennsylvania, and having a grandmother whose sole purpose in life seemed to be to shove as much starch, butter and sugar in us as possible (BTW, mashed potatoes with a quart of whipping cream and a pound of butter in them are truly awesome), I got a lot of traditional food growing up, but we never ate the ham and dried apples and dumplings I accidentally ate yesterday, not realizing the apples with dumplings had ham in them. I've learned my lesson; I will ask if things look similar to other things, but have names in German, because my German is not that good. Other than that, though, it was nice. My mom treated me to a lamp for my sewing room with patriotic sheep on the shade, and a necklace made from a Chinese coin. Best of all was that I got to meet Diane Phalen, the artist who does the beautiful paintings of quilts. I have several in my stash. She signed two little prints I bought for the sewing room that I will change out with the seasons. It was a joy.

Today we intended to go to the beach, we got in the truck, drive two hours to the beach town, stopped for BBQ, and got to the beach, and it was closed. It was full. There were no other public beaches open, so we came home. SO is kinda annoyed, but I told him I had fun with him. I wanted to see water, and we ate our BBQ as a picnic at a little marina, plus I was spending the day with my buddy. I told him I'd have fun eating a boloney sandwich behind a Walmart with him. That's just how it is, LOL.
No more trying to get there on a holiday. Lesson learned.

So I've been stitching. The photo at the top of the post is a Secret Shop design from Sanman Originals. I started it Saturday, finished it Wednesday, fun, festive stitch.

I finished SNN's November 2007 on Father's Day. It was a pretty fun stitch. I worked on this while visiting with Regina. It was a good design for beach stitching. Simple. I had to change it a wee bit because I ran out of perle cotton for the trees. I am not buying a skein of Weeks Perle for three stitches. You can't even tell

Chancey is modeling the finished patriotic bandanna. I put it on her yesterday and told her she was absolutely beautiful, and she pranced and ran back to show her Daddy Jim. Silly girl. She did not want to behave while Mom was taking her photo, truly an American diva, LOL. I also have photos of Master Robert in it, but I have to pull those off the camera. She looks a little uncomfortable in the picture, but she was excited. She thought she was going bye-byes, and she loves bye-byes. Both of them wanted to go to Kutztown, but, as I'm getting older, I realize it really is not that fun to take them everywhere, especially in crowded places. They get hot, I worry about people stepping on them, and they aren't allowed everywhere. So they got to stay home and watch the kitties yesterday. They take their job very seriously; to them, the cats are uncivilized hooligans who fight when the dogs are trying to watch Animal Planet or E. I guess when you have no thumbs to turn up the volume to drown out the bickering so you can find out the latest wrinkle in the Michael Jackson horror story (and it really is sad and confusing), you're gonna referee some fights. The cats just tend to ignore them though, but the bickering ends, no one gets scratched, and I am pretty sure my dogs know enough about the entertainment world to have a blog.

Have to run. I hope you have a blessed holiday. Eat plenty of hot dogs and potato salad. Eschew any apple dishes you don't recognize. Wear suncreen.

01 July 2009

Good things about the summer

Since I haven't been doing a heck of a lot of stitching the past few days, and haven't been in the best of moods--I'm so ready for vacation, it's not funny--I thought I would post the things I love about the summer. Last night, I laid in bed, stitching with the window open. SO went outside to water, and of course the pittybulls had to assist him. Beazer let out the most delightfully agonized whine; his daddy refused to spray him down with the hose, since it was late, and the last thing we need is a wet dog running through the house. His reaction to the hose is so funny. Such a small joy, and yet to him, it meant everything. Summer is like that, a celebration of the small joys.

--Running through the yard with sparklers after a small-town fireworks celebration, making designs in the still night air. We did this when we were very small, always in the back yard, with the admonition, "Don't take those in the front yard. They're illegal." My mother was an outlaw, buying sparklers right across the DC line before work, so she didn't have to worry about running the gauntlet of county police who watched the stand, waiting for cars with Maryland plates to come back over the line. LOL. I never wanted to go in the front yard. Sparklers are a private show, not for the whole world to see.

--Waiting for the first tomato of summer to ripen. And then eating it on the backporch. Sliced up with salt on it. Usually eaten with steak. Is there any more blissful thing to eat in the world than a back porch tomato you coaxed into existence with grubby child's hands, a bit of Miracle Gro, and hope?

--Going to the county fair. In my best clothes. Hearing, "Don't get dirty. Stay with your brother. Stay off the rides, they're dangerous. Don't play the games" as I bolted away. Stuffing myself with pastel cotton candy and rich red candy apples. Admiring the sleek rumps of Grandpa's horses; somehow, in the light of the showring, brushed and shiny, with halters he'd kept hidden away for "the fair", surrounded by their ribbons, they looked so much finer than they did in his pasture. I felt honored to know such magic horses.

--The smells of summer. Salt brine. Sunscreen. Hot wet pavement. There is not a candle on earth that can replicate those particular summer scents. I've tried to find them. There's a wax melt I buy that sort of mirrors the sunscreen, but the real thing is so much nicer. I can always smell when we're close to Chincoteague because of the smell. It hits you before you get to Wallops Island. And I love it. It's a coming home smell.

--Picking fruit. Every 4th of July morning, we'd load into the car and head off to pick cherries and blueberries. Last year, I picked in the rain. Soaking wet, covered in wet foliage, I picked. And we feasted. A morning's communion with the fields and the sun yielded berries that we ate for months, once frozen. I have also picked raspberries, but I have to say they aren't as much fun to pick. Blueberries, they just roll off in your fingers. Heavenly. I'm going to try to make us a pie. I'll let you know how it goes.

There are so many other things that are just wonderful about the summer. What are your favorites?

I'll be off for vacation. I can't promise to post pictures, but I'll try. Have a blessed and safe 4th of July.
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