30 July 2010

Something a little different for a Friday

The real story of Tai Shan

Today is the twins' 11th birthday. My little loves are another year older. We celebrated with jerkies and kisses. Mom said Robbie would get his toy if he was a good boy. I told her my son is ALWAYS a good boy. Even the vet says he is a good boy, which Chancey could learn from; she has to be muzzled, much to her righteous indignation. So, while my babies and I are celebrating the roads we've travelled together in the last 11 (and, in Robbie's case, 3 years, though he probably does think about where he's been in his life before me), I thought I would post a photo gallery of Tai Shan. I think it helps you see why I insist on naming the bears in my project after these two.

Happy Friday. May the road ahead of us all be at least as happy as the road we've already traveled.

29 July 2010


First, thank you for your comments about my work friend. I appreciate them and they do help. I know she really is in a wonderful place now, much better than anything we can imagine here on earth. While it's not "fair," it was all in the plan of life. And it gave me comfort to see her last Facebook status was a happy, positive one. Something to think about, especially on those days I tend towards the grumpy statuses.

I have an update on the pandas. It seems like I am getting more accomplished since I let go of the need to have them done for the fair. Ain't that always the way? Mei Xiang's foot is starting to come together. I realize, though, where is her arm? Does anyone see it? You would think it would be there so she could support Tai Shan, right? But really, putting off the entry allows me time to really make this what I want it to be, not something half-assedly thrown into a frame. I wanted to have this framed with a nice Jill Rensel custom mat continuing the bamboo. Now I can do that. I think it will really be worth it next year to have exactly what I want, and so that makes it better to not have it this year.

And I wanted to share these little, well, I call them signs.I put three Gerber daisies in this very expensive and crappy banister planter in May (yes, I realize the coconut fiber things are sticking up out of the ground, but I swear there was more dirt in them this spring. The planter is too shallow, nothing really thrives in it--it is literally plant death row). They did fairly well for three weeks, and then went crappy. I thought they were dead and have been wanting to throw them down in the Shrek-swamp beside the house, where all our dead plants go. HTB said that, no, because there was a bit of green still in the leaves, to let them stay in the planter and we'll just empty it in the fall. I looked at him like he was a dork--he is a great yard guy, and his grass-growing skills are pretty good, but he's not that skilled about flowers, or so I thought. Because, darn his hide, we have a second round of flowers! I saw them for the first time this morning.

Maybe I've been too busy this week to stop and notice small things, caught up in the tide of deadlines, shock, and the demands of life, or maybe someone knew I needed to see that when things look at their worst, that it doesn't mean to just abandon them and run, screaming, away, but either way, it's what I needed. A bright spot of color on a Thursday morning. Maybe we're all due for a second blooming?

28 July 2010

Throwing in the towel

I realize now I won't have the pandas done for the county fair. I am trying, but it's not happening. Not in the next two weeks, not if I want to have it look halfway decent. There is too much else to do. Too much running, too much folding, too much everything else, too many balls in the air, and people standing around, waiting til I have them halfway under control to fire another one at me. I don't know if I'll have anything done. I worked on the ring pillow last night, but I still have to stitch the back and who knows how long that will take. If I try really hard, I'll have the treasure box ready, but that's a big if.

I thought I could do this.

I feel like I let myself down.

I know it's not that important in the grand scheme of things. At work yesterday, I found out a former co-worker was killed by a man fleeing the police. He had baggies of marijuana in his car and hit her car. She was 25 years old, engaged; we looked at wedding dresses together, and chatted about our pitbulls, because it is an oddity for two young businesswomen to have pits. She died for a few ounces of pot. He was trying to avoid a possession charge, and now he's facing negligent homicide. Her biggest pet peeve was people who spelled her name wrong; how downright crappy that the paper misspelled her name in the article about her death? My boss was crying. What do you say to comfort someone when the loss is so pointless? So needless? Somehow saying she is in a better place feels trite--she wasn't in a bad place here, she was just living her life on a summer Sunday, driving her car. I put my head down and cried; no young, vibrant, lovely girl deserves to die like that. Or her mother to have to hear that her child is gone. Or the police officer who had to let them know, he didn't start out that day to see the end of someone's life and to see and hear the pain of the loss. HTB wonders why I am so adamant that one of us never leaves the house without me telling him that I love him. This is why.

26 July 2010

Weekend progress . . . and retreat

A bit more is done on the pandas. I thought I would be able to get the vegetation finished over Mei Xiang's head, but that didn't happen. But I'm now onto her foot, right under that black slash on the right hand side. This is very tricky stitching. I'm hopeful. I don't think I'll have this done by the fair, though. But maybe. I can hope. If not this year, there is always next year.

We had awful storms go through Maryland last night. I was at my part-time job in Olney, sort of to the eastern part of the county. Right after our show let out, the skies darkened up, and the wind started picking up. I went out to put the windows up in the car, and over top the theatre building, it was grey, but not black. Black skies worry me. I figured just another thunderstorm, but, in a few moments, it got very bad. The wind started howling, and it didn't sound like normal thunder, more like a low, evil growling. We actually started to think about where to go, since the theatre is old and built on a slab. At least, thank God, there were no patrons in there. There was a tornado warning for the area.

After the storm, it just cleared right up, the sun came out. When the calls started, that should have been my hint. Everyone wanted to know if we had power. But then again, they do that every time there is a storm. When they started coming in for the evening show, the patrons began to tell us how bad it was outside. How it was blocked up from Alexandria over the river to Montgomery County. Everything south of us in the county was without power.

I had promised Mom I'd come by after work to pick up some things. I set out. It didn't seem bad . . . the first two miles. By the time I hit Rt 29, the road to Mom's, there was a back up. It was pretty bad. Leaves and branches carpeted the ground. Large trees had been snapped off and were lying in the road. Got to within two miles of the house and was turned around. So, had to go down to the Beltway, get on there, get off at the exit behind hers and go through the neighborhood. It took two hours to make a trip that takes 15 minutes. Her neighborhood wasn't tooo bad, just powerless. They cut a lot of trees back after Hurricane Isabel.

Mom was not there. Dad said she'd gone for something to eat, since they had no power. Even on gas, if you have an electric igniter on the stove, you have to have power. She never made it home the whole time I was there, but I'm assuming she'll get home.

I went home around 9. They still don't have power this morning--PEPCo was still doing damage assessments. Hopefully they will get it back today. They're lucky. two people were killed by falling debris. One was a child. So sad. I don't think of storms as killers, usually because I'm not out in them. I don't know what I'd do if I were in them.

25 July 2010

Enabling Alert

Picture This Plus fabric is having a sale on their hand-dyeds for 36 hours, through tomorrow, July 26th.

25% off.

Their website is

This is totally worth abandoning all resolutions to remain S.E.X.-less.

I also picked up the new Cross Stitch and Needlework yesterday.

They have a really nice Glendon Place design for Halloween. And a pretty Autumn village. I'm trying to decide if it would be better stitched on black or on a sky-patterned hand-dyed.

I am trying to stitch. We spent yesterday running. My friend, Samantha, had to pick up her bridesmaid dress. I have to say, it is such a lovely color on her, not blue, not purple. Of course, I ended up wandering around the store, looking at the other dresses, second-guessing my choice. But, in the end, I love my dress; I think it is the dress that is "me", and it's the first dress I put on that I could imagine HTB crying when he saw.

We decided to make a girl's day out of it, since I don't really get too many of those. We headed to downtown Silver Spring, to the Parkway Deli, home of the most awesome matzoh ball soup and steak salad on the planet. Yes, I ate soup on a day where the thermometer in the car read 106. And it was delightful. I told Samantha we are going there the morning of the wedding for breakfast. If it's good enough to be commended by the Food Network, it's good enough for my wedding day! LOL.

Of course we had to follow up a delicious lunch with a trip to the Persian bakery on Rockville Pike, in our round the world trip of culinary delights. Samantha said she didn't really want to go there because she knew she would be tempted. I told her I wanted some cookies from there for the bridal shower if anyone is planning one. I am totally in love with their baklava and we let ourselves be talked into buying some other ones. Yummy yummy yummy. I took them home, and HTB was in heaven. I guess I'm not the only one that finds comfort in cardamom and almond. At least he'll eat them; they are a bit "spendy", but I really wanted a treat.

It was too hot to do much at home, so HTB helped me eat the rest of my salad (and we're going to eat steak salad this week again, I think I could eat tomatoes and blue cheese dressing happily for weeks) and we watched TV.

The next 10 weeks are going to be SO busy, I can see that now. Between finding my wedding ring, getting shoes, meeting with people, remembering who's coming, and getting fitted, it will be a whirlwind. But this is going to be a good time!

23 July 2010

More progress

I haven't been doing a lot of stitching the last couple days, but I am steadily filling in heads. I have been up since 6 this morning, addressing Save the Dates and stitching. So far, a full morning. I should go back to bed, right? Yeah, thought so.

22 July 2010

I don't always stitch

I just thought I needed to make that point.

This week, I'm addressing envelopes. The Save the Dates came in last week. I love them so much, I want to tattoo the little bird off them on my shoulder. But not until after the wedding. My mom might notice and have a fit. I try not to do these things to her. And not til I lose weight. No pudgy birds here.

My invitations came today, a little ahead of schedule, but they were having a 25% off sale at the invitation place, and those invitations were expensive. One thing about wedding planning. Everything is reasonably priced til you times it by the number of guests. Or half the number of guests. I was trying to cheap these invitations down by having black ink, not the pretty, colored ink, but they looked like crap, and I didn't want to look cheap. Fortunately I found the promo code, and it made colored ink a reality.

I had forgotten all the etiquette about addressing and stuffing envelopes from high school graduation. Remember those leaflets they put in your announcements about how to turn the inner envelope? And how to address it? Yeah, 16 years later, I'm having to physically stop myself from addressing the envelopes to "Mr + Mrs." I told HTB he needs to tell me some of these wives' first names for the inner envelope. He tried to tell me I could put "Mrs." I glared at him.

I am learning no one thinks their handwriting is "good enough" when it comes to addressing wedding correspondence. Even my mother, who has the most precise handwriting in the universe, says her handwriting is not good enough. HTB has chicken scratch. I told him he is gonna sit there and fold stuff. He agreed, as long as he does not have to write on an envelope.

I have also learned the fastest way to empty a room is to tell people you need help sealing 125 Save the Dates. People don't just decline, you can faintly hear the, "Oh, hell, no," as they dash out. HTB at least yelled, "Get a sponge," as he ran out to go do some manly, homeownerish thing. Or so he said; methinks he holed up in the camper.

All I can say is, I don't want to hear any fussing when I ask to be taken to where they filmed "North and South." Or when I ask that everyone do the Electric Slide. I've earned it.

I did get a very beautiful gift last night. My friend Kathy and her daughter, Rachel, stitched us two samplers, a Lizzie Kate, and a really beautiful one that says, "Love never fails." I cried when I opened the package. HTB thought they were gorgeous too, and he's a bit biased towards me. We will definitely display them at the wedding. It was so kind of them. I don't have words to explain what this means, other than to say I feel truly blessed and rich in friendship.

21 July 2010

it's a bit disconcerting . . .

to, in an effort to clean up, decide to put all the random thread together, and find out that it fills up an 18 qt bin. This was just the unsorted stuff, this was not the wound bobbins of floss.

If I may be so frank, WTF have I been doing all these years?

Was this, yet again, the product of being chronically disorganized? I just bought and bought to offset the disarray and, instead, added to it? Or was it deeper? I know that, in times of great stress, I have a horrendous habit of turning to my stitching to feel better, and there have been times when it took S.E.X to fill whatever "hole" was open in my soul. And I do remember in the summer of 2006, there were some pretty damn big holes to fix. But this, this is RIDICULOUS. From what I have, apparently, I spent a lot of my 20s filling holes that others dug for me. Ugh. I guess because I had it all spread out and didn't have to look at it together, I could fool myself that it wasn't that much. But it is . . . and it's got to stop. But at least I am acknowledging the issue. And trying to stop it from spreading. That counts for something, right?

I went to Lowe's last night (had to get the storage tote that led to this discovery). They always have good storage solutions on their website, so I took a look in that aisle. Not a good idea--the best things they have are for closets, and they seem to be more geared for walk-in closets, which we don't have. I don't want to put my things on wire shelves that would sit out in the room; to me, that looks as un-put together as having it in plastic bins all over the place. I will keep looking. One of the benefits to where I live, being a college town, there are lots of places to buy used furniture, and we'll go there to look.

Thank you all for sticking it out through the whinging and whining. I promise this will end soon, LOL. I will get myself together!

20 July 2010

Another update

I am starting to see a lot more steady progress on this. I am almost done with the vegetations on the left-hand side, at least what's hanging over them. It's a lot of tedious filling in on the head, but last night, I got a good long stretch of black done while we watched Coal Miner's Daughter, one of my favorite movies.

I thought I'd post the difference between what it looked like two weeks ago, when I really started back in on it. Which is this:

And today. Not bad for two weeks work! When I look at it on a daily basis, I don't see major changes, but this is pretty dramatic here. Tai Shan has a back and a complete head now, LOL. Mei Xiang is a lot better looking. They're getting there, but I can't slow down now.

I am pretty proud of myself. I went to A.C Moore to get paint for one of my fair projects. I took along one of my stitching magazines, but I didn't kit anything up. Maybe it was the comfort of having the magazine there, and the knowledge I have whatever I need here at the house, but I'm tickled. I did, however, hit their 4th of July clearance. I got a table runner for the coffee table, a decorative shutter to hang my primitive ornaments on, and a cute little box for storage. All at 60% off. I paid $12 for all that stuff and my paint, and it had been A LOT more. I am going to cross my fingers that they will have a Halloween or fall shutter, because that would be pretty sweet to hang my Halloween ornies on til I have enough for a tree.It's time to keep my eye out for that. I'm leaving my patriotic things out til September 12th, then it's all getting rotated out for the fall and Halloween stuff

19 July 2010

A stitchless weekend

I will probably regret this, but I only stitched about an hour the entire weekend.

We went down to HTB's family's cottage on the Eastern Shore for the weekend. We're doing these small weekends this year instead of a big vacation. It's nice to get away, and we went with HTB's sister and her family, which gave it a different Vibe than with his parents, but it was fun.

The kids and I wanted to learn to crab--my brother was the crabber in the family, not me. It's a lot harder than it looks. Crabs are not as stupid as one would supposed, and they sent the young ones after our chicken necks. HTB's nephew kept saying he just knew there was a big feisty one on the line, but I guess that is relative, because there were only little illegal males, and she crabs, and I don't eat female crabs on moral grounds; we can't save the crabs in the Bay if we keep eating the females. Besides, based on what we were pulling up, there are enough jimmy crabs to keep us stocked with crab cakes this fall. And yes, we made a few jokes about this being "Deadliest Catch: St Michaels", particularly when a 5 year old started swinging the dip net handle around when there were three adults, three kids and the dog on a narrow dock, out over water FULL of jellyfish. I think I'd rather deal with the Bering Sea than jellyfish; you die quickly in the Bering Sea in winter, jellyfish stings just make you want to die and you still have to navigate over oyster shells to get out of the water. We didn't end up catching anything to eat, and the only big feisty crab we took home was me, LOL. Oh well . . . it was a memory we made.

We did head into St. Michaels, a very lovely colonial town, world famous, for a breather because of the heat. We window-shopped, along with the people fresh in off their yachts and the tourists. Of course, no one could confuse us with yachters, and we never got down to the dock, but it was fun to be tourists. We found a great jewelry store, and decided we need to dress up a bit more, so that we can justify buying "important" jewelry. Oh, to have the perfect little black dress and a tan, LOL! We bought some sea glass, and SIL, dear niece and I decided we're going sea glass hunting. HTB thinks it's a bit silly to spend money on what is, essentially, garbage, but sea glass is gorgeous, and, when you think about it, we helped clean up the Bay. We ended our trip at the drink stand for smoothies . . . pure bliss.

We had a nice, laid back dinner Saturday night: fresh sweet corn, baked potatoes, veggies the kids and I cut up, and HTB's Eastern Shore chicken and ribs. After dinner, he put on a fireworks show for us, and we all applauded loudly. It's much more relaxing to see fireworks set off, knowing even if one of the neighbors complained (which they wouldn't), the police couldn't find the house (it's one of those, "turn off the paved road" houses, if you know what I mean). It was a nice enjoyable evening.

We came home yesterday. Only one major Uh-oh. HTB accidentally backed the camper into the house. He didn't do any real damage, just dinked the siding. He was a little annoyed at himself. I told him I yelled, "Stop", but he didn't listen. He looked at it every time he went out--I told him he is the only person who will ever notice he dinked the siding, LOL.

I will now be stitching like a mug to catch up on the stitching this week, and also have to start putting together my fair entries. I think I'm taking a day off to get that accomplished, as soon as I can schedule it.

I hope everyone is having an enjoyable start to their week.

16 July 2010

Shaking it up on a Friday

Greetings from a well-blended Maryland this morning. We had an earthquake this morning, centered in the northern part of the county. I didn't feel it, but my BIL-to be did. As did my co-workers. They said it felt like a truck going by. As long as it's little ones, that's OK. I would like to experience a small quake, nothing major. We got nothing in my neck of the woods--the dogs were restless and howling last night (I had to tell them to cut it out IMMEDIATELY), and still concerned when I got up this morning. I just attributed it to their daddy going away for the weekend, but maybe they sensed something?

Anyway . . . a picture post for today. I didn't stitch last night. I was cleaning the house and went grocery shopping, and it was 12:30 til I laid down. Hopefully, I will get time this weekend.

This is the exchange I sent my partner, Eileen. She said she liked the bookmark. Maybe it will go in a book she reads to her grandchildren. I'd like to think that. And that ghost story book is pretty good, and doesn't have the same stories that they tell over and over about Maryland. I'd like to have sent her Wierd Maryland, but that book is HUGE and heavy.

And the panda progress. I've been filling in Mama's face and working on the foliage. Pumpkin had asked about the aida. I am not completely sure, but I think it is Misty Blue aida. I know it's not a hand-dyed, but it's hard to tell the color on the computer screen. It's in the range of 927 DMC. I hope that helps. I didn't like the blue they used in the model, and I thought this would be much better. I think the fabric change gives this a feeling like they're playing on a misty morning--the other color didn't make me feel that.

Hope everyone is having a great day.

15 July 2010

It's like unearthing treasure

I spent an hour yesterday in the garage again, going through some boxes. I think this was one of the ones I put down there when B came to visit, because there was a hodge-podge of books, magazines and charts in there, so I separated them out, as well as the contents of a little box that I had been putting stuff in that I brought from Mom's. If nothing else, this exercise is teaching me that my filing system of "whatever is closest" is not working.

I did find a magazine that I have been searching for since I moved, because I started a project from it, and then the magazine got separated from the project. It's a beehive purse, and I had thought about frogging what I had started and using the supplies elsewhere, but now I don't have to do that. Yay for me! I rounded up a couple other MIA magazines, and am putting the magazines with the supplies, so that this doesn't happen again. My UFO pile is getting bigger but at least it's together.

After work, I rounded up all the fabric I have and put it all together, in a storage drawer. I read a while ago that people who are chronically disorganized have a tendency to repurchase items they can not find, and this adds to the problem instead of alleviating it; now we have two of the same item, and possibly credit card debt on top. One of the reasons I started this project was that I had no idea where my colored fabric was (it was in another drawer, where I never look, and I don't remember putting it in there), and it was making me heartsick and frantic. What I could find was random, stuck in boxes and bags all over the place, with no semblance of order. This bothered me a lot; the clutter is controlling me, not the other way around. Fortunately, I did figure out where I'd put all that fabric last week, and so I put all of it together last night. Now I have it all within 3 feet (there are three bags of neutral aida that didn't fit in the drawer, they're in a tote bag on the closet door, it was the best I could do). I felt delectably "rich" looking at every piece of fabric, picturing what could go on it, how I could use the tiny scraps for freebies. I am spoiled for choice, and will now be able to really ask myself if I really "need" fabric before spending money on it. I think this will be a good thing. It's a spiritual cleansing and organization, not just a physical cleansing. But this was the easy part; the hard part will come from seeing whether or not I will be able to keep it up. I think I can, if I can just find good storage pieces. The bookshelf I really loved at Lowe's, that would have held my sewing machine, and my patriotic sheep lamp, as well as stitching supplies, is not available anywhere nearby. BOOOOOGEEEEEEER. Oh, well, I will find something soon. I'm on a mission now.

In other news, my exchange partner emailed that she got her bookmark, and book. I ended up getting a Maryland ghost story book for her. She said she was looking forward to reading it. Thank you all for your help in picking that. I will try to post photos of what I sent and received in the next few days. It was a great exchange and a fun new experience stitching a bookmark. I see more of them in my future.

14 July 2010

More progress

Didn't get a lot done yesterday. I had to take my car in to get a tire replaced because I hit a curb on Sunday and took an impressively large chunk out of my tire. Someone was watching over me, because the thing didn't blow out on the way home, even crossing 3 sets of railroad tracks, but I haven't been driving since then. Yesterday, I went into town and had it fixed. I took my stitching, but I mostly read while waiting. $172 and 2 and a half hours later, I own a new tire. Once I replace the wheel cover (which was already damaged from my brother trying to get the car dug out back in December--it's plastic), which is not too expensive, I should be rolling pretty cute again.

I did get a little progress. I gave Mei Xiang her eye. I even stitched a little bit around it, but I realize I was off one row on the outside part, so took that out. It's amazing how just that eye shows me I've made progress.

13 July 2010

Three more boxes

of stuff gone through.

Last night, after HTB came home from work, I hunkered down on the front stoop and went through stuff. These were all boxes that came out of the trunk of the Neon when it was murdered, so they've been in there for almost two years. I call them the boxes of bad decisions past, LOL.

One box was just a box of books, some from the car, and then some other books I've tossed in there after reading. No biggie. I did pull my copy of Rhett Butler's People out. I decided I'm going to re-read Gone with the Wind, Rhett Butler's People and Scarlett just to compare the three. I never made it the whole way through Scarlett and I may not enjoy it, but Scarlett is one of my favorite literary characters, in the same vein of Vanity Fair's Becky Sharp. I don't know when I'll find time to do this, but it's the plan.

There were a lot of started projects, all of which go right into the UFO box to be completed. And of course a lot of floss. I sighed with disgust at myself for buying $97 of DMC two years ago when people were so worried DMC would go out of business. Because, in my brilliance, I bought $97 of floss from the bottom row of floss. The ones that don't get used that much, and if they do, I have tons of it. I'm not winding all that floss. I'll just leave it in the bag til I need it. I am putting my foot down.

Thank you for your kind and supportive comments about my panda progress. I do love them. I fight them, but I love them. And it's getting fun now that I can tell what things will be, LOL.

I have changed my opinion of the book the chart comes from. It really does have lovely designs. I plan on stitching more of them . . . someday. LOL. I should probably focus on getting through this one first.

12 July 2010

Updated progress

In between organizing this weekend, I stitched.

Like a mug.

Mei Xiang and Tai Shan are getting a bit of a background now. More importantly, Mei Xiang is getting a face. The new photo is not the best, but I think you can see the difference. I'd like to get the background on this side stitched by Wednesday, but I'm not confident about that.



I don't really have high hopes for this piece if it's ready in time for the fair. It doesn't have a highly refined look. It doesn't look as hard as it is to stitch. My stitches are not as neatly formed as I may have wanted. Last year's lions are a far better executed project. But . . . this year, the victory is in completion. If I win anything, it will be a distinct pleasure. Perhaps I'm finally growing up.

Nah . . .

Going through boxes today . . .

I went through three boxes in the garage today. They were ones I had kinda tumbled things into on cleaning jags. I went through them and actually organized things. The dogs have been cooped up inside because the meter reader was supposed to come by today, and, for some reason, they don't like to get too close to a fence if there are two . . .some would say protective, I just say smiling . . . pit bull terriers in the yard. Not that my dogs would EVER go after anyone who wasn't threatening them; they love people, they just don't like other dogs.

One box I set aside for the bulky finishing supplies: styrofoam, the styrofoam cutter, fiberfill, some Christmas tins, and a paper box that I still need to find something to put on top. It's a big box, but I figure that these are light items and they need a good secure space to be stored in til I use them.

Another box, I put charts and kitted up projects in. I really want to have one box for UFOS and kitted up projects, so that I have them at hand to work on if I want them. And to keep it all in one box. That is my ultimate goal.

The third box had a bunch of just . . . detritus . . . in it. I separated out the books and clothes that need to be dealt with and put all the floss and fabric from the other boxes in there in order to bring it up to be organized. I separated out the freebies to bring those upstairs.

I still have a lot to go through down there, and it's going to involve moving stuff around. There's a ladder leaning up against a stack of boxes that I need to go through. That may be this evening's project. I will feel better if the pile o' boxes is smaller and I can find what I need without a 10 minute search and cursing.

11 July 2010

Digging out . . .

I have reached the end of my rope with my sewing room. It is too messy, even for me. It's become a catch-all room: books, stitching supplies, wedding stuff. My wedding dress is on the back of the door, and every time I have to go in, I keep shoving it, and that is probably not good for the dress. So I've started purging.

I have made the painful decision that I will no longer kit things up. I say painful, because I have an issue going into what I have, mainly because it's disorganized, but also because I like to have a "cushion" of floss. I usually just go to the store and kit up new. The result of which is that I have been finding bags of floss that I have no idea what they were bought for. So . . . since I have too much floss with no defined purpose, I'll just use what I have. I've been starting to do that anyway, looking in my stash before heading to the craft store. I'm finding that it's not so bad. I'm working on sorting and winding all that floss, and putting it in the boxes, so that I have it where I need it, no fuss, no muss, no disorganization. It's going to be hard, but I can do it.

I'm organizing my fabric again, and keeping it all together. No more stuffing things in random boxes. I want to be able to want something, and then go find it, exactly where it is supposed to be. That is my goal.

I've already made some good strides. I went through a bag of mail that had been sitting around in there since I moved in. It was full of appeals from animal welfare organizations. The problem is, you donate to one group, you get appeals from everyone, and it could get expensive, but they kept mailing me stuff. I kept them because usually they have notecards or address labels on them and I didn't want to waste them. Well, I went through them. As bad as I feel about using the cards and not giving them a donation, I told myself that I can't donate to everyone, and maybe next year, I can start doing it again. So I pulled out the free things, and put the paperwork in the trash. I put my recipes all together; I bought a recipe card holder for the kitchen a couple weeks ago, and they're all getting put in there. I was happy about that. I consolidated bags of half-finished projects.

I need another storage unit, something a bit classier than plastic, maybe a dresser or a desk. That way, I can store my books away (HTB asked if I traded them in when I was done reading. I told him only the ones that really stunk, LOL), set up my sewing machine and work neatly. We are also going to get rid of the pull out couch. I'd rather have the futon in there, or an easy chair. It's going to come together. I've decided that; before Christmas, my room will be gorgeous!

09 July 2010

A little bit of progress

Bear Hugs the other day.

Today's progress. Starting to fill in Mei Xiang's face. Tai Shan has a complete head. And starting to fill in some of the greenery around the back of them. The background uses mostly DMC variations, so it's fun. It's kind of exciting to be working with a variegated thread I don't have to be uber-thrifty with, LOL.

It was kind of neat last night. I was working on this at the theatre, and one of our patrons came up. He saw the book, with the cheetahs on the front, and asked if that was the one I was working on. I told him no, that I was working on pandas. He frowned and said, "Oh, those pandas . . . it's all about the pandas." He worked with other animals and was a polar bear fan himself. I explained a bit that I was doing it to remember Tai Shan. He forgave me. Then we got to talking about the animals we loved at the zoo. It was just kinda fun. We found out that it's too hot here for polar bears. Interesting. Anyway, it's always neat to see the kinds of conversation stitching can lead to . . . and the connections that can be made just by using floss and fabric.

08 July 2010

A new blogger

She has really lovely freebies. I am looking forward to reading her entries over the coming months.

Welcome to the blogosphere, Kris!

07 July 2010

The gauntlet has been thrown down

HTB seems to be of the opinion that I will never get the pandas finished in time for the fair. Perhaps he'll end up being correct, but, so help me, if I have to be putting them on sticky board the morning the fair entries are due (and I'm not ashamed to admit this, there was a long time when I only ever used stickyboard--I didn't know you were supposed to lace stitching), they will be finished. If only I can keep track of the floss--I had to rob my Hummingbird Trellis afghan of floss because my skein got misplaced. Booger!

06 July 2010

Weekend Stitching and Finishing

I hope everyone celebrating had a fantastic 4th of July. I had a wonderful weekend, albeit a hot one. I was feeling spendy this weekend, so I went to the used book megastore in the closest big town and bought a bunch of new (at least to me) books to read. I think I made out pretty good--twenty books that were in good shape for the price of four new books. I even found the rest of Cynthia Voigt's Tillerman Family saga, which I read part of when I was in school. I wanted to read the rest, now that I know how to actually critically read a book.

I set out a list of some finishing I wanted to get done over the weekend, so I stopped at Joann's to get some fabric to do that. They were having a sale on 4th of July fabric, 50% off, so I couldn't resist making sure I had the "perfect" cut!

I finished this lovely little freebie I've had forever into a pin pillow when I got home Friday night. The backing fabric was perfect for it, at least I think so. It was my first time attempting that style of finish, and I really wasn't trying to be perfect, but I think this turned out pretty nicely. I was a little concerned about how to make sure it was stuffed nice and fat, but a little bit of fiberfill goes a long way. I like this finish a lot, and it's a good message to keep out at Independance Day. You can get the chart here:

i finished One Flag over Gussie into an ornament. It probably would have been better as a pinkeep, but what's done is done. It looks good

Believe it or not, I had the fabric long before I had the freebie. I bought it last January, since patriotic cat fabric is not exactly common, and I'd rather have had it in a box and not used it than need it and have to drive back to Pennsylvania. I am pretty proud of how well I did putting the back fabric on. It's pretty much center, it matches, it completes "the story"

Saturday was a busy day. We decided to go to Gettysburg on the 4th of July, and I made some picnic food to go along, plus some to take to my parents' house for them. It wasn't fancy: deviled eggs and macaroni salad. I thought about baking a cake, but the logistics of hauling the cake around mooted out that idea. Plus I was dogsitting and karaokeing with my friends, so I didn't have the time.

I did however, get this little beauty accomplished! It's a Trail Creek Farm freebie, very cute, even stitching in DMC, not Weeks, the recommended threads.

Sunday, when I got back, we had our day in Gettysburg. It was a lot of fun, although we did get plenty confused because they closed the visitor center from my childhood and moved it up the road, only we didn't realize it and thought we were hallucinating that it was gone. I definitely want to go back and look that over again, it looks A LOT nicer than the old one. We did the battlefield driving tour and picnicked. HTB said he really had no sense of how big the battle was til he was there on the field, looking at the terrain. We went to Devil's Den, so he could climb around on the rocks. He's a very tactile person, and he really enjoyed being on the same rocks that were there for the battle, picturing himself and what he would have done. He told me that he wouldn't have been in that battle; I couldn't imagine fighting either, it just seemed like a lot of chaos and loss. We did have a spirited discussion about "our side" vs. "their side," since Maryland was such a divided state. Even within the same county. We visited the Pennsylvania Monument, and climbed to the observation tower. I'd never known it was there, so it was a new perspective. I got a lot out of the trip. It seemed like a good way to celebrate our freedom.

4th of July evening was fun. I have to laugh. Our town sent out a newsletter stating lighting fireworks within town limits was illegal. I guess no one reads the newsletter because my neighborhood put on one HECK of a display, as they always do. The dogs were excited the first couple minutes, but Shocka wanted to go in. Now I won't say whether or not HTB lit off fireworks, but there was debris on my car: burnt paper, some of the dust, LOL. I know I personally did not light off fireworks. And that is all I'll say on that subject. I'm not responsible for anyone else, but I can still wildly applaud!

Yesterday I worked on my Bear Hug. This is a very tedious project, and I am not enjoying it that much. And not making much progress. It uses three shades to make the white, and 3 or 4 for the black. Hopefully when I move out beyond the small details of the face, it will go quicker.

This is what it is supposed to look like:

What it looks like. I can see progress, but not as much as I'd like. Thank goodness "Band of Brothers" was on yesterday, or I wouldn't have gotten this much done.

I hope everyone had a wonderfully festive holiday and is enjoying this week so far.

02 July 2010

Someone stop me!

I couldn't help it. I broke down and had massive mail-order S.E.X. this morning. That little voice in my head asked why I am ordering stash I can't stitch for another 6 months. It's a bit cranky since I'm trying to eat better, and it's craving junkfood. I just fed that part of me a doughnut and told it to mind its own business.

I was on a patriotic kick. So I ordered Liberty Belles by LHN, Long May She Wave by Sampler Girl (this on top of the pattern I ordered yesterday, which was a patriotic sheep, so I couldn't pass it up), Colonial Women, and Broad Stripes, Bright Stars by Cross Eyed Cricket. The patriotic stuff was on sale. So . . . I had to do it. It was a good bargain.

And then I was digging in my stash and realized I have kitted up Crossed Wing Collection's "Feed the Hungry" with a linen that is too dark a green, so I ordered Mint linen. I know I can use that Olive Green linen elsewhere, so it is not a loss. I may switch out the blue linen, since it's a Wichelt linen and I am passionately in LOVE with Cashel now. For the first 22 years I stitched, I didn't care what linen it was, now I'm picky! It's part of aging! (Hmmm, I've been stitching 22 years this year. Even though I started when I was 11, that still makes me look really old . . . and I still haven't won Best of Show yet. shakes fist in impotent rage)

Speaking of Best of Show, HTB asked me how many things I had ready for the fair this year. I told him nothing yet, but I have some things that I am planning on putting in. I told him a lot of my pieces are square this year, and it's been a challenge finding frames. And it has been. Big time. I told him "we" have to get to work framing and finishing this month. I hope he realizes I'm being serious. I am a bit down that I won't have as many entries and they won't be as gorgeously-framed as in years past, but, at the same time, it is what it is. My entries are not down this year because I'm lazy and I didn't have the time or the money to go to my LNS--I haven't been there since last summer. I am resolved that I will view this situation as a chance to enhance my creativity and skillsets. Though . . . I will say, I never find good frames at the thriftstore. Must keep looking . . . and keep a spare $20 for yard sale finds.

01 July 2010

Happy July

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my easel, and for putting up with my goofy post about the stairs. I didn't realize til I posted that those pix make our stairs look filthy, but they really are not, I promise. They cleaned up surprisingly well after the buffalo wing dip incident--whoever invented Resolve is a goddess. HTB really liked the lighthouse--he moved it from the stairs to the livingroom. I guess we'll have to rely on the prints of lighthouses we have up in the foyer to protect us, LOL.

The last few days were absolutely crazy around here. Especially yesterday. I feel like I spent the whole day driving. I ended up working from home, but had to come back down to the suburbs for a meeting at the church with the wedding coordinator. That went pretty well, other than the fact that I can not seem to lock down details on this for love or money. I can deal in broad, sweeping concepts ("I want bells rung!"), but I couldn't, for the life of me, quite pin down whose doing the marrying. I chalk it up to having a sinus headache and the fact that, when I'm highly stressed, my brain shuts down. And I'm highly stressed. I don't even remember producing and directing a play being this stressful, and I had to deal with people who kept putting off learning their lines. But I managed to accomplish that, and I've got a few more years on me, so I can probably get this done. I did stop last night in Michaels, and they had pretty bird charms in the jewelry aisle. I think I am going to get one to sew onto the ribbon of my bridal bouquet--I've seen slides put on, and I think a bird one would be pretty cool. They had a phoenix pendant thingy, and I really liked that; the phoenix is one of the symbols of Scorpio, and I can definitely see points of my life where I "rose from the ashes". I don't know--will have to think about this.

I'm not quite finished my bookmark yet. It was due today, but I just have some backstitching to do and the finishing. I can see getting that done by tonight. I feel badly that I didn't get it done sooner. Time just gets away from me.

I am going to stitch patriotic things this whole weekend. I have three patriotic projects kitted up to work on. Two are small freebies, the other is not, but I think for a holiday, I can relax my self-imposed rules, right? One new project in a year where I've stitched only freebies, SALs and UFOs does not mean I lack control. And, really, I didn't think I'd make it this far without "cheating." So I'm proud of that--it's pretty impressive. If only I could commit to losing weight the same way, LOL.

Is anyone else stitching a patriotic piece?
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