29 December 2011

The Between week

It's that week between the holidays here in Crazyville. Of course, it's that week where you are too, LOL. This is probably my favorite time of the holiday season, when the hustle and the bustle and the stress of the season is done, and it's time to relax . . . and try to figure out how to put the gifts away. There is always less traffic to fight this week, making it almost a pleasure to go to work.

I didn't feel too well yesterday, so came home and drooped, while Left-brain made dinner. I think I'm going to buy him steaks to make up for having to take care of me, like he has been the last few weeks. It's been really hard for me to deal with not being the Superwoman I pride myself on being, but there is a reason, and, when I get stressed out over the deal, he tells me to cut it out, I'm allowed to be a little weak. (This was after I got sick the other night, first time in our entire relationship he's ever seen me bolt to the bathroom, then started cursing because I was mad at myself over it). I perked up to pull out the ornament I've been working on and did some stitching on that. It shames me to think I've been working on one ornament, and not one that involves shading or anything particularly difficult, for 3 weeks. It's just large and involves overdyeds, so I KNOW why it's taking so long, but . . . sheesh. How on earth will I get 72 ornaments done this year, if I can't get 1 done quicker than this? I'm slowing down in my early middle age. I'm going to try to get it finished over the weekend, because, seriously, I'm over it. I want to move on to other new projects. I am going to my LNS tomorrow, so maybe that will inspire me to get a move on.

It is Left-brain's birthday on Saturday. I'm not quite sure if it's going to be his usual party with family, or a quiet time like last year, when it was just him and I for New Years, then we had a party with the family another day. We also are hosting dinner for my family on New Years Day, traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fare of pork roast and sauerkraut, eaten to ensure money in the new year. I did this for the first time last year and it turned out great, so we're trying again. This year, though, Left-brain has to help with seasoning, because my sense of taste is off, and things are much saltier to me than they are for other people. But I'm going to try--at least I can't boff up the sauerkraut, LOL.

27 December 2011

Starting to wrap up the year.

I hope everyone had a peaceful and happy Christmas. I know we were busy in a festive way all weekend, even up through yesterday. Our holidays were nice here in Crazyville--good food to eat, time spent with family, lovely things to look at on our tree, wonderful gifts.

DH surprised me with a charm bracelet. He picked out 6 gorgeous charms for me, including a Dallas star, LOL. And somehow, in our little corner of the world, he found socks with Schipperkes on them! If you own a Schipperke, you understand that finding ANYTHING with their sweet little faces on it, it's a treasure--these are not one of your better known breeds, particularly in this neck of the woods. He also bought me a stepstool, because I hate having to ask him to get things down off the upper shelves in the kitchen for me. I was much pleased! Mom gave me a $50 gift card to 123stitch. I'm going to save that for something I REALLY want. When I REALLY need a treat for myself, but it's nice having it!

I thought today would be a good day to do the official list of finishes since I'm pretty sure I won't be finishing anything else this week. I've got 9 hours of overtime to work before Saturday, and, well . . .


3 December--Hope-Dragon Dreams--2011 JCS Ornament Issue
30 October--Halloween Silhouette-2008--Raise the Roof
29 October--Bringing Home the Tree-LHN
26 October--Winter Glitter--Sanman Originals
16 October--Do You See What I See--TGOS 2007 issue
14 October--Meet Me Under the Mistletoe-TGOS 2009 issue
27 September--Frank n Stitches--Mosey n Me.
2 September--Beware of the Cat--Helga Mandl
2 September--French CountryOrnaments II-JBW
28 August-Favorite Pets--Simply Cross Stitch magazine
15 August--Brave Hearts--Little House Needleworks
4 July--The First Day--Plum Street Samplers--JCS ornament
3 July--Bear Hug--Pollyanna Pickering
27 June--You Are So Bootiful-Designs by Lisa
5 June 2011-4 Seasons Fatties-Sanman Originals
29 May--Flags and Friends--Bent Creek
15 May--Gingerbread Village--Little House Needleworks
27 April--Chicken--Bent Creek?
16 April--Sugar Plum Fairy-Country Cottage Needleworks
12 April--Autumn Leaves-Prairie Schooler
29 March--Bunny freebie--???
22 March--Eden Was A Garden--Needle Maid Designs
9 March--Cardinals Winter--Little House Needleworks
26 February-Frost is on the Pumpkin--Cricket Collection
18 February--Official Snow Guide-Lizzie Kate
9 February-Lookin' Like Fall--Plum Pudding
5 February--Patriotic Summer--Midsummer Night Designs
28 January--Hope Perches--Sampler Girl
27 January--Betsy--Sheepish Designs
16 January-A Nuisance of Cats--Yankee Stitcher
14 January-Santa's Bunnies-Vermillion Stitchery

I had 31 finishes this year. Well down from my usual average, but, then again, I had 3 UFO finishes and I spent a good portion of the year working on very large projects, some of which I am DETERMINED to finish in 2012, like Icy Dragon. I also spent most of November too exhausted to stitch, and my current ornament WIP is taking forever. All I can do is appreciate the ones I managed to finish, realize I'm not Super-woman, and try to do a little better last year.

I think I already said this, but I've decided I'm not doing the Crazy January Challenge in 2012. I managed to get a third of the way through my list of projects, but that means I added 10 new UFOs to the list, one of which I've misplaced already. So I think getting some more UFOs finished is the best idea for me. Not only am I convinced that finished projects take up less space than kitted up unfinished ones (plus there aren't all the envelopes sliding around, annoying me), but I think I get a better sense of what floss and fabric I own, since it isn't all in random envelopes. I am DETERMINED this is the year I control my stash, not the other way around. It's time I became an adult, darn it!

23 December 2011

Hang A Shining Star

I have plans to blog tomorrow, but, if the day gets away from me, I wanted to wish you and yours a holiday filled with light and love, hope and joy.

I have a little star ornament I hang on my stitchy tree every , with a silent prayer that the new year is a good one, that we are are at least as happy as we are that Christmas, and that our circle of loved ones does not diminish. Some years, that is not possible. We lost Lisa from Primitive Needle this year, as well as stitchers I knew from boards, Alphabet Michelle and the Lovely Lee, but the memories of their lives are still with us, as well as their beautiful stitching. As long as we remember people who have touched our lives, they are never really gone. I hope the memories of good times with family, even the ones that have left, are with you this holiday.

From Beazer, Left-brain, and I, Merry Christmas

16 December 2011

The Christmas Frog

I thought I was doing really well yesterday, had gotten a good bit of stitching done, then ended up frogging A LOT because I had miscounted. ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH. Frogging silk threads is a tragedy. I could have cried. I think I have it fixed now. Put it this way, I HOPE I have it fixed, I just can't stand to frog those beautiful Belle Soie threads any more.

I know it's been picture-free around here for the last few posts. I am not going to share the ornament that I am working on til I have it finished, and, by finished, I mean, made into an ornament, hanging on our tree. It's a challenge to myself. 2012 is the year I have to stop procrastinating, and this is an exercise in that. And I'm hoping the ornament is worth the wait.

I am determined to get the rest of my holiday prep done tomorrow. I am getting up at my normal time, and heading to the nearest largish city (the one with the Super-Walmart) to get the rest of my holiday shopping done before a lot of people have gotten up. I figure if I can get my food shopping and my gift shopping done early, I can be home, wrapping presents, by 10. Or baking. I know I am trying to keep it low-key, but what would Christmas be without a bit of baking and candy making? Left-brain requested chocolate chip--he loves that I use the milk chocolate chips, not the semi-sweet, and I've got oatmeal butterscotch to make, along with 7-layer cookies, the award-winning Rolo pretzels, and saltine cracker candy. I may even make shortbread, I don't know yet. Left-brain is putting up the tree for me tomorrow afternoon, and I'll decorate it while he's watching the Cowboys play.

And let me tell you about that Beazer! DH's 4 main sports loves are: the Dallas Cowboys, Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball (I converted him after Maryland got bad, it was that or we spend March Madness, not talking to each other), Dale Earnhardt Jr, and the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens are a new thing, mainly since they got really good and we live smack-dab in Ravens territory. We don't have a lot of Ravens things, but I envision converting the bathroom in the mancave to a purple and black mecca to our local team. And we need ornaments for the tree. I bought Left-brain a tiny little Ravens football ornament and put it at the bottom of the bed, on the floor, tucked away. It was a gift from Beazer. Do you know what that dog did one day when I was not home, but Left-brain was? He found the ornament, picked it up, carried it around, and gave it to his father. Left-brain said I should do a better job of hiding presents. Dang dog.

15 December 2011

A little bit of stitching!

I got a li'l bit of stitching done last night. I stitch at work on my lunch break, but, by the time I get home, and pet the dog, and greet Left-brain, and get some dinner, I'm usually done for the night. Or at least that has been the pattern for most of the last 2 months. But that seems to be resolving itself nicely: last night, I managed to have a conversation with my mom to tell her we are NOT Atlanta Falcons fans in this house (somehow she thought we were, based on a conversation she had with Left-brain in regards to a Steelers game, but, um, no, we are Cowboys first, Ravens second, and some weeks, that gets reversed.), got the dogs' Christmas list--Robbie wants the tiny little bones from Tractor Supply, and had time to stitch a bit while we watched "The Virgin Diaries." It was a repeat of the premiere, and all I can say is, I hope our wedding pictures, at least the ones where we're kissing, didn't look that awkward.

I pulled Santa Pets out to work on. I've been ornament stitching this week, but needed a rest from one at a time. Since I have both Christmas weekend and New Year's weekends off, plus 3 days off in the week, I plan on working on that like crazy--perhaps Santa will have a face by 2012! Dare I dream and hope for a puppy? LOL.

14 December 2011

A Christmas memory

Growing up in the DC area, we were afforded easy access to events in the city. My favorite Christmas memory came the year I got to participate in one of the holiday events.

When I was 9, in 1985, a little 4th grader, I tried out for our school chorus. Only two 4th graders made it in, and that was the year we "toured", a big deal when you live in a small town. The other kid, Carl, and I were so excited, because we got to leave school early.

One of our concerts was at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, where we sang, I think, for the officer's wives. I remember a large group of ladies at the concert, all prettily-dressed, smiling, in a nicely-decorated room. They gave us candy to thank us for singing for them.

But that wasn't the best part.

We got to sing at the Pageant of Peace. I didn't realize then, how important it really was, but it was more the idea of riding a school bus down to the city, seeing each other after dark, outside! Now I realize what a great honor it was.

I remember my gloves didn't match. I lost one of each pair and forgot we had to clap during one of the songs, but I knew people would see, and I was so worried. I wore the mismatched pair anyway. It was cold that night.

Our chorus teacher/music teacher was someone who loved music, loved teaching us music. Had eclectic tastes. He liked to teach us sign language so we could sign along when we sang, and I still remember a lot of the signs he taught us. He was such an enthusiastic teacher, and he brought out my love of singing.

And he chose the best songs to teach us. They probably do a lot of this now, but how many elementary school kids were singing "Ode to Joy" in German in the 1980s, at least in Maryland public schools? I still know the words. He'd mix that with show tunes, with spirituals, with Christmas carols, and we'd sing with such jubilation.

Our program that year was pretty diverse: "Go Tell It on the Mountain," in call and response form (the clapping song) and "We Need a Little Christmas," among others. He had chosen "One Tin Soldier," from the movie, "The Legend of Billy Jack," as well. Looking back now, I realize that is not a very Christmassy song, but oh, you should have heard us sing it.

We stepped out on stage. It was so cold. Our voices rang in the frosty night air. My parents were in the audience. They had driven downtown to hear me sing. So I stuck my mismatched gloves up and clapped, I called and responded, I sang for them. And then it was time for "One Tin Soldier."

We sang with just a flute for accompaniment. It was a slower arrangement than the radio version. 60 voices and that lone flute rang out across the ellipse in the frosty air, singing our song of peace. Our little prayer. And it was beautiful. My father cried.

I've never heard that song played for Christmas again. Today I Facebooked my music teacher to thank him for that memory, to let him know I still remember, 26 years later, and what a profound musical moment that he created. Maybe it doesn't work as a carol. But I thought it did, and there is never a Christmas where I don't sing it, and I don't remember that beautiful, magical night. One day, I'll teach it to my child, hoping it has the same effect on him or her that it did on me.

Hoping you have a song this season that brings you joy and reminds you of a landmark event many Christmases ago.

13 December 2011

My Christmas gifts to myself

It seems to me I used to buy a lot more for myself. Or at least fancier things. Perhaps age has impacted my spending habits.

So far this year, I've treated myself to two things. One stitchy, one not. Or shall I say, the animals bought them for me? Yes, because who buys presents for themself, LOL.

The cats got together a few weeks ago and signed me up for the Sanman Merry Members board for 2012. I belonged in 2010, but couldn't keep up with the stitching and so opted not to do it for 2011. It seemed like a good thing for me to do this year, since my focus seems to be on smaller designs, so they got it for me. Such good cats, I knew carrying them around like babies when they tiny would work out in the end.

The dogs borrowed my check card yesterday and bought me Disney's Fantasia on DVD. I have wanted that for a year, but never got it. So, in a moment of rare Schipperke-Pit Bull cooperation, they asked me to let them get it for me. My good dogs. Beazer was of course mightily pleased with himself--he brought his beat-up toy bear for me to admire, jumped on the bed, and ensconced his funky self in the middle of the bed. Left-brain told him to get his foul-smelling butt off the bed, to which his response was to roll on the sheets, and look pathetic, as only an elderly pit bull can look. Methinks he is angling for a good Christmas gift, knowing I am going shopping this weekend, LOL.

And as for me, I spent 50 cents on myself at Goodwill the other day and found A Prairie Year by Prairie Schooler. I might have could waited til the friday night sale and gotten it for a quarter, but what fun would that be? I think that is the best stash I have gotten from Goodwill, and it was quite the find. It goes Buy-It-Now on Ebay for usually $10-$25, bidding a bit lower, but I wanted it, so 50 cents is a good deal. I also picked up some books, but I consider that just helping them make room, because I am clearing out some of my books that I don't want.

I think this will be a low-key Christmas at our house in general. I'll bake cookies this weekend, and we'll trim the tree, but no more 12 foot monstrosities like we've had in the past. The gifts I will give are not expensive, but will be given with love, and we are focusing on the blessings we have recieved this year and will continue to recieve in the next year, if we are lucky: a roof over our head to give us refuge, food in our pantry for sustenance, and someone to come home to who "gets" us. I wish that everyone in the world had at least the first two, and hopefully the third.

11 December 2011

Sorry for the lack of posting

It's just been that kind of week. Work was quite hectic this week, we were gone most of the day yesterday, looking for a Christmas tree and cutting it down. This is one of my favorite days of the Christmas season, because we get to spend a day with our family, and usually the weather is nice, and we get a nice family dinner. Any day that involves crab dip is AWESOME--I think I could make a meal with crab dip and bread and be one stunningly happy fat girl. But I was quite tired by the end of it, and was in bed by 8.

Hopefully this week goes a lot better.

07 December 2011

One on the tree, one needs cording

I was a busy little beaver last night. After I got home and perused the newest JCS, which was waiting for me, I got out my finishing stuff. I completed glueing my Dragon Dreams ornament together, quite the big deal, as this is the first ornament I have completed for myself in, gosh, a year? Maybe, I'm in a fog right now. Beazer and I went down and hung in on his tree, after we found a place that was not too close to the other "hope" ornaments I have.

Then I went back up and sewed together an old Pam Kellogg JCS ornie finish. I think it was the first thing I completed when I moved in with Left-brain, and is a blackwork (well, yellow work) kitty. I used some holly fabric that was gifted to me as part of a Secret Sister exchange by a stitcher who passed away at the beginning of 2011. It always seemed perfect for this ornament, and now Michelle is part of our Christmases future. It was getting too late by then to fiddle with the cording maker, so that is tonight's project, along with hopefully starting to finish another ornament. I've set myself the goal of finishing one ornament per evening this week, since, if I really pay attention, it's not that hard. LOL, working at this pace means they might not be perfect by anyone else's measurements when finished, but Beazer is not critical!

I will try to take some pictures tonight. I thought about it last night, but didn't feel like crawling behind the tree to turn on the lights to give the full effect, so didn't.

06 December 2011


Someone alerted me to the impending arrival of this design of Carriage House Samplings:


Chincoteague is the island that Assateague protects from the ocean. It's a lovely place, out of a picture postcard. I was first introduced to it reading the Misty books, by Marguerite Henry. If you have never read these books, with their gorgeous Wesley Dennis illustrations, PLEASE read them. If you have children, please have them read them. It's life-affirming.

I am going to whisper in the ears of the dogs and request this for my Christmas gift. I've been a good Mummy--plenty of tasty jummies, tummy rubs, and toys have been finding their way to the dogs this year. We've gone on walks, and bye-byes. What better way can they show their affection for me?

I hope she includes some ponies. Designs with wild ponies are hard to find. I think I own all but the HAED one that just came out.

I need more sneak peeks. I need to drool. I need to make room on the wall!

05 December 2011

Back to ornament stitching

Stitching on Santa last weekend knocked me into gear, so I've pulled out my 2011 JCS and gotten back to work on some ornaments. I actually finished the stitching on one over the weekend, Dragon Dreams' latest offering. I'm going to finish it into an ornament this evening, so hopefully, it will join the other ornaments either tonight, or tomorrow night. I'm kinda pleased to have another one done, since I now have 3 completed ornaments from this issue, which must be a record for me, LOL. If I get that done, I may do some finishing on a couple other ones that have been in dire need of it for a while now.

Wish me luck.

04 December 2011

An illuminating evening

This is not a cross stitch post, but it was a wonderfully moving event, and an experience that I wish to share.

Left-brain and I live about an hour from Sharpsburg, Maryland, where the battle of Antietam took place in September, 1862. It is the single bloodiest day in American history, with 23,110 men killed, injured or missing after the battle. Click here if you would like to read a little more about the battle.

For the past 23 years, to honor the memory of those who gave their lives on that day, as well as those who serve our country to preserve the freedom so dearly bought on that day, on the first Saturday of December, 23,110 luminaries, one for every casualty, are lit on the battlefield. I have been twice, and it is probably the strongest argument for "Peace on Earth" one could see.

I do not have pictures of the events of last night. I didn't bother to take my camera; it's a good camera, but not that good, and, to get a decent shot, it would have taken a tripod, long exposure, and a stopped car, and those are not things I have. There are some pictures here. They're much nicer than anything I could take anyway.

The event opened at 6PM, but we got there a half hour early. There were already probably a thousand cars lined up on the shoulder ahead of us at that time, and the line quickly grew after we got there. We didn't actually start moving til 7PM, and didn't get to the gates til 9PM. Yep, we sat there, no potties, just a bottle of water and a bag of Combos to tide us over. I brought a magazine, Left-brain fiddled with stuff in the truck.

It was quite a show in the line. The people in front of us kept getting out of their cars to check their headlights--don't know why, you aren't supposed to have your headlights on in the illumination. Other people kept trying to sneak in the line--one lady kept getting out of her car and confronting them. But, when you've been sitting in your car for 3 hours, and someone jumps, it's frustrating. Finally, the police started cruising the line, rooting out the "butters".

We got in the battlefield gate, handed over a small donation to thank the volunteers for their hard work, then drove into a surreal experience.

When you think of 23110 people, it's hard to picture. At least it is for me. A small college basketball arena, maybe? Half my college's football stadium, at least when I was there? This display goes a long way to show you the scale of loss. Each little light twinkling, telling its own story among the sea of thousands, just as each life follows its own design. Two groups of Civil War reenactors stood amidst the lights, paying silent tribute to their fallen predecessors. It started out a few rows of luminaries, some clusters here and there,but as the car path moved across the battlefield, it turned into a veritable sea of lights spread out across the gently rolling hills.

I appreciated the air of reverence that seemed to permeate the night. We weren't there to gawk and gape, but to ponder the fact that freedom is not free and the human price can be terrible. It almost felt like they were tombstones lined up, maybe the only monument the missing ever get, all equal and even, small soldiers lined up to say, "Remember us, we were here." Such a thing of beauty, living, breathing art, that came out of a terrible day.

If you live in Maryland, or can get to Maryland, please, at some point in your travels, put this as part of your holiday itinerary. It's worth the three hour wait, worth the cold, worth everything, for that one moment of stillness to see the value of one life.

30 November 2011

The Christmas tree

I put the Christmas tree together on Sunday. This is the tree that handmade ornaments go on, as well as my whimsical ornaments and my animal ornies. If you remember, last year, I put blue lights on the tree, but I wanted to go a bit more classic with white lights. I love the way it looks--bright and light, the perfect backdrop to the masterpieces I've stitched and been gifted with.

A view of some of the cool ornaments. The Plum Street Samplers "The First Day" is new for this year. I went with my chocolate/ice blue theme. If I was not so scatter-brained I actually would have more ornaments in that color-scheme, but I'm too . . . something . . . to stick to a theme other than "modified chaos."

Looking up at the top. I don't have a traditional topper for the tree, I just took a pick thing and wound it around the top. I think it minimizes the tree's Cindylou Who appearance. One of my most precious ornaments is hanging to the right of the horse, over his shoulder.

It's Shocka's memorial ornament, bought to keep him with us in the holidays. It's hard to realize he's been gone for over a year, not that we are ever really gone as long as someone who loved us remembers and thinks about us, but at least we have this little symbol of his life.

Beazer was not that impressed. I keep telling him, "This is your tree", since we put his gifts, as well as those for the twins and the cats underneath. He seemed to find it hard to believe that this will happen.

Still, he hedged his bets and insists he was VERY GOOD this year. No pooping on the floor, no killing of wildlife, he protected the house, and he has not ripped his kennel apart. Do you think he deserves a little somethin'?

29 November 2011

Santa's Pets photo

Pretty good progress if I do say so myself. It's easy to make progress with these large blocks of color. And given time. I REALLY LOVE this stair/step method for this project. I haven't gotten misplaced once doing these blocks of 100 stitches, and it seems to be making this project a lot more palatable, blending filament and all.

All apologies . . .

for not being around lately. I spent the weekend either immensely busy or tremendously exhausted. I slept in all 4 days of the long weekend, trying to recover or build up a reserve for the weeks ahead. At least I can say, this is the last year where my holidays will be focused on other people's family and not the combined Rachel/Left-brain family celebration. I've been leaning towards leaving my part time job for a while, but recent developments have really pushed the issue. Part of me is really looking forward to that, but part of me is really sad to leave. I told Left-brain I want to work through the end of the year, then we'll evaluate how I feel. If things aren't any easier, then I'm leaving.

I did make some massive progress on my Santa's Pets over the weekend. Santa has a hat now! I actually had to restock on a couple of the colors, since I've used so much. I will try very hard to get a picture this evening, depending on how bad traffic is.

I also got my stitchy tree out. It's assembled, which was not as hard as I thought it would be. I tried to get Beazer to help me by bringing the branches over. He refused. Apparently the branches don't have a good mouth feel. What an ingrate--after all, IT'S HIS TREE! He did watch me and was a cheerleader. I have to find the box with the decorations and get them on.

I also got word that my ornaments finally made their way to England. I mailed them on the 5th, and it took them til Saturday to make it to their new owner. She likes them a lot, which pleases me to no end. I'm so glad they got there--I'd offered to send her a store-bought ornament to hold their place on her tree til it got there, but this way, she has what she is supposed to have.

23 November 2011

More proof I don't need to buy anything

My mother gave me a bag of stuff she found around the house. It included some leaflets. I don't remember ever seeing these leaflets. Well, maybe one. But only vaguely and I wouldn't swear on it in a court of law. It has to be stuff I picked up somewhere because it's stuff I would actually stitch, not just stuff that fell out of the sale or trade tub.

I think my favorite of the group is a Pegasus Originals "Puppies" leaflet. It has 7 super-adorable charts I could see stitching for dog-lovers in my family: a German Shepard for my aunt, who adopted a (then) 6 month old GSD, now named Zorro, and who is realizing why she hadn't had a puppy in 30 years (LOL), a cocker spaniel for a co-worker who has two and adores them, and a yellow lab/golden retriever for Left-brain, who, other than the pitbulls, loves this breed. We're not getting one--we've already decided our next family dog is going to be a French bulldog or a Boston terrier-but at least he could say his wife gave him a yellow lab.

But, if I'm forgetting about stash, I should not only be appreciative when I find it, I shouldn't buy anymore. So . . . yeah, that did it.


22 November 2011

Mojo is starting to come back

At least I think it is. I've been so worn out the last couple weeks, not to mention frustrated, that I haven't really felt compelled to stitch. I know this is starting to sound like a broken record, but, last night, driving home, I asked myself how do people with a serious chronic illness manage to negotiate all the twists and turns of the illness? I had to get a prescription refilled. Well, my PCP (hereafter known as "He who has seen me for the last time") never bothered to call in a new prescription after he upped the dosage on my medication, so, when I went to go get it, after being assured they had called in the scrip, the pharmacy said I wasn't ready for a refill, and that they couldn't refill it till December 3rd. This is the same doctor who told me if I don't take this pill, I'm going to die (methinks he was being a bit dramatic, but then again, I'm not a doctor), so when they said they couldn't give it to me, I started crying--those angry tears no one likes, particularly in public. I explained to the pharmacist what is going on with me, and she had pity and gave me 4 pills til I could get someone on the line at the doctor's office. I did that, explained to her what was going on, and she supposedly called the prescription in as a new one. I have to go pick that up--by the time I talked to her, I wasn't going back into CVS. I know I can not get so frustrated so easily, but that doctor's office has caused me more stress over the past three weeks than the situation at hand, and it's not easy to keep it together in those circumstances.

When I got home, Left-brain had a nice salad for me, and I fondled a few stash purchases that came in the mail. My pretty Belle Soies were there, as well as the PTP Monet aida I chose for my 6 Fat Men. I know the chart calls for tan, but I really thought it needed something wintry. I had used the Monet for the Halloween Flip-Its, so thought it might work for the snowmen. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

I also managed to get a little bit done on Santa's Pets. I will try to post updated photos before the week is out; I just hadn't made enough progress to warrant pics this week, but it does move quickly if I allow myself time to work on it. It feels good to focus on that, even if just for an hour or so. Left-brain finds it incredible that his wife, who used to stay up late, get up early, and never nap, is so tired she goes to bed at 9, but if I get one hour of stitching, I feel like I've accomplished something.

I hope everyone is having a good week, if you are travelling for the holiday, travel safely. To everyone, have a blessed Thanksgiving and a beautiful start to the holiday season.

18 November 2011

Great tutorials

If you aren't familiar with her blog, this is a great chance to get to know Daffycat. She's been doing some fantastic finishing tutorials lately. I can't wait to try them


Not much happening here this week. All I've done is work and sleep. And, to be honest, worry about things that will probably never come to pass, but really, aren't those the things that frighten us the most? I did break down and order some Belle Soie for an ornament I plan to start. I was going back and forth about the purchase, but this is a special ornament, so I ordered the silks. Not to mention, they are beautiful and I can use anything left over for other projects, so I don't know what I was particularly hesitant to purchase them for.

16 November 2011

2012 in Crazyville . . .

is going to be a lot different than 2011 was. We finally got an accurate diagnosis of what has been going on with me. I'm going to be OK--I can't say much more than that for now, but I'm going to be OK. And I'm going to be getting a new primary care physician. That is for darn sure. Thank you all for putting up with me the last few weeks. I know it's been a wierd time, but I'm on the mend, spiritually, I have much more faith in myself, and am in complete awe of the path life takes us on.

Remember a few months ago, I said I had a plan for my stitching next year? I'm working on UFOs, and my gorgeous Santa, who--poor thing--has been virtually abandoned by me over the past two days, but I'm going to attempt to stitch every ornament from this year's JCS issue. I've already stitched two ornaments, leaving me 73 left to do. It looks like a lot standing 14 months out from the end of the project, but I realize, next Christmas (or the end of the world, whichever comes first) I'll have 75 ornaments on that white Christmas tree, and that is a really inspiring thought. Frankly, there are a few that I am intimidated by, so I am using those as my Crazy January projects instead of large projects (I'm learning as I get older). There are some that I think the designers just called in, instead of actually putting effort into designing, but those just give me more time for the scary ones. I'd like to see if it's possible. Or will I run, screaming? Or rather, waddle, screaming? I could use all the support in this, if you want to do a SAL on some of them, let me know. We can encourage each other.

15 November 2011


I had another doctor's appointment yesterday. Back on the roller coaster again--if I was a roller coaster enthusiast, I'd be in love with this ride, up and down, left and right, things keep popping up. But I'm not an enthusiast and this has been a bit much to take in. Then I got sent somewhere else, I ended up being away from work for 4 hours. We don't have sick leave as a separate kind of leave and are supposed to make up the time or lose it off our vacation, plus we have to do 5 hours' overtime this week, plus I have to work 18 hours elsewhere, so, by the time I got back to the office, I was a wreck. I finally had to admit there is no way I am making up that time, so I will be using my precious leave for it. I can think of way better places I could be on my vacation, other than at the doctor's office, but I digress. I'm now waiting for test results . . . AGAIN . . . but if this is right, I may be seeking a new primary care physician.

I wish I could say I went home and stitched, but I didn't. I was so fidgety, all I did was cut up veggies for dinner. And watched Sex and the City reruns. Left-brain was helping a friend, and didn't get home til 9, so it wasn't like I was being a bad wife by not having real food. I'll make it up to him tonight--he won't suffer by having to forage out a meal from left-over birthday cake and cereal, LOL.

13 November 2011

A little less hair and a lot more stitching

I went through with it and cut my hair yesterday. I didn't realize I was going to want to lose so much, but, when she was done, a foot of hair was gone, replaced by a stacked bob.

I'd like to be able to say I donated it to charity, but my hair is gray and processed, and they wouldn't want it, so it went in the trash. It feels really wierd to have short hair again, but I need a change, and perhaps the weight of the hair is a symbol of what's been weighing down my spirit lately. It will be faster to dry now.

I think I have made good progress on Santa's Pets this week, despite the overtime that I've been working.

I know progress on this is going to slow down, or stop, since the show starts this week. I haven't determined whether or not I'll just put it down for the holidays and work on ornaments. I'm torn. I have so much motivation to work on it right now, I'm worried I might lose that. Maybe I should play it by ear?

Today was a working day. I planted my flower bulbs. 150 of them. Iris, crocus, daffodils, and tulips. Not only do I have my pot for the front stoop, but I also have a pot of crocuses (there were a lot in the bag), with three little planted areas in the yard. I like the idea of them peeping out at the break of spring. I did have to dig a new flower bed. It's been YEARS since I've broken ground like that on a massive scale, but there were 75 tulip and daffodil bulbs in need of a sunny spot, and there was not room for them in the old beds. So I dug. And dug. I have chapped fingertips now, and my clothes are filthy with Maryland clay dirt (I wondered if it would affect the bulbs to be planted in that soil, but my mom and dad have the same soil and it grows flowers). We also appear to have a healthy crop of rocks in this yard--I assume they're left from when the house was built--so I started tossing those under the front steps, not wanting to have them in the yard for Left-brain to kick up in the mower. If it works, our yard will be beautiful next spring. I'm very hopeful for that. And tired . . . proof I probably will need to work out if I ever want to be a farm wife, since I'm sure they work a lot harder than I did today.

11 November 2011

What will the weekend hold?

This is my last free weekend before our holiday show starts. That will run through New Years and make this a very hectic time in my life. So I'm going to enjoy the weekend. Left-brain gifted me with a haircut and style--my first in 10 months, my hair grew back to what it was before the wedding, and I have a suspicion I will come out of the hairdresser tomorrow with a lot less hair.

I'm also going to try to get my daffodils planted tomorrow or Sunday. I bought them a few weeks ago, but haven't had time to plant them. Our yard is badly in need of a sprucing up--it was originally the model for the neighborhood, then a rental house, and Left-brain isn't a flowery guy, so it looks very bland in the spring. My parents are daffodil freaks and have thousands of them in their yard--if I'd thought about it, I could have asked my mom to dig up some of hers--and so, I miss having ta riot of flowers. It does get a bit more colorful in the summer, thanks to my gladiolas and the annuals I plant, but spring in Crazyville is pretty blah . . . I bought these to remedy that.
I am particularly obsessed with planting a pot of daffodils. Wouldn't a huge planter with all those sunny little yellow faces be so cheerful climbing up the front steps to the house? And I plan on putting some in the front beds and at a rock we have in the sunniest part of the yard. I'd also toyed with the idea of scattering them down the back hill, but Left-brain didn't seem to like that idea, so we'll keep them controlled.

And I'd like to try to get some finishing done. I bought some comic book boards to use in making ornaments and I really like how sturdy they feel, so may be doing that tonight.

So we'll see!

09 November 2011

My newest WIP

I bought the 2009 BH&G calendar the day I moved in with Left-brain. This design was most of the reason why.

I've held out working on it for a long time. It's not a quick stitch. It's quite intimidating. It's also the beautiful Santa I think I've ever seen. I decided to stop being intimidated this weekend.

This is the result of it.

It's a good start, if I do say so myself. I'm hopeful I can get it done for Christmas 2012, but I won't hold my breath. There's a lot of stitching involved!

A freebie to cheer up the place

Since Crazyville has had a pall over it the last few days, I thought I would share one of my most favorite freebies . . . ever. I've probably shared him before, but the little snowman in the tree is adorable.

It makes me smile when I see him.

I think he MIGHT be getting stitched by me this weekend. A weekend o' smiles!

Hope you like him too.


I wanted to thank you all for the support you gave me on my last post. Things have been going better. I had a follow-up visit with my doctor on Monday. He had put me on medication on Thursday, and that showed great improvement as of Monday. They did up my dosage, but I feel a lot better, and, with some changes in my lifestyle, I am hopeful that I'll be better soon. I had also gone with another issue, but that did not resolve itself as we had hoped. I can look at the logical reasons for it happening, and they make sense, and look to the spiritual for comfort, but it doesn't seem to be helping. And, making it worse is that I feel like my doctor wasn't very supportive after he gave me the news, like it was no big deal and I can just move on. I'm going to have to do some soul-searching about this situation in general. In a few weeks . . . when I'm not reacting from anger or sadness or fear.

Anyway . . . that's that.

I finally turned back to my stitching this weekend. I decided I wanted to start something brand-new, so I pulled out a project I kitted up last year, Santa's Pets, from the 2009 BH&G calendar. It's a design by Liz Goodrick-Dillon, a magnificent Santa surrounded by puppies and kittens, so it was a natural draw for me. It's a huge project, solidly-stitched, but it actually is fun to stitch. Very little confetti stitching, and it's moving quickly. I am using the 10X10 block, stair step method or I'll get hopelessly lost, but I'm hoping I can make good progress on this.

I will post pictures of my recent work tonight. I've just been in a daze for the last week. I feel like I was ejected from a roller coaster I didn't ask to ride, but I'm going to get back to normal soon.

04 November 2011

Where have I been

I know I have been sadly neglecting my blog.

We had a bit of a rough week here in Crazyville. It's health-related, something I wasn't prepared for. I can't say much, except it's definitely not cancer, but it's worrisome. I spent yesterday in a daze at the doctor's office, scared and crying. However, my doctors are closely monitoring me, we caught it early, and they seem very positive that we can fix this. Left-brain is being my rock; he's confident this will be OK. He was trying to cheer me up while I was in the doctor's office, with silly inside jokes, and, because some witch lady got mad that my doctor got pulled out of a consult with her (I had an appointment with the physician's assistant, but she pulled him out of his appointment and started acting like a jerk in the hallway, which upset me more, because I don't like to cause problems), told me I need to not worry if anyone else is upset, that, for once, I need to put myself first. I'm trying that. And, as I so often do when it's too much, I put it in a higher power's hands.

The very wierd thing is, my stitching, which always gives me comfort when I am troubled, is the farthest thing from my mind right now. I got home last night (after spending 45 minutes trying to find the CVS for a prescription I need, because I was in a daze when the doctor told me where the prescription was filled), took a few stitches, and put my stitching down. Beazer crawled up on the bed with me, and I just petted him and petted him. He gave me a look, like, "You have no reason to be afraid, you has pittybull protecting you. Nossing bad will happen, Mummy," and then licked my face. He's a good boy, that old dog of mine.

I know I'll be back to stitching in a day or two. I just need a moment to process.

31 October 2011

Trick or Treat?

I am sure most of my Northeast friends know this already, but we had snow this weekend here in Crazyville. Not as much as they had originally called for, but enough to mess up plans and keep me inside. It was snowing when I got up on Saturday morning, and probably snowed til 8 that night. My mom, down-county, got nothing. Zippy. It just rained.

But I'm not going to complain. It was nice to spend the day, going through my sewing room, putting things away. I organized the huge stack of books in the corner, which fell over the day we left for vacation and that I just couldn't deal with restacking. I started going through my WIPs so I can participate in WIPocalaypse. I think I found about 6 I really want to work on, at least on the initial pass through.

I also took a good long look at my stash and thought again to myself that it really is a distinct shame that I continue to acquire stuff and do not take the time to work on things I already have. I mean, I love it all, or I wouldn't have bought it. But is owning it REALLY appreciating it and being a good steward of it? Particularly when I have a lot of money tied up in it and there are people who go to bed hungry for lack of money? I fight this battle in my head a lot of times, now more than ever. And, even take the greater socialism out of the equation, what are the opportunity costs to myself of acquiring and never actually completing? I tend not to think too hard on that one--it would probably only upset me.

So . . . I've decided that, for 2012, other than my WIP charts, and another project, I'm stitching from stash. And kitting from stash as much as possible. And by "other than", I mean I'm only going to buy specialty items when ABSOLUTELY necessary. The point is to stay out of the stores and use what I have.I've been thinking about it for a while, but this weekend put the exclamation point on the need to do it. I think, when I'm not having a small panic attack about it, that it will be a good exercise for me, in creativity as well as being a bit more appreciative of the blessings I have been given.

Now I'm not stupid enough to believe I'll make a huge dent in my stash by doing this. That isn't really the intention. But I think that it will help me in refocusing and highlighting what purchases are REALLY important to me, versus which just make me feel good.

So, bear with me. I might be a bit neurotic for the next few months. But I'm hoping to be a better person on the other side of it.

28 October 2011

Interesting site!

I was given this link to some very high end cross stitch art.

I figured someone here might enjoy it. Can you imagine all the effort it would take to make the "fabric?"

27 October 2011

A Halloween freebie

I hadn't seen this mentioned in many places. I think this freebie is darling and thought you might like it too:

Working for the weekend

If I ever needed a nice quiet weekend, or a fun weekend, it's this weekend. I thought I would get home at a normal hour last night and enjoy my leftovers from Date Night with Left-brain on Tuesday (quite the surprise and I rubbed his back to show my appreciation), but, due to some issues with one of the family dogs (not the twins, not Beazer), I didn't get home til 10 last night, having spent the greater part of the evening at the vet's, only to find out said dog is just older, and has arthritis and might be depressed. And that the only thing she dreads worse than the vet is having to be muzzled. She did provide a bit of comic relief at the expense of the receptionist when she started growling at me. Nikki is a bit of an . . . intense . . . dog and she doesn't really like me, which I accept, so she growls quite frequently. And snarls. At us, at her sister, the JRT mix (who doesn't seem to care, and, besides, moves fast, so as to be out of the way of errant teeth, and just loves her.) My rule of thumb is, we're fine if she just snarls, getting annoyed if she starts sneezing, and stop immediately if she's drooling; I think it's a perfect system, so simple to understand, so reliable. We should all come with it, it would make life more simpler. The receptionist saw her snarling, said, "Oh, look, she's smiling." I had to explain, she wasn't smiling, but that it was OK. I'm used to it. The receptionist said, "Oh, yeah, I do have to get the muzzle for her, don't I?"


I am sure it sounds wierd to be so non-chalant about her, but she is what she is.

Cranky. She's at least found people who understand her.

Long story short, she went home with glucosamine tablets to see if they help her. I went home exhausted.

I'm going to go home tonight and stitch. I'm not folding laundry, running errands, NOTHING. I may eat ice cream. I already had a Choco Taco this morning. It was a Choco Taco kind of morning. But I need to make inroads on my LHN Ornaments. I have decided I am not re-upping for that next year, but want to get some of the ones I have kitted up stitched before it gets too overwhelming. I'm hopeful to make good progress on my current one, "Bringing Home the Tree," and will post a picture.

Til then, may your day be drool-free, tension-free, and may we all have the energy and joy of a Jack Russell.

25 October 2011

Here, but I'm grumpy

Was it only last week I was on vacation?

Ever since I've been back, I've been running like mad. Our play closed at the theatre on Sunday, but the people were acting like . . . I don't know what. Crazy people. I kept saying, "And they bite," which was something my littlest nephew claimed Beazer did one time. I laughed then, thinking of my goofy old dog, who adores these children, biting him, but it seemed like such an appropriate way to view people who look so friendly and then chew us out over nothing.

That was Saturday.

Sunday, I went to Mom's and helped her clear out her flowerbed. She had an infestation of porcelain berry vine, which is really pretty, with purple, blue and aqua berries, but is an invasive species and wreaked havoc on her beds. We got that cut down and away--and of course I managed to whack myself in the face with a rosebush we were trying to untangle. OWWWW. I woke up yesterday in pain from all the bending over, but managed to get through the day.

I guess I'm just tired that I'm not getting home at a decent hour. When I leave the house before dawn and get home after dusk, it's getting to be a little much. Tonight, I have a meeting at my part time job, and, yes, I'm grumpy about that. Apparently, it's to introduce ourselves to new staff. Well . . . I don't wanna introduce myself to the new staff. I've been there for 4 years, people who need to know me, know me. And it's taking me away from the house, and I'm so tired. And . . . I don't wanna.

But of course I'm going. And I'll shut up because I have two jobs and some people have none.

But I'm grumpy. Tired and grumpy

21 October 2011

It seemed like a good idea at the time

I have a dangerous pair of scissors. Now I know that all scissors can be dangerous. But I don't seem to have a lot of those scissors. My Dovos need to be sharpened. They don't even cut thread too well anymore. But these cheapy Craftsmart scissors have to throw their weight around.

They are the ones I cut Betsy with. And Icy Dragon. And my sheets (on accident). And my finger. I've dropped them on my toe as well. That hurt. They've also stabbed a hole in my purse. I probably am not really capable of handling them.

So last night, I decided not to put them in the bag with my stitching, since I am tired of repairing holes in WIPs. Instead I stuck them in my hoodie pocket and sauntered off to my part-time job.

You see where this is going, right?

I got to work, went to sit down in my stool, and stabbed myself, through the hoodie, through my pants, into my hip. Deeply. I screamed. I tugged them out, hoping it was nothing.

I began bleeding profusely. My boss handed me the surprisingly well-stocked first aid kit (I am always pleased to work for a company with a good first aid kit, since my first job's kit contained, and I am not kidding you, salt and a plastic knife. When we had a medical incident, I had to donate from my car's first aid kit), and I stupidly thought I could fix it with one band-aid. A few minutes later, put my hand down there and it was bloody.

I bled through my pants. Thank God they were black or I'd need new pants.

So I had to go patch myself up.

I thought momentarily about going to the ER, since it was a puncture wound, but I have a high deductible and didn't want to explain to Left-brain why we'd be eating beans for months to pay for it, so put on a bigger Band-aid. And thought about that Stephen King short story, "The Mangler," where the pressing machine got possessed and started killing people (it's a good one, Stephen King writes exceptional short stories, better than his novels), and briefly wondered if I own demonic scissors. And then realized how stupid THAT idea was . . .

It was sore as all get out for the rest of the evening. I got home and soaked it and then put Neosporin on. I'm going to watch it; if it gets bad, I'll get it looked at.

And I won't carry scissors in my pocket again.

18 October 2011

Picture heavy post

And a rambling one, too.

Riona had asked about the story of my ugly wedding cake.

When we went to get the cake, I went to the local bakery. Their cakes were always so pretty. I ordered a simple cake with 4 tiers, using icing on two layers from one cake, which was round, and then icing from another cake, which was square. Buttercream frosting, nothing fancy. I didn't like the cake toppers they had, so bought one. I also requested calla lilies to match my bouquet.

This is what I got. Look closely at its majesty. You're gonna want to click on this!

Now, in truth, perhaps I was not quite clear enough, although I'm not sure how much clearer I could have been. There might be callas that look like pom-poms. Or squiggles. And perhaps it might be chic to drop a square on top of a circle. I'm sure one circle in an otherwise square cake might mean something posh . . . somewhere. And put pearls on the cake. I told Left-brain that is NOT the cake I ordered. I'm delightfully tacky, not straight-up . . . ugh . . . Had I know this, I would have gone with a white cake with coconut on top. Mom asked me if I wanted her to go talk to the bakery, she was mortified too, and I just said to let it go. Anyway, I ended up with Smith Island cake, so it all worked out in the end.

I'm in the newest issue of WOXS. The article is about Christmas decorations. Left-brain thought it was pretty cool.

I appreciate that they didn't hyphenate my name. It can be confusing, but I'm artsy like that.

I did bring stitching along this weekend. I wanted to work on some ornaments.

This is the Carousel chart from the November 2007 issue of Gift of Stitching. I love it!

This is from, I think, the 2009 November issue of TGOS. It's a pretty simple ornament, but pretty appropriate for anniversary stitching.

I really love the ornaments from TGOS. They are becoming something I look forward to as much as the JCS ornie issues.

I also got my very cute ornament from Martha. She sent me the witch hat ornament and the one with the shoes. I put them right on the tree!

And do you believe all I had to do to get that beauty was stitch this little guy?

He was not an easy stitch, but I am glad I got the chance to make him.

My dear friend Kathy made me this beautiful ornament and sent it to me. I am so lucky; the package had torn open, but it was there for me.

Isn't it pretty?

That's all for today. My camera got a workout!

17 October 2011

Twirling down an October boardwalk

We just got back from a 5 day trip to celebrate our anniversary. Our original plan was to go to Camp Hatteras, where we spent part of our honeymoon, but Hurricane Irene ruined that plan by washing out the road. I know they were attempting to repair it, but we ended up deciding to stay in Maryland. So we went to Assateague, which, no matter how many times I go, still fills me with awe. I cried when we left this afternoon.

We mostly stayed around the campground. We were joined by a small band of ponies for most of the weekend, a stallion, two mares, and a spring foal. I think I fell in love with the foal. (And, yes, I kept a respectful distance, these were courtesy of my zoom)Left-brain said people asked him if the foal was OK. He told them he thought so.

They did spend quite a while in front of our camper and DH's truck. The stallion must have been checking out the rig.

He was not afraid of the flapping flag. Left-brain said he rubbed his butt on the flagpole and let the flag ripple out over his back. But then again, if you protect your band from a hurricane, a flag is nothing.

We didn't spend the entire time parked in front of the camper. We did take a nice walk on the beach. Left-brain proposed to me again. Of course, I accepted again! We went for dinner last night in Ocean City, then tried to go to Salty Yarns. It was closed, though, as was most everything on the Boardwalk. I was a bit bummed by that, but he said we'd come back down this winter, and I'm going there. So instead, we walked the boardwalk. It was wierd to see it so empty, but Left-brain took the opportunity to twirl me down the expanse. It was a night I will never forget.

One of the things I really wanted to do for our anniversary was have a nice cake. Our wedding cake was atrocious. It tasted good, but looked like crap. I was embarrassed that our guests would think I picked that. Or that Left-brain would think I chose the cake. So I have been swearing we'd have a good cake for the entire year. When we knew we were going to Ocean City, the only choice was to go with a Smith Island cake, the state dessert of Maryland.

We picked this cake out from the Smith Island Cake Company store. It's pumpkin. However, this being a Crazyville anniversary, I DROPPED THE FRIGGING CAKE taking it out of the fridge. As you can see, it didn't damage it.

As I told Left-brain, even dropped, it still looked better than the wedding cake.

And it tasted like Heaven.

If you've never had a Smith Island cake, do yourself a huge favor and get yourself one. Or bake it. They are traditionally yellow cake with chocolate icing, but the place we bought this does them in fanciful flavors. They provide the local restaurants with cake. Left-brain was impressed at the number of layers of cake in his piece, and says it was good cake (and he's not a cake man.)I think I've made a new stop for us when we come down!

I will try to post photos of some stitching tomorrow. Left-brain and I thank you for all the nice comments and congratulations. It was an extra gift!

11 October 2011

History repeating

A year ago, this week, we were frantically cleaning the house, getting ready for Best Friend Brea to come stay, then Left-brain's mom and dad while we honeymooned. We're cleaning again, somewhat less frantically. The dog seems to think something is up, because he's moping. I bought him a new toy the night before last to make him feel better--he promptly tore a hole in it and took the squeaker out. And he still carries that toy like it's the best thing ever.

It's strange to think that it's been a year (well, 4 days shy of a year) already. Best friend Brea asked me a few months ago if the transition was hard, and I have to say, by and large, it wasn't a big change. Maybe it's our age, or that we lived together for 2 years first, or something about our personalities, but it seems almost like we've always been married. And it did help, I think, that I worked from home the first six months; having that time to spend together, to send him off in the morning with a peck on the cheek, and having him come home to dinner planned and maybe started, with the trashcans put away, stamps available, groceries in the fridge, it was nice. Now that I'm launching out of the house before dawn, home again after dark, we don't have that so much, but it really makes me appreciate the time we do get together, even if it's something as simple as sitting in bed, folding laundry.

I will say that being older seems to make a bit of a difference in our marriage. We don't tiptoe around each other--if we have something to say, we say it. We bicker a bit, and get over it. But we laugh together, we tease each other--when he comes home crabby, I tell him he's acting like an "ol' bear" (think Coal Miner's Daughter), and he called me up this morning to laugh because I ran, screaming, out of the house, because I'd overslept 45 minutes. I appreciate his steadiness when I'm frantic, and, when he gets too serious, I try to lighten him up.

And he knows better than to look under the bed on my side. He's a smart man, that Left-brain I married. But shoving stuff under the bed, and the ability to do so, is what is keeping my stuff from approaching hoarder level.

I'm sure the next few years will be the hard ones--we won't be newlyweds anymore, but we won't be experts. We have some goals as a couple we're talking about--a family, buying a place to be "ours"--and it's going to soon be time to get serious about those things. But I can't think of another person I'd rather make this journey with.

07 October 2011

Teacups up--a hurting day

6 years ago today, my gramma died.

I wrote this post two years ago. I try, very hard, right around this time of year in particular, to share what happened to her. Not to criticize or horrify, but to make people aware of what can happen.

I miss her every day. I put a note in our wedding program that we could see her face, and those of the other family members we've lost, in our loved ones' faces, but I still miss her terribly. She had so much living to do yet--she wanted to live to be a great-gramma, that was her goal. Even thinking that she is in Heaven, picking out the soul that will, one day, be her great-grandchild (I imagine her choosing an ornery little one, but not a red-headed one, she didn't like red hair, even though two of us have it, LOL) doesn't make it any easier. I wonder if the boy who killed her will stop today and say a prayer for her. Did he ever pray for us? If so, he never reached out to us--I know it's too much to expect, but, really, was it too much to ask?

But I will try not to dwell on the bad things. Because her life was so much more than that last day. It always gave me great delight to think that I probably had the only set of shine-making grandparents in my high school class. Yes, other people's grammas were probably better educated and more genteel, but mine were COOL! And, how she loved dogs, of all shapes and sizes. How Beazer would have loved his great-grammy. And I take a lot of comfort from the same song that I loved during those first few months, "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. I prefer to think of her as dancing along the light of day. Heaven is a much more interesting place since she went. The world is a better place because she was here.

06 October 2011

As scaly as a dragon's . . .

I think I'm enjoying these dragon butt references a little too much, LOL. Blame it on the rayon floss. But the good news is, I HAVE COMPLETED THE STITCHING ON THE DRAGON!

Happy dance with me! Somehow I feel like the whole thing is done, even though I have much backstitch, and the rest of the border to do, but NO MORE LARGE AREAS OF RAYON.

It almost didn't happen last night. I got home, and FIL was over at the house. They are buying our Tahoe. I'm sad to see it go, because I did like that truck a lot, but the in-laws needed a reliable vehicle to pull their camper, we could use the money, and it really didn't get driven that much. MIL thought we need a family car. Left-brain said we were OK with what we have, and I said, "We need a family first." Besides, by the time we need another vehicle, IF we need another vehicle, they'll make more cars.

So I went inside and started decorating for Halloween. Beazer decided to "help" me. He's got a thing for stuffed animals now, even the ones that are NOT his. So he pulled a bear out of the box, took it into the kitchen and sat there, looking at his daddy, wagging his tail. Left-brain told him, "Take it to Mom." And, to his credit, he did. I can see where this is going, so I told him all the stufties were off limits, in his case, "Off kitty." He gave me a look, but I think he gets it. Plus they were on the couch, and he doesn't get up on the furniture like that. I told Left-brain he has to help enforce that rule, because, if B chews up one of my kitties, I'm going to cry. And I am not cute when crying.

Anyway, by the time we got things set out halfway like I want them (The Halloween tree is going on the dining room table, but I have to get the rest of the stuff off there to figure out how I want it), it was time to watch "American Horror Story" on FX. And stitch.

The show was OK. I don't scare easily, not from TV, at least. We still haven't figured out how things are going to go, but then, does the pilot ever tell you that? There was a lot of shots of Dermott Mulroney's nekkid butt (what is it with butts this week?), and some salty conversation. Left-brain said, "Wow, FX has come a long way." We stayed up til it was over. This might be worth staying up late one night a week for, at least to see how it's going to play out.

I won't be able to post pics til tomorrow night, but I'm hoping to have some good progress photos to show you then.

05 October 2011

The best-laid plans

I still have a buttless dragon.

I found out that, instead of the ornament for the Halloween ornament exchange having to be in Ireland by the 15th, it needed to be there by the 10th. As it was still laying on the chair at the foot of the bed, unironed, unfinished, and generally not ready, I had to drop everything and finish it.

Left-brain helped me do the cording, after I spent 20 minutes searching for the cording drill. I'm not a good cording making. I know that. It looks OK though.

I used the same fabric I had to make the "Beware of the cat" cube from last year. I had bought other fabric, but it didn't look quite right, and this went along with the theme.

Somehow I have misplaced the invisible thread, so had to use white to sew the cording on. I hope my partner is not immensely displeased. I tried very hard to do this right, and she doesn't seem like the kind of person who would criticize finishing. At least the crappy side is to the back. I remembered to take a picture of it this morning, so will post that later.

I am going to take it up and mail it today. I have the ornament, some little Peanuts Halloween crafty bits, and a packet of Pop Rocks in Halloween colors to tuck in the package. I have more stuff to send her, but that is going to have to wait til payday to mail.

Tonight, I have a date with that dragon butt!


The ornament is in the mail. He looked a bit panicked as I shoved him into the padded mailer. But, since I tend to look the same way when faced with an airplane trip, I could sympathize. Can I just say I just LOVVVVVEEEEE when stitchy things leave my house? Now I can get back to things I want to do.

04 October 2011

Moonshine and dragon's behind

I worked on Icy last night. We turned on the PBS miniseries about Prohibition, and watched that, more to make sure pictures of my grandparents and great-grandparents didn't show up than anything else. Yes, my sainted grandmother made 'shine. Her father did time in jail for their cottage industry, and I was a bit concerned I'd see a familiar face--probably not a legit concern, since they weren't special in the their endeavors, but ya never know. As a side note, Left-brain asked about making it one time, and I had to tell him Gramma told me how to make it, but I would'nt trust her memory of the recipe. Besides, I've smelled shine stored in a salsa jar during my college days, as part of a class exercise, and any liquor that infuses itself with the microscopic remnants of whatever was in the jar before it, well, that is not something I think I should be drinking at this stage in my life. But I am determined I will finish Icy dragon tonight. Not the rest of the chart, but I am going to finish stitching his butt by the end of the day. I am tired of using the white rayon. TIRED OF IT! I am going to take a break from rayon after this for a while, but first I want that butt done.

Thank you for your kind comments about my finishes and WIPs. I really think they turned out nice. I can't wait to see how they're going to look on the tree. I have Autumn Shadows with me as my travel project for now, and am waiting to get a few more ornaments ready to send to the finisher, before I send them off.

I had quite a scare this morning. I leave the house early in the morning, right as the sun is coming up. Usually it's OK because the sun is starting to come up as I leave town. And we live in a relatively deer-free area. But it's hunting/breeding season, and so the deer are out of their minds.

My commute takes me around a curve, up a hill, around another curve. This morning, right when I came around the second curve, I noticed a flash of white on the hill right along side the road. A smallish deer was coming down the hill at a high rate of speed. He couldn't stop, I couldn't stop. And he was headed right at the car. I swung out into the other lane. THANK GOD no one was coming. I'm shocked he didn't run into the car, but we both survived to fight another Tuesday. I tell you, a deer coming at your car from above works wonders to get those last bits of sleep from your system, way better than coffee or sodas, and calorie-free. You better believe my hands were at 10 and 2, LOL.

I hope your Tuesday is uneventful. And, if you get a chance, the Prohibition mini-series, like all Ken Burns' work, is well worth watching. I'm fascinated by the history of that time, and really enjoyed it, as did Left-brain.

02 October 2011

Ornament time

Ornament-making is in the air.

Between making the four ornaments I have made for exchanges, I've managed to finish two ornaments for myself since the JCS ornament issue came.

This is the My Big Toe ornament. I chose two colors from my stash, and I think it turned out really well.

Here is the very cute Sampler Girl ornament. Left-brain chose the fabric, a really pretty silvery-green color from Picture This Plus called Valor. I used the recommended threads. I think it's very pretty!

Today was stitching group day. I really enjoy this time with these ladies. It's a nice break from the day to day. We chat, and snack and have some good fellowship. I decided to start this project today, just as a project for October. I chose Autumn Shadows by the Gathering Place.
I am using most of the threads that were called for, except for the color for the tree. The chart called for NN Serengheti, but I'm not using any of my NN floss, unless I have to, so I subbed out La Tierra, a CC floss. I think it's a warmer brown than the other one, and I like it.

It's been a good weekend. I saw a great play, sang some karaoke last night, and I found the only Sonic on this side of the Chesapeake in the state of Maryland. Life is good when you're facing it with a tasty cherry limeade!

I hope you had a good weekend.

27 September 2011

Moving towards next year

OK, we're all doing that anyway, but my thoughts lately have been turning towards how I plan to spend 2012. Now, I know there's that group of people who think that it's the end of the world, based on Mayan prophecy. I don't believe it due to my religious beliefs, and because the Mayans themselves say it's the end of a cycle, not the world.

So, in this year of tying up loose ends, I have decided on two projects. The first one, I'm not sharing yet. I figure I'll do that when it's a bit closer to the holidays, but it's a project related to the holidays (I've probably just given away what I'm doing, but . . ). But, on the whole, I am going to work on whittling down my UFO pile.

Because, you see, it's literally a pile. And it slides. I walked in the sewing room, got too close to "the pile" and it got a-slidin'. Those plastic envelopes I keep everything in got to moving, and slipping, and I got a-cursin', and I realized I was about 2 Michaels trips away from being a hoarder.

And I don't want to be a hoarder.

Not to mention, I'm trying to save money, because those credit cards aren't paying themselves off, and how better to pay off debt than to stop shopping? Well, shop less . . .

I had thought about doing the Crazy January Challenge again, but I think realistically, I'm going to stick to picking 15 UFOs and work on those.

Now, I'm not saying I won't start anything new this year. My other project involves quite a few starts (Did I say too much?), and those are going to need fabric. And thread. And I want to work on the Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt Club by Val's Stuff in 2012--I have the last two of those charts on order. And I need to get caught up on my LHN ornaments. Ahh, so many things to do, so little time.

So that's the start of my plan. I know I won't be able to get everything done, but, won't you agree, some headway would be nice?

24 September 2011

Long time, no see

I know it's been a long time since I've posted. Things in Crazyville have been hectic, to say the least. My work moved offices. It's only 6 miles more each way, but, in terms of suburban Maryland traffic, that's 30 more minutes each way. Arrrghh. The office itself is not bad, but there is a sign in the main kitchen requesting that people not brush their teeth or rinse their mouth out in the sink. Ughhhh. Is this something adults really need to be reminded not to do at work?

I'm still hard at work at my ornament for the Halloween exchange. I've been trying to work on it as much as possible, but my mojo's not exactly there, so it's been hard. I'm pushing myself to get most of it done today, so I just have to sew it together. My Christmas ornaments came back from the finisher yesterday. She did a great job. I really do like the backing fabric I chose, both for the exchange ornaments and for the ornament I had her finish for me. I won't send the Halloween ornament to her, because there isn't enough time to get it done and get it to Ireland, but I'm pretty happy with the work she did.

I am happy dancing because I finally found the wreath I have been searching for for over a year. When we were in the last bit of wedding planning, Michael's had their Halloween things out. They had these gorgeous feather wreaths that were either black or burgundy. Well, I was in wedding mindset and did not purchase one til they were gone. And I was so upset with myself. I promised myself that, if it meant I had to go without lunch for a few days, I'd get one if I ever saw it again. I thought it would be an interesting way to display fall ornaments, since my tree is getting full, and we can't get off our duffs to get to the Second Chance store for shutters.

I went in yesterday to get a few last minute things to put in my exchange packages, and THEY.HAD.MY.WREATH. First I had the black one, then put that down, because it didn't feel right for the fall ornaments. Halloween, yes, but then I'd put the fall ones on my tree, and that tree speaks Halloween, not fall. But then I went back and looked and they had a burgundy/plum one with peacock feathers. Perfect! I snapped it right up! It's now hanging on my wall, waiting for me to find some perfect fall ornaments to go on there. Left-brain isn't too sure about it yet; he says it's a hippie wreath. I told him that makes it perfect, LOL. It will grow on him. By the way, I haven't given up on that black wreath. I think that will be a glamorous decoration for my office, particularly with hot pink and silver ornaments. What do you think?

I'll post pictures of what I can later tonight.

17 September 2011

Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. We have a winner.

Country Stitcher!

If you can leave a comment on this post with your email address, I'll email you to get your info.

Otherwise, not much is going on. The rear brakes in my car are shot, so I've been dealing with that. We had to special-order brakes. Left-brain was rather shocked and annoyed; he's used to that for performance vehicles, but not a daily driver. Even though they don't make my car anymore, they still make the sister car, and it is still a pain to get the parts. This is not the first time we've dealt with this. Literally, every part that I've had to replace has had to be special-ordered, even the windshield wiper blades, even at the dealership. I finally got mad enough that I sent GM customer service a snippy email; they've yet to respond back, but I felt better. I don't know if I should just trade in Trouble for another car or stick it out and hope that she settles down til she's paid off, but this is troublesome. The parts are finally in, and the car is going to be fixed next week, but it's very frustrating.

I'm rotating between my Halloween exchange ornament and Icy as far as stitching projects. I am almost finished with the part that uses the rayon floss for Icy, but have been rebelling against actually finishing it--I think I'm on rayon overload. But I'm going to force myself to get it finished. I won't post photos of the exchange piece til it's on its way to Ireland, but it's a fun piece with lots of colors.

In case you haven't heard, Walmart is putting the fabric department back. It's not just a rumor, I was in the super-Walmart the other day, and they were half-set up! Whoo hoo. Lots of fun trims. I don't know if it will be as big as it used to be, but they've had rumors that they might bring back cross stitch. And that would be good.

So that's all that is going on here. I am going to try to post photos of my progress, so check back in! Otherwise, have a great weekend!

10 September 2011

A contest in honor of September 11th

Before we get to the giveaway, please lend me your time for a few minutes to remember September 11th. I don't think I've ever posted my memories of that horrible day on this blog, I've let them out, piecemeal, on various boards, but never put down, in my own space, what that day was to me.

As most of you know, I live and work in the DC suburbs. I'm proud to be from here. I've had the chance to move several times, and, no matter what, I couldn't leave. My first job was with the Department of Defense, working at the Bethesda Naval Hospital. It was a summer job. I spent the 60 days of my employment attempting to catch a military doctor; what can I say, I was 21, it seemed like a plan at the time. While I was there, the embassies were bombed. Our response? Wear your badge, and there was an MP in the hall. Terror happened . . . away. People still came to play football on the open lawn in front of the hospital.

The job ended and I took other temp jobs, then took a full-time position at an access control company that serviced the Metro area. It didn't pay very well, but I got lots of overtime, and my co-workers were mostly young. They let me bring Chancey in when she was a puppy, as well as the kittens. Our job was to let people in buildings, and we did the job as best we could. We'd joke about the stress, we'd share war stories, but we never really took that job that seriously.

On September 11th, I was looking forward to the cruise we were taking to celebrate my upcoming 25th birthday. I'd been working hard all summer; I'd won an award for my dedication. It was an average Tuesday, I thought there was something that I was supposed to remember about the day, but couldn't figure it out (I remembered later it was my high school best friend's birthday). On the radio, they gave the weather report, and said, "A lot of people will be out of work this afternoon." They meant because of the weather, which I thought was wierd, but it turned out to be prophetic. I've remembered that through all these years. I can't remember which station it was, but it was a Top 40 station.

I found out about the tragedy because my coworker came in late. She'd been coming in at 9:15 because her oldest son needed to be dropped off at kindergarten. She ran in, and said, "Two planes just hit the World Trade Center." We couldn't grasp it. Surely it was a terrible accident, two small planes maybe, one got distracted by the smoke of the other one. My boss got online and couldn't find anything about it, so she turned on the radio. We sat for a few minutes, listening, and then they cut in that the Pentagon was on fire.

And all Hell broke loose.

My boss went to our programming department to help there. I went to the Central Station to help out on the phones. And I still didn't think this was terror. I don't know what I was really thinking. Maybe it was just a mistake. But I took those calls. And spoke to scared people. One engineer said, "I'm near the Pentagon. I think you know how important this is." I told him to be safe. And realized this was something bad, but surely we could fix it in a few days. After all, they'd bombed the embassies and life went on, mostly unchanged.

I remember the Central station supervisor telling us news flashes. The Capitol was bombed, the CIA was damaged. The highways were packed. The subways were shut down. At some point, I talked to my mom. She was unaware of anything, sitting at her desk at Walter Reed. I told her to go home, I was so scared. If they were attacking the Pentagon, what could have kept them from attacking her work? She wouldn't go, even though I was crying. I told her I loved her. I didn't know if I'd ever see her again. My mother later said she stayed to try to help. When people talk crap about government employees, I tell them gently how my mom stayed through that afternoon, in case they needed her to do anything. She only went home when she realized that they weren't bringing that many to WRAMC. I am so proud of her for what she tried to do.

At noon, I got the chance to leave Central. I walked back in our office. One of my co-workers said, "The towers fell." And I just fell into my chair. They said there were rescue people trapped. They said people jumped out of the windows. I think I asked if anyone caught them. Silly, but how does one process that? And I lost it. I just sat there. I couldn't absorb it. I had to call Best Friend Brea in Nashville to confirm it. It had to be a rumor, just like all the rumors I'd heard all day. And she confirmed it.

We looked at the Internet. I saw the pictures of the people falling. And then they said a plane had crashed in Somerset County. And no one lived. And it just got worse and worse. And then we heard this plane outside. We knew that all the planes had been grounded and this damn plane kept going overhead, outside. And we didn't know if we should call someone, but then again, why wouldn't they know about a plane? At some point, the F-16s started their fly-overs, and that felt better. In the days and weeks to come, that was a comforting sound.

At some point, I went home. I stopped at CVS for something, and we all looked like zombies. I drove home. My gramma was glued to the TV, as was my brother. We didn't turn the TV off for the rest of the week. I just wanted to try to figure out at what point, I'd know this was a dream. Because who kills people like that? How did they kill us HERE? How did they attack this city.

I went to bed that night, grateful that I'd wake up and it would be a dream. And I woke up in the blood-red dawn, and realized it wasn't. But we had to soldier on. And we have, with our broken hearts, and our new reality. They don't play football on the lawn of Bethesda anymore; they enclosed it with a fence. But we don't take our freedom, or our country, or each other for granted. I love my city, and I love my country; people died for the simple reason they were Americans, I've tried to live my life to honor that sacrifice.

In honor of those who lost their lives that day, and for those of us who survived, and who carry the memories, I am offering a kit of "Liberty for Ewe." If you would like a chance at this, please leave a comment on this post.

I wish you and your family a safe day tomorrow, a moment of remembrance, and a prayer that there is never another day like that terrible day again.

09 September 2011

The ornament issue

is awesome. It came last night. I hunkered down for a gander, and was so impressed. I've never done this before, but I've already started an ornament. I picked out My Big Toe's design, pulled some fabric, chose two colors of Gentle Art that I liked, and I am off to the races. I'm doing the words in Red Plum, and the outside part in Jade, a LE color. I kind of like the way the jewel tones work together. I think it's going to look rich on the tree.

I'm excited about the ornaments this year--not so many cat and dog ornaments as in the past, but a nice mix of the whimsical and elegant. Left-brain chose the Tempting Tangles ornament for his ornament. That is done with DMC, so I can kit that up quickly. He also likes the church ornament.

I picked out several this morning to kit up and placed an order. I tried to focus on the ones with specialty threads and limited myself to only kitting up a couple. I will probably end up substituting out a lot of colors, either for the DMC conversion or for what I have in my stash. It's time I start using these beautiful flosses I've hoarded all these years; as pretty as they are in the box, they're a lot prettier on the fabric, in the shape of little x's, wouldn't you agree? But I'm not quite ready to start that yet, LOL.

07 September 2011

Wanna see what this year's ornaments look like?

Someone posted the link to this, so I'm linking to it, in case we all don't run in the same circles. I'm crossing fingers this will be waiting for me today. This is the kind of dreary gray day that just calls for a good magazine, and a cup of hot chocolate. I was going to go to the gym and walk for a while, but I've also decided to stop drinking soda for the umpteenth time, and, between the caffeine withdrawal and my sinuses, I'm not feeling too hot, so, if it's waiting for me, I intend to curl up on the couch and veg.

I was thinking the other day it was too early for the ornament magazine to go out, but then remembered, we got engaged on September 12th, 2009, and went into town the next day, and the LNS had them, so it makes sense that it should be mailed out to subscribers. I can tell you already, I love the rabbit with the wreath and that is on my list.

OK, I'm off to drool again.

06 September 2011

A side trip to Shanksville

Thank you for your comments on Icy. He is a Dragon Dreams Design. I am trying to finish him up since he was a SAL with Riona, who finished hers months ago. He has been a pleasant stitch, and I am glad I can see the end.

On Sunday, we went up to Western PA for my dad's family reunion. On the way home, I asked that we stop at the site of the Flight 93 crash. It's been a long while since I've been by to pay my respects and it was very much changed since I'd been there last. They've all but finished the memorial to the victims. It wasn't open to the public yet, but you could see it from the Overlook. It looks nothing like the strip mine the area really is, it's more like a park out west, with rolling hills, and grass. Goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace are blooming. It's hard to imagine it was the scene of such horror and such bravery.

They had a small temporary memorial set up in the building they used as investigation headquarters. We stood in line an hour to get in, but it was such a moving experience. I actually got choked up being there, which I know sounds odd, because I didn't lose anyone on that day, but it was moving to realize that, had they hesitated, had they let fear overwhelm them, in 20 minutes, my DC could have been hit. I know what the traffic was like that day, everyone was fleeing and the streets were packed, and they saved countless lives at such a terrible price to their families. I don't know if I could have made that sacrifice. I'd like to think that I could, but I don't know. And it did hit me that we spend so much time thinking that one person can't make a difference, and, on that day, in that plane, 40people made such a difference to people who may or may not ever know they were 20 minutes away from a bigger tragedy. Maybe I was one of them. Maybe you or someone you love was, too.

I know that the anniversary of September 11th is approaching and we're going to get glutted with specials and analysis and stories. I know I'm going to sit and reflect that day, on where we were, what we lost, and how I can live my life so that their sacrifice wasn't wasted. My heart goes out to their families, and to all of us who lived through that day, may we all become better for it.
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