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.

03 September 2011

Magazine S.E.X. and the project I chose

I went to Barnes and Noble yesterday to pick up my magazines for the month. It was a good month as far as they go, lots of nice things to stitch.

I'd heard about this particular magazine on the boards. It's from the people who do Cross Stitcher magazine. Most people said they were finding it at Sam's or Costco, but I managed to find it at the bookstore.

These are a sampling of the designs available.

I finally picked my next project to finish. I've been working on Icy all day.

I can almost see the finish line on this one, I'm just hopeful that I don't run out of the braid before I get to the end.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. Left-brain went racing today, so it's just the dog and I at home. I've spent the day camped out on the bed, watching TV, stitching, and feeding the dog the occasional peanut. He has developed a serious addiction to peanuts, and so is pestering me for them. He knows the sound of the container being opened, and wants them. And you can't deny a pitbull his peanuts. Not that I'd want to--a dog with such big chompy jaws chewing a nut is pure entertainment! It takes little to make me happy, LOL.

01 September 2011

The JCS Halloween book

is awesome.

That is easily the best $16.50 I have spent on stitching all year. It isn't just ornaments, it's projects. There is a fantastic mandala by Ink Circles; I spent a couple minutes looking for all the design elements. And I just love the Sleepy Hollow themed design by Primitive Hare.

The ornaments themselves are wonderful and diverse. There is something for everyone. My early favorite is the Plum Street Sampler ornament, which, though fall-themed, will look fantastic on my ornament tree. I also love the Blackberry Lane design--I am fascinated by her work, they look like drawings. I haven't bought one yet, but I'm going to try this one and, if I like it, the Christmas ornaments are going on my list to be bought.

I'm not sure about the inclusion of some older designs from the Halloween magazines is a little puzzling, especially if, like me, you have the complete set of them, but I guess it's geared more towards people who came in late to the phoenomenon, or for non-US residents.
If you like Halloween designs, this is a book that needs to be added to your shelf. That is, if you haven't already ordered it. I think most of us have, LOL.

2 ornaments done!

It was a busy night in Crazyville, but I managed to finish the second of the three ornaments I'm stitching for the Christmas ornament exchange. I won't post a picture of them til they are totally finished and on their way to their new home, but I'm hoping there will be a picture soon. I'm loving stitching these ornaments. It's nice to have a finish the same day I start. I just hope that my partner likes them.

I'm not sure what I'll pick up after this. I need to work on my Halloween ornament for that exchange, but I wanted to hold off til I got the JCS Halloween book to see if there is anything I like better. Or there's Icy Dragon, poor guy needs to be finished. Or Sleepy Hollow. Or . . . something else.
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