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.
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