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.
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