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27 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas one and all.




Hope your Christmas was full of light and love and smiles. Of course mine was, how could it not have been when I have my own personal elf?  Her little suit is going in our memory box, since it gave such joy when she wore it. Maybe if she has a baby sister one day, she can wear it, but it's going away til then.

I worked all month at the theatre. I'm not complaining, if I hadn't, Christmas would have been quite lean for us. But it was hard to be away from Babygirl so much. I am so blessed that her father takes care of her without complaint--I know fathers are supposed to do this without hesitation, but I live in the real world and not all men are willing or able to deal with a small child for large amounts of time, and not all moms are willing to give them the chance to do it.  We just make the best of the situation we've been handed and it works beautifully.

I tried to do a photo session with her on Christmas Eve. This is the best photo we got. Yes, that's an ornament off my Christmas tree; it was that or the stitched Santa at the left of her. Next year, I think my tree will be decorated from the middle up. But she looks so pleased with herself. She was a good girl this year, Santa spoiled her and it was so wonderful to see Christmas through her eyes, knowing this is only the start.


As far as next year's stitching goals, I am not sure how well I'll accomplish them. I didn't even manage to finish my Little Bitty Kitty Quilt this year, that will bleed into the new year. I just didn't have the time. It's starting to increase, bit by bit, since she started sleeping through the night, but I am no where near where I was before, and this is a child who will grab some fabric if I stitch by her. I did sign up for the LHN Sheep SAL Vonna of the Twisted Stitcher is hosting, and an ornament SAL. And I vow to do Babygirl's Christmas stocking for her this year. It just kills me that I didn't have that for her, but then again, I don't have MINE done.  My mom gifted me with gift certificates to 123Stitch--she's realized if she gives me gift cards to Walmart or Sears, I don't spend them on myself--so that is paying for the fabric and the sheep charts. I also printed off the Dragon Dreams freebies she has been posting on Facebook, and think I may do those this year as tuck ornaments. They'll be quick stitches, and will be really cute on my tree next year.

So that's it from Crazyville for now. Left-brain, Babygirl and I wish you and yours a very happy New Year. May 2013 be the start of good things for all of us, may we all be healthy and happy, and may we gather together next year--via cyberspace--and reflect on a wonderful year.

11 December 2012

Desperately Seeking Stitching

The ornament I stitched for Rossana has gone AWOL. I mailed it on November 13th and it has not gotten to her yet.  This has never happened with me, and I always choose ornament exchange partners outside the US.  The organizer said to give it some more time, but I feel like throwing up. It makes me sick to think that my ornament is out floating in the void, somewhere, when I tried so hard to make a pretty thing for her.  And that she won't have a pretty for her Christmas tree--arrghhh.  And of course it does pop into my head, when will I have time to stitch a replacement--other than that, I managed to finish one other small chart since November 1st, I'm just too busy with everything else.

I HATE WHEN THINGS LIKE THIS HAPPEN.

03 December 2012

Busy like a little elf

Another week has passed without a post. Last week was a catch-up week, lots of nights at the part-time job, making up for two days off at my full-time job. No stitching getting done at all. I picked up my needle for the first time last night and put a few stitches in.

We did have a pretty busy Mommy and Babygirl weekend. Saturday, she and I went to a party in my hometown. She just celebrated her 5 month birthday and is now very alert and aware of her world. She loves to "shimmy" for people, that is her dancing. And so smily. She dressed appropriately to bring joy to seniors, some of whom don't get a lot of interaction with babies anymore. She was a huge hit.

We took her to see Santa on Saturday night, after the party. She wore the same little elf suit. Last week, she discovered the magic of her own voice, and so she practiced telling Santa she wanted a pony in every color quite loudly the whole time we were in line (which she would later repeat in church yesterday morning--she is little, but she's loud, she wants a pony and she don't care who knows it), but when she got up to him, it was just quiet.  We did get quite a bit of her shopping done. Mom told me she was not wrapping her clothes. I explained that Santa doesn't wrap gifts, but he also doesn't bring clothes, because to kids, clothes suck, and that Mom could put them in a gift bag. Mom has forgotten how Santa works apparently.

One thing that did happen was pretty cute. She doesn't laugh at me. She belly laughs at everyone else, not Mummy. I've gotten used to it--my child doesn't think I'm funny. It's OK. But I took her in the bathroom and had to change her. When we were done, I buckled her back into her seat. I need to admit, I'm still scared at times of how fragile she is. I always worry I am going to hurt her buckling her into the seat, and the little suit is thick, so I was trying to be very careful. I must have made a face and sucked in my breath, because she BURST OUT LAUGHING. I swear, I thought she was crying. I looked at her and said, "What's wrong!????!!" And she belly-laughed at me. I started laughing right there in the bathroom at Target. I couldn't help it. She is so funny.  

16 November 2012

A new finish

I took part in a Christmas ornament exchange. It's been a while since I had a finish--I do try to stitch, but it doesn't seem like I get much accomplished. But I did make the time to get this done for Rossanna, a nice lady from Italy.

I do love this chart. I have no idea who it is by, it was from a site that had a bunch of cat charts, but the site is no longer there. It had no guidance for the colors, so I chose to make it a black cat, like my Lily, who loves to hide under the Christmas tree. Lily is one of the three reasons we had to replace all the glass ornaments on the tree; their first Christmas, the three kittens LOVED to climb into the tree, then would wrap their arms around the tree branches, making it difficult to extract them without breaking ornaments. I like to send a little bit of our holidays to other countries, and Lily is my pretty little Christmas kitty.  I did mail it out late, but I totally forgot when we had to mail. I hope it gets to her quickly.


I haven't posted since Halloween, but wanted to share a couple pictures of how we celebrated. It was a lot more low-key than we've had in the past. But I still wanted to make  some memories with Babyirl.

Her granny bought her the Pooh punkin inserts. I love him, much cuter than anything our terrible carving skills could create. 
 Mom bought her this little dress so she'd be pretty on Halloween. I don't know why Carter's made a Halloween dress with short sleeves and just a diaper cover, but we put it over jeans and she was in deep like!  She kept looking at the punkins on it. Maybe I have a Halloween fan in the making?
If I don't post between now and Thanksgiving, I hope you have a blessed holiday.

30 October 2012

Happy Halloween

May your Halloween be full of fun, your Trick or Treat bag full of full-size candy bars, and your night a reminder that it's always better to err on the side of whimsy.

19 October 2012

Confessions (full of links)

I used to be an interesting person.

I know this because I have such interesting links in my favorites.

Or else I have much more faith in my home-making abilities than I should have.

Example #1

I have been scrolling by this link on my work computer for a year and a half. Apparently, I seem to be deluding myself that I will actually quilt one day. But, that would mean pulling out my sewing machine and we all know that I am afraid of my sewing machine. And we will not mention the sites for finishing I have bookmarked.

Example #2
I don't think I have ever had a Macaron, but they keep popping up in my popular culture references. I favorited this link after watching the Paris episodes of Sex and the City. We also watch The Great British Bakeoff at my part-time job and they had an episode where they were making them. There is a part of me that thinks it's inherently unfair that, somewhere, people can eat blackberry-peppermint macarons, but I have never seen a macaron available in any bakery in the Washington, DC area. But, I am the person who turned on her brand-new, sleek, black, Kitchenaid mixer . . . and attempted to blend my spatula into cookie batter.

This looks more my skillset.

I'm too chicken to take this on.

But I can see using this one a lot; after all, who has room in their house for a fully-stocked bar?


But, I don't just want to eat and cook. OK, I'd be perfectly happy to eat and cook all day . . . when I am not singing random pop songs to a not-quite-4-month old. High on her list is "We are Never Ever Getting Back Together," by Taylor Swift and "The Way You Are," by Bruno Mars. 


By the way, here she is.

This was a month ago. She has grown a lot of hair since then. My mom loves this picture, because, as she puts it, "She's grinning and there is not a tooth in her head." LOL.

Anyway, as I was saying, at some point, I wanted to study more about Jane Austen.

So I bookmarked this site:
This one

I think I deleted others when I realized I live in Crazyville, not Pemberly.

One day, I'm going to take a chance and go through these links and do something from them. Make a little baby quilt, do some baking (if I can find almond meal in Metro Crazyville), maybe find a way to incorporate Regency style into my world.

Maybe 2013 will be my year to live fearlessly . . . or at least more interestingly?

12 October 2012

New SAL

by By the Bay Needleart

And it's an autumnal one!

I just printed off the summer one--it came out while I was on bedrest, so I never printed it, but now I did. And I printed off the autumn one. I am hopeful I have the supplies in stash, since I am trying to spend as little money on stash as possible right now, but, if not, I know I have something that will do just as well.  This is just proof that I was right all those years I was collecting stash like they were stopping printing paper, only then my plan was to be a hermit on the beach and I needed it because I'd have no money.  Just call me a hermit in the country. Same issue, different locale.

I am stitching a little more these days. I seem to have been able to find a happy medium between the baby and my needs. She is becoming a bit more independant, or maybe it's that we have a routine now. I even managed to find the time to read her a book this morning! Go me! I usually stitch at lunch now or after she goes to sleep, and it's OK. It takes the edge off, LOL.  I need to get crackin', though, have an ornament to make this weekend to mail out, and then it is time for Christmas ornaments!

Well, have to run. I'll try to check in with some project photos this weekend. I hope everyone is having a joyful October.

10 October 2012

Book review: Cruel Harvest by Fran Grubb

I am starting a new thing on this blog. I love reading, I do a lot of it, since it's something I can do one-handed. Part of what I do now is review. Occasionally, I may post these on the blog. I'm not abandoning stitching by any means, this is just another facet of who I am.

Cruel Harvest is the memoir of Frances, who survived devastating abuse from her father until she finally summoned the determination to run away. The book is the story of her non-childhood, in which she was betrayed by so many people, from the father who beat and molested her and her sister, her aunt, who starved her because she felt she was full of the devil, to her mother, who abandoned her. She fights to survive, at times sacrificing herself to save her small half-sister, at times turning her head because she knew if she tried to help, it only made things worse. In later years, she calls on her faith in God to reunite her family and finally, forgive her father.

I won't cut corners, this book is hard to read. As a parent, it was hard for me to fathom how another parent could damage a harmless child in the numerous ways Broadus hurts his children. The part of the book where he beats Mary Anne is particularly heart-wrenching; I really felt for her, and I wanted to cry for her and, even now, wonder how her life turned out. I was extremely upset at the implied fate of Frances' baby sister, and worried about her baby brother. I found myself having to put the book down and walk away, to catch my breath and steel myself to read on. Most books don't affect me in the way this one did.

The one thing I did not like about this book was that she left the fates of characters hanging. I wanted to find out if Mary Anne survived, and the baby, and her Mother, but we are never told of their fates. I realize it is probably because she did not know, but Mary Anne especially, her fate tugs at me. And I don't like that the interim years are skimmed over. Perhaps another book is in the future, with more detail, but the brief glancing blow over her adulthood, after all the horror, it didn't do her recovery justice. I wanted to read more about how her faith helped her forgive, the process of accepting that the past happened, but I didn't get enough of that.


I would recommend this book, but with reservations. If you have small children, it's hard to get through, since most of the time, I wanted to be angry and fight for Frances and her siblings. But it does have a message worth reading, that one can get through even the worst abuse. One doesn't ghave to be a victim, they can be a survivor.

I received a copy of Cruel Harvest from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions I present are my own.

25 September 2012

Another finish

After two weeks of trying to finish, I managed, on Saturday night, after Babygirl had gone to sleep, to finish the September square. It felt like finishing something major. I think I fell behind because I have been enjoying the library--I've already been three times and came home with armloads of books--and it's easier to sit a book down quickly than stitching.

I did have a chance last weekend to look over the JCS ornament issue. Since my efforts to stitch every ornament in the 2011 issue have not resulted in success (at least not so far), I wasn't sure it was "right" to look at the new one, but I did it anyway. I liked quite a few of them. I especially liked the Dragon Dreams ornament as Babygirl's Baby's First Christmas ornie. At some point, I had a vision of doing a tree entirely in teddy bear ornaments for her and putting it in her room, and I knew I want to do the Pam Kellogg ornament from 2001 (I think), which is a sweet bear, but somehow in the rearranging and general chaos that is my life, I have misplaced those issues. I know, I know, I lose entirely too many things for it to be believable. However, they aren't lost, just misplaced. I'll find them. Hopefully when we get a bigger house . . .  if we get a bigger house. If we're here much longer, I'm telling Left-brain that I want a shed of my own, up on our hill, in the woods where I can set out my stuff. He has a garage and a mancave, Babygirl has a nursery, I have . . . boxes. Hmmm . . .

Anyway, so I had this idea of doing that, but it's a little hard to fill a tree with teddy bears on top of everything else I have to do, so I may table that idea for now, or get one pre-made for 2012 and hope 2013 brings more time. But I love the Dragon Dreams ornament. I love how the dragon is the date; it's subtle, sleek, and it's auspicious to be born in the Year of the Dragon, so she'll be proud to show it off 20 years from now, when it's on her tree.  I'll just add her name to it, maybe on the back?

There is a deer ornament from another designer that I also love. It's very peaceful-looking, and I think it will stand out on my white tree. And the Blackberry Lane ornament is cute, but I still haven't stitched the one from LAST year!  And I love that one too. Should I even try? Should I get off my duff?

Other things seem to be going a little better. I did some low-cost advertising for Left-brain's business to try to drum up some interest. It's hard to say if it's helping out, though; I haven't heard if they're finding us through old sources or new ones. All I can do is keep slugging along.

18 September 2012

Yum, cake . . .

Have I mentioned yellow cake with chocolate frosting is one of my vices? I craved it after my GD diagnosis, I had dreams of cake. I posted on Facebook. I bought boxes of cake mix in preparation for the day when I could, at long last, eat cake again.

I managed to hold off til the week before I went back to work, when I finally had time to make a cake. I was going to use the canned frosting to ice said cake. And then I got a wild hair up my butt, and remembered I USED. TO. MAKE. ICING!

  A few years ago, someone posted a Texas sheetcake recipe and I stole the icing part of it. It helps that they said the cake was more like a brownie, and I am not that big of a brownie fan, but do I ever love chocolate icing. And so, for a month or so, I became a yellow cake with chocolate icing FIEND. I made cakes all the time, just for the icing. I even made poke cakes to deliver the icing faster. (And, to think, I wonder why I gained so much weight. Whoda thunk?) And then I had a doctor's appointment, the scale measured over 200 pounds, the nurse said, "You're considered . . . obese," with that "obese" word in the same whisper that my relatives use for "the di-ah-beet-us", you know, that shamed stage whisper, followed by a sorrowful headshake, and I screamed and opted out of making homemade icing.

But I am not over 200 pounds now, and I wanted to eat cake. With homemade cooked icing, and not just any icing. Texas sheetcake icing!

And I made it.

I slightly overcooked it for the first cake--I think I was trying to close snaps on a sleeper for a certain little lady. It was good, but not great. But I ate it anyway. Because even good icing is better than no icing.

We had a family reunion this weekend. I made the icing again. I did make a mistake and let Left-brain pick the cake. He chose white cake. Left-brain is never allowed to choose the cake again--there is something about this icing that hollers for yellow cake, white cake is too dainty for it. But he redeemed himself by telling me to mix the melted chocolate with the powdered sugar in the blender, which, frankly, is GENIUS!

I thought I would share the recipe here today, since it is yummy. I didn't remember the recipe from my cake-making days, so I did have to google it. This is the best one I found, courtesy of  Cooks.com.:


TEXAS SHEET CAKE FROSTING

Read more about it at www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,166,155164-247199,00.html

Content Copyright © 2012 Cooks.com - All rights reserved.



1/2 c. butter

6 tbsp. milk

4 tbsp. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. chopped pecans

2 c. powdered sugar



Bring butter, milk and cocoa to rapid boil. Pour ingredients into mixing bowl; add vanilla and powdered sugar; mix well. Add pecans and mix well. 

I did make slight modifications. I don't like nuts that much, so left those off. They interfere with the chocolate delivery and we can't have that. But use them if you want. I did find out that you shouldn't stir the butter,milk and cocoa while it's coming to the boil, it doesn't work too well. It burns if you are lucky, separates into NASTINESS if you aren't. And then when you mix it with the sugar, blend it in the blender til the lumps of sugar break up.  Pour onto cake when the cake cools. You need a real cake pan though, the aluminum ones from the store don't hold the icing in, and it makes a mess, unless you enjoy licking your counters. Then let it set up, and enjoy.

12 September 2012

Egg on my face!

I just realized that I have been calling my monthly project the wrong name.

It's the Little Bitty Kitty Quilt Club, not the Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt Club. Oops, my bad!

I feel dumb.

I can't even blame sleep deprivation, I was doing this before the baby.

At least I am making some progress. I have the frame of the September square done.

I did do something cool last night to make up for my dumbness.

I joined our county library. I haven't had a library card since college (and then, because I was 17, they tried to tell me I needed a parent to sign my application, but they relented when I explained my parents were 500 miles away, LOL) and things have changed quite a bit. I realized that I read so much, buying books is a waste because I only use them for a day or so, then they either end up in a box with other finished books, or in the donate box.  And, with trying to be frugal, that's a habit I can't indulge, at least for the foreseeable future. Plus, they have all kinds of books for Babygirl. I know she's young, but she pays attention to brightly-colored things, and large shapes already, and, when I talk to her, when anyone talks to her, she watches us so intently, I can't help but think she would get something out of being read to. And my own guilty reason, it's time spent with her doing something I enjoy. She has a little library already; I have already read a few books to her (I got choked up reading On the Night You Were Born), but I can see we will go through those quickly. So, I packed her up last night and we went up to Metro Crazyville and picked out some books to read.

And I have to say, faced with all the books the library had, without the restriction of having to have money to pay for them, I was a little overwhelmed, but in a good way.  I held back though, and only chose 4 books for myself. I found 5 books for her and read them to her before bed. I am looking forward to this becoming our thing; I can't wait til she gets old enough to choose her own book and read with me. Til then, we'll read whatever looks good.

11 September 2012

Dang Frog

Everything I stitched on Saturday, I had to frog. Apparently . . . 221 and 355 look a lot alike when I am tired. Can we say I was quite annoyed with myself ? Stitching time is so precious to me now, and having to redo it, arrgghhh.

It's too bad we can't just frog out all the problems in our lives. I know I haven't been posting too much, less than I should be, really. In addition to Babygirl, who is asleep by 9 every night, we've been dealing with some other issues that, quite honestly, scare me. Not health-related, but imposing none the less. We may be looking at moving in the next year, unless things radically improve for Left-brain's business, and I don't know if that is going to happen. I am trying to help as best I can; I don't have brawn, but I do have the good brain God gave me, and those marketing skills I learned in my college arts admin classes, and I spend enough time on the computer that I am using that dubious talent, but I don't know if that is enough. I don't want to leave our house, I especially don't want to pull Kaydence out of her school, but if it has to be that way, it has to be. I keep reminding myself that, as long as we have our health, we can get more things later on. Heck, wasn't it too weeks ago I was complaining about having more things than space to put them? 

I hesitated posting this, since it is personal, but .  . . I know we're not alone, and I know we didn't get here because we're stupid or lazy, and so what good would having shame about the issue do? I just have to take it one day at a time, and keep going. I've done that before. I tell you what, though, if we come through Hell without the Devil even knowing we're there, or at least barely noticing us, I'm not letting this happen again.


08 September 2012

Helloooooo, gorgeous


As hard as it was to leave this little face, I'm at work today. And I am stitching the September Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt square.  I hope to have an update to show you soon.

06 September 2012

It must be bad

Left-brain and I were sitting around last night, after Babygirl had gone to bed. He turned to me and said, "You never stitch anymore."  I told him he was right. I don't. Not like I had been. A lot of time, I feel like I am neglecting the baby if I stitch, since she normally dozes off for 15 minutes and wakes up, and I am also a little scared to use the scissors I have re-named Christine around her. I have good reason.

 Remember this?

And this?

It even went after Icy Dragon.

Maybe my demon-scissor theory is correct. So, you see, having those around a small child is not a good idea.

So he says, "We need something for the fair."

I got serious for a moment and asked him what would be the point in stitching things for the fair, since it was hard to find money for framing pre-baby, and harder now with hospital bills and supplies for her (I am SOOO buying stock in the formula company, y'all).  He said, with the confidence in his ability to provide for us that he always has, that by the time the fair rolls around, the money will be there.  I could have cried, but, instead, I picked up my Itty Bitty Kitty and started doing the September square.

Really, I didn't do a lot of stitching, but I managed to read a lot from when I got put on bed rest to now. I think I have mentioned (ad nauseum, in fact) that I had a huge stack of books as my to-be-read pile prior to my sewing room becoming her nursery. I am slowly working my way through the pile, along with several boxes of books I brought home from the ones I have at my mother's house from my single-gal days. Most of them I bought used, so I have been, as I read, deciding if I want to keep the book forever. It's amazing how easy it is to give up a book if you ask yourself, "Will my life be richer if I keep this book or will I be OK with passing it on?" Usually, I can give them up, but I keep the ones that are profoundly moving. I might regret doing it one day, but I buy most books used, so it's not a big deal to go replace them.

So, what did I read this summer that I loved?

Before Green Gables. This is the prequel to the Anne of Green Gables series. I wasn't sure if I would like it, but I found myself laughing and crying and feeling for Anne and what she went through, and then overwhelmed at the innate ability to survive and overcome that some people have. Maybe that was what always endeared Anne to me, she was a survivor, never a victim.

Dewey's 9 Lives. I don't normally like books about animals that die--I have three old dogs and three old cats, I don't like to be reminded that they will pass away. And I never read the Dewey book--I bought it, but never read it. But this book and it's message that it's OK to love an animal with all your heart, it resonated with me. The cats filled a void with these people, saved their owners' lives a lot of times. Humans expect to be applauded for such tasks, animals just do as a course of life. I did have to read it in small doses though; I am not a masochist, LOL.

In the Fall. This is the story of a slave girl who nurses an injured Union soldier back to health. He marries her and brings her back to Vermont. Their relationship has consequences that affect their family for generations as they try to understand the past. It was a book I have had for years, bought in the bargain bin when I first realized that you could read other books than the ones on the New York Times Bestseller list, and I never read it til now, but I really enjoyed it. It felt a lot like the writing style of Cold Mountain, but it is a very different book, haunting in a different way.  It is not, however, an easy book to read, but it's a worthy book that deserved a lot more publicity than it got.

The Tea Rose. This book was very popular, but it was popular for a reason. It was set against the jack the Ripper killings in Victorian London and features a heroine who bootstraps her way to success. I read this in the hospital after delivering and it was EXCELLENT.

The Dark is Rising. these are based on Arthurian legend, and the two that I have read so far are HEART-POUNDING. They are children's books, but adults can get something out of them.

There were a lot of other books that I read that maybe weren't wonderful, but were OK. I read a good bit before, but having the luxury of time to read, and an abundance of reading material, that was new to me. One of my greatest hopes for my child is that she sees me reading, enjoys being read to, and becomes a passionate reader herself. We haven't yet delved into her library, but I think I am going to start that this week, since she can at least look at the pictures now.

Anyone read anything great this summer?

03 September 2012

The reason we never send out picture Christmas cards

You know the kind.  Happy families, dressed in matching sweaters, taken in a beautifully-decorated room. Usually accompanied by a letter telling, in detail, every good thing the family did that year (or, in the case of some of my extended family, why their year sucked and you should feel sorry for them).  My birth family has never done that--heck, my mother found out they made cards she didn't have to sign and she was happy! Left-brain and I sent out one with one of our wedding shots on it two years ago, and I felt so awkward that I didn't do it last year.

We went to my father's family reunion yesterday. I don't see my father and brother much, neither does the baby. My brother travels a lot for work, and my father, well, that's a side story that would take all day. DB hasn't seen the baby since the day she was born, and she doesn't look like the same kid.  So I thought it would be a good idea to get a family picture.

It was muggy and cloudy all day, but the sun came out at the end of the day. Kaydence is not a big fan of the sun yet (I'm not a big fan of it for her either. ) My mom left the baby's pacifier in the building where the reunion was happening, so Kaydence started crying. I started to sing to her. My father chose to sing a different song that Katie (their nickname for her) has never heard.  My poor brother, poor Unca Luke, who, despite his fear of dropping her, is actually quite attentive to his niece, just wanted to get the picture taken. My cousin Dorcas took the picture.

Remember, I am the mayor of Crazyville.

Things don't always work out too well here:

The Clampetts take a family photo.
It seemed like a good idea at the time . . .

I signed up for a Christmas ornament exchange a few weeks ago. It was something I really had to think about doing since the baby came and I don't have a lot of free time. But, I figure, if I am careful with my time and use it wisely, an ornament is something I can get done pretty easily and without a lot of problems.  We got our partners today. My partner is from Italy, and I am so excited to stitch for her. It's a lot of fun to have a partner in another country, I like having a small piece of other culture's Christmas celebration on my tree. I do have to finish the Halloween ornament I stitched for another friend first, though. May try to get that done this week.

I will try to get that picture

01 September 2012

Welcome, September

August is gone, fall is right around the corner. Funny to think how fast this summer passed. Our first week at daycare went well. Babygirl seems quite happy and likes Miss Julie, her teacher. They send us home little "What I Did Today" sheets which make me laugh. They tell what the kids did all day, and the other day, it said they listened to music and played with ice cubes. OK, now I see her listening to music, because she loves music, but she doesn't know how to work her hands very well (other than grabbing hair or my necklace), so she couldn't actually play with ice cubes. I asked and they said she just kind of hangs out while the other kids play. I picture her in her vibrating chair, asleep, while everyone else plays, LOL.  She does get tummy time there, and they can't believe how strong she is.  She is still small, 9.5 lbs at two months but it must be all muscle.  She is starting to roll over for them, and she holds her head up well. It gives me no end of motherly joy when she holds her head up and smiles, even though spit up normally follows--arggh.

No stitching really got done this week. I attempted to finish an ornament, but I don't really like how it turned out. It's an LHN ornament, and I just don't like the color of the trim. I'm at work now, and can't post a pic to show you what I mean, but I'll try to get it done before the end of the weekend.

27 August 2012

You ever have one of those days?

Before I get to the point of this post, let me share some Cute-ness. She was quite happy this morning.  I thought this looked very "first day of school", even though I never had Guess as a kid.  It was probably partly because Guess jeans are not cut for a Pennsylvania Dutch body (at least not the female body) and because, in 1987, $60 was A LOT of money to spend on a pair of jeans. But on her, they look adorable. I told her I would be brave if she could be brave and we went to school.  And then I had to kiss her and tell her to have a good day, and I lost it. At least I got out to the car before I started sobbing, but I probably looked stupid, running out of the daycare.  If only she'd been asleep, it would have been OK.  She spent most of the morning asleep, she drank 9 oz of formula, and, when Left-brain went in to get her, she was in the jumpy chair, asleep.  Exercise wears her out.  Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

I decided to clean up my side of the garage in order to distract myself, since I was watching TV, and a baby cried on TV and I got up because I thought it was my baby.  Left-brain took care of most of it, which makes sense because most of the mess is his stuff. But I seem to have developed amnesia because there was a HUGE tub of cross stitch magazines I was not aware existed.  And, yes, I uttered a curse word when I opened the lid. More out of shock than any other emotion.

There's a line in Sex and the City where Carrie states, and I am paraphrasing here, she has no savings because she prefers to keep her money where she can see it, and spent it on shoes. I know I have quoted this line before, usually jokingly, but seriously, in addition to the boxes upstairs, and the ones in the corner, and the tote bag of stitching magazines, and the half-full box I knew about, this one was there. Not only do I keep my money where I can see it in a bad investment, apparently I hide it from myself  and then deny to myself it exists. But, there it was. I decided to go through it, take out the ones I thought I might stitch from in the near future, and then consolidate boxes, to at least get an idea of the proper size of the collection. It really wasn't too bad. Most everything from that box and the one I knew was half full fit together in one box, I put the kits in the other box, and have the charts to go into binders or chart boxes.

One of the things I am grappling with, though, is the fact that so much of this has been in the garage, un-noticed, un-cared for, and unappreciated for a long time. At least two years, but there is a stack of magazine boxes in the corner that I haven't opened since I moved in. I know one of the basic things they tell you in organizing is that you should get rid of things if you haven't looked at them in this long. Does that apply to craft supplies?  As I was pushing the one now-full box of magazines back into position, I kind of wondered if I could use them all as the basis of a master's, since I have enough to qualify as an expert and, hey, it would be nice to be a "masters" stitcher, right?  A little stupid humor, forgive me. But, I know myself well enough to know that I would not be happy getting rid of them either.  This probably does mean I am a hoarder . . . doesn't it?  I joke about this, but part of me does wonder, how bad of a hoarder would I be if a professional actually looked at my stuff?  At least it's in boxes and not on the floor. I did tell Left-brain when we move, that big box is going to be a killer. He thinks I am fooling, I am not!

And the crazy thing, I STILL HAVE NOT FOUND the LK Flip-its I rebought in the fall of 2010 and lost. Not that I lack stitching projects, but where in the HECK did they go?  And why can't I find them? I'm a stitcher, not a squirrel, and these are charts, not acorns!  They didn't get buried. I remember them being in my old computer bag, but they are not there anymore.  This is the second time I bought them, second time I lost them. I have been through every box in the house and they are not there. Wierd wierd wierd.  I am going to rebuy them and stitch them one at a time, so that I don't lose so much.  Strange, hunh? 

I also found a box of books that had disappeared, among them Little Heathens, which I was reading when I first got together with Left-brain. It's a great book. I know, I don't often recommend books on this blog, for the reason that I know my opinion on books isn't well-schooled and not always in conjunction with the rest of the world, but I really do like this book and am going to re-read it now that I re-found it. I now have a good supply of books to get me through the fall, by shopping in my own garage. Didn't even need Goodwill for this!

If I could just find those Lizzie Kates . . .

26 August 2012

Checking in

It's been a while, but I haven't stitched very much in the past two weeks.  Left-brain and I have been fighting a heinous cold for the last week, and it's taken all our effort to keep upright.  Monday, I had such bad chills, I had to wear a sweatshirt all day, and slept with 4 blankets.  It wouldn't have been so bad, but this was my last week home with the baby and I was miserable most of it. 

She starts school tomorrow. I have another week off, but this lets me ease into letting her go to daycare without having to keep myself together for work. I have been getting a bit emotional for the past couple weeks whenever I think about it, even though I know it's how it has to be, particularly with the current state of business, but it doesn't make it easier to think of my tiny daughter being away from me.  I have to send her out in the world now, and I don't want to.  I never in my life thought it would be this hard to do this--I was Rachel, who never wanted to be tied down, who took a lot of her self-worth from work, and now, all I want to do is cuddle her.  And take pictures of her, LOL.

I know it will be OK.  The staff is kind; she smiled at Miss Julie on Wednesday when we visited. I know she'll take good care of her.  I'm going to try to not call during the day.  I think it will be better for me not to do so.   Then, when I get to go get her, she won't know how I worried about her. And I do think it will be good for me to get some stuff done while she is not here.  I have to renew my car license, and there was all that baking I had planned to do before I realized you don't bake in a house with a baby without some other person there.  I might get the naps I haven't been able to get in 8 weeks. I have some ornaments to finish.  So I'll have some work to do to occupy my mind. But when I go get her, someone is getting kissed and kissed and kissed.

14 August 2012

Where has the time gone?


 Has it really been almost a month since I posted last?  Oops.  The time is slipping away fast from us. It's hard to believe it's been 3 months since I've worked out of an office and that Chubbity just turned 6 weeks old.  She is starting to smile with a purpose--Sunday, I was dancing to entertain her, and she smiled at me. I guess I looked kind of funny, but today, I told her she had a "biggg boo-teh" because of how her diaper was fitting and she smiled again.  It makes me happy to think she thinks I am funny. She starts daycare in two weeks, a week before I go back to work, and I don't know how I am going to handle it. Since she was born, I haven't been that far from her all day long, and it is hard to think that I have to start letting someone else look after her for 8 hours.  But, it's what has to be done, and I have to be a mom and put my feelings aside and be happy that she has this opportunity.  I am grateful we got into this wonderful daycare, and I want her to love it there.

I have gotten a little stitching done, not so much as I would like, but it's hard to find time. I do like these little projects, so much easier to complete in between cuddles and feedings. Today she was playing with my threads, maybe I do have a stitcher in the making.

This is my Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt progress for the past two months. These were a little more trickier to do than other months.  Lots of color changes in the one for August. This photo doesn't do it justice.

 And my progress for the year so far. 2/3 of the way finished. I love this project. 
 This is the a freebie by Jean Farish. I finished it in the wee hours of July 1st. Kaydence had just been wheeled into my room, and was lying there, looking at me, and I was too scared to sleep, in case something happened to her.  This will go on a keepsake box for her, so it was appropriate for her to watch Mummy stitch it. 
 And a finish by Pam Kellogg, from her Millenium Cats series. I was looking at these charts, which were freebies I printed off in 1999, and got to thinking that they would make great ornaments.
 The Halloween one, Spooky, is for a cat-crazy friend, but I am going to re-stitch it for myself. The WIP below is Thomas, the November cat, which will go on my fall tree.
 One of the things I have noticed has changed this year is that I am not so much drawn to Halloween designs and decorations, but really to fall items in general. Maybe it's because I don't have a lot of "fall" things in my stuff, or maybe I am drawn to the idea of warmth, abundance, family and contentment that fall symbolizes to me, but I am digging fall stuff.  They have a lot of pretty things at Joanns, including some chocolate brown placemats. I keep thinking how pretty they would look on my dining room table, with my cream tablecloth, and the new cream and red dishes that we are going to buy to replace the ones DH had from his single days.  I will wait til they go on sale, if they are still there, well, they are meant to be mine.

This is a very special WIP I started, from a chart taken from a photo of Kaydence holding my finger with her hand.
I think this is her index finger, but I am not sure yet. The chart is very easy to follow and I am making really good fast progress.  I can not wait to see this progress.

You can kind of see, in the background of this picture, the clipboard thing I am using to store the chart while working on it. I found this at Walmart this summer, in the school supplies.  It has a clipboard, but also has a storage compartment underneath that holds the threads, needles, scissors, and the WIP itself. It's a slim compartment--big highlighters don't fit, but small ones do--and I am really pleased at how well this works for this project. I am sure it will work great when I have other projects in there with fewer floss colors to work with. It was a bit of a splurge for me--I think it was $6 or so, but I'm on a budget now--but I really like it. I haven't seen them in regular Walmarts, just the bigger supercenters, but if you are looking for a storage solution, this might work for you.

That's all for today. Chubbity is starting to fuss, so I have to run. I will try to write more faithfully now, but it's all dependant on her demands. I hope all are having a great summer, and looking forward to fall.

22 July 2012

Finding Balance

We are slowly starting to find balance here in Crazyville. After my freak-out last week about never being able to stitch (and thank you for humoring me in that moment), I figured out that I may have to change  my perspective on what I consider an accomplishment in stitching. Perhaps I won't be able to do the large complicated pieces, at least not quickly, but I can still do small pieces, like ornaments, while she is napping. And, if it takes longer, who cares?  It's not like I am missing out on anything; the time spent with Babygirl is precious, since she changes so fast and stitching will always be here.

We have finally, I think, gotten her situated as far as all the things that go into becoming a legal person here in the US.  I finally got her Social Security number this week, I took her up to the Health Department in Metro Crazyville for her birth certificate as well. That was a pleasant experience, actually, it took all of 15 minutes to be out the door with her certificate. I KNOW! They have changed a lot in 36 years, at least here in Maryland. No more doctor's signature on the bottom, not as much information on the certificate, it was interesting. She is enrolled in "school", now we just have to go "school shopping" for her stuff for there--crib sheet, diapers and wipes and formula for just there, and a hat.  Her gramma bought her a hat last weekend, but it will be a while til it fits her, LOL  I even finally got her signed up for health insurance. She should be good to go and we can enjoy this week. I'm off work til September 1st, so it will be fun to have the time with her. 

One more cute pic of her to share, since my camera battery needs to be charged to do photos of my stitching.  Left-brain's cousin took this one, and I think it's so beautiful.  One of my stitching friends already turned it into a chart for me, and I'll stitch it to remember how tiny she is.  Hopefully, I can share progress on that one soon.

17 July 2012

Photo post

 I realized yesterday that I haven't posted photos of Babygirl since those early ones! She is growing and stretching and becoming a big girl! This weekend was her two week birthday.  I celebrated by buying her this bunny, which is perfectly-sized for her. I didn't realize when I bought it (but the price should have been a clue here, and the store I bought it from), it's from a "luxury" stuffed toy brand.  Did you realize there are such things?  Oh well, he has the sweetest facial expression, and is quite cuddly, and she can put her arm around him in a pinch. She has learned his ears absorb spit-up quite well and that his face can be sucked on, but it doesn't work as well as a binky.  But she does love Bunny, and I think they are a match made in Heaven. 
Saturday was her aunt's birthday. We had a cute onesie about aunts, but we decided this was a better party frock! Especially since she was not eating crabs like everyone else--crabs and white clothing do not go together! Her bow was a huge hit, even though, like most of the rest of her wardrobe, it's a little big.












Left-brain had an old tarp laying around the garage and he took advantage of the hot weather to set up a "redneck slip and slide" for my neice and nephews (OK, the aunts and uncles were on this too, those of us not healing from a c-section), and Beazer joined in.
    No, he did not slide, he just supervised and made sure that the kids were behaving. And he drank a bunch of water out of the hose.

He is such a good big brother. He checks on his sister constantly. He was outside this weekend a lot because he was wet, and kept coming to the screen porch to make sure she was OK. If he couldn't see her, he FUSSED and whined. Just now, she was crying, and he came up and gave her a kiss. To her credit, she does not scream, she just lets him do it. They are a duo.  We've only had one slip-up, he got a hold of her rattle, a stuffed pony, and was starting to chew on it.  We still have to work on identifying which toys are hers and which ones are his, but one slip up is not bad.

16 July 2012

JCS Halloween Issue

I am sorry that I have been away so long. We are still adjusting to Crazyville's newest resident, which is going well, all told; we're a little tired, and rolling through laundry, but she is the most wonderful loving little soul.  I bought her her first toy (at least post-birth, LOL) for her two-week birthday on Saturday. I just loved how sweet it looked, and it is something she can cuddle, now that she is starting to interact with her world. Beazer is becoming her ardent protector; he runs through the house to check on her when he comes in, and gets so agitated if he can't see her. She seems to like him too; he gave her a kiss on her cheek and she didn't fuss (think about it, that has got to be pretty scary, seeing that big old head coming at you, but she is pretty brave).

Anyway, I ordered the special JCS Halloween issue last week, and it came.  I have to say, this is the best issue of any magazine I have seen in a long time. And that includes Christmas magazines, British magazines, ALL OF IT.   If you love Halloween, this issue is a must-have. It is not part of the regular subscription, more the size and feel of the Christmas issue, but it is so good. Lots of really cute little ornaments, perfect for my tree. I have already decided that I will stitch the Mosey n Me ornament for Babygirl, for her first Halloween, and I love the Tempting Tangles ornament. And not only that, there are larger designs in case you aren't an ornament stitcher. Sharon Pope's designs are great; I love the black cat she did.

Maybe I am asking too much, thinking I can keep stitching with an infant in the house. I have been stitching a little since she came, mostly while I watch her sleep, but it's not like I was before. I have to admit, last week, I seriously thought about just getting rid of all my cross stitch stuff, thinking it would be easier to not do it than to look at it, know it's there, and not have the time to stitch. And then I decided I was freaking out because I hadn't had enough sleep, and decided to just give it some time. When I can, I can stitch, and maybe it's time to focus on small pieces, not the big ones, and, otherwise, just enjoy being with the baby.  I do plan on using this time off to finish some ornaments, especially since I can't go back to work til September 1st; I think I can get quite a few done during nap time.

03 July 2012

The rhythm of my heart

I could probably be coy and pretend to be in wonder about why I haven't posted in over a week, but I know we can all assume why I haven't been around. On June 30th, at 1:18 AM, my entire world changed around, all because of one tiny little person. I will share the story, but I want to let you know, it might be one of those that is a trigger for people, so if you get bothered easily, skip to the end. There's a picture there. Otherwise . . . Her birth is proof that man plans and God laughs. We went to the appointment on Tuesday thinking it would just be more wait and see. Well, after the cervix check (TMI alert here, I never want to hear another man complain about a prostate exam. No excuses, this had to have hurt WAYYYYY worse. And men can cough), he told us to go home, get packed and get to the hospital, because I was ready to be induced. He'd call us. So we raced home, me in hormonal tears, Left-brain thinking about cleaning the house so whoever took care of Beazer wouldn't think we live like slobs, LOL. Got home, waited for the call . . . and it never came. I started having labor pains around 2, called the doctor finally, and was told that the hospital did not have room for us, and that my pain was not severe enough to go in. And he'd call in the morning. I was miserable. Back pain solid for 8 hours. Left-brain kept rubiing my back to try to get it to go away, and I started crying. I know he knew it was for real, because, unlike when I cry at ASPCA commercials, he didn't tell me to stop being a sorry sap (he's teasing, of course). I told him if I hurt like that on Wednesday, we were going into the hospital. Any hospital. And of course it went away. Wednesday, doctor told me they didn't have time to induce me til Friday. I started crying. Left-brain was mad because he had now missed two days of work, and when you're a small businessman, that hurts.But we hung out. Thursday, we went down to his parents' house, because I was scheduled to be induced at 7:30 AM, and I was not doing that drive from Crazyville at that hour in my condition. Friday, we went in. Set us up in a room, we were completely ready to get the party started, in a sense. Left-brain decided that, if the baby had come by noon, he'd go home, feed the dog and come back. But she didn't come. I didn't feel contractions, nothing moved along. Not too displeased about the contraction issue, LOL, but they kept giving me meds that were supposed to help bring them on. Finally, Left-brain's dad said that there was no way that Left-brain was coming home and going back. He'd go check on the dog. And I am glad he did. At 7, they added Oxytocin to the mix of drugs. And then it got to be fun times in Suburban Maryland. The family gathered, my father made several inappropriate comments, as is his wont, and upset Left-brain, who chose to ignore it. I started feeling the contractions, and it took everything I had to not start screaming for drugs immediately. Some camping place called Left-brain on his cell to pester him to buy a lot to park the camper. Finally, he said, "Um, I am at the hospital, my wife is in active labor with our first child, and I think I need to be with her." And the person said, "Camping is a family-friendly activity." UM, HELLOO! I did finally break down and ask for drugs. Life was a peach after that. I started joking and talking to people. And still no baby . . . And then the storm hit. The DC Metro area was right in line with probably the worst thunderstorm cell we have had in years. My husband and his sister were watching the transformer across the street from our delivery suite arc and make that wierd noise they make when they blow (not a problem, I was high as a kite and didn't really care, as long as labor didn't hurt and my dad shut up. That may sound harsh, but he said a few things that were completely inappropriate, including his judgement of the amount of pain I could possibly be in, apparently far less than Dad has ever been in, as I was sobbing and they were prepping me for the epidural). When the storm rolled out, it left a million people without power in the DC area, trees down, power out, it was a war zone in the county I grew up in. And the baby didn't come. Doctor could not figure out how I was getting so much pitocin and the baby never moved. He asked me if I wanted to do a C-section or go home. Well, my water had broken hours before and I wanted it done. So we went for the C-section. And good thing we did. After we started and the baby hadn't come out (another TMI moment, I started to realize there was a problem when I saw blood spatter on the drape and realized I was the only person in the room bleeding.), and then heard the doctor yelling, "The cord, the cord." OK, my last worst pregnancy fear was that she would get the cord wrapped around her neck, and that came true. She had that sucker wrapped three times around her neck, as well as her arms and leg. I got frantic, and started asking Left-brain if she was OK. He kept telling me that she wasn't even out yet, but I kept asking. And then started crying. Not even my normal way of crying, just hitching sobs, because I was so scared that something bad would happen to Babygirl. They got her out, held her up, and showed her to us, then went back to work, sewing me back up. I just cried and cried. Left brain went to check on her and kept telling me she was beautiful, she was perfect, she was OK. He took such good care of me. And then they lowered the drop, and I saw my OB. It might have been the drugs, it could have been the hormones, it might have been my last lame attempt to be cute, but I told him he looked like he came out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Blood everywhere . . . not like how they are on TV. And I will say this now: I am grateful that man was my doctor. He saved my daughter's life, he gave me the person who more than completes me, and I will never forget that. I don't know if she was too tangled in the cord to even be delivered, or if she flat-out refused, but we are lucky. She spent most of the day in the NICU just to make sure she was OK, but we've had her since. We had our photo session yesterday with the hospital photographer. It was a show! She "christened" her pretty outfit two times, then had a blowout midst photo. She had a binky that she did not want out of her mouth, and the photographer kept taking it, so her photos are all of her with duck lips, wanting her binky back. Or else with angry face--one of the little things they do is a slide show, and there was a saying about Happiness is personified in a baby, and my little girl is looking at us, quite mad. Today was checkout day. I had a UK onesie for her to wear. Our colors are royal blue and white. Her bow got packed yesterday, so . . . two people at the nursing station told me my son was adorable. I just said thank you. She looks like me, people used to confuse me for a boy, it's her legacy. She's a girl.

  And here she is:
I woke up on Sunday, after a very short nap--I spent most of the night Saturday awake because I was afraid it was a dream--and she was looking at me with such love, like I was wonderful. But I know she's wonderful. I adore her.

25 June 2012

What may be the last post for a few days

This may be the last time I am able to chat til Kaydence gets here. Right now, we are on a day to day holding pattern, but have an appointment tomorrow, if she doesn't come tonight, to schedule my induction. By the end of the week, I'm going to have her in my arms. It seems unreal, all these years of wondering would I ever find someone to have a family with, then would we be able to have a child without intervention, and all these months of "She'll be here in July," and now it's almost July, and she's actually going to be here. I keep wanting to pinch myself. My mom bought her a dollbaby, a sweet little rag doll, and gave it to me on Friday. I just started crying, a little too overwhelmed. I know she can't play with it for a few months, but it was a toy that my daughter will hold in her arms and love. Not this vague child of my imagination and dreams, a real child who will make this world a better place just by existing. And that . . . wow. Left-brain is being so attentive; she is very active and it is not always the most comfortable feeling, nor is having to use the bathroom every 5 minutes, and he keeps asking if I am OK. Beazer keeps checking on me; I look at him as if he has some inherent dog sense that labor is starting, he looks at me like, "You have been promising me this baby sister of mine is coming for MONTHS now, when do you intend to bring her home?" We are a silly bunch, he probably wants nothing more than a cookie, even though he did lay his big head on my equally large belly today.

We did have a bit of drama on Friday (other than me crying). It was so hot, and they were calling for a nasty storm. Around 5:15, it got REALLY dark. I noticed it because the sun goes down at 9:15 now, and it was too early. And then the rain started, which quickly got hard and nasty. I couldn't even see across the street. Then things started hitting the skylights in the bathroom and in the livingroom.  I figured it was just hail, and didn't do anything, but of course, my dog decided it was his father, so strolled out to the living room to check on him.  OK, we watch the Weather Channel faithfully in this house.  Living in Maryland's Tornado Alley (at least it feels like that), we have to. I have watched enough of those Full Force Nature shows to know to stay away from the skylights when stuff is going down outside.  And that includes the dog . . . so I had to waddle out there and get his silly self.  But . . . ya know, he was right, Left-brain was parked outside.  Not such a dumb dog, and he's not going deaf.

And then the lights went out. And the cable.  And it didn't look like it was coming back on quickly. Our front yard was full of debris, luckily none of the tall trees on the hill came down--we lost branches when the hurricane came through, and can you imagine if one hit the house while I was here alone with the dog?  Left-brain came in, I tried to get him to call the power company and step up our line in the queue because, hello, I am 9 1/2 months pregnant  and high risk and I CAN NOT BE HOT. He said they wouldn't care. Then he said, "That is why we have the camper. We can go out there."  This is why I am glad we don't tent camp. We sat in here as long as possible, then he went out  and put the slide-out out.  Fired up the air conditioning, made up the bed, brought us our snacks. We packed up Beazer's binky and his stuffed toy, but he was not really happy in the camper. Left-brain didn't put the stabilizers down right away, and the poor dog did not like the way the camper shook when we walked; he was probably having an earthquake flashback. He just flopped down and looked miserable, didn't bother to explore, kept looking at me like, "Are you sure I am allowed in here?" Of course, buddy! We stick together, couldn't leave our special boy in the hot house.

 And, while my neighbors apparently lost their minds (the one neighbor started shooting off a rifle, the neighborhood kids started racing up and down the streets in their cars, screaming for no good reason, who knows what goes through these people's minds anymore?), we hunkered down and watched a movie, or at least Left-brain did. I fell asleep.  In the cool.The power came back on at 12:30, and we went back in the house. I love our camper, I am glad we have it, the bed is comfy, the AC is cool, I could bake a pie in the oven, but I have to admit, our bed in the house is a treasure!

So, amidst all this, I have been stitching.  I realize I have been so lax in posting pictures this month. Before the end, I wanted to share.

This is my newest finish, Sharing the S, a freebie by Sanman. I have been wanting to do this for years and finally did it.

I love it! I did change it a little to include the reference to a Bible verse that tells the Christmas story. I am very pleased with how it turned out.

I also finished the June square for Itty Bitty Kitty.  This is not the best shot, but it shows how the whole thing looks.
I really like having a project like this, one square a month to stitch. It doesn't take that much time to complete, and these little finishes are no problem for me. Quite satisfying and it only takes a year commitment. I may do another project like this next year, but I'm not sure yet. I guess it will depend on how much stitching time Babygirl lets me have.

But I didn't finish everything this month. This is my "In the Garden with Jane Austen."  I apologize for the wrinkles, but I wanted to share. It still has a long way to go.  I probably will not get this done in the next few days, but hopefully, it will soon.
I'm not sure if I really like this pattern anymore, but I want to get it done.  It will not be the bag into which the magazine showed it finished, but probably a pillow.
And this is my sweet freebie WIP, "Hip Hip Hooray," by Jean Farish. It was a freebie I printed off in 2004, and is available here (if not, use the Wayback Machine website, it will have a link via jeanfarish.com). I just think it is as cute as a bug, and the only specialty thread it uses is for the sparklers.  
It is stitching up really quickly, I think I will take this along to the hospital in case I feel like stitching.

Before I go, I wanted to share some pictures of Babygirl's room.  We still have a few small things to do, but, by and large, it's done.


The princess sleeps here:
I know to take the bumper and the toys out of there when she actually uses the crib, but she'll be in a bassinet for a while, so not a priority.  A few of her bears are hers, but I also put in a bear Left-brain gave me when we were first dating, along with one Left-brain got somewhere pre-me.

Her bookcase, decorated with some of my bears and bunnies (at least on a couple shelves). As she ages and gets more aware that there are toys up there, I will replace these with ones she can play with.  It's not that I want to be selfish, but at least one of those stufties (he is on the top shelf next to the left side bear) is extremely old and handmade, and it is not really a toy, plus she'll have plenty of her own toys.

The bear on the second shelf behind the seal, my friend Ann made for her. It's a wonderful gift.
Her books.  She has a good start on her library, even though it will be a few years before she can read some of them.
And I have to point out these shoes.  One set, my aunt picked up after Christmas for her (before we knew she was she, LOL) and the bear slippers I bought at Walmart a few weeks ago. Aren't they cute?  Don't you wish that we could have such fun clothing?  Wouldn't work be a lot better to deal with if you could wear Rudolph shoes in December, and no one thought you were wierd?  Instead, we must wear sensible clothing, and boring shoes, and leave the fun stuff to the kiddies.  NOT FAIR.

So that is what is happening here. A lot more than I thought, LOL. I appreciate how you all have been open and willing to listen over the past few months, and the words of encouragement have helped me get through a time that has not always been glowing. Hopefully, the fun starts now!

18 June 2012

It's the Final Countdown!

Still no Babygirl, but we are in the final countdown. If she is not here by next Friday under her own power, I will be induced. I am not completely sure if that means she will be here over the weekend, or if they will wait a few more days to see if she shakes loose, but the hope is by the 4th of July (we have patriotic onesies to wear, hot dogs to eat, fireworks to set off in the backyard in a safely predesignated area outside of city limits).  My mother hopes she is not born on Wednesday or Saturday, since one of those days, according to the old poem, makes children full of woe, and the other day means they work hard for a living. Of course, one of the other days they have far to go, not sure about that one. Left-brain keeps asking if I am OK; he stayed home from the racetrack on Saturday night because I was feeling a little wonky, it was kinda funny. His new favorite song is a romantic Keith Urban song, and he started calling me "Mama." I guess it hit him by the end of next week, he could be a dad.  Her room is pretty much together, I just have to put away the small things and put her towel and diaper baskets in their right places. OMG, I am in love with newborn diapers--they fit in the palm of my hand. Between those and little socks, I don't know what to make of them.  I am making a person who they fit!  That is amazing to me.  Of course, I got in another argument with my OB on Friday night; it's been 3 weeks, and he can't yell at me at appointments because I don't go to those by myself anymore, so it was about time. I won't even bother to write about it here, but it was, by and large, the stupidest non-work-related phone call I have ever had to deal with. I just have to remind myself 2 more weeks, and I can go to anyone for post-partum treatment. Anyway . . . 

Speaking of fireworks, we were in Target on Saturday. I am still allowed to go places, I just can not take myself there. But I needed a present for DN's birthday, and a bag for Left-brain's Father's Day gift (he is a little hinky on whether or not he technically IS a father at this point. I keep reminding him that our child is not floating out in the ether, waiting to be delivered on a cloud, she is here on the planet, just because he can't see her features, she is here, but, maybe that stems from the fact that the dad doesn't really have the day-to-day interaction with her that I do. I am sure he would not enjoy being head-butted in the bladder, LOL), so we went.  Now, I live in a county where fireworks are legal, just not in town.  It took some getting used to to see the firework stands.  I don't even know if you can get the hardcore stuff, I think you have to go up to Pennsylvania to get the kind of fireworks that have inspired my husband to utter such profound things as, "I don't know what this does. Let's light it and see."  and sends the dogs into their kennels, but you can get some stuff. At the local Target, as well as in your finer parking lots.  Apparently, there are a great many stupid people in Metro Crazyville, or at least a lot with daring-do, because . . . on the front of the firework display at the Target, there is a sign that says "Fireworks . . . no smoking."  I appreciate the obvious purpose of this, but, really . . . is there a danger that people will smoke in front of the display in the store?  When is the last time you saw someone light a cigarette in Target?  Or in any store or, heck, inside for that matter. The last time I can confidently say that yes, people were smoking inside anywhere in the DC/Metro area was in the casino at Charles Town racetrack in 2006. And that was a casino. Not Target.   And I certainly hope the average firework consumer wouldn't need a warning that open flame around the firework display is not a good idea.  True, I did have to explain to my niece and nephews that the reason Pop-its work is that they have gunpowder (I guess that's what it is, they're kids, it satisfied them) in them, but they're kids, and that got superceded by "OK, we do not throw those at your brother, sister, Aunt Rachel." Now I can see a sign that says "Don't point these at other people," but the smoking warning? A little wierd. A little overkill, and yes, I realize it wouldn't be there unless someone smoked in front of the firework display . . .

My stitching mojo is gone. I tried to work on In the Garden on Saturday.  It tired me out, so I didn't get far. I am going to try to get a little work done on it this evening.

And yesterday we had a near disaster.  Beazer keeps his binky outside the office, where all my stitching stuff is piled. I bought "unbreakable" boxes to put all that stuff in.  I guess I should have given Left-brain a lesson in how to stack boxes, but I assumed he knew how to do it. Anyway, unbreakable does not mean unbendable, because he apparently put a heavy box on top of one of them that did not have contents to support the weight, because the lower box bent, the stack tipped over and spilled boxes all over the office floor, out in the hall. My finishing box, and the box holding my Hummingbird Trellis afghan went right where Beazer usually lays.  Thank God he was in our room, pestering Left-brain, because, in all seriousness, he could have been hurt. Badly. And that would have killed me. He was, of course, mildly annoyed that anything got on his binky, when it's all you have, you value it well beyond reason.  Fortunately, nothing got broken, the box was able to be popped back into shape, and I gave Left-brain a quick lesson in now to stack properly.  The heavy stuff is on the bottom now.  Our dog is safe, a few more wrinkles than on Saturday, and I have a few more gray hairs. But that's OK.  He looks cute with w'inkles, and I will be covering them grays!

11 June 2012

Another hectic week begins

We have a nursery finally. We had to change the color a bit because they didn't make the color I chose first anymore, so I changed over to one called Girl's Night Out. It's a richer dusty lavendar, but it looks so good with the dark wood of her crib, the colors of the bedding and the gold outlet covers left over my husband's bachelor days.  I put her little library on her bookshelf; it was a neat feeling to see books from my grandmother, the teacher's, library, on there next to books I enjoyed as a little girl, ones her grammas and cousins had picked out and ones my friends had chosen.  I put my favorite bears and bunnies up on the shelves; some of them are a little motley, but they're things that were chosen for her. Even her papa chose a teddy and put it in her crib--BTW, they do a fine job with scaring the bejesus out of a body with these crib sheets. I held one up to the mattress and thought there was no way in creation that thing was going to fit.  Amazingly, with much shoving, punching and threats, it worked.  Which begs the question, why if those sheets fit that mattress, is it such a pain to get the sheets on our bed to stay put.

I had to take my binders of charts down off the bookcase to finish up the preparation. Left-brain asked me where I wanted to put the huge tub of them. I told him that I didn't want them packed away so that I wouldn't have access to them.  With so much of my stuff packed away and virtually inaccessible (though to be honest, it's mostly because I can't lift the boxes on top of them off), it's starting to make me a little antsy.

I did venture to the LNS on Saturday. I have decided that, for our anniversary, I am stitching Left-brain a chart of the lighthouses of the Chesapeake. He doesn't know it yet. But I got the idea because he said he appreciates when I stitch the charts of the lighthouses we have access to. He likes any lighthouses, but he enjoys the local ones more. I thought it would be nice to do that for him.  I also kitted up a Moira Blackburn design, I think it's called "in the garden", and a Bent Creek patriotic design.  I know, I am supposed to be using what I had, but I have been good, and I wanted something new to stitch and my kitted-up stuff, well, it's buried in a pile of boxes.  OK, note to self: fix this situation as soon as possible.

This week, we find out when the baby is coming. Because of the issues, they don't want me to go full-term, but need to decide if it will be at 38 weeks or 39. They keep saying things like, "If you're still pregnant next week . . . "  Well, all I have heard is that first babies never come early, and she seems perfectly content where she is, plus, it's a little wierd to hear it phrased that way. But I do know, it's a blessing to have gotten this far, every day she stays in is a blessing for us.  At least we find out her weight this week, so we get a better idea of that.  I can't wait.

Have to go for now. Will attempt to show some stitching soon.

08 June 2012

I have been remiss in photo posting, but I have been a busier stitcher this week. 

This is my latest finish,  Brooke Nolan's  June 2008 kit for SNN, Liberty. I really had a good time stitching this. I am normally not one for the fancy fibers, but this was such a quick stitch. I sewed the little buttons on Sunday. I know the floss doesn't match, but this is for me, so it's OK--it's, um, the light hitting the cherries! I will always think of this as my Hatfields and McCoys project, since I was working on it while that was on this week.  I'll probably just make it into a cube finish--I think I have the fabric they showed on the cover of the chart.

I know I was limiting my new starts for the year, but the flosses for this were so yummy, and I had it all in stash, from when the design came out on 2008.  I couldn't resist!  This is my new WIP, In the Garden with Jane Austen, the May 2008 feature design from TGOS Magazine. It is supposed to be made into a sewing bag, mine will probably be a picture. I had toyed with making a pillow out of it, but hand-dyed floss, white fabric, and small fingers may not be such a good combo in the future.

It is stitching up TREMENDOUSLY fast, for being mostly words.  I have already found an error on it though. The symbol for Green Pasture is supposed to be a Z and is not that on the key. I only figured it out by really looking hard at the picture on my files on my computer and comparing it to the floss colors.  I don't know if anyone was planning on stitching this, but figured it was something to put out into the ether. I hope to have the whole thing done in a week or so, preferably a week.

This weekend, Left-brain is painting the baby's room while I am out all day. My mom and I are going to pick up the paint this evening. I have to admit, even though I love the color I chose, a dusty pale purple, actually committing to it is a little frightening. I think it is just because I have never gotten to pick the paint colors, and most of the rooms ended up being various shades of white. I think Left-brain would prefer white, but, shoot, it's easier to pick a different color than try to match various shades of ecru.  I know it will look good, and I am just being neurotic; I'm pretty good on this whole color theory business, but I want my girl to have a beautiful room, so I won't accept less for her. 

06 June 2012

Wednesday in Crazyville

Pictures to be taken.  Work to be done.

And I am goofing off on here.

However, I am much pleased with the changes I made to the background. Especially my title photo. This is one of the things I struggle with about Blogger, I can never get my pictures to look right. Part of it is this computer, it's not like any other PC I have ever owned, and does not have the easiest photo editing software in it (I guess since it was advertised as being able to thwart the zombie apocolypse by being able to be dropped and still work, it had more important functions to serve, we'll see.  I know other people can and do . . . I always look half shot out of a cannon. Oh, well, not now!

I have a nice picture with a centered subject.

When it's December and this is still up, you'll know why.


Not much happening here. Oh, remember how I was mourning my bare flowerbed the other day? The grammas (somehow my mom and MIL are now officially this when they are together) came out on Monday to purty up the joint. I could have cried. They are both avid gardeners with lovely flowers, and it probably pained them to see bare dirt with dead tulip stems.

Look at what they did:

 The front of the house. Those little spots of red just add something

This is the planter of no return. I planted calla lilies in there two years ago. I have not seen them since. These will do better.
 Our landing. I bought the planting on the right. My MIL did the one on the left. She even bought us a tomato. We had thought about planting it in the yard, but there is a rabbit in the front yard, and, since Beazer has decided he is a dog of peace, a groundhog has moved into the backyard to join the squirrel commune. They have to be pretty smart to climb the steps.

Speaking of Master Beazer, we had a few nice moments yesterday out on the back porch together yesterday. He loves to sunbathe, more now than ever before, and I caught a glimpse of him out the kitchen window, sitting on the hill, enjoying life. When I stepped out to take a picture of him, he came up on the porch to sit with me.
 He looks so handsome in this picture, doesn't he?

Kinda offsets the moments like this:
Life is hard when you have floppy lips and freckles. No one gives you any respect. No one.

One of the things this time with him has started to show me is that, at 12, every day with him is a gift. He is starting to slow down, and I hate to acknowledge that he won't be here forever. He is just the definition of a good dog. We've been going back and forth about what kind of a dog or dogs we'll get when he is not with us. I've been torn because I do love my small dogs, but I've become so invested in pit bulls and trying to get people to understand that one bad one doesn't a breed represent, anymore than any other bad dog isn't a fair example of their breed, that it feels like I am abandoning them to not have one. Last night I went online to look at the local rescues, to see how many were actually out there for adoption; within 100 miles of my zip code, there are approximately 20,000 pit bulls of every color, sex, age and build available for adoption. I also have the twins, and, seriously, I don't know if there are 20,000 Schipperkes in the US, let alone in rescue. And so that decided me, with so many dogs in need of homes with people who understand the particular quirks of the breed, Left-brain and I are the kind of people who need to be actively owning them. We have yet to work out the logistics and we will not get another dog til Beazer isn't here (it felt like cheating on him to look at the website, but he did tell us if we found a cute female, he was open to a girlfriend, LOL), and they will have to go through training, but it feels like the best option for all involved.

Before I go, this was my progress through May on the Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt project. June is finished, but, being a little behind, I don't have pictures.
I did find an erron in the chart, though. On the right hand side, the border. The running stitch line has been left off this chart, and the cross stitched border does not match up with that from the March chart. It reverts back correctly by the time September rolls around, so you have to just keep following the pattern from March and pretend that part doesn't exist for June. Maybe this was caught after my chart was printed, but it really isn't a difficult fix to do.

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