28 March 2012

Sorry for the lack of posting

I know it feels like forever since I had a real post. I'm still hanging in, just been dealing with extreme fatigue this week. Some I blame on staying up late to watch basketball and getting a little hyper over that--even little Kaydence was rolling and flipping around on Sunday over our win--but some is just from being pregnant.

We did have date night on Monday night, which I much appreciated. Left-brain did have to lift me out of the truck when we got home. Because it has tractor trailer tires on it, it sits up higher than most trucks, and, since it's a dually, it sits out farther from the curb than normal trucks. I've come down wrong on my ankle getting out of it before, and Monday night, the distance between the step and the curb looked so far, and I was so tired, I didn't want to risk hurting myself or the baby, so he lifted me down. I felt sort of silly, but he is strong, and he got us down safely. I did tell him we will not be taking that vehicle to the hospital when I am in labor. We can take my car, or borrow something lower.

Last night was a night home. We ended up watching "A Hot Dog Show" on PBS. If you have never seen this documentary, you really need to watch it. The show is all about hot dogs all over America, from Chicago dogs, to Nathan's famous, to little Southern roadside stands. It's older, from the late 90s, and I have no real idea why it is so interesting, but it sucks you in, much more than the accompanying documentaries about ice cream and sandwiches. Even Left-brain enjoyed it, and he is not the kind of person to watch other people eat hot dogs for an hour, although he did find the way they make them to be a little gross, and he kept pointing out that no one wore gloves when they were fixing them. I tried to remind him that they probably washed their hands, and that it was the 90s, food handling procedures were less strict then, but he wasn't buying it. Moi, I just wanted a hot dog when the show was over. He said I'd understand had I gotten a bad case of food poisoning. I guess he has a point, but a slaw dog looked good.

I am doing a little stitching. I spent Sunday morning finishing ornaments. Got 4 done, which is a record for me. I tried using comic book board. I have to say, I like it. It's a slightly thicker posterboard, which you would think wouldn't be that sturdy, but, when covered in batting, and glued together, it's plenty sturdy, at least for an ornament! They look OK, and I know I am improving, but I have decided that there is no way I can get all of the old ornament-sized finishes I have in my finish box done. Even if I had months off with no responsibility, at least not done well. I am going to have to turn some of it over to finishers. At least that way, things are going from being in a box to being on a tree or whatever I want to hang them on, all part of my being a better steward, and I don't have all these things overwhelming me. I can still keep some home to learn and improve my skills on, but I think this is a better way to do most of them. I can spend the summer enjoying finishing, not dreading it.

That's all for now, I am going to try to do a post tonight with photos of what I've been working on.

23 March 2012

Rotation Remix

This was the week I was supposed to work on Summer Ball.

Well, I didn't.

I can not haul that project back and forth with me, and working on it in the evenings was not working out too well.

So I decided to shake things up. As mayor of Crazyville, I can do that.

The new remix is, during the UFO week, I work on another UFO, currently, Hearts of America. The ornament weeks, during the week, I work on those ornaments. On the weekend, when everything else is done, I do Summer Ball. I think that will make it MUCH easier to make actual progress on things. I tried it this week, and made good progress on both Summer Ball and HofA.

That said, I'm not working on an ornament this upcoming week, and probably it won't be a Summer Ball weekend. I'm finishing ornaments this weekend, because I have that exchange due and I'm starting to be overwhelmed by ornament-sized finishes. Next week, I'm going to work on HofA, to see if I can finally finish it (I like it and all, but it's been two months, and I want it done before I lose the buttons). I'll go back to the regular rotation after that.

The organization project has dramatically slowed down. I have to get the room cleaned out and back to being a guest room by Mother's Day week. Left-brain is going away, and my mom, then my friend (the ever awesome Auntie Shar'n, sender of the UK onesie), are coming to visit/babysit me (which I much appreciate, just in case Miss Kaydence decides to come early--Beazer is not much help in these type situations), and they need a place to sleep. But I have no idea where all the stuff from the room is going to go--normally we shoved it in the office, but, that won't be an office by then. I'm most concerned about where to put my 'to be read' books, since there are so many, but I'm going to go with the idea that we'll figure it out before then. And, and this is more an observation than a vent, why is it, when you buy a wierdly- shaped holiday decoration, they NEVER give you a box for it? I have my Halloween tree sitting out, and have no idea where to put it til Halloween, but it takes up a lot of room for something so small. Arrghhh. I'll probably end up shoving it in a closet.

And . . .

we have a daffodil! A yellow one!

And two, what appear to be red, tulips. They haven't opened yet, but are fixin' to.

Left-brain and I walked around the yard Wednesday night and inspected the results of my work. He didn't get my planting method, which was toss the bulbs in the flowerbed and plant them where they land. My mother got the idea from some gardening show she watched, and I couldn't see a better reason for doing it any differently. It looks a little . . . different . . . now, but I'll fill in in the autumn, and, in a year or so, our yard will be a riot of hopeful color. It's nice to see that things are working out, we've joined the world of color. My drive back and forth to work is wonderful now, all the trees are in bloom, millions of daffodils to be seen. One of the properties I drive by must have either been a tree nursery or orchard in a past life, because it is a forest of Bradford pear trees in bloom. Watching the petals fall is probably the closest thing we'll have to snow til next year and that's OK!

22 March 2012

For the sheep people

There is a new blogger in our midst, Kayona, whose blog can be found here:

She has a very adorable button leg sheep finishing technique to share. I have to figure out what I can stitch that will work for this, but this technique is as cute as a bug.

Think of the possibilities.

Also, thank you for your kind responses to my post about Grandpa. Yesterday was a day spent thinking of him, I even went home and called Beazer 'hundt', which is the Pennsylvania Dutch (well, German) word for dog. Grandpa always called all dogs, purebred or mutt, "hundts" (Cats were "katzes", but only if they were misbehaving or he'd just had to pay for cat food, little calves were 'hummies', and his mares never had foals, they had 'houtches'). Beazer didn't understand what it meant, but he's a good old hundt of a dog if there ever was one. I feel so very blessed to be his grand-daughter. My brother is a lot like him, shambling gait, easy-going ways, even his string-bean physique, which, I have been told, was quite the sight when Grandpa taught him to shoe horses ("Tom had all four feet off the ground, Luke had all two." Grandpa had a lot of stories like that, particularly when my brother decided to take up horse-breaking in addition to farrier service--he stopped after my horse, the long-deceased Wildfire, tossed him into a large pile of manure during a training session. I'm just hillbilly enough to find that hilariously funny. DB now works inside with computers.) As long as he's around, Grandpa's not really gone. And that's a good thing. We need a lot more people like him. So thank you for letting me tell you a little more about him.

21 March 2012

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

Today is the first day of Spring! Hope it is going to be a lovely day in your area--it's misty here, today.

Today would have been my grandpa's 104th birthday. In case my posts haven't made it obvious over the years, I don't come from the kind of family that you'd find in a Norman Rockwell painting. My gramma and mom tried hard to end us up in better circumstances than the family started out in, but, to be honest, I come from what my Appalachian Studies teacher used to call "hillybillies". Most people would consider that a great detriment, but my grandpa was the closest thing I knew to a cowboy, and that was pretty cool.

Horses are probably the way we connected most. He had a great eye for horses, but he preferred to see them fat and working. That's the Pennsylvania Dutch in him. We took him to Kentucky to visit the horse farms down there. He appreciated the beauty of the Thoroughbreds, but he much preferred the big draft horses at the Kentucky Horse Park. The Bureau of Land Management had a wild mustang adoption center set up on the grounds of the Horse Park, Grandpa loved watching the horses. He was trying to figure out how he might adopt one of those horses and take it back to Pennsylvania--his favorite was a ratty-looking mare, but he saw something in her that he liked, and it hurt to tell him we couldn't take her, but she'd get a good home. 88 years old and he's trying to figure out how to bring a wild mustang home. But that was him. He'd been messing with horses since was 10 years old, and what he didn't know, pretty much wasn't worth knowing. He always had a big team of work horses, Percherons (or, as my grandpa called them, Perch-ins). Even in his later years, he had four: a team of blacks, Bill and Midnight, a bay mare, Byrd, and his beautiful dapple grey mare, Penny. He was still using Penny to plow the garden when I was in middle school. But his heart belonged to his little horses, a hardy little group of Tennessee Walker-based, pony-sized, hard-working little horses. My brother still has Tom Boy, the horse Grampa gave him, probably the best horse he ever bred. He's almost 30 years old, retired out to a life in the pasture, not as much spit and fire as he had, but he's still with us. I am hoping Kaydence gets to ride him, hopefully Uncle Luke will take her for a ride around the ring, so she touches something her great-grandpa loved.

I know he was a hard worker. He worked the farm in the summer, the coal mines in the winter. My gramma kept his lunch bucket shined up, just in case something happened to him in those mines--she didn't want that on her conscience. Both my mom's parents worked hard, even when they were moonshining. This is probably where I get my "go-go-go" attitude as Left-brain calls it, LOL. We just don't know how to be comfortably idle.

He taught a hundred little ways, the old ways. He'd sing cowboy songs to us as we rode along, tuneless versions of "Red River Valley" and one about Little Bess. As a result, his horses LOVED to be sung to, but only cowboy songs. My brother still sings them. He loved to fish, but never had a fancy pole because he said fish weren't stupid. They'd think a stick was a tree, and they'd mess with the worm, but they could tell the difference in a fancy pole. Needless to say, he caught a lot of fish that way. He was a wonder with baling twine--he could patch up a piece of harness with it, he made my brother and I wroking bridles out of the stuff for Christmas one year. He taught us not to treat the Amish any different than us, after all they were just another religion, but, Lord, how he hated driving a horse they'd trained--he said they taught the horse to "dance", showy, flashy steps, which are fine if you're on a leisurely drive, not so good if you have to go any length of distance. He liked most everyone, you had to really be a jerk for him to hate you. He was a simple man, content with a little, grateful for what he did have. I sometimes wonder if he really did know the secret to life.

He died when I was 23. The last visit with him was hard. He'd been in the hospital. The nurses stressed the point of making sure he knew who I was. I asked him, and he didn't know. And it killed me to see him struggling, I finally told him, "I know you know who I am, and I know who I am, so it's OK." And I talked to him about my cats, which were a gift from him. His face lit up, he loved animals, and I know he was glad I took such joy in them. He died a week later. I sang at his funeral, not a hymn, but a cowboy song. Mom didn't like it at first, and the preacher was annoyed, but it was more "him" than other songs.

I miss him tremendously. He would have liked Left-brain, Left-brain would have liked him, I know that. I know he was proud of me, he told Mom he always knew I'd get somewhere, because I was smart. It's taken me a long time to figure out where that "somewhere" is, it's not financial success, it's being the kind of person he was.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

20 March 2012

Dispatches from Crazyville

Not enough here for a real post, so . . .

My tulips continue to grow like crazy. Particularly the ones in the pot. They are potted with Miracle-Gro. We aren't organic here in Crazyville, but considering that the farmers are cleaning out the manure holding tanks from over the winter, and there's a company spreading treated human waste from another part of the county on a field outside of town, there is enough organic and unorganic stuff going on around town. Besides Miracle-Gro works. The daffodils are starting to poke through. They are late-blooming, even if the package didn't say that, which I think it did.
Left-brain and Beazer were basketballed out by the end of the weekend. I went downstairs and my husband had fed the dog in the mancave so they both wouldn't miss a minute of the game. Left-brain was quite proud of this, the dog was probably in canine heaven, eating dinner on his binky, surrounded by his toys. Speaking of which, I gave him the rolling bins I'd been storing my UFOs in to store his dog toys in. I put all his toys in there, and B has a lot of toys. He went into the bin and started picking out toys to pull out. Not to play with, to have on his binky. Oh, dear.
I got my package from my Easter exchange partner, Marianne. A beautiful Easter basket filled with goodies. There were cute buttons, some stickers, a pair of pink polka dot scissors, a pretty handmade pillow, some socks, a fantastic smelling soap, and a chart from my wish list at 123. And some candy. Yippee! I have to finish the ornament for her. Left-brain may go racing this weekend, so I have a suspicion there may be a Finishing Frenzy going on. I have some comic book board and am going to see how that works to make ornaments.

16 March 2012

The weeks are just too short . . .

There just isn't enough time.

I finished one ornament this week and started Country Cottage Needleworks' ornament. I am not moving very fast on it. I had to work at the theatre last night, and was almost late because of the traffic. They had the major road near the office closed, with police cars sitting there, and it took 30 minutes to go 2 miles. That threw me off and I just didn't feel like stitching. Then got home and was too tired to stitch, but not tired enough to sleep. And today is my last day to work on it before putting it away to go back to Summer Ball for a week. Arrrghhh. Hopefully, I get some good time to work on it this evening.

I did start making it known at the theatre that I'll be leaving next month. I don't know yet if it's a final farewell, since I've been dealing with them for 20 years, both as a patron and employee, and I love the place like a family member. But this is what I need to do for now, I just have to have the faith that, if it's in the big plan of my life, I'll be able to go back if I need to, and, if not, something as good will come along.

15 March 2012

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe: New Hand Dyed Floss Give-away!

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe is hosting a giveaway of her beautiful hand-dyed floss. I have bought from her through Ebay, and her floss is an affordable luxury! If your garden isn't coming up fast enough for your taste, or your crocus bulbs got mushy because you planted them in a pot, not the ground, this is a chance to win enough floss to stitch you through to summer!

Victorian Motto Sampler Shoppe: New Hand Dyed Floss Give-away!

14 March 2012

Flower update 2

I promise I will get pictures tonight, I just keep forgetting to go out and get the pictures when I get home.

We lost the crocuses in the flower box. We finally admitted it to ourselves last night. I think they came up too soon in December, then it got coldish . . . and the box didn't offer enough protection. Left-brain discovered the bulbs were rotted under the soil and disposed of the corpses before I got home from work. I'm a bit bummed about that, I really do not like killing things, even accidentally, but it was a lesson learned. The ones planted in the ground are doing really well, with our early summer weather. It was 80 here yesterday, quite nice!

My tulips are popping up like gangbusters. The box I put them in looks good, they are spread out in the front bed and growing. It really is so satisfying to see them coming up. Our yard is not the most conducive to flowers, since it was a rental house most of its life pre-Left-brain, and the former owners didn't work up a lot of the land--the soil is still a lot like it is with new houses, full of rocks. Left-brain is not a man who putters with flowers, his landscaping additions were rocks and ornamental grasses, and the grasses are mostly there to shield the dog from seeing what's coming down the street. It needed a few random dashes of color, as a welcoming thing. I know we're not staying here forever, and I hope the next owner likes them . . . and remembers to divide up the daffodils. Those are starting to peek out. If I remember correctly, I bought mid- to late-blooming so we'd have color all spring, but I'm not sure, so don't quote me; November feels like a lifetime ago.

I finished the Fine-ally Finished ornament last night. I'm glad it's done--it wasn't hard, just that I don't like stitching the same thing over and over. I ordered some ribbon to finish it this morning, and will hopefully be able to show it off next week. I'm starting the Country Cottage needleworks ornament today.

12 March 2012

Love and basketball

I love this dog.

He loves me. Mainly because I decorate with stuffed animals (holdover from owning cats) and I buy him Pupperonis. And gourmet dog treats.

He apparently does not love my alma mater, the University of Kentucky. He threatened to chew up our mascot. He would not give me my beanie Cat back. He did not really want to give it to his father either. See the contempt in his eyes? Instead he attempted to rip him limb from limb.

Show some respect, dawg! Mummy spent many a weekend day, with her face painted, in the front row of Rupp Arena, holding up a sign, trying to get on TV. The skills that enabled me to stand out in a sea of royal blue and white gave me my start in life!

He isn't even from North Carolina. I guess he's just a bitter Terrapin fan. I know, buddy, garish uniforms and they never make the NCAAs anymore. Get over it.

He spent the rest of the afternoon in the yard (don't feel too sorry for him, it was a nice day). The Cats went on to lose in the SEC tournament final (it's OK, the only game that matters is the last one you're in in the Tournament). Cat survived his trip into the mouth of doom, although a little more battered than he went in, and has joined the rest of our holiday decorations (because March Madness should be a holiday, like an adult Spring Break, let's start that petition, even if we don't watch the games, who's with me?). And, by the end of the evening, we were one happy family, I even gave him a chick pea to show I had no hard feelings.

Such is love . . .

11 March 2012

Progress pics!

I know this is not a good picture of my progress on Hearts of America, but it pretty much sums up how last week turned out. I spent Thursday and Friday evenings with my feet propped up, since they decided to start swelling up. I didn't want to not go to my part-time job because of them, since I know this is part of being pregnant, but worrying about this has made me realize that I have to give that job up sooner than I had planned so that I can rest. That and the fact we haven't even begun to get her room together, and the house needs to be spring cleaned. I just don't have the time and energy to do it with my current schedule, and Kaydence deserves to be higher priority than work. I am still fighting it in my head, I hate having to admit defeat, even for the best of reasons. I am leaving it open that, in the future, I can go back, either to that job, or find something close.

This is my progress for the week on this piece. I can see a great deal of difference from the last time I posted. It shouldn't take too much longer to finish it, and I do enjoy stitching on it. I'm back to stitching on ornaments, but will not share a photo of the current one, by Fine-ally Finishing, til it's done. I made changes, I will admit that. The original ornament is over-1 and I'm not really comfortable with that, and then the directions were confusing and didn't follow the chart, so I'm stitching it over two. It may come out like crap, it may come out like a champ, but it's fiddly, fiddly intimidates me, and yet, I'm still doing it.

07 March 2012

Stitching through the week

I'm having a hard time putting needle to fabric this week. I've had to work late both nights to make up for having to go to the doctor, so I'm usually worn out by the time I get home. Last night, though, I decided to suck it up and work on Hearts of America to try to get some progress on that. I'm starting to worry I'm going to lose the buttons before it gets done, and that would be bad. So if I work on this one week a month, Summer Ball one week a month, and the ornaments the other two weeks, that's progress, right?

I realized on Monday that I've reached a mini-goal. I had told myself that, if I finished 5 ornaments or 5 UFOs, I get to start a new start. Well, I met that goal last month--I have 5 ornaments done this year. I've almost finished 5 UFOs, whatever I finish next will be that milestone. Trust me, I am thrilled to think that there are 5 less half-finished projects in the bin. But, when it comes down to it, I don't want to start anything new. It feels like cheating on the other projects, like I could be using the time to finish those, not on a frivolous new start. But there are so many things in my stash I would LOVE to work on, shouldn't I want to start something new and carefree? Maybe I'm just taking this too seriously and next year, I'll have that bin back up in numbers, and won't look at an ornament-sized project . . . or will be too busy to open the sewing room door. Is anyone else who is working on UFOs, either as part of the organized groups like WIPocalypse or UFO stitchers, or on your own, are you feeling this?

05 March 2012

Monday update--my green thumb

may still be here.

Back in November, I posted about planting a lot of bulbs in the yard. I dug an entire new flowerbed, which was not an easy task in our yard, and was something, looking back, that I shouldn't have done, since I was 6 weeks pregnant, but, since all I had to go on was my primary care doctor's declaration that I had miscarried, I needed something to do to get over being so depressed. I had some concerns because I know I didn't plant them according to the standards on the bag, and I also put them in pots on the landing of the front stoop. I promised an update, hoping they'd make it through the winter, but not totally sure they'd make it.

They survived. And are coming up through the soil. My daffodils haven't come up yet, but they might be late bloomers, the irises I wanted so badly to have didn't live, they just kinda rotted, but my crocusi are coming up in their little box and around our Japanese maple, and the tulips are pushing through the ground. It is probably some combination of our mild winter and my dumb luck, but it made my heart happy to see those stems coming through. We still have to mulch around them, so the bed is pretty, and they have a bit of protection, but I am as pleased with those little buds as could be. We've never really had color in the yard in the spring, unless I bought Gerber daisies and planted them, but we'll have it this spring. It's a harbinger of the new chapter in the life of Crazyville!

01 March 2012

Finishing Up February

I have been remiss in February about posting my finishes. Never had the time and the camera together, and I am trying to be a little more "professional" and not show half-completed works. That does not lend itself to lots of pictures.

But I am trying to make up for my laziness. I have spent the last day in a half-finishing frenzy. This is how it worked out.

The finished Lizzie*Kate half hour ornament from JCS, finished in pretty much one day except for the beading, which I switched out because I did not stitch this on the recommended fabric, and did not, obviously, mount on the recommended pillow.

Instead, I put it in this cute tuck ornament from Amy's Cross Stitch Corner. Love these or
nament tucks, they are perfect for the semi-feral finisher, and reasonably priced, far cheaper than the opportunity costs of me attempting to sew, getting angry, throwing something across the room, and sticking the stitched piece in a box. In case, you are looking for something similar, they can be purchased at her website,

This ornament finish is not one that I am particularly pleased with . The stitching is fine, I like the design, but attaching the beads and those little crystals was a nightmare.

The directions on the package do not exactly say that one needs a heat tool to attach the stones. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't do every craft, so I don't know the intricacies, and I also don't have the tools. I ended up just glueing them on. I suspect, sometime in the next few years, a very small child or a very old dog will eat one or two of them. I wish I could say I loved how this turned out in the end, but I'm not. That's OK, though, every ornament can't be perfect all the time.

One of my other numerous goals this year is to finish many more of the backlog of LHN ornaments I've amassed. I'm not buying this year's ornaments until I finish the ones I have. It's hard to limit myself, but it does seem rather foolish to keep amassing things like this when I don't finish what I have--I should probably never sign up for another monthly series again.

This is Forest Winter, which I think was November's ornament. I really do LOVE this finish. It doesn't photograph as pretty as it is.

This is going to be a banner ornament, with a twig from our backyard, and either a checked country ribbon hanger, or a piece of twine for the hanger. I'm going to try to work on this tomorrow. Not a fancy finish idea, but I think it works for this.

And my Itty Bitty Kitty Quilt square for February.

I misplaced this for the better part of the month, hence the no photo. It actually almost had me in tears because I couldn't find it, but last night, I locked myself in the sewing room til I found it. Then spent the rest of the evening, working on the next section of the border. It's going to take a little more time to do this month because of the border, but I hope to have it completed by the end of the weekend. This is a really fun series to work on, and I so appreciate that Val's Stuff uses only DMC on it, since there are so many different colors needed.

Enjoy your weekend! Hope March is coming in like a lamb where you are at. It was gorgeous here yesterday, warm and sunny. The peepers were out in force yesterday morning. Lovely! Spring is surely on the way!

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