29 May 2014

Little start

 Little House Needleworks/Crescent Colours Collaboration.
CC threads from kit on 28 count Antique White Jobelan
I am going to start back on Left-brain's Father's Day gift this weekend, but I could not resist this sweet little kit. I have had it in stash probably since it came out in 2006, and just decided I needed a bright colors on Jobelan fix.  Can I tell you how much I love Jobelan?  This was a cut from a half-yard I had in my stash, so I thought I'd use it. The Persimmon and Candied Yams were not choices I'd have initially made if I were designing this kit, but now that I see them together on the peaches, I really like them. I thought about changing the colors of the cat to match my Gus, but sometimes I get a little worried about clashing colors, so let it be the Siamese-looking kind of guy he is. I don't know what I'll do with this, but it's fun to stitch.

After several years of wanting one, and never having the money for it, we are getting a freezer. People Left-brain's parents knew passed away, and their kids didn't want to leave an almost-new freezer in the house, so they asked if Left-brain wanted it for free. OF COURSE!  I can't wait to go to the farm market this summer. Won't it be nice to be able to buy produce at summer prices, and freeze it for winter. Especially peaches and corn!  And tomato sauce. I would like to learn to make it, but never have, because we like to cook in bulk and there isn't room in our side-by-side for all that.  Plus, we can finally think seriously about buying a side of beef or a pig next year. I can't wait to get this thing home. Yay!

28 May 2014

Vacation stash, WIP updates, and thank you

First, thank you for your kind words about my dad. He is still with us. They were discussing hospice today. I am not able to attend these meetings--I don't have the leave, but, emotionally, it's too much. Plus, we are now dealing with some stuff with Katie--she got a bug bite on vacation. I had to take her to Urgent Care last Thursday because they thought she might have ringworm. The doctor said it IS a bugbite, but she is either having a bad reaction to it or it's a spider bite because it gets better and gets worse, and she is itching it now. If it's not noticeably better by this evening, we are going back. She can't spend the rest of the summer in long sleeves. I'm kind of frazzled--my resolve to get healthy has gone by the wayside for now. I'll pick it back up when things calm down.

These are my WIPs. Some of them are a little farther along than others.

DH's Father's Day gift:
Katie is helping me a little with this one. I push the needle through, she pulls it. She is quite pleased with herself, as well she should be. She can't count, but she can counted cross stitch, and that is pretty awesome!

Miss Kitty's Dragons:

 This is kind of challenging, but it's moving along. I do have to put it down because it calls for Kreiniks and those are not in my budget til next payday. It's not like I don't have anything else to work on . . .

Cinnamon Bear by Pam Kellogg from the 2001 JCS Ornament Issue:

This was a challenge to work on. Shading like crazy, but it's beautiful. I did it mostly at lunch so I could focus. I did as far as I can go on it this weekend. It also calls for Kreinik, but I'll get that next payday. I think I am going to have this one professionally finished for Katie's Christmas ornament this year. She has discovered a "passion" for "ki-kis" since meeting mine. Lily and Felix avoid her like the plague, as do most cats, but Gus came right up to her, and of course, she tried to pull him. I had to explain he is very old (he'll be 15 on Sunday) and is not a toy. She gave me her "face", but she was gentler with him. And she loves watching kitty videos on Youtube--cries of "What's that ki-ki do-en?" and laughter. So I thought this would be a good way to commemorate this year for her, and it'sdone in May. Whoda thunk?
And lastly, my vacation stash:
Sending me into a LNS with a whole lotta OT money is dangerous. The only thing here that was actually on my wish list was the mice book. And that is because I am obsessed with them. I have been ogling that book since I got it. And I picked up the crab design because my MIL loves crabs, but not red ones, because they are dead and she doesn't want to decorate her house in dead stuff. I figure this can be a "push-pull" project with Kay-kay. I got the By the Bay charts, because they were so "Maryland" to me. One day, I'll have to take some pictures down by the Bay to show you what I mean by that, but I loved the herons on the "Spring Cove" and it just felt good to me. The LK one is one I need to put up for myself, for these moments when I feel so damn small and helpless. I also picked up a little bit of fabric to do an ornament.
I also bought several of the 2012 LHN ornaments. I know I had said, back in 2012, I was not going to sign up for them, because I had SO MANY left over from the previous years. But I'm going to try to do them, since I have done a couple of the ornaments I had in stash. I still need to remind myself not to sign up for monthly series, though. It's not that they are bad, I just get overwhelmed too easily, and I can't stitch that quick, although you wouldn't know that from what I am doing lately. Though maybe my late efforts are more because I have dubbed this the year of "Stitch your Happiness," and stitching things I dearly love and not the things that I "owe" anything to, is freeing.  Does that make sense? We'll see how this goes.
This should be the last major stash I buy for a while. Not unless I find some money or win the lottery.  It was a lot, and I was a little aghast at the total, since I haven't spent that much in a few years, but I've been reasonable, my bills are paid, we had a rough winter and it was a good way to usher in summer, right?

23 May 2014


Since we're pulling back on searching for a house, we have to get all the stuff that was in storage out. Our house has been looking less cluttered lately, so I am not looking forward to having it all back, but we can't afford to pay for the storage unit, plus do the things that get us financially able to afford a new house. Since I don't want my stuff to end up on Storage Wars, it's coming home.

Left-brain was a little concerned about all the stuff coming back. I told him a lot of my stuff is BOOKS, and I need bookcases. Why do builders not put usable bookcases in houses anymore? Do people not read? Or do they all just have Kindles? Anyway, he said he wouldn't build bookcases if he could buy them already made--this is quite a change for the man who had to be convinced that the pre-fab railing sections were a better buy because the difference in material costs was much cheaper than the opportunity costs of him nailing the sections together. So we went online and looked. I ordered 3 large bookcases and one low for my office. The low one is for my work manuals and probably some freebie binders. And the tall ones will hold as much of my book collection as will fit.  They're almost 6 feet tall, so I figure that ought to hold a good bit, PLUS the top can be used to display some of my tchotkes. I don't know what I'll do with my stash quite yet. I'm determined to get that straightened out, but not sure how to do it--I'm still watching Youtube cross stitch videos, and I see how other people store stuff and I haven't found a system that calls to me, other than a non-vlogging friend's method of storing her extra skeins of floss in envelopes in photo boxes. I'm going to work on that when things settle down.

I know a lot of you know me from FB and stitching sites. So y'all people know that my father was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and given days to live. I'm compartmentalizing how I deal with it. I mostly try to push it to the back of my conscious, because, if I dwelled, I'd be a wreck. On the whole, I know we can not stay, we have to die, and he has no quality of life. But that doesn't always help.  I never knew my dad's parents--my gramma died when I was 9 months old, and my grampa died when I was not quite 5. The only memory I have of him, other than at the funeral, was him with the tattoos to guide the radiation. I had a great relationship with my mom's parents--I adored them--but how would things have been different if I'd gotten the chance to know Daddy's parents? And will Katie be affected by losing him? He is the only one of her grandparents she really calls by name, and she really talks good to him on the phone. She told him "All better" both on the phone last time we called and when I took her to see him, and she draws him pictures. People say to take her in to see him, but she was messing with his oxygen on Sunday when we saw him, and he isn't the Poppy she knows, and I don't want her to be scared. I want her to have good memories of him, cause they've got to last the rest of her life.

And I'm trying to be as normal as I can be; one thing I've learned over the years is that, even when we're grieving, we have no right to inflict our misery on others. So I try to be cheerful; it's strange, but it's how I deal. And I joke, because that's therapy. Laughter is healing. Besides my dad told terrible jokes, and he'd probably want it that way.

So, if you "see" me out and about, and I seem oddly jovial, just know that I'm trying my hardest to deal with a bad situation the best I know how to. And pray for my dad, if you can.

19 May 2014

The Peace of Wild Things

Just got back from Assateague. It was, as always, lovely.Even when the weather is raging, it's beautiful. It was misty when I got there on Wednesday evening, but off in the distance, there was a pony in the marsh, grazing, and it was a soft welcome. When I left yesterday morning, teary-eyed because I hate to go, hate the drive home, desire--again--to move down there, there were large flashes of white, too large to be egrets, but rather, ponies.

I first read it a year or so ago, and it very much explains my love for this place. I thought some of you might enjoy it. And I urge you, this summer, if you need it, find your own place to experience this peace.

 The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
 I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
  who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of still water.
 And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
— Wendell Berry

12 May 2014

Mother's Day finish and a new start.

Belated Happy Mother's Day to those who celebrate. We had a low-key one here. Left-brain was leaving to go camping for the week, and we had to get the house cleaned up, so it has been all about that and not so much about a party. Someone Small made me a tote bag at school--little tulips made from her handprints--which I will use to take small stitching projects to stitching group. Unless I put it away as a treasure. It's adorable. We spent the morning, reading and snuggling--perfect morning, right?

I did finish this yesterday.

I'm glad it's done. I did love working on it, but I'm glad it's done.

Because I started this:

Miss Kitty's Dragons
Just Nan
32 count JBW linen with
DMC floss.

I've had this chart since the early days of my stitching. I think I've mentioned a couple times that I didn't really know that there was a source of cross stitch supplies other than Michaels until, oh, 2001. I forget how I got on the hunt--either I looked it up in the phonebook, or searched it out at work--remember, that was right after the bust and the Internet was that shifty friend who let you down, but you placed on "probation" til you got over being upset.  And for that, I got my credit card hacked, so it was a reference tool only (again, a far cry from 1998, when, as a senior in college, we didn't even know how to cite a webpage, let alone rely on it to write a paper on which our final grade depended--we just goofed off online and sent emails.) Anyway, at that time, we here in MD always did have a good supply of stores (at least at that time), and I found a cross stitch store in Savage Mill, near Laurel. I went over there. It wasn't a great store, at least from what I remember, but they had nice fibers, and I did find this chart. I've had it kicking around my stash for all this time, and I finally decided, since this is the year of stitching what I love, I'm going to do it. The shop closed probably around 2003 or so . . . kind of a bummer, since we went from having 5 or 6 shops in Maryland to 2 (3 if you count Salty Yarns).

This is not easy. I've already had to frog it a couple times. But I put on Silver Linings Playbook last night, and got this much done (and a good thing because that movie is due back to the library today). I'm doing it in DMC--I can't afford Splendour, and this may take a while.

I'll keep posting updates.

07 May 2014

WIP updates and mail

I'm starting to get very close to the finish on Starlight Sampler. I worked on it this weekend, and got a lot done, but I needed a break, so I picked up Cinnamon Bear, Pam Kellogg's 2001 Ornament for JCS. I think I started it last fall, but not totally sure.  This is my progress so far:

The bear and kitten are pretty straight-forward, with rich shading. The blanket . . . is another story. It's about 5 shades of red/coral, and at least 3 shades of white. I'm plugging away at it, though. This is one of my favorite JCS ornaments, not sure why I have never stitched it, but I love it.

My progress on Starlight Sampler:

Almost done. The oak treas are harder to stitch than the pine trees on the other side of the cabin, and I don't like how close the leaf colors are, but this is a beautiful design. I hear people talk about prim designs and samplers with disdain (Left-brain among them), but I enjoy designs like this--easy to source materials, not overly-complex, proof that you don't have spend a lot of money to get a nice effect, and it's a nice vacation for me from the more complicated stuff.

This came in the mail on Monday. I have been "subscribing" to these calendars for a few years, but they usually disappoint me. But this year's, while not the greatest one ever, was pretty good.

And they've changed the way they do itYou have the calendar itself, which is OK, but they took the charts out of the calendar and put them as a booklet, maybe the size of a British magazine. What an amazing idea! Why didn't they do this sooner? Much easier to store and carry, and it doesn't muck up the pages of the calendar!
And the designs are OK this year. I like all the designs on this page, except the one on the bottom left, and there are more that I like that I am choosing not to photograph--I don't want to mess with copyright. The Christmas book looks good this year, as well, so we'll see if I get any of these projects done.
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