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Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year! (Almost...)

Well, it's New Year's Eve. Good-bye 2007, hello 2008.

I can't say I will miss you '07. It's been a hell of a ride, one of the strangest, interesting and frustrating years of my life. For a lot of '07, I felt that I treaded water. At least I wasn't drowning but there were times when I thought I was going down for the 3rd time. There was a lot of good in '07 too, the Cadet found a sweetheart, I am still gainfully employed and I still love my job despite it's trials and hard knocks. I love my house (even in the state that it's in), I LOVE my husband and son and my critters. I have my health and even though we aren't rolling in the dough, we have enough, and that's plenty.

I also want to thank all of you who've put up with my whining, crying, gurgling and insufferable attempts at being funny when I write here. I don't always hit the mark.

Mainly, I just want to thank you for hanging in there with me. Thanks for visiting and commenting. Thanks for the connection made by needle and thread. Stitchers and crafters have great hearts, unbounded generosity and kindness. I am so blessed by each and every one of you. In '07, this blog has saved my sanity more than once and I want you to know that I treasure each and every one of you, dear friends.

So as we shut the door on '07 and open up wide to the possibilities and opportunities of 2008, my deepest desire for each of us is to be abundantly blessed, surrounded by family and friends, to never be without the passions (be it books, needlework, paint, horses, dogs, kitties...) that make us feel alive and to always remember that we are loved. May God Bless each and every one of you and may He give you the desires of your heart.

Happy 2008!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Wip Loss Challenge and Ebay

Hello again!
I've gone through my WIPs and these are the one's that I want to complete in 2008. This isn't the complete list either, just the one's I really want to work on and complete in this lifetime. Most are big and there's only 2 or 3 that are small. Most of them are 25-50% completed. I love them all, they just got sidelined because I gave into the temptation of starting yet any other sampler. Did I tell you I have no willpower? LOL!!!

Here's the list:

M. Pollard - Scarlet Letter
A Quaker sampler that got stuffed in the WIP pile because I just get bored stitching in black.

Their Song - Blackbird Designs
Frustrated with it cause I made an error and I had to find it which resulted in ripping out a lot of stitching. But I'm over it. Promise.

March Hare - Blackbird Designs
I began this over one on 32 ct Lambswool evenweave. I didn't have all the colors so I started substituting them with DMC and GAST. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a list of the substitutions and I (silly me) re-filed all my threads. May be the kiss of death for this cute design unless I can figure out what I was stitching with when I started it.

Peace - BOAF
This is a quirky house sampler and I have to be in the mood to work on it because the colors are very different than what I am used to stitching with and the fabric is a dirty grey color. I like it though but I just need to be in the mood.

Time and Seasons - Moira Blackburn
This sampler has risen up to the top of the WIP pile this Christmas. I've stitched a lot on it (although it doesn't look like I have). I think that I stopped stitching on it cause I am not sure about the silks. They are Vicky Clayton and I can't decide if I like them or not. The colors are great, I just don't like the feel of the silk.

Pins and Needles - Mary Garry's Sewing Cabin
This little pinkeep is from an issue of JCS that I paid an exorbitant amount of money for on EBay. (I was insane at the time.) I like it a lot and when I finish it I plan on making it into a mattress style pin cushion. Wish me luck, I have a finishing phobia.

Maria Short - Moira Blackburn
I started this sampler because I needed to fill a void when I completed my beloved John Foster. I saw the sampler on Cross Stitch Samplers and Such blog and it really was love at first sight. The sampler took my breath away. So I ordered it immediately from Criss Cross Row, promptly started it and then got bored. Am I fickle or what?!!

Autumn Leaves - The Prairie Schooler
I started this cute sampler over one on 32ct Lambswool evenweave with Patti from Stitching In Lobster Land and Cathy from It Will Be Funny Tomorrow. I think Cathy finished hers and I bet Patti did too. Mine is 50% done and I seem to pick it up to work on in late August. I love the sampler and I will finish it. It seems to be a fall project.

Sarah Tatum - The Scarlet Letter
Another BIG Quaker sampler that I am stitching with Vicki Clayton silks. I am about 20% complete on this one. It got pushed aside because I really wanted to stitch it with AVAS but could not afford the silks at the time (and not today either!). I was dis-satified with it because the sampler wouldn't be true to the original colors. Finally, I told myself to GET OVER IT and yesterday, I stitched about an hour on it before putting it away. I am having trouble with the silks, they feel very slippery in my needle and I am constantly rethreading the needle cause the silk slips out of it frequently. It's frustrating!

True Virtue - JCS magazine
I fell in love with this sampler after seeing it on Sampler Lover's blog. I decided I wanted to stitch samplers with a house theme and this sampler just made my heart beat faster. I stitched the upper border then put it aside because it needs a bath. Chrissy the Wonderdog sneezed on it and she left a small spot (doggie booger, eww-www!) on it. Just need to get it in the Orvis and I'll be back in business.

Wow, there's not many small things on that list, is there?!!!!

So the next news is that I listed Mary Garry's Sewing Cabin's sampler, Remember Me, on Ebay this morning.


I need the money and even though I do not want to part with it or any of my samplers, I felt that I have to do it. (What are you waiting for, GO BID!!!!) We are up to our eyeballs in legal fees ($1600 worth) because of that weasel, Mr. Contractor, so some of my stash is got to go or I'm going to have to get a second job on the weekends to cover the costs of this fiasco. I'm testing the water on EBay with this sampler and if it sells, then other OOP goodies will be on the online auction site. I'll let you know.

Also, I am toying with listing some handmade goodies on ETSY. Do any of you have thoughts about it? I'd love to hear your thoughts....thanks!





Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I know the day is almost over but I wanted to wish everyone who reads my thoughts a very Merry Christmas! I hope your day was filled with good food, laughter, love, family and friends.

I am very blessed by all who stop by and I want to thank all of you who visit.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

WIP-Loss Challenge

I've updated this post...changes are in bold, blue italic text.

Well, I've learned that if you write your goals down, you are more likely to keep them. So, I've decided to reduce my WIPs in 2008, resist new starts and resist impulse purchases. I am embarassed to say that I have 35 projects in various stages of completion, from a few stitches to almost done. Most of them are 25-50% complete. They are from various designers and run the gamut from whimsical seasonal pieces to samplers, small pieces to BAP's like Sarah Tatum. And I still love all of them so they aren't UFO's. Also, this isn't the 5-10-50 Challenge, I found that entirely too restrictive for me. This challenge has some wiggle room. I am not going to list all 35 to finish, I am only listing those that I absolutely want to finish first (and that number is about 10 or so). The other 25 will be rotated in when I finish the 10 or so, I will start the the second string and so on. Ten is the number I'm going for before allowing myself to start a project not in the exceptions.

I'll post the list of projects later, they are on my work computer...(Sh-hhh-hh, don't tell.)

Jeanne from Just String is also reducing her Wips...

Here are my rules (which I pinched from Jeanne cause her's made sense to me):

  • Have fun!
  • The "to be finished" list can be changed over the course of the challenge, depending on which projects are calling to me over time.
  • The term finished means the completion of stitching. It does not mean the completed item must be framed or otherwise made into a useful item.
  • While selling, giving away, or trashing unwanted UFOs may reduce the total pile, they don't count toward the total finished.
  • Exceptions are allowed, if declared up-front. My exception is to stitch Christmas ornaments throughout the year, participate in a couple exchanges in the Fall and the only new start that I really want to stitch is Mary Garry's, Remember Me, sampler. These pieces don't count for starting or finishing.
  • Gift stitching for a special occasion doesn't count. I don't often stitch for others but you never know what may possess me to give away (and I may be starting a wedding sampler for the Cadet and the lovely Jenna next year).

So them's the rules. Keep me honest, kids. And may God and his angels help me come February when the new releases arrive....

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Time and Seasons Update

This past week, I've been working on Moira Blackburn's, Time and Seasons Sampler. I am stitching it on 32ct Light Exemplar using Vicki Clayton silks. I really like how it's coming along and to be honest, I don't know why I haven't worked on it since July of 2006! Can you believe that I haven't touched this sampler for almost 18 months! For shame....

This is a picture of what it looked like in July 2006:



This is the progress I've made on it while on vacation this week. I've only stitched on it in the evenings for 2-4 hours at a time. Tonight, though, I won't get to stitch on anything and I do have to finish up a gift so it may be a few days until I get back to Time & Seasons.



I forgot how much I enjoyed stitching on it and I believe that the reason that I put it aside (besides hearing the siren call of many, many new starts) was the border. Honestly, straight borders just drive me to tears. It's like watching paint dry. But, one of the perks of the sampler is that I am using a color conversion that allows me to be a little creative in where I stitch certain colors. The conversion has multiple colors for the equivalent DMC colors so I get to pick and choose where I want to use them. The challenge is to place the colors in such a way that the sampler doesn't look like a mish mash of randomly placed colors. There has to be some cohesiveness.
This sampler is the first of my stitching resolution for 2008. Finish up the WIPs. Resist new starts. Resist purchasing new patterns.
I do have to say, the last few days I've been channeling my inner Martha Stewart and I've so enjoyed my time off from work. It's been a great few days off and I've accomplished a lot in the last couple of days. I wrapped all the Christmas gifts, made 2 batches of cookies, kept up with the laundry, cleaned the bathrooms (really, really cleaned the bathrooms) decorated the Christmas tree and picked up most of the bedroom. Each day, I've made a list of things that I've wanted or needed to get done and I've stuck pretty close to it. So yay me!
Hope you like my T&S and I hope everyone's holiday preparations are right on target!!! Talk with you soon!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas trivia

I found this Christmas meme on a few blogs and I thought I'd play along. Realize that you may not be interested in Christmas trivia about me...but grin and bear it!!!

Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I usually wrap the things that can be wrapped and the odd sized items go into gift bags. For my friends, it's gift bags all the way...cause I'm lazy.

Real tree or artificial? We used to schlep out to the Christmas tree farm and hacksaw down a tree, drag it to the truck, get it home and pull it through the front door only to realize that the tree that looked reasonable in size in the field was actually 15 feet tall and was as wide as the living room. The height was ok since our living room has cathedral ceilings but the width...well...that's another story. Suffice it to say our Norman Rockwell experience seemed to end with a lot of muttering and angst. Now we have an artificial tree that looks real and goes up in a reasonable amount of time. And it's not gigantic. Except that I have enough ornaments to fill a 16 foot tall, 8 foot wide Christmas tree so the artificial one is stuffed with ornaments.

When do you put up the tree? Usually the 2nd weekend in December. Although we've been known not to put the tree up until AFTER Christmas.

When do you take the tree down? Right after Epiphany.

Do you like egg nog? Yes, it's like drinking pudding and I love that texture. Especially if it's ice cold. And no, I do not care about the calories.

Favorite gift received as a child? I loved paint by number art sets (especially of horses). I remember getting an artist grade watercolor set that I coveted for many years and in high school I received an oil painting set in one of those cool wooden boxes. If you gave me anything art related, I was in heaven. If I got anything horse related, I thought I DIED and went to heaven.

Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. Actually, I have 2. One from Avon and one that my SIL made in ceramics. I love both of them.

Hardest person to buy for? My husband cause he tells me what he wants after Christmas. Fortunately, his birthday is 4 days later so he gets good b'day gifts.

Easiest person to buy for? The Cadet cause he gives me long lists of *wants and needs*.

Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? I mail them. I know that I am contributing to the earth's ecological nightmare and postage is expensive but I think of cards as little presents especially to the folks I don't get to see that often.

Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Gorilla slippers. And a down level version of an electronic gadget that I wanted. I didn't get these gifts on the same Christmas.

Favorite Christmas movie? "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is my all time favorite.

When do you start shopping for Christmas? Usually after Thanksgiving, though I've given it some thought before then. I just wait for the sales.

Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? No, that would be rude.

Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Christmas cookies.

Clear lights or colored on the tree? The Cadet decreed colored lights so that's what we string on the tree.

Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night (and no matter how hard I try not to, I cry when we sing it on Christmas Eve during the candlelight service.)

Travel at Christmas or stay home? We always stay home. We don't find driving in the snow on I-86W any fun whatsoever.

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yep! Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen. And Rudolph.

Angel on the tree top or a star? Actually we have a gold star thingie that's lighted. Another of the Cadet's mandates.

Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We always let the Cadet open one present on Christmas Eve, usually something small or funny. The rest are opened on Christmas morning.

Most annoying thing about this time of year? The commercials on TV. The feeling that you have to buy, buy, buy to have a Merry Christmas.

Favorite ornament theme or color? I have 2 favorite ornaments, a smiling Christmas tree from Hallmark and an ornament made with Mike's handprint from Nursery School. The Christmas tree always brings a smile to my face.

Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Turkey with all the yummy accompaniments.

What do you want for Christmas this year? A Canon Digital SLR camera.(But I got a Magellan GPS for the Explorer. I know this cause I peeked.)

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Free, free, I've been set free!

Free for a glorious 2 weeks! What ever will I do with my time? LOL!!! Just about everything that I've put off since my last vacation! I have a list...cookies, laundry, mopping, cleaning out closets and of course, stitching!!!! STITCHING!!!!! Go figure, guilt free stitching!

Last night, I worked on Moira Blackburn's, Time and Seasons. I don't know why I set the project aside as it's coming along beautifully. I am only a little bit started, I have most of the upper alphabet stitched and a little of the left side border. I am using Vicki Clayton silks in a very muted antique colorway. If I can get the camera to cooperate and if the grey lightens up outside, maybe I'll treat you to a picture. I hope so anyway.

Today, I plan on finishing up laundry and cleaning the bathrooms,walk on my treadmill and straighten up. Finish my christmas cards and get an errand list together for tomorrow when I go out. I need to finish up some shopping and I am going to a department Christmas/good-bye luncheon. The Quality manager is leaving to go to a bigger opportunity and the department is getting together. I will miss Rich. He's not only a good manager but he's been a mentor and a great friend to me. I really am sad to see him leave. Sigh...

Well, the DH has decided to stay home and work from home today. Puts a small crimp in my over all plans but it will be nice to have the company. I have to get busy now...so I hope everyone is having a great day!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas ornament exchange

I wanted all of you to see the teriffic Santa ornament that Carla (from Peru!) made me for the SBEBB Christmas Ornament exchange.


I love it so much! It will have a place of honor on my tree this year (when I get it put up...yes, we are a bit behind at Chez Bah Humbug....anyway, she sent me chocolates, some fabulous Christmas ribbons, a cute snowman pattern and a giant snowman paperclip. Of course, I pilfered this picture because my camera is fritzing out...it's slowly dying. (Hello, Santa? I would love a Canon Digital...Santa?)

Here at Chez Bah Humbug, we are counting down the days until vacation (only 2 full working days to go) and I will be taking 2 glorious weeks off. I am hoping for a lot of stitching time. I want to work on The Stitcher's Wallet (I'd love to finish it before 2008 but I doubt that will happen cause I have too much left to stitch), True Virtue or Maria Short. I did plan on beginning Mary Garry's, Remember Me but now I am not so sure I'll begin anything new. I have way too many needles in fabric right now. And it can't be all fun and light over my vacation, I have to clean out a closet or 2 and re-organize my craft room cause I dismantled it during Thanksgiving when I started organizing it! I need to make a run to Staples and get some magazine holder thingies. I also have to finish painting a cookie plate for the Cadet to give to the lovely Jenna's Mom.

I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish stitching-wise next year. I think I am going to concentrate on finishing up a few of the things languishing around in various plastic bags. I've also pulled a bunch of patterns and put them in a special binder so that when I want to start something new, I'll have them in one place. And I am going to re-start My Home Town. And I also promised myself that I would stitch at least 6 ornaments next year cause I need some almost instant gratification. This year, I felt like I didn't finish anything so ornaments will give me that Happy Dance which I'll need while I plug along on all those big projects that I started in a fit of delusion. I really enjoyed the ornament that I stitched this year for the SBEBB ornament exchange and I sorta was sad to put it in the mail cause I wanted to keep it so bad!!! I stitched a Lizzie*Kate ornament from one of the Tiny Tidings series called Just Add Snow. It came out adorable! It was an easy stitch but it took awhile cause Lizzie*Kate's look deceptively quick.

And most of all, one thing for sure, I am working from stash next year. I am going on an austerity cross stitch budget. I'm counting on all of you to keep reminding me that I said I would stitch from my stash especially around February when all the new charts are released. Right now, I am lusting after the latest Needleprint Quaker, Mary Peacock. And The Essemplaire has posted the Quaker sister piece, Lydia Trump, to Ann Trump. I'd love to have it but I can't justify another $100 kit especially when I have Maria Spence (another beautiful Quaker sampler), My Home Town and Houses of Hawk Run Hollow kitted up in silk.

I haven't picked up a needle for at least 2 weeks. The David had a big team project / presentation for school (did I tell you he's going for a Masters of Arts in Teaching?) that I got elected to put together. It's hard to layout a presentation board when working with engineers and computer geeks. The David trusts me implicitely for my arty-farty design skills (my BFA in design and a $1.50 will buy you a cup o' joe) but convincing the other players was a hard sell that didn't work so well. Communication was lacking and they were not impressed with my design or my design skills. In fact, one of the engineering geeks commented the he took a poster design class. I think it was his way of telling me that I didn't know anything about laying out a presentation board. So, the David politely told all of them they could do whatever they wanted with their sections of the board and guess what! It looks like something computer and engineering geeks put together except for the David's section which looks like someone with an arty-farty design backround put together. I am glad that's over because it took every evening for two weeks and the entire day on Sunday. I was tired of the board, tired of gluing things down and tired of knowing that no matter what I did, the computer/engineering geeks minus my DH would hate it.

We got a hugh snow storm today, we got about 10 inches. It snowed all day. The roads were yucky and I thanked God for my 4 wheel drive, gas guzzling SUV. I wasn't scared driving today until I had to go down the very last, steep hill before I went up the hill to the house. When I got home, David was unhappy, cranky and really crabby cause his tractor died. Which is really bad because a) the driveway is 35o feet long from the barn to the road and b) we are staring down an N'orEaster this weekend that has the potential of dumping a foot or two of snow over Saturday or Sunday. And then we will get wind (I know we will) and the snow will drift which will force us to park the car and the truck at the end of the driveway which forces us to walk through the drifts and that just makes us more cranky and hating Winter. Geez...is it SPRING yet???? Anyone see any crocus? LOL!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tic-tock, Tic-tock, Where DOES the time go?

Wow, it's been a couple of weeks since I last made an entry! Did ya miss me? LOL!!!

Well, I HAVE been stitching, it's just I can't show you anything just yet. Sh-hh-hhhh, it's SECRET stitching...you know, Santa stuff. I will tell you that they are the cutest little things and I created a wicked cool way to finish one thing by combining my love of stitching and painting. Once they get to where they are going, then I'll post pictures (that's IF the camera will cooperate).

So what's going on in my life, you ask? The usual crazy stuff.

Thanksgiving was great, just the David and the Cadet were at the table. We did nothing but eat and share each other's company. I stitched a little, started on the JCS sampler, True Virtue, and worked a bit on my Frosty Friend's exchange. The Cadet's best buddy, Charlie, came by on Friday, it was great to see him and he is doing so well studying opera at Catholic University.

Work is sorta busy but will be slowing down (and I only have 12 days left to work!).

The house stuff...well, Mr. Contractor has left the building, packed up his tent and has vanished. His storefront is empty and I know that his house is in foreclosure. Our guess is that he skipped town or better yet, the country because he has family in Hungary. So, it's basically over and we are left with the fuzzy end of the lollipop. Will someone tell me how it is possible that someone can steal over 60K and there is nothing that can be done? I know that if I walked out of WalMart with candy bar and got caught, I would go to jail...so tell me...how does this work?!!

The Cadet and the lovely Jenna have hit a rough patch too...just suffice it to say that I think it's the distance thing and the Air Force thing and the end of the semester stress. The Cadet thinks that ALL women are a bit touched in the head...no, darlin', some of us just play head games! Welcome to love.... Hopefully, all will work out but there are things that will have to be resolved before any permanent relationship evolves. He's willing to give it a go, we will have to wait and see if she's willing to go the distance too.

Anyway, I've been reading everyone's blog and keeping up with you all. I wish you all a great week and a lot of stitching time in between all the holiday preparations. So, I'll talk with you again soon!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Cadet and the Lovely Jenna are here

The Cadet and Jenna are here. They got here on Friday night and it feels like such a holiday. We have done nothing but eat and shop the last couple of days. But it's been great. I don't realize how much I miss the Cadet until he walks in the back door. I am so happy to see him!
Yesterday, we went to the Kitty Store (aka the Animal Care Council). Mike and Jenna wanted to get a cat. Mike's landlady adores cats so she is ok with Mike bringing home a little kitty. We spent about 2 hours getting to know about 100 cats. Jenna picked out the cutest little calico kitty and she came home with us. Her name at the shelter was Freddie but they renamed her Ella. I hope to get a few pictures of her soon. So, we got her home and it took an evening for everyone to acclimate themselves to a new friend and for Ella to acclimate to new digs. Now she's off exploring and getting into all sorts of trouble! Mike and Jenna went kitty shopping at PetSmart, they bought her a kitty cave, good food, cute water and food dishes, a brush, nail clippers and a few kitty toys. She's going to be spoiled. Ella is going to live here over Thanksgiving and will go back to Rochester with Mike next Saturday. I think she's going to be spending the holidays with us.
I haven't been stitching alot this week either because the kids were coming home. I've become Martha Stewart over the weekend, I baked an apple pie and tonight, I am making Mike's favorite meal, lasanga. And of course, I've done a lot of laundry. I've been thinking about what I want to stitch next year. I'd like to finish up some of my Wips and maybe start a redwork piece. And a sampler with a lot of alphabets. And My Home Town. I've also decided that I am not a rotational stitcher, in my heart of hearts, I am a one at a timer...and I work on one thing until I am sick of it. So I think that I will be working off my wip pile and slip a new piece in here or there. I'd like to do another house piece too, maybe The Virtue sampler (pinched the pix off of Sandra's blog, hope you don't mind!).



Anyway, I am in a pensive mood...I've got to go, the kids want to go to the Mall....talk with you all later!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

What's flashing red and carries eleventy dozen guys?

A fire truck! En route to MY house!

Yes, dear readers...we had a fire. Fortunately, it was contained to the chimney and due to a very calm headed DH, we escaped with just a lot of smoke and no significant damage.

On Thursday night, the David and I were snuggled on the sofa, I was reading the Thanksgiving issue of Martha Stewart (wishing MY Thanksgivings were as elegant) and the David was watching Glen Beck on CNN from behind his eyelids. We had a toasty, merrily burning fire in the fireplace insert. The Wonder dog was at my feet and Ms. Nasty Cat had assumed her position on the sleeping David's lap. Ah-h-h-hh...domestic bliss and harmony. UNTIL....

There was a whoosing sound. A large rumble that increased in volume that sounded like it was coming from behind the wall....I poked at the David and told him that I thought we had a chimney fire. He jerked awake and said...Nah....the cargo planes are doing night maneuvers at the airport (earlier they were rumbling over the house).....and he shut his eyes again. Me, ever suspicious and now getting somewhat nervous, poked him again and said, I THINK we have a chimney fire.....and the David, opening one eye said, Really? I think it's just the furnace coming on (cause it rumbles when it wakes up).

And I watch him scrunch down a little lower in the corner of the sofa.

The third time, I poked him again and said GO CHECK. Ms. Nasty Cat was pretty annoyed when he pushed her off his lap and got up to get a flashlight to go out side and PROVE to me that we didn't have a roaring plume of fire spewing out of the chimney like an after burner on a jet engine.

Which, of course...we did.

And then things got pretty exciting.

Call 9-1-1!!! Get the hose, turn on the water, get the wonderdog and Ms. Nasty Cat out of the house. Where's the car keys, shoes, jacket, purse....oh no! If the house burns there goes the photos, family memorabilia, my stash, my framed samplers, our CD collection...where's the damn cat! Where's the DAMN cat!!!

Meanwhile, the house is filling up with smoke.

I shove the wonderdog out the front door. I can't find my shoes, I can't find my car keys, can't find the damn cat...my brain is telling me to get out, the fire in the fire box is boiling and rolling as the oxygen is sucked up the chimney fueling the fire. The sound is like a freight train. I am waiting for the chimney to explode, the walls to ignite, the sound is louder...

Outside, the David is on a 6 foot ladder trying valiantly to put out the fire with the garden hose. Me, once outside, I am transfixed, watching this 5 foot column of flame shoot out of the chimney. The DH is yelling at me to turn the on the water...the hose is kinked. I trip and fall cause I step in the one hole in the entire yard because it's pitch black outside. I am in my socks. This isn't working...he runs to the barn to get a bigger ladder. I stand at the foot of the chimney watching the column of flame, helpless, but mesmerized by this surreal event. I feel disconnected and think to myself...this isn't happening. I am not standing outside in my socks, watching fire shoot out of my chimney.

I hear sirens....

Thank God for the Castle Creek volunteer fire squad. They came with a hook and ladder, an emergency rescue truck, a water tanker, the sherriff, an emergency crew and eleventy dozen firemen.

In 5 minutes the fire was out. They tossed fire retardant down the chimney.

The crew spent 3 hours here making sure that the fire was out. They pulled the insert from the fireplace, brought in hugh fans to clear out the smoke, made sure that none of us were hurt. Calmed me down. Made sure that the roof wasn't damaged and there wasn't anything smoldering in the attic. Took the temperature of the chimney. Calmed me down some more. Filled out paperwork. Calmed me down some more.

No real harm done. We were fortunate. Fortunate that this didn't happen at 3AM when we are sleeping like the dead. Fortunate that both of us were home. Fortunate that the DH was calm. Fortunate that the night was calm and there was no wind....fortunate, fortunate, fortunate.

The ironic thing about this entire experience is that we have a chimney sweep scheduled for next Wednesday, the earliest appointment we could get.

So, we are fine...the house is fine. Ms. Nasty Cat didn't turn into Ms. Crispy Critter. All that's left to do is clean the fine layer of soot and fire retardant out of the firebox and off the furniture, get the fire inspector to come out and check the chimney for cracks in the flue.

And thank God for His protection and for the Castle Creek volunteer fire and emergency crew.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Calling all Moms and everyone who has a Mom

Listen to this it's too funny and oh, so true!!!!

> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anSpBUxsgAU

It's true, you can't go home again - October musings

I went to my brother's last weekend. I had a lovely visit with him and his family. My SIL, Barb, and I are like sisters and we have such a great time together. On Friday evening, we went to Barnes and Nobles where I met Barb's good friend, Kim. A lovely lady. We spent the evening sipping Starbucks and shooting the breeze. I bought Patricia Cornwall's new novel, The Book of the Dead. Scarey stuff.

On Saturday, we went to the Covered Bridge Needlearts in Bridgewater. What a lovely store!!!! Shelley is such a hoot!!! She has goodies and coffee waiting for her customers and since it was the weekend before Halloween, she made up treat bags for her customers. Great customer service! She made us feel so welcome and I really wish her store was in my neighborhood. I'd become a fixture there.

Barb and I must have spent 4 hours visiting and oohing and aweing over all the lovely models hanging all over the shop, pawing through racks and bins of patterns. Shelly has such an extensive inventory or needlework and she has decorative items, punchneedle, rughooking and all the stitching accoutrements to make any needleperson feel like they've gone to stitching heaven. What a treasure trove. If you get to Western PA, run to her shop. You will not be disappointed.

I thought I was going to be good but true to form, I overspent. But I only bought a couple of patterns, The Sewing Circles, Soldier Boy and Little House Needleworks, Blossoms and Blackbirds. I mainly spent my $$ on thread (GAST, Weeks, Caron Waterlillies and a skein of Belle Soie silk just to give it a try) and, are you ready, punchneedle supplies. I bought this little halloween kit, a CTR punchneedle and since I didn't have any appropriate thread, the WDW for the pattern. I love how punchneedle looks and after having an impromptu lesson from Shelley I decided to give punchneedle a whirl. Then Barb and I went to Panera bread for lunch and to the Mall just to browse.
Then we went back to my brother's to watch movies and mess with the punchneedle. Unfortunately, the hoop that I brought with me was not a locking type so we basically watched movies and I started my book.

On Sunday, we went to Joann fabrics for hoops. We also went to Wallyworld for groceries, then home again. Off to try punchneedle again...hmm...not as easy as it looks or explained. As much as I tried and tried, I could not get it to work for me. Frustration reigned!! So it went into my bag and maybe when I am less irritated by it, I'll give it a go again. Barb had difficulties too. She's going to stop by one day after work to have Shelly show her the correct way to punch. I'll probably stop down to Stitchery Row for a quick lesson after work too.

Well, the last thing I did was go back to my old home. I took a walk past it. Fortunately, the only neighbor that would have recognized me wasn't out and about so if I ran into anyone they probably wouldn't have recognized me and if they did they probably wouldn't have remembered my name. As it was, I felt like a stranger, a stranger on the street that I grew up playing hopscotch, riding bikes and pretending that I was a cowgirl with my horse. What a weird feeling to know that I spent 22 years living on that street but now was an intruder. I felt like a stalker but I really wanted to see what the new owners have done to the place. The new owners put in a flowerbed around the front porch and side of the house and put up a privacy fence around the back yard. I was really sad to see the house and my heart ached knowing that I couldn't go in. You would not believe how badly I wanted to do just that. I wanted to sit on the front porch steps. It took all I could not to go around the back of the house and go in the kitchen and call for my Dad. I thought that I was past the entire thing but I guess I really wasn't...but now, I think that I've put it past me and I could go home again and not even go down the street past the house. Closure.

As far as stitching goes, usually when I am at my brothers, I can get a lot done. Not this time. My eyes aren't as good as they used to be and the lighting in the evening wasn't terrific. During the day, we were not home alot to even break out the needle and thread. So really, I didn't stitch at all even though I brought most of my Wips with me. Hey, you never know what's going to strike your fancy right?

On Monday, I traveled and Tuesday, it was back to work...and back to my life here in good ol' Bingo...it was good to be home again. I missed the DH a lot and even the cat must have missed me cause she stuck to me like velcro.

So stitching wise, I've mostly picked up what's screamed at me the loudest. I worked a little on Blackbird Designs, Merry Hallo'een. I started it last year and I am now finished with the border. It's an easy stitch but it won't get worked on again for awhile because I want/need to work on Christmas-y things. I also worked a little on Maria Short. I've stitched the upper left quadrant of the sampler. It's very pretty. Also, I've stitched a little on Hallowed Gameboard, Prairie Schooler's Autum Winds (past the center motif now!) and I was fortunate enough to pick up an old JCS magazine with Mary Garry's, Spring Sampler and Pins & Needles, so I've worked the border and the words on Pins and Needles. And this weekend, I picked up my Stitcher's Wallet for the first time since September when Patti and I worked on it. I am 3/4 the way through the second panel. Like Sue, I don't like the verse on the third panel and I am searching for something to replace it. I will be skipping that panel and moving on to the 4th panel and to the sampler which I am SO looking forward to stitching!

I am no where near a finish on anything. So it's not worth pictures.

Looking back on the year, once again, my starts far outweighed my finishes. Who cares?!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Photos

For a change, I am going to post some photos of my darling, John Foster, and the Halloween Sweetbag Exchange I participated in on the Legacy Embroiderer's forum.



Below is John Foster, my dearest, John, framed in a lovely burled frame. Doesn't he look fabulous? I love this sampler so much and I am so pleased that he is finally framed.







This is a photo of my Halloween display in the sun room. Blackbird Designs, Light Your Way, is displayed on the right but it took a lot of glare from the window and you can't really make it out. I love the ceramic pumpkin.





And last is my Sweetbag made by Connie. I ADORE it!!!! She stitched Lizzie Kate's, BOO, and filled the sweetbag with candy, halloween straws and halloween pencils.


So, all in all, not a bad post...don't you agree?


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Checking in after checking out for awhile

Sorry that I checked out for awhile. Work, home, life in general has been so demanding lately that I got that Calgon moment feeling...you know, the one where you beg to be taken away! So, when I get that *gotta get away* feeling, I usually heed it. Otherwise, I end up getting depressed and then I am not good to anyone.
Actually, this time, I didn’t heed the early warning signs and I realized a bit too late that I should have regrouped because I got that *don’t care* anymore attitude. A sure sign of burnout.. Fortunately, I caught it before I got into that *Life Slump* mode, the one where you check out emotionally, physically and mentally. I’ve been there and I don’t like the scenery, so I avoid getting to that spot at all costs. Fortunately, I didn’t travel there because the road back is long and rocky.

Work was and continues to be grueling. I am not complaing, no, it’s good to be busy. We had a hugh Customer audit last week, one where we prepared for 6 weeks in advance. We did well. I spent an inordinate amount of time at work preparing engineers, line operators, management and all that work culminated into 12 hour days last week during the audit. Tired, you bet!

Next week, we are working an internal audit. Long days again but without that pressure of jobs on the line.

On the home front, we have reached an accord with Mr. Contractor. We went to court and Mr. Contractor has 60 days to right his wrong with us. Needless to say, to save his sorry a$$, he came up with a proposal that we going to go with because a) financially we can not start this job from scratch a second time and b) we need closure.

He has us by the short hairs and he knows it. If we declined his proposal, he would just go bankrupt and we would lose our 50K and be stuck with a house that’s in a state of dishevelment with NO money to fix it. I need to get my house in order and get this depressing sight off my back. I sigh each time I come into our driveway and view the mess that I call home. So today, I get to repurchase windows that I already paid for once but hey, what’s another 20K in the grand scheme of things? Only my peace of mind and my retirement.

Are we uncomfortable with this arrangement, well yes, yes we are uncomfortable but we really do not have a choice. My only consolation is that we have NY State Supreme Court teeth behind us. I do not trust this man nor do I believe what he tells us. We've caught him in about a half dozen lies already trying to keep his head above water. And me, I kick myself each time I think I think of how I protected him for almost a year and put a strain on my marriage, my sanity and my health.

Regarding my needle and thread, I have completed all my exchanges now and I am free to stitch for myself for a little while. I had grandious plans for the holidays but like most of my plans they look great in my mind’s eye but not so good in the execution phase. There’s not enough time to stitch gifts unless I stick to small ornie type gifts of which I may do one or 3.

I spent yesterday (I took a mental health day) stitching on Maria Short. Not a lot of progress for 5 hours of stitching. I am s-l-o-o-o-w. On Saturday, I worked on a Halloween scissor fob. Not hard stitching, just a lot of color changes. It’s the finishing that I fiddled with for at least 4 hours. I am so finishing challenged! Or I’ve set my expectations so high that I can’t possibly meet them. Of course, I didn’t get half the stitching I intended to get done with my 3 day weekend but it sure felt good stitching.

In between exchange stitching, I started working on Primitive Needle's, Hallow Game Board. Unfortunately, the piece is possessed. I can not count on that piece for anything and I must have ripped out the border and the stars at least 3 times. I am stitching it on Lakeside's Autumn Gold linen and it feels scratchy. When stitching on it, the floss feel like it’s catching on the fabric and the threads are abrading even though I am using a short length. Frustrated, yes, but I love the piece and I want it on the wall next Halloween. So I will persevere.

Oh, and guess what else!!! I picked up my beloved, John Foster, from the framer. Boy oh boy, John is one handsome sampler, framed in burled wood. He is very GQ and he knows it, strutting his gorgeous self. Once again, the framer was unimpressed by his bright house and garden motifs but what does it matter, it is me who he must impress and he has my heart. Love ya, John Foster!!!

Once again, thanks for hanging in there with me. I am abundantly blessed in so many ways and I recognize the challenges that I face are just speed bumps. They get me down but are put into perspective when I step back and look at all the great things in my life.

Thanks for visiting and I promise pictures of some goodies and stitching progress.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Quaker Alphabet Exchange pictures

Well, as I promised, this is the Quaker Alphabet exchange that I made for Amy (Amy Stitches). I pinched the photos from her blog... I hope she doesn't mind cause the camera is fritzing.

I used the Simple Harvest Alphabet from Blackbird Designs, Needle & Thread. I stitched this side over one thread on 32 ct. Lugana with Vicki Clayton's Garnet silk.



On this side, I stitched an Ackworth Urn pattern from Ackworth Pattern Book by Jacqueline Holdsworth over 2 threads with one strand of silk.

The tassles are made with the silk too. I hate to make tassles, or should I say, I hate ATTACHING the tassles to the piece because they just look messy. If anyone has tips on stitching the tassles on invisibly and close to the little pillow, please let me know.

I love stitching for exchanges but I really obsess over the finishing. I have a finishing phobia because I see all the beautiful pieces you make and I don't feel my skills are on par.

Silly, I know.

Amy likes the little pillow, she sent me the nicest note too! So, that's fab! ENJOY!

Cari also made me the bestest scissor fob for this exchange. The fob is stitched over one on the teeniest count of fabric with the coolest overdyed thread in a luscious Autumn color. I put it under my magnifier and I thought to myself, I wouldn't be able to stitch this over 2 on this fabric, let alone full cross stitches over one. I LOVE IT and I've been using it with the prettiest autumn colored Gingher scissors that she included. Plus, she sent me a book thong with a little horse charm....too cool! It's holding my place in my bible.

I apologize to her because I have not posted a picture of it. Partially because I haven't had a chance to breath, I am working so many hours recently because of a big Customer audit in a few weeks and by the time I get home, there is no light to take decent pictures. And the point and shoot digital camera has decided to fritz out when it feels like it, intermittently.

And news! I sent my love, John Foster, to the framers...woo! I can't wait to get him home! I know I shouldn't have indulged but he is so lovely (swoon) that he doesn't deserve to be tucked in a drawer until we have a blue moon, the cow's come home or hell freezes over, in that order. (Is anyone else out there so in love with a design that it makes your heart just sing? Or am I the only weirdo stitcher on the planet....)

The Cadet just came home too, so we are off to dinner at Uno's.

Thanks for hanging in there with me and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Wow, it's been a while!

Quick post...Have you seen this from PlumStreet Samplers? Wicked cool! For those with a morbid sense of humor...I love it!




I have lots of photos and and exchange picture too! So once I get dinner done, I'll edit this post and add some pictures!
Stay tuned!




















Monday, September 10, 2007

My most excellent visit from Patti

What a wonderful weekend!

Patti from Stitching in Lobster Land was my weekend guest as she made her way to Pittsburgh and Ohio. We had a blast! She arrived on Friday afternoon and I can’t describe how happy I was to see her. I last saw her almost a year ago, at CATS in Hershey. I felt so comfortable with her when I first met her and yes, that feeling remained when I saw her on Friday. It was like time and distance really didn’t matter, we picked up right where we left off. So, first of all, we gabbed and gabbed, just to catch up. Patti brought me a most wonderful hand blown glass ball to hang in my window. It’s cobalt blue and green. TOO pretty. Then we went outside to see the ponies. And then we had show and tell. Patti brought a few Heart In Hand patterns, her stitcher’s wallet (which is gorgeous) and an exchange piece that’s too cute for words. And I shared my first string stitching and some of the second stringers. We had an Upstate NY dinner, spiedies, corn on the cob and salt potatoes. I had black & white cookies for desert but we passed cause we were stuffed! Then we got down to business...it was Friday, so we both worked on our Stitcher’s Wallets. Patti is almost through the second page but I am still plugging away on the first page. But seeing what’s to come has spurred me on to be more dedicated to work on it cause it’s truly a beautiful piece. On Saturday, we got up and made the drive to Stitchery Row, my very local LNS. Along the way, we sightseed a bit, we went to the ATM and drove past where I work which is down the block from Stitchery Row (how convenient for me...and how inconvenient for my checkbook!). Kimberly (the shop owner) was so gracious to us, we pawed through the patterns and fondled the fibers & fabric. Patti bought some Lugana to stitch Prairie Schooler’s, Seasonal Sampler patterns (Spring has Come, Summer Breeze, Autumn Winds and Winter Wind) over one after she saw my Autumn Wind WIP. What a bad influence I am! But she was really good with her purchases, me, not so much! I bought a piece of 36 ct Flax linen to stitch a French redwork sampler, a piece of 28ct Cream Lugana to kit Brenda Keyes, Plymouth Sampler, 2 skeins of Gloriana silk in lucious fall shades and 3 skeins of Weeks. Also, I bought the Whitman tin pattern. A nice haul! And it was so nice to spend time looking through all these patterns with someone to share the excitement.
Then it was off to Owego for lunch.


We lunched at the Hand of Man, a very eclectic gift shop that also has a small restaurant in the back of the shop. We ate lunch on the veranda overlooking the Susquehanna River. SO relaxing!


We both commented that it was heavenly, not too hot and the breeze was just right. The veranda was lush with potted and hanging plants. The atmosphere is conducive to great conversation and relaxation. And the food is great too,. After lunch, we went browsing in the shop, talk about sensory overload. Patti definitely liked all the displays. The shop is jammed with goodies arranged in themes. It’s truly unique. Then we strolled down River Row and stopped in shops that piqued our fancy. A quick stop to Dunkin Donuts for Iced Tea and we were on our way home for dinner and an evening of stitching!
Patti & I both stitched on exchanges, so there are no pictures to share just yet. She made great progress but the frogs were visiting me so I wasn’t as productive.

Sunday morning came very quickly and Patti had to get on the road. David went to Best Bagels and came home with breakfast for us. And before I knew it, we were giving Patti directions from the house to the highway, hugging goodbye and promising to visit again soon. The weekend with her went by so fast. But it is one that I will remember for a long, long time!

I promise to post some pictures of my Quaker Alphabet exchange that Cari sent to me when I get home tonight She made me the most exquisite scissor fob from a Workbasket freebie in lovely Autumn yellows and oranges. She stitched it over one on a very high count fabric (it’s a wonder she didn’t go blind) and her stitches are so uniform an perfect. I am in awe! Along with the fob she sent me a pair of Gingher scissors. She must have known that I lost my pair of Ginghers when we took the Cadet back to Rochester last week. So, I am using the pair she gave me (and I promise they aren’t leaving the house) and when I use them, I think of her!
Thanks, Cari!!!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Cadet and his posse

Yesterday, we spent the day with Mike and his friends in Rochester. We took them to dinner at Red Robin, a fantastic burger place..the burgers are the size of your head! And very tasty!

Mike and the lovely Jenna

Mike's Posse
We had a great time with all of them and I have to say, we felt a little old being with 20 year olds. But, the Cadet enjoyed himself and was happy to see all of them again (especially Jenna) after a month in South Dakota. He did well at Field Training, finished in the middle third of his Flight. His Flight won Warrior Day and was the best Flight during the session. So he was proud of his performance and, of course, the David and I are very proud of him!
As we were coming out of Red Robin, I commented that Mike is now a man. And the David remarked that The Cadet is still our boy cause he costs us a ton of money! LOL!

Today, I am cleaning the house. And I have a hair appointment and I need to run errands. Then I will start my presentation. I don't want it hanging over my head all weekend. I will obsess enough over it the next few days cause I really don't have a lot of time to review it with Mr. Manager before we go to that meeting. If I miss the mark on what he wants me to do then he will be put in the position of talking around what I put together. I don't want that to happen so I am a bit anxious about it.

I will also be putting together my Quaker Alphabet piece for the SBEBB exchange. It's going to be a couple of days late but with my work schedule of 12-14 hours a day for the last few weeks, I was hard pressed to stitch at all.
Then I will be working on my Grateful Hearts exchange. I haven't started it yet but what I've picked out to stitch isn't going to take a long time...yea, yea, famous last words.

On September 14, I will be posting a tutorial on how to make a Cube on Focus on Finishing. So tune in! I'll be getting my act together for my online class this weekend. Which reminds me, I have to email Karen so she can add me as an author on the blog so I can post my instructions.

And the most exciting thing is going to happen next weekend! Patti from Stitching in Lobster Land is going to visit me on her way to PA! I am so excited! She'll get here in the afternoon on Friday and stay through Saturday. I can't wait! Stitching and girl time. Of course, we are going to go to Stitchery Row on Saturday and then we'll go down to Owego to the historic district and have lunch at the Goat Boy and visit some truly eclectic shops on River Row.
It's going to be a good time! And don't worry, I'll have pictures to share.

So have a great Labor Day weekend! Thanks for coming by to visit!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The CADET IS COMING HOME!!!!

Oh, in about 2.5 hours, my boy will be walking off a plane from Detroit...he's coming home from field training! He called this morning at 5:30AM just to say hi (we haven't heard his sweet voice in a month) and it was so cool to hear him! He called a few times today, mainly cause he's got long layovers in Denver and Detroit.

Field training was quite the experience, I guess. He was ranked in the middle of his Flight of 22 which was the best flight of the three in this session. He's pretty pleased with himself overall with his performance in the flight.

While we were talking to him, he gave us his full itinerary for the weekend. By 5:30AM, he had made plans for me to make him a lasagna dinner when he got home tonight, vanilla cappuccinos and bagels in the morning, leaving for Rochester bright and early, shopping at various stores, including the bookstore and grocery store, and then topped off with treating him, the lovely Jenna and one of his buddies to dinner and ice cream. Whew! There's a lot of running around in the next day but who am I to refuse The Cadet?!!

I thought I was going to have a relaxing 4 day weekend but my boss has other plans for me. I have to put together a presentation for him (and me) for the 8 o'clock AM staff meeting with the Sr. Exec team. I have to be at work earlier to go over it with him before the meeting. Actually, I am a bit excited about all of this cause I think he's finally comfortable with me doing these things with him. Normally, I think he would have just done the presentation himself or had Tom do the work for him but this time it's my job. I just hope I do a good job for him and don't make him look like a fool...eek!

SO...I AM VERY HAPPY right now, cause my CADET is almost home!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

All I have to say is...

I AM SUCH A WHINER!!!!

Thanks for listening to me though...Love to all of you!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Still foggin' up the mirror

I am still breathing...
Sorry that I haven’t posted in a few weeks. There’s a few reasons for my lack of witty repartee...
1. I am really boring.
2. I’ve been working on exchanges, a Halloween exchange, a Quaker alphabet exchange and the Grateful Hearts exchange on SBEBB.

All are due within the next month or so and I have to say each of them are joys to work on. I am really bored with my rotation and my WIPs right now, although I feel obligated to work on them I’d like to pack them away and forget them for awhile and I really don’t know why except that most of them were started in the last 2 years. These last few years haven’t exactly been banner years...it seems that after my Dad died, life sure took a turn south. Now, my life isn’t ALL bad. I have good friends (like you, dear stitchy blogging buddies, whom I love so dearly, all of you!), a wonderful husband and son, plus great health.

But, sometimes life just wears away at me and I feel, well, eroded.

The house situation grinds at me and the Cadet’s antics over the last year really tested my resolve. Stitching time is the same but I don’t feel that *I can’t wait to stitch* feeling like I had before. The slump isn’t too slumpy really, when I do stitch and I did for a few hours on the weekend, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I have noticed though that I don’t spend nearly as much time stitching as I have previously. When I was enjoying stitching, I spent at least 15-30 hours a week with my needle. Recently, I’ve been logging in about 8 hours. If I do anything, I fondle my stash and dream.

Most of the WIPs I have in progress are beautiful pieces but nothing is pulling me right now. I have the following in active rotation, the A list and the *B* list (we won’t even go into those on the C list and the D through Z list cause even I don’t want to know what’s languishing in the dark recesses of WIP-dom.)
So here goes...this is the WIP *A* List
1. M. Pollard - Quaker Sampler from the Scarlet Letter
2. Their Song - Blackbird Designs
3. March Hare - Blackbird Designs
4. Maria Short - Moira Blackburn
5. Peace - Birds of a Feather
6. Autumn Leaves - Prairie Schooler
7. A Stitcher's Wallet - The Gift of Stitching magazine

Here’s the *B* List:
1. A Prairie Year - Prairie Schooler
2. Beatrix Potter - Quaker Sampler
3. Sarah Tatum - Quaker Sampler from the Scarlet Letter

And the 3 exchanges, plus the SAL with Sue that neither one of us have really committed to stitching just yet.

Not a bad list really and I love the pieces. But listing them made me notice that most of them are BAP's (with the exception of the exchanges) or I am stitching over one (Autumn Leaves and A Prairie Year). Plus, I am heavy on the Quakers.

Think I need to change things up a bit? I'd like to add a Drawn Thread piece, I've always had one in WIP-dom but after I finished Welcome Spot, I failed to begin a new one. And I've been trolling blogworld, especially that Smalls blog, so many interesting pieces there! Maybe I have the *Grass is Always Greener* thing going. Plus, I bought a lot of new stash...and a few of those pieces are just begging to be started.

So, what's a girl to do, I ask you!

Comments appreciated.

David and I heard from the Cadet. The mail is sparse and it takes 4 days to get from South Dakota to New York. The Cadet sounds tired and somewhat frustrated. All the glamour of military life has been stripped away. He's anxious to come home and have a steak. There's lots of yelling that goes on and he rises at 4Am and goes until 9PM. He's doing ok though, a bit disappointed in his ranking but as long as he does his best that's great for us.

Work is super busy too. Audits, audits and audits. No time to stop for a breather.

And on the home front, I sorta had an epiphany. I've decided that I was going to love my house no matter what state it is in because it's a gift from God and I should take care of what I've been blessed with. God knows why we are in this mess of a construction situation and that's good enough for me. So, since I've neglected some things around here for a good while because I have been waiting until the construction was done, I decided that I was going to make things right. I began hoeing out stuff. I filled the back of the Explorer with enough stuff to take to the Salvation Army and I deep cleaned a few of my rooms. I feel a lot better and more in control.

Anyway...I gotta run, the David wants dinner.

I will post some pictures soon of some stitching.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

BIrthday gift revealed

I just checked Carol's blog, Garden of Stitches, and she posted that she received my little birthday gift. Carol is such a sweet lady and I wanted to stitch her something special. I stitched the Summer Face biscornu from the patten Seasonal biscornu for her. I also sent her a sampler note pad and a pattern that was on her wish list. The pattern was a thank-you though, she sent me her Barnabee Quest patterns when she finished with them. It was a nice thing to do and I appreciated her kindness.

*Summer Face*
Seasonal Biscornu
MTV Designs
Stitched on 32ct Belfast Linen Cream
Olde Willow Stitchery Threads

I was disappointed though, cause the beautiful fimo pins that came with the pattern were crushed in the mail and the replacements didn't come in time for me to put them on the edges of the biscornu. I tried beading the edges but gave up cause beads and I don't seem to play nicely together. The biscornu looks a bit naked. But I love it cause it's really tiny. Happy Birthday, Carol!!!

The Cadet has been gone now for 3 days...it's very weird not knowing what he's doing or how is doing. Field training is intense. I know he will do well if he just keeps a positive attitude. David thinks that once he gets used to getting yelled at, he will actually like it. He's always loved a physical challenge so I don't think the running and PT work outs will bother him too much except it's really hot there. It's the boredom that will get to him. The endless drilling and marching. Standing at attention for hours. That stuff. Plus, he does have a temper and I am afraid if he gets discouraged, he will say ENOUGH and quit trying. Mike is a lot like me, when he gets to a point where he feels that he's exhausted all possibilities, he will just STOP, give up and quit or take an *I don't care anymore* attitude.

On house news, David and I now realize that we will never see any of the money we gave the contractor, nor will we be able to finish the job like we planned. We've had a number of other contractors come out to estimate finishing the job. Because the house is partially done and most of what has been done must be removed, all of the contractors said they just want to start it over. No one wants to touch what's been done because the job and the materials are sub-standard. The estimates we've gotten to see what it will cost to finish the house are in the 50-60K range, the amount we were quoted when we started this mis-adventure. So I went to the bank to see what they could do for us and they are willing to consolidate our existing mortgage and give us another 40K on top of what we have out in a home equity. Unfortunately, the payments would be over 2.5K a month and we can not afford it. SO, David and I are forced to rethink all of it and cut back on the *niceties* and drop back on the type of windows we wanted. And to afford this, we will have to do the work in stages, which means I will have to choose replacement windows over new construction windows because they will have to fit into the existing structure which really limits us on style and type. Also, it will limit us on siding choices too cause we were looking at siding with built-in insulation which is thicker than normal siding and requires the windows to be framed out to meet the thicker siding.

Needless to say, I am quite beside myself. I really want to just cry. This entire situation has put me into a state, I am really, really angry over it and I can not shake the feeling of helplessness because I can not do anything to fix this situation. Two managers at work have approached me and told me to come see them if I needed to talk. One told me that I never smile anymore. The other said that it's evident that I have the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don't believe my work has been affected yet, my manager just gave me a pay increase, much more than I expected. This situation is like an unspoken wedge between David and me, though, I cringe when he wants to talk about it and I get snarky over it.

I believe that this is the cause of my stitching slump. It's not a full blown, put everything away slump, it's just an *Ok, you have to do this slump*. There isn't much joy in stitching cause I can't seem to concentrate on it. Usually, the rythmn is calming but now I get all fidgety after 15 minutes or so. It seems to be a chore right now so I just stitch a little at a time. I worked on my Stitcher's Wallet a bit and I picked out the patterns for the exchanges I am in. But, I did put away most of my WIPs. and I will work exclusively on exchanges until the end of September. It's ok cause it is stitching, and obviously, I enjoy the process much more than the finishing! I am very happy to work on pieces for others, it's a good feeling to share my work. It takes my mind off of the Cadet and all the other things going on in my life right now. I don't know what I am going to do when all this stress finally goes away. I'd love to find out though!!!

So, thanks for sticking through this long whiney post..I'll take a glass of merlot to go with my *whine*. I appreciate you and I am glad that I can share with you.

I hope that your weekend is filled with good things and a lot of stitching time!


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Cadet

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I put my Cadet onto a plane bound for Ellsworth AFB in S. Dakota. He will be there with about 499 other ROTC Cadets for Field Training. Field Training is a euphenism for BOOT CAMP. That's right, the boy is on his way to Boot Camp for the entire month of August.

Needless to say, I need to visit my hairstylist for a coloring as my hair has gone completely grey from worry and stress and just plain being the mother of a boy bound for the military. Please don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with the military. I am very proud of my son and all the others who have gone to serve our country. But....I'm a MOM and Mom's worry. It's hard wired into you when your child is born. Sorry...when a child is born, his or her Mom is given eyes in the back of her head and a healthy dose of WORRY.

The biggest thing is that I will not have any contact with him for the entire month. No phone, no emails...only snail mail that takes, well a snail's pace to get to S. Dakota. I know that he will be yelled at, he will do eleventy-dozen million sit-ups and run as fast as he can during PT. Plus, drill, drill and drill. His day will start at 4AM and end at 9PM. They will break him and then rebuild him.

He will become a soldier.
And when he returns on August 30th, he will be a man.

SO...please, for all those who pray, remember him and all of his 499 buddies in your prayers. Pray for their safety and for their protection. Cause, kids, in a few years, they will be protecting US.

So I leave you with a photo of my Cadet and his best friend, my second son, Charlie.

I love them.

My Boys
Mike and Charlie
July 31, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Where did my stitching mojo go?

Has anyone seen my stitching mojo? I think I misplaced it. Or maybe, it went to Aruba on holiday. Anyway, it seems to be lost. If you happen across it, please send it home, as it's owner is missing it. Terribly.

I haven't stitched anything in at least a week and a half. Just don't feel like it. Is it the Dog Days of Summer? Or just a needed break? I finished off a giftie and that's about it. For a few days, I looked for the fabric to M.Pollard cause I misplaced her. But I found her hiding out with another WIP this morning. Now she is snuggled up with the pattern and silk in her own little project bag. Guess she needed a vacation too.

I have been perusing blogs though and I must say they are keeping my creativity and desire to stitch alive right now. That and the embarrassing amount of stash that I bought recently. Shall I tell you about my Prairie Schooler binge?

Work is still the Land of the Drama Queens. I want to get off this project soon. Have to chat with Mr. Manager about it though, but I think he wants me to corral the misfits. Blech. I don't want to mother 50yr old women who whine for their supper. Mr. Manager, I am not up to the task. Nor, Mr. Manager, am I paid enough to take them on. It makes me tired....

Well, I thought I'd post just to say hey, I'm still here! Did you miss me? And to say, thanks for coming by the most boring blog in blogworld. I am glad you are here though. I appreciate all of you very much and welcome your comments.

Oh, and when the recipient of the giftee receives it...I'll post a picture, I don't want to spoil the surprise!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

We interrupt cross stitching for this important event

Harry Potter!

I admit it, I am a Potter fan. Today, when I opened up my mailbox, there was the box from Barnes & Nobles...Harry arrived! How I love new books! Especially hardcovers. I don't buy many books really. But I've bought all the Potter tomes.

So I opened the box and cracked open the binding. And I began to read. I read all day and into the evening. I am just about 1/2 done with the book now and I must say it's a good read. No, I am not going to spoil it for anyone and give away anything that I've read today. Honestly, I wish that this wasn't the last Potter. I'll miss the adventure.

I stitched a little on Thursday. I called in sick because I just needed NOT to be at work. A mental health day. The drama queens have gotten to me and I just didn't want to deal with them another moment. Plus, the Cadet is giving me a headache, as well as, our house woes. So, I pulled out a Wip, Prairie Schoolers, Autumn Winds. I started it last year with Patti and Cathy. We didn't keep up with the SAL and when I looked at my spreadsheet, I hadn't worked on it since last Fall. It's coming along. I am almost done with the center panel, I decided to stitch the pumpkin. Almost 1/2 way done.

Anyway...I believe I'll be spending time with the Wizards. for a few days...

Monday, July 16, 2007

When the going gets tough, the tough go...

SHOPPING!!

General Disclaimer: Yes, I KNOW I said I wasn’t going to buy any more stash because I have enough to stitch for eternity. But, I was stressed, ok?
So there!

In the last few weeks, I have been very stressed with my big work project. Although the migration went fairly well, as with all big projects, we had some bumps in the road and some grinding of teeth and renting of clothing from those who had to be dragged into the new system and are mourning the death of the old system. To those I say...CHANGE IS GOOD!! EMBRACE THE NEW!!! But of course, the sky is falling and will continue to fall for these folks until they finally give up and just get on with it. That may happen when it gets cold and freezes somewhere south where the devil and his buds hang out.

I’m not holding my breath.

So to alleviate the stress - I WENT SHOPPING!! Boy, did I ever! The packages keep rolling in from the postman, actually, it’s somewhat embarrassing and the amount of packages left in the mailbox caused the DH to raise an eyebrow...he asked which lifetime I was planning on stitching the new *crop* (as he calls my ever-growing stash.)

Ok, I know that you are wondering what I actually bought...here’s the list...read it and join me as I roll in stashy-goodness!

Plymouth Sampler - Sampler Company
Kind Fond Love - Sampler Company
New England Sampler - Sampler Company
Remember Me When This You See - Fingerwork
Elizabeth Savilles 1841 - Fingerwork
Hellen Bell’s Multiplication Sampler - CHS
Scripture Collaboration - Faith - Little House Needlework/Cresent Color Collaboration
Rebecca Blake 1809 Ackworth Sampler - Needleprints
Trousse Fleurs Bleuses - C Mon Monde
2007 Prairie Schooler Sampler - Prairie Schooler
Thanksgiving Comes Again - Prairie Schooler
Pumpkin Patch - Prairie Schooler
Good Things - Lizzie*Kate

On Saturday, the Cadet turned 20. 20!!! I certainly haven't gotten older, so when did he get to be 20? For the last 5 years or so, the DH and the Cadet go away to PA to play paintball to celebrate the momentous birthday event. This year, the trip fell on his birthday. So, even though I didn't share the day with the Cadet, I had the house to myself for 2 full days and I was estatic cause I needed Silence. Me and Chrissy the Wonderdog lived it up...we cleaned up the garden, reduced a mountain of laundry to a small foothill, played with the horses and cleaned the bathrooms. It was a nice break. I stitched a little too (actually, a lot of a little). I bought linen banding awhile ago and decided to make a small pouch. I am stitching an alphabet (one of my favorite things) in Vicki Clayton Garnet silk.on the front. I am a tad perplexed on how to go about finishing it. It’s coming along nicely. And I worked a tad on my Stitcher’s Wallet. Not much but a little. I’ll be moving on to the second page soon!
And I finished up a giftee...

So, I hope you all had a lovely weekend and are rested and ready to face the new week. Thanks for coming by to visit. It's so nice to see you!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Oh new Prairie Schooler designs!!!!

Have you seen these new designs from the Prairie Schooler? There is a passel (just love that word) of new designs on Hoffmans site! But these 2 are my favorites!!! I love Halloween, so I can see this one jumping into my stash, no question about that!

Pumpkin Patch
Prairie Schooler Designs


Thanksgiving Comes Again
Prairie Schooler Designs

I don't have many harvest designs, so I think this one will come home with me too!

I just can't resist...Autumn is my favorite time of the year. I love the colors and the smells and sweaters...

Thanks for your comments about my Americana Samplings...I finished it. Just have to take some pictures.

Red, the pattern is yours....I'll be sending it to you next week.

Well, I 've worked 32 hours in the last 3 days. I am bushed but I believe that my software project is a go. Only 24 hours left before it launches. Yeah!


Thanks for visiting, I am so glad you stop by!!


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy July 4th!

Happy Birthday USA!!!!

First of all, I want to thank everyone for their well wishes on my birthday! Thank you so much remembering me. You've made this milestone birthday a memorable one! And thank you again to Carol and Wendy for the coolest gifties! What pleasant surprises they were for me!

Today, I am off work. Tomorrow begins the BIG software move. To say I am nervous about it is an understatement. I do have complete confidence in the consultant...but it's the fear that I forgot something MAJOR that scares me. Oh well, we will take it all in stride and work through all the issues. This weekend is a big one for my team and come Monday, when everyone is back to work, well, that's when the rubber meets the road. The following 2 weeks are critical.

Since it's the fourth of July (and it's raining....of course), I am planning on working on a semi-UFO. It's Little House Needleworks, Americana Sampling. It was an exclusive kit released in 2005. I began it right after I bought it and I remember working on it last year around this time too. Maybe this year, I will finish it and by next year have it framed (LOL!!!!). I think I am going to frame it myself and paint something patriotic on the frame. Given my track record, it will be next year when I decide on what to paint and actually do the painting.


Once I am finished stitching this sampler, I'm going to give the chart away to the first person who asks for it, so if you want it, drop me a comment. The pattern is OOP. I will warn you though, I had a coffee accident on the page with the floss and fiber symbols. It's readable but not pretty. The pattern is in good shape cause I kept it in a page protector.

Last night, I worked a little bit on my birthday gift and on Blackbird Designs, Their Song, too. Should have taken a pic to it to show you but silly me, hindsight is always 20-20. I'll snap one when I start on it again.

So, I hope you are having better weather and can see some fireworks on this July 4th. Be safe traveling and if you are having a picnic or party, have a great time!!! Eat a hotdog for me!

Thanks for stopping by~ :-)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Birthday Exchange!!!

Today I received the most wonderful surprise from Wendy (Wendy Home at Work)!!! It's beautiful! She made me a terrific stitching purse and Prairie Schooler bird fob! I tried to get all arty with the photo, obviously I missed that mark, but you can see how lovely her work is!



This is the interior of the purse. There's little compartments to put stitching accessories around a puffy pincushion.


The fob is a Prairie Schooler design from one of the new charts, Birdsong I. Wendy personalized it with our initials and year. What a generous gift, I will treasure it and you can bet I will be using it to organize my travel projects!

In the card that she sent, Wendy said that she's been reading my blog, trying to figure out what I liked. Well, Wendy, you hit the mark cause I LOVE what you sent to me. I hope that she will continue to visit.

Thank you very much, Wendy!
Gee, this birthday is never ending!!!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I'm still here!!!

HI everyone...thanks for stopping by! No, really, I mean it. It's nice to know there are cyber-friends out there checking up on me.

Unfortunately, there ain't a whole lot of stitching going on at Chez No-stitching. Why, you ask? Because I am now into crunch time with my big project at work. 12 hour days, fighting fires and dealing with all the drama (and drama-queens) really make me tired! So, I've just come home and crashed. However, it doesn't mean that I've stopped buying stash...no sir...my credit card is wheezing from the work out. So far, I bought the latest Quaker offering from Needleprints, Sarah Spence. I bought the remaining AVAS for My Home Town, a spring/summer biscourne pattern, some CHS's, a Prairie Schooler off the bay of evil, my FOTM from Shakespeare's Peddler, some Lizzie*Kate, Brenda Keyes, a sampler that's on Tempest Fugit's blog and, well, I know there's more but I can't think of them! Chock it up to birthday $$ and an indulgent DH.

Today, was the first day that I picked up a needle in 2 weeks and I am stitching a gift so I can't even share the progress with you.

Yesterday was our 28th wedding anniversary. David and I spent the day at the air show watching all the jets do their thing...the F-17A Hornets and the AirForce F-15 jets just make me marvel...they are sexy planes. To think that my Cadet may fly one of those someday (if he gets a pilot slot and gets through the physical part of the training) just makes me smile. Do you think he'd take me up for a spin? Anyway...it was a great day. Cool but sunny, fair food, jets, helicopters and large cargo planes. We spent the entire day there and loved every minute of it. We topped off our anniversary with take-out pizza from Pizza Hut.

The Cadet is coming home tomorrow for the week. He's going back to his apartment at the end of the week cause he has a date with the lovely Jenna and an Arnold Air Society volunteer function. Then he's coming home for the rest of July. In August, he goes to South Dakota for field training. And then the summer is over and it's back to the books. WOW, when you think through the time line, it's pretty short!!!

So, again, thanks for sticking with me and the most boring blog in blog world. I've got to go feed the ponies so stop by soon...there may be pictures of the air show and some stitching too! :-)!!

Oh..btw, this is the week my project launches at work...please keep good thoughts and PRAYERS for a successful conversion and migration...thanks!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's my birthday and I'm having a party...


It's my 50th birthday...50!!! Wow! I can't be that old, now can I???


Actually, I've been celebrating most of the week but today only with the DH...

On Friday, my document migration team treated me to a chocolate mousse cake (a surprise) during our status meeting. I thought it was nice of them to remember me.

Then my girlfriend, Penny, took me to lunch at a very girly restaurant called the Rose Garden. It's a beautiful little place decorated as a Victorian rose garden, pinks and soft greens and creams. Victorian decor abounds in this place and it's a nice place to eat. Penny gave me a bottle of wine called, Bitch. She said that it went with my new age. And she gave me beautiful earrings, a very nice bracelet and a card that made me cry. My boss gave her permission to take me to an extended lunch too, so thank you, Brad.

Yesterday, I got some goodies in the mail. Carol, darling Carol, sent me this lovely fob. I was so moved that I cried. This fob is so beautifully stitched and so tiny. My initials are embedded in the design and it took me awhile to find them. Very clever. Now, I am on the hunt for special scissors and I will think of her every time I snip a thread with scissors that this fob is attached.

THANKS CAROL!!


On Tuesday, my son and hubby took me and Mike's GF, Jenna, on a dinner cruise. We sailed out of Ithaca on the MV Manhattan for a 3 hour cruise (Oh, Gilligan!!!) up Cayuga Lake. Dinner was scrumptious, the weather and scenery was beautiful and we had a wonderful time!

Some photos...

Jenna and Mike


All of us

Me and Dave

The cruise was a blast! Good food, nice company. Very relaxing.

This morning, David treated me to vanilla cappuccino and cinnamon raisin bagels in the sun room. And he gave me a beautiful card and a gift card to my favorite boutique, and a promise of a new digital SLR when I decide a) when we can afford it...(let's get through the contractor mess) and b) when I actually pick the one that I want. I really want the Canon EOS D but will settle for the Nikon D40...

Tonight, he's made dinner reservations at a place he's not disclosing...when I asked him where he told me that he didn't remember where or how to get there...funny, right!
And I treated myself to a OLN shopping experience. I bought a couple of Little House Needlework patterns, a biscourne pattern and some LizzieKate that were so darling. When they arrive I will take pictures.

So, the day has started lovely and I believe will continue that way!

Go 50!!