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Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I've been thinking about today and what it means to me. Until very recently, Memorial Day was the start of summer and I looked forward to a 3 day weekend.

But today, it's different.

We put the flag outside and I really looked at it and thought about all the men and women who proudly serve in our armed forces, who went to war and came home to those who supported them or not...who went to war despite their fear and learned to be brave. To those who fought and gave their lives for us, for ME so that I can do anything and be free.

I thought about what I wanted to write here about Memorial Day but there are no words that convey what I feel...except THANK YOU.

Thank you Dad, for serving in the Navy during WWII in the Sea of Japan.
Thank you, Uncles for serving in the branches of the militaryyou chose, whether you enlisted or were drafted, for those who saw battles and those of you who didn't.
Thank you Terry, for serving in the AirForce during a time of relative peace. You didn't have to go to war but you would have if you were asked.
Thank you Mike, for your unbridled patriotism and willingness to give the AirForce all of you. I pray that you never have to go to Iraq but I know that you will, someday.

And thank you to all the veterans, for your sacrifices. For without you, would we really be the land of the free?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Progress Photos

Real Quick...American Idol is on!!! Go David Cook!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where My Heart Blooms
Blackbird Designs

Nellie's Garden Revisited

Homespun Elegance

Do you like them?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I've got a bad case of startitus

But I am restraining myself! This weekend, I am working on Blackbird Designs, Where Your Heart Blooms. It is the piece that is calling my name the loudest right now but I need to finish up my Quaker exchange. I am at a crossroads for finishing it so I think that's why I am avoiding stitching it. If I chose to finish it one way I have in mind, then I should continue stitching the entire motif. If I go the other way then I need to stop stitching it and start it over again (2 halves). I think that if I go the second finishing route and then mess it up, I am going to be really upset cause I am cutting it quite close for mailing. Knowing me, I'll take the easy way out but I really want to try the second way to finish it. The second way really isn't difficult, just fiddly. It will look bad if I don't exactly mount both halves the same way....decision!

Where My Heart Blooms is coming along but I have to say that I do not like stitching eyelets. They never look right for me and they take a LONG time for me to stitch. Those blackbirds on the top of the sampler have taken a lot of time and I have 2 more complete ones to stitch. I started the house cause it's mindless work. That's fine cause I can stitch the house on autopilot.
I'll post a picture later cause I have to get ready to go to church.

I've pawed through my stash and pulled out more patterns for my growing list of I NEED TO STITCH THIS! I chose a Mary Garry design and a Little House Needlework pattern. I don't know if and when I will begin them but I will tell you browsing blogs is bad for you cause I saw both of the patterns stitched and it made me want to kit them up and begin them right away!
Bad blogs, bad computer!

The weekend is going very fast. Yesterday, David putzed in the yard, I helped him string a plastic fence around the little salad garden to keep the Wonderdog out. She's pretty unhappy about the fence cause she LOVES to garden (smashing down the plants)...she's a big help. And I did some raking and I started getting my containers ready to plant. It won't be long now before I go and pick out my annuals for the pots.

The rest of the day was spent playing with my horses (barn chores and some grooming) and watching the Preakness. Gosh, Big Brown is phenomenal! He didn't even look like he broke a sweat racing that distance! Do you think we will have a Triple Crown winner this year?

Mike and Jenna are coming home on Wednesday for a few days before Mike has to leave for Kansas City and his hand-to-hand combat training. We will be putting him on a plane bright and early Saturday morning and then driving Jenna back to Rochester. She leaves for Brisbane Australia on June 3rd for a work/study. She's pretty bummed out cause she will not get to see Mike until August. I remember those days, I said goodbye to David a few times for an extended period. I think this will be good for them but I hope that she doesn't get too discouraged and gives him a hard time about LONG distant relationships. She gives him a great deal of consternation during the school year about being 2 hours apart. I am wondering how they will deal with being at opposite ends of the earth! WOW.

Anyway, I need to get off the computer now, I have to get myself in gear and go get ready for church. More later!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all! I wish every Mom a wonderful day. Today is somewhat bittersweet, my Mom has been in Heaven now for 12 years. And I miss her. A lot. Especially now, when I find myself on the cusp of another life change. My boy, the Cadet, has announced to the DH and me his intentions to ask the lovely Jenna to marry him. The engagement will happen in the late Summer, my guess is August or early September. He is incredibly happy and knows she is the one. First though, as all romantics are, he wants to ask her father for her hand. No wedding plans just yet, he and Jenna have another year of school and then he has to see where the Air Force sends him.

I watched this boy grow into a man in the blink of an eye and God has mightily blessed us with him. And I smile cause out of all the things my DH and I have accomplished in the 50 years we've walked this planet, he IS our greatest accomplishment. I think we did well and I thank God daily for the awesome priviledge to be a Mom to such a wonderful young man.

Because it's Mother's Day, I worked on Nellie's Garden Revisited. Remember when I told you that I wanted to start a memorial sampler for my Mom? A few weeks ago, I started it but didn't have enough to post a progress picture. Today, this is the fruit of my labor. I will continue to work on it tonight and remember my Mom, the gentle lady who sacrificed for my brother and me.

The colors are the recommended GAST fibers but I switched out the fabric to Lakeside Navy Bean because the LNS didn't have any of the Vintage Autumn Field. I bought the Lakeside in 32 count because it was awesomely distressed and had the same brown hue as the recommended fabric. I put a few stitches in it and decided that I didn't want to railroad the stitches so I pawed through my stash for a piece of 36 count that I squirreled away for a project such as this. I am quite pleased with how it's stitching up, the colors are soft and muted. I am once again sorry for the crappy picture, the colors are no where near what they are in real life.

My day was good, very low key. Mike called this afternoon, David and I just hung around. We made grilled salmon which was absolutely tasty. He gave me a Martha Washington geranium hanging basket and another bird feeder (I think it was for him...really.) All in all, a very nice day.

Anyway, I want to share with you a picture of how Chrissy the Wonderdog spent her Sunday. Doesn't she look comfy? She pulls all the blankets off the sofa and makes a bed for herself. I am constantly washing them!

Hope you all had a great weekend and I wish you a wonderful week ahead. Mine will be busy, a potential Customer assessment Tuesday and Wednesday. I am heavily involved with this assessment so I'd appreciate good thoughts and prayers for me as I answer the audit questions. I am a little nervous. Tomorrow, I will be reading up on all the processes that I will be audited on. So THIS is what it feels like to be on the receiving end of the questioning....

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Total Waste of Time....

Have you ever worked on a week’s worth of stitching and every stitch that you’ve made that week has to be frogged because you weren’t paying attention?

Well, that’s what most of my week’s stitching amounted to, especially Sunday’s stitching - pretty much a waste of time. This week’s stitching comprised of trying to stitch a freebie biscornu from Barbara Ana’s designs called Buzzing Around Biscornu, a freebie found on Cyberstitchers, and working on another Blackbird Design.

The biscornu is a cute bumblebee pattern and I thought erroneously, that it would be an easy to stitch and easy to finish little piece, something that would give me a bit of instant gratification.

How wrong I was! I stitched two bumblebees on the top row but when I stitched the third bee, I realized that the one above it was one stitch over too far. Looking at the pattern, I realized that I because I made a mistake in the placement of second bee, both the second bumblebee and the one immediately underneath it was one stitch over too far. I did this while watching American Idol. That will teach me from having one eye on the TV and the other on the pattern.

Rip, rip, rip.

I thought my stitching was possessed cause no matter what I stitched on that biscornu, it was in the wrong place, either off to the left or right or up or down a row. It was maddening.

I hoped the weekend stitching would be better.

Regarding my stitching for the weekend, I had 3 goals in mind:
1.) Stitch one length of thread in each of my current Wips - Accomplished
2.) Stitch a little on my Quaker exchange - Accomplished
3.) Pick one project and work on it for an extended period on Sunday night while watching TV

The weather on Saturday turned out to be better than predicted so I didn’t spend as much time as I hoped with my needle. I spent a lot of time outside playing with the horses, messing with the gardens, going for a walk, doing laundry and vacuuming. Plus, I watched the Derby, cheered for Big Brown but was deeply saddened by the loss of that beautiful filly, Eight Belles....It was a terrible, terrible thing to happen and I am sorry for the farm, the trainer and the jockey...and most of all the horse. Such a waste.

Anyway, I digress.

During the little time I spent stitching on Saturday evening, I worked on my goals of stitching a length of thread into my current Wips and working on my Quaker exchange. All was well and I thought I broke the frogging spell that plagued my stitching during the week. I was really looking forward to Sunday’s stitching because I was seriously enjoying it. Correcting the mistake on the biscornu would wait until another day.

On Sunday after we got home from church and did the basic horse chores, I knew the day would be MINE. See, we have this quaint, old fashioned notion that Sunday is a day of rest and after church and taking care of the critters, there is no work on Sunday. I cook a nice meal, make a great desert and that’s the extent of the expected things I do on any given Sunday. We use it to recharge and regroup for the coming week and Sunday is MY day with my needle or the paper or a good book. My day was planned, read the paper, go for a walk and groom my muddy horses. That left my stitching for Sunday evening but that was ok.

I decided that my Sunday evening stitching project would be Blackbird Designs, Where My Heart Blooms. I haven’t worked on it for a few weeks and it was calling me. I decided to stitch all the flower motifs that the blackbirds sit on. It was the most logical place to start because I finished the upper border and a good portion of the side borders. I put my fabric in the hoop and began to merrily stitch away...I was in the zone, in the groove, UNTIL I took the fabric out of the hoop to check out my handiwork. It was then that I realized that I stitched the wrong flower under each of the birds because I did not stitch the first bird in the row. I stitched the first flower under the 2nd bird and the 2rd flower under the 3rd bird...all the way across the row. And for the last hour of the evening, I spent ripping out each of those flowers and stitching the first bird.

All that thread.
All that time.
All because I wasn’t paying attention.

Gosh I hope things go better this week!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Their Song Framed- So what do ya think??

I picked up Their Song from Michaels on Thursday. Here it is in all it's framed beauty! I am pleased with my frame choice and I have to say it IS straight in the frame...LOL!!! (Sorry for the flash, I am a lousy photo editor and as hard as I tried I couldn't get the flash out of the picture so that it looked ok.)

Their Song
Blackbird Designs
36ct Antique White Linen
Weeks Dye Works cotton fiber

The puppy who initially waited on me and gave me such a hassle over a mat was there when I picked it up. And true to my black heart, I couldn't resist saying something to him about how straight the needlework was in the frame. He didn't say a lot, except that it did come out nice.

I didn't tell him that it took me about 4 hours to properly stretch and lace it to the foam core. I understand why they wouldn't take the time to do the stretching correctly as it IS labor intensive and they would lose money. Although, my normal framer charges the same hourly labor rate and they ensure that the piece is stretched straight...

I would go back there and let them do the final assembly for pieces again now that I know I can stretch my needlework, particularly small pieces cause you can't beat 40-60% off coupons. I'll use my framer for big projects or things I want to become heirlooms. Plus my framer has a better selection of frames than Michaels, so if I am looking for a particular look or mat or frame, I'll go to the Beveled Edge.

Today is Kentucky Derby Day! I am so looking forward to watching the race! I don't have a favorite this year (actually, I just watch for the beauty of it all). I am disappointed that the field is 20 horses though, it's a big race, a lot of traffic for the best horses to wade through. It's a definite disadvantage because unless they break cleanly and get a good position right at the start the race is essentially over for them. It seems that everyone who qualifies and can ante up the dollars to run the Derby puts their horse in that race just to say they ran it. I miss the times when the field was small and you'd have 2 or 3 horses slugging it out the entire race. And although it takes a lot of money to run, I loved it when Smarty Jones ran, what a story. The little guy who breaks his back training a horse to greatness ridden by a local jockey is where it's at for me, not a horse backed by big money.

I haven't missed a race in 30 years. So this year, I am going to plop myself down in front of the TV with my needlework and watch all the preview hype and then the race. YAY!!!
And about all the DMC hype...thanks for all your comments, there are so many conflicting stories now, it's hard to tell what's truth or rumor. But I am (like many others) going out and kitting up some of the patterns that I know that I want to stitch and are coded for DMC. Can you image if DMC does go belly up? DMC will get scarce, the overdyed folks who use it as a base will have to find another comparable source and prices are sure to go up for those trying to purchase any of it at all. And honestly, I don't want to have to convert to Anchor because it's more expensive than DMC, none of the big craft stores carry it so I won't be able to just run to AC MOORES or Michaels in the evening when I'm out shopping for groceries to pick up a skein or two and I really don't want another set of fibers. But I will do what I have to do to continue with my hobby.

Ok, enough soapbox....the Dyson and the laundry are calling me.

Hope you all have a nice weekend and I am so happy that you've stopped by to chat.