Sunday, June 16, 2019

Feed Me, Seymour!

These are my tomatoes, peppers, Swiss Chard, and dill that I started 3 or 4 weeks ago. The light height setting is now about as high as it can go. I intended to transplant them into the raised bed this weekend, but I got a bee in my bonnet and started another project.  Its not like I need to get into that cabinet where my glasses and medicines are.  LOL

So I was thinking about it a few weeks ago and I decided I do not like my front yard.  The thriving weeds from the heavy rains in Cali this year did not help.  The house came with Sweet Pea bushes and I have never really liked them.  I wanted hydrangeas in the front yard ever since I was a little girl.  Back East we referred to them as snowballs, and I always said that if I ever had a house I would have them in my front yard.  One of the sweet pea bushes was totally dead, so I said today was the day.  I cut it up and dug it out.  I am proud of myself, but I am going to be hurtin' for certain tomorrow. I also cleared a couple of flower beds, which took half a day.  (I had been grieving so much for the past few months that I could not deal with my front yard.)  I had to hustle green can space from my neighbors.  I filled three cans, two of which were my awesome neighbors'.  

I have bought several hydrangeas, including a couple of Strawberry Vanilla hydrangeas that I have wanted for several years since I first saw them in an issue of BHG.  I will be putting them in soon.  In addition, I am putting in a Rainbird sprinkler system and some sod.   It will take me a few weeks but I think the end result will be spectacular.

I will be on a staycation for the first week of July.  For the past several years we always went out of town where Liesl would not have to be scared of fireworks going off.  I am really excited about working on my house, working on my classes and hopefully, doing some stitching and/or quilting during that week.

Here is my progress on my Prairie School patriotic smalls.  They are pretty easy to stitch and fun to work on.  Maybe, just maybe, I will get them finished before the 4th!

Have a happy week!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

A Busy Weekend Around The Cozy Cottage

I am so grateful for all of the kind comments.  I wish I could adequately communicate how much your sweet comments mean to me.  They have given me so much peace and comfort.  Thank you for your prayers and good thoughts.

The weekend I have been working on my backyard.  It has been severely neglected and I have had to battle the weeds, which had been thriving with all of the California rain this year.  I had to mow, throw down some grass seed, clear the raised bed of weeds which were three feet tall and make a list of chores which need to be completed over the next few weeks.  I also got some of my herbs planted.  I am doing the Frankenstein walk and my body is talking to me, but it makes me happy and I would really like to have my yard looking good for a family barbecue on the fourth of July.

I have an Aerogarden that I use to start my seeds.  I bought the attachment which allows me to start 65 plants at a time, so I have to do some planning of my seed rotation.  One of the other managers at work and I love to grow heirloom tomatoes. We start talking seeds in December and she starts her seeds under a grow light in February and moves them into a portable green house.  My busy season at work is for the first 4-5 months of the year so I am usually late to the party.  This year I got my Aerogarden ready in early April, ready to plug in but I realized I could not find my seeds.  I go painstakingly through the Baker Street Seeds and Park Seed catalogs every year, selecting the ones which interest me and have high ratings.  I tore my house apart for weeks. looking for them like they were missing gold.  I finally found them stashed in a cabinet and started them in the Aerogarden.  These are the ones I am really excited about:

https://www.rareseeds.com/brad-s-atomic-grape-tomato/

So the plants are getting pretty big.  The lemon cucumbers started to really take over and the tomatoes and Swiss Chard were being really dramatic about it, looking like they were fainting.  So the lemon cucumbers were moved to the raised bed which has fresh soil and everything.  I am super excited!

I also got to stitch a little on my Prairie Schooler patriotic smalls.  These are really fun to stitch and the colors really pop!  I would really like to stitch all of the designs in the brochure, and put them on my table.

All of the crafters at work are super excited because we are getting a Hobby Lobby in Salinas.  It has taken them a long time and it has seemed like the project stalled for a long time, but one of my coworkers has done some recon and says that it looks like they are moving ahead.  We are all pretty excited.  We have a Michaels and JoAnn's, but we are really excited about the great sales at Hobby Lobby!

Wishing you many blessings in the week ahead!



Friday, May 24, 2019

Cross Stitching, Again

Hello, Friends,

First of all, I want to thank you very much for your kindness, in expressing condolences, sending prayers and good thoughts, and words of comfort.  It means more to me that I can ever possibly express.  I am extremely grateful to each of you for taking the time to reach out to me.  

I am doing much better, although, as is the case for many people, things got much worse before they got better.  I had a couple more really tough things happen after Liesl's passing, which led to a period of stress and wallowing in self pity.  On top of it all, the ex shared with me while Liesl was sick that he had been having an affair with his ex-girlfriend for the last year and a half of our 5 1/2 year relationship (that he admits to.)  He blamed me for making him do it. ??? I am still daunted how this was going on for so long, and the fact that I was clueless, which tells me that this was not his first time doing this.  He wanted me to return to a relationship with him.  However, having self respect, I declined.  After this, he became belligerent and verbally abusive (totally out of character for him) so I have had to block him and declare that I would have to take legal action if he continued to harass me.  I am really sad and disappointed that this relationship ended this way.  I never would have anticipated this.  

There came a point in the past several months where I realized being sad was unproductive, so I decided instead that I would have to return to living in gratitude.  I realized that I was really fortunate that I got to be Liesl's momma, and that I had amazing friends and family who supported me through all of this, I have my home, food in my stomach, etc.  So I have been returning to the things that I love.  I have started stitching again, working on my house, spending time with my kids, reading, gardening, and I have decided to go back to school to finish getting my BS in Accounting.  I start classes in two weeks and will be going to school full time (online) in addition to working full time.  It seems like a good time to do it.  I have no interest in dating or meeting anyone, so it is a good time to focus on improving myself.

Here is some of the stitching I have been doing:
 I am still working on this.  I love these patriotic smalls by Prairie Schooler.  I would like to have a little basket of these on the table for Independence Day.  In my ancestry research over the past couple of years I have found that I have several patriots in the family lineage who fought in the American Revolution.  I feel extremely proud and feel that I have to really have to celebrate the fourth with extra vigor!

A dear friend at work (she's my age) who has a new grandson coming mentioned in a conversation with someone that she has never had a baby shower.  So her department decided to throw her a Glamma Shower.  She is a very cool lady from the Bronx and it is funny because I actually grew up 16 miles away from her in North Jersey, so I got her some NY Yankees binkies and crocheted this blanket.  It is a lot bluer than it looks in the photo:
I love to crochet and cross stitch during Live PD.  I am hooked on this show because I actually work in Salinas, CA, so I recognize a lot of the scenery.  One of the officers that is sometimes on the show was actually my son's best friend from Kindergarten to 4th Grade.  I still think of them as wild little boys.  Now they are in their 30's...

One of the blessings of the past few months is that I have gotten to spend a lot more time with my daughter.  She has treated me to several pedicures and we have taken a lot of 5-7 mile walks along the Pacific.  A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I would really like to see the waterfalls and the dogwoods in bloom at Yosemite, so we got to take a little weekend girls' trip.  Her awesome husband stayed home with their kitty cat and got to have control of the TV remote for the weekend,  while we hiked all over Yosemite.  It is only 3 hours from the Monterey Peninsula, so it is a quick trip.  It was only her second trip to the park and we hiked 7 1/2 miles that day.  I had packed a great picnic and we had a great time.  Here is a photo she took of me:
My apologies for the long post, it has been a while and I had a few things to report.  I still miss my furgirl and still gently cry everyday on my way home from work, knowing she won't be there to greet me.  My friends tell me this is normal.  It will take a while...


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Rest In Peace, Sweet Girl

Yesterday, at approximately 6:45 a.m., my sweet, sweet Liesl passed away in my arms at age, 11 1/2.  She had declined quickly after leaving the hospital, even the doctors and I thought she was going to be okay.  She was a special girl, and I loved her with all of my heart.  My heart feels like it has broken into a million little pieces.  She was such a big part of my life and it is hard to be in the house without her here.

What brings me peace is the knowledge that Liesl had an amazing, big life.  She went on about 30 trips in her lifetime, and went on many adventures here on the Monterey Peninsula.  It is hard to drive my car any place, because I see a place where she and I took walks.  I told her every single day of her life that I loved her.  I feel honored that I got to be her momma.  And I feel honored and privileged to be with her until the end.  I will miss her more than words can express.  

I thank you with all of my heart for all of your prayers, good thoughts, comments and love of Liesl over the years.  It means so much to me.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Miracles

Hello, Everyone,

I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has prayed and sent good thoughts for Liesl.  I am truly grateful.  I truly believe in the power of prayer and that God hands out miracles to everyone, even small, beautiful dogs and me.  I have had a series of miracles over the past week that I would like to share.

About 2-3 weeks ago, Liesl stopped eating breakfast, but would be voracious at dinner.  She would want to eat her dinner, then a greenie, then my dinner and cookies.  Schnauzers are finicky eaters and this had not been the first time this had happened over the past 11 1/2 years.  She would do this about twice a year.  So while I was concerned, she was still playful, exercising, drinking water and acting somewhat normal.  What made me concerned was that I suddenly realized that she had not smiled for a while, but I thought she might be grieving for her daddy, who was her fun parent.  I had more activity with family during the holidays so I thought that perhaps now that no one was really coming over, that she was really missing her daddy whom we had not seen for three months.  So I called and made an appointment, however, the vet could not see her until Feb 9th.  A couple of mornings later (Wednesday), I saw her nibbling on a plant in the backyard.  She had nibbled on this plant for the past 3 years or so, but for some reason something made me google it that day.  It was Lantana which is highly toxic to dogs.  I called her daddy for the first time in months, because we had told her for years to get out of the plant.  He told me to call the vet on Friday when the office reopened, but that he was not super concerned because she had been eating the plant for so many years with no issues.  I dug that plant and every piece of it that night.

The vet took us in first thing in the morning last Friday and held Liesl to run tests.  My best friend, a nurse, went with me to pick her up. It turns out that she had never eaten enough of the Lantana to do damage, so there was not any issue there.  However, Liesl, like many schnauzers do,  had several kidney stones and something had happened and the vet felt that she was in Stage 3 Renal Failure.  She told me that I should take her to the Emergency Hospital immediately. She warned me that because of Liesl's heart condition that she may not be able to have the three day treatment because the treatment could be fatal.  I went into shock and drove her to Pet Specialists of Monterey, a 24/7 emergency hospital 5 minutes from my house.  I was so scared as Liesl had never been away from me, or her daddy, if I had to be away on business.  

This is where the miracles started to happen.  The doctor on duty immediately started treating Liesl for a kidney infection.   They had a cardiologist come to the hospital that night who said that Liesl's heart was well maintained and so they could start flushing her kidneys.  The doctor said that she felt that we were dealing primarily with a serious kidney infection.  I asked her and the other vet if they felt that it would be helpful if her daddy came to see her.  They said that while it might be difficult for me, it would most likely be very helpful for Liesl.  I did not hesitate.  I called him and burst into tears.  He was at the hospital in 10 minutes.  Liesl rejoiced when she saw him.  By that time, she was on a antibiotic drip but we were allowed to visit.  It made a huge difference.

I am a person of faith who has drifted somewhat over the past few months.  However, I prayed so hard that night.  My best friend did not want me going home that night alone so I went to her house after getting Liesl settled for the night.  I should mention here that Liesl means "God's promise." I crashed into bed that night and every time I closed my eyes I saw this brilliant golden light.  Somehow I slept and was back at the hospital at 7:30 the next morning.  I asked if I could take Liesl for a walk, so I walked her to a nearby duck pond.  I then went back and sat on a bench in front of the hospital with Liesl on my lap.  As I pet her and held her, I prayed that God would save her.  As I looked up from closing my eyes and prayer I saw this white arc forming above me.  It was so amazing that I took this photo:
I sincerely felt in my heart that this was a sign from God that Liesl would be okay.  I had never seen anything like it.  When I walked back in, the doctor saw me and came up to me smiling.  She said that she was already seeing improvement in Liesl's kidney values overnight.  I knew that God was giving us a miracle.  I also decided that every single visit I had with Liesl, I would take her outside of the hospital.  We walked,  then I would sit with her on the bench outside so that she would have fresh air and a break from all of the scariness.  

There is a church somewhat close to my home where there is a large shrine to the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe.  Liesl and I walk there sometimes and for years Liesl has made sure before we leave the grounds, that we get to see Mary.  Liesl has always been very reverent in front of her shrine (unless there is a gopher or cat around...).  So before I met her daddy for visiting hours I went to the shrine and got down on my knees in front of the Blessed Virgin, whose shrine was still adorned for the holidays with a line of red poinsettias.  As I prayed, I felt peace on my heart and suddenly heard the words "Liesl will live a long time. Expect a miracle."  I looked up.  Directly in front of me was a potted poinsettia and something in the pot caught my eye.  It was one single bloom head of - Lantana. I realized that it was Mary and the angels who had made me Google lantana that night, which probably saved her life, because it got her to treatment.  I realized that the Blessed Mother had just told me to expect a miracle.  

I met her dad at the hospital that night and Liesl was looking more and more like herself.  I knew in my heart of hearts that she would be okay.  Her dad and I walked her and held her.  Her dad gave her a massage so she would relax.  He has been an amazing support to both of us.  I realized that I needed to let go of all of the hurt feelings and be at peace and be grateful. This is the best way I can help Liesl.

They had told me that it was only after Liesl's kidney values had stopped moving, that she would be sent home.  Her values kept dropping, so the three days passed.  Every night I returned to the shrine to pray on my knees.  On Monday night, I prayed and I heard "tomorrow is Miracle Day, expect a miracle."  I felt a sense of exuberance.  On Tuesday morning,  the doctor said she felt that Liesl could be released around 7 pm,  Tuesday evening.  I felt somewhat disappointed because it meant that the numbers had stopped moving, but I was happy she was coming home.  However, on Tuesday, at 5 pm as I was walking to my car, the doctor called me on my cellphone and said," Liesl's kidney values are dropping again, so I would like to keep flushing her system for at least another 12 hours."  My heart leapt!!!  Another miracle, as I had heard the Blessed Virgin say the day before.  I went to the shrine.  I dropped to my knees and prayed.  I heard Mary say, "Tomorrow is an even bigger miracle."  I went confidently that the next day would bring more good news.  

The next morning, Wednesday, another doctor from the team called me and said that Liesl was doing pretty well and still responding to treatment.  She said that they thought Liesl was a pretty special dog and is well taken care of.  She said that it could potentially late in the day, she might be released.  I had been visiting Liesl three times a day, so I asked if I could visit at lunch time, because I did not want Liesl to think I had abandoned her.  Schnauzers are highly emotional and I wanted to make sure to keep her mental state up in case she had to stay longer.  I arranged to bring her lunch.  I work 30 minutes away in Salinas.  I drove to the hospital,  excited to see her and smell her little doggie smell.  They told me that I had 20 minutes for a visit.  I took her for a fast walk to the pond, then hand fed her lunch.  After 20 minutes, one of the nurses came out and I got ready to hand Liesl over to her.  She said, "Oh, no.  Liesl is going home right now."  Liesl was so excited!  I asked the nurse if Liesl knows and that is why she was so elated.  She replied that the dogs always know when they are going home.   Liesl will now have an Internal Specialist as her primary doctor and she goes back in two weeks to get a check up.  The doctor who took her in discharged her, saying that she felt that Liesl was going to be okay.  She might need drips from time to time but she would be around.

Liesl was so happy and excited.  We came home and she just was beyond happy an smiley, touching everything and checking out her queendom.  

I have been a nervous wreck since she has been home.  The next day, she was very subdued.  Eating and drinking but not smiling.  I called the hospital four times because they had said to watch for lethargy and she just seemed so tired and weak compared to the day before.  They said this is normal for a little dog who has come home from the hospital.  I keep asking my friends and her daddy, who is a physical therapist, about if she is okay. They remind me that it takes about three weeks to get over a hospital stay.  I am so worried.  Her daddy comes every night to see her and make sure she eats.  While I know we will not be a couple again, he is comfort to me when he is here and we just sit and talk quietly so Liesl feels safe.  

I told him this story last evening, because I have been so worried about how I am taking care of her and if I am missing any signs.  He told me to be grateful for the miracles and not have doubts. He said that God has already rearranged the molecules in her body for healing.  I do my best not to worry, but sometimes I stumble.  Okay, I stumble a lot.

We are having a terrible storm here but I took Liesl for a ride today.  She looked a bit weak, but I want her to have some fresh air.  I drove over to the church, and stood before the Blessed Virgin asking for help and to continue Liesl's recovery.  I heard her tell me to stop worrying.  She said that she had come too far with me to abandon me.  She said that there are more miracles coming...

I am so grateful.







  

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Liesl Is Home!!!!!

Just a quick post to share the news that Liesl was released from the ICU today and is home with her momma.  This little dog has some serious spoiling ahead of her!  She is not totally out of the woods and has to be checked again in a couple of weeks.  But my nurse practitioner best friend says that everyone does better at home once they get out of the hospital.

I will share more details of this journey in the next day or two.  The past week has been filled with a number of miracles that I would like to share with you.  Your prayers worked and I am truly grateful for every prayer and good thought for Liesl.  She came home and checked out her queendom then climbed into her bed and snuggled up to her teddy bear.  She is pretty tired and so is her momma...

Thank you again.  May God Bless You!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Monday Liesl Update

Thanks be to God!  So yesterday, I posted that the big hurdle for the day was for Liesl to eat something.  I cooked every single favorite food for her and took it to the hospital.  Liesl ended up eating two bites of salmon for which the staff and I were very happy.  Today, she has eaten a total of 14 1/2 bites of salmon and licked the bowl of all of the crumbs and fishy oil.  I go back tonight and will take more of all of her favorite foods.  Your prayers are so appreciated, and I wish I could express my gratitude personally to each end every person praying for her.  It means so much to me and my heart is swelled with gratitude.  

The other person to whom I am really grateful to on this journey is her daddy.  On Friday night, when she entered the hospital I called him sobbing and he was at the hospital within 10 minutes to be with her.  His presence and love for her have made a difference in her attitude and he comes at last once a day and just loves her up.  He has asked for any and all updates and makes her smile.  

Lastly, I am really thankful to my supervisor and the company I work for.  My hours are being flexed so that I can be with her at the hospital whenever they feel that she can have visitors.  I am truly grateful that I work with people who love animals, and I can not describe the relief that I feel that I will not be fired for taking care of my furgirl.  

I ask for your continued prayers.  We still have a ways to go so I appreciate every prayer sent up that contains Liesl's (pronounced Leesel's) name.

I will keep you updated with any new developments.  May God Bless you for caring about my very beautiful little furgirl.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

A Little Liesl Update

I am sincerely grateful for your ongoing prayers for my sweet furgirl.  I love her more than I can express.  Fortunately, the hospital is about 5 minutes from my home and I see her as much as they will let me.  I feel so much joy as I get to hold her sweet self and I bawl my eyes out every time I have to give her back.  I count the minutes of the hours until I get to go back to her.

Out hurdle today is for her to eat something.  She looked interested this morning, so I am going this afternoon and evening with every possible food that she loves.

I humbly ask for your continued prayers.  I am truly grateful for every prayer which contains her name.

May God Bless You!

Patti and Liesl

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Needing Prayers for Liesl

Hello,

I am humbly asking if you could spare a prayer or two for Liesl today.  She is in the dog hospital right now and I am beyond worried.  I believe that God is merciful and in His Grace.  So, please if your could pray for her over the next few days I would be really grateful.  I will update you as soon as I know more.  Thank you very much.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

Season's Greetings and A Very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year to each of you!

Well, as Charles Dickens once wrote, the past four months have been the best of times and the worst of times.  I last posted in September just prior to a two week vacation to the Redwood Coast of California.  It was a wonderful two week break from responsibility.  We had rented a beautiful house for the two weeks we were there, where we got to take lots of walks and Liesl got lots of beach time at her favorite beach.




We drove up to see the town of Mendocino, and surrounding areas on several outings.  This was one of our drives up to Point Arena to see the lighthouse there.
The area where we stayed has a second and third growth redwood forest.  It is so beautiful and peaceful there.   These trees are so huge and it is awe-inspiring to think of the periods of history over which they have stood as witness.
I enjoyed the time up there and spent a lot of time cooking, reading and stitching.  It was true blessing.   However, we were coming back to a bigger blessing and a week of wedding festivities and activity for my son's wedding the following weekend.  I was so excited because I was getting an amazing new daughter-in-law that I love so much.  They have been together for six years, and I just love her.  She has the sweetest personality, a great sense of humor and is just a great all around person.  I was so excited about the wedding, which was held at a local golf resort on such a beautiful day.  

The bride and groom both have a goofy sense of humor as you can see by their cake topper. The wedding was totally "them" and was one of the best weddings I have ever been to.  I was just so happy. 
Between the vacation and the wedding I was feeling really happy and looking forward to the holidays.   However, three days after the wedding, on a totally normal day, after a totally normal dinner, I was getting ready to go to bed, and my partner said, "Oh, hey, by the way, I signed the lease on an apartment today and I am moving out this weekend."  At the time, I was heartbroken and in shock, but thanks to God, family and friends, I feel like the worst is now behind me.  I have decided to change my perspective of this situation and now see it as an opportunity for my own growth. 

2018 has been a year of loss and change.  The loss of my mother in June has brought me a fuller awareness of life being finite and that I really need to step up to taking responsibility for my health.  A few days after his announcement, I weighed myself for the first time in years and I was shocked!!!  I could not believe the numbers I saw.  At that time, my appetite was pretty diminished, but I made a decision that I was going to buy the healthiest food possible going forward and I was going to make myself a priority.  I had been progressing away from eating meat for some time.  I just found that I did not like the texture anymore.  I still eat fish and dairy, but mostly my diet is vegetarian.  I have removed most sugar and alcohol from my diet, too.  I did indulge during the holidays, but did not go crazy.   I am proud to announce that I have lost about 20 lbs since mid October, without really trying.  I focus on the one pound ahead of me, and then the next.  I have lost one pound twenty times.

I am actually loving my diet now, although I do not think of it as a diet.  I feel better than I have in years, and my bad cholesterol has dropped 20 points!  I start my days with a strawberry, banana and orange juice smoothie, which I sip on my commute to work.  For some reason, it makes me really happy.  I have also become the queen of meal prep.  I cook on the weekends, packing pretty containers of food from recipes that I come across during the week.  Mostly, I do this for lunches, but pack extra for dinners for nights that I am too tired when I get home to cook.  

I get all sorts of recipes from Eating Well, All Recipes and Tasty on Facebook.  I get really excited about them and look forward to my exotic lunches.  I have a lot of variety in my meals and I am having so much fun preparing.  In addition, several people at work love our Instant Pots and exchange meatless recipes that are tried and true.   I am having a lot of fun with food.  Last week, the words, "Oh, my gosh, I made the best quinoa dish for lunch" actually left my lips.  LOL

I decided early on with this situation that forgiveness was going to be critical for my own peace going forward.  I walked through a lot of sadness early on in this situation, but I did not walk alone, I had people who love me hold my hand through this journey.  I am grateful that I had the relationship we had and for the good times.  Within a couple of weeks, he apologized and asked to reconcile but a reconciliation is not something I can consider right now after all that occurred.  But I do wish him peace and happiness.

For right now, I have big plans, including a plan for my garden this year.  I am so excited and need to start ordering tomato seeds!  If you are on the hunt for heirloom tomato seeds, this is the catalog for you!

Happy New Year!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Seeing Stars!

Last weekend as I hunkered down from Car Week, I pulled out a quilt that I started back in December of 2016.  I was shocked that it had been so long, but there it was on my blog.  This is Moda Frivols 8, with American Jane Bread N' Butter fabrics.  I love Moda, and I love the fabric in this kit.  The muslin is about 25 years old and I remember buying it in Lancaster, California, when it was mostly desert there.  The muslin was used in a quilt that I made for myself many years ago.

I am making this quilt for Liesl.  She knows that it is hers, too, as you can tell by the possessive paw in the photo.  Liesl has always left my sewing and cross stitch projects alone.  However, she knows this one is different.  I have had to lay the project squares out multiple times and every time she runs over and stands on the squares.    Liesl loves her comfort and needs a quilt to snuggle into.  She has other blankets I have made for her but I think this will work better for her, because her blankets are a bit heavy.  It does get cold here and when it does, she likes to be tucked in.  She is a tiny bit spoiled.

This quilt has really challenged my need for perfection.  It is riddled with errors.  It started because the pattern calls for a scant 1/4 seam allowance, which I can not seem to master.  Then I started to do a 1/4 seam allowance and it got all wonky.  Then I made a few more errors.  I was really being hard on myself and then I told myself that I am not showing this in a competition, and that the recipient will love it no matter what.  I am having to modify along the way, kind of like life.

We went to the Monterey County Fair today for a couple of hours.  (We had to go eat some deep friend artichoke hearts, yum!!!)  The quilts were amazing, and it was evident that we have a very active quilt guild. Then I was a bit impressed because we were walking through the exhibits and Bill said, "Look, here is a quilt with the same star pattern that you are working on."  I did not even recognize it because the colors and style were so different from Liesl's quilt.  I was impressed because, while he respects the work that goes into sewing and needlework projects, usually he does not pay much attention to what I am working on. (So I thought...)

We walked over to the cross stitch area and I was disappointed to see that there were less than 20 entries on one small wall.  There used to be a much larger section and the competition was much more fierce.  I have not been able to enter for 2 or 3 years, but I am thinking I shall have to pull together some entries next year.  This year I noticed that stitchers I really respect did not have any entries.  I wonder what will happen to this craft going forward.  I really hope that people really rediscover it.

Have a happy week!


Sunday, August 19, 2018

A Finish!

I finally finished my dishtowel.  It was a fun, easy stitch.  The stitchy part is 14 count Aida, and there were blocks of color, so it was a pretty easy stitch.  I love how it turned out.  I am going to have to include it in someone's Christmas gift package because it makes me hungry just looking at it. :)

So last weekend, we were at Trader Joe's.  The Monterey TJ's has their orchids just as you walk into the store.  I usually just give them a passing glance as I walk in at a high speed to do my grocery shopping.  I hate grocery shopping with a white hot passion, but I love me some Trader Joe's.  Go figure... Anyway, last week I went blazing by the orchids when something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye.  I came to a fast stop because I espied - Miltonia!

Miltonia is also known as a "Pansy Orchid".  As you can see the blossoms deeply resemble a pansy.  They smell divine.  Around here, you just do not see them very often.  In fact, this one was the only one they had.  At $14.99, I knew it had to be mine.  I have limited space so I just do not keep a lot of plants in the house.  The orchids that I have are pretty special and/or have been given to me as a gift.  I am really happy that I found this one to keep the other orchids company.
This week I have been stitching on Cinnamon Stars by Plum Street Samplers.  Autumn is my favorite season (bring on the pumpkin!), and I love the colors of this piece.  It is a fun stitch, too.  I have a few other fall pieces, but this one really spoke to me.

I will probably get to stitch quite a bit over the next week as we will be cozy cottage-bound. This week is going to be ca-razy on the Monterey Peninsula.  It is what locals call "Car Week".  It is the week of several high end car shows, bringing 40,000 people onto our very small peninsula. (As a comparison, the city of Monterey only has 29,000  people.) Included this week, is the Concours d' Elegance and Concourso Italiano and the historic car races.  Today, I was driving and had two Ferrari's ahead of me and a Lamborghini in the next lane.  While they are quite beautiful, they are nerve wracking to drive around.  Anyway, there will be non-stop gridlock, so locals tend to buy our groceries during the week, and will hunker down through Sunday like there is storm or something.  We don't leave our homes unless we walk.  My commute, which is normally 30 minutes can take up to 1 1/2 hours to get home.  Patience and recorded books are the name of the game this week!

Well, back to my stitching!  Have a blessed week!




Sunday, August 5, 2018

A Verrrrry Quiet Weekend

First and foremost, a big thank you for your prayers and good thoughts for Liesl's ultrasound this week.  The results were very good and positive. Thanks be to God.  The doctors are giving her a prescription to aid her digestion, but there was nothing scary.  We are so grateful to have the expertise and quality of veterinary care at the practice she goes to.

Liesl and I had a super quiet weekend around the cozy cottage.  My sweet baboo left on Thursday to go visit his grandbabies and he is due home today.  I had plans of taking Liesl to her favorite dog beach and celebrating her big 11th birthday, which was this weekend.  That did not pan out after all. Schnauzers have super sensitive skin, and unfortunately, she was really itchy and miserable from having her tummy shaved for the ultrasound this past week, so the vet had to prescribe a super duper strong antihistamine which made her just sleep all weekend.  So it was a very quiet weekend where I did not leave the house at all, which was actually a blessing.  

I spent the weekend tidying up the cozy cottage, stitching, and napping with Liesl.  (I even got to organize my fancy floss and inventoried it in Excel.)  I love to laugh so I put some stand up comedy on Netflix and cozied into the sofa with my stitching. I pulled out my dishtowel that I started months ago:

I have one more motif to put on it.  The designs are by Maria Diaz and I got the book on Amazon.   The towel is by Dohler and is available at 123stitch.  The towels are really nice quality and are reasonably priced.  

So I have to share my new treasure.  I love, love, love my KitchenAid stand mixer.  I have several attachments and have felt that KitchenAid really makes great products.  So a few weeks ago, I got an email from Target, saying that they were having a huge KitchenAid sale.  It is a rare thing for me to click on the advertisement emails that I receive, but thought I would just see what there was.  

Target had refurbished KitchenAid 9 cup food processors for $49.99 minus an additional promo code discount.  The new ones are usually $225 and up.  I had heard somewhere that a lot of refurbished items are items which were just returned without being used, but can not be sold as new.  Plus it had a one year warranty,  so I thought I would check it out.  In addition to sale and promo, another 5% off was available by using the Target red card and there was free shipping.  It still can't believe what a great deal it was.  The food processor is so beautiful and everything looks pristine, and there were no scratches or anything.  Everything was new and it came with several blades and choppers.  It works perfectly.  Holiday dinners are going to be so much easier.  I just love looking at it as I walk by it in the kitchen.  BTW, it is rather large!  I love that I got such a great deal!  My friend at work said that I need to make homemade potato chips!

I got a really late start on the garden this year, so things are just really starting to get exciting. The leaves on my summer squash are dinner plate size.  That squash in the photo is bigger than my fist.  Our hot season is starting.  June and July can be really cold here, and then late August, September and October are our warm summer weather months.  Sometimes, I am still harvesting tomatoes in November.
Being home really makes me happy and I feel like I am restored by being home.  I am happy to report that Liesl is feeling much better and is acting more like herself after her restful weekend.  We will have her big birthday celebration next weekend with her daddy.  This weekend, it was nice to have her all to myself, and to be in the home I love so much, doing the things I love to do.  

Hope you have a wonderful week in your home, too!

Monday, July 23, 2018

I Sincerely Apologize!

Oh, my goodness.  I am so sorry that I had not responded to all of the wonderful comments over the past couple of weeks.  Several years ago I had to turn on the comment moderation because not nice people were posting links to some bad websites in the comments (and they still try frequently).  Generally, I receive an email notification when someone posts a comment, which lets me know to check comments for moderation.   For some reason, Blogger decided to stop sending the notifications and I did not know to check the website.

It suddenly occurred to me today, that I had not received any comment notifications in the past few weeks.  Generally, there are two very nice ladies who comment on most posts and I got worried that something had happened to them.  So tonight I thought I would check the comments awaiting moderation section of Blogger.  I was so embarrassed to see that so many nice people had taken the time to leave condolences for the loss of my mother and generally heart warming messages.  I am so sorry that I did not figure out to look sooner.  I feel really badly that it happened.  Your comments really mean a lot to me and I am hopeful you were not thinking that I was rude and thoughtless.

I know to be a bit more vigilant in the future...




Sunday, July 22, 2018

An Amazing Week

This past week was an amazing week.  I am a corporate Controller and I had been working at a pretty fast pace on the quarter end.  On Thursday, I was sitting in a big company wide meeting and our CEO had just finished making a great presentation that was really inspirational.  We have a really awesome CEO who has really instituted some great things in the company.  One of which is honoring an Employee of the Quarter, who meets some pretty specific standards of excellence. This quarter was going to be the third time that someone would be selected.  He started by announcing those nominated but not selected this time.  I was thinking about how amazing each of those people are and wondering who else in the room could be next.  I feel really grateful that I get to work with really wonderful, smart, amazing people company-wide.  So I was looking around the room trying to guess the identity of the honoree.  I was extremely shocked and surprised when my name was announced!  The CEO went on to say some wonderful things about me and I started to mist up.  I feel deeply humbled, and I was even more so as I received hugs, kind words, and emails throughout the next couple of days from people throughout the company.  I have a beautiful plaque on my desk and I am still pinching myself.  

I really, really love my job.  Each day when I am driving a little over half an hour to work, I say a prayer of thanks that I get to go to work and that I get to go do really interesting work.  I always say that I get to go to work, not that I have to go to work.  It gets really busy, but I prefer having lots of activity. The best part of the job are the great people I get to interact with daily.   

I did not really get to stitch this week, I had to pull out some work because I started stitching a pattern on the wrong piece of fabric.  I guess I was too eager to start and did not double check.  So next week I should have something more to show.  In the meantime, I thought I would share some recently acquired stash:

One of my favorite hobbies is genealogical research.  I recently found several ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.  I saw this pattern and would like to make a few smalls to honor their memory in some smalls for next Independence Day. 
It is time to start Fall stitching.  I saw this pattern and fell in love.  It is stitched on silk gauze, which is included with the pattern.   I am a little intimidated now that I see the pattern up close.  I need to gather my courage before I start this one.
Lastly, when I was on vacation, I found this awesome project bag at The Loft in Gualala, California.  It is made by Lyle Enterprises and comes in four sizes.  You can get the package with all four sizes from Amazon for about $45.  They come in several colors and are well constructed.

Both of my children have birthdays close together.  This year they decided that a shared birthday celebration would be okay.  We had a great family dinner out tonight and had a great time.  I am so proud of them and it was so great to see them.  A truly happy end of a great week and weekend.

I hope you have a wonderful week filled with blessings!


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Catching Up...

The journey of our lives take twists and turns through bright, happy places and gray, sad places.  Hopefully, both bring us to a place of peace, and help us to evolve throughout the years and help us to gain greater wisdom and insight.  Unfortunately, my own journey had to progress down a sadder path recently as my mother lost her 3 1/2 year battle with breast cancer late at night on June 20th.  The past few months she was in a tremendous amount of pain, and gratefully, she passed peacefully in her sleep.  I am grateful that she is not suffering anymore.  Her passing was quite a bit sooner than we had estimated (there was a six month window), but as my sister says, "None of us has an expiration date on us."  My mother was an intensely private person, which is why I had not shared it up to this point.  I still need to honor her privacy, even after her passing, so please forgive me for not sharing more about her or her battle with this horrible disease.  It is as she would have wanted it.

I work for a really amazing employer and have a terrific boss.  While I already had some vacation time scheduled for the week of the 4th of July, my supervisor supported my taking additional time for me to process everything and get some rest.  So I ended up taking about 10 days off and we headed up to the very peaceful Redwood Coast of California, up in the Sonoma-Mendocino area, one of my favorite places.  There are about 40 miles of bluff trail there above the crashing surf, so I was able to take lots of walks with Liesl, eat some healthy food (and some unhealthy food), sleep and be peaceful.  It was extremely helpful, and I am glad that I had the opportunity to step away from life to regroup.

The house that we rented, right near the ocean, had beautiful water vistas, observable from a gorgeous window seat.
As you can see, I had everything assembled for a quiet afternoon: Liesl, floss storage box, books, magazines, stitchy project, ipad, pillows for napping and additional projects in the bag.  As I get older, I pack fewer clothes and more art supplies.  The benefit of renting a house is that there is generally a washer and dryer, so I can do laundry as needed.  So I spent a few afternoons, on my perch here, stitching and looking at the ocean.  Usually, if we are travelling, I can read a book a day.  This time my head was not clear enough to read, so I stitched a bit more, so that my mind could wander through its thoughts.


I did end up starting and finishing Little House Needlework's "Home Sweet Home".  It is a smaller project and was actually an easy stitch. Please pardon the wrinklies. I splurged on the designer's called for colors.  I used Priscilla Barnes' method of outlining the flower centers and petals first and then going around in a circle to fill in.  I do like how it turned out and I am thinking of how I would like to finish it.

Over the past few months I have made a number of stash purchases.  I am feeling a little guilty about that.  However, I have to say that I am particularly happy with the fact that I finally have my "unicorn" chart.  Several years ago, when Mirabilia made the announcement that certain charts would no longer be available, I passed on the opportunity to buy Seaside Kingdom.  I live near the Pacific Ocean and have always loved this chart. I have regretted all of these years not buying it at that time. I said to myself that if another opportunity for me to purchase it arose, I would make sure to get it.  I had no intention of buying it at the prices on ebay.  While doing so is a matter of personal preference, it was not for me.  So, I was pretty happy when the re-release happened. 

There was a lot of excitement around the re-release.  I was travelling on business at the time of the release, so I figured if it is meant to happen, it would be.  I did not go searching all over and saw that a number of people were buying up multiple patterns, so I let it go.  However, the evening I returned from my business trip, I saw a post on 123 stitch that Cecelia's Sampler in Branson, Missouri, still had some non-LOTF patterns left.  I placed an order with them and I am happy to say that Seaside Kingdom is here and ready for me to stitch.  If only I could place an order for more time to stitch...

Lastly, little Miss Liesl is turning 11 in a few weeks.  (Of course there will be a celebration!)  She is her usual sparkly and sassy self, however, is starting to have a few health issues, like arthritis and her heart issue now requires medication.  In addition, she is having an ultrasound this week, so I have been praying and thinking positive thoughts.   If you wouldn't mind sending up a prayer or good thoughts and energy for her, I would really appreciate it.    She means the world to me.  :)

Hope you have a week full of wonder and magical things!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

I Want to Do All The Things!

It has taken me a while to come back here to post.  Part of the delay was that I use the camera on my phone to take photos and email them to my laptop so that I can upload them here.  For some reason, after the last IPhone update my phone would no longer email my photos.  I think I have the issue resolved but only after much googling and tinkering.  

It is hard to have so many interests which compete for my time.  I love my stitching, quilting, cooking, gardening, calligraphy, home décor, reading, and crocheting.  At the same time, there are so many things that I want to learn, such as water color painting.  Only recently, I rediscovered working on my family history again.  A couple of months ago, I re-upped with Ancestry.com after a five year absence.  I can't believe how easy it is to work with now, although you still have to be careful as there are also a lot of errors out there.  I have found several ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, which made me feel incredibly humbled for the sacrifice they made.

In between all of the competing interests, I had to make a little gift for my sweet baboo's little granddaughter, who just turned four and loves all things ballet.  The pattern is Country Cottage Needleworks, Little Ballerinas.  I did use the fancy floss and was happy that I did, because I loved the colors. 
 
A couple of weeks ago, I ran across a gorgeous pattern for a crocheted afghan.  (You can never have too many throw blankets and afghans.)   This one is worked in Lemon Peel Stitch.  I so loved the pattern that I used the same colors that the creator of the pattern used.  It is done in Caron Big Cakes - Summer Berry Tart.  I LOVE the colors.  The pattern calls to use to two strands at one time.  This is a bit challenging, but the result is gorgeous.  You can find the pattern here:  https://www.hookedonhomemadehappiness.com/color-kaleidoscope-crochet-blanket-pattern/?epik=02O4vE_IW3-t2


A word of warning here.  It is a little harder on your hands to work two strands at one and it can dry your hands out. However, it will be really cozy when it is complete.

Have a great week!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Stitchy Stuff

Well, it has been a little longer than I thought it would be before I made it back to post here.  The first quarter of the year is generally crazy for me as an accountant.  This year has not been any different and my brain is a little mushy as a result.  I have been able to stitch a little bit and I am finishing up the piece above although not in time for Easter 2018.  It is a pretty fun stitch.  Next year I will have it finished and ready to display.

I usually have a little shopping cart accumulating over time at 123stitch.  I decided to treat myself and checked out a couple of weeks ago.  123stitch has such an amazing selection and they are supersonic fast at shipping.  Here was my haul:

 
Some time back, I shared my love of fruit in cross stitch and paintings.  I knew I had to have the fruit smalls to be stitched on the black background.  The bunnies were just too cute to pass up and I really like them on the black background.  I know that a lot of stitchers avoid black fabric, but I enjoy working with it and stitching really pops against the background.
I love these snow people.  My son is getting married in October, and I immediately thought of him and his fiancé when I saw this.  We live in on the Central Coast of California and have not seen a snowman in about fifteen years but this just made me think of the happy couple when I saw it.  It's so gosh darn cute.

"Bloom Where You Are Planted" is one of my favorite sayings.  I love this small, especially the hummingbird.  I think it will be a great reminder to flourish and be joyful. 

The Monterey Peninsula is a beautiful place full of natural seaside gorgeousness.  It is why I love it so much here.  However, it is not a retail metropolis.  It takes a while (like years) for us to get stores that you will find elsewhere.  I was giddy with excitement, as were my fellow Peninsula residents when a HomeGoods opened here back in September.  I have to have full restraint when I go in there, which is not often.  

Last week, I had the opportunity to go into the local HomeGoods, just to look around.  I did not find anything for the humans in the household.  I did come across some cute things for my furry soul sister though.  Liesl normally has two bowls, and it never fails, generally both would be dirty and in the dishwasher when I would prepare her dinner.  I happened upon a whole bunch of Rae Dunn dog bowls for $5.99 each so I bought five to use as food and water bowls so that I can always have a clean one at the ready.  Liesl is now stylin' when she devours her dinner.  The top one there makes me laugh, because schnauzers are pretty turfy about everything.  


Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Birthday Fun!

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 55th birthday.  Wow, that got here fast!  I still feel like I am in my thirties, so it seems very abstract in a way to be 55.  I feel great joy and have learned a lot in the past 55 years.  I walk in gratitude for my life experiences, which have been pretty cool and varied, and I am still excited about what else lies ahead.  I have been very blessed.  

Several years ago, I read that your birthday is a magical day and is a day for you to project what you want in the year ahead.  Birthday wishes take on greater importance with this knowledge.  As a result, I do not believe in working on my birthday and will only do things that I absolutely enjoy.  I eat my favorite foods and go to my favorite places.  I fill my day with happiness so that I will have happiness for the next year.

This year for my big birthday, I got whisked away for the weekend to my favorite place on the Redwood Coast of California.  This is the place where my soul feels at home and where I feel really happy and centered.
 My favorite breakfast spot there is a vegetarian type restaurant, which overlooks where the Gualala River meets the Pacific Ocean. (above)  While we were there, I noticed a huge bird sitting on this bare tree.  (He is right in the center of the photo below.)  I noticed that he had a white head and white tail feathers.  I said out loud, "Oh my goodness, is that a Bald Eagle?!"  It turns out that there is a nesting pair of bald eagles in the area.  It turns out that they hunt salmon where the river meets the ocean.  I even saw one on the beach one of the days.  It was miraculous to see one in person.  The Native Americans hold eagles in high regard, and believe that since they fly higher than any other bird, that they are special messengers who carry our prayers to God.  I felt really lucky to see one.

The skies were pretty gray and stormy during our weekend. ( Liesl thinks we should go to the beach anyway.)  Liesl always seems to know when it is my special day.  She is a very affectionate dog, loves to be petted and kissed on her head, but does not cuddle nor sit on laps.  I respect that this is who she is and accept it.  On my birthday, we were sitting in front of the fireplace in a stormy evening.  All of the sudden, she decided to cuddle and put her head on my lap and just snuggled up.  It was a beautiful and perfect birthday gift.  She cuddled for a long time and I enjoyed every moment of it, not wanting to move or for it to end.  She just knows stuff.
I have stitched for a few minutes here and there.  I am coming along on my dishtowel.  I really enjoy this project.  It is making me hungry.  LOL  It is really a fun stitch.  
Well, it is past my bedtime and Miss Liesl is awaiting her turn down service with cookie.  LOL

Make it a great week!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Little Pre-Birthday Stitchy Treat


A week or two ago someone posted a photograph of this DMC Collector Tin on one of the cross stitch sites on Facebook.  It comes with 35 full sized skeins of the new colors from DMC.  The packaging is quite beautiful.  Just look at how those DMC labels all line up!  I looked it up on 123stitch and saw that it was really reasonably priced.  I have a birthday coming up and with all of the extra hours I have been putting in, I thought I would treat myself.  
I always want to make shipping costs worth it, LOL.  I have been wanting the Plum Street Samplers Cinnamon Stars.  I also got a grab bag of 6 inch squares of evenweave for ornaments.  Usually, whenever I place an order at 123stitch, I also pick up a package of Bohin needles.   It is always good to have extra on hand.
That DMC tin looks so pretty that I am not sure I want to use the floss.  LOL

Well, a certain furry someone is letting me know it is time for her to be tucked in.  :)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A New Small Project

I am working on a decorative dishtowel.  When the project is complete, there will be a total of three dessert motifs across the band, (unless I can fit five).  The dishtowel can be sourced on 123Stitch, and is a large dishtowel made of 100% cotton.  The manufacturer is Dohler, and I believe the towels are available in red, yellow and blue.  There are actually a nice selection of towels available on 123stitch.  I am impressed by the quality of this particular one.  

The pattern for this can be found in a small paperback book, Cross Stitch Motif Series 6, by Maria Diaz.  Ms. Diaz has a tremendous eye for color.  Her designs are so beautiful. As in most cases, this photograph does not do the project justice.  The book is available at Amazon.com along with Ms. Diaz's other books.  (While I believe in shopping locally, the closest LNS is 2 1/2 hours away.  I am still shocked by the closure of Nordic Needle, so I am trying to do my part to help keep 123stitch thriving.  So I check there first and when I am not in luck there, I check Amazon.)
   
I actually saw a similar project completed by another stitcher several months ago on one of the Facebook cross stitch sites.  I recall that she had stitched the desserts on a yellow gingham towel.  I wish that I could recall which site and stitcher so that I could give proper credit.  This is a super fun stitch and the colors are rich and interesting.   I stayed up a little too late last night watching the Olympics and stitching.  I usually go to bed around 9pm, and Liesl likes to go to bed at the same time.  She was giving me the hairy eyeball last night for making her stay up late, too.  LOL

I need to find a good cross stitch inventory app for my IPhone.  I tried to start this project last Sunday evening.  The first color the pattern called for was 436.  I still store a set of DMC floss on bobbins in one of the old Tracker boxes from Walmart.  (It has a handle and is easy to bring along when I travel.)  I went into the box, and there was no 436.  I had 435 and 437, but no 436.  Several years ago, my local Walmart got rid of its craft section and so I bought a lot of DMC in random colors for 10 cents a skein.  So I have some back stock of DMC.  I looked in the drawer where I store it, there were lots of 433, 435, and 437, but alas, no 436.  Luckily, there is a Michaels on my way home from work, so I ran in on Monday night, and made my huge purchase of one skein of DMC 436.  Several of the colors called for in the pattern, are in my stash in very limited quantities, so I need to keep better track.  

I hope you have a great week ahead, and that you have all of the floss you need to complete your projects!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Lunch at the Steinbecks

If you are a fan of American literature, you will know that John Steinbeck was from Salinas, California. John Steinbeck is highly celebrated in Salinas now, although that was not always the case when he was alive.  I am a huge fan of his work and appreciate how he wrote of the human condition.  I have loved his books since I picked up a copy of "In Dubious Battle" when I was 12 or 13 years old. 

If you have read East of Eden, you might recall his description of Ernst and Olive Steinbeck's Victorian home  on Central Avenue in Salinas.  The house does exist and is John Steinbeck's childhood home.  The house has been lovingly maintained by volunteers.  To support their efforts and cost of maintaining the home, the volunteers run a lovely restaurant out of the home.  It is really amazing to sit in the home surrounded by the family's photographs and the beautiful antiques.  

The restaurant is quite cozy and I get to have lunch there from time to time.  I am in awe every time  I walk up those steps that I get to walk into a place where John Steinbeck spent so much of his life.  Today I met a friend for lunch at the Steinbeck House. Unfortunately, I was not able to get photos of the inside today.  My friend is very cool and we had a lovely time talking and laughing.  It was really special to have such a great time and to sit in the parlor of one of my favorite writers.  The house is lovely and I have a lot of respect for those who put so much work in keeping it vibrant.

It is hard when your love of books competes for time with love of cross stitch.  I am stitching but not as fast as I would like.  Below is my Apple square for Teresa Wentzler's Fruit Bellpull.  The apples have a lot of definition now.  It is almost time to move on to the next square.  Yay!

I hope you are having great week and that the rest of your week is full of blessings.