Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bittersweet Holidays

2oo8 has been a really trying year. We consider ourselves really fortunate as we still have jobs, a place to live and food in our stomachs. We are pretty lucky in general. However, we have had a really difficult year and hope for good things in 2009 for all people.

The worst thing of the whole year happened on Christmas Eve. During the day, my husband's mother was taken to the emergency room. We were terribly worried as it was the third time since Thanksgiving. That night I was the assisting minister for the Christmas Eve service at our church and made certain that she was included in the prayers. DH and I came home in a jovial mood and commenced to try to clean the house in order to give it some semblance of looking nice despite all of the moving boxes. Around 10:30 pm the phone rang with the news that Bob's beloved mother had passed away 15 minutes earlier (at 12:17 am Christmas Day, in her time zone.) The family is so sad and her children are brokenhearted. DH had been to see her in the midwest several times this year, due to the health issues of his dad. He had been there most recently right before Thanksgiving. Plans are being made for a memorial, but with the holidays and all, it is going to take quite a bit of time and planning.


We did proceed with the move as planned, and DH found keeping busy was quite valuable for him. We now sit amongst the boxes. The dog is a bit stressed but is settling in. I took her shopping today at Petsmart since the Christmas toys are 50-75% off. She got 3 new ones at $2 a piece. It tickled my heart to see her with them in a little pile and her covering them possesively with her little puppy arms, just smiling up at me with a radiant little puppy smile. There is something blissful about watching a dog with new toys.


In spite of all of the difficulties this year, I am so grateful. Grateful for my family, my friends, my terrific dream job, my sweet little dog, creative pursuits, fair ribbons, food to eat, knitting and shopping with my daughter, and living in a beautiful part of the world.

I pray that you will have good health and much prosperity in 2009. May your joy be boundless.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Moving The Cozy Cottage!

I have not posted in about two weeks now, with good reason, I swear. I really thought that life would slow down after my classes ended. I was picturing baking, stitching, and asundried hall decking. But nooooo. Sadly, the cozy cottage's landlady passed away earlier this year. (She was a really neat lady.) Her sons would like to sell the cozy cottage and have had several construction and painting projects over the past few months. However, they are planning a major construction project which involves finishing the basement and putting in a staircase through the interior of our house. Since it has been averaging in the 30's F lately, this scenario, plus all of the construction workers coming and going would make the cottage less than cozy.

So after the contractor and the landlord did a walk through of our house two Sundays ago, we put Liesl into the car and started driving around the neighborhoods that we like, looking for a new cozy cottage. The most important features would have to be that 1) it would be dog friendly and 2) there would be no sign of contruction, scaffolding, and tools near the place.

Just as we were giving up for the day, we decided to take a route up a street that we do not drive on much, on our way home. There was the perfect little house for us with a "For Rent" sign on it. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we are sitting amongst boxes. Moving day is next Saturday, two days after Christmas. We are excited but very stressed, as you can imagine.

This will be a good move for us. We will be closer to town. The craft room/office has really good light. The house has central heat. It is in a really good neighborhood. We really loved it here, but are getting excited about the new adventure. Plus I get to decorate a new living space. Fun!

I really miss stitching. It brings me so much peace, but my play time is at a minimum. I just keep thinking that a month from now, things will be much better and less stressful.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On A Cold Winter's Night...

Brrrr. It is cold. Like, 35 degrees cold. Like, oh my goodness, it is totally chilly. I have had a fire going all evening. It does not help the fact that I have a head cold and don't smell too good. LOL

And yet, I am happy dancing. I am totally finished with my classes for the semester. It does not seem real. I had to take my last test tonight, so now I can be one with my stitching again. The only problem is that my hands are too cold to stitch.

We have one by product of the cold that we are enjoying. We have had our little Liesl for about a year now. She is 16 months old. She has small moments of cuddling, but is basically too busy to sit still that long. She tends to prefer to sleep in her own comfy little bed. The last few nights have been so cold that she get up in the middle of the night and waits for her little elevator ride (daddy picking her up) so that she can get into the bed. She has been snuggling right under the covers and unapologetically shares my pillow. It has been pretty nice. She generates alot of heat. She has been very cuddly.

I am super duper excited about tomorrow evening. My daughter and I are meeting for sushi and then doing a little shopping together. I think it will be so much fun. She has become an accomplished knitter, so we get to talk about crafts. Perhaps we will even go to the new Michaels. Yay!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Whoohooooo!

Yesterday, I wrote my last brief for my business law class. Now I just have the two tests tomorrow and I will be D-U-N, done! I can not wait.

I actually got to stitch today! It was awesome! I finished the forearm and some of the stitching in the hoop section on the Lady of the Thread. As I looked at the pattern, it looks like there are large blocks of color, so stitching actually goes quickly. It is stitched on 18 ct black aida. This presents an interesting challenge, eyesight-wise. LOL

In any case, it was really nice to stitch. My hubby lit a nice fire today so I was able to warm my feet while I stitched. It was so nice. My next class is not until March 31 ( a compressed course) so I have some time to stitch after the holidays. I could not believe it until today how much I have really missed it.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

I'm Having Issues...

I am not usually the kind of person that has multiple projects going at once. I am an accountant and pretty linear in my thinking, so I finish one project before I start the next.

The hardanger doily is driving me nuts. I think because I tend to have to rush through my stitching, the buttonhole, turning the corner stitch has me all dazed and confused. I have had to frog the same stitches over and over. Since it is pearle cotton, it is a total drag to try to pull out. I think it would be best if I try to work on it after the holidays when I have time to concentrate.

The guilt is killing me. In addition to be an accountant, I am also Lutheran. We can do guilt like no other. LOL I feel like I am wasting money by not seeing the project through to the end.

I was going through my box of kits (another producer of guilt.) It was like Christmas. There were a lot of things in there that I had forgotten about. I ended up pulling out my kit that I bought on a ridiculous clearance of about $10 at the Stitchery several years ago. It is a full kit of Lavendar & Lace's Lady of the Thread. I love MLI's work and have wanted to stitch this for a long time. It is on Aida and I usually prefer linen, but I really think it will be lovely. I have a fetish for stitching fruit so I love the little fruit boarder.

In a way, it is better that I am starting something new. Since the other project was becoming a drag, I was avoiding it. As a result, I was not stitching anything. This way I can at least be working on something before coming back to my little challenge.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Love Stitching And All, But...

About a month ago I saw a blog that had a stitcher holding up her finished project. It was a huge stitched version of the Sistine Chapel. It was absolutely stunning. She is a much better woman than I.

I love big projects. I really do. I have stitched three L&L angels, a huge Permin sampler, the Celtic Sampler, as well as several other large pieces. In fact, I favor big projects. However, these projects pale in comparison, size-wise. The finished Sistine Chapel is about the size of my fireplace. Wow!

Fast forward to tonight. I was fiddling around on Nordic Needle and saw the Sistine Chapel on sale. The regular price was $645 but it was on sale for $451. I was telling my hubby that it must be some kind of kit. But no, I was mistaken. That was just for the pattern. Holy moley! I am just wondering where and how you find a piece of fabric that size. It boggles my mind.

Evidently, I was not feeling it for doing my last homework assignment tonight. I sat down and could not bring myself to review a case and start writing a brief. The dog was cuddling on the sofa with us, so I just wanted to sit and relax with the mister and our furgirl. I ended up fussing around on the laptop looking at cross stitch. Most productive. LOL

Sunday, November 30, 2008

One More Week...

Yes, that is right. One week from Monday, I will be done with classes for a while. I wrote my last paper today for my business management class. Then I printed out the case that I need to write a brief for in my law class. So I just need to write the brief tomorrow night, then I am all done with assignments. All that will be left to be done is take my last test in each class next Monday night them I am D-U-N, done!

So come next Tuesday, let the stitching begin! It will be a total stitching-palooza! A plethora of patterns, a festival of fabrics and floss. Let us not forget the chocolate! If I am really going to do this up right, perhaps I can get the hubby boy to feed me Cheetos whilst I stitch. Don't want to get the orange Cheeto dust on my fabrics, dontcha know.

I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. Ours was very quiet, spent in sweats. We are still lamenting the fact that the mini schnauzer was not the best of class or best of show at the dog show. Heck, it did not even really get any camera time. What was up with that?! Do they not understand the absolute beauty of the miniature schnauzer?

This season it seemed even clearer to us to count our blessings. It has been a rough year on us, as it has been for so many others. Yet, every day we say how fortunate we are, because we are so grateful for what we do have. We pray that each of you would also be blessed many times over and that you would know peace and joy in the upcoming holiday season.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Been Away Too Long...

Can you even believe it is Thanksgiving in a few days? Oy! My hubby and I are alone this year on T-Day, so I am figuring on spending all day in sweats. Since it is just the two of us, and we are really worried about food going to waste, hubby is going to smoke a turkey breast. We are just going to have sweet potatoes and green bean casserole with it. Hubby says he will still make me my favorite sweet potato and bacon rolls. I will make a sweet potato pie. We figure that we will get up and take the dog to the beach if it is not raining. Then he'll get the smoker going. I plan on doing some serious stitching in front of the parade and the dog show. (We will be majorly cheering for the miniature schnauzer to take it all!) I am looking forward to a quiet day.

My classes are coming to an end. I have one paper and one test left in each class. Classes are over Dec. 8th. I am seriously considering taking next semester off so I can focus on learning my job really well. I really had my heart set on the macro-economics class, but I guess it is not to be for right now. Plus I am a little burnt out with taking two tough classes at once and not really having time to do anything artistic.

I have not had a chance to stitch, which is why I have not posted. I stitch in five minute increments so it is not really worth posting about. Mostly, I come home, do chores and study. I am looking forward to some creative time. I have several patterns calling to me. LOL

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hurray! Got to Stitch!

Okay, it was not for very long, but still. It was a hopping weekend. I had a lot of housework to do, the pup to take care of, a huge test, and a big paper that is due. Sadly, it did not leave me a lot of time for stitching. I had hoped to stitch during the race, but it was not to be so I had to watch the race with the sound down for a while, whilst I composed my paper.

I have gotten three sides of the leaves and vine done. One more side to go. I will be so happy when I get to do the actual hardanger. I thought about cheating a bit and starting the hardanger without finishing the other part first. But I am an accountant and therefore, it is hard for me to step outside of my own self-imposed rules, no fun that they are. LOL

It is so hard to believe that Thanksgiving is in a week and a half. I have been watching the Thanksgiving themed shows on the Food Channel. November is flying by really, really fast. It is even hard to believe because two weeks ago it was 38 degrees, then raining, then cold again. Ever since last Thursday it has been in the 80's. It is ridiculously hot! We may be having barbecue and margaritas for Thanksgiving if this keeps up!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Liesl

Well, Little Miss Liesl did well at the office today. She was a little growly for some of her meet and greets. She just had so many people to meet and I think she might have been overly tired by the day. Everyone was so nice to her. The head of the company even came down to give her a cookie and was impressed with how polite and gently she accepted. Due to some scheduling stuff with my hubby, she will be with me the rest of the week. She did find my toy stash that I had for her. It was mentioned by more than one person that she might be a bit spoiled. I was shocked. LOL

I appreciate the kind words about her posted here. We are so blessed to have her around. She is a really comedian and makes us laugh. At the same time, she is just so easy to have around. We lucked out.

Here is a picture of her since she went to the groomers yesterday. Having the shoes nearby really gives an idea of how small she is (16 lbs.)






I am not sure I will get to stitch tonight. But will definitely stitch this weekend!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

First of all, a very respectful thank you who have served our country. A very big welcome back goes to my 20 year old nephew, Donovan, who recently returned from overseas while serving in the Army. We are so proud of you.

Things were kind of crazy today. I had the day off from my new job, so it was a day to try to catch up on a bunch of things. My Liesl had to go to the groomer, and I had several dog related items to pick up at Target. My job is a dog friendly workplace, and she is joining me for the first time tomorrow. So she needed toys and treats to keep her busy while I am doing my job. We get to take a nice long walk at lunch time, which I am really looking forward to. She usually goes to work with her daddy, so she is used to being around an office.

Back to stitching-I plan on stitching as soon as I finish this posting. I have my stuff next to me, ready to go. Whoohoo! Here is a picture of my progress so far:
It is a really fun stitch. I still have to do all of the hardanger finish all around it so that it finishes into a doily. The strawberry shaped items are in queen stitch. The camera also picked up the glimmer of the gold thread used around the border. It is much prettier in person than it appears in the photo.


I think I need to share what was going on to the side of the table as I was trying to take the above photo:


The object that she was trying to reach while I was distracted, was a toy that I had taken away because she was not being nice to it. She has since gotten it back and is happy again. She is such a sweet little furgirl. I am so glad that I was blessed with her little furry and sassy self.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Weekend Flew By!

It was a very stormy weekend here on the California Central Coast. It absolutely poured. What is funny about it is that yesterday when we took Liesl to the dog beach, I had said that the weather was perfect. It was warm and sunny, the sky was blue. There was not a rain cloud in sight. By the afternoon, it was a downpour. So it was a great evening for a fire. The sound of rain always makes me a bit sleepy so I think I was asleep by 9:30.

Today was a whirlwind. Of course, we had church first thing in the morning. Then home for lunch. I had so wanted to stitch, but I had a test for one of my classes. I realized that I really need to adjust my attitude for this class. I really am not enjoying it. In fact, I do not like it. The instructor only keeps the test open Friday through Sunday and is not always clear on the study guide. Having a test only on the weekend is rough when you have other responsibilities. On top of that the test is timed for 45 minutes so there is no time to re-check answers. I really need to find a way to like this class. I have 28 days to go until it is over.

I did get to stitch for about an hour tonight. It was lovely. I am almost done with the backstitched vine. Plus I got to put a few leaves on it. I think I will stitch in my car at lunch tomorrow. I will try to post a picture tomorrow night. It really is so pretty.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Blog-tastic!

I love the blogospere! I really do. I think it is so much fun to post, especially when I am able to post pictures. It is amazing to me, who grew up in the age of the black and white television that you had to warm up. As a teenager it was cool if you had a radio that had both AM and FM. Now here we are in an age where you can hold a computer on your lap or the palm of your hand. A little ol' cross stitcher like me can post a photograph on a daily web site on the internet without needing help of a computer tech. It really does amaze me sometimes how much technology has changed in my lifetime.

Anyway, I love to read blogs. It seems like I find really good ones all of the time. There are some really creative bloggers out there. The blogs on my blog roll are the ones I check pretty much everyday. Some of my very favorites are Crockpot 365, Cakewrecks (very funny!) and The World's Largest Collection of Smalls. These are the ones that I check first thing in the morning every day when I have my coffee.

I am making progress on my doily. I hope to post a picture this weekend. I am coming into the home stretch with my classes so I have not been able to stitch on it a much as I would like. I am stitching in my car at lunchtime, which is very nice and peaceful. I am thinking that I will need to come up with a nice set up, maybe with one of those tabletop caddies for my car after the holidays. I will also need some sort of ort jar that fits in a cup holder. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ginghers!

As I am working on my hardanger doily, I am thinking about the old adage about the right tool for the job. With hardanger you have to have really sharp, short pointed scissors. Recently I had the opportunity to purchase a lovely pair of Ginghers that are ideal.

These scissors are a true work of art. They are the Gingher Pewter scissors. On Columbus Day Joann.com had a 50% off coupon for any item on the site. These gorgeous scissors are regularly $52. With my coupon they were only $26. They are so delicate looking and so beautiful. Gingher really makes a quality product.

My Lori Birmingham doily is turning out to be a quick stitch. It will look so pretty with the matching basket on it. Now I have to find a place in the house to put it. I will post a photo as soon as it is all done.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Cozy Weekend At Home

It ended up being a rainy weekend here on the Central Coast of California. Hubby and I started yesterday by trying to beat the rain and taking Liesl to the beach. It was not to be, however, because the rain started to fall on our drive over. We found that little Miss Liesl does not like the rain and will do pretty much anything to avoid being out in it. She is our little sugar cube. LOL Since we were already out, we went off to Trader Joe's to pick up a few yummy treats to keep in the fridge. We were happy to be back home out of the rain, and settled in for the rest of the quiet weekend. Hubby even baked some yummy bread and made crab bisque for dinner.

The rain that we had was a really good one and much needed. Hubby and I went for a walk with Liesl early this morning. Everything just smelled so fresh and clean. The Central California dust was washed off of everything, so it all of the colors were so bright and vivid. The greens looked especially vibrant.

It was really nice to have the extra hour this weekend. It feels pretty decadent. It was nice to be home, watching the race and doing some stitching. I finished the stitching for the basket topper, but was not inspired enough to do the finishing for the actual basket. You have to be in a special mood for that. So now I am perusing the stitching instructions for the hardanger doily. It is really pretty. There are quite a few specialty stitches in both parts, but they are my favorites like the queen stitch.

I am glad that we got to relax and be cozy this weekend. Tomorrow is my first day of my working only at my new job. I am so excited.

Friday, October 31, 2008

TGIF!

I had the best intentions of posting a photo of my Lori Birmingham piece, but the evening crept up on me and before I knew it, bedtime was here. I have to say that I am really impressed with this kit. It has two lovely overdyes in it that are used for all of the stitching. They are so pretty. As always, the project is much prettier than the photo lets on. It is so feminine and pretty. I am mentally preparing myself for the hardanger doily. LOL

I am a bit tired this evening. Today was the last day at my old part time job, so I had to finish up all of my duties. I am really looking forward to just working the new job and just concentrating on what I need to learn instead of going back and forth.

It is supposed to rain like crazy here this weekend. I am looking forward to it and just sitting in front of a fire. I have a bit of homework to do and I really want to get this LB basket finished. Then I really have to get some gifts started for Christmas. Can you believe it is almost here?!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Week Is A Wild Ride

Whadda week. I am on the last two days of my two week notice of my old job while working simultaneously at my new job. It is a wee bit stressful to ramp up on one job and closing out another, making notes for the next person. On top of it all, I have developed a bad cold. Drag.

I have started the Lori Birmingham basket topper. It is really pretty, worked in overdyes. What I did not realize until I opened the package is that there is also a pattern and all the fixins for a matching hardanger doily. How cool is that. I love doing hardanger. Once I got over my fear of cutting, I was set to jet! I learned how to carefully cut the threads by Lori B. herself. She taught me to count the threads and then count them again on my scissor before I made a cut. It is actually really easy once you do it. Hardanger actually goes a lot more quickly than cross stitch for me. I love the results.

I have found the ideal spot to have my lunch at the new job. It is actually in my car. The parking lot faces a somewhat wooded area so it is somewhat serene. Plus, it is really quiet. So far I have been studying for school, but I am thinking that it is a good place to do some quiet stitching. I am wondering how I can make a little portable stitching studio for the car. I shall have to put some thought into this.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Found A Small Kit to Work On

It was a long day today with the homework, studying and test I had to take for my classes. It took the better part of the day. I had big plans of kitting up my Farmer's Alphabet, but when I finally finished my schoolwork, I was all but drooling. I got the pattern out for FA, but tried to comprehend the fabric needs. I was not sure I have 32 count in my stash. I have mostly 28 count, thanks to a door prize that hubby won several years ago at CATS. It was a bag of fat quarters, which he promptly gifted to me. But as usual, I digress...

As I stood there, pattern in hand, I was not sure I could summon the strength to kneel in front of the fabric drawer trying to find the perfect piece of fabby. Then I could not form my mind around the question of whether to stitch it over 1 or 2. I figured that given that I was drooling out of exhaustion and saturation of schoolwork, that it would be best not to be near fabric. Especially overdyes. LOL

So instead, I went to box of kits and found a lovely Lori Birmingham kit of the Sarah Belle Nantucket Basket to work on tonight. It is small and pretty easy. I love Lori Birmingham! Her work is so pretty and feminine. Plus she is an absolutely lovely person. I had the pleasure of taking a class at CATS and just thought she was a joy.

I am trying to stay off 123stitch tonight. LOL Today for some reason, people were posting finishes of the Shepard's Bush patterns. Oh my goodness, they are so beautiful. I love the colors and style. I have a few in my "collection." (I am afraid though that if I stitch them that I can not possibly frame them without the fabulous Jill Rensel mats!) The patterns are so lovely and really affordable. Plus they do look lovely finished as pillows. I just love their work!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Looking Forward to the Weekend!

Well, it has been a wild week! I am really happy that the weekend is here. I am thinking about starting a new project and stitching away. I have a test and a paper due, but it should leave me some time to stitch.

I am trying to decide what I want to stitch next. I still have the J to finish, but I am off a stitch and I can not seem to find where I went astray. Grrr. So I figure I will put it away for a while and come back to it. In the meantime, I am considering what to do next. For some reason Prairie Schooler's Farmers Alphabet is calling out to me. I think I like the fact that it is done in squares and with DMC. I have plenty of DMC on hand so I should not have to make any new investments in new supplies.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Whoohoo! I Got To Stitch

It has been a very busy week! I learned on Friday evening that I was got hired for a really incredible job. I don't think I slept at all this past weekend, I was so very excited. I started today and just love the organization. I am working at my old job as well for my two weeks notice, so it is a busy time as I close out the old job and learn the new one, In addition, I am trying to stay on track with my two classes...All in all, I just feel fortunate. Fortunate to have a great job, fortunate to be healthy, fortunate that I can go to school, fortunate for my family, my dog, a place to live, food in my stomach...

I put my book learnin' to the side tonight and treated myself to a little stitching time. Well, first I treated myself to a little playing with my sweet little dog time. She loves to chase, be chased and play hide and seek. So we played while my hubby picked up a special treat from the tacqueria for us. Then I stitched upon my J. It looks really good.

I am back at my new job again tomorrow. I am so happy to be doing accounting again.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Well, At Least I Got To Sit In My Craftroom...


I did not get to stitch or craft today and I am not happy. I had a 13 chapter exam for one of my online community college classes that I had to get done tonight or I would start getting behind. These chapters were on Contract Law and were so hard and so full of detail. I have been trying to understand it for about two weeks. It took about 2 1/2 hours to take the test because I am a worrywart and have to check myself 3 times. Argh. So now I have another few chapters to read in preparation for the next assignment in that class. Plus I want to get a head start on the assignments for my other classes. Sadly, all of this cuts into my stitchy time...

The one thing that makes me happy though is that I get to do all of this stuff in my craft room/office. This is most likely my favorite room in the house. I am not even sure what my favorite element in the room is. It is so cozy and has a beautiful view of the hills around us. To make matters even sweeter, my little Liesie has been dozing away on the ottoman while I sit in the lounge chair that accompanies it. It makes my heart happy to see her there, all curled up, over my book.

I am going to try to take some quiet time to stitch tomorrow. I really feel the need to do something creative!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Busy, busy...

Wow! The last two days have flown by. I had all of these plans to work on my Chrismons and my "J." Life just got heaped on. Last night was chorus so it was a late night. We were out a little early so my first thought was, "Awesome! I have a few extra minutes to stitch. By the time I got home it was still after 10 and I was ready to hit the hay!

Today was very busy. I had a meeting at church regarding the upcoming holidays. I need to get a piece written on the symbolism of the Chrismons that I made. I think this is a very cool project because it will help members of our congregation understand some of the pieces.

I also had to go to the class meeting for my 8 week online course tonight. I am looking forward to this class, but there is really a lot of homework and projects. I really love school. I know that online courses are not for everyone, but I really like them. I just have to make sure I keep tabs on my calendar and stay organized. I also like the online course because I am a visual learner, so I am able to keep myself on track.

I am really inspired now that the angels are framed. I have several other items in a box that are finished but unframed. Now I am thinking that I can start making sure that these pieces have a new life outside of the box. When I think of how long I denied myself looking at those beautiful angels, I just get sad. The angels are bringing me so much joy, and there are so many other pieces that could be doing the same. What a crime. So now it is my goal to clean out that box before the end of the year.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Found A WIP To Work On



I found a WIP that I started earlier this year. It is an M Designs Letter J (our last initial.) I became intrigued several years ago by a posting by Lynn on 123stitch where she had stitched her and her husband's initials and vertically framed them all together with seperate cutouts in a mat. It was stunning. It is one of those design ideas that has stayed with me.

I am stitching this J, 1 over 1, on 28 count cashel linen. I made sure that I have enough for all three initials in advance. I am stitching it with Thread Gatherer Charcoal Silk floss that. I had everything I needed in my stash, so it was almost like stitching for free. LOL

I really like stitching these little initials. They are intricate, but the pattern is easy to read. This should go quickly. I am afraid that I will not really be able to stitch the other two intials until after the first of the year but that is okay.

I am still getting used to seeing my angels on my previously blank wall. I can see them down my hallway from my bedroom. There is something so comforting about seeing them there. I have always loved angels, and what inspired me to stitch L&L angels is that they look exactly like what I imagine angels look like. So I so enjoy seeing them. I can not pick out a favorite. I love all of them. I just can not believe that I get to look at them every single day now!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

L & L Angels




After years and years sitting in a Sterilite container, one since about 1993, it was time for my L&L angels to be framed. I had had the Larson-Juhl frames that I bought at 50% off at Michaels about 7 years ago. I had bought the frames all alike, so they could be displayed together. Best laid plans and all of that, they just never got framed. DH has been bugging me about it since we started dating a little over 5 years ago.

I have been thinking about it for a few weeks, pretty much every time the frames would "jump" out of my semi stuffed closet. DH does pretty much all of the framing around here. Having been a carpenter, he gets out the measuring tape and squares it all up. This is in stark contrast to my "eyeballing it" method of framing, which can also be referred to as the "willy-nilly method." He will also actually measure on the wall when hanging the pictures, which always has me standing there hands on hips asking the ridiculous question, "How come we can't just eyeball it?" This leads to a fair amount of eyerolling, exasperated exhaling, throwing up of hands and ultimately, apologizing. But again, I digress.

My hubby, henceforth referred to as "Sir Bob, Knight in Shining Armor," got out the supplies and framed my angels. They are truly breathtaking. Each one is in a 16X20 frame so they are quite large. I can not believe it when I look up and see them. I feel a bit ashamed that they were tucked away for all of these years where we could not enjoy them. I see them now and they give me a sense of peace with their size and beauty.

I feel so fortunate and happy. They look wonderful and I am so looking forward to looking at them for many years to come.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wonderful Fall Day!

We woke up today to really cold temperatures. It was 38 degrees Farenheit. Brrrrrr. We have a standing date with our furgirl to go to the beach on Saturday mornings. Today was just too darn cold, so we lit a fire and waited for the day to warm up a bit. It was finally about 11 am before we could walk around the neighborhood. By then, it had become a beautiful day.

After our walk, we went and ran some errands. I do not know why I insist upon going to Costco on Saturday. I must be out of my mind. At the very least I should remember to stay away from the bottlenecks that occur around the food samples. There are days I swear that people roam the aisles of Costco for lunch. But I digress...

There is one thing that always comes to mind when the weather turns crisp: Sweet Potato Pie. Yum! Today was the day to make the first pie of the season. I love sweet potato pie. Traditional sweet potato pie has the orange peel and nutmeg as flavoring, not the cinnamon that many recipes call for. It is so comforting to eat. My hubby made his fabulous pie crust. We both remarked how we would both love to just take a spoon and eat the sweetened condensed milk as we tried to scrape every last bit out of the can. There really are not many things better than sweetened condensed milk, really.

It was such a nice day, very cozy at home. Hubby baked bread, we watched the race and Liesl napped amongst her various blankies. It was nice to have such a great day, for tomorrow I have a monster paper due for my class, when I would really rather stitch...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Craft Stores

We are pretty lucky here. We have not one, but two pretty good craft stores. We have a California based company called Beverly's, which has a nice selection of crafts, and an exceptional selection of fabric. They carry Michael Miller and Moda fabrics, which are my very favorites. In addition, we have a brand-spanking new Michaels. If I do not need fabric, I will usually drive the extra 10 minutes to the Michaels because they have a terrific overall craft selection and have better prices.

I had to go to Target today, which is in the same shopping center as Michaels. (I always seem to run out of all of my cleaning supplies all at once, hence the trip to Target.) I needed some feathers for an angel Chrismon that I am working on so I ran into Michaels. I am noticing that the bead section gets bigger and bigger. They are so beautiful, and seem to get nicer and nicer with each selection that is added. However, this also makes me sad...

I realize that crafts are cyclical and sadly, cross stitch is not at the top of the cycle. I have noticed that there is hardly anything left for cross stitcher. There is the obligatory selection of DMC and aida cloth, but no patterns, no Mill Hill beads, no nice linen, no pretty Gingher designer scissors. While I do not purchase many kits, I was disappointed to see that cross stitch kits never even made it to this store. It just seems like such a shame. I remember a day when even department stores like JC Penney and Mervyn's carried stitching kits and supplies. Every mall had a LNS.

I will say that the quality of craft supplies has improved so greatly over the past twenty years. I am so impressed with the varied items and the professional look that the average person can achieve with what they can pick up at the local craft store. I love being able to work with a lot of different materials and have a varied interest in crafts. However, my first love is cross stitch and my worry is that eventually the limited selection will eventually become no selection. I realize that craft stores are also just trying to accomodate what their customers want right now. I also like the immediate gratification of quilting, making a bracelet, or making a card. But I really hope that cross stitch makes it back to the top of the cycle again, that good materials are readily available, and that this artform will not be lost forever.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday, Monday!

It is really amazing to me that it is October already. Today at work we were discussing Thanksgiving. It is right around the corner. Then on to Christmas...

I decided to put together a few more Chrismons while I am in between projects. I found some really great wood cut outs at Michaels, so they should be a good foundation for me to paint and decorate. They will not be as ornate as the others, but they will still be nice. Our tree in the church sanctuary is so large that it really makes for a lot of space to cover. I am really excited about seeing it with all of the ornaments on it. My pastor was telling someone about the Chrismons that I had already turned in and that "they are gorgeous." It made my day.

As a side note, for some reason everyone I spoke to was really sleepy today. I think we are all headed into our season of hibernation now that the rain has started and the weather is turning cooler. I was so tired today. Even the dog looked sleepy. I am looking for the rainy season to really go into full swing. It is absolutely cozy.




Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blessing Of The Animals


Every year the churches in the area celebrate St. Francis of Asissi Day. We hold our services outdoors and everyone is welcome to bring their pets to receive a blessing. This was my first year with a pet, so first thing this morning, Liesl got her bath, and her hair brushed before we all went to church.

One by one, we are able to bring our pets to the front of the congregation, where they received a blessing. Liesie even received the sign of the cross on her sweet little head. We also received a box of animal crackers.

I think somehow the dogs all know they are present at God's house, because all of them were on their best behavior and sat quietly through the shortened service. There was even a treat table set up for them at Fellowship time. They had bowls of water and biscuits. It was a beautiful fall day, too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Had To Clean My Room




My craft room was a mess. A real mess. Yesterday's bead organization was a small part of an overall cleaning project. Things had been piled and piled to the point where I could not see the desktop. This is not a normal thing for me. I have an accounting mind so everything has a place to live. I could not believe it got to this point. Guilt got the best of me. You will note in the above before and after pictures that my little project started while in daylight. The finished project is at night.

As I went through my many projects, it appeared that my piles were a result of things that had one small thing to do on them, so they waited on my desk to be dealt with. I needed to organize those beads. I needed to put the hangers on my daughter and son in law's stockings. I had received patterns in the mail last week, so they needed to be filed, et cetera, et cetera...

I was able to take care of all of those items. Whoohoo! Everything is in it's place. I also want to point out in the pictures the desk that I love so much. It is a beautiful trestle dining table that my hubby made many years ago. It is the perfect sized workspace and it makes me happy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

All The Leaves Are Brown...

Wow! The first day of October. Can you even believe how fast this year has flown by?!

I got a bee in my bonnet today to organize my Mill Hill Beads. I had been storing them in one of my old plastic Darice floss boxes. They did not exactly fit in that old box because they have that little flap that is just a little too tall. So a few weeks ago, a smart person on 123stitch posted their storage solution. It was a box from Walmart with 24 "Tic Tac" type boxes with flip lids in it. Total price $4.97. Awesome! Plus I do not have to worry about those devilish little boxes springing open and my frenzied chasing of beads before the dog gets them.

So I proceeded today with re-organizing my full Darice box into the new box. They now all fit in this box, which is smaller than a cigar box. It was very eye opening. To my surprise, I had five open boxes of 557. Three open boxes of 81. Ummm, my bad. Needless to say, I kept buying the same beads with every new project. I am really glad that I had to consolidate everything. Hopefully this will keep me from re-buying the same stuff.

I have to share that I had something really awesome happen to me last night. I went to my choir rehearsal and sat next to my lovely friend Wendy, as usual. (Waving at Wendy!) Wendy shared with me several weeks ago that she used to cross stitch and now knits. So last night she placed in my hands two of the most stunning cross stitch kits. She said that she knew that she would not stitch them, so passed them to me. One kit was Theresa Wentzler's Father Winter and a Janylnn kit which was a creche with all of individually stitched figurines. Both are absolutely stunning. It was such a nice thing to do and I can not express how much I really appreciate it. I feel like a little child at Christmas. I have a couple of projects to do before Christmas for gifts, so I will be starting these right after Christmas. I want to start them right now. My goodness, they are so beautiful.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Really Good Day!

Today was one of those really good days. The day started with going to church, which was wonderful as usual! We have really been looking forward to today, because a couple of days ago, my hubby asked me out on a date for lunch today. I have been pretty excited about it and made sure I did my hair cute and all.

After church we dashed home to change into comfy clothes. Neither one of us was hungry yet, so I mentioned that I would like to run by Michaels for a bottle of paint for some more Chrismons. Of course, one can not run into Michaels for one item. Today was no different. The beads that I really like were on clearance for $2 a strand. Even better, the rack was full, unlike when I usually see a clearance sign for cool beads at Michaels. I bought four strands and a pretty pendant that was made from mother of pearl. Sweet! Then hubby teased me while I picked out two gorgeous strands that were on sale at 2 for $5. They were sparkly, so they had to be mine!

By this time, we were getting hungry so we went off to one of our favorite restaurants, which has our favorite menu item on special on Sundays. Oh, my goodness, it was delicious! It is a fabulous gourmet meatloaf that is served over garlic mashed potatoes. We got to eat out on the patio. Many of the restaurants here are not only dog friendly, but also have menus for doggies. So we got to take the furgirl after her hard, no fun week. (her bandage is off, but her footie still hurts from the incision) She got to have her very special treat of chicken breast. It was such a beautiful fall day, warm and sunny. It was so nice to linger over a long, leisurely lunch and chat. We had such a great time.

Since I was so stuffed and sleepy, I came home and got out the knitting, while Bob puttered. Liesie has been napping on and off since we got in, probably still dreaming of grilled chicken cut into little puppy sized bites. LOL. I was making really great progress on my knitting and then looked further down the page, where, gosh darn it, I saw that I need to add ribbing on this sweater with circular knitting needles. Umm, I do not own any circular knitting needles. I would have to go back to, you guessed it, Michaels. And of course, you can't just get one thing at Michaels...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Knittin' And A Grinnin'

Well, it has been ages since I last picked up myknitting needles. After my evening of knitting with my daughter the other night I got all inspired. I spent today working on the sassy red sweater for my furbaby. I am afraid that my stitches are not as precise and uniform as they once were but this is a good project to do to get back in the swing of things.

I think this sweater is going to be really cute and warm. As I mentioned in a previous post, the sweaters that I like at the local dog boutique (yes, DOG boutique!) started at $55. Since I do not even buy $55 sweaters for myself, I knew that if it was going to be, it was up to me. I found the cutest patterns at 123stitch and bought acrylic yarn so that it would be washable. My sweet doggie is not so much into sweaters, but I am hoping that she will think differently of this one since it smells like her momma.

Autumn is in full swing here. It is hard to believe that we are in the last two days of September. I am looking forward to the rainy season starting. It is always so nice and cozy to be inside with a fire while it is raining outside. I can't wait!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Stash!

My fair winnings have been burning a hole in my pocket for the past month. I knew that I would purchase the ornament issue from JCS as a definite with it. In addition, I purchased Prairie Schooler's "Prairie Birds" and Shephard's Bush's "She Tends." I have been so good about using the stash that I already have this year and not making a lot of new purchases. It was a real treat to receive my envelope from 123stitch.

Every year I look forward to this issue. I have to say, this is the best one to come out in years. In fact, it is so awesome, I am seriously considering a subscription to their magazine. I do not stitch too many ornaments, but there are so many in this issue that I simply have to stitch. They are beautiful! The designers all went above and beyond in 2008.

Tonight I have been working on a knitting project. My daughter came over last night to play knitting. She is working on the prettiest socks! I had started a sweater for my Liesl a few months ago, but she was not done growing yet so I knew it would be too small. I put off pulling out all of my work until the last possible moment. Then restarted. My daughter taught me a totally cool new way to cast on, which is awesome because I hated the way that I casted on for about 25 years. So now I am reknitting Liesl a nice red sweater. It is getting cold here and unfortunately the dog boutique wants $55 a sweater. I am not feeling it. This should go quickly, so Liesie can be stylin' by next week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Second Stocking Finish! Whoo hoo!

Yay! I am happy now! I got my daughter's stocking put together. I still have to put a loop on, but I am still deciding which style to use. It feels good to have it done after all of these years. It is nice to know the married couple will have stockings this year.

The colors in this are really pretty. I picked this one originally because my daughter use to always where a long braid when she was a little girl. The picture just reminds me of her and her little brother when they were little. Makes me a little wistful thinking about them when they were small. I blinked and it all went by so quickly.

As a side note, little Liesl is doing is doing much better today. She has the red bandage on until this Friday, when the vet checks her. She was her usual sassy self today, for the first time in a couple of days. It was good to see her walking on the foot and playing with her toys. She has a perky little way of trotting around the house, which was back.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Poor Liesie-poo!

My best laid plans of getting my daughter's stocking done hit a little speedbump. Yesterday, my little Liesie had a hurt foot. Of course, these things happen when the vet's office is closed. By last night the foot had doubled in size. Thank goodness the vet took us the first thing this morning(after a very sleepless night.)

Foxtails are evil things to dogs. I can not spread this warning enough. Their mission is to burrow further and further quickly. This is our third run in with foxtails, even though we are diligent and check her constantly for them when she comes in. Anyway, three foxtails had worked themselves into her foot, between her toes, over time. One had gone in about an inch, according to the doctor. He ended up doing surgery. She now has an inch incision, stitches, a huge bandage and is logging lots of lap time with her momma and daddy. There has been some handfeeding of the furgirl by her momma.

I am so glad that she is okay. Our vet is heaven sent and we are so grateful for him and his staff. It was a long day but thankfully our little furbaby is on the mend.

Hug your pet today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Finished!

Sleigh Ride at Dusk is finished! I was able to sew it together this evening. It feels really good to have it done. Most of the background is half stitches, so it almost has the appearance of being needlepointed.

I am so thrilled to have this done. Now I just have to sew my daughter's stocking that I stitched years ago. I am finally getting better about not just stitching something, but actually finishing it right away. I think it really helps to see other people's finishes. It gets me motivated to see other beautiful pieces.

The stocking that I stitched for my daughter is the Christmas Window Stocking by Janlynn. It is really colorful. I can't wait to see it finished! I feel like I am on a roll!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One Last Thing To Do!



The tree and the snowpeople are all done. The snowfolk have their cute little carrot noses. The tree is all a twinkle with a gazillion french knots. It looks really awesome.

All that remains now is the horse section in the toe of the stocking. That is my project for tomorrow. I am hoping to be assembling on Saturday. Most of the section is done, as you can see from the photo. I will just have to add some of the cross stitches and all of the backstitch, then it will be all done. I am so excited!

Now that I am so close to finishing, my mind is turning to what to do next again. I do have somethings to make before the holidays. The new JCS Ornament issue has just come out and I have my issue reserved at 123stitch. I can not wait to get it. There are always so many beautiful ornaments in the magazine. In addition, there are always great tried and true recipes.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Getting closer!

Whoohoo! We are coming into the home stretch! In the past few days, I have been able to complete a few more items on the stocking. The little "sled man" is complete, as is most of the Christmas tree. It appears that about 2/3 of the french knots are complete on the tree. In addition, I was able to outline all of the snowmen. They now await their arms and carrot noses. The last sizable bit is the horse and sleigh section. There is so much detail in this stocking, which makes it visually stunning up close. I hope to be able to assemble it this weekend and into my daughter's hands within the next couple of weeks.

One of my very favorite parts of my day is when all is quiet and I am able to read the blogs that I love. I feel like I am catching up with friends. I love seeing everyone else's labors of love! One of my very favorite blogs is the crockpot blog that is on my blog roll on the left here. I have made a few of the recipes. Last night I made the coconut beef recipe and it was amazing! It was even better as leftovers today. We also made the vegetable lasagne on her site and it was really incredible. Well, worth making. I love my crockpot. There is nothing like having the gorgeous smell of already made dinner when you open the front door after working all day. Without all that dinner prep I can stitch longer! Yippee!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Am Making Progress on the Stocking

I was happy to be able to work on the stocking for a bit today. I had a really hard homework assignment for my class that took much of the day. I was bound and determined to get some stitching time in though.

I am proud to say that I have the backstitch and french knots done on the church and the house now. They both look so lovely and cozy with the french knotted Christmas greenery all around the windows and doors on both structures. Next on my to do list is the backstitch on the little person with the sled, then onward to the tree. I just love the colors and the cozy feeling of the piece.

I have been thinking about working on my knitting of my doggie sweater for my sweet little puppy girl. While it is still on the needles, I had the realization today that I started that sweater some months ago when my Liesie was quite a bit smaller. It looks like I will be taking some measurements of an uncooperative miniature schnauzer this week.

It has been really chilly here this weekend. My feet have been cold and I have been finding myself wishing for cozy fires, a cup of tea and pumpkin bread. I am ready for fall!

Friday, September 12, 2008

First Cozy Fire of the Season

It is hard to believe. September and October are usually our summer. We look forward to these two months all year. It has been getting progressively colder this week. Tonight it was so chilly that a fire was made in the fireplace. Over the past few months I had forgotten how cozy a lit fireplace makes me feel. The smell of the wood, the warmth of the hearth, the light dancing in the room while I stitch. I just love having a fire in the fireplace. Liesie curled up at about 7:15 and went off to doggie dreamland.

I am still working on the stocking. It should be done pretty soon here. I will be thrilled to finish it and sew it into it's actual stocking shape.

Now that my knitting needles are sitting out on my desk, they are calling to me. Now that it is getting chilly, I really need to get that doggie sweater done. Then I have a wall quilt to finish, a blanket to make, a couple of Chrismons that require a quick last think done on them. A crafter's work is never done...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Fun Evening!

I just had a wonderful evening! My daughter has mastered the art of crochet and decided that the time had come to learn how to knit. It has been a while since I have really knitted, aside from the dog sweater that I started last year, which is still on the needles. When I got to the arm holes for her little puppy arms, I kinda freaked out and put it to the side. Fast forward to the lesson, which of course, my daughter picked up instantly and was knitting away, pretty much immediately.

We had such a lovely evening. We started with a big pot of spaghetti for dinner and cake for dessert. We were so stuffed that under normal circumstances I would have put on my jammies and slipped into my pasta induced food coma on the sofa. But we had a job to do, so my hubby made us some coffee and went to watch baseball on the bedroom TV. So we got to spend time yacking and catching up, just us girls. It was so much fun. It really was nice to get the knitting needles in my hands again, too. The weather is getting chilly again, so I really do need to finish this sweater for my little furgirl.

Liesie just can not bear the thought of going to sleep with her company still here. It was past her bedtime, and she was getting a really good cranky on, but she would not give in. She is afraid she is going to miss something. My daughter was pulling out of the driveway as Liesie finally gave up the ship and went to bed. She is so happy when friends and family come to visit her!

Ooh, almost forgot a really cool thing. My daughter brought me a chocolate bar that has BACON in it. OMG! My two very favorite food groups. It is delicious and had quite a bit of bacon in it. The salty and the sweet, the creamy and the crunchy. It was beyond good!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

And The Beat Goes On...

Time flies when you are stitching. I stayed up late again last night working on the stocking. My needle was smokin' ! I got a lot done, but sadly, I am not done with the house yet. My big hope is that it will get done tomorrow. I would have liked to work on it today, but with school upon us, I was a good student and did my homework for Business Law. I worked pretty hard on it for about, yikes, eight hours.

It is hard to believe that Labor Day has passed and we now look forward to the Fall. We are experiencing Indian Summer right now with the temps hovering at about 100 degrees Farenheit. Soon enough though there will be a crispness in the air and we will be getting the fireplaces going.

I have a beautiful autumn piece by Drawn Thread in my stash that I would love to stitch. I just know that I would probably not finish it in time to display for this autumn. Oh well, there is always next year. In the meantime, I will have to settle for those new pumpkin kisses. Pumpkin on the outside, white chocolate on the inside. This just sounds glorious! I shall have to try to find them this week!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Back In The Saddle Again

Well, this is really coming along! I finished the backstitch and french knots 0n the church this past weekend. Some of the nicest ladies on 123stitch were doing an all night/late night stitch along last Saturday and Sunday night. It provided a lot of motivation to focus by having nice (and funny!) people up late with me. So I stitched and checked the message board until the wee hours of about 11. I know, I am such a party animal, huh.

The detail looks really good on the church. There are clusters around the door and windows of french knots stitched in red and green to appear like Christmas greenery. It is awesome. Tonight I was able to move on to the house next to it. I have gotten the cross stitches filled in, so tomorrow will be spent on backstitch and french knots. Next I will be on to the tree.

As you can see from the photo, there is a lot of detail and subtle shading. It is so pretty. I love the colors.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

If You Give A Mouse A Cookie...

Today when my hubby came home from work, he had a new-to-us piece of furniture that had been given to him. It is a stunning piece. So as he walked in the door, we set about putting it in the spot where it will live. Of course, this meant that we had to move another piece of furniture that was in the spot. This led to the re-arranging of furniture in the sitting area, the living room and dining room. In addition, there was the re-hanging of pictures and the vacuuming and dusting of previously hard to reach spots.

As a joke, I told him that the sofa in the living room and the curtains will no longer do. Frankly, he seemed somehow unamused by my wit.

The house does look nice in it's new state. In fact, it somehow seems bigger. Granted we are looking for a spot for the ficus, hubby's telescope, and the dog's toys... Whenever I start a project like this that seems simple, it leads to a variety of other projects. It reminds me of the book I used to read to my kids when they were small. It was called, "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie." It started out that giving a mouse a cookie leads to him wanting a glass of milk, then a napkin, then his needing you to hold him in front of the mirror to see if he has a milk mustache, whereupon he sees that he needs a haircut, etc.

All of this re-decorating, cleaning, and moving about left us a bit behind in time so I was unable to stitch tonight. I just love the way the house looks. All in all, it did go rather quickly. I feel like I was on one of those re-design shows on HGTV.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My Stitching Buddy

Liesl has been known to spend some late nights as my couch companion as I sit up and stitch. There is something comforting about a little gray ball of fur sleeping peacefully a foot away in the late night as I work on a project. When it is time to turn in, she gets one last cookie, then off to dreamland.

I wanted to post a picture of Liesie at her favorite place in the whole wide world - the dog beach here. Here she is able to be off the leash. She finds it her personal mission to keep the beach bird free. On this particular day, a pool had formed that had some ducks (yes, ducks) in it. Liesie decided that she should go for a little dip and let those ducks know that they were "mallarda non grata" on her beach. She was sopping wet, then decided that digging would be really fun. This accounts for the sand in her beard, on her nose and over her front. I think you can imagine the impact this had on the inside of the truck for the ride home. This picture makes me smile, not only because it is funny, but also because she was so happy that day.

So now she is sleeping next to me, oblivious to the tapping of computer keys. She will sleep here faithfully again tonight, waiting for the moment when she gets her last cookie of the night, then cuddles up for the night on her spot on the bed.




Saturday, August 30, 2008

Whew! This week flew by...

Well, it has been an active week, which is explains why there have not been any posts for a few days.

I started back to school this week, which is always exciting. I am done with my Financial Accounting and Managerial Accounting Classes, which were pretty difficult subjects. I am happy to say that I got a lot out of them both. This semester, due to gas prices, commute time, etc., I am taking my classes online. So now I am studying Business Law and another management course. I have really been looking forward to both of them.

I did get my Chrismons over to the church mid-week. The pastor was both surprised and delighted by them. As we talked about them, I shared that prior to my beginning the journey with them, that I truly did not understand their history, purpose and symbolism. This led to a discussion about how we can use the ornaments to teach others. It appears that I will be assisting with a Sunday School forum as well as writing something for our church publication. I learned so much myself so I am really eager to share.

I am continuing work on the stocking as well. I do not have batteries yet for my camera, a situation I hope to remedy tomorrow. It really is such a beautiful piece. My daughter did so much work on it and did such a beautiful job. I am sure that her hubby will treasure it forever.

In the meantime, it is Labor Day, so I am really, truly trying to stay of the fabric store websites that are advertising major savings on fabric. It is really hard not to be checking out those retro fabrics that I love so much.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stocking WIP

I am continuing onward with the stocking that my daughter did most of the stitching on for her hubby. I am currently working on the backstitch on the church. I have found that there is another set of graphs that show some additional stitching that goes around the windows. Apparently, there are supposed to be some wreaths done in french knots. I know there are alot of stitchers that hate french knots, but I like to do them. Plus the finished product looks so nice. The wreaths add so much to the picture, so I am anxious to get started.

It appears that the backstitch has a lot more detail work than I had originally thought. It is really detailed, which of course, makes it all the more lovely. I think it will be really stunning when it is done. It will be a very special keepsake.

As a side note, I am proud to say that I am now a great aunt. My niece, Sasha, gave birth to beautiful little Aiden on Sunday. He looks like a sweet little pink angel. We are so happy that he and his momma are doing well! A true blessing!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oops! I Did It Again...

It started so innocently. I had to run by my fabric store to buy a lining fabric for my son-in-law's stocking. I thought that since I was there and all, and what with the price of gas I should really make this trip count... I thought I would just cruise past the two clearance tables and just make sure that they were not practically giving away a really fabulous fabric. That was when I spied a retro Michael Miller fabric with little cookbooks all over it. It was on clearance at $3.97 a yard. Hmmm. That is some major savings right there...

So I had to pass the other area on my way to the cutting table. I tried to avert my eyes, but there was this bright yellow, retro Robert Kaufman fabric with nursery rhymes. It was also $3.97 on clearance.

Okay, two yards of fabric for less than $8. That is a pretty good deal. Plus I had the fabric for the stocking. I would get out of there for less the $20. Cool. So off I trot to the cutting table with my three bolts of fabric. I say to the nice lady cutting my fabric that one of these days I have to come in and buy the Michael Miller ice cream fabric. She told me that if I really wanted that fabric, that I had better not wait too long. She said that it is hugely popular and that the last of it was on the bolt. She suggested that I go check the bolt to see how much was left. Darn it. The bolt was a bit thin... Minutes later I am walking out of there with my purchase, which included the pictured three additional yards of fabric.

I really need to get my sewing machine out and get all of these pretty fabrics into a nice quilt. For now it just makes me happy to look at them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hurray! A Stitchy Project

As I was poking around in my craft room, I suddenly remembered that I had promised to finish up a stocking that my daughter had started for her husband. Actually, not only had she started it, it was pretty much 95% done. It is stunning. It is a Dimensions Gold stocking called, "Sleigh Ride At Dusk." I seem to remember that she had put away because her adorable kitten, Sundae, was offering all kinds of assistance, none of which was particularly helpful to her. I told her that I would be happy to finish it in time for this Christmas, along with a second stocking that I stitched for her a few years ago that stilled needed to have the back put on.

I was quite impressed as I took the almost finished stocking out of the bag. The back was nearly perfect. It looked much neater than my work. I called her and told her that I was afraid I was going to mess it up. She really did an incredible job. I am just going through line by line to make sure that each line is full. It should be done by the weekend and ready to line and put the back on. It will look totally awesome when it is done. I will make sure to post a picture.

Since I am on a finishing kick, I really should frame those L&L angels. I think I am holding off because the Angel of Love is so heavy because of the beads. I am afraid that is really going to be troublesome to mount. Maybe by this weekend, I will have courage.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Plant Rescues





















My heart goes out to all plants that are, shall we say, past their prime. I am the lady that you will find looking at the table of brown plants at the store with the 80% off sign on it. I have bought several of the beauties with great hope and have actually ended up with really great treasures, most of the time.

Some of my favorites are plants that were totally free. I have had this Candy Stripe rose for several years now. It was part of a rescue operation. I was at work and one of the managers asked me if I wanted to take it home. The gophers were killing the roots and it would not be around much longer. He dug it up for me and I went home with my new prize. It looked really scrawny and sick. I put it in a wine barrel, fertilized and watered it. It has survived a couple of tough freezes and a move. It is now about 5 feet tall. It just needed a little love and to be free of the gophers.

The orchid pictured above was from an arrangement that was delivered to someone in my office about three years ago. It was dying a slow death from no natural light, too much water one day after not being watered for a week, etc. Since it looked like it was for all intents and purposes, dead, I asked politely if I could have it. I put it in a sunny window in my cottage and aired out it's roots. For the last couple of years around this time it gives off these huge Moth Orchid Blooms. The blooms last two to three months and are incredible.

It pays not to give up on plants like these. They give me so much joy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ribbons!


Yesterday the fair closed, which meant today was the day that all entries had to be picked up. It never fails to amaze me how fast they can break down such a large fair. It was nice to get my ribbons. I have to figure out a new way to display them. I also need to figure out where three additional pieces are going to go on my walls. I think I will be doing a little re-organizing.

It is alway a little bit strange to drop off pieces for exhibition. Many times I have spent months or close to a year on a piece. I then drop it off and it will be away from me for a few weeks. It is really good to be able to take it home for it's permanent place on a wall in the house.

I am still in my selection process for my next project. Tomorrow I am off so I am hoping to have my selection made by then. Wish me luck!




Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chrismons continued...

Well, I have about 14 Chrismons completed. I have learned alot about their meanings and had a great time cutting, gluing, glittering and such.

The craft room was looking really scary after two weeks of my projects. So it was time to clear off the desk, vacuum and get the dog glitter-free. She had kind of a Vegas look going there for a while, but I am proud to say that it appears that the house has been de-glittered. However, I do recall that glitter has a habit of making an appearance on stuff you do not want glitter on.

Now I am in a crafting mood so I am wondering if I should frame that three, yes three L&L angels, that I have completed over 5 years ago. I am embarrassed to say that they have been stored in a big Sterilite container with a a couple of stockings that I have to put the backs on for the family. I am feeling inspired so 2008 could be the year. I really need to think on this.
I am posting a photo of my beautiful little Liesl sans sparklies.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Decisions, decisions....and TGIF!

Whoohoo! Friday has arrived. On the way home I bought a nice bottle of wine, rented "Talledega Nights" and "Waiting for Guffman" and thought about relaxing all weekend. There is a major car show here in town that ties up traffic so badly that most residents try to stay home for the weekend. That is our plan.

While I am still working on my Chrismons, I am starting to get the itch to do a stitchy project. I have some small things to work on but I am thinking about something more substantial. The Prairie Schooler Farmer's Alphabet is calling to me, but my hubby is questioning my sanity since I have already completed five samplers. So then I am thinking about Cross My Heart's Mother of Innocence. Lovely piece, but then today while looking for something else, I came across L&L's Angel of Dreams, already kitted up in my collection. All of these pieces are begging to be stitched. I just do not know where to start. Since I have some movies to watch it would be so perfect to be able to stitch along with them.

I am hoping to get a few more of my Chrismons done. I would really like to present them to the church next week. I think I will make this an annual craft project. I have had a lot of fun doing it. Plus I have some pretty neat ideas for future ornaments.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy dancing!

I am in a state of shock. My fair entries did far better than I ever could have hoped. Generally, when I drop off my entries, I just hope that I will take home some sort of ribbon. I am in such awe of everyone else's pieces and their hard work. I realize how much work has gone into every piece. I also understand the tough job the judges have. So I just do my best and hope for the best.

Here is the breakdown on my fair results:

Close to My Heart - Handanger -1st place
Candy Nutcracker Stocking - 1st place
Toccata 1 sampler- 2nd place
Bordeaux sampler - Best of Show

It was a really nice surprise and a true honor to receive recognition for something that I love doing so much.

What made it even cooler is that my hubby entered the fair for the first time this year. He is a homebrewer, so he entered his beers and his cookies. He won 3rd place with his cookies, and Best of Show with one of his beers. How cool is that?!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Glitter, glitter everywhere!

Well, I haven't posted for a few days. I have been working on a surprise for my church. Last year I noticed there were some bare spots on the Chrismon tree so I vowed that I would make a bunch of the traditional ornaments. Since the early Spring I have been collecting pearls, gold beads, styrofoam and such. Several years ago my church bought the instruction books and left them in my care, so I set to work this week.

The time finally came when I had gathered enough supplies so everyday for the past 4 days I have glued, beaded, and applied glitter. I have about 10 ornaments ready to go. I want to make at least 10 more. Keeping the surprise is really rough. There is gold and white glitter everywhere, no matter how hard I try to control it. I was a bit concerned when I noticed the dog walking by and she a couple of specks of glitter on her back.

They are coming out quite nicely. I can't wait to see them on the tree!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Stitchy Gifts!


I was pretty happy because I was able to give my daughter my gift that I had been working on. It was a scissor keeper and fob that I had made. I stitched it with silks on Silkweaver opalescent fabric. It turned out really nicely and I think it will make a nice keepsake. I also put a nice pair of Gingher's in there. I was so excited about giving it to her. She is into crochet so it is nice that she has a pretty pair of scissors to work with.

Now I trying to figure out should I start a new stitchy project, a quilting project, frame some old projects or just read a few books for a while. My Prairie Schooler Farmer's Alphabet pattern is calling to me though...


Saturday, August 2, 2008

"Tis a sickness, really...

Okay, while I will admit that my first love craft-wise is cross stitch, I do have a really powerful weakness for something else. I know you are thinking chocolate, but while I do so love good chocolate, this is even worse. It is my love of retro fabrics. I am totally weak in a fabric store which carries old novelty prints. Never has this been more evident than when I was in San Jose last week and had to see these prints in person. I have been looking online at them for weeks. Someone else who had purchased the ballerinas herself (in all three colors, no less) said that I really needed to see them in person and that the photos did not do them justice. I have to say that she was absolutely right and so I proceeded to buy a yard of each one. Bonus: They were 30% off. Happy dance!

Now, I will admit that I do not have any clue what I am going to do with them. They are just so darling that I just enjoy looking at them.

I was a bit proud of myself today because I had to run by the craft store for a last minute detail for a gift. I stood in the fabric section wanting this fabric with little vintage cupcakes (A Michael Miller fabric) and even had a coupon! I passed it up. I just know that tonight when I go to sleep, I am going to dream about little vintage cupcakes!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Almost there

Well, here it is- the night before the fair entries are due. My Bordeaux Sampler is framed and ready to go with a beautiful frame. My hubby did a great job making it. I love the way the leaf pattern mimics the vines in the sampler itself. We still have one more item to frame, but felt that we should probably do it in the morning when we are fresh. That one requires us the cut a mat so I am a bit nervous about that.

It is always exciting to go over to the fairgrounds and turn in the entries. There are quite a few people with their entries wrapped up in bags and paper. It is such a mystery and I wonder what is underneath.

I am looking forward to eating some deep fried artichoke hearts. It will be great to see all of the best of the best in our county, too!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Sprint to the Finish

Well, I can always tell when the fair entry deadline is coming up quickly. It becomes a sprint to get everything finished, sewn, framed, etc. Saturday is the big day and so Bob promises to keep his calendar clear as we will be pinning needlework to foam core board in preparation. Dinner will be from the crockpot so that the evening is free. This also explains why I have not posted much recently. I am bent over in my chair under an Ott-Lite with a needle and thread pretty much from the time I get home from work to when I lay my head on my pillow.

I am pretty happy with my stocking finish. This is an OOP pattern by Barbara Baatz. It had a gazillion color changes and took several years to complete. It is so beautiful and bright. Now I have to finish my hardanger piece. I got the backing sewn on tonight so tomorrow I just have to sew the dowel in.

Good luck to all who are entering fairs this year. I am hearing that fairs are experiencing tremendous financial pressures and low attendance this year. It is a mainstay of summer life in this country so it is important that we support them!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

In Between Projects

That time in between projects always has me twiddling my thumbs a bit. I have to finish stuff up to get it ready for the fair. I plan on doing that when I have a couple of days off later in the week. Know myself a little too well, I know that I will not be able to focus on what necessarily needs to be done if I am playing with a new project. Once I start a project I will want to work on it all the time. So now I wonder if I should read, watch TV, or play a board game with my DH. I am feeling a bit wiggly and like I should be working on something. Oy vey!

I am really excited because yesterday DH and I went shopping and he bought me the most beautiful chair for my craft room. It is red, (I love me some red!) stylish, Scandanavian, high backed, with arms at the perfect level. It also tilts back far enough for me to think (no comments, please.) My favorite room in the house is our craft room/ office. It is done in Scandanavian style and colors, with a lot of stuff coming from Ikea. Since my house is done in Tuscan colors in a traditional style, this room is totally different. I love all of the bright colors. It makes me feel really creative to be in there. It also is very scenic when you look out the window. What a happy place...