Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Liesie and I were up pretty early today. I wanted to make sure that I took care of errands early before holiday traffic started up. I consider this holiday one of those where it is not really safe to be on the roads. It just does not feel safe to be out. Unfortunately, I was out of meal options in my refrigerator and had to go to the grocery store. So out the door we went after our walk. I also got to stop by the library and picked up a stack of books to hunker down with for the weekend.

I love the library. I am fortunate enough to live in an area that supports its libraries and I am happy to say that I have access to three different library systems in my immediate area. It was so nice to be amongst the books. Sometimes it still amazes me that they let me walk out of the door, borrowing the same books that cost a fortune to buy at the mall. The library is a magical place. We got home and were both tired from our outing, so I climbed under my blankets to read with Liesl napping next to me. I ended up falling asleep, but it was very cozy. By the way, don't you hate it when you doze off for a nap, then figure out that the sound is that is waking you up is actually your own snoring?!

I am wondering if I will make it to midnight tonight. It is way past my bedtime. I think I might just kiss my little bearded, furry companion for the New Year in the next few minutes, then call it a year. I do not feel the need to count down the seconds like I used to when I was younger. 2009 had been a tough year, and I have great hope for 2010, not just for myself, but for those who need a job, a place to live, a meal, or a second chance in life.

Liesl and I wish you much joy, peace and prosperity in 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

'Tis Done

Here it is, all done. I think it looks much prettier in person. I am looking forward to having it framed. It will look so cute in my kitchen. This now poses the dilemna of starting a new project. I poked through my boxes of kits and think I will be starting an Altoid tin, but it is more of a transition project to something bigger.

It has been rainy on and off here this week. This makes for nice stitching weather. I am also getting reading done. It is so hard when you love reading as much as you love stitching. It is also hard when I keep running across "must read" winter reading lists. I have had a love of books since I was a kid. I love classics mostly. There are some really outstanding contemporary authors, too. I live in John Steinbeck country (I have been to his home in Salinas!) so he is one of my all time favorite authors. I love pretty much everything he has ever written.

I am leaving 2009 and looking forward to 2010 with a sense of gratitude that is very profound. An experience of this past week, has deepened my faith in God and my love of my family and friends. I see myself as so profoundly blessed and fortunate. I am truly blessed for all that I have through His grace. I am really lucky that I have my little Liesl. She has taught me so much about unconditional love and loyalty. My family and friends have been there through some really hard times and are just beautiful people, and I am so grateful for each of them. I have felt God's comfort through some difficult circumstances. I am truly blessed many times over.

I wish you many blessings in the New Year. May you have joy, peace and laughter in the year ahead.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Today has been a really amazing day. There was just a small group of us at work, and the phone was not ringing, so I got a lot of work done. Our church service was very early this year at 5:00 pm, so I left work early to make it on time. The church was packed! I was the Assisting Minister tonight, something I do often for my church. I really love to do the holidays the best though. I love the formality of the church services on holidays. It was so beautiful tonight. I love the lighting of candles and the singing of Silent Night in the darkness of the church.

This is my first Christmas alone, ever . I have wonderful friends who have extended invitations to their holiday celebrations. Tonight I had the pleasure of spending the evening with my old friends from church, Sandy and Mike, their family and friends. They have always been like a second family to me and I just adore them both.

Many members of the Lutheran church are of Scandanavian or German descent. Mike is of Norwegian ancestry. So tonight their amazing menu was a traditional Norwegian menu. It included salmon, potatoes, red cabbage, a delicious salad with raspberries and these incredible Norwegian meatballs. Mike shared that there is tradition involved in the making of the meatballs. My friend Sandy, had made the traditional Krumkakkes by hand today and she served them with peppermint ice cream. The dinner conversation was about the traditions of Norway, Norwegian trolls, and their trips to Norway. I felt so blessed to be a part of it. They have such a wonderful family and great friends. I had a really wonderful evening.

My little puppy girl is fast asleep in her blankie. She has been a good girl so she is ready to see what Santa leaves for her in the morning. Santa went to Petsmart yesterday and all of the Christmas toys were 50% off and fully stocked. So she got a couple. She also received one yesterday too, because I realized that yesterday was the 2 year anniversary of a little skinny, ragamuffin four month old puppy trotting into my life, and my life has been so much better ever since. She does love toys so she will be happy tomorrow morning. She also has to have a little bath, so I will try to post pics.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Accessorizing Your Cross Stitch




I found myself in Marshall's tonight looking for a gift. I love Marshall's because I always find extraordinary things at a great bargain. I really do not like to shop, as I prefer to stay home and stitch, or play with my dog, or read, spend time with friends, etc. However, as I was looking around, my eyes landed on this dandy piece of crockery. When I saw it, all I could think was how lovely it would look in my kitchen along side my red cherry sampler. It is about as long as my Peterboro breadbasket in the back of the photo. The price: $14.99. When I looked inside, I saw that it is made by Fitz and Floyd. I decided to make this a small present to myself. What I love about it: 1) Hello, it is red! 2) It has a very elegant vintage 1940ish look to it. I think this will end up being one of my forever treasures.

It has been very cold and windy today. I have walked Liesl while I was wearing my big down jacket. It is not a very pretty jacket, and I sort of look like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man in it, but it gets the job done. I even had to wear my little gloves. On the other hand, Liesl is impervious to the cold, and gives me the hairy eyeball if I even think about getting out her little coat.

I have not had a chance to stitch today. I came home bone achingly tired. I had to go get my hair cut after work, then ducked into Marshalls and Target. I am not insane enough to have braved Costco. I know my own mental limitations. I came home, made a hot dog, cuddled my puppy girl and dozed off on the sofa.

Well, I am off to dreamland...again...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just Another Manic Monday...

Wow! What a day. I hit the ground running today. It was a wild ride. With the holiday this week, there was a lot to get done in less time. In addition to that it was raining this afternoon. I am feeling best about the fact that I did get my mom's present into the mail. (Oh, yeah, Mom, I did not get to call you, but be on the look out for a package. :) ) The only other thing I had to do was run by Napa Auto Parts and pick up spark plugs and wires, because a friend is going to tune up my car for me on Wednesday. I can not say enough nice things about the nice people at the Monterey Napa Auto Parts. They were so helpful and so professional. If I looked confused about anything they were talking about, they took the time to explain it to me in a very professional way.

I was looking forward to coming home and stitching. After this weekend's culinary adventures, I had lots of yummy leftovers in my fridge to heat up for dinner. Then played with my sweet little Liesl and her stuffed Ladybug for a while. She loves that ladybug. It's face is chewed off, because she does not like her toys looking at her, but it is love nonetheless. After she felt that we had played a suitable game of tug of war, and chase the ladybug, she deemed it time to be tucked into her blankie, and I got to stitch. I am so close to being done. I have the place picked out on my wall and everything.

I love this sampler. It is on aida, and I am an admitted linen snob, but this just looks right on the aida. It looks very vintage and the fabric lends itself to looking like it belongs. Now I have to start thinking about the next project. Perhaps I will go back to the tea cozy. I will have to get a new teapot for it.

Well, tomorrow is another wild day, so I am off to dreamland. PS: For some reason I am craving Key Lime Pie. (could it be the overdoing it on chocolate?) I may have to make one this weekend. I love Key Lime Pie.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Near Perfect Weekend

Life has been pretty crazy this past week. I had a final for my online macroeconomics class, which had me totally stressed. I also sing with the local symphony's chorus, and our performances and rehearsal fell this week, too. Wrap that up with the whole Christmas season stuff, and I have been one stressed out mama.

After getting through the week, the weekend came with our first performance at the Carmel Mission. It was magical. I saw several people I know in the audience, and they later told me they really enjoyed it.

After the late night, I slept in with my Liesl yesterday. We woke up to the weather being absolutely beautiful, warm and sunny. So after running my errands, I called my girlfriend to see if she wanted to walk her dog with Liesl and I. We walked along Monterey Bay in Pacific Grove. We were so busy chatting, that I did not realize until we said goodbye and I got back into my car, that we had been walking for an hour and a half. Liesl and I were way tired. We got home and curled up on the sofa for a nice long nap. It was quite luxurious. Waking up hungry, I remembered that I had some potatoes that were getting ready to turn in the fridge, so I decided to make potato soup. I did not have all of the ingredients on hand, so I had to improvise. This soup ended up being so darn good that I had two bowls and looked forward to having more for lunch today. After that great day I still had my performance in the evening. It ended up being even better than the night before. It felt so good.

Today was an incredible day. I had accidently overslept, so I hopped out of bed and ran around to get ready for church. I happened to look at my email on my Blackberry, and saw that I had an email from an old friend that I have not heard from in a long time, and who I really miss. It was such a blessing. I also received an email from a new friend and felt blessed again.

I have lost about 20 pounds in the last six weeks, and today on a lark I pulled out a pair of pants that were a size smaller than what I have been wearing. They fit! It felt so good. I made it to church on time to see that it was Christmas pageant day. Okay, there is not much cuter than little children dressed as angels, shepards and wise men, all singing. I also got to visit with some wonderful friends for a while. I ran home thinking about my potato soup, and had a big delicious bowl sitting on the steps in my yard, watching Liesl play. It made my heart sing with joy. After that, we curled up for yet another long nap. I got to putter around the house, then made an awesome stir fry for dinner. (I had two bowls!)

It truly was a pretty much perfect weekend. I have had so many blessings this weekend and I am so grateful. I sat down and thought about what I could do to end this weekend with the same spirit, so I pulled out my stitching. I was looking at where the supposed error had occurred and then realized that I had been looking at the wrong page earlier and there really is not an error after all. I have been happily stitching away with a cute little dog sleeping next to me on the sofa. One of my favorite comedy movies was on earlier and then got to stitch to the Food Network. Perfection. So many blessings today and yesterday.

Wishing you many blessings in the week ahead.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Brrrrrrr!

Whoa, Nelly! It is COLD! It is supposed to be in the 20's tonight. I have my sweats on with my big woolie socks, a cup of hot cocoa, and a big wool blanket. Liesie is under her little pink blankie all snuggled in. I am getting ready to stitch or rather to pull out some stitching. I really like this sampler and look forward to having it as part of my decor.

It is really nice to have a cozy evening like this. I came home and made a cup of tea and a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. It was already cold and still wet from all of the rain today, so it was nice to warm up. I got to play fetch and tug of war with Liesl for a while. It was nice to have a quiet evening at home and my feet are warm, which makes me happy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Liesie Pic!

This was taken a few months ago, but here she is, full of the business, as usual! She is a bit bummed today because it is a rainy day, and she is a sugar cube, subject to melting if touched by raindrops. LOL She has, however, gone out between showers and found mud. As a result, she has now been in the bathtub twice today (thank goodness she is only 17lbs!) getting her little puppy feet washed off before they touch the carpet. She knows to stop when she comes in so I can check her footies before she marches onward.

It was a good day today. It started at church where we are working on a couple of choir pieces for Christmas week. Our pastor gave a really outstanding sermon. It was one of those that you can't get out of your mind all day. After church, my sweet DD took me to lunch and we poked our heads into Macy's. It was so cold today and started to rain, so we said our good-byes and I came home, made hot cocoa and blasted the heat.

I still need to deal with the issue of my sampler. Pam, I think you are right. I had a bad feeling that I was going to have to pull my work. Just knowing it is off center will drive me nuts. I just have to make sure there is not a red shadow from the thread when I pull it out. It won't be so bad and really, I am so close to finishing anyway and ultimately it will be better to know it is done right. Thank you for the advice!

Enjoy your work week and be safe!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oh, Yeah, Now I Remember...

In one of my recent posts, I said that I could not figure out why I had put that vintage alphabet project away with so little left. I have finished the top border and was happy for about five minutes. On that top wavy border, (which will have more red circles in between the loops) I am one stitch off all the way back to the start of the border. Grrr. Now comes decision time. Do I leave it as it is, and hope that it all works out in the end? Or do I rip the top border out (and hope that the red thread has not stained the fabric) and start all over. Of course, I briefly considered putting the piece, pattern and all parts of the kit, back in the bag and putting it back in the box, but I still think it would look so cute in my kitchen now. So any helpful suggestions from stitchers would be appreciated.

With a week of winter storms coming up, I am thinking about my upcoming stitching projects since I will be staying in, and not venturing out into the wet weather. I would really like to make some nice scissors fobs for my little collection. I found some old flower frogs that I can display my Ginghers in. I would like to be able to have the fobs on the scissors, too. I have always done huge projects so the idea of some small projects is appealing. I am also thinking that an evening of looking at all of my JCS ornament issues is long overdue so that I can set about making some new ornaments to share.

Hope you have a warm and cozy weekend!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Old WIP


I went searching through my kit boxes today looking for something easy to work on. I have put the tea cozy away until after the holidays because it takes more concentration than I am capable of right now. It has all of those specialty stitches and placing them is hard work. So I pulled this out and was surprised to see how little I have left to do. It is an old Ursula Michael kit. I think I began it about 7 years ago and then put it into a ziploc bag. It was obviously before I knew better not to fold a piece. Oy!

I do not know if I have ever mentioned it here, but I have a love of all things red, particularly in my kitchen. I also love things with a vintage or retro feel of the 1920's-1940's. This piece has that look for me. So now I am getting a bit excited about finishing this and getting it up on the wall. Plus it is a very easy stitch and I have so little left to do. What was I thinking back then?!

We are getting ready for our rainy season beginning here. It generally rains from December through March here on the California Central Coast. The nice thing about the rain is that it generally makes it a little bit warmer. I love the rain, as long as I am home and not driving. It is perfect stitching weather. It looks like Saturday is the first day of a week of rain at this point, so I have to make sure that I can find my rain boots before then. I will also need to get Liesl's little raincoat out, much to her chagrin.

Hope you have a great work week!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank You For Your Kindness

I want to thank you for your kind thoughts, prayers and posts. It really means a lot to me.

On the eve of a holiday that celebrates gratitude, I must say that even though I have something very sad going on in my personal life, that I am truly grateful. I am grateful that I have a really good job in a place where I work with people that I truly admire and respect. I am grateful that I have wonderful children and a terrific son in law, who are just really nice and kind people. I have a nice place to live, and my sweet little dog. I have hobbies that I enjoy, books to read, enough food to eat, good health, and I have warmth against the cold. I have a beautiful church home.

At the same time, I think tonight and say prayers for those who are cold and hungry. I will pray for those who need a job, a place to live, and the most basic of needs met. My troubles are small compared to those who are just trying to survive.

I wish you all much abundance and all good things. May you be blessed many times over.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wild Week

I know I promised that I would be returning to stitching related stuff, but the week got the best of me. I had a rather large project for my class, plus it is the first couple weeks of the month, which is go time for us accountants. I have been up to my elbows in alligators. Unfortunately, it does not look like things will slow down until after next week. My stitching calls, but unfortunately, I can't answer. LOL

I am starting to think about planning my projects in 2010. I would like to work on more smalls or decorative items. This came about from stitching my tea cosy. I usually work on BAP's but now I am thinking about more embellishment work. We will see how it goes.
Since my post about the amount of death and sadness I have seen in the past year, I have been thinking about all of the amazing blessings in my life. My beautiful family, my amazing friends, my sweet little dog, a job that I am in love with, health, hobbies, and God's presence in my life. I feel so fortunate, even with some of the sadness I am feeling.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Schnauzer Public Service Message...LOL

I got up extra early this morning and headed out to the office while it was still dark. When I left, Liesl was sitting at the front door looking so sad because she wanted to go to work with me. I had to run back home for my forgotten cell phone and she was still sitting there looking with a "I wanna come to work with you" look in her eyes. I can't resist sad puppy eyes, they are my downfall...So she came to work and got extra spoiled by the employees and sniffed noses with her puppy friends.

I don't know if I mentioned it before, but Liesl is my first dog. I got her two years ago when I was 44. I wish I had known all along how wonderful it is to have furbaby. As a mini schnauzer, she has a very big personality. This breed is very busy, smart, and stubborn as all get out. They also have a great sense of humor. They are also very emotional. She actually cracks me up when she has her cranky on. The three sizes of schnauzers are referred to as "the dog with the human brain" because of their ability to use human reasoning and logic. Most people who have experience with them will tell you that it truly is like having another human around. They are pretty good at communicating their wants and needs.

They are great dogs but not for the faint of heart. LOL They are so smart that you have to stay one step ahead of them, which takes energy on the puppy parent's part. Plus, they need a lot of exercise. But they are so worth the work and effort. They are so incredibly loyal, funny and a lot of fun. All they want is to be with their people.

Tomorrow we get back to stitching. Whoohoo!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

I Am Really Sad Today...

I attended my third memorial service of the year today. Each of the services I have attended were for amazing women. Each one has been taken from us way too soon by evil, aggressive cancers. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all of the sadness and loss. Each one was living a normal, healthy life a year ago. The cancers that took them, took only months. Truly a message that life can change in the blink of an eye.

I cried so many tears today, that I gave myself a crying headache. Liesl has had a little bit of a wet neck today. She is pretty intuitive and is great at giving comfort.

I have not stitched yet today. I have tried to keep busy and took a long walk at the beach with Liesl instead. I may try to pull out my stitchy bag in a few minutes here. I am thankful that there will be an extra hour to sleep tonight so maybe I can stay up a few minutes later and still be fresh and awake for church.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Totally Fun Day!

Have I mentioned before how much I totally love my job?! I work with the coolest people, who are hard working, dedicated, and really fun to be around. Today was our Halloween party. I have worked in places where an announcement of an office party would fill me with dread, however, our parties are so much fun. People came in costume, our dogs came in costume. We had to decorate our department pumpkins (ours was one of the contest winners!)

We had a great barbecue, and yummy treats. Most of all, we got to have fun together, which is really good morale booster. It was just great fun. I have to admit, I felt a bit sleepy after that big lunch though.

The picture above is of Liesie in her costume. She was Leesula. She was a bit cheesed off about the whole wearing an outfit thing, but cheered up as soon as I took it off for her. There were about 10 dogs there, most without leashes on. They were all so well behaved. There was not even any begging. After lunch Liesie was exhausted from following around her dog buddies that she went right to her bed in my office, and let me tuck her in. She was asleep the rest of the afternoon and was still tired when we got home after work.


I did not get to stitch today, but I did enjoy the time I got to spend with the people I am lucky enough to work with.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stitched a little

I got to stitch both at lunch and after work today. I have finished all of the lettering. I was backstitching that vine, but it has that funky back stitch which counts both over one and over two. You guessed it, I am frogging now. Plus I attempted it while I was tired. Always a dreadful combination...

It does look so cool. I can't wait to work on the specialty stitches. I am looking forward to doing the queen stitch, always my favorite.

Tomorrow is our party at work. We have to dress up, which is a bit outside of my box. LOL I got Liesl a little costume too, which she will wear for all of five minutes. I had to find the least annoying one for her. I will try to get a photo of her.

Well, I am off to dreamland...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday, Monday, La, la...

With my computer issues of last week, I never got to post the photos of the scissors I recently bought. The pair on the left are my new Gingher Elena, which are close to the top of my favorites. The ones on the right are by Sullivan, which I bought on my recent trip to Thumbelina in Solvang. I really need to start stitching some fobs so I can show them off.

I did get my trees done last night. One was done in Smyrna Crosses and one was done in Fern Stitch. I also got to work on the Bargallo lace on the bottom of the design. I am getting both nervous and excited as I get ready to start the vine.

I have had the best time watching Liesl play tonight. She plays with total abandon. Her ears are back, she is deer hopping down the hall, running as fast as she can while squeaking her ball. Now, just like a toddler, she has just crashed. She dropped down on the bed, and looked over at me like she is ready to be tucked in. (Doesn't everyone tuck their dogs in?!)

I am totally bummed. I went to Target to get stuff for my Halloween costume for our party on Thursday at work. While I found something cute, I was stunned when I looked at the kid's section. They have Tony Stewart Firesuit costumes. Yet, they did not have it it in adult sizes. What?!! I coulda been Tony for Halloween! I would have even gotten me some "Estrada" glasses! LOL

Well, I am off to stitch my tea cozy. I may even start backstitching that vine!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Progress

I am making progress on the cozy. It is just so darling. The silk feels very nice in the hand, too. I am hoping to complete the trees tonight while I watch "The Next Iron Chef." Once I get the trees and the lace finished, I can move onto the big vine with all of the specialty stitches. I am afraid. I know I am making progress, because the little piles of floss are getting smaller.

I really wish that photographs could do justice to stitched pieces. This photo does not show all of the variegation in the silk floss, which is sad. In a way, this is why I miss the old stitching shows, like CATS. There have been quite a few pieces that I never would have bought the patterns for if I had not seen them stitched up in person. There is one particularly fabulous blackwork piece by Laura J. Perin, that was amazing in person that I totally would have passed on if I just would have seen the pattern.

In any case, I am stitching along and getting alot done. I can not wait until it is keeping my teapot warm.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Yay! I'm Back!

I have the greatest son in law in the world. He is an IT guy, and fixed my computer up. He works long hours with computers and yet, fit my computer issues in after work. I have my computer back and it is running like it is brand new. It was kind of fun to go to the college library for a couple of nights. They have great computers, helpful staff, and no distractions. So I got my assignments done. But I am so glad to have my laptop back. I have played on it way too much today, because I was behind on so much stuff.

You don't realize how much you rely on your computer until it is out of service. I get my news from it, shop, do research, take my college course, and do my banking online. I actually had to write checks for my bills this week. Now on the flipside, I was able to read a couple of books, stitch, etc., because I did not have a computer.

I am still working on my tea cozy. It is so beautiful. I will share a photo tomorrow after tonight's progress. I am hoping to stay up a little late. Liesl is already asleep and laying here beside me. She looks so sweet and so peaceful when she sleeps. I have my stitching stuff all laid out and ready to go. I have to find something interesting to watch on television. The tea cozy is so pretty that I am thinking that I may try to make gifts in future using the patterns. It only has a few variegated threads, so I think it will convert nicely, overall to DMC.

Well, I am off to stitch. Hope you have a good stitchy night, too!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Please Bear With Me

Last week as I was attempting to turn in my assignment for class, my computer went kaput! I have been without internet access for about a week now, while it is being serviced. Unfortunately, this means I have not been able to blog. I have gotten lots of reading and stitching done though. LOL

I am at the college library tonight using one of their really nice computers. I am hoping to be back online sometime this weekend. So please bear with me while I am trying to get my computer issues resolved.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

After The Storm...

Wow! It was quite a storm. Our town was hit really hard. There are tree limbs all over the place. We were without power last evening. The amazing people at PG&E worked throughout that storm and did an incredible job. We had power back at 9:41 last night. I had fully expected that it would be out all night. The wind was blowing at 48-60 mph. Some areas got over 8 inches of rain last night. One area in the southern part of the county got 16 inches of rain yesterday.

For some reason, the Monterey Peninsula still has power lines above ground, so power outages are a normal occurrence to us. We came home, lit candles and the gas fireplace. DH got the last rotisseried chicken at Safeway, so we had a warm dinner. I got out my book and booklight and settled in for the evening. I did not get to stitch though. It was just so dark, and my booklight only throws so much light. Liesie went to sleep on her blankie on the sofa. It was quite cozy.

Between all of the excitement and illness around here in the past couple of weeks, I have not had a chance to post a photo of my Gingher Elena scissors. They are so beautiful, just like a painting by Monet. I will post a photo tomorrow evening. I think they may be my faves along with my Sarah pair. However, no sooner had they arrived when I saw that Gingher has released a scissor that is exclusive to Jo-Ann craft stores, called Mia. They have a plaid design. I will have to be patient and save my pennies for a while.

When I was in Solvang, I got to see some beautiful scissors called Wasa. They were absolutely gorgeous. It was my first time hearing of them. They seemed super sharp and so elegant. Unfortunately, they are also expensive. I do not know why I love scissors so much.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, Monday...

We have tropical storm "Patricia" moving in tonight. The fact that this storm and I share a name is not lost on my DH. Anyway, the bulk of it is supposed to hit at about 1 am. I suspect that we will be awakened by all of the wind. Drag. I could not sleep last night and stayed up too late reading my book. I am reading "Let the Great World Spin" which is pretty awesome so far. I am a bit concerned about waking up to no power in the morning. We really need the rain here in California, but I have a feeling this is going to be a mess.

I did get to stitch for a little while. I am still working on the lacey part on the bottom edge. I have learned that I have no business stitching when I am overly tired, because it usually just results in my having to frog the next day. I am so pleased with how it looks. The photographs really do not do it justice.

Hope everyone stays warm and dry tonight.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Weekend

Yesterday was a whirlwind. We were singing with a local chorus for a benefit for a wonderful program here that works on behalf of the homeless. Yesterday afternoon was spent rehearsing, then our performance in the evening. It was a busy day. I find it hard to eat before a performance, so I had a little chicken noodle soup before we went on stage. On the way home, though we drove through and got hamburgers. It was good to come home and have a feast in our jammies.

Today was nice and quiet. I stayed home and sterilized the kitchen and bathrooms. The laundry had been neglected while I was sick. So everything is now nice and clean. Every surface that could hold a germ has been scoured. We are expecting a big storm coming in tomorrow, so DH stowed the patio furniture and cushions. I have to remember to put my rain boots in my car. I do not mind rain, in fact, I think it is excellent stitching weather.

I did stitch today after my chores. I got to watch the race and stitch away. (Tony came in fifth!) I am getting close to putting on that big stalk that contains all of the flowers with specialty stitches. I am getting a little bit intimidated! I still have quite a bit, like the lacey edge. Then, below that there is a bargello stitch. Whoohoo.

I am hoping that I will have time to stitch this week. I really want to make a lot of progress on this. Tea drinking season is upon us, and I want to be ready!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Back Amongst the Living...

I got hit hard by the flu. Like, really hard. I had been fighting what I thought was a cold Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday I went in to work thinking that I was still fighting this cold. By the time I got to work, I had a spiking fever and thought I was going to either pass out or get sick. Realizing that I needed to get home, and not knowing how long I was going to be home, I grabbed a bunch of paperwork and got back in the car. Our office has a strict, if you are sick- stay home policy.

I got home, at which time, Liesie decided that she should be sick, too, and got under the blankets with me. Dogs are so amazing in that they sense something is wrong, so they just want to be there to comfort you. So she stayed cuddled up to me and we slept alot of the day. She is a great nurse. I just love that little dog.

Yesterday, I was able to sit up in bed and make it into an office. I got a lot of work done. As an accountant, the first two weeks of a month are a critical time. This is even moreso at the end of a quarter. Today, I was not totally well, but the work has to get done. I went in to work, afraid I was going to get sent home, which I nearly did. I closed my office door, put a note on my door that I did not want to get anyone sick, and asked one of my buddies in one of the medical departments to bring me some latex gloves that I could wear when handling any paperwork that would be shared with anyone else. I think I have shared before that I work with the most caring and amazing people. Many of them came to my window and waved while doing a boo boo lip. Another put a sweet note on my window. They are so awesome. It just really made me miss them, because I could not go out and talk with them. But they made my day.

I have not really been feeling up to stitching, although I put in about an hour last night. I have also discovered Fancast on my Comcast Internet. It plays recent shows on demand. I was able to watch the first episode of "The Next Iron Chef" on my computer, without commercials. This is awesome. I watched that and almost got the two ladies all stitched in on my tea cosy. I am really hoping to get some stitching in this weekend and to get rid of the remnants of this bug.

Stay well!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Stitchy Night!

It was a good stitchy day. I had gone into work super early this morning, so I got off about four o'clock. I came home, changed directly into my jammies and had some frozen buffalo chicken strips for dinner, along with my Mexican Coca Cola. (I think I have shared with you my great love of buffalo chicken anything, as well as my adoration of Mexican Coca Cola.) I took my quiz for my Macroeconomics class and was finished by seven. This left me with a whole evening to stitch. How awesome is that!

To top off my happy dance, I received my ornament issue in the mail. I was really torn about what I should do, but I had looked forward to stitching all day. I did not want to just flip through my magazine, I really want to enjoy it with a cup of tea, so I am saving it for later in the week when I can slowly savor it. I pulled out my tea cosy instead, and got to start stitching the ladies. I am having so much fun stitching this

In addition to my stitching, I turned on Dancing With the Stars. I am cheering for Mark, the Chairman from Iron Chef America. I stitched my heart out with my sweet little Liesl next to me. It really brings home the fact that the small things in life really makes one the happiest. I had such a lovely evening and I am so grateful for the joy and comfort I got to feel.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

End of the Weekend

Well, I did get to do most of the things on my list today. I was totally thrilled because Tony won the race today. While I did get to stitch, it was cut short because Liesl had been playing in the backyard and came in screaming and limping. I hate it when dogs scream. It sounds like a human screaming and scares the heck out of me. She was limping and running scared so fast that she hit the step with her little body trying to get into the house. I jumped up and ran after her and scooped her up and held her tight. There was nothing visible, and all we can surmise is that she may have stepped on a bee and got stung. I just held her really tightly, then we gave her a baby aspirin. This happened about a month ago, too. Bob ran her right to the vet then but they could not find anything wrong.

She seems to be doing better now and is not limping anymore. She was able to bring herself over to the dinner table because she was able to smell parmesan cheese. She planted herself between the two chairs and stared us down, using the Force to make us give her cheese. LOL

I was able to make my minestrone for dinner. We have a ton of it, which is good, since it tastes better the second day and we have plenty for lunches this week. I got the recipe from my old Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook, back from, like, 1980, before fat and butter was evil. LOL. I love this cookbook and use it for everything. It no longer has a spine, the pages are all splotched with food, and it is just loved beyond being pretty anymore. It is the book I learned to cook from, and it is one of my great treasures.

Well, I am off to sleep off the excitement of the day. Let's all hope tomorrow is good and boring. LOL

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday

We are being hit with a cold and windy front here on the Monterey Peninsula. It is down in the 40's at night. Brrrr. Luckily, we planned ahead and bought one of the down comforters at Costco a couple of months ago. When the forecast came out for the cold weekend, out came the new blanket. As a result, everyone slept in this morning, including Liesl, who thought it was a bad idea to come out from under the blankets before 7:30.

We dressed in sweaters and jeans and went off to run errands. I do not know why I can not remember not to go to Costco the first weekend of the month. It is so wild and it makes me crabby. Alas, we were out of Liesl's chicken jerky, which she has to have one piece of every morning. Heaven forbid we should ever run out. We would be in big trouble and we are afraid. LOL

We got the house totally clean this afternoon. I love that feeling when it is all done. All of the surfaces sort of gleam when you turn the lights on. I still need to sponge mop the floors but that will go quickly tomorrow, then I will be able to stitch. Yay!

Tonight, DH took me on a little date to a nice local place. Tomorrow is our sixth anniversary of our first date. Time sure flies. Anyway, we had caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes. Then we shared a fancy pizza made with smoked salmon (yum!) a super creamy cream cheese, capers tomatoes cucumbers, and onions. It was heavenly! We finished by sharing a piece of chocolate cake. It was really nice, and we had fun chatting about books and stuff.

I am looking forward to a nice quiet day tomorrow after church. I have some left over steak from dinner the other night so I am going to make minestone, watch the race, light a fire, and stitch with a small dog cuddled up next to me. I am hoping to do all of this is my sweats. I am thinking it will be a perfect day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Confession Time...

I have a love of pumpkin that knows few bounds. LOL Yesterday, I found pumpkin bisque at Costco. I had been thinking about it in the fridge all day at work. We ended up having it for dinner and it was most delicious. Unfortunately, it reminded me that this time of year, Dreyer's puts out it's Pumpkin Ice Cream. Yay! I brought this up to DH, who seemed semi not interested. However, his class tonight was plunged into darkness by a power outage, so he called me to say he was coming home early. I politely reminded him about the ice cream, so he stopped on his way home. I got to have my pumpkin ice cream. Yum! Now that the weather is turning crisp and cool, all that I can think is "pumpkin bread." I shall have to bake some this weekend.

I got to watch the PBS National Parks show tonight. It was amazing. The photography is so beautiful, all I can think is that I need to see Yosemite. I am ashamed to say that I have not had the chance to visit it. The story about the Grand Tetons as well as the photography were so interesting. What an amazing place. We are so fortunate to have these treasures in our country.

I have not had the opportunity to stitch for a few days because I have had tests and homework for my class. My fingers are just itching to pick up my stitching. I really miss it when I can not work on my project.

Wishing you a happy weekend.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Progress

It is even colder than last night. It has been a good night to go to bed early with my stitching, get under the blankets and watching Dancing With the Stars. Liesie was tired from being back at work so she went to bed early, too.

It was so good to be back at work. I love the people that I work with, and we always say that things just do not seem right when one of us is out of the office for any length of time. Things just do not seem to be in balance. So everyone was so nice to me in welcoming me back home. It was nice to hear someone say that I was missed. I think I am really lucky. Liesie loved seeing all of her friends, too.

I am so excited that I finished the house in the tea cosy. It is such a large part of the design, and has taken a few days to stitch. This was not too bad in that there were large blocks of color. Now I get to move on to some of the specialty stitches. I love specialty stitches. It always make me feel really great when I can meet the challenge of a new stitch.

Enjoy your evening!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back To Work Tomorrow

Yay! I love my job and I am really looking forward to getting back to it tomorrow. I am looking forward to seeing my co-workers and sitting at my desk.

After dealing with the blistering heat while I was down south, now I am freezing again back home. I have had the heat on and a fire in the fireplace. Even Liesl keeps burrowing down under her sofa blankie. (Doesn't every dog have a bed and a blankie in every room?) The weather forecast is calling for the temperatures to drop over the next few days. Brrr.

I had to take a midterm exam for my Economics class today. It took all of the two hours that was offered. Yikes. After that Liesie and I cuddled on the sofa to watch the race, while I stitched. I am almost finished with the house on my tea cosy. It is really pretty and the materials are lovely. I would take a photo to show you but, alas, it is too cold to go get my camera out of my purse. We shall have to put it off until tomorrow during daylight hours when it is warm again. LOL

Since I just wanted to get home yesterday, I passed several exits off of 101 (El Camino Real-the California Mission Trail) to other missions. It has always been my goal to see all of them, twenty one in all, so now I am thinking that a road trip is in order. There are several in Monterey County. I passed up San Miguel, San Antonio and Soledad. (I have been to Soledad before. I have even performed with a chorus there.) So far, I have visited six. I really would like to see them all. Some are better condition than others due to local community support. Most are still working churches that celebrate mass every Sunday. The buildings are over 200 years old, still young by European standards, but about as old as the United States. I think the architecture, the lines of the building and the bells are fascinating.
Wishing you a great work week.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Home Again, Home Again...

We made it home by about noon today from our whirlwind adventure. Liesie is glad to see her toys and her backyard again.

We had a nice trip down south. Yesterday Liesl just looked so tired that we pretty much stayed close to the hotel most of the day and napped. I did not realize until late yesterday that we had pretty much had the hotel to ourselves during the weekdays. Yesterday though, the party crowds came in and were noisy way into the night. The neighboring room had people talking and laughing until late. Then their phone rang at 3:30 am, 5 am, 5:15 am and 6 am. I was so over it by 6:30 and packed up the car as fast as I could so we could get the heck out of there. I will try to remember to only go there during the week in the future.

I am adding some other pictures that I took this week at the Botanical Garden in Santa Barbara. Here is my furgirl who I think is part mountain goat, since she could scurry pretty fast up the stone staircase:


These are photos of the redwood grove there:

It really is good to be back home. As much as I enjoyed the time off, I am looking forward to getting back to work.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Two California Missions, One Day



I have been to Solvang several times in the last 7 or so years. It dawned on me yesterday that I should look for Mission Santa Ynez. There are 21 missions in California, which are an important part of the state's history. In fact, San Carlos de Borrameo (the Carmel Mission), where Father Junipero Serra is buried, is right in my town. I love to look at the buildings, and to see what the sanctuaries look like. I am a practicing Lutheran so I am afraid that I do not always understand some of the religious artifacts, but I love the opportunity to learn and understand more.

I digressed. Santa Ynes (Saint Agnes) is right in the heart of Solvang. In fact, it is one block over from the main street, Alisal. I stumbled upon it on accident today when I went to drop something off at the post office. It was not open when I stopped by this morning, so I did not get to see inside.


I was hoping to get to a cooler location this morning, so off we headed to Santa Barbara to see the dog friendly Botanical Garden there. Much of it was closed off do to the recent fires, but it was truly a lovely place. It was really really hot, but we stopped at each shaded bench so I could offer Liesie water and to douse her head to help keep her cool. She had a good time speeding off after lizards. The gardens are about a mile above the Santa Barbara mission. There is an aquaduct and filtration system that feeds the mission and surrounding area that was built at that time. The system is still in use today. It was fascinating.

On the way back down the hill, I got to see the magnificent Mission Santa Barbara, which I think is the largest mission I have ever seen. This mission holds several important artifacts such as vestments worn by Father Serra and significant works of art. It was about 100 degrees at the point that we got there, way too hot to leave Liesl in the car for even a few moments for a quick peek from the door, so sadly, I did not get to see inside. I snapped a few quick photos:

We finished the day by dipping our toes in the Pacific. Even the beach was too hot, so we did not stay long. It was a really great day.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Greetings From Solvang!

We made it to Solvang, CA last night and checked into the loveliest dog friendly hotel. This morning, off we went to downtown Solvang. If you are not familiar with Solvang, it is a fantastic little town about 45 minutes outside of Santa Barbara. It was settled by the Danish in 1911, and maintains the style of a Danish town. There are a multitude of Danish restaurants and little shops with Danish items and souvenirs for sale. I love this town and the people here make me feel right at home. Today it was 104F degrees in Solvang. Oy vey, it was take-your-breath-hot! Liesl and I walked around until about noon then went back to the hotel for a few hours to nap with the air conditioner running in the room.

The shopkeepers here have been so lovely. They come out and chat with me about Liesl when they saw me sitting on a bench with her for a few moments, while I was giving her water. Several saw that she was very well behaved and allowed me to take her into their shops. They were incredibly kind. One of my very favorite shops here is the infamous Thumbelina Needleworks, which specializes in cross stitch items from Scandanavia. Everything is so lovely in there. I asked the nice man there if it would be okay if I went into the shop with Liesl if I carried her. He said it would be okay. He saw that she is well behaved and kindly suggested that she would be much cooler on the floor, instead of in my arms. She laid down on the floor while I went through pretty much every pattern in the store.

I bought the most beautiful patterns at Thumbelina. I was looking at a stitched piece that looked very, very old and beautiful. It looked to be an antique. I thought I was silly to ask, but did ask if by any chance he had a pattern for it. I am so lucky, because he did. I will post a photo tomorrow of it and the rest of my stash. It is a windmill by a stream, just a little picture. He said that it was stitched on silk gauze, and happened to have the silk gauze in stock. I am so excited to stitch this!!! I bought quite a few things that a truly treasures. If you ever have the chance to make it by there, you will be thrilled with the treasures they have. Permin, Eva Rosenstand, Gerda Bentsson, and Oehenschlager, etc. Wonderful, helpful service, out of this world Scandanavian cross stitch items. Truly one of my very favorite shops. http://www.thumbelina.com/index.html
The other treasure I discovered today is The Village Spinning and Weaving Shop. DD dyes her own yarn and is a fantastic knitter. She has been looking for a spindle to spin her own yarn. I text messaged her right before our nap to let her know that this shop was here and asked if she needed anything. She got back to me, and around 4 I ran back to the shop in hopes it would be cooler in town. It was 97, yikes! The lady that runs the spinning shop was absolutely wonderful and gathered up the items for me that she thought DD needed. She had the most beautiful yarns there, too. She even carries the yarn spun from the waterproof fur of the Alaskan Musk Ox. A beautiful selection, extremely helpful and kind, and very knowledgeable. Really a fabulous experience.

We are off to Santa Barbara tomorrow. Word in town was that it was actually quite cold on the coast. Liesl would love to romp on a beach somewhere, especially if it is cooler!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Road Tasting...

Yesterday, we decided to go off on an adventure up to the Santa Cruz area. I was totally wanting some Cheesy Bavarian sausages. There is a place up in Corralitos that makes sausages that make your mouth water just to think about them. We go up there every once in a while to stock the fridge. We got there pretty close to closing yesterday, and the place was just packed.


We had been very worried about the folks who work there, because a couple of months ago, this little town was right in the path of the Lockheed Fire. The firefighters here have been so busy the last couple of years and we are so grateful for them.


One of the items that I got to pick up at the market was a genuine Gizdich Ranch Olallieberry Pie. OMG! Olallieberries are incredible and grow here on the Central Coast. Gizdich Ranch is famous for growing them on their U-pick farm. The olallieberry is a cross between a blackberry and a huckleberry. Nothing in the world tastes like them. Don't tell anyone, but I had a slice for dinner. Yum!


Okay, I know what you are thinking-That is one big artichoke! This is Giant Artichoke in Castroville, home of deep-fried artichoke hearts. If you have had an artichoke recently, chances are it came from Castroville. Deep friend artichoke hearts are just about one of the tastiest things you can eat. They are served with mayonnaise, in case the frying does not provide enough fat for you. LOL If you make it to the Monterey Peninsula, do yourself a huge favor and try these delicacies.

All this talk of food is making me hungry...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Vacation Day 3

We have been having an awesome vacation so far. We had agreed that we would rest most of the first weekend because we were both just exhausted. Friday morning I got my hair cut, did a little shopping, then had a massage, which was heavenly. We then went out for a really nice lunch at one of our favorite restaurants for a super late lunch/early dinner. We got back home, at which time I declared that I was taking a nap, which ended up lasting an hour. We both said we were too tired to do anything else so we put on jammies and watched "National Treasure 2," one of our fave movies. I got to start my tea cozy while we watched the movie. It is a really fun stitch.

Yesterday, after waking up at 8:30 (yikes!) Liesie and I went for a nice long walk around town, taking a route we had never taken before. We have really interesting architecture in our town so I got to look at some really cool houses, that I had not noticed before. Our houses here range from castles, to a house by Frank Lloyd Wright, to houses with thatched roofs, straight out out of fairy tales or a Thomas Kinkade painting. Thomas Kinkade has a home here and a couple galleries in the area, so I have often wondered if he gets inspiration from some of the little cottages here. Alot of the houses have the cutest little fairy tale gardens where I get new ideas of flowers to put in my own gardens.

While we were off on our adventure, Bob was getting his massage. He came home really m-e-l-l-o-w. LOL. We decided to read our books. I saw that Dan Brown's new book was available on Kindle for only $9.99, so I had to have it. It is a pretty good read so far. Then DH decided late yesterday that he had to have chocolate so we ended up taking another long walk to town with Liesie, then went down and sat by the beach and watched the day end.

I think this may be another day of rest before we set out for fun and adventure. I would really like to stitch today and perhaps finish the wording so that I can move away from the over 1 stitching it entails. LOL I have always loved stitching over one, but my eyes are getting a bit older now... Anyway, today is the first race in the Sprint Cup chase, and Tony is number 1 in the points, so I will probably have to secure a seat right in front of the television to cheer on the Office Depot/Old Spice car. Go Smoke!

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lookie!!!

My stitchy goodies came! I was trying not to have my happy dance right there in the parking lot of the post office. Whoohoo! I must say they are ever so lovely. The fabric came serged around the edges from 123stitch. The owner of 123stitch, Joanne really run a top notch service! She is super speedy in her shipping, too.

Well, my vacation started at 3 today. After running a couple of errands, I met up with DD so we could get pedicures. I have bright red toes. Yay! Then we had burritoes and cervezas for dinner. Yum! I came home and changed into brand new pajamas for my vacation evening lounging. I have an addiction for pajamas. I would wear them to work if they let me. DH bought me a new set at Costco yesteday, complete with a pajama cardigan. How cool is that. The pants are nice and long, too.

I had fully planned on a night of stitching in said new jammies, but ended up playing around on the computer. I started looking at stitching blogs and my evening flew by. How does that happen so fast. I will stitch tomorrow. I can not wait to see my tea cozy take shape.

Off to get my much needed beauty sleep...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Waiting at the Mailbox!

I feel like a little kid. I am waiting for my supplies to arrive so that I can stitch my tea cozy. Just knowing they are on their way is making me somewhat giddy. I got the shipment confirmation the other day. In fact, the shipment went out the day before I got the notification that the new JCS ornament issue came out. Shucks and darn, I will just have to place another order. Mind you, I do not stitch ornaments, but I have to have it in case this is the year that I start stitching ornaments.

Bob and I had a hot date at Costco after work to do some vacation grocery shopping. We spent a little too long lingering over the book table. We both love books in written or audiobook form. Why do there have to be so many good books and so little time? It is the same with stitching. We picked up some interesting snack type things tonight. They actually had cashews coated with coconut. Uh-yum! We also picked up Mexican Coca Cola. Our Costco carries it. It is so delicious. It is made with sugar cane and tastes just like the Coca Colas we had as kids. It comes in the glass bottle. You serve it really cold on a hot day. ( we are expecting the weekend to be in the 90's here in California this weekend) It really brings back memories of getting them out of the old iceboxes in the 60's.

It is hard to believe it will be autumn in a week. I love Autumn. I love the smells, the colors, the foods, the coziness of it. I like being able to snuggle under a blanket throw with a cup of tea to stitch or read with a cute little dog curled up next to me. I love the smell of pumpkin bread baking. I welcome this season and I am truly grateful for everything in my life. Life is truly good!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

It's Raining!

Wow! We are having a for real and true rain tonight. Usually it does not rain here until November-December. It is kind of nice and cozy. I made chili for dinner, good ol' comfort food. I am generally a follow the recipe to the letter kind of girl. I think it is part of my accounting frame of mind. We just do not go outside of the rules. Anyway, I got wild and threw in a bunch of tomatoes that I needed to use up and some leftover flat beer that got put back in the fridge. Bob said it was delicious (Yay!) and congratulated me on going outside of the box.

I had that flu/fever thing this weekend. Yucka. My head was all achy and stuffy. I feel better now but that was no fun.

I have been working on my genealogy studies this weekend for my class. I am not sure if I have shared this or not, but about six years ago I started my search. It has been such an interesting journey. The side of my family that I have been able to trace the furthest is my mother's side all of the way back to Macclesfield, Cheshire, England. Macclesfield was the center of the silk industry until the Industrial Revolution, when many people immigrated from Macclesfield to Paterson, New Jersey to work in the burgeoning silk trade there. In my research I have found a long lineage of silk weavers, embroiderers, and silk trade laborers on this side of the family. I wonder there must be some sort of institutional memory that made me want to embroider and work with fine cloth like linen and silks. I love working with silk best and will use it in my stitching whenever possible.

I have such a sense of pride and connectedness to my ancestors in this journey. I think a big part of it is that our lives are not just woven together, but that they are also woven together by needle and thread. I am connected to them with a love for doing the same things that they did, only I get to do them for fun.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday

Methinks I have selected my project for vacation. It is my Victoria Sampler Tea Cozy. I am ordering my fabric this weekend. (28ct, thank goodness!) I am looking forward to doing some of the crewel stitches on the vine. It also has some ribbon embroidery. It is a smorgasboard of stitching!

I was having a really good day, but my afternoon did not go so well. I got a text message from Bob this afternoon saying that Liesl had hurt her front paw and was in total pain so he was taking her in to the vet. They could not figure out what was wrong, so they gave her a painkiller/anti-inflammatory shot. She has been acting normal this evening, but we are not sure what will happen when the medicine wears off. I am hoping she sleeps because I came home with a little bug. I have had a fever all evening. Tomorrow will be better.

I got my Nordic Needle catalog in the mail today. I am going to look at it cover to cover tonight. I love their catalog. It makes me want to do more hardanger. Some of the pieces are so delicate and so amazing. It is as much to look at stitching as it is to stitch!

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Last Days of Summer

The other evening after dinner we took a walk down to the beach. We made it in time to see the sun taking its last bow of the day. The weather was just lovely here all weekend. Today, it was like a switch had gone off and it was much chillier. It felt a lot like fall all of the sudden.

I went in and worked today. I am trying to get everything done before my vacation starts. My workplace is wonderful and is letting me take my holiday at the start of my vacation. Whoohoo. An extra day! I went in early in the morning and worked straight through. I got so much work done without the phone ringing. I work with really nice people so I kinda missed everyone today though.

We took a nice walk after dinner and went downtown, which was pretty deserted. The tourists had all gone home and the streets were rolled up for the night. For some reason, Liesl likes to stop in any open door downtown, and just stop and look at what is going on inside. It is quite funny. She is a dog about town.

I am trying to decide what to stitch on my vacation. I am also trying to decide what to read for fun. You can't just be making these decisions all willy-nilly. Some careful consideration needs to go into how I am going to recreate. Do I want to read and stitch something fun? Or do I want to go the meaningful route? Should I broaden my horizons and read a classic and stitch hardanger? What to do, what to do... It is fun to plan. I am counting down the days!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blissful Saturday

Today was one of those normal, wonderful Saturdays. Liesl and I sat for a while and shared a chair on the back patio. The weather was beautiful, a slight breeze and sunny skies. It was nice to sit still. Then DH and I went to Target to pick up a few items, and found some lovely plants for the garden that were really inexpensive, like $1.99! We got some German Statice, Moss roses, and Dianthus (love the way it smells like carnations!) DH will put them in the ground tomorrow, yay! I took a nap during the race, then DH put a couple of steaks on the barbecue for dinner. It was just one of those ordinary days. I love those!

We are very appreciative to have these wonderful sorts of days. Last year was a very stressful one for us. We pretty much had all of the top stressors that a person can deal with. However, we made it through it all, and are so grateful. Days like this are really a treasure to us, where we just enjoy being together with our sweet little furgirl, and doing mundane things.

Stitching Bits and Bobs is running one of their great sales this weekend. Every holiday it seems they run a 20 - 25% off sale on most of their stock. They have a lovely website, too. Lots of stuff to look at. I tend to utilize them for some of the harder to find stuff, like Permin. They have a really great selection of Permin and Eva Rosenstand. So far I have been strong and not made any purchases...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Whoohoooooo! It's Friday!

It has been a wild, wild week! DH decided to take Liesl and momma out for dinner at our favorite local dog friendly restaurant tonight.



We enjoyed our adult beverages while Liesl stayed ever alert for the waiter with her order of chicken breast, and/or for other puppies to sniff noses with while she waited for her food to arrive.



Dinner has arrived!



Life is good!



I did not get to take a photo of the last part of the story. Liesl tends to go into what we call a "chicken coma" when she gets this special treat for dinner. She is now fast asleep on top of the new pajamas that I was planning on wearing to bed. Instead, I am having to wear mismatched ones because she is somewhat immovable. LOL

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Little Bitty Project















Here is Shepherd's Bush's "Sweetpea." It is a small project and just as cute as a button. I love the Jill Rensel heart double mat, but I am still saving for her mat for Old Glory. Bob does all of my framing and matting, so we may have to have a little consult on how to mat and frame it without it breaking the bank.

The colors in this are just lovely. I think this will look just lovely in our boudoir. It is just adorable. Hmm. Now that I am thinking about it, perhaps I will just finish it into a sweet little pillow. I have three decorative pillows on the bed. What's one more? Now I am thinking this a better and more affordable alternative.

Since I will probably be finished with this one by lunchtime tomorrow, (just kidding) I am thinking about going through my patterns this weekend. I think we will be staying in this weekend, (Yay!) so I would love to work on something pretty. I do not think we want to stray too far from the house unless it is to walk Liesl down to the beach, or to go get a coffee. The tourists are already pouring into town and I can hear loud parties coming from the nearby vacation rental houses. sigh
Have a great holiday weekend! Be safe and make sure you don't get barbecue sauce on your stitching this weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oh My Goodness!

Shakespeare's Fairies - Cross Stitch Pattern

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Have you seen this! Wow! I am not much of a fan of fairies, but this one is just darling. Nora Corbett does a really nice job on fairies, particularly her flower fairies. I may have to get the Shakespeare's Fairies. The colors are just lovely and it seems like the picture just moves.

My boss is getting new furniture tomorrow, so I got her big set up in my office today. I am thrilled. My office looks totally different now. I was thinking that I would like to stitch something colorful for my office. I will have to go through my patterns this weekend, unless, of course, an ONS is having a get down sale and the fairy picture makes it into my shopping cart. LOL. I wish I could totally express how happy I am about this new set up. I am looking forward to decorating my new space!

I think I have figured out my schedule now for my class assignments, etc. It was a bit overwhelming at first, and this weekend had me wondering if I would be able to pick up a needle and thread before Christmas. But all is well and not to worry. I think I have worked out my balancing act. Thank goodness. I have missed my stitching over the past week. Life is good!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Whooooooosh!

That was the sound of the weekend and today flying by. LOL

I got a new piece of technology this weekend. The nice folks with my cell phone service, were selling Blackberry's at an extremely low price. My contract has been up for a long time, and I guess I had points toward a new cell phone thingy, too. Most excellent. I had been thinking about getting one for a while, but debated my self for months, not knowing if I really needed one. My little Blackberry Storm has a touch screen (I feel so high tech!) and a spreadsheet and word processor capability so that I can upload all of my inventory of my cross stitch supplies that I have in Excel. This is so that when I go on stash acquisitions, I have a record of what I have. It also has an awesome calendar where I can put all of my due dates for my school work. Too cool.

I have not been able to stitch for a some time now. The first couple of weeks of school are always a bit rough while I find my pace on assignments and tests. I will be glad when I get it figured out so I can stop stressing. This happens to me every semester.

Kudos go out to my DD today. I called her on my way home from work, and she had made it home a bit early today. She was dying yarn in her kitchen. I have not tried dying, except for the curtains that I did back in May with RIT in the washer. My DD was doing hers on the stovetop. I asked her if she would dye floss for me. She said that it is probably the same process, so I am now thinking perhaps she can do some awesome overdyes for me. I wish I was not so scared to try it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Last Weekend in August

Can you even believe it?! August flew by!

As I said in an earlier post, we are now getting into the best weather of the year here. Today at lunchtime it was 93. It was a long hot day, and I had an over the top busy day and a heat headache. We had planned on having pizza for dinner, but it was still 87 degrees when I got home from work. DH offered to take Liesie and I to our favorite dog friendly restaurant. We figured that we should walk since there are a lot of tourists in town on weekends, making parking difficult. Off we went, with Liesie bopping along. The restaurant is a nice walk, but is about a mile away. A block away from the restaurant, I could already start to imagine sipping a cold beverage. We were sweating, hot and tired. Just as we walked up to the restaurant, a big chartered bus pulled up a people started spilling out of it. It turns out our restaurant was booked for a private party. This is a rare thing indeed.

I contemplated weeping openly right then and there, but was so dehydrated from the walk, that I could not manage tears. LOL We walked a mile back home in the heat. I tried not to be a drama queen all the way home. DH went and got us some cheeseburgers and chili cheese fries. He is such a prince. I have had my attitude adjustment and feel like I can make it through my weekend now. LOL

My fingers are starting to get itchy to stitch. I think I may pull out a small Shephard's Bush kit this weekend, just to be working on something. I purchased the Sweet Pea kit when I was in Modesto. It is really adorable. Hopefully, it will not be way too hot to stitch.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Walking in Gratitude

Do you ever just stop and think of how fortunate you are? I was talking to someone recently about how we just feel truly blessed. We have good jobs, a place to live, people that love us, great dogs, and hobbies that sustain us mentally. Life is good.

I tend to take a couple of classes each semester. I am currently studying Macro Economics and Genealogy. I love going to school in my mid-forties. I feel challenged and alive with the things that I learn. It keeps the mind sharp and I keep evolving how I see the world. I take my classes online, and I really like the discussions. The topics are covered by people of all walks of life and all ages. I love the different perspectives and how it makes me see things differently. I started back to school this week, and I am just so happy about it.

I am looking forward to the weekend. While I do have a bit of homework to do, I am looking forward to getting some rest. I would love to cuddle with my little lovable dog and watch the race. The weather should be nice here. DH and I have been discussing the need to work on the yard, so I have a feeling that I will either need to 1) bat my eyelashes or 2) get on my work gloves. I will try to take pretty pictures to post of some of the flora in the garden. Cross your fingers, hopefully I will have made up my mind on a new camera and will be pointing and clicking to my heart's content.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Ready for Fall

I have to say that I think that Autumn is my very favorite season. I love the colors, I love the smell (and taste) of pumpkin bread, and the activity of the season. Here on the central coast of California, September and October are generally our best months weatherwise, and tend to be when we get our sunshine and warm temperatures. If you ever intend to visit here, it is the best time to come. It is quite festive, as it is also the time of the local harvest of many crops. It is a really nice time here. The humpbacks will start their migration in November. You can see them spout off of Pt. Lobos or down in Big Sur. They are an amazing sight to behold.

With all of the activity of the seasonal change and some outdoor living I will be taking a few more pictures. I would really like to buy a new camera. It has been about 3 years that I have had mine. Back then it was a great camera. It is 6mp but runs on AA batteries, not good for the environment. I am filled with guilt every time I reload it. They have better cameras now, very reasonably priced at Coscto and bundled with accessories. They tend to be 10 - 12 mp, have stabilization, and the lithium battery pack, which is rechargeable. I am a point and click kind of girl, SLRs are and always will be way out of my league. So I am looking at a Nikon Coolpix and a Casio, which are the same price. My gut is telling me to get the Nikon, even though it has lower megapixels. I know several people who have an older version Coolpix and they just love them. I am making myself crazy trying to decide. LOL

I am still trying to hone in on what project to start next. I pulled out a pattern for a Christmas ornament by Brooke's Books. It is one of those nostalgic 1920-1930 type patterns. There is a series of four of them. I bought the pattern because it has cookies all over, and they look like Stella D'oro cookies, with the moon and green club, etc. I loved Stella D'oro cookies as a kid. Every time I look at this pattern, all I can think about is that yummy amaretto flavor they had. I am wondering if they still make them now. I shall have to look for them. But I digress...I realized that this was not the pattern to start for two reasons. The first is that it has a gazillion color changes. I am not feeling it right now for color changes. The second reason was that I can not look it without getting hungry and craving cookies. I think I will look for something else...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Retro Stitchin'

I think I have mentioned it before, I love vintage/retro fabrics. It is a weakness. Anything that has little apple cheeked children or old kitchen retro on it, circa 1930's to 1960's, is okay by me. I ran across this book sometime ago, and had been putting off buying it. Well, last week, I had placed an order for my textbooks at Amazon. Of course, the next day, I found out I needed someting else. In order to meet my $25 free shipping minimum, I had to order something else. So here it is. This book is really cool in that it has pages and pages of reusable transfers. It features those old school stitches like chain, lazy daisy, etc, which harken back to those dishtowels and pillow cases we learned on back in the day. I am so stoked about this book. It makes me yearn to stitch a dishtowel, or put a chenille bedspread on my bed. (Only $12.95 at Amazon!)

I am still thinking about my next project. I would really like to do a couple of small things like a floss ring fob. There are just so many great freebies out there that I just can not seem to settle on a design. My floss ring that has been all over place with me and is deserving of a very nice decoration. But what to choose?!

DH has decided that Liesl needs to learn a new trick so he bought some Pupparoni to train her with (the Lean one, that we refer to as "Diet Pupparoni" LOL) Liesie loves learning tricks. She gets very excited when she does what she is asked to do. Unfortunately, there is one thing that gets her even more excited than training and that is Pupparoni. She gets tunnel vision and it is the only thing she can think about once she knows it is there. This can and often does make her so crazy about the thought of her fave treat, that she can not even hear us telling her to do something. She did finally calm her puppy self, she did great at her trick and is getting there. But, oy vey, it was crazy there for a few minutes. LOL She just looks so proud and happy when she is finally able to do her trick. What a character!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Brrrrr!

Oh boy, it is cold. We woke up and the sun was shining. We walked down the beach and it was warm. We were saying what a beautiful day it was. On the way back up the beach, the fog had rushed in and it became cold. It was amazing that it was that fast. So we have had a fire in the fireplace and I have my sweater and wooly socks on.

I got a nice surprise yesterday. I received an email through my blog from my old friend, Mary Lou from Kansas. (Waving at you, Mary Lou!) I started chatting with Mary Lou about 7-8 years ago on the old cross stitch message board on AOL. We became online pals and eventually got to meet a few years ago, when she was visiting the area with her husband. She is a really neat lady and a wonderful friend. Life got busy and we fell out of contact. Apparently, she was on Becky's blog, http://sweetcottagedreams.blogspot.com/ and clicked on the link to my blog and found me. I am so thrilled! It just goes to show how small our little world is now with the internet.

The world really did get small with the internet. I love reading blogs from other stitchers from all over the world. My blog list has links to stitchers blogs in France, Italy, Germany, Russia, the Yukon, the Netherlands and Australia. I think this is so very cool. I am not always able to understand everything that is written, but I love to look at the stitching, photos of families and pets, gardens, and quilt projects. It is really cool to get a glimpse of everyday life in another country, and to see how really similar our lives can be. I feel like I get to catch up with my friends all around the globe everyday.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to read about my little part of the world. It really means alot to me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stash In The Mail

Whoohoo! My stitchy stuff came in the mail today. My tea cozy pattern is here, as is my new Q-snap cover. The fabric on the Q-snap cover is so pretty. It is a nice treat to get something in the mail that is fun instead of junk mail. Even my bills don't come in the mail anymore.

It has been a crazy busy week this week, especially at work. DH had been back in Illinois for a week and came home Tuesday night. We were happy to see him. Liesie likes having the whole family together and everyone where they are supposed to be. Between DH catching up on his work and the audit at my job, we are both coming home really tired. Tonight was the first night we got to chat and catch up. DH made BLTs for dinner. There are few foods that I love more than a BLT. In fact, when we go out for breakfast I will usually order a BLT because I do not like eggs. So it was nice to sit and have something delicious and finally get to talk with one another.

I am looking for a cute design to put on my floss tag. There are some really adorable designs on the Freebie Gallery blog. I have a love of all things red, so something monochromatic might be cool. I think I just need to take some time to find a really nice medallion. It would be a really quick stitch. Then I really want to do some scissor fobs for some of my scissors. I have seen around the net that some folks are storing their scissors in the old glass flower frogs. This seems to be a brilliant idea. I shall have to keep my eyes peeled at the local thrift shops.

Hope you have a great Friday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Blue Ribbon!

Several weeks ago, I entered my Farmer's Alphabet (Prairie Schooler) in the County Fair. Actually, it was kind of a last minute thing. I usually enter several pieces, but this has been a difficult year, complete with a new job, a move, and other really overwhelming things. So life priorities took over. I figured I would just focus harder next year. At the last minute, as I was checking to see what entertainment was at the fair, I saw that I still had a day to enter something. So this went in. I did it primarily because my heart just breaks at the sight of dwindling entries every year and I want to do my part to bring attention to the craft. I am still surprised that it got a blue ribbon. I feel good about this first place finish.

If you have a local fair, please consider entering it. We need to support local fairs. Please do not worry about whether what you do is good enough, because, really it probably is very good quality. The nice thing about entering fairs is that I also get feedback so that I can get better at what I do. So if you bake, sew, cross stitch, or do any home arts, I would encourage you to get your guidebook to your local fair and start planning. It feels really good, you are supporting a local endeavor and raising the awareness of your craft. Perhaps someone else will become inspired by one of your pieces and want to try it, too. I find that I really challenge myself a bit more to take the time to really do something well since I know that someone will be looking at it with a discerning eye. The best part is when your peers and people who know your craft, tell you that you are doing a good job. So next year, go for it!

So now I have to start planning for next year. I am thinking that I would really like to ribbon in hardanger and blackwork...