Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to you and your family for much love, peace and laughter in 2011!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Cozy Evening At Home

It has been either stormy or cold this week. The last two days have been so cold. It was 29F degrees as I drove to work today. Despite wearing a down vest to work, I could not get warm all day. It was so nice to come home, put on the heat and cuddle Liesl. After being so cold, I decided I needed comfort food, so I made homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. It was so delicious and was the perfect dinner on a cold night.

As always, it was a very busy week. It was even busier than usual since it was a short week. I am grateful to have tomorrow off. It was nice to have this evening to just relax. My hands were still a bit cold so I did not stitch. I spent this evening looking at online freebies, stitching blogs, and designer web pages. It was nice and relaxing and I am really inspired to stitch some beautiful things in the new year.

I am reading "The White Queen" and learning alot about the War of the Roses. The White Rose was the House of York. I am looking forward to reading "The Red Queen" about the House of Lancaster. This period through the reign of Henry VIII is a fascinating time, full of drama, power marriages, and politics. The monarchies of Europe during this time were all interelated. I did not realize until lately that Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife was the daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain (the financial backer of Christopher Columbus.) I was telling my friend on the phone tonight that I need an org chart to keep all of the royalty straight. My friend told me that she actually has one and will make a copy for me. Wow, what a fascinating time in world history. I also only recently found out that the Tower of London was also a palace in addition to being a prison. My daughter recently returned from a trip to London and said that she actually saw the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded at the Tower. Yikes.

Well, I just saw on the news that it is supposed to get really cold tonight. I have a little dog who is already snuggling. However, tonight we remember in our prayers those who do not have access to shelter or warmth tonight. It will be below freezing, and I am so grateful that I have been blessed with shelter, healthy food, warmth and the love of a small dog, but I have a heavy heart as I think of those who need the same.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back To Reality

Wow. That weekend sure flew by. I am proud to say that I made it through the day without a butter sauce, a cream sauce, or a butter cream sauce, for that matter. It was rough but I was a good girl. I had toast for breakfast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and eggplant parmagian with a green salad for dinner. I had a few Peppermint Joe Joe's for dessert, but I restricted myself to a reasonable number.

I am trying to restore order to my kingdom here. (Actually, my little 600 square foot house is referred to by my friends as "The Estate." This makes it sound so much bigger like I have grounds and stables, etc. LOL) Anyway, as with most folks, some chores went by the wayside during the height of the holidays, so I need to get things back in order. I really wanted to stitch tonight, but I also do not want to spend next weekend on chores. So I am doing one significant project a day after work. Tonight while I cooked dinner, I straightened up my laundry room/pantry area. I also organized my food cabinet to take a little inventory of what I have. Both the cabinet and pantry shelves are organized and neat, and the laundry room looks organized. Love it! Tomorrow, I organize the cookbooks and the pots & pans cabinet.

I am thinking about what I want to be and do in 2011, particularly since I have some time. A few months ago, I ordered an inexpensive set of rosary beads from Amazon. They are made of olive wood from the Holy Land, with a tiny bit of soil from Bethlehem. I am a practicing Lutheran, but I really want to learn how to pray the rosary. There are books that I want to read, time I want to spend with all of my friends, hikes I want to take, day trips I want to take with Liesl (she really goes with the flow and is a great companion.) I would really like to take a day trip to hike Yosemite with Liesl. I have never been there and I understand that some parts of the park are dog friendly now. That may be a bit too ambitious for me though. There are also missions in Monterey County, that I have not been able to visit yet. I have been to the Carmel Mission & Soledad Mission, but there are quite a few of them here. There are pieces I want to stitch, quilts I want to make. It is going to be a busy year, full of miracles. I am so excited.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

On The Third Day of Christmas...

Oh my goodness, I am partied out! Sometime ago, one of my girlfriends and I decided that we were going to have Christmas dinner together today at a restaurant and exchange our gifts. After church we met and had a lovely lunch. It was so much fun and a really relaxing way of bringing the holiday to a close. When it came time to exchange gifts, she gave me this totally adorable set of measuring cups. She knows that I love a retro/vintage look, particularly with cherries for my kitchen. I am over the moon for this set. I have to find a way to display them. I had given her a book that I knew she would love, and the stitched "L" that was on my blog the other day. She was very excited, because she loves red, too! We split a piece of Olallieberry Pie, then declared the holiday over, for tomorrow I diet. LOL

It was nice to come home to a normal afternoon. My desk is not covered with stuff and wrapping paper. I have my sweats on, my feet up and bad television on. Liesl is napping, snuggled up to me. I am going to read my book and go to bed early.

It has been a beautiful weekend. It has been a blessing to spend time with my family and friends. The time has been filled with beauty and laughter. Now it is ending perfectly, with everything quiet, with a small dog, and I am thinking a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner and a Philippa Gregory book. I love simplicity and I am happy to have a simple evening at home.

It is back to work tomorrow! It is a busy week since it is the last week of 2010. Hope you have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

What a blessed day! Liesl and I woke up this morning to see that Santa had come for Liesie. She has been a really good girl (except when she gets a case of schnauzer naughtiness. LOL) so Santa brought her a purple monkey, and a puzzle toy. Santa loves puppies, too and brought Liesl things that make her happy.

The picture above is one of the presents my daughter gave me. It is SO cool. The little Lego Tony Stewart even has beard stubble. LOL My children were so thoughtful and generous with my gifts. I also got a magnetic board to hold my patterns. I have always wanted one.

It was such a wonderful day with my family. It is so rare that we can all get together. I just love them so much, so it was just a joy to be with them. Liesl was on her very best behavior, although she was wondering why my daughter's cat did not want to play with her. My daughter made an amazing prime rib for dinner. It was so good. We also had my potatoes and green bean casserole. We had an incredibly delicious cherry pie for dessert. I was so stuffed. I realized how out of shape I am though, when I was "feeling the burn" while I was ricing my potatoes. LOL Words for the New Year, "Upper Body Strength."

This has been a beautiful Christmas. I have felt so much love for those around me, and felt so much love from my family and friends. That has been the most amazing gift to me. Last week, our pastor had challenged us to look for the miracles during the week. I found them all around me, and found myself feeling in awe and excited about seeing what would happen next. It is not restricted to this time of year either. Miracles are around us all of the time.

I wish you a truly beautiful Christmas and much love and joy in your life.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Gloria In Excelsis Deo And Peace To All People!

Merry Christmas Everyone! Here is our Chrismon tree at church. Chrismon, meaning Christ's monogram. The ornaments are white and gold. White to symbolize the purity of Jesus Christ, and gold to symbolize his majesty. Chrismons have been a tradition in many churches, particularly Lutheran churches since 1940.

Today was really amazing. I had to run out to the grocery store this afternoon and was really disappointed to see some of the grinchiness in the form of road rage, and lack of smiles today. This is one of those days that require an extra dose of patience and sense of humor. Other than that, it was great. We had our church service tonight. It was so nice to see alot of the young people that we all have watched grow up, home for the holidays and in church. Some even have families of their own now.

After church, I was invited again this year to one of my very best friend's family Christmas Eve dinner. Dinner was a traditional Norwegian dinner of salmon, red cabbage, potatoes, and a meatball recipe that has been in their family for five generations. Only the men in the family make the Norwegian meatballs, as tradition dictates. The minute grace is said and we are seated at the table, it is made known through announcement that anyone seated at their table is their family. As you sit at this large table, I truly feel surrounded in love, and part of their wonderful family. It is a beautiful thing. I realize that my best Christmas and year round present is the really loving friendships like this family. I am so fortunate. I came home and looked that the clear sky full of stars and breathed in the clear, cold night air. I just feel so filled with Christmas spirit.

Tomorrow is a special day. My daughter and her husband are hosting Christmas dinner for the first time ever. She is very excited. Last year was her first time hosting Thanksgiving. Tomorrow is a really big deal for her. Liesl is invited, too. I am supposed to bring a potato dish so I am making a potato casserole I used to make for holidays when my kids were small. I thought about making additional things to bring, but figure it is my daughter's big day, and I want to respect her organizing the dinner. She is a great cook, so I know everything will be delicious.

I want to take the moment to wish each of you a very Merry Christmas. I wish you so much joy and beauty.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

In Like A Lion, Out Like a Lamb...

The week started crazy but ended really sweet. The week even started with stormy weather this week, and today the sun was out.

Tonight was awesome. I met a friend for dinner, then we went over to Candy Cane Lane in Pacific Grove, where residents deck their houses out with lighting and lawn decorations. It is a major deal here every year for locals during the holidays. The lights were so pretty. People really go all out. I am in a holiday mood now. We really had a lot of fun, and it was really neat to see all of the kids so excited.

Today was really great at work. Everyone was in a festive mood and were exchanging small gifts and cards. I made gift bags of homemade vanilla marshmallows for several of my co-workers to put in their hot cocoa, just as a small gift. Several of us are hot cocoa connoisseurs. The marshmallows seemed well received. Once you have had a homemade marshmallow, it is hard to go back. If you would like a recipe, here is the one I use. Mine did not look as pretty as Martha's though, but she has people to make them pretty: By the way, they are super easy to make. What was really cute was that one of my work friends gave me hot cocoa for Christmas.

Today, is a special day. Three years ago, a little rag-a-muffin, four month old puppy was sent from Heaven. She looked so scared and so small that day. She had not been well treated in her former home, and her fur was really scraggly. She did not even know how to jump. The next day, she woke up and she was all attitude. LOL This was her first day with us:

This is Liesl now, pictured with her new Santa Bobo that one of our volunteers gave her for Christmas. She had been sleeping with her head resting on it, but woke up just as I snapped the photo:

Thank goodness she came into my life. I just love her little furry self so much. I gave her a little puzzle ball for her anniversary. She has been cracking me up chasing this ball around, trying to get the treats out of it. Her best method seems to be to hit it as hard as she can, which sends it spinning across the floor. Then she pounces and hits it again.

Tomorrow I am off for the holiday. Liesie and I will take a walk on the beach, then I need to finish up my stitched gifts for my friends. Then off to church for Christmas Eve services.

Enjoy your holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oy vey. It has been a crazy week. Murphy and his pesky law has been getting on my last good nerve. LOL What do you mean, we are only into Day 2?

Okay, it has been a little bit of a challenge to look for the miracles this week, with the whole Murphy's Law thing going down. But I have a good one. Lately, I have been wanting a new tote bag, because I need one with compartments, but those tend to be pricey. I just need something to haul my water, some stitching, Liesie's stuff, my Kindle, etc., but I want to keep it all separated out. So fast forward to today. Every year at this time, we receive a little gift at work, which I totally forgot about. Usually we receive coffee cups, notebooks, etc. Well, today, we received the most amazing tote bag ever. It is of a heavy duty material, the perfect size, and has a net pocket on each side for my Sigg bottle of water. It has pen holders on the outside, so that my pens do not roll around on the bottom. It has three compartments, including one pocket that is the perfect size for my Kindle. It was a very cool little miracle and something I was wishing for. Cool, huh.

So here is my other little miracle. I have been thinking for a few months now of stitching Mother of Innocence by Cross My Heart. I have the pattern and fabric in my stash. I actually bought the pattern at CATS several years ago. I am not even sure you can get it anymore. It is such a beautiful picture, and has really been on my mind several times a week. The colors are very subtle, and I am afraid of it not having a lot of variation, so I have really been questioning if it is something I want to undertake. However, like I said, it has been on my mind. So anyway, when I finally got home tonight, I checked the mailbox and yay, I had received several Christmas cards. I opened the first one and lo and behold, the picture on the front was Mother of Innocence. It is so beautiful, and I really think I am going to have to dig that pattern out.

I had to work pretty late tonight, so I did not get to stitch. My co-worker stayed to finish the project with me. Her little dog, a little buddy of Liesl's also was in my office with us. It was kind of cute to see Liesl playing with her buddy while we worked. Both of them are such sweet dogs, and were pretty patient about having to stay at work until almost 7.

I still have to finish up my initials for my friends. They are quick stitches, so I hope to get them all finished in the next couple of days. I may have to pick up more DMC 304, which is a great red, by the way. I am so pleased with how they are coming along, so I am excited to share them with my friends. I can't wait until they see them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stormy Sunday

Oh my goodness, we had such a storm today! The wind was terrible. There were pine needles in my yard and driveway from trees that are not even on my street. The rain poured down on us. PG & E has done a lot of preventative work in our neighborhood this fall, and are to be commended. With the heavy winds and rains, we did not lose power in our neighborhood.

Despite the weather, I ventured out and made sure I went to church. Today was Christmas pageant day, and it was so worth it to see those adorable children telling the story of the birth of the Jesus Christ. It was a total cuteness overload. It makes me smile to think about it.

After the pageant, our pastor gave a sermon about looking for the miracles everyday. This is a very cool way to live and makes me feel in awe. I was especially conscious of small miracles today. On my way back from church, I was listening to our classical station, as always. On the radio was Felix Mendelssohn's Reformation Symphony. I love this piece and have not heard it in years. Interwoven throughout the piece is "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." This is such a beautiful piece and it was wonderful to hear it. A small miracle.

I am stitching small gift ornaments for my friends. Tonight was the first one, pictured above. These are pretty ornate, but easy to stitch. What was neat about stitching an initial, is that I thought alot about the person I am stitching it for while I work on it and what they have meant to me this past year. I think of the times we have shared meals, and laughed, talked, and supported each other. As I stitch, I say a prayer for their happiness and peace in the upcoming year. I am finding this to be a gift to me as well, as I really focus on that person and what their friendship really means to me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm A Rebel...

I don't know what got into me today. Maybe it was the lack of sleep this past week, or perhaps the cleaning products that I was using to clean my messy little bitty house, but I decided today I was going to clip all of the "Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Law" tags off of all of the throw pillows. I got tired of always positioning the pillows with the tags tucked under them, with the strip of white showing. So I took a pair of scissors and snipped off every last one. I feel kind of naughty. I hope Santa still comes...

So today was my day of domesticity. I got my house cleaned, stitched, read my book, got seven loads of laundry done (sheets and blankets were overdue), gave Liesie a much needed bath, and played tug o' war and fetch for as long as my arm could hold out. I also got my craft room/office all cleaned up and disposed of my class notes, old tests, and put my school stuff away. I did not bake, but I still have tomorrow after I run my errands after church. My house is squeaky clean. I also have clean sheets, truly one of life's simplest and greatest pleasures.

I am still getting used to the idea of not having a class. I am identifying stitching projects that I really want to work on. For a challenge I would really like to do Teresa Wentzler's Fruit Bellpull. I have the kit, and actually put a couple of stitches into it a few years ago. I think this would be a very worthwhile endeavor. I have never done this before, but I am actually considering a project rotation so I do not get bored with one long project. When this happens I usually just put the project to the side, and unfortunately do not work on anything. So perhaps it would be better to have a back up.

The other cool thing about having more time is that my friends are all happy that I will have more time to spend with them. They are really proud of me for my schoolwork, but are really happy that I will have more time to have dinner, or coffee, or walks, and not be studying all of the time. I am really glad that I will have more time to spend with them, too. It looks like the next eight months are truly going to be a gift.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

We Are Getting Some Weather...

Oh, my goodness, we had a freeze last night. Everything was frosted when I got up this morning. Poor Liesl was too cold to go for a full walk this morning, and clearly communicated that she wanted to go home where it was warm. It started to rain on the way home tonight. They were big drops, too. It is supposed to rain through the weekend. This is okay because I plan on staying home on Saturday to bake, clean and stitch. Liesl and I need a staying home day.

Today was awesome. One of my friends at work that enters fairs asked if I was going to enter a couple of other area fairs that I am eligible for. I usually just do the County Fair. She mentioned that one of them has a January or February deadline for entry, which is sooner than I thought about. I am considering what I could have ready by that time. I love entering fairs, and I feel it is my duty as a resident here to encourage other handcrafters to showcase their work. It is so important that we keep interest up for these art forms.

The other cool thing that happened was that the professor for my class emailed me to let me know that I have gotten an A in my class. I feel so relieved. Microeconomics is the hardest class I have ever taken, so I really feel good about this grade.

Good things come in threes so here is the last of my items. Oprah's book club reads this time are Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities, both by Charles Dickens. I really love classic literature, and find that they are usually classics for a good reason. Anyway, I thought that I would have to try to get them from the library, but thought I would check Amazon. Both books were available for my Kindle for free. How awesome is that!

Well, I am off to complete this really good day with some stitching! Have a happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Starting My Journey of Fun...

I am officially not a student for the next eight and a half months. I took the longest, most difficult final in the history of higher education last night. Multiple choice and three, count 'em, three essays with no less than 5-9 parts a piece, all to be completed in 2 1/2 hours. I needed chocolate after that. Bless my little Liesl, she was really tired last night so I got to take my test with only a little disruption. We had our company holiday luncheon yesterday. Of course, the dogs are invited, too. So she had the very best time, and got to bring home a bone as a party favor. She got to see all of her favorite dogs and people, and got a few bites of lasagne noodles, so she had the time of her life. She crashed to sleep afterwards and for the rest of the day.

I am actually feeling relieved that I have the next eight months with no class assignments, exams, etc. I am really excited about having the gift of time. I have already started on my fun. I had to order my two carrot buttons, so ordered a couple of presents for myself. I have been looking for some nice pillowcases for months now. I really like a vintage look, particularly in my bedroom. I remembered the old needleworked pillowcases, and found that there are pages of them at This set was $8.99 for both pillowcases and they are exactly what I wanted. I also ordered the Red Threads pattern by Rosewood Manor, because, as I have shared in the past, I have a love of red, that borders on an obsession. Most of my friends also share this love of red. So I was thinking of making monograms with these amazing motifs as birthday gifts in the upcoming year. It means so much to me when someone takes the time to make me a homemade gift, so I really want to do this for my friends, too!

In addition to my stitching, I love books. I read every day at lunchtime, as well as when I climb into bed at night. After work today, I ran to the local library and got an armload of books. I also started reading the most beautiful book at lunch today. It is Henry David Thoreau's "Walden." This is the book that has the quote about "men living lives of quiet desperation." Today, as I read this book, I read a paragraph that said, "The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly." I thought this was beautifully stated. I understand why this book is a classic. It truly resonates with a person and demands deep thought and reflection.
I am off to stitch!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hangin' Out With the Big Dog!

Truly, I have a big dog in a little outfit. Picture a dog less than 20 pounds, less than a foot tall, that never got the memo that she is little. Now I have to keep up the charade and let her live in the bubble. LOL Today she was running up the hillside with her two buddies, one a Queensland Healer and the other is a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, I believe. She runs with them, shoulder bumps them, and smack talks all the way. Both of these dogs have 30-40 pounds a piece on her, but she is fearless and holds her own. She got a nice, professional bath at the groomer on Friday. Today her little legs and beard were covered with mud, but she was smiling the entire way. Cracked me up. My groomer likes to remind me that mini schnauzers are working dogs. Which kind of explains them thinking they are bigger than they are.

So after all of her fun, she came home, ate her dinner, hid some toys under the TV cabinet for me to retrieve (she thinks this is hilarious), and crashed on the sofa. This meant that I could study and then do some stitching. It was nice to get some stitching done. I will post a photo as soon as Ellie starts to take shape a bit. Otherwise, it just sort of looks funky.

I have been thinking about my free time after I take my final tomorrow. I realize my friend is really right that it will fill up fast. I am getting really excited as I think about it. I have a lot of things that I have been wanting to do. This class was taking about 2-3 nights a week to handle the workload, well worth it, but having that kind of bonus time will be awesome. I am afraid that I might get used to it, and I am only supposed to take one semester off. I better make the time count!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gosh, That Three Day Weekend Went Fast!

I can not believe it is Sunday night already. How did that happen? Three days flew by. They were busy ones, that is for sure! I am still coming down from the concert on Friday night. It was so awesome. Yesterday, I got to go to my quilting buddy's graduation, where she received her Master's Degree. It was such a beautiful ceremony and we are all so proud of her.

Today went especially fast. As I was driving home from church, the sky was blue, there was a nice warm breeze and it was 75 degrees. I thought about taking Liesie to the beach, but figured it would be super crowded. So instead we puttered around the yard (she was hunting gophers and has a muddy beard to prove it). I got a bunch of gardening and weeding done. I still can't believe it was so warm. We have had rain and freezes lately so I have not been in the yard in a few weeks. It was full of surprises. My Rhododendron is in bloom, as well as one of my rose bushes. My camellias are about to bloom. What shocked me the most is that my tomato plants are still blooming and I was totally stunned to find that they have little green tomatoes on them. It is crazy.

After coming in I had to study for my final exam in my class. I have to take it by Tuesday night. I am sort of feeling out of sorts about it. I really liked this class, but it really took a lot of time because it was so hard. It looks like the college has been impacted by budget cuts because the course selection for this upcoming semester seemed really reduced. I did not see anything that I really wanted to take, so I am taking a semester off. I love school, and feel a little sad, but I figure God has other plans for me for the next few months. One of my dear friends reminded me tonight on the phone that my time will fill up fast!

After I studied, I got to stitch the rest of the evening. I am working on Ellie May and she will be as cute as Willie. The color combo is awesome. It will be fun to have more stitching and reading time after I finish this test. I also picked up my perle cottons the other day so I am ready to work on my hardanger pieces.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Awesome Night!

Tonight was one of those truly incredible experiences that I will never forget. I sing with the Monterey Symphony Chorus and tonight we performed Handel's Messiah at the Carmel Mission. It is one of the Holiest pieces of music written. We performed it in a truly Holy place. Ironically, they both came about in about the same time period. Messiah was first performed in 1742. The mission was built in 1770. It is a pretty awe-inspiring place to visit.

I felt absolutely present as I sang the words tonight of Christ's birth, suffering, death and resurrection. The piece was actually written as a Lenten/Easter piece. Just a mere 10 feet or so from where I stood is the spot where Father Junipero Serra himself is interred. It was truly a Holy experience. The audience seemed to love it and you could see them close their eyes and smile as the amazing soloists sang. I silently whispered a prayer of thanks in that chapel as I realized that over the past 240 years that many choirs have raised songs of praise here, and thousands have probably sang this very piece there. You can feel that is is a special place and I am so glad this evening came together the way that it did. Several of us hugged afterwards and said that this was truly an amazing experience. We got a long standing ovation at the end of it, which is pretty cool

This best part of evenings like this is coming home. My sweet furgirl met me at the door with lots of kisses. This kind of love is better than all of the applause in the world. She ran around excited to see me. I made myself a mug of TJ's Sipping Chocolate with both marshmallows and whipped cream. It was the perfect end to the day.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

All is calm and all is bright in my little corner of the world. I have really been enjoying all of the beautiful holiday lights as I drive home at night. I think it is wonderful that people decorate their lawns and homes with lights for the enjoyment of others. They are so beautiful and so cheerful. This season really is a banquet for the senses when we slow down and notice everything. I love all of the spicy smells and the scent of pine wreaths as I was into my local Trader Joe's. The music is beautiful and I especially love church this time of year.

I am off tomorrow so I feel like I can stay up late tonight. I may make it to 10:30 pm. Whoohoo. Wild, that's how I roll. LOL Tomorrow night I have a performance with the chorus that I sing with, so I took a vacation day so that I would not be all worn out for it. I have to be out most of the day tomorrow. Liesl is going to the groomer and I have to get my hair done, too. Both of us are way overdue and each of us have our bangs in our eyes.

I realized where I am in terms of status today. I was excited because there was a Christmas card in the mailbox today. Then I saw that it was not for me. It was for Liesl! Her groomer, who is a really amazing lady, always sends Liesl a Christmas card and a Valentine. I showed Liesl the picture, then read it to her. She had her smiley face on so I think she understood a little.

I am actually going to stitch tonight for a while. It feels nice to not have to rush around tonight. I am thinking it is also a good night to read my book. I am reading, "The Other Boleyn Girl." Oh, my goodness, this is a good book and has more drama than you can shake a stick at. It is over 600 pages long and is so hard to put down at the end of my lunch break. So I get to read and stitch for at least a little while. A very special treat.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Life Is Good!

Wow! An evening of perfect comfort. I came home to a wonderful dinner. Someone at work shared some homemade gyoza (Japanese potstickers) with me. I had them for dinner tonight, and I have to say they were the best ones I have ever had. They were really garlicky and delicious.

After dinner I got to play with my darling, sweet little Liesie-poo. She is so awesomely sweet and funny. I live in a bungalow that is about 100 years old and so there is a loop where the bedroom, bathroom and living room all connect through three doorways. She likes to keep me guessing which doorway she is going to appear in. If she thinks she has fooled me, she gets a great big grin. What a goofball. Anyway, she is feeling much better. I knew she had to not be feeling well when she would not even eat her fave treats of chicken jerky. I babied her with rice and cottage cheese for a couple of days. She is back to her sassy self. Yay!

The evening reached perfection when I got to settle in to watch my new very favorite show, "The Sing-Off." Pure entertainment and one of the best shows to come out in a long time! I had my decaf cappucino, small dog sleeping nearby, and my lavendar, rice filled neckwarmer on. Ahhhh. If you are looking for something to ask Santa for, this may be it. You can get one at Amazon. One of my best friends loaned me hers after I was in a bad car accident last year. It is filled with rice and lavendar. You put it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and it gets all heated up and smells so good. I wear mine when I read in bed and it makes me all warm and comfy. The lavendar smell is so relaxing. It was funny because last week, my friend and I were talking about them, and several other ladies in our group said that they all have them, too and love them! Perfect on cold evenings.

I had planned on stitching, but it just felt good to sit still and relax. It has been a busy week so I am really grateful for a little down time. Tomorrow night, I will stitch. I have Ellie May ready to go and I am eager to get started. However, tonight relaxing feels really good!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Ah, A Nice, Quiet Evening

I had one of those ordinary evenings that I so love. Came home and had fish sticks for dinner. Yummy. I love fish sticks. I made Liesie a special little dinner, too. She seems to have had a tummy ache the past couple of days. She has not eaten her dinner in two nights, and when she goes outside she starts eating grass. No bueno. So I made her a little plate of rice with a little bit of cottage cheese. She ate that all up, so hopefully she is on the mend. Hopefully, she will be her usual sassy self tomorrow.

I had big, big plans of stitching tonight. I started seperating my floss for Ellie May. I figure I will embellish and do the finishing on both pieces at the same time. I love the colors for both of these pieces. Lori Birmingham is a master of color. I did not actually get to stitch because something that I love much more than stitching happened. My children and I stay in touch at least a couple of times a week. They are all grown up, on their own and thankfully, live close by. Tonight my daughter called me, so I got to talk with her for a while, catch up on the weekend's activities and laugh about some of the silly stuff in life. That is way more fun than stitching.

I am already thinking about what I am going to stitch after Ellie May. I am planning on stitching a big project, but I am not sure which one yet. I have some pieces in my stash that I have wanted to stitch for years. Some are so dramatic and a real challenge, which is really exciting to me. Our rainy season is upon us through March so it is prime time for me to stay inside and stitch. Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Willie Melt

Well, the stitching part is done! Whoohoo! Now I have to iron it and apply all of the beads. Naturally, it takes a lot of mental fortitude for me to take the iron and ironing board out. I may actually have to do a couple of shirts while it is out, just to make sure the whole ordeal is worth it. In any case, there are large snowflakes done in bugle beads to be applied. I am ordering button noses for both Willie and Ellie May because I do not like the ones that were included in the kit. He sure is a cutie-pie!

I have pulled out Ellie May to be at the ready. She is just as cute.

I had to reorganize my fridge tonight after I got home because it was totally out of control. So I ended up making two soups and a winter salad, because I had to use up a bunch of stuff. I love this particular salad and actually take it for snacks at work. It is made with Marie's Poppyseed dressing. This dressing tastes good on pretty much anything. Here is the recipe:

1 bunch of broccoli, raw, cut into the smallest florets possible
1 large green apple, cut into small bite sized pieces (it is a bit better with the skin on)
1 handful of dried cranberries (add more if you like 'em)
1 handful of chopped walnuts

Pour Marie's Poppyseed dressing on to coat everything (about half a bottle). Mix it up.

As I said earlier, I eat it for a snack, but also use it for side salad. It is really good with pork chops.

Well, I am off to get some sleep so that I am ready to meet the week! Hope you have a happy Monday!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Liesie and Me Day

Well, the best laid plans and all that. I had big plans of crafting, but alas, I only had #8 Perle cotton and I needed #12, too, for my hardanger piece. Okay, so I figured that I would just go ahead and knit. This would have been a good alternative, except that I could not find my circular knitting needles. It was okay though. It was a rainy afternoon, so I deep cleaned the house, finished the laundry, then settled in with a book. I took an embarassingly long nap, too. I must have been really tired. Liesl must have been really tired, too because that is how she spent the entire day. LOL

I did go putter around in the craft room. I felt pretty inspired in there. I shall have to pick up some perle cotton tomorrow afternoon. I really want to work on this hardanger piece. It is an Ernie Bishop heart and is so darling. I love her designs.

I have a funny Liesl story. Schnauzers can be stubborn in the most frustrating way possible. In fact, I think as Liesie gets older she gets a bit more stubborn and opinionated. Which can also be kind of funny, since she is less than a foot tall. Anyway, schnauzers can be a bit like cats in that if someone really wants her to come to them, a schnauzer will figure on doing something else and will not even make eye contact. Such was the case this week. Liesl has a long line of visitors to my office daily. She has to see her peeps. She loves everyone at work, they are all part of her pack. So one of the guys at work came and was calling her to visit him at the door. (we all have Dutch doors to our offices) She had been napping but for some reason, she did the cat thing, and just stood there looking at him from about four feet away. He laughed, and said, "Liesl, are you schnauzin' me?" I cracked up. What a great word. It sort of says it all if you know and/or love a schnauzer. They are all attitude. LOL

I think what is really great about the breed is that they can balance all of that attitude with being the most loving, loyal and funny of furbabies. I think it is why they have such a loyal following. She is so funny because her friends are at work, both dogs and people. So at the end of the day, she will drag her feet going to the car. She will find every reason to stop, dawdle and detour. She does not want to leave her friends.

Well, I will craft tomorrow afternoon. I am looking forward to it. For tonight, I am all about my book and going to sleep early.

Alive and Kicking

Oh my goodness, it is so nice to be home today. I slept in, had a cup of tea, turned on the classical music station on the radio and have been puttering around the house tidying up from my hectic week. I feel really satisfied with the work that was done this week. I have a similar schedule next week, but I really feel good about it. I am so grateful that I have a job in general, but I am especially grateful that I have one that brings a sense of satisfaction about my work.

However, I am really tired in a good way. My weekend started wonderfully with dinner with a dear friend last night. I was a bit concerned that I would not be good company because I was so tired, but she suggested a local diner and we went and had wonderful comfort food and great conversation. I felt so peaceful, relaxed and content. It was the perfect start of the weekend. I really love my friends. They are so awesome.

The uniform of the day is sweats today. I have already done some housework, and plan on making this a Patti and Liesl day. It is gray, overcast and is threatening to rain. It is a good day to craft and relax. She is already curled up in her blankie, and I am wondering if I should work on a piece of hardanger or knit a dog sweater. While Liesie does not like them, she is getting groomed on Friday, which means she will be cold. I have a sweater design that I think will be the least offensive to her. In any case, I will be crafting today and will post my project tonight.

Happy Stitching!