Monday, August 30, 2010

Busy Monday

Mondays are always a bit on the exciting side. It was indeed busy at work, which led to an equally busy evening. My class started last week, so I am back to doing homework. This semester I am taking microeconomics. I loved macroeconomics, and the instructor is really good, so I am looking forward to it. It was rather timely, in these financially interesting times. I get to look at current events through a different, somewhat scientific lens.

I am feeling a little bit good about myself. After six long months of being at a weight loss plateau, I am finally losing again. I had lost 25 lbs earlier this year, and could not get anymore off, no matter what I did. My doctor told me to not watch the scale since I am building muscle, which is heavier. He said to focus more on how my clothes fit. I am happy to report that I am officially down another size, which is pretty cool. I am backing into a really old wardrobe, so luckily, I do not have to buy anything new. But I am feeling a little bit better about myself.

Since I had all of this homework tonight, I could not even consider thinking about crafts. I would like to have something ready to start by this weekend. I can not believe it is Labor Day already. This year has gone by quickly. It is so hard to believe it is time for fall ...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quiet Sunday

I do not know if I have ever mentioned this, but I truly love my church. We recently got a new pastor, who is dynamic and talks about the really big spiritual issues in her sermons. She gives us a lot to think about and I find myself absorbed in the issues that she brings out throughout the day. Today was such a day, and I found myself very deep in thought today.

All in all, it was a very quiet day. I was the assisting minister at church today which is always a blessing to me. It was very gray and cold today here on the coast, so when I got home, I cuddled up to a small, gray dog and took a nice nap. Afterward, I called my BFF who has been travelling and so we got to catch up a bit. I have been blessed with truly beautiful friends, and she has been an angel. Other than that I puttered and watched the Emmys. I am thrilled that Modern Family won the Best Comedy award. It is laugh out loud funny and so very smart.

I am thinking very hard about what project I want to do next. I have more patterns than I could ever stitch. The blackwork project that I brought up yesterday is still trying to be in first place in my mind, so perhaps that will be the winner. It certainly is an amazing piece. It is in a book on blackwork that I have so I shall have to ponder it a while longer. It is such a major commitment to start a new project so I really have to weigh the options. LOL

May your week be filled with peace and joy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Serene Saturday

It was a much needed quiet day today. Liesl and I did not leave the house at all. I got a bunch of weeding and tidying up the yard done. I also got all of the laundry done, my homework for my class done, the house cleaned and most of all, my craft room organized. For several weeks now, I have had the craft room/office exactly the way I want it and I am finding myself hanging out in here more and more. It is very peaceful in here. The television is off, the house is quiet, and I am inspired when I am in here to create things. I even have a little bed in here for Liesl, who seems to prefer the floor. I also got tired of the paper piles that I kept accumulating so I got a small tabletop file holder in a basket style to put all of the accumulated paper into. No more piles. It looks pretty good.

Okay, so I think I am in love with a new craft. When I was in Calistoga, visiting my girlfriend and her hubby, she had the most beautiful baskets. She told me that she had made them. I asked her where she got her materials and she shared with me that they are made out of pine needles! No kidding! They are stunning. The book she uses is called, "Pine Needle Basketry" by Judy Mofield Mallow. When I got home, I found it used for about $5. These baskets are so incredible and are truly works of art. Most of all, they look relatively easy and can be embellished with some cool stuff like beads. Liesl and I may have to take a walk tomorrow and pick up errant pine needles. My friend has just the right sized needles all over her deck and I jokingly told her a few weeks ago that I was going to go over and sweep for her once a week. LOL

The one thing that I did not get to do today was stitch. I did sit around and look at stitching books though. I think I may do a red blackwork sampler next, to be a companion piece to a large black Permin sampler that I have done. I do like blackwork. It is so easy, covers a lot of space and is kind of dazzling when it is done. I will have to look through my stuff to see if I have a good piece of fabric for it.

Ooh, I have one more piece of news to share. A couple of weeks ago the Monterey Herald had an article that said that miniature schnauzers are one of the smartest dogs. Now, of course, I knew this, but I also know that they can also be notoriously stubborn, and full of mischief in a fun way. These make for an interesting and complex dog, and an always exciting day. She makes my life very interesting and fun.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

104 degrees. That was how hot it was when I left my office for lunch today. After all of that cold weather last week, we now have weather that is so hot that you can barely sleep. I would not have been leaving at all, but Amazon has a handy-dandy little feature that text messages your phone as your package is being delivered. My textbook for my class had finally arrived at home, and I did not want it just sitting on my front steps so I dashed home to retrieve it. Now it is 9:30 at night, and is still burning up. I finally just put Liesl into a cool bath a few minutes ago because she had been walking around the house, panting, looking for a cool place to lie down. She gave me the "What, it's not even Saturday!" look in reference to the unexpected bath. But now she is lying down, looking a bit more comfortable.

I will say that I had a nice bit of coolness in the evening. I met my dear daughter as I usually do on Tuesdays for our seaside walk. We got down to our usual walking path and there was a delightful ocean breeze coming off the water. It was wonderful. We eventually found a bench in the shade and just sat down and talked. Liesl got to cool her tummy on a cool mound of dirt, and watched the water and aquatic birds. We were commenting on how happy she looked. We were happy, too, and got to catch up on all the news, since I was not able to meet her last week.

I have just a bit more to do on my tea cosy, but it is getting on my nerves, so I need to put it to the side for a while. Most of the pattern has been fun to stitch. But there are parts that are really confusing. Plus, on the main chart the specialty stitches are charted over two, but on another page the detail is charted over one. This makes sense, however, when you are looking at it, you have to flip back and forth for the total design and stitch to make sense. It seems like I have spent more time looking at the pattern and figuring it out, than actually stitching. This is a bit frustrating. Usually, I can figure out the mechanics of a specialty stitch somewhat quickly or find an online filmed tutorial (love those!) that make that part go easily. It has been the placement and reference points that have gotten all wonky from the page turning.

So now I am trying to decide if I should do a smaller design or a large basic project with no specialty stitches for a while. Plus I would really like to make some design updates to my blog. So much that I want to do and so little time...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Marvelous Monday!

I have a new love. Last night after dinner, my friend and I went to Baskin Robbins. Baskin Robbins has new Coconut Plum frozen yogurt. It is fabulous. I went in with a plan of chocolate something or other, but the lure of coconut was too great. It was so delicious and so rich tasting. Yum. I have been thinking about it all day.

I got to do some stitching this weekend. I am finally over whatever yuck I had. Thank goodness for that. It was nice to stitch. I am thinking about doing something hardanger next. I have a really pretty Drawn Thread pattern that is calling my name. I still get really intimidated by hardanger so I need to do some deep breathing before I pull the pattern back out.

It is hotter than heck here right now. This is a welcome change after it being so cold for all of August. It is about 9 pm and it is still so hot, with every window in the house open. Oy vey! It is hard to believe that a week ago, I had the heat on. Hmm. This is good ice cream weather. I may have to go back to BR...
Well, I am off to get a lemonade. Stay cool!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Word of the day-"antibiotics." Day three of a fever, and the doctor felt I should start antibiotics. I am still feeling pretty yucky, but I am grateful to my doctor's office. They take really good care of me.

I stitched for a while early tonight. I am doing the couching of the gold braid. I do like couching. It gives you such control of the curves on a piece. Plus it goes pretty quickly and is kind of fun.

I was really glad that I had thrown dinner in the crockpot this morning. I made one of my favorites from Stephanie's blog. It is so delicious and I love coming home to dinner being all cooked for me. Sometimes it smells so good at the front door that I can't wait very long. Stephanie's blog has some really great recipes, too. They are tried and true and she lets you know if there was a recipe that was really good or if it fell short with her family. I have been pleased with everything I have made.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Stitchy Night

Well, I am making good progress. In a way it helps that I am feeling crummy. It helps me to stay put on the sofa and stitch away. I should be ready with time to spare with my tea cosy. My friend from work and I are going to the craft store tomorrow at lunchtime so I should be able to pick up a couple of frames for my pieces as well as backing fabric for the tea cozy. I plan on doing my staying up crafting marathon on Friday, like usual. It is almost a ritual for the day before fair deadline.

My yucky cold is progressing along. It is no fun. I am ready to be done with it. My girlfriend at work has the same thing so we are suffering along together.

I am kind of excited. I got permission today to paint my kitchen in my little rented house a pale yellow. Like most rentals, it has all white walls. Because I can not leave well enough alone, I have been envisioning yellow in my kitchen for some time now. My kitchen is small so I could actually get it done pretty quickly. The only thing that I am afraid of is pulling out the refrigerator to paint back there. Overall, the kitchen would look so cute and sunny with a pretty yellow. I guess I am going to be hanging out in Home Depot (what else is new? LOL) looking at paint chips so I can find the perfect yellow. Yay! Is it wrong to love Home Depot as much as I do? It is magical in there.

Stay well!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Yuck! A Head Cold...

I have a yucky head cold. My throat hurts, I have a fever, and my head is all yucky. This is not fun. I have these big bags under my eyes and look terrible. I worked through lunch today so that I could leave earlier and go home and get into my jammies.

The day was finally nice and sunny. It was the first time in August that we have really seen the sun. The evening was still cool, so I got into my winter jammies. I even had to put the heat on. I made a quick and delicious stir fry for dinner, then settled in with my stitching. The only time I put it down was when one of my friends called who has been out of town for a few weeks, so we were able to catch up.

I worked on my tea cosy this evening. I am finishing up the decorative flowers. It is due at the fairgrounds this Saturday, but I think it will be okay. The flowers are large and generally made with large decorative stitches, so it covers a lot of ground quickly. I love specialty stitches. I have not seen any queen stitches. I think I have mentioned in the past that I could queen stitch all the day long.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Weekend Went Too Fast!

This weekend went really fast. I got a lot done, but it really flew by. My happiness was centered in my garden this weekend. I went out and did a lot more today after church. It looks like we may be getting sunshine at long last this week. So I wanted to make sure that the garden is ready to get warmed up. I did some digging, relocating some plants, and digging out some really ugly, huge, weeds with deep root systems. It was very satisfying. I am thinking that it will be wonderful when it is a mature garden and I can just enjoy it.

After our gardening adventure, one of us was totally dirty, especially since it had been eight days since her last bath. Thusly, it was bath day for Liesl, who is actually pretty cooperative when it comes to the bath. I invested in a handheld shower nozzle for her a few months ago and it seems to have improved the overall bath experience for Her Schnauzerness. Her favorite part though is that I wrap her up in a towel afterward and hold her on my lap while she dozes off, all warm and cuddled.

I did get to stitch tonight after dinner. (I got to watch Cake Boss, too. Yay!) It was really relaxing. I am so inspired to be more creative after this project is done. I spent a little time this weekend looking at blogs and cross stitch designs. I am also looking at branching out into new mediums. I have been working hard at organizing my office/craft room so that the space is really inviting to go into and spend some time. I have reorganized the cabinets and layout. Best of all, I have decluttered. I was keeping a lot of paper on my desk, which really made the desk seem really non-inviting and frankly, a bit scary. Now it seems a bit serene in there. Front and center in front of my desk is the cross stitch piece that won Best of Show at the fair a couple of years ago. It is a good reminder to be creative and enjoy my projects.

I wish you much joy in the week ahead.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


It is ca-razy here on the Monterey Peninsula. It is the weekend of Car Week, one of the biggest, most traffic-inducing events we have all year. There are a lot of $100K cars on the road here right now. (I was following a long line of Lamborghinis and Ferarris on my way to work yesterday.) I ran around on Thursday night and did my errands, got my groceries and am now hunkered down at my house. The locals know not to do a lot of driving this weekend, and thus, stay home. I have actually been looking forward to this for days.

I awoke this morning to yet another gray, cold and drizzly day. Had my tea and peacefully and leisurely checked my email. I was feeling a bit energetic after that, so I put on my playclothes and headed out to my garden. Liesl was playing in the yard, too, and following snails. I got so much done. I had some plants that had been donated to my garden that were still sitting in pots, so I got them in the ground, got a majority of the beds weeded and gave everything a really good watering. I also had some seedlings that needed to be planted and so into the ground they went. I must say that it looks pretty good out there. I have to say that Trumpet plants have the most beautiful scent. Three hours has passed by so quickly. It was almost noon when I stopped. Since it was cool and I was not tired, I got so much done.

I came in and took a really hot shower, changed into sweats and puttered around the house. It is still really cool, so I had to put on the heat, gathered up my stitching, and set up camp on the sofa. My cooking shows are on, Liesl is napping cuddled up at my hip, and there is a quiet in the neighborhood that comes with a gray and foggy day. It is heavenly.

I plan on stitching the afternoon away. I still have household chores to do, but nothing that is going to take much time. Instead, I will savor the joy of the moment.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

You never know how much a small act means to someone else. Today had been a long full day. To top it off, it is a busy week on the Monterey Peninsula, one that causes nightmare traffic for us. It is the week of the Concours d' Elegance and Concourso Italiano. It is a weekend that most locals buy our groceries early and hunker down for the weekend at home.

Anyway, like I said, it was a long day, I worked late, and to top it off it took me 45 minutes to drive what is normally a 15-20 commute. I got home tired, hungry and just wanting to get into my jammies. On my drive home I was remembering that I was going to have to park my car way to the side in my driveway so that I could pull the trash cans up from the curb. Much to my surprise, when I drove into my driveway, I saw that my neighbor had put my trashcans up in the driveway for me today. What was probably a small gesture to my neighbor meant so much to me. It really made my day. It reminded me that you just never know what an act of kindness means to someone else. I think I will make a concerted effort to do something really nice for someone else tomorrow.

I pulled my stitching out, but was too tired to comprehend any of the instructions on my tea cosy for the fancy stitches. Perhaps it would be best if I just save the project for when I am hunkered down this weekend...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Another Cold Day

Brrr. This is getting kind of old. It is so cold. I awoke this morning to drizzling rain and cold again. Samuel Clemens was right when he said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Okay, we are about 100 miles from San Francisco, but we are still on the coast and dealing with the cold. I am over it.

The nice thing about the cold weather is that I was in a total hurry to get home, change into my after work play clothes, cook dinner and stitch. After a nice, warm dinner, I was ready to cozy in and stitch. I worked on my tea cosy. I got a lot done on the vine and am just about ready to start adding the fancy flowers. Yay! It was nice to have the cozy evening.

I still need to decide what to stitch after I get these fair entries done. In the past I have always loved to do big projects, but I am not sure if I want to do something large or small. Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Today was a good day. A really good day. Looking back on it, there were so many blessings all strung together in a really beautiful way.

My day started with church. We had a beautiful church service and the message has just stayed with me all day. I was met at the door when I got home by a darling little miniature schnauzer who was giving out kisses. There is something so great about getting greeted at the front door by a dog. I played with her for a while, until she had me laughing so hard that I had to stop. She is such a character and seems not to understand nor care that she is only less than a foot tall.

A friend of mine at church has a standard schnauzer and we were having a lively conversation about the variety of interesting things about the breed. We were talking about the fact that they are so verbal and will look at you so seriously while they are talking to you. They are dramatic, funny, stubborn, opinionated and seem almost human at times.

I am kind of doing the vegetarian diet right now. I got my cholesterol test a couple of weeks ago, and I have had to suppress my love of bacon. So I made up a big salad for lunch and some homemade veggie tortilla soup for dinner. Day 1 went pretty well. I have another test at the doctor in about 10 days so I am hoping this will have some good effects.

I got to stitch for a while tonight. It was actually raining a cold drizzly rain this evening. So it was so nice to stay indoors and stitch. It was actually cold enough earlier today that I actually had to turn on the heat. I have heard several other people say that they have had to turn on the heat in the past week, but this was the first day that I felt the need. I am concerned that it is going to be an early and cold winter.

Before I sign off for the evening, I want to share something that I read today: "The will of God will never take you where the grace of God will not protect you." I think this is beautiful and quite comforting.

Have a good Monday!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

This Week Flew By!

First of all, thank you for the wonderful birthday wishes for Liesl. I made her favorite dinner of chicken breast and rice. She wolfed that down pretty quickly and started eyeballing my piece of chicken. LOL It was her birthday, so I did share a little... We also had extra long playtime. She was pretty tired at the end of the day.

I am trying to make sure that I have my fair entries ready for drop off on the 21st. I need to finish the tea cosy that I started some time ago. I have some time set aside for working on it this weekend. It is really pretty. I am not sure if I should actually bring a teapot to the fair for the display, or if I should just bring the cosy itself. A major dilemna...

It has been very cold and drizzly here this week. Our summers here tend to be on the cooler side here, with the best warm weather in September and October. But this summer is downright cold! I am a bit concerned it will be an early, long, cold winter. Good stitching weather though. Once gardening season ends, I should be able to craft a lot more.

Off to read my book!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Liesl's Birthday

Time has just flown. My little Liesl turned three years old. I can't believe that time has flown by like it has. The second picture about was taken about two weeks after she arrived and took over the household. In that photo she was about five months old.

Without a doubt, she is a big dog in a little outfit. She is my buddy, my confidante, my playmate, and walking companion. She makes me laugh, makes me crazy with her stubborness, and allows me to cry tears into her little furry neck. She has been there through the very best and very worst of times in the past three years.

So happy birthday, Liesl! You are the best puppy I could ask for!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back To Work!

Today was my first day back at work after vacation. I was really excited about returning to work, and kind of tossed and turned last night thinking about all of the things that I had to get done. Now I am so tired that I plan on going to bed early tonight. I had a quick errand to run after work, but after that Liesl was so tired she came in, ate her dinner, and went to her puppy bed. She had a full day of seeing her puppy friends, catching up with her peeps, napping, eating cookies, etc.

It was a good day. I got a lot of work done and caught up on a lot of stuff. The mountain of mail was a little overwhelming at first, but I got through it and all is well. Yay!

I was asked today if I know how to do calligraphy, as it is needed on a small project at work. I have a great love of words in general. I especially love them as an art form so I taught myself several years ago. I think it has been at least 10 years since I last did any though. I found my pen and extracted the ink from the bottle and inked up my pen. It was fun to play with my pen again, and I was surprised to see that with just a little practice that I was not too rusty. This may mean a resurgence of my dabbling in calligraphy again. I am going to complete the actual project tomorrow when I am wide awake so that I make sure that everything is spelled correctly and looks pretty.

It is really hard to believe that it is already August and that autumn is in about six weeks. Altogether too soon the rainy season will be here. No more gardening then. I shall have to turn my attention to indoor endeavors and play with my stitching, quilting, reading, baking, quilling, card-making, calligraphy and snuggling my little Liesie. It will be here sooner than we think...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Last Day Of Vacation

Well, tomorrow is back to work! Yay! I really have missed my coworkers and will be glad to get my mind active again in my work. I am blessed to love my job!

Today was a good day. Church, lunch with a friend, and a walk along the water with Liesl. The weather has been a little chilly, but I bundled up and the walk was quite pleasant. It is pretty neat to walk along the Pacific Ocean and get to see the sea life so easily. Usually, I get to see sea lions, otters and sometimes dolphins. It is pretty cool to see a pod of dolphins. They come right out of the water.

I am trying to get my fair entries ready for the fair. They are due to be there on August 21st, so I am really hopping. I think there will be some late night stitching in my near future. This is par for the course whenever I enter the fair. Someday I will be ready months in advance. LOL

Well, since it is a school night, I guess I had better start getting ready to turn in. 5:30 am is going to come really fast!