Thursday, April 28, 2011


Just a short post tonight. I have been sick the past couple of days, but I wanted to show my progress from earlier in the week. The photo does not really do justice to show the size of this piece. It is on a piece of fabric that is a yard wide and 1/2 yard high. So, it is pretty big. When I am stitching the letters, I move pretty quickly so I stitch it in hand. If I did it on q-snaps or stretcher bars, I would be moving them constantly. In order to stitch in hand I have to roll up a lot of the fabric and hold it rolled in my hand. It will be really impressive and dramatic when it is done.

I have received questions about the pattern itself. It is "Star Spangled Banner" by Rosewood Manor. I do love their patterns. The color keys are easy to read and are well organized in a way that make sense to me.

Well, I gotta turn in. I am still on the mend, and need lots of rest to get me through Friday. I am happy that Comcast will be playing the Royal Wedding on Demand, so I can watch it at a reasonable time this weekend.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In My Garden

It was still nice out when I got home, although a little breezy. Liesl and I headed outside to the garden to do a little work. Okay, I did the work. Liesl does not have thumbs, so she can't hold a rake. LOL I had some rather nasty looking foxtails growing in the flower beds. These are about two inches long and are really sharp. Liesl has hair that seems to attract foxtails and unfortunately, has a bad history with them that includes surgery for their removal. They are so dangerous to dogs, so I made it my goal to get rid of them while they are still green and soft. I was a woman on a mission. I swear the foxtails were growing as fast as I could pull them.

It is amazing how time moves slowly when I am in my garden. I just sort of lose track of time. I did not even notice that I had not had dinner yet. I love the fact that there are all sorts of little surprises that tend to come up in the yard. I thought that the winter frosts had killed all but one of my begonias. Lo and behold, there were two more small ones that were restarting themselves. I was so excited to see them. A bed that I had not had a huge amount of hope for last year, has grown in so nicely and looks like something out of a magazine. I have a large patch of nasturtiums that are just huge and in all colors that they come in. The patch is quite tall, so Liesl likes to hide in them, where it is difficult to see her. She thinks this is hilarious. It is also nice and cool for her under the canopy of dessert plate sized leaves on a hot day.

I am hoping that the weather will be nice this weekend. I am really inspired to play in the garden and do a little planting now. It would be so nice to be outside and doing a little planting. I really want to increase the variety of herbs that I have. I also need to start my tomato seeds.

I truly love the home arts and love it that I get to expand to the outdoors during the spring and summer. It is wonderful to breathe the fresh salt air from Monterey Bay close by. It is exciting to look at all of the beautiful colors and varieties of flowers.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Puppy Puzzle

Dog puzzle toys have really increased in popularity in the past couple of years or so. I am always looking for ways to play with Liesl and have stumbled upon some good ones. The original dog puzzles are from Sweden by a behaviorist named Nina Ottosson. Her toys seem to be really cool but pretty expensive, in the $60 range. Luckily, in the past few years others have come out with similar designs that are not so cost prohibitive. Amazon has a great selection. Today, this toy, called "Seek A Treat" arrived. This one is only $14.99 and will last for years. It is well constructed and the little doors slide easily for the dog. Liesl figured out pretty quickly how to nudge them around with her nose.

You put little treats in the compartments. Liesl loves Wet Nose Sweet Potato Stars in hers. She figured out how to use the toy pretty quickly. In fact, when she would empty the toy, she would go over and nudge the treat container so I would re-load it. She did this several times and was really impatient while I re-loaded it. This is her third puzzle toy and is a big hit.

Other than playing with the new toy, it was a nice, boring evening. I worked on my front yard when I got home, and did some puttering around the house. I have shared in the past that I really love ordinary, everyday evenings. My schedule can get kind of hectic some times, so I really treasure times like this. There really is joy in watering the lawn, throwing a load of laundry in, eating leftovers and watching a little television. It is a blessed life.

Wishing you a blessed Tuesday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday!

Wishing you a very happy Easter! It was a good day today. I had the honor and privilege of serving as the assistant minister and cantor for today's Easter service. This is my very favorite service, on the holiest day of the year. So the experience is always a profound one for me.

I had a very quiet afternoon. The past couple of days, History Channel has had some rather interesting documentaries on subjects like the Shroud of Turin and Inside the Vatican. The history of the Vatican and the inner workings were really fascinating. I love documentaries and find them easy to stitch to. So the past two afternoons have been quiet and full of stitching. I even took a nice long nap with my little furgirl this afternoon.

The first two lines of Star Spangled Banner are complete. I knew I had a lot of fabric here, but I was not really aware of how large this piece would be until now. It is really pretty and I realize how dramatic it will be. I am becoming a bit concerned about what it will take to frame it because it is so large.

I made Liesl and I a lovely dinner of baked chicken, brown rice, and broccoli and carrots tonight. Hers gets finely chopped up and for once she did not spit out the veggies, which she usually does quite dramatically. (She is like having a toddler.) She ate her dinner with one eye on my dinner. sigh. It was a holiday and she is spoiled, so I did give her a few bites of my chicken. After that she got extra playtime, and tummy rubs until she fell asleep. She is such a sweet girl, gives me so much, so it makes me happy to spoil her a bit.

I wish you a very happy week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stitchy Night

Okay, I'm sorry that it is not the best photo. It is late and I wanted to take a quick picture to share with you. I have had a lot of fun stitching this piece. Now it is really fun to be stitching the words. I think it will be really dramatic when it is complete.

I had something exciting happen yesterday. Little Miss Liesl, who will be four years old in August, for the first time ever, jumped into my lap. Being a lap dog is just not her thing. She will sit on my lap every once in while, but gets wiggly really fast, so it is just something I just accept. Well, yesterday, I was in my supervisor's office for a meeting. Liesl always comes with me for a meeting in there, because my supervisor's malty-poo is one of her best buddies. The dogs play while we have our meetings. Liesl's buddy will usually jump from lap to lap. Yesterday, Liesl decided this was a good idea and jumped up on mine. It was pretty exciting.

Tomorrow I have got to get my garden started. The weather should start warming up soon and I want to be ready. Hopefully, tomorrow will be nice so I can get a lot done. I need to go by the wonderland that is Home Depot and up some impatiens. I love them and think they just look so cheerful.

Well, Liesl has gone to bed, and it seems like a really good idea. It has been a long, odd day and I am ready to go to sleep!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Yay! I got to start the letters on Star Spangled Banner. I actually like stitching letters because I can cover a lot of territory in a relatively small span of time. I am so excited that I finally get to start this part. I will post photos this weekend.

I had a pretty good day and solved several difficult accounting problems. That always makes me feel really productive. It is also the reason I have to come home and do really creative things. It keeps the right brain and left brain in balance. I also read books on my lunch break so I can rest between accounting problems. I love being an accountant. It is a lot of organizing of numbers and it makes me happy. Best thing about my job though is that I get to take Liesl to work with me everyday. She thinks that we go to puppy Disneyland everyday. She has people and dog friends that she loves to go see.

Well, it been a long day! Off to dreamland...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Dogwood Tree

My dogwood is in full bloom right now. It is so amazingly gorgeous. The scent is heavenly. I wish that it would continue to bloom, but it blooms only once a year and then it is done. So I treasure this time. It reminds me to see the beauty of each moment. Sometimes, it is blooming dogwood, sometimes it is lilac, and sometimes it is a puppy kiss from my favorite schnauzer.

It is sort of funny because it is warm enough for my flowers to bloom, but this evening is cold enough for me to be considering making some hot cocoa. I have on my big woolly socks and a sweater. Brrrrrr.

Well, I am off to stitch and have my cocoa!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mellow Monday

Today was a gray and foggy day here on the Monterey Peninsula. Therefore, it was a good day to be home. You know all of that stuff that accumulates that you say, "When I have ten minutes, I'll take care of that." Well, today was the day to attend to that stuff. I made phone calls that had to be made, took care of correspondence, and sorted through paperwork. I actually got a lot accomplished, so I am feeling really good about it.

I had the rest of the afternoon to read, nap and stitch. I am currently reading Anna Karenina, which is very good. I so love the fact that classics are free on Kindle! I have been meaning to read this book for a long time, so it feels good to have started. As always when I read, I ended up dozing off and ended up taking a really good nap.

I spent the rest of the afternoon, indulgently stitching, and watching bad daytime television. This piece is so pretty. Now that I have the quilt backstitch almost completed, I have the reference point that I need to start the lettering. Yay! I have been really excited about starting the new section. Hopefully by Wednesday I will be able to get it started.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Palm Sunday

I love Palm Sunday. After Lent being so solemn, quiet and reflective, Palm Sunday is a bit more energetic. Today was the reading of St. Matthew's Passion by the congregation, which provides the gateway to Holy Week. I love Holy Week. It is quite a journey, both introspectively and collectively.

After church today, I rushed home to watch the race at Talledega, my very favorite racetrack. It was a good race, and I actually finished knitting my scarf while I watched it. I will get to wear it this week. Yay! It is so ruffly and cute. I actually have red yarn to make the same scarf. This will be fun to knit again and so quick!

There was time today to play in my craft room. Since this is also my office, (in my itty bitty 600 square foot house) a lot of things tend to end up in there on the desk. Mail, files, dog toys in need of repair, magazines, patterns, etc. So I am always grateful when I have the time to straighten up all of my toys. I really need to have a full on Spring cleaning in my craft room/office/library. I love the space in there. It is so cozy and I have it decorated in a very girlie style. Liesl likes to hang out in there, too. She has a large bed in there and naps all stretched out.

I pulled out Star Spangled Banner tonight. Before you know it, it will be time for the fair, so I need to get it done. I am working on a little backstitching so I can orient the letters. I am glad that I took a small break from it so that I had a chance to miss it. Absence did make the heart grow fonder.

I am off tomorrow. I feel like it should be like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, where I totally have to make it count. LOL I am looking forward to finishing up some business I have to take care of. After that, however, it should be a day of fun with Liesl and all of my stitching toys. Bliss!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Blissful Day

Today was wonderful. I got to sleep in, which is always a great gift. As I was sipping my morning tea, I could not help but notice that a certain miniature schnauzer was going to the front door, and bouncing off of it. She also was yawning really loudly. Dogs yawn when they are excited. The yawning is their way of calming themselves down. She had obviously psyched herself up about something. That was when I realized she probably wanted to go to the beach. I asked her if she wanted to go to the beach, so she ran to the door and started bouncing off of it again. Schnauzers are master communicators and I am still amazed by how Liesl is able to tell me what she wants and needs. She is an amazing little soul.

In all honesty, I had hoped to kind of ease into the day a bit more slowly, but when you see a little dog look that happy, you just don't want to disappoint her. So I put on my sneakers and grabbed the car keys. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and I found myself feeling really grateful that I had decided to go. We had a great time, but were both pretty tired by the time we got home. Liesl went back to her bed (must be nice!) and I did some re-organizing of my kitchen and laundry room. It felt good to get that done. Overall, I puttered around the house and then took a really good, deep nap. It was perfect.

I put my knitting to the side today and focused on my pillowcase tonight. I really want to complete this set. I was feeling inspired because today was my day to wash the sheets and I was wishing that I had the pillowcases to put on. By the way, as a side note, I think that clean sheets are positively one the very best small blessings ever. I love getting into bed when the sheets are clean and unwrinkled. But I digress. I am looking forward to having those lovely little pillowcases in full use.

It is hard to believe that tomorrow opens up Holy Week. Where has this year gone? It will be a busy week, but one of my favorites of the whole year.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Night Knitting

Oh, my goodness. TGIF. I am really looking forward to this weekend with my Liesl. I have been going at light speed for weeks now, so I am looking forward to puttering tomorrow during the day, and getting some rest. I am taking a personal day on Monday to kind of catch up on things that need my attention. I hope to get some good rest that day, too. I think the key will be pacing myself this weekend.

This is my new ruffly scarf that I am knitting. It is going amazingly fast. I forgot how much I love knitting.

Despite being super busy today, it was a really good day. I work with people with really good senses of humor, so I get to laugh at work. I have worked places where laughter is not okay, so it is really nice that we get to share laughter. It makes me happy to be at work.

Off to dreamland!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oy Vey!

It was another day working late tonight. On top of that I needed to go to the grocery store and Target so I did not walk in my front door until after 7. The case of total Lutheran guilt was settling in as Liesl usually gets her dinner at between 6 and 6:30, so I was expecting that she was starving. But with the price of gas being what it is, I am trying to conserve gas by combining errands. She did not seem as concerned as I was about it.

I am also trying to get things done before the weekend. We get one day a year at work as a sanctioned mental health day, that comes out of our sick time. We can use it for any purpose, but ideally it is used for a day for yourself. What can I say, we are progressive where I work. Anyway, I am taking mine on Monday and I can not wait. Except for church, I only intend to leave my house to take Liesl to her favorite beach. I have been working a lot of hours and I would like to stay home and do some spring cleaning, gardening, stitching, reading, napping and watching the race at Talledega. I need a weekend at home with my dog and all of my stitchy toys. Liesl loves to be home, too, and especially loves Saturdays when she gets her momma all to herself.

I am a bit nervous, because it is my turn this week to make dinner for the ladies in my knitting group. Each of them have made fabulous dinners, so the pressure is on. I am making a crockpot recipe, so it should be nice and hot when I serve it.

Well, I am off to dreamland...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday, Monday, La La...

Well, it was a rather satisfying day. I had a huge accounting puzzle that I worked on all day, and seem to have solved just as I was leaving at 5:30. I am glad that I did not have to come home with it being unsolved and dancing around in my head. Instead, I got to come home, make a healthy and tasty dinner, and then take my dear sweet little Liesl for a walk. I just love that time alone with her. She trots ahead of me, and all I see is the view across her sweet little head. It is a time when I can not be interrupted by the phone or distracted by anything else that has to get done.

I had the pleasure of watching "Human Planet" on Discovery last night. Wow! Okay, it was visually stunning. The most remarkable thing, however, is what people in other parts of the world do to make sure their children are educated or fed. One portion talked about a family in Tibet that walk their children 50 miles one way (in less than a week) over a dangerous, frozen river to get them to a school to make certain that they receive a quality education. I realize how much we take for granted, including our access to education. I think the show also portrays that there is more that unites us than makes us different. First and foremost, all humans love their families and will do anything for their health and happiness. I think there is also a lesson in the fact that our way of life is not better, it is just different. I can't wait for the next episode.

I did a little bit of stitching tonight, but nothing to write home about. I am hoping to finish the first pillowcase by the weekend. I guess I had better pick up the pace!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Nice Day With My Furgirl

Today was a really nice day. It started with Liesl and I at Carmel Beach. It was a gorgeous day and the water was clear and beautiful. Liesl got to run the beach and play with the other dogs, so she was pretty happy. Carmel Beach is a dog beach and is leash free. In general, the dogs there behave and all get along, so it is like Disneyland for dogs.

I had a lot of catching up to do on my chores, so I got them done, then napped much of the afternoon. I was a sleepy girl. I was able to do some stitching in the afternoon and evening. I am coming into the home stretch on my pillowcase. I just hope that I stay motivated so I can finish the other one. Having just one will look kinda funky on my bed. LOL I love the fact that it is a really quick stitch! The colors are pretty, too.

The highlight of my day was getting back to back phone calls from two of my best friends this afternoon. These women are so wise, and I love the fact that we get to talk about really deep subjects. My dear friend made an interesting point today about drama. She said that the universe is a really big place, and when you think about it, you realize how insignificant a lot of the drama in our lives is. My friend is a really wise woman.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fun Evening!

It has been a long hard week. I worked until about 10 last night and worked from home most of today. I am so glad that I had a fun evening to look forward to.

My dear friends, Lowell and Barbara, invited our pastor and I to join them as their guests to the Volunteer Gala at the Monterey Aquarium. They are very active there. I had such a lovely time. It was pretty neat to see the exhibits at night. I have been meaning to see the seahorse exhibit for about two years. They are amazing creatures and the exhibit was magnificent.

It was fun to put on a nice outfit and my sparkly beads for a special dinner and conversation with my dear friends. Dinner was exceptional, but the best part was that they had the most delicious little cupcakes for dessert.

I am so proud of my friends and the work that they put in as docents. The aquarium is truly a gem here on the Monterey Peninsula and I am proud of their research and protection of the oceans and wetlands.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Oh, my goodness, I have a bangin' headache! It was so bad that I could not even stitch. I made such good progress on my pillowcase the other day, too. So I am a bit bummed that I could not get to it tonight. It looks so darn cute. I think it will end up being exactly what I wanted. I just have to make sure I go on to stitch the second one.

We are expecting temperatures to drop like a rock tonight, along with showers. Brrr. Just when it is starting to look like springtime, too. The one great thing about it is that I do not have to water. I will have to stick to doing my gardening indoors in the next couple of days.

I am going to have to go to sleep now and hope my headache clears up before morning!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Made It Through Manic Monday...

Wow! What a wild ride today! I told someone at work that I planned on doing something wild tonight and coming home on time, having leftovers, watching television and stitching. Okay, so I was a little late getting out of work, but it was A-okay. I came home, made leftovers, rough-housed with Liesl, watched television and stitched.

This is one of the pillowcases that I ordered to stitch to match my bedding. I think the set was about $8 total. I wanted a certain vintage look for my bedroom and these were pretty much what I had in mind. They even have the obligatory lazy daisy loops that all nostalgic pillowcases had. I was really surprised when I opened the package today for a couple of reasons. The first was that I was surprised by the quality of the material. I was expecting it to be kinda scratchy, but it is quite soft and has a nice sheen to it.

The second thing that surprised me was how much fun it is to do stamped cross stitch. I have not done a stamped piece since I was 18. I started counted cross stitch back then because I had bought a counted cross stitch kit by mistake. Anyway, it has been fun and I do not have to refer to a pattern very often so it is a bit easier.

Well, a certain schnauzer would like her night-night cookie and turn down service, so I guess I had better get to work. It sort of reminds me of a sign recently bought that says, "My dog is not spoiled. I am just well trained." So true...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Garden

The sun came out today and I got to work/play in my garden. I had a happy little schnauzer to keep me company while I worked. She laid in sun patches and hid amongst the nasturtiums. She loves to hide and think it is hilarious when I am looking for her. The day was beautiful so I did not mind so much the weed whacking, weeding, watering and planning out the beds. I washed the patio furniture and pulled it out under the lilac tree. During the week I will start my tomatoes, plant herbs, and fill the hummingbird feeders.

It is amazing that no matter what mood I can be in, I start working in the garden and all of my troubles truly do melt away. I love being amongst the beautiful plants. I had planted a few beds last year that look much more full and mature this year. It was a joy to look at them and think about how much we both have grown in the past year. LOL

The picture above is one of the first clusters of blooms from my huge dogwood plant. There are buds all over it and I can not wait to see it. I may just position my chair and table right next to it next weekend so I can enjoy it. Below is my trumpet plant. It looks like this is a mutant double bloom. So pretty.
Overall, this was a pretty good weekend. I got some sparkly nail polish that has confetti in it that I am going to apply on my toes. I will read my book, snuggle with Liesl, and say a prayer of thanks for all of God's blessings.

Have a happy week!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Why, oh why do Saturdays have to go so fast? Today just flew by. Liesl had a terrier play date at the beach first thing this morning. She came home pretty sleepy and nodded off after her bath while she was all wrapped up in a towel.

I had big plans for getting my yard work done today, but it was cold and gray outside. So I cleaned my house, read, stitched, and napped. I finally have finished the cross stitching on the star. I have to do the backstitching, but I think I will start the words first so I can move on to another section.

My house is all sparkly clean, so I hope that I will be able to work in the yard tomorrow. I prefer for it to be a bit warmer. There is so much I want to get done back there. The frosts killed quite a few plants like my lantana and impatiens, so I need to replace them. I also need to start my herbs and tomatoes. I do love gardening, but it is way more fun to do it in the sunshine.

Have a great Sunday!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Spring Has Sprung!

Whooohooooo! It has been gorgeous the past two days. Today it was 85 degrees at work. Oy vey. Liesl has a case of springtime and has been a bit playful. LOL

Every year, Trader Joe's has bunches of daffodils for a really cheap price. This year they are $1.29 per bunch. So I bought three bunches. They smell so beautiful and are so cheerful. They make me happy. I was just talking to someone at work today about how you should only have things in your house that you love and make you happy. I remember once that Marianne Williamson said, "Don't let anything into your house that does not love you back." So I keep happy, loving things in my house that remind me my family and my friends, or just look cheerful.

I think this is going to be the weekend that the flannel sheets come off the bed. I also have gardening to do, which I am really looking forward to. It is time to roll out my patio furniture and get ready to get my spring and summer backyard on.

I am really looking forward to this weekend. I have so many projects that I want to do. Too much fun and only 48 hours. I will report in on all of my fun!