Friday, August 31, 2012

What A Special Day

Today was wonderful.  Absolutely wonderful.  Several weeks ago my 24 year old son and his adorable girlfriend decided that they were taking me to the fair today. Today was his sweetheart's only day off so I feel pretty special.  I have been so looking forward to it.  I was a bit worried that I was not going to be able to go because my doctor recently changed my medicines and all week I have had a headache that has felt like my head was going to explode off my shoulders.  It has also made me really dizzy.  The worst part is the horrible insomnia.  I love to sleep and this is totally harshing that for me.  But I digress with my whining...

My son wanted to take me because I entered my blackwork piece in the fair.  I have been entering the fair for six years.  I look so forward to it.  We got right inside the gate and my son said, "Okay, where is it?"  Let's go see it now,  I want to see how you did."  We went to the Home Arts Pavillion and saw that it had a blue ribbon on it.  My son said that it was so awesome.  

Here is a photo of it before I got it fully framed.  I was just trying it on when I took the photo:
As I was pointing out the piece to him, one of the ladies from the local guild said, "Oh my goodness.  That is your piece?!  We all have been talking about that piece all week.  We know that blackwork is difficult to do and that is amazing.  (the piece is 12 inches wide and 19 inches tall.)  There were about six or seven people at the table from the guild who had some nice things to say in agreement.  Then the first lady said that for some reason the fair judge elected not to pick a best of show in needlework this year, however, their guild had all agreed that it should have gone to to this piece.  She said, "Consider yourself the Best of Show winner this year.  If it was up to us, you would be." It meant a lot to me coming from my peers.  I felt myself blushing.  I was just happy that my family got to hear that.  My son texted me this evening saying that he is super proud of me.  :)  He also said that his GF's mom is going tomorrow so that she can see it.  

My son's GF makes her own greeting cards, so we looked that that category.  I told her that she should enter next year.  My son also encouraged her to try it.  She is pretty talented.  She also collects cows and loves them, so next we walked over to see the cows.  She got to pet several of them so she was really happy.  We had a lovely time looking at the best our county has to offer.  We sure have some talented people here.   

We discerned that we were famished so set about eating some yummy foods.  It was really neat to see how my son treats his sweetheart and looks out after her needs.  He is pretty chivalrous with her.   It was such a pleasant afternoon with them.  I think we spent about 3 hours there.  I was home by 4 and crashed onto the sofa.  I was even too tired to get into my jammies.  It was such a nice day, spent with family and I am so grateful for it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

An Evening With Liesl

This is Liesl's overly full toy box.  Yes, she is an only child. LOL  However, she does play with every single one of her toys, generally.  Now mind you that it is only overflowing with fun things to play with.  
However, the only toy in the world that she can possibly play with is, of course, under the chair... Let's try getting it this way....(Yes, the back half of her is standing.  LOL)
 Or this way...(Please note that her favorite toy is right next to her...)
Okay, I will just stare pitifully under the chair until Momma has sympathy and takes control of the situation...
Life with a schnauzer.  There is usually some form of drama involved.

(By the way, Liesl does wear a collar.  I take it off in the evening so that I can give her good neck scratches.  She seems to prefer sleeping without it.  )

Monday, August 27, 2012

Livin' Life On the Cross Stitch Edge

Working on this needlepoint piece has reaffirmed my love of cross stitch.  While I am enjoying working on this particular piece and know that it will look fantastic in my home, I miss cross stitch. Cross stitch seems a bit more refined to me.  Needlepoint requires a large needle and sometimes the yarn gets all bunched up when you try to pull it through the hole in the canvas.  The yarn also leaves fuzzies all over the piece which is kind of getting on my nerves.  

I loved the poetry and refinement of cross stitch.  The cotton or silk floss making that shhhhhh sound as you work.  It slips effortlessly, particularly if you are using one of the John James platinum needles.  I love them but they are a bit more pricey so I tend to get the French Bohin needles, which you get more of in a package.  The platinum needles are luxurious and I think they last a long time before they start getting that sticky feeling.  (I wonder what a real platinum needle would be like...)

Okay, so I started thinking about cross stitch, which got me to thinking about my next project.  I know I was talking about an ornament, but I have been thinking about big projects, which I love.  I think I may be certifiable.  Because I was thinking big, like Hummingbird Afghan big.  I have the pattern and the afghan itself in my stash.  I was also thinking about MLI's Angel of Dreams, again I have the pattern and the fabric. 

I have been thinking about one since yesterday although I know it would take me YEARS!  Several years ago at CATS (Creative Arts and Textiles Show.  I miss these shows more than I can say in words.)  It was before Cross My Heart designs had gone out of business.  I bought Mother of Innocence.  (If you get a chance, google it.  It is amazing.)  I even bought the black fabric, which also sits in my stash.  It is so beautiful, but it looks like a lot of hours.  

I do not know why big projects call to me the way that they do.  It is like a siren song.  I will be glad when I get to return to cross stitch.  Maybe I will still try to ease myself back in with an ornament...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Got A Little More Done

We finally got sunshine today for the first time in what feels like forever.  Yesterday was just gray and bleak and cold.  I did not get my dog cookies made, but I did get some stitching done.  I got those leaves stitched.  There are four shades of green in them.  Which is preparing me for all of the colors in the cherries.  Oy vey.  I feel like I made good progress though once I overcame the fear of all of the color transitions.

It was still pretty cold and gray when I woke up this morning.  It was so nice though because I woke up to a little gray furbaby snuggled up to me.  That has got to be one of the happiest feelings in the world.  It makes it really hard to get up though.  You start reassessing your schedule when you wake up with dog cuddles.  But I had to get to church so I had to disturb the little sleeping beauty.

I was so happy being in church today.  I so love going to church and being with so many people that I love.  It is such a blessing.  My church family is so loving and I learn so much from each of them.  I am fortunate that I get to walk through good times and bad with them.  

The day ended with my having a chat on the phone with a friend that I have not been able to talk to for a while.  She has been doing a lot of travelling and has had a lot of stuff going on.  We were discussing the fact that even when we have gaps of time in between conversations, that we always pick up so easily as though no time has passed at all.  We thought since you can't always do this with everyone that it must be the sign of a really good friendship.  

Someone told me a few months ago that there are really only a small number of people in the world who know how to be good and true friends.  I think that I have to agree with this statement.    (It is always so disappointing to find out when someone is not a true friend.)  However, I also believe that I got more than my fair share of true friends.  God has placed such amazing people in my life and so much love is truly a gift.  And the cool thing is how that gift grows, matures and flourishes.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Work In Progress

I am making progress on my needlepoint piece.  I have the background complete on the right side now and actually got to stitch on that lone cherry there on the table.  It was kind of fun to work with red (my favorite color.)  I am reminded now that I am working on this piece that when I needlepoint it tends to distort the canvas, as you can see in the lower corner.  I am sure that it will be better once I complete the piece and block it.  

It was cold and gray again all day today.  I am hoping that the weather will improve soon.  My tomatoes are having a really tough time because it has been too cold and there has been a lack of sun so the plants are dropping the fruit before it ripens.  It makes me sad to see a tomato laying there in the dirt.  

If it stays cold all weekend, I might just have to do a little baking just to warm up the house.  I found this really nice looking recipe for pumpkin dog biscuits on Pinterest.  The cookies are made with rice flower and pumpkin, so no corn or wheat.  I am sure they will smell awesome.  Pumpkin is good for dog tummies and it is quite tasty for them too.  If you search for "pumpkin dog biscuits" on Pinterest the link will come up (it is the one the photo of the fork piercing the cookies.)

I love Pinterest.  It is absolute eye candy for all of the things I like-crafts, cooking, decorating, pets, etc.  I think that some large companies saw Pinterest as the next big social networking thing for advertising a few months ago.  I felt like a place that was just fun to peruse became ruined with commercialization.  While I love the links to an Etsy store, which celebrates individual talent, the big advertising was bumming me out.  Fortunately, it appears that the big advertisers have moved on and it is once again, just a fun place to be where I can be inspired by others with similar interests.  There are such creative people out there, and it is really neat that they share their awesome ideas.

Well, I am off to say my prayers and go to sleep.  Tonight we all pray for the safety of all in the path of the hurricane.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It has been pretty cold and foggy here this week.  I actually had to kick the heat on for a couple of minutes the other night.  Brrr.  Tonight I have on a pair of warm, woolie socks that my daughter knit for me that I love.  She has knit me several pairs and they are some of my favorite treasures.  A knitting friend of mine told me a few years ago, "You must really be loved if someone will knit socks for you."  I take it that this means that they are a lot of work with a lot of yarn.  That is why I think of them as a hug.  

It was a good night to sit and stitch.  Liesl was sleepy and I have recently gotten hooked on the show "Arrested Development."   I have been watching the episodes in order on Netflix.  This show is so smart and funny.  Plus I love Will Arnett in pretty much anything.  He is so weirdly funny.  The cast is really amazing.  So I got to stitch and watch my show, cozied in with Liesl.  It was a perfect evening.

Speaking of Liesl, she just charms the heck out of me.  I have not been feeling particularly well this week.  She seems to know and comes and sleeps snuggled with me in the early morning hours.  (I think this is when I do my best sleeping!) I was talking with one of my doctors about it the other day and was saying that Liesl tends to know before I do when I am not feeling well.  The doctor said that dogs are highly sensitive to bio-chemical changes in those they love and can sense when we need comforting.  That makes total sense.  Dogs are so awesome.  

I have been very fortunate to have had some really amazing conversations about faith lately with several different people.  I love hearing about the profound difference that God has made in the lives of those around me, the miracles that He has performed and the strength that He has given to his children.  Faith is something that I feel very comfortable talking about.  What is always so beautiful to me is that once I let someone know that I am a person of faith, that they say, "Me, too!"   Generally, they will start to tell me their story of their faith journey and I always take it as a story that I am supposed to hear and learn from.  This has bound my immediate neighborhood, my friendships and some strong bonds in my church family.  It is almost like a familiar connection is formed on a deeper level when we share with each other the stories of the good that God has done in our lives.  I know that I have seen some amazing miracles in my lifetime that can only be his handiwork.  I count the bonds of love and friendship amongst these miracles.  He has given me some amazing friends and teachers.  For this I am so grateful. 

Monday, August 20, 2012


Here is my progress on my needlepoint piece.  Progress seems to be made somewhat.  The issue that I have always had with needlepoint canvas, particularly those in kits is that the canvas itself can look quite lovely, but discerning which color goes over which thread can be difficult.  This is particularly so when the color falls in between crossed threads.  You want to capture the color subtlety and not miss a color but it can be a little confusing.

I have never done this before but I think I have a case of startitis.  I usually just have one project going at any given time.  However, since needlepoint can get a little frustrating I am thinking I need an alternate projects for evenings when I am just not feeling it.  I am thinking of maybe stitching one of the MLI angel freebies as a bit of an homage to her.

I was deeply saddened to hear about Margaret Leavitt-Imblum's passing last week.  I knew that she had been ill for a long time but she was so young and her work was just amazing.  For a long time, she was my very favorite designer.  I have always loved angels and many of her angels are what I picture in my head look like.  You can see my stitched pieces on the sidebar there.  My very first angel was Angel of Hope.  I bought the pattern about twenty years ago in Michaels (when they actually had a cross stitch section.)  It was $10 and the most that I had ever spent on a pattern at that point.  (Oh, how this makes me laugh now.)  However, the angel was so lovely and I just had to have her.  

About 10 years ago as I started finding cross stitch message boards and designer web pages, I joined one of her Yahoo groups and sent Margaret an email telling her how much I admired her work.  I also shared that her angels look like what I imagine they look like and that I really appreciated her use of color, etc.  I felt like I was writing a fan letter to a movie star.  I was absolutely floored  when I received an email back that same day from her, thanking me for my comments.  She was absolutely lovely and her words were full of such kindness.  

Her work really sort of stands alone as being so different.  While I like her daughter's designs as well, MLI had such a maturity about her designs and she really seemed to understand as a cross stitcher the need for those large blocks of color.  Her designs looked far more difficult and sophisticated, but were actually quite easy to stitch.  She will be missed.  

If you are interested in stitching any of her beautiful annual (free) Christmas designs, you can find them here:

Monday, August 13, 2012

Please Pardon My Whining...

Well, here is my limited progress on my needlepoint piece.  I am having a lot of fun doing the background.  Somehow I had forgotten that I do not enjoy a lot of color changes and this is all subtle color changes.  Oy vey!  I do a little at a time.  I think it will look fabulous in my red and white home office/craft room.  

It appears that my nights of insomnia were just the beginning of a set back of my health issues.  I have not posted for several days because I have been absolutely sick.  The last couple of nights have been so bad that Liesl has refused to sleep in her own bed and has been sleeping right up against me.  Luckily, she does not move around much and her little warm self is quite comforting.  

Speaking of Liesl, I have decided that I have Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom in my backyard. Last week as I was letting her out at about 4:30 am to take care of her business.  After I gave her the okay, she went blasting out the back door, deer hopping because she was so excited, barking, growling and huffing.   At the same time, a possum jumped from my bushes to the tree and onto the back fence.  I did not know that possums could move that fast. Liesl was beside herself and I was afraid she was going to wake the neighbors.  I finally got her back in the house and made her go back to bed.  She wanted to go back out there so badly.

The next night I let her out around 10 pm for her last potty outing and the same thing happened again.  Both she and the possum were running as fast as they could. The possum has the tree climbing advantage.  Miniature schnauzers are ratters and go fast low to the ground and can make rather fantastic turns while they are running.  I had no advantage.  I was in my slippers as I was running after Liesl telling her to go inside.  She kept ringing her bell after that trying to get me to let her out.  For several days after that every time I opened the back door she went blasting out the back door to the spot where the possum was known to be.  Even during the day.  I am over the possum, the skunk and the raccoon...

I am getting a bit excited because the Christmas ornament issue of Just Cross Stitch will be coming out soon.  123stitch is accepting reservations now.  This is the only stitching or craft magazine that I buy and I look forward to its arrival.  It is so pretty and inspiring and I love the recipes, too.  When it comes, I will take my time going through it while I drink a cup of tea, savoring each page.  It is an event not just a magazine.  

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Oh, The Agony...

It is an interesting phenomenon that we do not remember the depth and intensity of pain.  This can be said of not remembering how painful labor is once we have that sweet little child in our arms.  This can also be said of my annual trek to the purgatory that is the local Walmart.  I swear, every time I leave there I tell myself, never again.   It is absolutely chaos and not an enjoyable shopping experience.  There were a couple of specific items that I needed to get there so I developed a plan.

Now I will also add to this that last week, my doctor added a new medication for me.  I started it this weekend and have had the worst insomnia ever since.  For the past three nights I have not fallen asleep before two or three.  I have tried everything to alleviate this, even medicine that normally helps me sleep.  It has been awful.  After the lack of sleep all of this week, I woke up feeling really sick this morning.  What is interesting is that Liesl knows before I know when I am not feeling well.  I knew it this morning because she got unto the bed and snuggled up to my tummy early this morning.  Liesl does not do this unless she is cold, not feeling well or if I am not feeling well.  It was definitely not cold so she was there to provide comfort.   I wonder how she knows what she knows.

Tonight I thought I would do something out of the ordinary instead of just following my routine.  I thought I might trick myself into being extra tired. I needed something from Walmart and since it takes a special kind of crazy to go there during the day, I decided that I would go to Walmart after 8 pm.  I figured that school is back in session, and by 8:30 pm I should have the place to myself.  I can not tell you how wrong I was.  Whole families with school aged children were doing their grocery shopping at 9pm. It was loud, chaotic, and I found myself questioning my own sanity for going there.  Of course, with the store full there was only one check out stand open.  I found myself screaming inside my head.   I will say that when I got up there the nice young man at the register was absolutely kind and helpful.  I was so happy to smell the sweet fresh air of freedom when I got out of there.

The bonus to all of this is that Walmart carries Liesl's favorite toy ever.  It is a Hartz duck that quacks. They are $4.97.  She has had several over the years that gradually have their wings and feet removed.  She loves these ducks so much.  Tonight when I took it out of the bag she was so beyond excited.  She loves to make it quack.  When she was younger she would line it up with the side of the sofa on the floor.  Then she would jump from the sofa onto the duck so that it would go QUUUUUAAAAAACCCCCKKKKK!  LOL.  She is so elated about this duck that she did something she never does.  She brought the duck to sleep with her on her bed.  Many times she prefers to begin her slumber on the hardwood floor because it is cooler.  When she moved from her bed onto the floor she brought the duck with her and has her nose against it as you can see from the photo.  

See I am already starting to forget the pain of going to Walmart...but it will be a long time before I go again.  Oy vey!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday, Liesl!

Liesl at four months old.  Her first trip to the beach!
It is hard to believe, but Saturday is Liesl's fifth birthday.  She was born on August 4, 2007 and the world has not been the same since.  LOL  She is such a bright spot in my life and is a very big dog in a very little outfit.  Because she is so special to me, we always celebrate her birthday.  She will get extra playtime tomorrow and lots of extra cuddles and belly rubs.  I will also make her favorite dinner which is chicken breast with brown rice and veggies.  She will probably get the smallest little scoop (like a tablespoon) of vanilla ice cream.  Liesl loves ice cream!  

I had to run to Target tonight for shampoo and they had these in the dog toy section:

It has a squeaky in it.  Tomorrow at this time, I can bet that the candle will have been removed.  Liesl is pretty good with her toys now that she is older, but I think that the candle hanging out there all by itself will probably be too much temptation.  Liesl loves toys.  She has an overflowing basket of them and she plays with every single one.  It is funny to watch her, because she will root around in the basket with her nose like she is looking for a specific item.  Every night I have to clean up a plethora of toys with a small dog following me looking panicky, like "What are you doing with that?  It's MINE!"  LOL

Speaking of mine, there is a card that I have seen online that says, "Mini Schnauzer Rules."  It says, "What is mine is mine.  What is yours is mine.  If I see something and I want it, it is mine.  If you have something and I want it, it is mine..."  I found this to be very true within the past couple of weeks.  About twenty years ago I made a large double wedding ring quilt.  It was my first quilt. (I know, I was crazy.)  I used a thick batting and have never used it.  I kept it stored all this time in a closet in a large bag that comforters come in.  A couple of weeks ago, I took it out to look at it and air it out.  I left it folded on the floor of my home office to air it out.  It no longer belongs to me.  It now belongs to Liesl, who has decided  that it is her new bed when she joins me in there.  Never mind that she has an almost new, never been used, actual dog bed in there.  The quilt is now hers.  She likes it so much that she often goes in there by herself to take naps on it.  

Off to say my prayers!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


As I have shared in the past, in general, Liesl is not a cuddly, sit in your lap kind of dog.  Schnauzers are a working breed and in general, it is just not her thing.  However, some days she can totally surprise me.  This evening I was sitting on the sofa, relaxing after a long day of doctor appointments.  For some reason out of the blue, Liesl came over, tucked her feet behind me and cuddled right up to me.  I rubbed her sweet head for a while and enjoyed the puppy warmth for a while.  Puppy warmth is one of the best feelings in the world and is up there with sleeping on freshly laundered sheets and walking barefoot on warm soft grass.  I wish I could experience puppy warmth more often but I accept Liesl as she is and treasure the special moments that she gives me.  I am sure she probably feels the same way about me.  

I am stitching away on my needlepoint piece.  I am having fun with it, although working with yarn instead of floss brings new kinds of challenges.  It tangles easily and leaves fuzz on some of the canvas.  I am kind of a neat freak about my stitching so this is kind of rocking my world.  I am hoping that the fuzz kind of wears off over time.  I think that the pillow top will be beautiful when I am done.  I have another needlepoint kit in my stash that I may have to stitch up after this one.  They do look very elegant.  They also cost the big bucks when I see them in stores.

I have come up with a great idea for something to craft out of stash that I already have.  Last week I was early to a doctor's appointment so I decided to look around in a nearby gift shop while I waited.  They had really cute blingy lanyards with a lobster clip on the end that I am assuming you can hang your keys or a badge.  They were very cute, but very pricey.  That was when I had two epiphanies!  The first epiphany was that I could hang a pair of embroidery scissors on the lobster clip, so that they would always be within reach. (and not somewhere in the sofa.  ouch!)  The second epiphany was that I have a drawer full of sparkly beads that I have collected with the intent of making jewelry.  The jewelry making to date has not materialized, but I thought I could make myself a really pretty scissor holder.  I also thought that I could add a ring to it so that when I am working around the house, I could keep a pair of reading glasses on the ring instead of the scissors.  Hopefully, I will go through my beads some time this week.  I will take pictures if and when I get it put together.

Well, off to dream about puppy cuddles.  That was sure a wonderful gift today...