Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Fall!

Whoohoo!  I am making progress on this piece.  It is so funny that the cherries and the detail is more defined in the photos than when I have this up close and personal.  It does feel nice and soft.  I am designing the pillow I will make out of it in my mind.  I am trying to decide whether or not to have fancy fringe or not.  I think that I will really feel proud of it when it is done.  

There is a really crispness in the night tonight.  It is also very clear, which is kind of rare for this area.  I sat out in my yard in my Adirondack chair for a little while just looking up at the stars.  It is so beautiful.  Fall is definitely in the air.  I just love it.  I am thinking that I may have to bake pumpkin bread soon. I have my pumpkin scented candles set out with my fall themed items. I am looking forward to spending cool evenings cuddled up under a blanket with a little furry girl.  

It is hard to believe that it will be time to bring the summer furniture into the garage for the winter soon.  Our rainy season will be starting in a couple of months.  I have to get some winter vegetables into the ground and prepare the yards for the onslaught of cold and rain.  I love the rain.  I love the coziness of it.  I love to spend a rainy day reading a really good book or stitching away with a recording of Bach and a cup of tea.  It is pure heaven.

Saturday is the Autumnal Equinox.  I am ready for the change of seasons and the coziness of the days to come.  Life is beautiful.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling Fickle...

I am getting to the point where I am not feeling like I am having fun anymore working on this needlepoint piece.  It is starting to feel like work.  I have a feeling I will be putting it away for a while soon and turning my attention to something else, like Christmas ornaments.  I believe that your crafts should always be enjoyable.  Needlepoint is not my strongest skill, so it is not as high up there on the enjoyment level as cross stitch.

It does not help this situation that I have so many cross stitch patterns going through my mind.  It seems like they are calling from the storage container, "Pick me, pick me!"  I can not decide what I want to do next.  I think this is why I should stick with the ornaments for now and work my way up to a new larger project.  I have shared in the past on this blog that I have a thing for really large projects.  I may have to buy a bigger house eventually as I run out of wall space.  LOL  Okay, I am totally kidding.  My little house is so perfect and I am happy here.  It is also Liesl's queendom.

Speaking of Liesl, every evening I play with her for a full twenty to thirty minutes.  She gets my undivided attention during this time.  Some days when she is feeling super energetic we rough house.  Sometimes when she is on the tired side, she will just want me to run her through her repertoire of tricks.  She especially loves when I tell her to speak.  She can not just bark, oh no, she has to give it a little dramatic flair.  Every time she does speak, she has to give it a pose, or a jump, or she makes a long drawn out production of the bark itself.  She is a drama queen.  Tonight though she was all about the rough housing.  She has a full sized toy bunny that she beats the heck out of.  It is my job to hold the bunny. Sometimes the bunny will attack her and it is on.  Then I throw it into the kitchen.  She has to run full force at the bunny and then jumps with extra force just as she hits the kitchen rug so that she can ride it like a surfboard.  I spend half of my life straightening out the kitchen rug.  It is a losing battle.  After she gets her rabbit she brings it back to me, whereupon we repeat the process of her battling the bunny.  I spend a lot of time hoping that no rabbit ever strays into my yard. 

Tonight I have an extra special prayer request.  If you could, please include our schnauzer friend, Reggie in your prayers.  He was not feeling well so his momma took him to the vet. He has to go through some serious medical tests and his momma is so worried about him. I think all pet parents can probably sympathize with what she is going through. They both could really use your prayers that he is okay.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Here is my progress for this week.  As you can see, I am a bit willy nilly in how I stitch.  It is based on how I can use up a particular color yarn on my needle, so I do not have to re-thread with another color.  I am sort of impressed at how the cherries are taking shape.  I really like the colors.  I think I am going to put it on my desk chair so I can see it every day.  I think it is purty.

I did not get to do my search through my ornament issues.  I will try this week.  I do not want to lose my feeling of inspiration.  Unfortunately, I tend to find a lot of inspiration in different places.  Here is an autumn Hardanger pattern that I am thinking will probably be a future purchase.  I think it is gorgeous.  I think it is kinda cool how Hardanger has changed where more color is being incorporated into the designs.  I still like the lacy look of the white on white.  However, it is nice to have choices and that particular design is really nice.

Well, it is just a short post tonight.  I have to tuck in a small cute dog.  She has to be tucked in just so, then she will let out her big sigh, nestle in, then go to sleep.  It is the sign that all is well in the world, the day is done and the night is peaceful. 


Saturday, September 15, 2012

You've Got Mail!

I thought that was lightening fast at shipping out orders.  If that is the case then is supersonic fast!  I placed the order for my JCS Christmas Ornament issue on Thursday and it was here today.  It is full of some really great ornament designs that I would totally stitch.  I love how they are grouped.  I am also glad that they put all of the recipes at the back of the issue all together.  In addition to my magazine, I also ordered some more Bohin needles from France.  These are fantastic needles and with six to a package for $1.79, they are quite the bargain!  They go through the fabric like a hot knife through buttah!

I am inspired now to pull out the last ten years of ornament issues and look through them.  I plan on really looking through them and putting sticky notes on the ones that I really, really want to stitch.  After seeing some of the designs, I am now curious about seeing some of the body of work of certain designers.  There are so many truly talented designers.  I keep telling friends who share that they used to cross stitch years ago how much the craft has changed.  The designs are so much different than they were 20 years ago.  Then you add the variety and colors of fabrics and flosses, the embellishments, buttons and beads.  It really is quite amazing how much the craft has evolved.

I have had an interesting experience in the past week.  I have been praying on a few different questions for some time.  I can truly say that God answers all prayers.  A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine handed me something totally out of the blue to read that ended up answering not just one of my prayers, but several of them.  I got that little tingle that you get when you know that God has shown you grace and mercy.  It is quite humbling.  I got to sit and talk with my friend today and shared with him that God had used him as an instrument.  He said that he had no idea but was happy to know about it.  

I think that this is further proof that God truly loves us and wants us to have extraordinary lives.  He is truly a beacon, lighting the way for us out of darkness.  I know this when I am searching for an answer and when I open my Bible, it falls open to the very passage that I need at that particular moment.  He is showing me the way.  

Friday, September 14, 2012


Well, Liesl has been tucked in and is doing that soft snoring thing that is pretty cute.  She knows how to make herself comfy.  Sometimes I envy how comfy she looks all tucked in.  I really wonder what she dreams about, especially when she is running in her sleep.  She is such a happy little dog.

In the past month I have found the coolest thing if you are a Safeway shopper.  (I must add that in no way am I affiliated with Safeway.)  It is that new Savings Just 4 U internet based savings that are added to your Safeway Club Card.  You get an email once a week with "coupons" that are tailored to your shopping history.  You pick which ones you want to add and it automatically puts the "coupons" on your Safeway Club Card.  When you check out and use your card or phone number, the deductions on those items you pre-chose automatically come off the total.  They sometimes even have free items. The savings can be significant.  Today I had to go in to Safeway to pick up a prescription in their pharmacy.  While I was there I picked up a few essentials, like milk.  My grocery bill was originally $35.  With my discounts it came to $20.22.  I saved over $15.  The savings were on stuff that I buy like milk, fruits and veggies.  I feel kinda cool that I saved so much.

The other cool thing I found.  We are very fortunate here.  We have four separate library systems.  I love the library.  Generally, I use the one in Carmel, which is a stand alone library system.  It is a cozy library and has good support.  Therefore, it has the extras like Overdrive, which is the system used to loan Kindle books and books for Ipod.  There are a couple of drawbacks to this library.  They do not always have what I am looking for.  The biggest drawback is that during tourist season I can not park anywhere near this library.  I sometimes have to circle the block 4-5 times.  It is so frustrating.

Recently, I noticed online that the county system has quite a few of he books that I have been looking for.  I went into one of the local branches to update my extremely old library card, which is about 20 years old.  Since I have been using the Carmel City library I have not used the county card in about five years.  I figured that I had fallen of the  grid, but, no, my card was ready to go.  The librarians were extra super and a lot of fun.  One of them said, that since I had not been there for a while, that she wanted to show me what was available to their patrons.  I was totally surprised. 

They are now networked and can get books from any library, including the city libraries.  They have a full time reference librarian,  They have a sweet program called "Book Club to Go."  It has ten copies of the same book in a bag, with questions for discussion in book clubs.  They are current titles and best sellers and they have a huge list of options.  My BFF and I are trying to think of people to form a book club.  My library card also gives me access to free tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium on days that are not blacked out.  They also have Overdrive so I am all set.  Plus they have a parking lot and longer hours.

I was so impressed with how the library has really networked and are addressing the trend of book clubs.  It looks like I have a new hangout!  I shall have to look at their collection of craft books.  :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I have a confession to make.  I am a gift certificate/giftcard hoarder.  When someone gives me a giftcard  I can not spend it frivolously.  I will look for a long time to find something awesome that is special that I will have forever.  As a result, I can hold onto a giftcard from months to years.  I have quite a few of them.  It drives my friends crazy because they always want to know what I bought and by the time I find my perfect present, they have forgotten about it.  

Today was my doctor appointment day.  I had one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  It has been a very long day.  Anyway, there is a cute little boutique near one of my doctors' offices.  I just happened to have had a gift certificate for close to a year for this store.  This hand painted wooden shaker style box was sitting right out front.  Sadly, my camera can not do justice to the colors or detail in the painting.  It is so gorgeous.  The box itself is about a foot wide, so it is a good size.  It is a good box for cross stitch stash.  The lady at the counter said that she had just marked it down this morning.  It was only $18.  I love, love, love it.

I have a thing for chickens.  I do not know why.  I do not collect them or anything but they pop up here and there in my decor.  I like the bucolic feel of this piece.  It is pretty special and I so happy to have it.  It is one of my treasures.  I have to find a special place to keep it.  

I think the very best part of my day was coming home to that little bearded face.  Liesl acted like my walking through the door was the best thing that has ever happened to her.  I think any dog parent will say that they love that look of unbridled joy when you walk through the door.  This is the only time that Liesl will give me face kisses.  She does not pass out kisses often and usually if she does out of the blue, it is on my hands.  When I come home though, she will just give me lots of kisses.  I treasure them so much.  

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Quiet Tuesday Evening

Well, well, so I see that the new Christmas ornament issue has arrived at  This is an exciting day!  I have some money from my winnings at the fair that will go towards my purchase.  It is like sewing the seeds of new cross stitch entries.  I am bound and determined to actually stitch something from the magazine this year.  I have been getting it for ten years now.  I have not stitched one single ornament in that time.  I keep going for those huge projects that take me months to a year to stitch.  But this time is going to be different.  

I got some stitching tonight while watching The Voice.  I am so hooked on this show!  It seems like the caliber of singers is really high this season.  It is a lot of fun to watch the blind auditions.  By the way, could Adam Levine be any cuter?!  Not Tony Stewart cute, but adorable none the less...

I have had knitting calling to me the past couple of weeks.  I have had a gorgeous green yarn that I bought last year.  I stumbled across it while looking through one of my baskets the other day.  It is so beautiful and I keep thinking what a great scarf it would make.  I am not so good at knitting.  My daughter is really the expert there, but I am thinking I may have to expand my skills.

I truly can not imagine what my life would be like without being able to work with textiles for my hobby.  It is so enjoyable and so peaceful.  I love the melody of the floss going though the fabric.  I love the way it looks like treasure when I open my box of organized floss.  I love the journey of stitching a piece.  I can look at one of my pieces and remember the time in my life while I was stitching it.  It is amazing how looking at a piece can bring back the feeling of that time.  Some are better stitched than others.  However, it is interesting to see the progress that I have made over the years.  I guess that can be said of life as well as the stitching.  It really is all about the journey.   

Saturday, September 8, 2012


I did not have an opportunity earlier this week to share this photo of my finished piece with my ribbons.  The participant ribbon is a new thing for my county fair.  It is kinda psychedelic and groovy looking. It is nice to have my piece back home.  I found the perfect place to hang it in my living room.  

I received the sad news today that my friend and neighbor, Bill, went home to be with the Lord last evening.  I felt honored that one of his adult children took the time from their own grief to come and share the news with me.  I can not wrap my head around it yet.  I could not stitch or do anything today.  I just sort of sat and stared at television, although I do not know what was on.  I wept on and off all day.  Last week at this time he was at home with his dog.  From the time his hip started bothering him to his passing was only 2-3 weeks.  In a way, I believe that God was merciful and did not let him suffer.  I will miss my friend.  He was a truly good person.  I was lucky to know him.

I think the lesson for me in this is how life truly changes in the blink of an eye.  Nothing is guaranteed in this life.  I think I am relearning that lesson about how precious and fragile it all is.  We have a finite amount of time on this earth and we have to treasure every second.  I feel so grateful for the people and everything in my life and realize that any of it could change at any given moment.  I have hugged my furgirl a little tighter today and kissed her sweet little head more than she probably felt was necessary.  (Although she does love kisses.)  

We are so blessed in this life to have what we have.  We are blessed with the people we know.  We are lucky to give and receive love.  Mostly, we are fortunate to be loved by God more than we can ever possibly understand.  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Schnauzer Drama

As any schnauzer parent will tell you, having one is like have a toddler in the terrible two's.  They are so lovable, motivated by fun, and stubborn as all get out.  Oh. my. gosh.  Tonight Liesl had a head of granite.  No-- harder, maybe diamond.  LOL  I had made her dinner.  One that she loves.  I get her the Newman's Own Organic Chicken and Brown Rice Dinner. (Do I get organic food?  Of course not.  I get the pesticide laden, artificially preserved stuff.  After all, I am merely a human.)  But I digress.  I mix a little of the warmed up mushy food with her kibble.  Sometimes I will add a little brown rice if I am eating it, because she loves the stuff and will not leave me alone until she gets her "share."  

She gets her dinner every evening at the same time. Most dogs can not wait for this time.  The vet does not want her to eat after 7 pm.  For the same digestive reasons as humans.  I have to serve her dinner wherever I am eating because she does not want to eat alone.  If I eat dinner on the sofa in front of the TV, she will take mouthfuls of her food, carry it into the living room, spit it out, then eat it.  Then go back for another mouthful... Sometimes she will wait to see what I am getting for dinner for comparison.  Then she will try to use the Force on me to try to move my food to her mouth.  She has a rather intense, focused, laser like stare.  

Anyway, tonight she decided, like a toddler, that she did not want her dinner.  She wanted cookies.  She will go about letting me know this one of two ways.  The first is that she will sit on the floor in the kitchen and stare without moving at the cookie jar on the counter.  (Use the Force, Schnauzer...)  The other way is to tap on the cabinet door that sits below the actual cabinet that holds her treat assortment with her front paw.  This is highly discouraged because I have nice new cabinets in my kitchen that I do not want scratched.  

She was relentless in begging for cookies.  I told her that she had to eat her puppy dinner, which included the bonus brown rice.  She went and tapped on the cabinet.  I told her no.  She stared at the cookie jar.  Again, no way.  We now had a standoff.  I was concerned about missing the 7 pm cutoff. So I did what I thought would get her attention.  I got a fork.  Suddenly I had her interest.  I picked up her dog bowl, sat on the floor, and fed her the puppy dinner with a fork.  (She likes eating off of a fork.  After all, she does not think she is a dog.  She is very gentle and does not scrape her teeth on it.)   I totally had her attention and she was thinking this is pretty cool.  

I dread tomorrow.  I am a bit concerned that I have created a monster and will now be playing airplane with a fork with a schnauzer.  

There are days I really doubt that I am at the top of the food chain...But I love her so much I would not change it for the world.  While she was sleeping next to me on the sofa this evening, I laid my head on her little warm self, breathed in the sweet scent of her puppy shampoo, and felt her super soft hair as I gave her a kiss on her sweet little head.  I may have to get her her own special fork...

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First of all, thank you so much for including my neighbor, Bill in your prayers.  I spoke to his sons today, who looked like this is taking a huge emotional toll, and said that he had gone through the chemo today.  I shared with them that a lot of people are praying for him between my church, this blog and some mutual friends.  They said that it really means so much to them.  I mentioned that he is one of my favorite people to talk to (I like to chat a bit, myself...) and I really enjoy chatting over the fence with him.   They said he hasn't stopped talking at the hospital either.  I can picture it.  He is a character and loves to tell his stories.  

I was cleaning out the fridge the other day and had some interesting odds and ends like half a pork chop and half a steak.  After seeing those commercials on television about how much food Americans waste per year, the guilt set in. It is really not acceptable for me to do that.  I have made a deal with myself that I will no longer throw out any food. I will keep better track of what is in there and use it up. So I made an awesome black bean chili out of them and other ingredients in search of a pot.  Oh my goodness, it was so good.  Sadly, this is a once in a lifetime recipe because I will never be able to repeat it based on the stuff I was pulling out of the fridge.  

So now I am better at taking inventory of what is in there.  I also have a freezer full of stuff and I have made another promise to myself that I am going to use everything in it before it gets freezer burn.  So I will not be buying any meat for quite a while.  I buy it on those clearance sales at Safeway and I am fully stocked to the point where I can barely close the freezer door.  

The best part of this is that I have decided to not buy any more processed foods and start making things from scratch again.  I have a bread maker that I never use, and I seem to recall that a homemade cookie tastes much better than a store bought one.  Plus if I plan well it should not take very much time.  I am kind of excited about this endeavor.  I will let you know how it goes.  (Oh, and I will confess that I do have a small stash of Hamburger Helper and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Can't help it, I love the stuff. )

I was also thinking this applies to my craft stash.  I have a drawer full of beads and bead strands that have bought over the years.  Some of them are even semi precious stone beads and pearls.  I buy them because they are pretty and I  have good intentions.  My son says that I am like a raccoon and attracted to shiny objects.  LOL  I also have all of the findings, wire, thread, etc.  I think it is time for me to make some really pretty gifts for my homegirls. 

Well, it is off to sleep.  I am hearing snores from the doggie bed next to me so I will take this as a sign for me to go to sleep, too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Prayers for Bill

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my neighbor across the street who recently had surgery.  We tend to check on each other because we are both dealing with serious health issues.  As we were talking my next door neighbor, Bill, got out of his car and joined us.  Bill is 84 and just lost his wife of 63 years within the last six months.  He is such an amazing person and neighbor.  He is the elderly neighbor who had a rose from his garden and a card from Liesl waiting on my porch on Mother's Day.  He is constantly doing for others.  I refer to him as the Mayor of the Street because he knows everyone and everything about them here.  

Anyway, when he approached us he said that he had gone to his doctor because his hip was bothering him.  We each said that we hoped it wasn't serious.  He said it was not hurting, just bothering.  We made a remark that the street is turning into a hospital ward.  

I have been a little concerned because I have not seen much of Bill in the past couple of weeks.  He has  always had a certain schedule and walked his dog every evening.  He would also sit out on his porch and talk to everyone who passed by in the evening. (He has a great sense of humor and loves to chat.)  I have not seen him in the past week and assumed that his hip was bothering him too much to walk.  

I saw his daughter in law over there this morning and asked her how he is doing.  She told me that he is not well and that the issue in his hip is cancer in the bone.  My heart just sank.  She said that he is in the hospital and just wants to get well and come home because he says he needs to take care of his dog (who is staying with her right now.)  She told me that he is supposed to start chemotherapy tomorrow.  He is a very thin person so I asked if he was strong enough for that.  She gave me a look that said no, and said that things do not look good.  I asked her if she would take a card from Liesl and me to him.  She said that it would make him so happy.  

Bill is such a really good person and I can not even imagine the thought of not having him as my neighbor.  I have been really weepy all day because I can not bear the thought of such a good person suffering so much.  If you could say a prayer for Bill, I would sure appreciate it.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cherries WIP

I am plugging along on it and almost have the bowl done.  The cherries are so subtly variegated that I am becoming a bit nervous.  I think it will be a really beautiful piece when I am done.  I do love the colors and it is so dramatic with that black background.  I started it on the opening night of the Olympics.  I can not tell you how many cross stitch projects are calling to me while I am working on this.  

I got quite a bit done tonight because I stayed up watching that Mermaid special on Animal Planet.  I was interested because it was being done by NOAA scientists, as well as other respected scientists.  I have to say that when they had the film of the actual one that washed up on the beach, I just about jumped out of my skin.  I do not think I will be going to sleep any time soon.  I do not watch scary or violent things, preferring instead to stay in the happy place.  I like shows that make me laugh or documentaries.  Okay, I have that thing for silly reality shows like RHONJ, Hillbilly Handfishin' and Storage Wars. ( I heart Barry.)  I read once that you should never let anything into your home that doesn't love you back.  I think of this about scary and violent shows for myself.  They just upset me.

It was funny because Liesl was not happy about my staying up until 10 pm.  I am usually in bed (most of the time with a book) by 8-8:30.  Now I will tell you that schnauzers are a bit like cats in that they do not appreciate any deviation from the schedule.  Today should look pretty much like yesterday and tomorrow better not get messed up either.  So Liesl was tired, ready for bed, and could not get herself comfortable.  She kept stomping, yes stomping, off to the bedroom then plopping down as noisily as possible.  Then she would come out and stand right in front of me with that stoic schnauzer face like, "Um, shouldn't we be moving along to the sleeping room?"  Then she would huff, because I obviously was not getting it.  Have I mentioned that schnauzers are a little bit dramatic?  In fact, there is a sweatshirt out there (I think by Cafepress?) that says, "Frequent victim of a miniature schnauzer drama."  Welcome to my world.  But I would not trade it for anything.

This weekend always brings me back to a time when school started right after Labor Day.  For my elementary school education (late 1960's to early 1970's)  I went to school in Paterson, NJ.  I remember the leaves on the ground, the smells, the nervousness of starting a new year.  I was feeling kind of nostalgic this year and bought a composition book at one of the big sales at Target, like I would always had to have on the first day of school.  They still have that black and white design, but the covers are no longer that hard cardboard.  Those things were indestructible.  I am wondering if they still make the big pencils that went with them...