Monday, August 8, 2011

What a summer it has been! An early vacation was a perfect plan because I doubt we would have been able to take it later. On a lovely day like today in Ohio (only 80 today!) I am reminded of the lovely weather we had at the beach and that pleasant sleepy feeling one gets after lying in the sun for hours. I have to resist the urge to lay down on the sun porch and just listen to the summer sounds and doze off, maybe with a kitty on my tummy.

I haven't been blogging because my thoughts have been consumed by family matters. Nearly lost my mother, got her back and I got my sister back in the process.

Just about 4 weeks ago I had to rush out to New Jersey because my 86 year old mother nearly died after surgery. The day before she had a carcinoma removed from her chin which required plastic surgery to repair the damage. It was after the plastic surgery that she crashed and her oxygen level plummeted. It was a little touch and go for a few days. Such a relief when they were finally able to remove the breathing tube and hear her speak! She asked me if Congress had settled the debt limit situation!!! So like my mom and I just had to laugh out loud.

She stayed in the hospital for a week and then we had to go through the very scary process of selecting a rehab facility, sometimes known as a skilled nursing facility or a sub acute care facility. We ended up choosing one that my sister had worked at previously. She is a physical therapy assistant and has worked in many nursing homes.

Man, what an eye opener that was. To think of placing my mother in some of these places had me breaking down in tears many times. Is this what life comes to? Why does it have to be this way?

Thankfully Mom has rallied and most likely will be released from rehab this week. We don't think she should stay at home any longer though and we (my sister and my brothers and I) are trying to find an assisted living facility for her. Even though my sister lives with my mom, she is not able to give her the amount of care that my mom now needs. It's something that has been coming and we are glad we are going to be able to make this change.

I think we have found the right place and it's only a 5 minute drive from her home!  It's a good feeling to know that she liked it and she is going to visit again to make sure it is the right place for her. There is so much work left to be done...a house to clean and prep for sale, figuring our her finances so she will be able to pay for the assisted living and all the other complicated issues that come with growing old.

And what did I mean by getting my sister back? For years we have been estranged for many reasons. It's complicated when an adult sibling lives with a parent...there are many confusing issues. The relief of mom pulling through and hearing her talk was what caused my sister to say she didn't want to fight anymore and tears and hugs followed. We spent many hours together while I was in NJ. I don't know how we possibly could have done it otherwise. She will be bearing the brunt of the changes that will take place and I feel badly that I am not around to share in the burden. I will return when I can to help out.

So guys, I am back home and working and wanting to pick up my stitching again. I think today will be a perfect day to begin!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


A view from the top deck overlooking the marsh and Pamlico peaceful
Yes, I have been on a vacation. A real one to Ocracoke Island as well as a vacation from stitching. Though the stitching is always close by, sadly to say I just haven't felt the urge to stitch. I started to get the itch to knit but I suppressed it since I didn't feel like spending money on yarn. Here is a pic of my current WIP which by all rights should have been finished by now!
Simply Live in memory of Lisa Roswell
Our vacation on Ocracoke was wonderful! It's an island just south of Hatteras Island on the Outer Banks. Beautiful unspoiled beaches, a lovely old town without all the hoopla you find at some other vacation spots (no mini-golf or amusement parks). We loved the house we stayed in. It was very close to the beach (no homes are built on the beaches there) and just a bike ride or walk to town. The mosquitoes were a little pesky though and my daughter attracts them like ants are attracted to sugar. Poor girl. I'd have one bite and she would have 10. We went to the beach every day and managed not to get sunburned, not even tan for that matter!
The blooming Oleander in front of our house
One reason I chose this house...the wonderful artwork!
I love the pelicans perched on these pilings
Ocracoke charming
Unspoiled beaches
Crossing paths with a ferry, the only way to get to Ocracoke
Cape Hatteras Lighhuse
Claire atop the Hatteras Lighthouse being joyful!
Mark and I a little windblown

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Decorah eagles and a salute to mother eagle

I've gotten hooked on watching the eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa.  I check on the family in the morning if I have time and throughout the day if I'm home.  It's been so much fun being a part of the community watching the hatching and growth of the 3 babies.  Now they are gangly adolescents and I kind of miss the little fuzzballs that they once were.  The Facebook following is huge and it's a lot of fun to chat with fellow eagle watchers.

Here's a YouTube tribute to mama eagle.  It's very sweet.

And even more exciting for us stitchers is a chart designed by Brenda Gervais called the Soar Sampler.  A portion of the proceeds go to support the Raptor Resource Project, the organization that has been monitoring the eagle family.  You can find it on Brenda's blog.  I ordered it this week but don't know when I will get around to stitching it since I get little stitching done these days!  The Soar SAL has been going on for a few weeks now but I'm not participating in it given my stitching slow down. 

We are going on a beach vacation soon to Ocracoke, NC.  If anyone has ever visited there please let me know!  We have never even been to the Outer Banks and not quite sure what we are getting into.  Ocracoke is only accessible by ferry and the village is quite small.  I am looking forward to it so much!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Just some stuff...

I just learned about ellipses...those little dots I always use after my post titles, in text messages and Facebook posts.  I just can't help myself.  I like them.  My learning about them was the result of this post and a subsequent post by the Queen Bee.  In my quest to know more about ellipses I found a site called Grammar Girl.  I'm going to "like it" on Facebook so I can get useful tips on grammar.

I was kind of intrigued by Anna's recent post on her blog.  I wish I was brave enough to let it all hang out.  If I ever do offend someone or am bitchy to someone I tend to dwell on it for days.  That doesn't include DH of course, he bears the brunt of most bitchiness but I'm trying harder to be nicer now that it's just the two of us at home. 

I am a cynical person.  I am not one to always look on the bright side or to be optimistic about stuff.  Does this make me a bad person?  I certainly hope not.  I am a realist and a  pragmatist.  Do I always have to answer that I am "great" or even "fine" when someone asks me how I am?   It really depends on who is doing the asking.

My stitching progress has been pathetically slow lately and I have no photos to share.  I'm not one to show progress pics unless there is great progress.  I did start Simply Live by The Primitive Needle in memory of Lisa Roswell.  I was moved by her loss.

Some of you may have noticed that I share the name of my blog with another stitching blogger.  When I realized that I was using the same name I emailed March and apologized.  She was so kind and said she didn't mind but it still bugs me.  I think I need to come up with another name.  There are so many stitching blogs out there now that it's amazing we don't replicate names more often!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Shopping at Jungle Jim's

When we took our daughter back to school last week, we made a pit stop at this amazing place...Jungle Jim's International Market.  It's not far from Dayton and only about 1/2 hour from the school so I hope we will be stopping there again.

Here is what I bought:

big jar of tahini (good for hummus)
Middle Eastern couscous (the big pearl kind, I love this stuff)
quinoa (haven't tried it yet)
steel cut oats (so different from rolled oats)
red lentils

As well as good ol' American type foods, they have a huge array of international foods and products.
  • World of Rice, with more than 40 varieties
  •  Mercado Gigante - 400 feet of authentic Hispanic groceries
  •  78 olive oils from Italy, Greece, Spain and France
  •  Teas from 15 different countries
  •  Chutneys, dals and spices by the real auto-richshaw from India
  •  Fine chocolates from Switzerland, Belgium, France and Germany, as well as the USA
  •   Biscuits, jams and curds from England
  •   Meet Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest and find more British Favorites
We saw icky pieces of meat such as chicken and duck feet, pig snouts and feet, tripe and tongue.  Enough to make me never want to eat an animal again but of course I have, at least twice since.

I even saw DRIED BUGS.  Yum.

In our not so cosmopolitan town, it's possible to get some of the things I bought but at about twice the price.  The oats are the only item that is reasonably priced here.

If you are ever in the neighborhood stop on by at Jungle Jim's!  You might get lost in there, like I did.  I was going around in circles trying to meet up with my daughter.  Thank goodness for the cell phone!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An unintended absence...

I didn't mean to be gone for so long.  Really I didn't.  I am a born procrastinator and I simply went from day to day without blogging.  I have even taken a break from most of my blog reading.  I miss it!  I miss all the beautiful stitching and inspiration and my blogging friends!

I saw these spring flowers outside my front door when I headed out for a walk today.  It is so wonderful to see something so lovely in this world that is in so much pain.  Why do things seem worse now than they did when I was young?  Is it because we are so overwhelmed by information and we are aware of what is going on or is it really worse than it was?  Is it because my children are on the verge of being on their own and I won't be able to protect them any longer?  I don't expect answers of course, but is in my nature to ask. 

Here is something else that gives me a bit of joy.  This little kitty is from Leaping Cat by La D Da.  I have been plodding along with stitching him (or her) and I'm just about done.  Just some leaves and flowers and border. 

Since the colors on this piece are so muted I am looking forward to something very springy and bright and I have it all picked out. 

But first I want to stitch Simply Live in memory of Lisa Roswell.  I was very upset by her untimely passing.  When we had so much flooding here in Ohio I kept hearing about a woman who had been swept away in the flood, not immediately realizing her connection to the stitching world.  She lived only about 50 miles from my home so it just felt so real.  There was quite a bit of damage in our area due to the flooding and many roads were closed.  I so wish her road had been closed but it was early in the morning and dark and it all happened so fast.  It was hard to get around that day, so many roads were closed.

It was just a short while ago that these nightly visitors came to our yard to search out bits of corn.  They were so skittish!  The cats sure got a kick out of them but one little movement had them taking off in a hurry.  
And these guys are regular visitors no matter what the weather!  Our neighbors don't like it that we feed them so much.  They will just have to get over it. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Dateless on a Friday night and it's OK!

I am alone on a Friday night and am I lonely?  No way!  My husband took off for New England yesterday to ski his heart out and I am left to stitch to my heart's content.  I have also pulled out all my "unfinished finished" projects and trying to decide what to do with them all.  I have a few frames, (praying for patience) and fabric and pillow forms to use.  I figure I can make a mess and not worry about cleaning it up since there is no one around!  Just the kitties and me and the snow and cold.

I mounted this tiny piece that I stitched up in April of 2009 on a little box that I picked up at the craft store.  I was trying to find a way to mount it on a larger fabric covered box but in the end just took the easy way out.  I painted the box with cranberry colored paint.  I am going to start experimenting with covering boxes with fabric as well as paper. 

 Blackbird Designs
Platinum Belfast
over 1 with Thread Gatherer Silk

This piece was a freebie offered by Blackbird Designs.  I'm sure many of you remember it since you also stitched it!  The stitched area is only 2 x 3 1/2 inches.  This is a little gift for my daughter Claire, whose birth year is stitched next to her name.

I also made friends with my sewing machine again and stitched up this cover for my ereader since I couldn't find a pre-made cover that would fit.  I always want to have a "do over" when I finish something!  I had a little trouble interpreting the pattern I purchased off of Etsy.  If I make another one I probably would leave off the smaller pocket on the inside but for the most part I am happy with it. 

No other stitching photos to share at the moment.  I'm working on a little La D Da piece called Leaping Cat.  Shouldn't take long to finish this one.  I pretty much abandoned the Christmas ornaments I started as well as another little piece I want to give to my daughter.

Cheddar kitty
One of my kitties loves the ironing board (which I hardly ever put away) since I think she feels safe up there.  I have a lint roller nearby to remove her hair when I need to iron!  Excuse the messy corner.  See the exercise ball in the laundry basket?  Not that I'm using it mind you, it just looks good. 

Now, if I wasn't so warm and cozy as well as lazy I'd get myself to the nearest Redbox and rent a $1 movie.  Maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Is it really 2011 already???

A Happy New Year to all my stitching friends! 

I am now able to take some time to catch up on blog reading and commenting.  The past few weeks have been pretty insane since I work retail.  The day after Christmas I was at work at 5am preparing for the hoards of returns.  It is overwhelming at times and very tiring and the merchandise continues to pile up.  The associates in the stockroom have plenty to do sorting, reticketing and rehanging.  I would say that the majority of people are pleasant and understanding but it only takes one bad apple to make you feel threatened, which is how we feel in customer service sometimes.  I actually get scared on occasion! 

Since I've been so busy, I haven't done much stitching but I did manage to finish up an ornament for a dear friend.  I'm still learning how to finish the "smalls" and I feel like I am all thumbs sometimes.  Part of it is just the fear of destroying the stitching.  Seeing this photo reminds me of what a terrible job I did cutting the foam board that I mounted this piece on!  I admit that I was in a hurry but still no excuse.  I'm so sorry Lee!
stitched on 32 ct. linen with GA Sampler threads

Thinking I would never win, I entered the December give-away at The Stitcher's Village.  I won this huge prize from the Stitcher's Village sponsors!

I received a large tote bag, an insulated mug, a Kreinik needlepoint ornament, a calendar, a mouse pad, 2 large pieces of Picture This Plus fabric (the colors are gorgeous and I'm sure I will use them), and a slew of charts!  Many of the charts are from Moonflower Designs, by Patty Hurwitz.  Thank you Patty!  And there is a Homespun Elegance chart, 2 penny rug patterns which I love, a chart by Angel Stitchin and a needlepoint design by Needle Delights Originals.  I didn't want to leave anyone out!

What with recent purchases I have made, this prize and 2 gift certificates I got for Christmas, my supplies are well in hand for a busy, busy year of stitching.

The other day I had some elective surgery to remove some bothersome veins on my right leg, so I have been enjoying some peaceful time in bed with my leg propped up.  I am deep into a mystery novel by Elizabeth George which I downloaded to my eReader and I hope to spend some of my free time stitching.  Since I lightened my work schedule for next week to recuperate, I am also hoping to make this pretty eReader cover since I haven't been able to find one to fit mine.  

All for now but I sure hope I am back sooner than later.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A finish and a new toy

I finished up Mary Garry's Peace sampler last week though I still need to put initials in the lower right hand corner.  I think I will stitch the initials over one and include mine, the husband's and the 2 kids.

Mary Garry Peace Sampler
Weeks 30 count Cappuccino linen
GA Weathered Barn
design size 6 1/2 by 7 1/2

The past few days I have been pretty tired from working odd hours and busy with the miscellaneous tasks of living but I do have some ornaments started.  Just need some wide awake time to stitch!

I also have been distracted by my new toy!  I have been wanting an e-reader and when I was able to get a great deal on this Pandigital reader from Kohl's, I decided to try it.  My employee discount allows me to stack my discounts and with a rebate I just couldn't pass on it.  And no hassle returns folks!  If I decide I don't like it, back it goes!

I do like it though, but I haven't tried any other e-readers.  The screen is a bit too gray in dim light but works great with bright light.  It has wireless but I would never use it for the internet unless absolutely necessary.  I have downloaded 3 library books so far and it's a piece of cake.  I haven't purchased any books yet and that wasn't my goal anyway.  I love that I can "go to the library" and get them for free!  You do have to put books on a waiting list most times but that's OK.  Just download the books to Adobe Digital Editions, plug in the reader and transfer the book!

I am presently reading Cakewalk: A Memoir by Kate Moses and I finished The Kids Are All Right by Diana Welch (no, not the movie but same title).  These are both autobiographical.  I seem to be attracted to books about dysfunctional families (are all families a little bit nuts?).  It must be because of my quest to figure out my own family and trying to reconcile some of the crazy stuff that happened growing up.  It makes me feel better to know that I was not alone in my suffering, that there were other angry fathers out there and baffled overworked mothers.  By the time I was 12 years old I had lived in 5 different states and at least 6 different houses.  Moving around was not a good thing for a shy little girl like me and I don't think it was good for any of the 6 children!

Off to the bank...I think DD overdrafted her debit account.  As all moms of teenagers know, making the mistake is the best way to learn.  Sometimes we think they know how to manage things and then we find out somehow it went right over their heads when we told them how to do it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I love fall when it's not raining

It's a dreary rainy day here in Ohio and I'm feeling a little blue.  Made a mistake that may affect some customers and I always take those mistakes so seriously.  It's just that the mistakes were so stupid and unnecessary!  It isn't brain surgery, but still...

I haven't even felt like stitching for the past couple of days and I was on such a roll and excited about doing some quick Christmas gifts.  Hopefully by tomorrow I will come around and be the happy self I was a few days ago.

Thanks to everyone who offered me bits of the burnt orange thread I was looking for.  I appreciate it so much!  Lee, who was in town for a day, brought what she had and it was just right.  Thanks again Lee!

This is a little Mary Garry sampler I started this past summer.  The fabric is Weeks Cappuccino, thread is GA weathered barn.  
I love the color of this fabric, but not so crazy about the feel of it.  It is very soft and my stitches don't look nice and neat.  I had forgotten to start at a vertical thread and it was kind of bugging me, but I stitched up a bit to the side starting on the vertical and it didn't seem to make any difference.

There are some other Mary Garry charts I'd like to get my hands on but man, the prices on EBAY are ridiculous.  I did pick up a couple at very reasonable price, but they are not my favorites.

As some of you know, I work retail.  No, it wasn't my chosen career or a calling, it just happened.  At this time of year, it is retail hell.  I am constantly amazed by to what lengths people will go to save a buck and how little control some people have over their finances.  And in this sour economy, businesses have decided that they can make do with fewer employees, especially full time employees.  That means everyone gets very overworked and stressed, and when you think you can't do one more thing, they add on even more responsibilities.  I'm not talking about my own responsibilities necessarily, but when higher ups are stressed, it all trickles down to the rest of us.

So much for economic recovery and hiring more employees.  Big business has found they can just "make do."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I love the fall

I didn't realize it has been almost an entire month since my last post until now!  How sad.

And I can hardly believe that one week ago today I was readjusting to being back home after a lovely 3 day get away with 5 stitching friends.  We stayed at the Grape Arbor Inn in North East, PA.  We weren't sure how it was going to work out and to our delight it was just about perfect!  So perfect in fact, that we have already made plans to do it again next year.  We were treated to scrumptious tummy filling breakfasts (no need for lunch after that!), an endless supply of coffee, tea and other beverages and the company of the Inn kitties.  The Inn decor was many antiques and comfy chairs and beds and decorated so nicely for fall.  I would love to see it when adorned with Christmas decorations.

I was the recipient of an exchange piece perfectly made by Carol.  When I say perfect, I really do mean perfect.  That girl puts my finishing to shame!  Just look at the back of this piece!  Her little extra touches just make it so special.  Thank you ever so much Carol for this wonderful gift.

I have more to post but I will end for the evening and post tomorrow.
Have a good night everyone.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Unsuccessful quest

I was unable to find a match for the Gentle Arts burnt orange thread at Just Stitching in Strongsville but I did find some other goodies.  I'm not going to tell about those for now as I plan to use what I bought for gifts.  Needless to say, I spent way more than what a skein of thread costs!
It's frustrating that dye lots are so different!  The dye lot I used is so bright and cheerful and the new one is so muted and much more brown than orange.  I don't understand why there isn't more consistency in the dye lots.  I don't mind subtle changes but I think this is kind of ridiculous. 
new dye lot on left

color as depicted on Gentle Arts website

Enough complaining!  I forgot to mention in my last post that I was a winner of a subscription to the Gift of Stitching E-zine that Barbara offered as a give-away.  I have my eye on some of the projects in my first issue.  Thank you ever so much Barbara!  I am thrilled to pieces. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

A fond farewell and the friendship tour continues

It's finally time to say good-bye to these lovely women.  I have lived with them way too long and it's time for them to be traveling.



They put up with me even when I got distracted and didn't tend to them for a bit and then put up with me as I ran out of thread again and again.  Not having a shop nearby, they had to wait until I ordered new threads.  And they put up with my impatience with their many color changes.  But patience prevailed and I am finally finished with this charmer.

 Birds of a Feather Friendship Sampler
GA, WDW and DMC on 28 count unknown linen

Melissa of Words and Blooms started this Friendship Tour and now I am going to send this chart on its way.  Hopefully no one else will take as long as I did to finish this piece!  My apologies to Melissa and everyone else on the list.

You may notice that I have still have a little stitching to do on a few of the flowers.  I simply missed a few spots and will go back to stitch but I need to buy another skein of GA burnt orange.  This is why:

The original skein is on the right, the new one I ordered is on the left.  I'm a little annoyed that there is such an extreme color difference.  I ordered it online, so had no way of comparing.  Today I am going out of town to shop so hopefully I will be able to pick up a match.

I have more stitching to share but will save that for another day.  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Here are some more snaps taken by DH a few days ago.  He was allowed to work today and will work tomorrow, but the campus will be closed all weekend and nobody except essential personnel will be allowed to be on campus.  I guess I will have to wait to see for myself what has happened.  The destroyed building below is (was) right next door to where I used to work and next door to where DH works.  Tornados work in mysterious ways for sure.  One of my coworkers lost her barns but no one was hurt except for one poor chicken that died.  Her mom and sister were in the barn when it occurred.  Amazing.  All their milking goats survived.  Many homes in the area were damaged as well as vehicles, but again, no injuries. 

Friday, September 17, 2010


We had a little tornado touch down in our town late Thursday afternoon!  Most of the damage was done at the Ohio State University branch research station (Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center).  This is where my husband works and where I did my graduate work and held several jobs.  This was nothing like the tornado that ripped through Wooster in 2003 which damaged so many homes and business.  Thankfully no one was hurt.  Here are some photos (not taken by me...borrowed from Facebook).

There were probably research projects lost and there will be much rebuilding soon to come.  There was damage also to some area farms and many people were without power but I don't think a single animal was hurt in this storm.

A little excitement on an otherwise humdrum day. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I felt inspired to blog this morning...

Wow, what a change in the weather!  It was in the mid-fifties upon waking up this morning and it's still very cool and breezy.  Fall is on its way!  We really do need rain though and the smattering that we got yesterday just wasn't enough.

I just wanted to show you all the work of a fantastic quilt artist who lives and works in our town.  Her work may not be everyone's cup of tea, it's certainly not traditional or conservative quilting, but I find it gorgeous and inspiring.  See the work of Susan Shie here:

I am missing my daughter very much, but we text each other on a regular basis.  I love texting!  She and her roommate were able to rearrange their room so that it is much more livable.  They did have to sacrifice their desk shelves, which still kind of irks me.  Dear long lost son has started his senior year of college as an art major and will be knee deep in graphic design, intermediate ceramics and art history.  When it rains it pours.  He finally landed a bicycle mechanic job in a local shop and was also offered a work study position in the art department.  Poor kid...looks like he won't be sleeping much this year! 

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

July...and August...oh me oh my, where does the time go?

The longer I neglect this blog, the harder it is to get back into it!  This sentiment was just echoed by Lee but she has only been away for 10 days and I've been away for what, almost 2 months?  Mostly it's been my lack of stitching which has kept me away since I have so little to show and I've been so preoccupied with family life that I've had trouble "letting go."

I'm playing around with Picnik, hoping that it will solve my photo editing woes.  Photoshop Elements just bogs down my computer and drives me crazy!  Blogging ain't fun when you've got to sit there and wait and wait for a photo to be saved. 

Here's a taste of what we've been up to this summer.

My cozy stitching spot at camp (yes, I did take my Ott light with me)
A little light retro reading at camp
Claire learning how to water ski

Red Hill Firetower, Center Harbor, NH
Keepsake Quilting, Center Harbor, NH

View from the tower, overlooking Lakes Region of New Hampshire

Revolutionary War Cemetary in NJ - my father is buried in the cremation garden

Isn't this a beautiful headstone?

We made a family oriented visit to New Hampshire and New Jersey.  Lots of changes in both places, some very stress inducing.  I wouldn't really call these visits vacation, but we did enjoy seeing everyone and relaxing at the lake place, which we call camp, for a few days.  

And last, but certainly not least, we are officially empty nesters, at least for awhile!  We dropped Claire off at  Miami U a week ago.  We were all disappointed by her room and my response from residence life was a suggestion to remove the shelving from the desks so that the desks could be backed up to the wall.  They do not fit under the slanted ceiling! They are going to bunk their beds so that they gain a little more space but the desks will have to remain where they are.  Crazy.  But Claire seems to be enjoying herself and I know she is keeping very busy with her studies.   She lives right across from the fabulous rec center and the ice arena.  The location is perfect for her. 
The cramped and dark dorm room.  Boo.
I promise, really I do, that stitching pics will soon follow.  I've been on this blasted computer way too long!