Friday, December 18, 2009

The knitted garden

While I was browsing around Joann Fabrics the other day, I came upon this book called Jan Messent's Knitted Gardens. I was charmed and even went as far as suggesting it to my family as a possible Christmas gift for moi.

This is the kind of thing that totally captures my attention but unfortunately I doubt I have the attention span or patience to actually do any of this, but a girl can daydream, can't she?

Just look at those monks tending their cabbages! Aren't they adorable?

You can find more pictures from the book here. Ms. Messent also has books on a knitted farmyard and enchanted castle. So sweet.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Black ice, books and a good afternoon

Had a fine afternoon last week when Lee dropped by before picking up her daughter at college. We went for lunch at a local downtown restaurant and then poked around the Gallery in the Vault next door. Neither of us bought anything but I was a tiny bit tempted. There are shops like this in our downtown but I rarely go in them just because I know I will never buy anything. I don't yearn much for stuff anymore. I suppose if I had the money I would buy a different house and decorate it to my heart's content, but the focus now is on college funding (new parents out there...think wisely and save) and retirement. These kinds of places are great for buying gifts though.

Lee brought us some yummy yummy buckeyes, knowing that my husband is a peanut butter freak. We have all indulged. We keep slicing off little bits so that it doesn't feel like we are pigs. Lee...there are still 2 left! Thank you for the treat!

My poor daughter had a car accident on Sunday. She has only had her car (her first car, paid for by herself) for 1 1/2 months. She was driving home from spending the night at her friend's house and hit a patch of black ice and lost control and slid into a pole. The airbag went off so I guess the impact was pretty hard. She's OK but the car is totaled and she is very sad. It was hard for her to stop crying that day and every time she thinks about it she gets upset. I am thankful that she wasn't hurt and that she thinks she was only going maybe 25 miles an hour.

We have already heard from our insurance company and thank goodness I had gotten the collision insurance and it turns she is getting back more money than she paid for the car. Now we just have to decide if another car will be a possibility. Just a few more gray hairs for dear old mom and dad.

I love the work of the writer Abigail Thomas. I found this cute story by her at the Oprah website. I picked up her book A Three Dog Life last summer on the discount table at Borders and was so glad I did. Sometimes you just find someone that puts your own thoughts into words and it feels so good to know there is someone else out there that thinks and feels like you do. Here is her website.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Taking a breath

Thanksgiving has come and gone and that means that Black Friday has come and gone. The phrase Black Friday sounds so ominous to me, like it should be a day of mourning or something. I did mourn when I had to get out of bed at 12:45am in order to be at work by 2am. That means I got maybe 1 1/2 hours of sleep, shorter than a good nap. I was home by 11am and justifiably wiped out so I slept a good part of the day. I worked 8 days in a row and have a brief respite today with way too many things to do! I don't want to complain about having the hours, but man, I feel burned out.

I am trying hard to at least be helpful and pleasant dealing with customers, but suddenly there are many many needy shoppers out there, asking us to do what seems impossible at times. And the phone calls, OMG. I have to answer the phone while waiting on customers, but first I have to find the phone beneath the piles of returned merchandise. I am sure I sound impatient and rude when I ask to put someone on hold while they are in the middle of a long winded explanation about how they bought something but forgot to get the gift receipts and could they now get the gift receipts? Yikes!

I am stitching a little and still so excited and inspired about it. This is my recent finish which I was furiously working on at Camp Gottastitch. Ran out of 3 colors of thread and had to wait for 1 color that I had forgotten to buy in Berlin at the little cross stitch shop there. Hoping I can get this "finished finished" and sent to my mother for Christmas.

Birds of a Feather Bitter Flower
32 count BOAF barn owl linen

Speaking of my mother, she sent me a touching birthday gift last month. This is a letter sent to her by her mother after I was born. I was so touched by receiving this letter. I had no idea mom had saved all of her letters. My father dragged my mom around from state to state when I was young. I was born in Texas and my grandparents lived in Minnesota where my parents were born and raised. I wish we had stayed in Minnesota or in Iowa, which I really liked. There really is something to be said for having roots and family nearby.

Last but not least by any means, here is a snap of this cute Prairie Schooler ornie that was given to me by Lake Stitcher Lee. Thank you ever so much Lee! You are the best!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lee summed up camp pretty well, but I have a few things to add.

1. Do not forget camera.
2. Do not pack every single blessed piece of stitching, fabric and floss.
3. Do not eat for a week before going.
4. Do not worry about what you will stitch when there because they will give you plenty of kits to stitch.
5. Do not worry about not fitting in, because it is so easy to fit in.
6. Do not get all squinty eyed when being photographed because it looks silly.
7. Do not worry about passing Amish buggies on the road. Just take your time and pass with care.
8. DO NOT FORGET CAMERA (did I say that already?)
9. Do not worry about where you will sleep because you will have your own double bed and it is better than a hotel.
10. Let me see, can I think of anything else to not worry about or to not forget? Don't think so!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's time to stitch!

Camp Gottastitch tomorrow! Yippee! I so need this after a busy week at work and a long day at the election polls. No time for chatting! Gotta pack for 3 days of blissful stitching. Sigh...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Trees trees and more trees

I promise I won't gripe and complain this time! I actually have begun to like yoga a little. I just need to get more bendy. I was thinking Pilates would take care of the jiggly belly but it's going to take a heck of a lot of Pilates to do that! I was just kind of annoyed that they changed the class format without telling us.

We had some of our trees trimmed this week to hopefully fend off any major disasters this winter. We have had our fair share of close calls this year. For a few hours of work it cost $1075! And that was a low estimate! Here's the truck with the cherry picker right outside our sunroom.

This is one of the most beautiful trees on our property soon to be in its full fall glory. It's a ginkgo and beautiful as it is, it does shed some pretty stinky fruit now and again.

Stitching progress has been slow. I do wish I could stitch in the car because we have spent many hours on the road checking out colleges for DD. It was worth it though because it has opened her eyes to the endless possibilities and at the same time has helped her narrow down her choices.

Friday, October 9, 2009


A few weeks ago I signed up for a Pilates class at the place where I exercise. Somewhere along the way it got changed to something called Pilates "Fusion". Pilates on Tuesdays, yoga on Thursdays. I did not want yoga...I signed up for Pilates. Now there is a very tender spot in my back from all the weird twists and turns from the yoga class. You want me to do what???

The instructor was telling us what to do as we did it, without the benefit of watching her first. Do you know how hard it is to watch someone while trying to maintain the downward facing dog pose? When it came to the yoga style push up I pretty much said no, I can't do it. I eventually tried and did manage to get a little way down. I don't know if I'm going back because I can't afford to hurt my back right now. I think I will take a Pilates class somewhere else.

I've been trying to keep consistent with my stitching, but there were a few days this week that I didn't pick up a needle. That's OK, I'm making progress on Bitter Flower and looking forward to the next project and maybe an ornie or two.

I gave up one of my responsibilities at work this week. I made a mistake (not a big one in my eyes but it made a few people unhappy) and the criticism that followed put me in a funk. I don't like to be a quitter, but my goal right now in life is to focus on family and home and finding peace in life...I don't need the stress. Retail is very stressful right now. They have us doing multiple tasks at one time and at the same time maintaining that ever cheerful and helpful demeanor. I can do that most of the time but when I have to work 6-7 hours without getting a break, that kind of puts me over the edge.

I have always felt very insecure in my working life. Even being well educated doesn't always prepare one for the real world environment. I never have felt worthy enough to go back to a job in science and therefore have taken the jobs that are the easiest to come by. Low pay and not much satisfaction.

Thank God for my dear husband, who has stood by me through all my ups and downs and has been in the same job for 30 years. I know he itches to retire but is sticking with it until our kids are out of college (unless we win the lottery!). He never complains, even when it's 90 degrees outside and he is working 7 days a week. A good man.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Will we ever see the sun again???

It's been nothing but rainy and or cloudy for days here. I love fall but please, this is a bit too much. Tomorrow there may be sunshine, but then the forecast is rain or cloudy. We need to get the outside painting done!

Painting aside, the weather is great for getting cozy with the cats and stitching, but not for picture taking. I've been working on BOAF Bitter Flower. The WDW overdyed flosses have been a pain this go round, especially the brown and green. They don't even have any variation in the color. I could have used DMC. Now I see that I'm running out of floss and need to find somewhere to pick it up. There is a sale at a store in Canton but I don't see how I'll have the time to get over there.

Speaking of sales, and as you know, I love a good sale, but when I began to price things at Traditional Stitches, I found that I wouldn't really be saving much, if any. I really had the itch to buy stuff! Since I work in retail, one thing I know for sure is that the lowest prices of the season are not necessarily the lowest prices of the season (LPS) and that there is always another sale right around the corner. I have plenty of stash to choose from anyway. There are a few things from market that have caught my eye, but there are tons of older charts that I want to stitch also.

I realized this morning that there is a needlework showcase in Akron this weekend, combined with a craft show. I was quite impressed by the needlework the last time I attended this show. It's held at Stan Hywet Hall, a lovely house on beautiful grounds. We are supposed to go on a college visit this weekend, but we have been considering not going, so I may have a free day.

Are there any stitchers in the Akron area going to this show on Saturday? Drop me a line!

College visits: DD is a senior and we put off the college visits until this fall. Now we are tightly scheduled with visits. It's fun, but stressful planning it all. DD is interested in nutrition, food science and dietetics. If there are any readers out there involved in these fields, any feedback on careers, education, etc. would be helpful.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stash enhancement possibilities, pumpkins and bridges

I just love a good sale. See what's happening at Traditional Stitches. Can I resist? I have through Thursday to find out!

Fair week is over. DH and I only went for a couple of hours one lovely evening. Just enough time to check out the needlework, vegies and artwork. Dinner was french fries with lots of vinegar and salt. I resisted everything else, but I really really wanted some cotton candy!

DD had some of her drawings from last year exhibited. Her Brooklyn Bridge drawing is right under the word Wooster. Her art teacher selected it for a year long exhibition at the Board of Education building which was so very nice of her.

That's a big pumpkin Charlie Brown!

The family that grew this pumpkin is well known in this area for their prize winning pumpkins. This is small in comparison to others they have grown.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nobody loves me...

Finished this cute stitch the other day. You know how when you are nearing the end of a project and you suddenly find a stitch that you missed here...or there...or you find some other kind of mistake? I know that there are a few little boo-boos but I'm not going back to change them. I am just fine with them.

This was part of Annemarie's "Lovelorn Sisterhood" and I have sent the chart on to Jan in Maryland. Have fun Jan! I'm not crazy about exchanges or round robins, but I think I could get hooked on these traveling charts.

A week and half ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Lakestitcher Lee. She and her DH were in town to see their daughter who is attending college in our town. Hi Lee! Hope we get to meet up again soon, maybe before we go to Camp Gottastitch in Charm Ohio. I won't mind if the weather is bad, but it will only be early November, so maybe we'll have a nice fall weekend. I was thinking that a beachy stitch weekend (or more) would be nice someday.

Someday I want to fulfill my dream of a real beach vacation, warm and sandy and relaxing with lots of good restaurants and coffee shops nearby. This has never come to pass in our family. We have always ended up in Maine at my husband Mark's family place on a lake. Not that I don't like it or appreciate it, I'm just needing something else. Like sun. I wish I had a digital photo to share. The camp is totally surrounded by trees and it would be sacrilege to cut some down. We get a few hours of good sun in the morning and by 1 or 2:00 we are pretty much without direct sun. Brrr...

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Too much milk

This is so sad. A large dairy farm in our county is shutting down production by killing their cows. Our country is over importing milk apparently. What a rough business to be in.

Framing frustrations

Do you know that when you hit enter in blogger, let's say after entering the post title, your post is published? I think I just did that.

I made it a goal of mine last year when I began to stitch again after a long hiatus, that I would actually "finish finish" my stitching. I think that was one reason I quit stitching. Because nothing ever made it to walls or the tree or where ever. I have been successful in getting a few ornaments sewn up and stuffed and I am quite happy with those, even though my progress has been limited and very slow. I finally decided that I would try to frame a few pieces and scrounged around for some pre-made frames. A few of those might work. I ordered 2 frames from, refreshed my memory on framing needlework and set out to buy acid free foam core board. Can I find a single sheet of it in our town? Of course not. I think I will have to call a local framer and beg for one.

I had gone to Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago planning to order frames. The guy gave me a song and dance about how you couldn't order just the frame, they want to do the entire thing and said something about adhesive and other scary things. I walked away. I think I will try Michael's at some later point if I can find the time to drive out of town. I may have to go there anyway to get the foam board.

Anyone have any thoughts on the use of regular old foam board? Am I committing a sin if I use it?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Family and more family

We've just heard recently that my mother in law is in the beginning stages of renal failure. She apparently is dehydrated but has little interest in drinking more water. MIL is 90 years old. My poor husband has been working 7 days a week for the past few weeks and won't catch a break for another 2 weeks or so, but he is hoping to get back home (it's 750 miles away) asap. He is so lucky that his brother is nearby to keep the ball rolling on doctor appointments and everything else. MIL still has her house but has lived in a senior residential home for years.

It could prove to be a rough fall. Our calendar is packed with college visits for DD and crazy work and school schedules. DD is planning to work every day after school at the after school program at our ice arena. This will be her 3rd year doing this. I just hope she doesn't get burned out with her studies and pressure to get into college. I will be watching her back every second. Our son will be entering his 3rd year of college and will be concentrating on art. I desperately hope (does that make sense?) that he has a good year.

I was quite concerned about my own mom after seeing her last month. I don't get out to NJ very often anymore for various reasons, so when I do see her, I always see a big change. She is tiny and frail and barely eats. It's almost as if she is not eating on purpose. Someone talked her into getting very expensive dental implants and it just hasn't worked out for her. Therefore, no teeth. She barely goes out anymore but reads, reads and reads some more! No one seems to go to the library for her...I just can't figure that out. My sister is not a reader and I don't think she has a clue as to what to choose. I am hoping that mom will use the book delivery service the library has. She just needs to follow up on it and not just talk about it.

Thanks for listening everyone. I just felt like writing a bit today about what is going on in our family.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why no websites?

Ever since the start of internet bulletin boards and newsgroups, I've thought that the internet and needlework were a perfect combination. What frustrates the heck out of me is the lack of internet presence by some needlework shops. There are 4 shops within a 45 minute radius from my house, and 2 of them have no website or blog and 1 of them has some decent information (but no email newsletter) and has a "blog" that has no feed so you can't subscribe. The other one doesn't even list the hours. It's like they started to design a website and then gave up.

5 years ago I was seriously thinking of opening a LNS in our town. 2 yarn shops, lots of quilting fabric places, but no needlework. When I found out how much it was going to cost me to open and maintain, I was scared away. The internet was going to be an important tool in this business, with access to Hoffman Distributing and other distributors readily available to customers. My idea was that even if I wouldn't be able to carry each and every fiber, fabric and chart, it would be easy to locate and order, at least the majority of merchandise.

If there are any shop owners out there that might happen upon this post, could you clue me in as to why you wouldn't want to have a website and newsletter? I just can't figure it out...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Just a test

I noticed that the fonts were all different sizes on my blog after my last post. I have deleted my old template for the time being. Just wanted to see how this font shows up. Don't know what I did! I know most people read blogs in their reader, but it is still fun to see how creative people can be with their blog layouts. Also, a link doesn't work though I'm sure I did it right! Frustration.
Man, my life is just one thrilling moment after another. I decide, if Lee can post to her blog today with her busy week, I should be able to also.

So...I take some photos of my latest stitching. They all upload to Photoshop yellow as the dickens. Reinstall camera software, look for drivers, still yellow. Somehow the yellow goes away but something is still wrong with the uploading from the camera or card. Then I go outside to take some garden photos, get a little depressed and anxious. Should be weeding and moving plants around but it really is too hot and muggy.

Look at paint color again on the trim we are painting. Yesterday I had decided color was OK, now having doubts again. Too gray maybe (supposed to be taupe). We already bought 3 gallons at $35/gallon so need to be sure. DH doesn't like it, he says it is gray but it matches the newer screen door and the new Anderson windows in the bathrooms.

Then try to upload to Blogger and it takes a frickin' 10 minutes to upload so I put a load of towels in to wash after shaking out a few poor spiders that decided to take up residence there. I don't like to kill spiders. I rescue spiders and bugs and release them to the outside. All those years of working with bugs has made me unafraid of them for the most part.

So, now that you know my life truly
is boring, let me show you what I've been working on these days.

The colors are kind of wonky but charming and I wonder why it says "I'm going down the garden" instead of "going down to the garden." I would like to finish this up this week so I can mail the chart off to the next stitcher in the Lovelorn Sisterhood.

A few garden pics:

This is a 60' long perennial bed that I am going to reduce in size so we can expand the vegetable garden. I have really neglected it in the past few years and it is sorely in need of some TLC. Not much is blooming as you can see. We're going to put out what we want to save and start fresh. It's too hot to transplant now, so this will have to wait until early fall. The bed only looks curved because of the photo, it is about 8 feet wide and straight.

This is what asparagus looks like long after harvest. We have several rows which gives us plenty of good eating in the spring. The stuff in front is lettuce that has bolted.

Messy messy garden. Lots of tomatoes, zucchini and green beans (and weeds). The decrepit looking fence at the back really belongs to our neighbor though DH has replaced most of it once already.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Some "old" needlework and "baby" corn

I rescued these pillows from my mother's attic while we were there on a visit last week. I must have done these in the early 70's, when I worked at the LNS. Crewel embroidery and needlepoint were the hot items then. I didn't do too much of either and I don't remember that we sold any cross stitch at all! We may have had some stamped linens. I knitted a lot in the old days as well as crocheted a little.

I've been meaning to post some pictures of our garden (really DH's garden) but I haven't snapped any yet but I did want to show some of the summer delights that we are treated to every year. DH is a corn breeder and they always plant some plots of sweet corn for everyone to share. We had this cute baby corn the other night in some stir fry.
I am so spoiled! I love my corn very young and tender, no starchy big kernels for me! We'll start having corn almost every night very soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Whew...July is almost over!

My stitching time has suffered terribly lately! Stitching on our trip out East was too difficult...poor lighting, no magnifier, too many relatives. What I had intended to work on was this:

I'm third in line for this humorous piece for a sisterhood that Annemarie organized. It feels so right. I'm working it on Belfast clay linen, a very appropriately named linen for this I thought. Once I get a few more stitches in it I'll post a photo. It was passed on to me by Kathy, who included a lovely piece of pale pink Silkweaver fabric and a skein of WDW Bubble Gum.

What did we do and see out East? Here are a few photos to share with you!

The MET...Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love that the hot dog stand got captured in the corner. With a sandwich going for $11.50 at the cafeteria, those hot dogs were pretty appealing. I did fork over $3.50 for the tiniest espresso I have ever seen. I really needed the boost.

This was a sculpture on the rooftop of the museum. Pretty neat. Note the cloudy skies.

As forecast in the previous photo, it did begin to rain. We should have done the MET last and wandered first! My poor planning. DD took shelter under her umbrella in Bryant Park, behind the NY public library. We were hoping to go inside, but it had already closed. We didn't want to see the books, we just wanted to see where Carrie Bradshaw was supposed to get married.

Bright lights, big city. Time Square in all it's neon glory, though it's not neon anymore but huge electronic billboards. Charlie Gibson is broadcasting the news in the middle. There are 2 blocks closed off where one can stroll or sit in lawn chairs (yes, lawn chairs).

This picture has nothing to do with us, but I was intrigued. This couple was getting photographed by 2 photographers at Grand Central Station. We were pretty sure it just a regular couple, not models. The wedding party was also there. I love the old train station.

Finally, a snap of DH getting his feet wet at Island Beach State Park in New Jersey. The lifeguards had a fit when he went out too far.

The rest of our time was spent with 4 of my sibs and my mother. Our trips out there are pretty short. It's just hard on me to be in NJ for very long. Not what I call vacation really and I'm always glad to get back home. I am always amazed by the cost of living out there and grateful for how easy it is in our little town in Ohio.

Thanks for stopping by and if you read all of this you are a very patient person.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A tribute

Towards the end of the memorial service for Michael Jackson today, my husband and I left for a much smaller but just as meaningful memorial service for an acquaintance of ours who recently passed away from a sudden heart attack. It was held at the local YMCA where he had worked for 35 years. Jim was only 59. He died waiting in line for a Judy Collins concert which was a surprise gift to him from friends. The parking lot was full, cars were lining the curbs on bordering streets and we could tell that there was a large crowd. The Y had even closed early for this service. I'm not sure how many people were there, but there had to be at least 200 and there weren't enough chairs to seat everybody.

Jim was a very unique person and well known by many in our small town. The microphone was passed around to those who wanted to say something about Jim and we heard stories that had us laughing, crying, reflecting and for myself, wishing that I had seen Jim more. My husband and I hadn't seen Jim for awhile, in part because he wasn't walking around town as much and we didn't work out at the Y where most people saw him on a day to day basis. I know my husband had wanted to share hip replacement stories, since Jim had had both hips replaced which made him give up running, something he loved.

I barely knew Jim really, but one didn't have to know him for a long time to sense what a special person he was. He had no money, but there was an article about him in the newspaper. He didn't hold public office or own a large business, but there were people from many walks of life at his service today. He was kind of homely and very tall, a gentle giant many said today. Jim always had a wide smile, a caring word, but not the fake kind of knew that he genuinely wanted to talk to you and to get to know you. He had a fabulous sense of humor. He loved loved loved baseball and was a huge Indians fan and even had a room devoted to all things baseball.

Jim lived a simple life. I learned today that at one time he had given away most of his possessions. He gave often and readily, never expecting anything in return. He was the most popular house and pet sitter in town, which I'm sure he did for extra income but also because he loved animals. I had to laugh at a comment made by his roommate...Jim was a vegetarian who didn't eat vegetables unless they were cut up into tiny pieces on his favorite pizza!

Funerals and memorial services are always a time for reflection. I leave with a feeling that I will change my life, be a better person, figure out what is really important. Today I left with the feeling that it won't be hard to be a better person. What maybe doesn't come all to naturally to me could really be so easy. Reach out to someone every day, speak a kind word, be sincere, give just a little of one's self in some little way. I know for myself that sometimes this is harder with those closest to me and with my family. I just need to remember Jim Boyd, picture his funny smile, hear his voice, and maybe I can remember how to be a better person.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

She's a goner

The sweet gum tree was taken down this morning and now the logs are waiting to be hauled off by a friend of ours. We'll have the stump ground out soon. It's amazing how much light there is in that area now. The tree man said that now our neighbor's trees will take the brunt of the wind so I'm hoping they don't have problems.

The area under the other tree in the photo has always been heavily shaded and it gets very weedy. I have tried to establish shade loving plants there. You can't see in this photo that there are ferns, Solomon's Seal, Lily of the Valley, Epimedium, bleeding heart and some other plantings. I'll continue to plant shade lovers there.

In front of where the tree was is a patch of grass that was supposed to be another part of the herb garden. I'll post pics as we progress with this. Right now everything looks to shabby to show!

I cleaned out the hard drive on our computer yesterday! I've been putting it off for ages! It took a long time to back up files and reinstall Windows, but it was very easy and went off without a hitch. Gone are all the kids games, ancient files, garbage from the internet, etc. I could barely use Photoshop without it crashing since the drive was so clogged up with debris.

A clean drive is a happy drive...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Karma or just good luck?

This is so weird. I mentioned our sweet gum tree in my last post. Last fall it lost a good chunk during a very bad windstorm we had here in Ohio. DH wasn't sure he wanted to take it down. I've wanted to take it down ever since we've lived here. It's just in a bad spot and those little prickly balls are all over the place!

I was at work last Thursday night and someone mentioned that it looked like a hurricane out there. Thanks Amy for saying that, because it prompted me to call DH and ask him to please park the new used Subaru in the garage. Naw, the wind isn't blowing hard DH said. He's always in denial about storms...grew up in New Hampshire and thinks everyone is just a baby about the weather.

A short time later I get a phone call at work. You won't believe this! The tree fell! OMG, where was the car I ask? I put it in the garage. Who was smiling down on us that day?

We had just had an estimate to take the tree down and were in the process of getting more when this happened. Needless to say, this will happen very soon! There is one large branch hanging over a very beautiful purple beech tree and I don't want any harm to come to that tree.

It was quite a week for emptying our wallets. Our 4 year old Fisher Paykel washing machine went a little nuts and started to behave $240 later. We bought another car (son's money, but insurance to be paid by us). Then the tree. Keeping the fingers crossed for more good karma!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

An ending and a beginning

Prairie Schooler "Spring Has Come"
32 count Wichelt lambswool
DMC threads

I finally sat down to put the last "few" stitches in Spring Has Come. It seemed everytime I thought I had stitched the last stitch I noticed another one that I had missed. It's those dreaded single stitches that get to me so it takes a little discipline to get them in.

But it's done and now I have to figure out how I want to display it. I have the rest of the season charts, but don't think I'll get to another one anytime soon.

I started BOAF Bitter Flower which I want to give to my mother. I haven't given her any needlework since I did a bargello pillow in the 70's. I hope she still has that pillow up in the attic somewhere. Think I will rescue it on my next visit.

Birds of a Feather "Bitter Flower"
32 count BOAF Barn Owl
WDW threads

Sorry about the yellow cast to my photos. It is bright and sunny outside, but I took these inside on our sun porch, which is not really a sun porch because of all of the trees surrounding our house. DH wants to remove a few trees ($$$) but the tree guy that came over the other day said that would be a mistake. There is one broken sweet gum that really needs to go and a lot of deadwood to be taken out of the elms and maples.

I have gotten back into gardening after neglecting our yard for the past couple of years. I just feel so totally overwhelmed by our yard sometimes and there are so many projects to be done that are costly. I realized yesterday as I pulled weeds that I have probably lost a fair number of perennials because they were crowded out by the asters and black eyed Susan's. I am trying to revive the herb garden as well and when the sweet gum goes, I'll be able to expand it.

We also need to paint and repair trim on this old house, so we are never lacking for things to do! I know I am lucky to live where I live, on such a nice large lot with a lovely brick home, but it really gets to me sometimes that we are always so behind. At least that's how it feels to me. I need a million bucks so someone else can do the work! We tried renovating our kitchen and ran into a number of problems, now it is half finished and I'm ready to call in the troops. Yikes! If it's not one thing, it's another...

Monday, June 15, 2009

How are you?

Tense me

Not much stitching going on these days but I sure do think about it a lot! My to do list(s) just keep getting longer and I'm just not crossing stuff off fast enough. The stitching is always on the list, but it just ain't happening!

I just have to talk about something that we got into at work today. When someone asks you how you are, is it OK to just say "fine" or "good" or must we always answer with "GREAT!" or "TERRIFIC!" even though we really feel just OK? If something is bothering us, and it is because a parent is sick or has passed away, or another loved one is having problems, or we are sick ourselves or having money problems, should we always put on the game face and say that we are terrific?

One of my co-workers, who I really like, is on a mission to change me and my attitude, and I think my attitude is really just fine, thank-you. I know he was just kidding about this (I think) but it kind of got to me. I don't go around saying how depressed I am or how sick or tired I feel so I'm not sure where this is coming from. Maybe it's just my crabby looking face! I'll go on the defensive if he keeps bugging me about this. Or maybe I'll just tell him what he wants to hear...

Loving, sweet me

Though I haven't been stitching myself, I have enjoyed seeing everyone's beautiful works. I will get back into it shortly. I've been shopping for a car for DS, college shopping for DD, gardening, had a yard sale, and now we need to start painting the trim on our house as well as find someone to take down some trees and maybe put in a patio (I hope, I hope!).

Thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think about the "how are you" thing.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A donation and some mojo

I sold one of these bobble heads at our yard sale the other day for $2 and I found a guy selling them on his website for $64.95! Wish I had kept that little guy.

I did something today I have always been nervous about doing and it was a piece of cake. I gave blood! DD wanted to donate so I tagged along. If she can do it so can I! Her donation didn't go so well though. Her blood must have clotted and little and it stopped flowing, causing some discomfort. Her lips turned a lovely shade of white. Poor baby. They removed the needle, gave her some juice and all was well. I hope this doesn't stop her from donating. I was so proud of her for giving. Her first donation went well, so hopefully this was just a bad stick.

I'll keep giving now as long as they keep accepting my blood. DH started to do apheresis donations (platelets) when his brother had leukemia and was faithful about making donations long after his brother passed away. Unfortunately his blood tested positive for some factor and they wouldn't take his blood any longer. The tests may have been giving false positives, but they take no chances.

I'm getting my stitching mojo back and should have a finish tonight or tomorrow. I have been feeling so dispirited about life in general, but I'm coming out of it. Bad news had been bringing me down. It is always one thing after another as you all know! Where's the bus stop on the road of life where you can just get off and rest for awhile???

Monday, May 18, 2009

Prom and life's ups and downs

A proud mom always has to show off pictures of her children and this weekend I was very proud of Claire, my 17 year old daughter. She went to her first prom with boyfriend (of 1 year!) on Saturday. They went out of town with 3 other couples for dinner, back to town for the "grand march", the prom and then the after prom party. They arrived home around 3 am. I was only worried about the drive out of town, but all went well. It was a little windy out and DD's hair became a little wind blown, but she was lovely none the less. Most of the girls had their hair up, but she decided to keep it down and lightly curled. Her dress was actually purple but showed up blue in all of our photos!

This picture is "so Wayne County". Various vehicles dropped the kids off in front of the auditorium where the prom was held. There was even valet parking for them. Some kids came by fire truck, some by convertible, but I didn't see any limos this year (and no Amish buggies!).

Aside from this fine weekend, I have been distracted and disturbed by some family issues. It has me reevaluating my life and my choices, the good and the bad. It is so hard being a parent and I wonder if I ever should have taken this on. I find myself wondering what the heck life is about and how to make it meaningful. Anyone out there have the answer? Please pass it on...

Hopefully stitchy pics will follow soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Learning about cystic fibrosis

Nothing stitching related tonight. After finishing the little Blackbird Designs sampler, I needed to take a little break from stitching and get some stuff done around the house.

I just wanted to post a link here to a website about the disease cystic fibrosis and the son of one of my co-workers. I have been trying to help out when I can with a little fund raising through our company.

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

A Cure 4 Lil' Chris

Lil' Chris was diagnosed very early, making it possible for his mom and dad to do as much as possible to keep him healthy. In Ohio, genetic testing for this disease is offered to the parents and Michele and Chris (the dad) knew they were carriers, so they were able to determine that their son had CF very soon after his birth. Their 3 month old daughter does not have CF.

Michele's blog is a wealth of information about the day to day stuff that goes on in family that has a CF child. I can only imagine what it is like to have a child that has any congenital disease or developmental problems.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Blackbird sampler

stitched 1 over 1 on Belfast platinum linen
Thread Gatherer silk, color In the Burgundy

Last Friday, I got the urge to stitch up the little Blackbird Designs sampler. Instead of working in the yard like I was supposed to this past weekend, I used most of my free time bent over my stitching.

And I was also in the mood for a little 1 over 1. I made a few mistakes along the way, but left them. I think that was the original character of this pattern anyway. Claire is my soon to be 18 year old daughter. The bird is kind of wonky, but I didn't plan this chart very well and was left with little room to work with.

This tiny piece is only 2 x 3 1/2" and I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet. I was determined to get this stitched by the April 27th deadline, so at 11:30pm I had put the last stitch in and emailed my photo off to Blackbird shortly before midnight. That meant only getting about 4 1/2 hours of sleep last night, so I know for sure that I am certifiable.

Having a deadline for stitching is exactly why I don't do exchanges. I know myself well enough that it would only cause stress and I would be burning the midnight oil to get things ready to send. I also haven't done well getting gifts stitched on time. Shoot, my SIL was divorced by the time I finished her wedding gift!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The attic beckoned

A lovely 60 degrees here today and where was I? In the attic! My friend and I are having a garage sale in a month and I wanted to work up there before it starts to get too hot to be up there. Bit by bit I am able to weed out stuff. Sometimes it takes years to decide to get rid of something.

I wish it was totally clean up there but I just can't bear to get rid of the Legos, K'nex, American Girl and Barbie dolls (and all the associated paraphernalia). If I have any advice for new parents, it is to not buy so much stuff!

We also have a lot of old stuff from my husband's parent's home. Lots of old Tonka trucks that are too precious to even think about selling. Every time DH comes back from out east, he has old army stuff, snowshoes and backpacks. I can only imagine how hard it is for his aunt who is trying to move and for his brother, who had to clear out the attic and basement of his mother's home. They never threw away anything!

DH doesn't like to throw stuff out either...I don't like clutter and I certainly don't want anyone else to have to deal with my detritus after I am gone.

No stitchy pictures today, but I am making good progress on Spring Has Come and will spend a couple of hours tonight working on it. I've been thinking about the BBD contest and may stitch that up next if I think I can get it done in time.

I'm off to another great place to be on a perfect day. The gym (yuck).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring is here

I had the day off today and started the day my favorite way. Lots of coffee and some free stitching time! The problem is tearing myself away to get some chores done.

I was a good girl and did make some phone calls I had been putting off...calling the gas company, playing with numbers to see if we should refinance our home, calling a landscape company about some much needed work, financial aid stuff for college. I made no progress on any of this, but at least I got some information.

Prairie Schooler "Spring Has Come"

As you can see, I hop around a lot when I'm stitching. I hope I can get this done within a week because I need to make my April ornie and I want to get started on a gift for my mom. I've had a few problems with the frogs and I just noticed that the larger bird is off by one stitch and that his beak will hit the border if I don't redo him. Drat and double drat! I always tell myself that I will count twice and stitch once, but it never fails that I will add or miss a stitch and set the whole thing off.

I know you all can relate to this!

Friday, April 10, 2009

a LNS visit

It's a very gray and rainy day here in OH. I don't feel inspired to do much of anything except to stitch but I will get going on some housework and other need to be done things.

I was very happy to visit a needlework shop yesterday. It's been years since I actually set foot in a bricks and mortar store and as soon as I stepped inside, it felt like home. The shop is Blueberry Hill Stitchery in Akron, OH. DD and I had gone out of town to drop off her prom dress to be altered at the place of purchase and this shop was nearby. She was pretty patient with me while I went through all the charts and admired the needlework. They had a lovely exhibit of Primitive Traditions needlework including these items. I was in awe.

Fortunately I didn't have time to buy much (thank you DD!) but I have plenty of stash to suit me right now. I did pick up some nice remnants of linen and 1 little BBD chart and a Quaker Medallion chart by Carriage House Samplings.

I hope I'll be able to visit this nice shop on a regular basis. It was a real treat.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

another ornament finish

I've been MIA from this blog lately, but I've been blogging in my mind. I was trying to get some stitching done so I would have something to show, and I finally have something!

Thanks so much for putting up with my rant in my last post. I really really appreciate all of your kind comments. I was wishing I had stuck with my old career job mainly because of money, but in truth, that job was often not satisfying and there was a lot of pressure. When I wanted to go part time, my boss still wanted me to do all the work I had been doing full time! I have never had a lot of confidence when it comes to working and often settle for the easy way out. At the tender age of 56, I don't see that changing :)

Here's my new ornament finish! I tell ya, this thing gave me fits! It called for using Wisper for the white cuff on the hat, but I could not and would not use this stuff. The thread kept breaking or knotting and I couldn't see where I was stitching. Then I decided to make a pillow ornament out of it, but mind me, working with the the lugana was a pain. By the time I was done sewing it up, the fabric was so unraveled that it unraveled me! So I sewed the little bands of the backing fabric around the edges. I really like the metallic lugana for ornaments, but I'll have to think of a better way to finish it next time.

A Merry Kitty Klaus by Val's Stuff
2007 JCS ornament issue
20 ct. metallic lugana
Crescent Colors floss

I used the Crescent Colors because I had never used it before and wanted to try it. The colors are nice and vibrant, but really not necessary for this little piece. DMC would have been just as good.

Congratulations to Lee's daughter who just decided to attend the College of Wooster, here in the town where I live. It is so exciting (and a tad bit scary) to see one's child get ready to go off to college. There's just a feeling of promise in the air and a hope for a good future for them. I was reading Lee's blog and saw that COW was one of the schools they were looking at and we chatted about the town and the school. Now we have a chance to meet IRL!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Pity party for one

Wish I could quite working! As you may have surmised, I work customer service at a large retail chain. It was all kind of by accident, I needed a job, they were hiring, I applied, and about 3 1/2 years later, I'm still at it.

Today I had a run in with a credit services manager over the phone and he called our store manager about it. The credit guy was rude and wouldn't talk to the customer I was trying to assist. I was stunned. So I was rude right back. Therefore the call to my manager. Then my manager called me into his office so I could explain myself. Fortunately he believed me my explanation. I know I should have handled it differently, but many times we do things without thinking them through, and I was just trying to make the customer happy.

I don't think I will call credit services again unless absolutely forced to. I will make the customer call so he/she can wait forever to speak to a real person.

So it's not rocket science or brain surgery and who really cares? No one really, I just hate feeling like I made a mistake and hate feeling like crap for the rest of the day and for however long it takes for me to forget about it.

Sometimes I so regret leaving my career job. Why the heck did I bother to get that MS degree anyway? By now I could be almost ready to retire with a good pension and solid pay, but instead, working 6-7 days in a row for measly pay and tedious, unrewarding work.

It was becoming a mom that changed things for me, so I always need to remember that is why I made the choices I did.

And...I give great customer service!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

DH has a birthday and I make a mistake

Here's my progress on PS Spring Has Come. I had wanted to get this finished by the end of March, but I don't think that is going to happen! Not with my slow stitching it won't!

Don't know if I'll get back to it today. DH IS 57 YEARS OLD TODAY!!! Of course he is in complete denial about his age and and will be skiing and biking until the bitter end, that is, if the new hip holds up! I can hardly believe that we're both so old!

Somedays I don't get to spend too much time stitching. If I set aside time in the evening, I can be just too darned tired to get going. Mornings are my best stitching time for sure and I usually work mornings.

I started a little simple stitch ornament (Bluebird of Christmas Happiness) for my March ornie, but I have had to set it aside before I decide to throw it in the trash. I am using a piece of Silkweaver linen and blue DMC that I chose. I had a bunch of blue flosses in a pile and somehow got mixed up with which one I had started to use. So I picked the likeliest suspect and continued stitching. See how I stitched 1/2 of the bird on the right and then began working the other side? I didn't notice right away that there was a difference in the color. It may not be very noticeable but IRL it is quite easily noticed. I think I started the other side with the wrong color (grrr...).

My stitches seem to be coming out really dense on this fabric. I've never used this there a slight difference in the thread count after dyeing?

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 23, 2009


No new pictures of stitching, though I am working on Spring Has Come and my next ornament. There's no doubt about it...I AM A SLOW STITCHER!

I just was thinking about what a good week we are having at work (major retailer where you can expect great things). We have volunteer opportunities throughout the year, but for some reason have several in the space of 1 week and some larger events happening soon. If we have 5 volunteers work for 3 hours each, the retailer will donate $500 to the cause, provided they are approved by the corporate office.

Our events this week and in the near future:
  • MDA lockup
  • local elementary school after school nutrition program
  • Helping our local parks department with their Easter egg hunt (we painted an outdoor kiddie city for them last year
  • Relay for Life team
  • Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk
  • Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides walk
We are able to wear jeans to work by donating $3 each time and our money goes towards the cancer events. Everyone wants to wear jeans and it is such an easy way to donate money. It kind of unites us as a team to know we are helping others.

Thanks for visiting and have a fine day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

2 posts in 1 night!

Since I am in a posting mood, I decided to upload pics of 2 ornaments that I actually sewed up into something that I can display. I never have been good about the finishing part, so I must say that I am proud!

Yule Rejoice by Primrose Needleworks
2008 JCS ornament issue
32 ct. platinum Belfast linen
Gentle Arts and DMC
background fabric used for reverse side of ornament

Woodland Snowfall, Little House Needleworks
2004 JCS ornament issue
30 count unknown linen and DMC
background fabric used for reverse side of ornament

I'm making slow progress on PS Spring Has Come. Won't bore you with details on that but I will say that I'm enjoying it very much.

Good night all!