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.