Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Getting Back in the Groove and Giving Thanks

I have to remind myself now & then just how very fortunate I really am. We just had a lovely Thanksgiving, and though all of us have things to be sad about, we all have so much more to be glad about. Without my family and friends, I am nothing. Here are some examples of two of my friends who sent me birthday gifts, and I've never met either one. It's not that I treasure the things so much as the gesture, though I really do love the things too. The top and middle picture is of the package Dianne Collins sent me for my birthday. I don't even know how she found some of the kitty things. Look at the 3 brass kitty plaques on the 3 frames for my 3 kitties. There's an organizer for the most disorganized gal in stitching circles. Look at the larger picture of the outrageous "witchy" cat I LMAO at! The Liz Claiborne pin has the citrine stones on the bee and is the moss green of the bulk of my clothing. She made the mushroom-shaped pin cushion I had admired on her own blog. The "flaky" snowman is a Boyds, which I collect. You can see it all for yourself---chock full of goodies for a crazy cat lady---even the Charles Wysocki card. Words cannot describe how humbled I was by the care with which these things were chosen for me.

Then, there is a lady I love whose name is Ruth Carlos. I've known her as long as I've known Dianne. I would love to meet her, especially since 1.) she's older than I, and 2.) she lives in Australia. Ruth is a kindred spirit. She's a generous spirit with a twinkle in her eye and an Erma Bombeck-type sense of humor. Right up my alley!

Long ago, she found out that I love Karen Couchman's designs. She's a native Australian, and I've always been in love with her critter designs. I told Ruth which designs I had, and she was supposed to let me know something from the USA not readily available to her. I never heard another word till just before my birthday, here comes these two lovely charts autographed by Karen herself. I wrote to Ruth to thank her and ask her what I can send to her. No response. All three of us---Dianne, Ruth, and I, have November birthdays, and now that I'm shaking off my pity party, I'm going shopping for these two lovely gals. November is pretty much over, but no matter. The holidays are upon us and 'tis the season for giving. My ideas are starting to come for Dianne. What about Ruth? Any other ladies from "down under" who can give me ideas as to what is difficult to come by in your corner of the world? And what a wonderful world it is when you have friends!

Updating in the next few days

Life has not been very kind to my family of late. I've had a mother-in-law put into a nursing home on my birthday, and at the same time I heard that I had an aunt dying of cancer she beat 11-1/2 years ago, my mother and her siblings left for CA to be with their dying brother whose terminal cancer turns out to be a result of an autoimmune familial illness that begins with Celiac Disease, which is a nutritional and autoimmune response to the ingestion of gluten, which is present in most foods and some medications. It can cause tumors which lead to the type cancer my uncle died from while my mother was there.

It turns out that this autoimmune disease runs in families and his younger brother has it, as well as one of his daughters. His mother, my maternal grandmother, had rheumatoid arthritis, as does my mother, which is also an autoimmune disease, but it's even more closely associated to what I have, which is systemic lupus erythematosis. It happened that a week after my uncle's death, my mother and I went yesterday to see our rheumatologist 45 miles from here. She told him of her brother's death, and he became very concerned about all the immunologically-damaged family members on that side of the family. CE is strongly associated with a group of genes on Chromosome 6, so my mother and I are being tested for any signs of this disease. They took 9 vials of blood yesterday from me yesterday, and 7 from my mother, and we were both checked for tumors. I exhibit many more of the symptoms than my mother, but he could feel no tumors. Should the blood tests show anything, I'm sure we'll be checked by more revealing tests for tumors than just the doctor's touch.

My heart just hasn't been into the computer, blogging, or anything else, for that matter. It has been the week from hell. I just hope my aunt's kids get home in time to see her alive. They're all coming Dec. 3, but I don't think she'll see another Christmas.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Week

Do you always sign your projects? If not, why? If so, do you use your first name, initials or what?

I used to forget to do so, but as I grew older, I realized what an important thing it was to sign and date needlework for posterity, no matter how small and insignificant the piece might seem to the needleworker. Now, I always put my initials and date each piece. If it goes to my daughter, I put "Mom;" to my grandkids, "G'ma;" to my parents, I put "Nancy." If it's in my home, I just use my initials.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Finish For Granddaughter

This will be framed for my granddaughter, Moriah, for her room. It's almost a joke, but she'll love it. She is nearly 15 years old, but everyone in the family has called her "The Princess" since she was very young, and still do. Is she spoiled? Yes, but in a good way.

It has been a long few days since I've blogged. My mother-in-law became very ill and was hospitalized. She's nearly 93 years old and refused to leave her home or have any help come in. Now, it has reached the point that the kids had no choice but to put her into a nursing home. The doctors would not release her to take back to her home, so she was sedated and taken by ambulance to the home. The kids are very shaken up because she has called the shots with them their whole lives, and they feel so guilty, they're nearly sick. We'll see how it all plays out, but when she gets her wits back, and any of them are there, I'm afraid she's going to make it even harder for them. It has been very upsetting for us all.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Gift From Dianne

Today is my deceased daughter's 39th birthday, and I was overwhelmed when a beautiful floral bouquet came to my door this morning. My husband's Bday is Nov. 14, Tiffany's is today, and mine is the 22nd.

I cannot tell you how much this precious friend's thoughtfulness means to me. Her birthday is tomorrow, and I think many of you know her for her giving nature and unending talents. She's known as Dianne Collins from PA. We both had the maiden name of Knowles and have so many similarities that we have always thought we are related somewhere along the line. I wish I were half the person she is. She does so much for others and is so full of energy, she puts me to shame.

Dianne, how can I thank you for the bright spot in my day? Tiffany is smiling down upon us today. Thank you, my dearest one, Dianne.

Oh, and you can't really tell in the picture, but my inspirational calender is set to November 18, and the basket beside my sewing machine has some "smalls" I stitched, then finished. There is a little tin heart with fancy letters tied to a bouquet of fake flowers, just to be pretty, and a scissor holder and pincushion with spools of thread XS'ed on each tuft.

I can't think of a better place to put the lovely gift from Dianne than in my sewing room. Thank you for saving my day, Dianne!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A Word of Advice

and a word to the wise. Last night, I was posting to my blog, and I thought I'd lost it all. I was sick overnight. I was so sick about it that I just went to bed on it and got up to fix it very easily this morning. My sidebar was fine and situated where it was supposed to be, but my recent posts were clear at the bottom and all screwed up.

I didn't panic, as I had copied and pasted my template just a few days ago, and all my posts were still intact when I went to my control page to "edit posts." That's why I could go to bed and sleep. It was all still there, but I had to figure out how to get it back together as it was originally. I discovered I'd made a little mistake in adding an image, and it really fouled up the works. When I saw it, I immediately recognized the cure, and sure enough; VOILA..... I'm back in business today.

So, if you gals haven't done so lately, back up your blog in whatever fashion you do so, and when/if things go awry, you won't be panicked and are only a step away from restoration.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Week

How do you feel about staying totally true to a pattern? Do you feel that you have to rip out stitches to fix a mistake or do you feel it's acceptable to incorporate a mistake into the design?
It all depends on where it is in the design, how far along the design is, and if it will affect future stitching. I find it hard to live with an error, no matter if I think I can make up for it or not. It's the only perfectionism in my life. The house can go to hell, but when I clean it, it has to be perfect, as I like my stitching to be. I will obsess over a stitch and leave the laundry piled up. When I clean a bathroom, you could eat off the toilet seat, but I wouldn't take less than a million dollars to lick it. Yuck.... how'd I get off on this tangent?

What Kind of Princess I Am

The Traditional Princess

You are generous, graceful, and practical with both feet planted firmly on the ground. You tend to be a little on the old-fashioned side. You value home, hearth, and family life and love to be of service to others. Role Models: Snow White, Maid Marian You are most likely to: Discover a hidden talent for spinning straw into gold.

What Kind of Princess are You? - Beautiful Artwork (Original Music is BACK!!!)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Another Birthday Stash Shipment Arrived

My stuff from The Needlework Shop came Saturday and was on my front porch overnight. My niece found it yesterday when she came to have a car title signed by DH. We never use the front door, so I never thought to check for it yet.

The limited edition of Mirabilia's Christmas Elf Fairy is just so sweet, and I got it 30% off because of my birthday. The rest are just adorable little kitty designs. I especially like Val's designs, but the two cat samplers are cute as a bug too. Perhaps instead of saying bug, I should say mouse?

"This woman has really crossed the line this time."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Stash of the Month Shipment

This month I received two pieces of fabric, one Confederate Grey 32ct Belfast Linen, and the other is one of Silkweavers' Solos unusual hand-dyes, and I have the perfect pattern in mind. Also, there were four limited editions of their Stranded By the Sea hand-dyed fiber cards, and a wonderful leaflet from Zweigart with six really nice Christmas designs by Ursula Michaels. It's always fun to receive these stash packages from Silkweaver.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's Wednesday - SBQ Day

When comparing large projects versus small projects, which do you get more excited about finishing?

My first inclination when I read the question was to say, "Definitely large projects." But when I thought about it a bit longer, I realized it depended upon the design itself. It it's something close to my heart, or the perfect gift for a friend or family member, a small one is just as exciting as a large one. I find gathering the materials used in a large one very exciting though.

Amber really doesn't care whether I get excited over my projects. She like to sit on my lap and chase the needle and thread, which is why I like to take advantage of times like those upper right. She likes to nap in my wastebaskets when they're empty.

Ooooo, ooooo, A Birthday-Treat-Myself Arrived!!!

After all my talk about how much my birthday was costing Dianne wrote me that her birthday month is also filled with offers of discounts that cost her also; then Kim said she'd rather treat herself and get what she wants. So, thanks to you, ladies, I'm rejoicing that I've indulged myself.

Cool little lapstand by Images, now adorned with a project that I'm going to do for my granddaughter for Christmas---"Flip Flops" by Hinzeit. It's difficult to see, but as with all Hinzeits, there are little charms---transparent hearts in green and pink, the fabric is a Silkweaver hand-dyed, and the specialty fiber colors are going to be so much fun to work with, especially the Needle Neccesities.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

My Birthday Month

Holy cow, I like to have my birthday recognized, but not in a way that it's going to cost me a ton of money! Yes, cost ME!

Recently, many of the ONS' had links and took orders from their customers to the Needlework Show online. I decided to treat myself to something for my birthday. It was so much fun looking at all the designers' new stuff. I have so much stash, and I was looking for something really special and practical. I already have a Legends Grip-It Plus floor stand, which I can convert to use in a recliner or sit-on-it style. I started with the latter because of its portability and eventually kept adding things to it. Well, I found this really cool lap stand, and I asked my ONS lady about it, and she had seen it at a show and really liked it, as the man who makes them was just singing along with it. I can't even remember the name of it. So Shirley, my ONS lady, tells me mine is on its way, but it came to her first. She has decided she has to have one of her own, so I think I made a good decision. I'll always use my Grip-It, but this adds a new element to my stitching convenience and is really more portable than anything I have to date.

Then, I get a card from QVC telling me that if I choose an item over $50, they will defer interest if I make payments. Great. Another money-making scheme. I haven't yet chosen anything, but my sister has a gorgeous watch from there that is sterling silver and has a turquoise face, and I'm a Southwestern jewelry fanatic. So.....

Then (oh yeah), I get a letter from the Needlework Shop telling me I get one item at 30% off, and the rest at 25% off. Yeah, I bit on it.

THEN (afraid so), Heaven and Earth Designs has a birthday club that if you pay $10, they send you the pattern of your choice, even in the large print format ($4 more per pattern), and no shipping. Yup, you guessed it. I just sent them $10 via PayPal. OMG, did I have fun choosing my pattern. They're to-die-for, literally, for me.

None of this stuff has arrived yet, so no pix, but you can be sure when it all arrives, I'll be showing it off. In the meantime, I can't afford any more recognition of my birthday!

Here's a cute link for a little Thanksgiving fun. It brought back memories of this one.