Friday, December 30, 2005

Our 40th Anniversary Today

Richard and I have high hopes for this anniversary. Lots of excitement planned for today (40 years is a miracle) and tomorrow night, New Year's Eve followed by New Year's Day. We always look so forward to the high life and tons of fun---NOT! We rented some movies and are going with our two best friends to Cracker Barrel for dinner. "Nothing but the best, Clark!" (Cousin Eddy said to Clark Griswald when Clark mentioned at the cookout of Hamburger Helper, "Real tomato catsup, Eddy?")

Richard already spent most of his day at the nursing home signing papers for his mother to get into a different part of the home, Medicare stuff, etc.

My thrill for the week was my Stash of the Month Silkweaver shipment, which you can see here. You get a partial glimpse at some ornaments that have yet to be sewn up (at top). I just dragged them out of hiding to remind myself. There's fabbie for a needleroll, beads, Stranded By the Sea hand-eyed fiber, beading needles, and a Tacky Bob box for the Mill Hill beads in the 4 pack at top. The pamphlet has a pic and chart inside to stitch, with instructions to finish into the needleroll, all designed to match the adorable little pouch at bottom.

I've wasted hours upon hours today surfing eBay and have the perfect anniversary gift for Richard coming. He loves the old Seinfeld series, so I found a cheap store to buy them on eBay. By now, I know exactly what's going to turn him on, so to speak (quit laughing), and this will. He's easily entertained, but put something on that I love, and he's asleep in a few minutes. Doesn't "get it." Farting salt and pepper shakers turn him on though. He bought some for the apartment where he and his best friend work (with whom we're going to dinner tonight) near Chicago in orthodontist offices. Bodily functions are his obssession. Whatever floats your boat. More excitement tomorrow! Living on the edge for sure, aren't we?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

UFO Progress and Stitching Bloggers' Question

December 27 was my UFO stitching day on the Friends Gather BB. Here is the before and after scan of a freebie panda by Karen Couchman of Couchman Creations of Australia, one of my favorite design companies, of which I have several of her autographed designs of native critters. I'm getting close to choosing my next-in-line UFO's to stitch. This is a very exciting venture for me!
BTW, if you read about my sick blog that puked, I gave it a little TLC, and it got over the vomiting.

How do you balance your stitching time with your other obligations such as work, household chores, etc.?
I've never claimed to be a good time manager, but I'm getting plenty of motivation from my stitching bloggers' ideas to help me turn over a new leaf. I don't like resolutions, as I always break them. I'm really working on goals, and this balance of chores and stitching time is an important one for me for 2006.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Planning My Work - Working My Plan

I had a wonderful Christmas, but unlike some hardy souls, I'm always ready for it to be over. Even as a child, I remember being happy when it was over, even though, greedy as I was, I'd make notes of things I wanted the next Christmas. We always celebrated at my paternal Grandmother's, and I remember packing up my stuff and being anxious to get it home to my playhouse in the basement. It was "all about me." That's why I very seldom talk about the gifts I receive at Christmas now because it always seemed to be a brag session when I was younger; a one-upmanship, which is not what Christmas is to me now, though in another post, I'll have to tell you about the most meaningful gift I received.

The promise of a new year being more productive has never meant as much to me as it does this year, and since I began blogging and reading others' blogs, joining the Friends Gather BB and Carol's Mirabilia SAL Stitchers Yahoo Group, I've really been planning and scheduling and hoping to make this new bloggers' ring with all my new friends a fresh new approach to my stitching. 2005 was not a productive year for me, but my blog friends have provided me with so much friendship, entertainment, and inspiration that I've become refreshed by my stitching; whereas, before, I was pushing myself to stitch and have now pulled out all my hidden UFO's with a renewed vigor and have even quit feeling guilty about getting new stash. I had slowed down to the speed of a slug, and the thought of buying new stash made me feel criminal.

My plan has already been started, and it's working! I've been practicing, working my plan. I started Christmas Day after all the festivities were over and we were home. I stitched on a piece for two hours before my eyes said "sleepy time." I had worked so hard the day before making pies and other dishes to take to DD's house, and sewing up two gifts at the last minute for DD and granddaughter. After spending all day at her house with my grandkids, laughing, eating, watching new movies, playing their new video games, and watching fashion shows of their new clothes, I was beat. Stitching was the perfect unwinding after an exhausting day. Then, I turned off the lights and watched one of the movies I'd been given, "Brothers Grimm," which I had asked for. Richard bought it and hates that kind of movie, so he was snoring 5 minutes into it.

The grandkids were a joy to be with and loved all their gifts, but none are small anymore, so I guess I'll have to wait till I'm a great grandmother for the magic to return.Thought I'd share the two gifts I sewed up Christmas Eve. The one is a roll pillow; the other a wallhanging with rings sewn on back for hanging. You will also see my youngest kitty, Amber, who is my constant sewing companion, and has been instrumental in speeding up my cross stitching, as she chases the needle and thread from the underside.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Forgive Me My Stitching Transgressions

More dumb thoughts for today:

May the angels of cross stitch who hover around me forgive me my transgressions of greed or wishful thinking in my finishing abilities in this fleeting lifetime with the ever-growing piles of threads, fabrics and charts. May the angels also forgive and comfort me in my weakness with the growing list of groups I feel compelled to join and participate in. May they kick me in the butt to get my chores done before sitting down to stitch.

May the big stick Anne S mentioned and BeckySC affirmed in my last post's comments come down upon me and knock in some common sense. May my pile shrink with time instead of grow higher when my guardian angel of cross stitch whispers "you don't need it" into my ear. May I find the strength from within to call a spade a spade and a WISP a UFO after several years in denial.

But most important of all, may I have the courage to reach deep down inside myself and list my UFO's in my sidebar.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Just Thoughts As the Day Nears

No pix today; only thoughts, more for myself than anyone. I'm not stingy though. You can eavesdrop ;-). I talk to myself at home anyway.

Don't know why, but as Christmas nears, I always start reflecting on the year past and what high hopes I have for the next year. I've taken stock of all the stitching projects I've lain aside because I wanted to be sure I hadn't signed up for more than I could handle on BeckySC's Friends Gather board and my two most active Yahoo Groups, one unlisted and one owned by Shelleen, Faith, and me---Stitching Sisters. Holy cow! I counted up 18 projects, and I hate to use the acronym, but unfortunately, they've become the dreaded UFO's. The trick was to fit them into my sign-ups for the coming year on my groups. I believe that after being really careful, I have incorporated 4 into my SAL's, and I've added 2 new SAL's for interest. They were already in my stash, so no worries. I may add another to make it an uneven 7 to rotate.

What I'd like to do is figure out how to put them into my sidebar in a clever way, list all my UFO's in another clever way and show my progress in yet another clever way, the latter of which could be just a post with a pic, I guess. But I do love the bells and whistles of blogs I see around, LOL!

Don't wanna make this too long. Just a few thoughts and dreams I thought I'd pass by those of you who read this.

Friday, December 16, 2005

In the True Spirit of the Season

I just couldn't pass up posting this beautiful story as a reminder to slow down and just remember what it's all about:
In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies andjust 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged fromthree months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had neverbeen much more than a presence they feared.Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway theywould scramble to hide under their beds.He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries.Now that he had decided to leave, there would be no more beatings,but no food either.If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at thattime, I certainly knew nothing about it. I scrubbed the kids until theylooked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress, loaded them intothe rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job.The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in oursmall town. No luck.The kids stayed crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while Itried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn ordo anything. I had to have a job.Still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out oftown, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to atruck stop. It was called the Big Wheel.An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out ofthe window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on thegraveyard shift, 11 at night until seven in the morning. She paid 65 centsan hour, and I could start that night. I raced home and called theteenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her tocome and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with herpajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a goodarrangement to her, so we made a deal.That night when the little ones and I knelt to say our prayers, weall thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the BigWheel.When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and senther home with one dollar of my tip money--fully half of what I averagedevery night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added a strain to mymeager wage.The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons andbegan to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and againevery morning before I could go home.One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home andfound four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, nonothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken upresidence in Indiana ? I wondered.I made a deal with the local service station. In exchange for hismounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took mea lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn'tenough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toysfor the kids.I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting someold toys. Then hid them in the basement so there would be something forSanta to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I wassewing patches on top of patches on the boys pants and soon they would betoo far gone to repair.On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in theBig Wheel. These were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a statetrooper named Joe.A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion andwere dropping nickels in the pinball machine. The regulars all justsat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then leftto get home before the sun came up.When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning,to my amazement, my old battered Chevy was filled full to thetop with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver'sside door, crawled inside and knee led in the front facing the back seat.Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was whole caseof little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It wasfull of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of theother boxes. There was candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries.There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes.There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There washole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toytrucks and one beautiful little doll.As I drove back through empty streets as the sun slowly rose on themost amazing Christmas Day of my life, I was sobbing with gratitude. AndI will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that preciousmorning.Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And theyall hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop....THE POWER OF PRAYER. I believe that God only gives three answersto prayer:1. "Yes!"2. "Not yet."3. "I have something better in mind."

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Finish For My Daughter

Just finished the stitching on Stitches N Stones "Cuz I'm the Boss of You" for my daughter. Poor thing has 2 teenagers and a lazy, slovenly 12-year-old. I help her all I can, but it's useless. She'll crack up when she opens this. I'm making it into a pieced fabric wallhanging.

Please help! The woman is holding us hostage and sticking things on our heads now.

Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Week

Take a minute to reflect on your blog reading habits and preferences. What do you prefer to read in stitching blogs? (Progress, tips, family life, experiences, etc.) How much do you think you are influenced by other stitching bloggers? Question by AngelSan
Personally, I tend to be very influenced by other stitching bloggers, and I really prefer reading tips on finishing or seeing new stash with which I'm not familiar, but most of all, I really enjoy watching progression on WIP's.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Holy Cow, Another Package!

I swear that this is the last of my new stash for a very long time, except for thread and my Silkweaver Stash of the Month shipment. These all came from Stitching Bits & Bobs from her last sale, waiting on an out-of-stock chart, and I had forgotten all about it, LOL! The kitty charts speak for themselves, but the two designs from White Willow Stitching are something new, and I had to try them. They're great charts, in multiple pages like HAED. I don't have a lot of fantasy, but I was smitten with "The Guardian." And "Herb Goddess" also speaks for itself with the cat in it. The colors are gorgeous!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Shopping Nearly Done

Well, the day is nearly upon us, and ahead looms a brand new year... fresh start.... time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. I followed in the steps of a long-time stitching, blogging friend of mine and yours, Shelleen, who said that since BeckySC started her new BB, Friends Gather (which is just wonderful, BTW, if you haven't already applied for membership), she wrote down all the SAL's and sign-ups she'd committed to and all the things she was already working on. I think she has squeezed in as many things as her little fingers can stitch. I wrote down all my UFO's, formerly bragging that mine were paltry compared to many's, but as I went through all my project bags, I was surprised at all the things I had forgotten I started. I was appalled to count 18 things to be finished before I start another thing, and yet I have committed to more. However, I'm not completely daft... I'm fitting several of my ongoing WIP's into some of the categories on Friends Gather; therefore, killing two birds with the proverbial stone.

This year, there will be no resolutions made. My only resolution is to have fun and stitch whatever is calling to me; also get some long-standing UFO's into a rotation.

We're finishing up with a few more gifts to buy tomorrow and Monday (Richard has been a big help to me by being off for a week), then the shopping is over. I have a couple more posts with some pix in the next day or two of some things I've received lately. Just have to get my camera back.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Last of My Birthday Stash

I hesitated to even post this, and I've had it since before my birthday. I just didn't want anyone to think I'd lost my senses, which some would tell you I have. The reason being, I'm a slow stitcher, and I'm a sucker when I see someone else with something that blows my mind. These blew me away, and I couldn't turn down the two on the outside at 30% off for the large print charts, and I signed up for the birthday club that allowed me to buy the middle one for $10, also the large print, which is more expensive but worth it. If I never do anything with any of them, I love 'em just the same.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Week

Have you done any charity stitching, been in one, or would like to organize one?
No, I'm sorry to say that I'm such a slow stitcher, it takes all my time just doing things for my family. I've just never had the inclination to do anything for those I don't know. I know---not a very charitable person.

I was pleased with Tuesday's weigh-in with Weight Watchers since I hadn't been there for 3 weeks, ate like a pig Thanksgiving and didn't too bad afterwards either. I had a big mug of coffee before the meeting, which I never do. Not even a sip of water, usually, and gave into the deep freeze temps we're having in the Midwest and wore my jeans and thermal top---plus my jewelry, which I nearly always take off. Hey, it weighs something! I still lost and was extremely pleased. Here's my weight ticker:

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I'm So Disappointed

I received notification from Silkweaver that there would be no shipment for their "Stash of the Month" subscribers. They're still waiting on things they ordered for that shipment. I soooo look forward to that little "lift" every month.

It snowed in the night, and it's still spitting a bit today. The ground is so cold, it's actually sticking, and it's beautiful. Very festive!

I'm cleaning my entire downstairs today, then picking up grandkids from school but hope to get some stitching done later this evening. We're getting down to the wire for Christmas stitching, especially if it needs to be framed. Yikes!

I have to take some pix of the stash I just received, and I'll get it posted tomorrow.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Birthday Gifts From Another Friend

A Yahoo stitching group I co-own with Shelleen and Faith, Stitching_Sisters, has a birthday DMC exchange every year. Faith and I have developed a bad habit of sending each other more than a couple skeins of floss. Just look at the yummy M Designs she sent, plus a card with rabbits, which is her obssession, like my cats are to me (that and my Boyds collection), with pretty DMC and one of the cool new needle threaders and those wonderful John James needles. I've found that with all our rotations these days, one can never have too many needles. Thank you so much, Faith! I have the sweetest friends....

Saturday, December 03, 2005

YNR@Blogthings - What Flower Are You?

You Are a Carnation

You are down to earth and grounded.
You tend to be more traditional than trendy.
Your confidence gets you through anything.
People trust you and are very loyal to you.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Stitching Bloggers' Question of the Week

Do you have rules in the way you stitch? (i.e., Do you start in the middle? Do you determine which blocks to stitch first? Do you always start from the top or the bottom? Do you have special paths to prevent wasting thread?)

I know this is weird to most of you, but I start in the upper right hand corner and stitch to the left \\\\ and back right ////. I'm not a leftie, but it has always been most comfortable for me and perfectly acceptable. I always look enough ahead to plan the shortest way to economize on thread, mostly because of the look of my backs. Great question, San!