Sunday, July 12, 2009

What Have I Been Doing This Month?

Here is someone else's rendition of LizzieKate's July Flip-It, 2002. I gathered the "ingrediants" for a "QSW" on Stitching_Sisters (Quick Stitch Weekend), and though it took me longer than a weekend, that's when Richard and I have been doing our yard work. For me, as slow as I am, just getting this done is a miracle with everything else I had going on.

Hey, I like my version of July better than this one above. Woopee!

Even though I've been tremendously busy with other things, I've managed to get a dab of stitching done. I'm nearly done with my dad's "Faith," a scriptural thread pack by Little House Needleworks I'm going to make into my first flatfold. Wish me luck, LOL! I've done nothing with my mother's same kind of design, "Peace," since my last report, below.

During all my gardening this summer, I discovered tons of mushrooms one day when I was working on the outside perimeter of the yard. These were all in teh yard, some being bright white; some being almost yellow. I pulled one up and turned it over so I could the perfection of the compartments divided by the underlying membranes. I was awe-stricken by God's plan on the smallest of things. Just the fact that all the rain, then a sunny day, sent the mushrooms up in areas was awesome to me. Gardening has been a treat and therapy for me. I have to get more pix of what my husband and I have done around the mailboxes, post lantern, etc.

Here is a picture of my muddy grandson, Tristan, after a game at football camp. We had quite a few days of storms, but he never wavered and has never been afraid of getting dirty. I wish you could see him from the front, as he's a good-lookin' kid and is built like a brick you-know-what. Now this is a grandmother speading for her youngest grandchild, but he honestly is a handsome. Hate his mouth though. I'd like to slap it off. That had better change ;-) Some cute lil thing's gonna come along some day, and he may change his ways---and his mouth, cuz I don't know anyone who'll put up with it!

I'm slightly late in getting graduation pix up, but I've been so busy, I honestly forgot. These are very special pix of the loves in my life. The 3 graduates are my granddaughter, Moriah, in the middle, with her mother (my daughter Vanessa) in the black, at her side. The graduate on the left is my great niece, Kami, with her mother, Kelly, my neice, at her right side. The graduate on the right side of the pic is my great niece, Rachel, with her mother, my niece, Julie, beside her daughter. The graduate cousins were all born within 4 mos. of one another. They're fun, beautiful, and smart. What more could we all want?

Another event we went to in our neighborhood was a huge retirement for one of our closer neighbors' father's retirement, who was leaving city service of over 53 years. The buffet and tent was an incredible set-up, with the huge cakes in their lovely new home, where the A/C was going full blast and many were finding it the place to visit, LOL! His son, an old friend of ours from school, was escorting people arriving and parking alongside the golf course, to the tent, where many were eating and conveying their good wishes to his father and mother. Steve also caught people walking back to their cars and gave them a ride back. We and the other neighbors from the country club, took our own carts, but this was so cute that I had to step out and get a picture of Steve and his homemade sign.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cross Stitch Birthday Party

We recently celebrated my stitching friend, Sylvia's, birthday. She's the one in the rose-colored jacket in the front of the bottom picture. My other quilting friend, Peggy was in the back of the picture. There were about 8 at our table at the country club. We had a cake artist do her cake with a cross stitch theme. I think you can see it best at top. There you can see the embroidery ring and other things a bit better.
These girls and I have a fun time together, and I'm feeling much, much better, but it's going to take a long time to get to where I need to be. I'm nearly done with my yard work, and TA DA!!! I've started stitching again!!! I'm finishing up a scriptural thread pack (shown previously on a brown linen) to give my dad, who thinks his time is about up. I have to get it finished!!! Though I'm hoping he's wrong, anything can happen at the age of 87, and he just feels he's running out of steam...... says the only thing keeping him going is his pacemaker. I just don't know what I'll do.

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's Not Easy To Talk About...

but I got back today after a trip an hour away to see a psychiatrist who was instrumental in my treatment for a week just lately. I was at the Carle Pavilion in Champaign, IL. They don't treat dangerously mentally ill where I was, but they do treat depressed, anxious, detoxifying persons, persons who have planned, or have tried, suicide. I fit in the first group of depressed and anxious patients, and I was desperate for help. No amount of stitching helps when you get as low as I was. There is a large number of mentally ill, none dangerous, people in my family. One managed to take his life and my brother nearly got the job done, but he's so very happy to be alive now that he has his first grandchild. That also helped me, but they grow up, and genetic, clinical depression returns.

There is no magic pill, though I'm taking the maximum dose of Cymbalta, and a new one for me is Abilify. They're really monitoring the Abilify with me because of its tendency to cause weight gain. I'm overweight anyway, after many years of prednisone for lupus, and am taking it again after 5 or 6 years of being away from it. I had gained 80 pounds during a 12-year period with prednisone, then gained 20 more when I quit smoking, which, if I wanted to breathe (lupus affected my lungs). I lost the 20 pounds slowly myself, but the bottom dropped out when I was diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica, thus putting me back on the dreaded prednisone again. I was not happy to hear that Abilify was yet another drug that had the same weight gain tendency.

My self-imposed tharapy was to plant flowers and trim our unbelievable amount of bushes. My mother brought me her little left-over flowers from her own house and sat them in spots on either side of the front of our garage. There was no artful way to plant them, so I just planted them hither and there, and the moment those pansies touched my soil, they went wild. I took a few pix of my two little spots of artless color, and though I'm not done with our bushes, I'm showing off my artful trimming of a mean bush. I still have some gorgeous perennials of ground cover and flowers to put around the bases of our mail boxes just off the street in front and our post lantern so there's no need to trim when mowing the lawn.
I truly wish I could stitch up a storm, but I get nowhere fast. I think it's going to take a bit of time to metabolize the meds and be able to concentrate on the counting and placement of stitches. I get a little confused at times. I started reading at the Pavilion, and I seem to absorb that a bit better for the moment. They kept us very busy with group sessions constantly, but during breaks, I read. The most important thing I learned was that there is no magic pill, and ultimately, my success and ability to cope is up to me. So, even now, when I feel the sadness wafting up, I have to reach deep down inside and pull up tools of coping I've learned to keep me from giving into the darkness. The light-hearted, cozy books I'm reading seem to be just the ticket.

I hope someone will enjoy the pictures. This is the first year I've done anything like this and been proud enough to call it therapy and look at it as an artform. I'm really enjolying it, and I lose myself in it. It used to be hot drudgery. God has answered my prayers. I want to live and enjoy life.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Little Stitching

As I am a slow stitcher (but enjoy it just as much), this is what I've been stitching on when I take breaks from the mundane clean-up, and today, I hauled all my stash into my sewing room where it still sits. I'm just glad to see how much is left before I put it to rest in a safe manner.

These are Scriptural Thread Packs from Little House Needleworks, the lighter one for my mom named "Heart" which will be spelled out on it; the darker one for my dad named "Faith," which will also have a lovely scripture. I'm finishing these both before working on anything else. I know they'll enjoy them, and at their ages, you never know when I'll be losing one of them. I grieve already and don't know what I'll do without them.

I'll see if I can get some graduation pix up soon and maybe even another progress pic of one of the above. I need so badly to stitch my cares away.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Totally Quiet On the Internet, But...

Not around the house! This has been one heckuva winter and spring for me. I hope I never have to go through anything like this again. We were hit with a basement flood and as always, called a professional to do the job right so there was no possibility of mold. I had just talked to my son-in-law about building my much-needed shelves under the basement stairs which housed much of my stash... the overflow of what didn't fit into my shelves and cabinets in my adjoining sewing room. We have done everything to this basement the experts have advised during the years of many floods, but of course, when neighbors across the street go digging in their yard to get to their weekening part of this pitiful drainage system repaired, it was left dug up and piled up because of continual downpours; therefore creating a dam that pushed the water right back to our sump pump(s), and it overworked our system, got hot, and tripped the breaker. It was in the middle of the night, and it had been so long since we'd had any trouble at all, we didn't have our generator ready to go. Truthfully, with the volume of water there was, there's no way that generator could have kept up.

Thank goodness not all my stash was vulnerable; much was in plastic, but much wasn't, and I was heart broken. I washed and soaked in Oxyclean (fabrics were already ruined so I had nothing to lose), ironed charts; tried to keep kits (you can't imagine) together as I had to rinse the flood water out of fabric and floss. I had to do so many at one time, it was hard to keep everything straight, and it was like an assembly line for days. I cried a lot, and there were older charts I'd bought on eBay that shredded in my hands as I dropped them in the barrel. I know these are only things, and I've suffered real tragedy, that besides losing my daughter, I don't even want to get into here. However, this was like rubbing the salt into the old scars and opening them up again. My stash is precious to me and I was leaving notes for my daughter about what to do with which stash for her to get as close to the value as she could.

A word of warning: the Floss-A-Way baggies are not waterproof, nor are the bottoms of the mesh zipper bags. In fact, nothing but deeper (depending on the height of the water) Rubbermaid, Sterlite, or other inexpensive thick plastic containers keep out the water.

In the meantime, we got through a Junior-Senior Prom, graduation, parties while trying to put things back together so we could live. I'm a very proud grandma of a beautiful, hard-working girl with high honors (many scholarships). I have pictures coming. It's a miracle I was able to find the camera.... I should have taken a pic of the downstairs before progress began. I'm still trying to put my stash back together in an organized fashion and be sure that it is completely safe.

Now we're looking for the perfect house without a basement. I know it's out there. I look around at this house we built and I designed 20 years ago, and with all the stuff in it, it's overwhelming. It's a comfortable house, but it's too big for us, and as we face the fact that we're seniors, and my lupus makes it difficult to get up and down the stairs, we have to scale down and toss, sell, donate (I've already done a bunch, but it's not even a dent), and have you ever tried to get rid of collections??? I cry every time I think about it. I've worked so hard, I have one hip killing me and my bad knee is worse. Now the bushes are beckoning and have gotten out of hand with all the rain we've had. I started yesterday, but this house has waaaay too many bushes; another thing we're looking for is a much smaller yard and not many bushes. Trees are fine, but this is a nursery's dream in my yard. I may sell those too if they'll dig 'em up.

Needless to say, the stitching department here is not productive, only working like the dickens to save what I can (and I keep finding more that I at first thought was safe... in the zipper bags), and it's sickening to see see things all wrinkled and dried, but readable, go into a plastic bin because of something I really would like to do before I die, hopefully not by drowning.... and snakes (ah... yes, with the water came little green garter snakes... OMG).

I'll try to get caught up with my Yahoo Groups, pix I've taken during this horrifying experience of my lovely granddaughter, and once I completely get everything put away, I'll be able to get stitching again. I've never worked so hard in my life!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Prom and Stitchy Stuff

This is a picture taken in front of my daughter's house just before prom. My granddaughter, Moriah, and her boyfriend, Dalton, are on your left. My DH says the other two boys look like they came right out of the movie Deliverance. Her two friends wanted to go to this last prom their senior year, so Dalton provided his cousin and uncle for the other two girls. I wish I'd taken a pic of the back of Moriah's dress. It was the prettiest part of the dress.

Though I finished "Home of A Needleworker"" over 6 weeks ago, I went through a time of no stitching, then got back on the stitching wagon when I got over my illness. I'm not entirely happy with the changes I made to the pattern on the last line, so I'm thinking of re-doing the kitties and re-spacing the two little hearts on either side of the kitties. I've had it in the Q-Snap frame all this time, in a place where I could see it so I could decide what to do before having it framed.

Since feeling better, I've been stitching a bit on the "Gingerbread Cottage" by Country Cottage. It's pretty slow going on this fabric, which is 35ct, not so easy to get the needle through, and difficult to hold in my left hand, which gets painful after a while. Just another stitch bitch of mine with lupus and/or polymyalgia rheumatica. It's really fun to work on though... just so cute and surprising as you go along. I just can't stitch too long at one time. I just really want to get it framed so I can enjoy it next season.

I also picked up one of my many Little House Needleworks thread packs began putzing around on one of the scriptural ones for my dad, who loves the things I stitch for him. I'm thinking of making this into my first flat fold to give to him instead of another framed piece on his wall. I think it's going to be so pretty when finished!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Answer To A Question

I know... I've been absent for a long time, but I'm not giving up. It's been a struggle, but I've been here in spirit all along. I won't even try to share the boring details.

In one of my Yahoo Groups, Stitching Sisters, the question came up of a tutorial on how to make floss rings, and several of the girls directed us to several great sites that have directions on many of the wonderful things that intrigue and inspire us stitchers. One of the girls posted the same tutorial I used for the floss rings I've made: Here are the two floss tags I've made. The first one was given as a gift to a friend.

Another girl suggested this site for a bit of all kinds of finishing: . If you Google cross stitch finishing tutorials, you'll find no-sew and all manner of clever things to use to "finish" your finishes. It's my greatest desire to start making wonderful handbags with sweet cross-stitched inserts on the front with lovely small prints, sewn together quilt-like and lined with practical, easy-to-see bright prints with zippered compartment, pockets for cellphone, eyeglasses, lipstick, etc. I've seen them, and fell in love. I ran across a book bag on The Sampler Girl's blog today, which reminded me that I need to start researching, designing, and looking for fabrics for my purses.... no, I mean handbags. I've always called them purses, but it's a little more refined to say handbags, I believe. After all, you purse your lips, right? I used to think I looked cutesy with pursed lips; now, it deepens those lines all around my old mouth from drawing on cigs when smoking was cheap and cool. I have several of the designs shown on this site, on which I saw the backpack which reminded me of my handbag notion that will probably go nowhere ;). I have the Mrs. Lincoln Sampler and the pack of Vikki Clayton silks for it and several other small designs I don't see on her blog, but I just love her blog and all the darling little freebies. It's fun to see how they finished the freebies. Eye candy!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feeling "Normal" (???)

since my funny drugs are leaving my psyche (creeps me out thinking of it). Know what really, really creeps me out? But I LOL every time I see it, and I can't even find it on YouTube. It's the new H&R commercial with the one-eyed cyclops people talking normally, and the one guy pipes up, shaking his head, saying, "I can't believe my eye!" Gets me every time. One of 'em has a one-eyed pair of glasses on his nose. I mean this one gets me on the floor laughing!

I'm also feeling better knowing that I've made progress, albeit very slow, because of my eye(s). The two larger WIP's I've been working steadily on (LHN's "Home of a Needleworker" and CCN's "Gingerbread Cottage"), and I got a "finish high" from a small finish over the weekend for a QSW SAL, which was done with Stitching_Sisters. The Lizzie Kate's 2002 series are perfect for those weekend SAL's. Shelleen has us stitchin' up a storm with some unique ideas she has gleaned from other blogs. It's fun to go through stuff to see what will work for her different SAL's. The nice thing is that you don't have to start anything new, and I'm working on my UFO's. That means I have 6 more LK's in that series, and I have the cute little corkboard frame for them. February is hanging in mine now.

One thing I really wanted to point out to you is that I'm seriously thinking of using the finished "Home of A Needleworker" for a dish towel. I bet none of you have ever thought of something like that for a semi-large project, have ya now? Have you? Admit it..... never have; never would have. I zig-zagged the edges of that sucker before starting, and I've changed the year from 2006 to 2009. I've had it in a Q-Snap frame that didn't begin to fit one end; I've had it in hoops of several sizes; I've worked it "in hand;" and one thing I can guarantee is that fabric sizing is only a memory to this sagging, pathetic piece of limp dish towel. The zig-zagging on one side has taken on a piece of its own; great for hanging if I reinforce it on each end. Original shape and size is nowhere near what it was when I started. I just hope a good washing and pressing will bring some former life back into my dish towel.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Bit Discouraged...

by the way my eyes, as they're healing, are not working well together, not focusing, and I find myself sneaking DH's reading glasses for close-up stuff. Distance is much better than it was before... no complaints there, though my astigmatism is still there, which the eye doc told me in advance that he couldn't correct with the lenses he put in - in place of the cataracts. I find myself holding things out at arm's length to see. On top of that, I'm feeling not so well because I took it upon myself to dump a few pills I felt were unnecessary, and I'm feeling I'm going to dump the doc as well. Not my internist nor my rheumatologist for lupus/polymalgia rheumatica..... OK, it's a shrink I'm wantin' to dump, and I'm pretty much forced to see him for my anxiety/depression meds. I'm going to see if my internist will take over those meds. I'm so in hopes he will. He's so good, and I love him to pieces....definitely not a pill pusher like the shrink is, in my opinion. Anyway, I'm feeling pretty punk. I'm sure that in a few days, this feeling will be gone, and I'll be my usual wonderful self.... whatever, LOL!

Thought you might enjoy a few pix of the things I've bought from my LNS here in town. They've had two sales since after Christmas: the After Christmas Sale (no duh) and the Super Bowl Sunday Sale. I got more great Christmas bargains of which I don't have pix yet, but here a few pix to entertain. The completed and framed Waxing Moon piece was on their ridiculously cheap sale table, which I got for $10. Couldln't turn it down. The frame alone is worth that, and I loved it. It's beautifully done. Pictured with it are a few lone fibers I needed.

The UK magazine was bought when I was at Border's the day of my 2nd cataract removal, and the JCS was in my mailbox just the other day.

A Santa Claus I fell in love with, 3 Country Cottage charts I knocked off my wish list. Also threads I needed for the charts here, and fabric for two of the charts. I already had the fabric for the 3rd chart. My next post will show some things I've done lately, one in finished form, one not, and progress on my two current WIP's.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Meet My New Kitty Since August

I now have a 4th kitty... this one a single orphan lost from the litter and found on a friend's of my son-in-law's porch.... crying for someone to rescue her. He was going to try to give her a chance at life, but he was at home so little, he was afraid she would die. I told him I would be her mother, and that's exactly what I did. She was less than 3 weeks old, and I did everything from feeding her kitty formula to stimulating her to poop and pee. She was flea-infested, was dehydrated, and had diarrhea. I took her to the vet as soon as I could get her in, while attending to her immediate needs first. I hardly left her side for about 6 weeks, and she flourished under my care. She's now very spoiled, but I'm very proud of her condition and how she loves us and her home. I have many pix of her as a small fluff, but here is a pic of her now. She has the audacity to take my stitching chair whenever possible, and when not there, she takes over my computer desk chair. Meet Annie, named for the story of Little Orphan Annie, and she has won our hearts. Where there are 3 loved kitties, there is always room in one's heart for a 4th.

Couldn't not share my bargains from Walmart's sewing dep't., fabrics for finishing smaller projects, pillows, etc. I just added these to my plastic tubs of fabrics, but then I found some great fabric cuts at my LNS for $1 each, all evenweaves and linens. These are packaged to the left of my Walmart fabrics. The blue/green fabric that's more centered is for a specific pattern that I have to remember, LOL! When I find the pattern, I'll show them together.

Tomorrow is my LNS' Super Bowl Sale, and my best friend and I are going together. I plan to do some damage, but whatever for, I'm not sure. Does it matter?

I'm Back After A Year

I just had to take a time out with all the problems I was having, emotionally and physically. My stitching was suffering, and I could barely see because of fastly growing cataracts, rearing their ugly heads at an early age, mostly because of my prednisone usage. The posts you see prior to this one are a year old. That's when I gave it up.

I just had my 2nd cataract removed January 29th, so it's time, now that I'm seeing much better already, to get back into stitching and blogging. It had become a chore to do anything, and I couldn't even drive safely.

I'm going to be spending my spare time in the next few days getting pictures taken to make my posts here more interesting. It's really going to nice to be able to catch up with all my friends have been doing. I see that Blogger has many new optional new features that I will be playing with, and I'm sure there will be things from my older blogging days that I'll be deleting. It's like starting all over.

During this year, I never quit buying stash, which, at my age, is a crime. I'm a stash slut, but I no longer care. I'll be adding my accumulated stash to these posts. That, however, has come to a grinding halt with the economy as it is. Our income depends on the stock market, and we've had to cut back quite a bit. I'll just have to be satisfied with what I've collected, and no, I won't even be pimped out for stash. That took a lot of thought to be so strong, but at my age, it's not exactly hard to say no.

Have a stitchy weekend to those of you I love, while I do some stitching, some taking pix. and studying the new features here on Blogger.