Thursday, December 30, 2010

Up For A Challenge

I joined a blog as a contributor for a 2011 challenge and instead of the other Crazy January Challenge 2011 in which you start one project for 15 days, the "up for a challenge" is one in which you take 15 WIP's or UFO's and stitch on them throughout the new year. I can't afford to start 15 new ones without trying to clean up all the UFO's I unearthed from the bowels of hell under the basement stairway next to my craft room. There are at least a dozen more I didn't even remember where I had hidden that I didn't dare list. I'll have to wait till another year to dig those out and work on them. I'm running out of good years to work on my stitching as it is, and I keep on buying like I had several lifetimes ahead to stitch, but I guess the collecting is as much fun as the stitching. Below is my list for 2011:

1. "Winter Sampler" by Little House Needleworks
2. "The Library" by Little House Needleworks
3. "Peaceful Garden" by Moira Blackburn (BAP - what was I thinking?)
4. "Family Treasure II" by Told In A Garden (Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum)
5. "Cottage Retreat" by Julia Lucas in The Cross Stitcher magazine
6. "Sanctuary" by The Drawn Thread
7. "Gathering Goldfinches" kit by Dimensions
8. "Dolphin Family" kit by Creative Accents
9. "Golfing" by Hinzeit
10. "The Promise" by Just Nan
11. "Scent of Old Roses" by Mirabilia
12. "Summer's End" by Pamela Kellogg
13. "What A Ride" by Ruby Slipper Needlework Designs
14. Beneath the Sunlit Sky by Blackbird Designs
15. "Flip-Its 2002" by Lizzie Kate (yes, I still have 2 to go 8 yrs. later)

I don't plan to finish all these, but I least want to finish a few and work on all of them through the new year. I will have trouble sticking to nothing but these, and I already know there are newer ones I'll want to do. What are your stitching goals for 2011?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I Fixed My Blog!!!

Yes, I did! It's clean as a whistle, and I've not stitched one stitch because of shopping, other obligations, and hours working on this blanketty blank blog. I now know what to do with multiple tries of getting new backgrounds. I tried till my old dry eyes were blurry, and I figured out how to spot errors that screw with Blogger. Now I feel I can do anything!

Thanks to all who tried to help me with their suggestions. I found that nothing can teach you like making your own mistakes and repairing them yourself. If anything ever trips you up on Blogger, let me know, and I'll try to help you out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Still Alive

Unless you just like to read, you can skip to the pictures that are the only things I've finished since I last posted many months ago, for very good reason. I not only quit blogging, but I quit stitching as well. I just recently felt well enough to start stitching again. Even then, I coudn't quite get up the courage to start blogging after such a long absense. I still haven't fired up the camera, but DH scanned (on his desk) the few little things I've stitched after I lost touch.

It all started last spring after I lost my two sisters-in-law. I started feeling like my anti-depressant wasn't working, and both that and the Abilify were so very expensive (even with our insurance) that I ditched the Abilify and thought all was status quo, and I told the shrink that I wanted to switch the expensive Cymbalta to a generic anti-depressant. For the last several years I've been on the Fentanyl pain patch, not knowing that it was 80 times stronger than morphine and that getting off it was going to be hell. I was also having knee pain which was caused by an arthritic condition causing bone-on-bone. It was very painful, and I limped all the time. I needed a total knee replacement, but the surgeon wouldn't do the surgery with me wearing the patch. And when I went on the generic for Prozac, I had a drug interaction between that and the pain patch, from which I was gradually withdrawing. I was already having gastro-intestinal problems, but the drug interaction really kicked my butt. I began losing weight, not a bad thing, but I was really sick. I had to get off the Prozac and couldn't take anything for some time. Then I went into seratonin withdrawal with many of the same symptoms and many more. I just kept getting sicker and losing more weight.

In the meantime, I was at my deceased sister-in-law's house one night, getting ready for the movers to come clean out her furniture so we could get her duplex sold and dispose of what was necessary. I got up at 3AM to go to the bathroom when my bad knee gave out completely, and I crushed my foot and broke it. We were in a suburb of Chicago and had to go to a strange ER where I went through all the motions of getting x-rayed, getting crutches, and an orthopedic boot for a broken foot. I had to wait for that to heal before having the knee surgery while also getting off the patch.

That was July 9th that I broke my foot, then I spent the next few weeks with seratonin withdrawal and got off the pain patch entirely. It took me through the agony till the middle of August, when I got so depressed that I couldn't deal with it any longer. I surrendered myself to the psych ward of our hospital, where they put me on the generic for Effexor (anti-depressant) and Geodon for anxiety (I was already taking Xanax, but it wasn't enough). Thank heavens the shrink found no drug interactions with the combination that was introduced. The Durogesic pain patch was out of my system, based on the urine test they did, but I tested false positive for marijuana, LOL! I had to convince the doctor that I had tried it many years ago, and it made me have panic attacks, so I never did it again. I did all the group things that I felt were not for me and got out of the loony bin 4 days after entering. All my symptoms gradually abated, but I was still without seratonin untill about 3 weeks later, when I began  feeling the effects of the new meds.

I limped around without the pain patch, which had been masking the pain a lot, till my surgery was scheduled for October 11. I then had the knee replacement which is the biggest major surgery I've had in my lifetime, which has included many surgeries. I worked very hard at getting used to my new knee, and I began walking with just a cane the 2nd day after surgery and gave up even a cane a week after surgery. I'm still fighting some pain and stiffness, but the surgeon tells me it's much like breaking in a new car, and he tells me I'm leaps and bounds ahead of most of his knee patients. He was very pleased that I was walking without any aids at one week.

The few things that I have finished since my last post are pitiful for a stitcher, I know, but it's a real milestone for what I've been through. I've messed with this blog so much changing layouts that I have a ton of HTML at the bottom, but it doesn't change the function of the blog. I noticed that there is still the function of seeing the older posts even with the crap at the bottom. Maybe someday I'll be able to repair this thing.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Just Promised Pix

This handmade stitching sit-on frame holds LHN's "The Library," which is coming off and going back into a hoop. I'm just not happy with the resulting stitches, and it's extremely awkward for me.

This is the second time I started LHN's "Pear Tree" ornament. The first fatality is two posts ago on horrid fabric described in same post. This is on aida but has been fast and enjoyable. My whole outlook on my stitching has improved, and I have four different frame systems to get rid of, LOL! They're just not for me.

It Has Been A Long Time, But.....

besides everything going on in my personal life, which is calming down, BTW, I received a nice surprise from DH. He had a new computer sent to me, and other than saving my favorites and my address book, I started with a clean slate, and I'm in a foreign country. I tried to download Webshots Desktop and Screen Saver, which I've had on every one of my old computers, and there is a conflict with Windows7 which maybe they'll get a fix for eventually. That has been a real disappointment; and I've had to learn to personalize it and make it feel not-so-weird and more like my dinosaur, which is now cleaned off and ready to work for someone else in the family for a few more years.

In spite of everything, just lately I've managed to do a bit of stitching, trying every stitching stand known to stitching circles and have decided in-hand and in-hoop or Q-Snap is the best way to go for me. I just took a snap of LHN's "The Library" in my handmade sit-on frame I got on eBay (actually very nice), and I just may take a scan (does anyone even use scanners any more?) of what I've done on LHN's "Pear Tree" ornament. My stitching is no nice on it cuz I used aida (an 8-yr.-old could use it), and I did it in-hand, hiding the evidence that I started it on some hand-dyed Silkweaver Solo that was, for some reason, not evenweave enough for smoothness and consistency. I need to learn how to get those lovely shots I see on other blogs of pieces lying flat to show different parts of a finished piece. Now that I have my confidence and mood back and am enjoying stitching, I have a lot of stitchy stuff to show, as my deceased SIL left some lovely pieces she had done nothing with, including two pieces that need to be finished stitching. One is an old Buckley Moss design, which is just lovely, and the other is an old Told In a Garden Amish design, which is precious. The others I've cleaned up from years of storage and am going to have framed. I'll try to get pix of those soon.

Now to find an editing program to edit these pix I'm going to blog ASAP. A blog without pix is b o r i n g.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm Back And Ready To Do My Best

I recently got this back from being framed. This design was the first one that drew me to Little House Needleworks. I made some changes and added some things on the bottom line, but the frame was my favorite frame with this piece. I love the way it looks together

I haven't stitched for some time now. I've been going through my SIL's stash and adding it into mine, but the big surprise is that she had quite a few pieces finished, or nearly finished that I'm soaking and getting ready to have framed. I also want to finish the unfinished ones, but first things first.

It snowed again today, so my blog is still in order by leaving the winter snowing scene. Not that I'm loving the snow... enough is enough! However, I love to eat fresh snow and haven't yet done so this year. I try to leave the yellow stuff alone, but I've really got to get my hands on some fresh stuff.

Tomorrow I'm jumping back into my stitching. I borrowed a lap stand from my LNS, and couldn't even get the thing put together. How disgusting! I'm returning it tomorrow and I don't know which of the girls will be there, but there will be some laughter, I'm sure. I'm looking for a stand that I can use these scroll rods with, and I don' t know if they're universal or not. They're called E-Z Stitch No Baste System. Maybe I should Google it and see if I can get something to accomodate the scroll rods. Otherwise, I've spent money for nothing because it's too awkward without something holding the rods, and it hurts my hand. I need to learn to stitch with both hands and can't do so without something holding the scroll rods.

I can't tell you how much it means to hear from all of you here and on my Yahoo Groups, reaching out with kind words of sympathy and encouragement, and honestly, it has been like a healing balm. I don't know that I could have gotten my husband and my brother through it all without all the prayers. I keep wanting to call my husband's sister to ask things about her cat that we took in and also about the XS she did, but she's no longer there. It's hard to believe. Then my brother's wife, who was only 58 and soooo full of life and humor (right up my alley), I still get weepy thinking of my brother without her and her two precious little baby grandchildren, one of whom is old enough to keep asking about her. It just breaks my heart that I'll never see her again.

Well, with over 1000 messages on my computer, I think I need to throw myself into catching up with that now, don't you? Oh great! I just had a friend call and  say it was blizzard-like conditions in a city 45 miles from here. Just what we needed!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Frickin' Friday

What drives a woman of a decent class to talk so crudely? Well, I'm up to here with sad, bad news. I found out today that I lost another SIL, only 58 yrs. old, my brother's wife. She was in good shape and didn't look her age at all. She got the flu and simply died. My brother, a doctor, could see that she was not doing well and called the paramedics. He knew on the way to the hospital that her heart was not performing well. When they got to the hospital,  he told her he loved her, and she told him she wasnted to go back home and be with him. That was the last thime she said anything. I just lost another SIL on Dec. 27, and I only have one left. I haven't been so sad in a very long time. I'm devastated.

Another frickin' mess is on the stitching front, as you can see above. I've lost my pattern to "The Library" by Little House Needleworks, a large design that I was having trouble dealing with all the extra fabric on a Q-Snap, so I settled for my trusty old 8" hoop, got a dab done, then lost my pattern. I think I threw it out, so I have to replace it at my LNS' Super Bowl Sale. In the meantime, I spent $55.25 on a starter package of scroll rods and put an ornament on one to try it. The design is "Pear Tree" by LHN also. I sat down with it last night and got an even smaller dab done - a pear with a big bite out of it. I fought with the scroll rods until my stomach was in knots, and I hate them! I'm tempted to take this piece out and put it in a Q-Snap, cut off the Velcro stuff at top and bottom and get it done! It's going to be pretty if I can just get moving on it.

It's snowing today today too. I got the news of my dear SIL right after it started snowing and we were on our way up north to my other deceased SIL to work on her house, getting it ready to sell. My mother called me on my cell to tell me of the latest death, and I said, "I have a real bad feeling about this trip with it snowing and all. I want to go home to grief and try to get my brother on the phone." They live in Richmond VA.

It's still snowing, and I'm crying, and it's just a frickin' Friday. I can't reach my brother. He's too busy on the phone. I don't think I feel like straightening out my stitching at all. What a horrible winter this has been.

Monday, February 01, 2010

And the Winner Is....

After drawing in a container with 25 contestants, my husband eneded up with the name of Lynda! Congratulations Lynda, and thank you for entering my giveaway!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Comment Here For Giveaway

This is "Fa La La" by Little House Needleworks, the first in a monthly series for a year. Since it has the pattern on one side and the necessities (uses only DMC) on the other side, I never had it out of the bag, so it's like brand new. I included a little plastic bag of the beads it calls for, and there are plenty for more than one ornament if you drop any. I hope you win!

Just leave a comment, and I will have DH draw a name next Sunday. This little jewel can be yours.

First Finish of 2010!

Finally... a first finish for the new year. Last year was a horrible, unproductive year for me, so maybe getting back into the swing of the Internet again after an absence and illness, I'll do better this year.

This was a fun little stitch - Fa La La by Little House Needleworks. It works into an ornament, which, of course with all the extra work we're doing in my late SIL's house and getting her affairs in order, I have not done. Before pressing this little ditty, it looked adorable. Now, the French knots look cattywampus, and the sweet little girls look as though they have goiters and other forms of illnesses, none of which are flattering. I fluffed them up after pressing, and they turned out normal again.

Be sure not to miss this giveaway in my next post. It's a good one, and if you've never tried LHN designs, stitching this will give you an idea of the fun they are.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gingerbread Cottage Back From the Framer

I need to learn to use my camera better. This design by Country Cottage Needleworks was finished before Christmas, and I recently got it back from being framed, which you can tell little about because of my crappy photography. I love this piece and you can take my word for it; the frame is really pretty with it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

WIP Progress

Here is my 2nd progress pic on "Winter Sampler" by Little House Needleworks. It's going to have to be put away while I finish "Fa La La," "Pear Tree" ornaments for January and February, and I'm still waiting for "The Library" fibers and fabric, all for SAL's with the Little House Needleworks and Country Cottage Needleworks Yahoo Group

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Books I Bought Before Christmas

The two books on each end are older books I bought from, though they are brand new, and the one in the middle was a book I just love. It came through the mail when I sent in a post card with a yes in the correct box. One of those deals that you get a free gift whether you decide to keep it or not. Yeah, I'm a sucker, LOL!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fa La La Progress

This is my latest WIP, "Fa La La" by Little House Needleworks. I'm a slow stitcher, and this is deceivingly short and simple at first glance. It seems I've put an awful lot of time in on this one, but it's sooo worth it, and I'm nearly done. I need to pick up my other WIP, then pick up another to keep me inspired. I'll post pix when I get to them.

I was up till the wee hours last night because I tried using another template (not this one) and ended up losing all my blinkies, blogroll, etc. I started over and still working on it, but I've knocked off because of bleary, tired eyes. A blog wasn't built in a day, but I was horrified. Can you imagine?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Ornament Made Before Christmas

I belong to a local stither's group which meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Since I'm catching up my stitching from over the last 6 months (which is nothing to brag about so have to remember every little piece), here is a little ditty I did for our special occasion before Christmas. We did it party style, with goodies from home to eat. There was no stitching done at that meeting. Next Tuesday is our next meeting. We meet at a local restaurant to eat (changes monthly), and we spend the evening shopping at the LNS that hosts it, stitching, and talk, talk, talking. It makes for a fun evening.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Bear In His New Home And My New WIP

After finding my SIL's nearly finished piece of Bear, I got a couple of pix wandering from top to bottom of his new home.

I thought it would be perfect to write my SIL's name, dates of birth and death and add the info about this being her cat on the right side of the XS'ed picture.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Death In the Family

Here I am; same place, six months later. I have several things finished, more stash, and it will take some time to get pix up to make it more interesting.

On December 27th, I lost my sister-in-law. She had just bought her first piece of real estate, a beautiful new duplex in Oswego, IL, close to the suberbs of Chicago. She only had four months in which to enjoy it before she died outside blowing snow in bitter cold.

We have 4 kitties, and couldn't get any of her friends to take her Bear, a large, beautiful gray tabby male with pretty white markings. We tried to find a good home for him but decided there was no place like our home. We inherited a new kitty to make me more of a crazy cat lady, but we're very happy with him, and he's adjusting well. Only one of our other kitties has kept her distance, but it's changing, slowly but surely. Her estate has a long time to be settled, but I am getting her cross stitch as well as Bear. I'll be getting that soon, but I just found a kit that she had almost finished: the spitting image of Bear. I need to finish the back stitching. Finding it made me cry. I know she is happy that we took her Bear to come live with us. No one could have loved him more. I'll get his pic up here along with the cross-stitched image.

It's good to be back on the Internet.