Friday, October 14, 2011

Amber at the Vet

The last couple of days I've noticed that my six-year-old orange tiger, Amber, has changed her potty habits. I can always tell when she has a UTI because of her changes. Usually, it gets pretty far advanced by the time I notice. She'll find another place to pee, associating the litter pan with pain. This time, we were able to nip it in the bud, as she was only using the larger pan with the dome over it, and was just peeing on the extra part of the liner that sticks up out of the litter, and under it was a big pile of clumped litter, so I had a sneaking suspicion. It's a chronic condition for her. I took her to the vet for a urinalysis, and she only had a few drops, but our vet is an expert at extracting drops from her. She spun it down, and sure enough, at the bottom were a few bacteria, the very beginning of infection.

Amber is a very high-strung kitty (which is partly why she is so prone to UTIs), and a trip to the vet is a major upheaval in her life. She knew the moment her carrying thing came out of its hiding place in the unfinished part of the basement and immediately hid under a bed. After chasing her upstairs and down, and finally trapping her into one bedroom, after prying her from under the bed, she emerged a whipped cat, limp as a dishrag. She was as good as dead - breathing hard as though she were clinging to the vestiges of life. She came to life as I was cramming her into the carrier, and suddenly, she grew to twice her size in diameter, preventing me from getting her into the hole. I pushed and shoved, sweating like a pig after the chase, cursing all the while. I'm not sure how I finally managed to shove her in and close the door. In the car on the way, she protested loudly the entire way, and through gritted teeth, I assured her everything would be just fine and dandy.

When we got to the vet's office, she went limp again and was barely clinging to life, and I managed a couple of shots of her with my cell phone on the cat room countertop; also the picture on the wall. As you can see, she didn't have the strength to hold up her head.

We ended up with an antibiotic to clear up the infection, and a $75 bill to pay. I ditched the carrier for the trip home, and Amber rode on the console, constantly checking to see where we were. When we got close to home, she got more & more lively and leapt out of the truck when we entered the garage and went right to the door to her domain.

She has forgiven me and has been completely resurrected.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Review

A few weeks ago, I received a surprising email from a nice person named Yiota, living in the UK, who wanted me to review one of her cross stitch kits. She's interested in getting more traffic and interest in her website and wanted me to choose a kit, which she would send to me free of any charge to open, inspect, and review on my blog. She had happened upon my blog and had decided that this would be a good medium from which to get her website better known. I poured over her site, which I never knew existed before and was delighted with the variety. I had several picked out but eventually asked my husband to help me. I had picked several artists' work charted for cross stitch, but when I showed him the one he decided on for me, he said it looked more like something I would choose to stitch, so I let Yiota know I wanted the following:

This is how the kit appeared when I turned it over to the back:

And this is what I found when I totally opened the kit and spread the contents:

The first thing I noted as a plus was that the floss was wound on numbered cards. My only kit-buying experience has been with floss that needed sorting or pre-sorted floss in strands; never already wound and ready to start stitching. A definite advantage to the cards is that, should the stitcher be short on a floss color, the instructions have a key that names the DMC colors that can be replenished should frogging take place and floss becomes in short supply. That is a definite plus for me.

While there is a piece of white aida with needle inserted, and I prefer working on evenweave or linen, it's true in this particular design that the design is solid and would not show the "blocks" of the aida that I, myself, do not care for. When I brought this up to Yiota, she replied that her company is in the process of offering the option of evenweave over aida for those who prefer stitching on that. Although I didn't want to show the chart in detail, for fear of copyright infringement (dishonest people blowing up the photo and charting it themselves); however, I did find it to be clear and easy to read, in black and white, and similar to Heaven and Earth Designs' charts. I would probably enlarge both Yiota's charts and HAED charts for my own personal preference, as I'm not young any more and do experience vision problems because of an autoimmune problem. I also appreciate that there are no fractional or half stitches; this chart is all full cross stitches.

I hope I have covered all that applies to my lovely kit. I would say that it is far superior to kits I have bought in the past. The carded floss is the single most appealing feature and most conducive to immediate stitching when received. The overall quality of contents is excellent.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Time To Blog

I don't know what has happened to my good intentions to blog regularly, but it has gone the way of my fall cleaning, washing windows, and even stitching every day! I have one finish that I took the time to photograph today, though I have other stitching to show that I have yet to take the camera to. I'm not sure what the problem is with me. I'd say spring fever, but I am enjoying the cooler temps and the beginning-to-turn leaves, and to top it off, this is the first day of fall. Yay!!! I do so love fall, but the problem is that it doesn't last that long, and then we're heading into the holidays, which is simply unbelievable. Part of my problem is that I'm so into The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group since I became a moderator, and I love my job there. It's time consuming, but it's work I love. The pay isn't so great but the comaraderie is tops. I have made some of the loveliest friends there one could ever have. The group is dedicated to specialty stitches and pulled thread work, or hardanger, and it stretches one's blah, blah comfort zone to reach out and embrace Abi Gurden's designs. Her instructions are to-die-for, and beginners who have never used anything but aida will be mastering specialty stitches on linen/evenweave before they know what hit 'em. What I have pictured here is Abi's Tree of Stitches, and though I joined late in April after the SAL was underway, I just finished mine and put the finishing beads on the last couple of days. I decided on a "busy" tree with different colored beads and a little bling with a couple colors of beads and a pastel falling of leaves in a completely different color of leaves than the rest of the tree. There are so many different versions and interpretations of each and every tree, it's fun and relaxing to see the photos section of the group. In the few months that I have been there, the group has grown from 100 members to nearly 400, and by the first anniversary, I predict we will be heading toward 500 members. Below is my own version of the wildly popular Tree of Stitches:

I have selected my fabric and a couple of fibers for the newest SAL, The Great Escape. I have also started a fall-themed design, of which I need to get a picture. I have done the August bird in OakHavenDesigns Bird SAL, but haven't yet taken a photo. I have the chart for both the owl and bird for September I have yet to start. I had great aspirations for plenty of fall stitching, but my Daddy had a stroke two weeks ago, and I've also been spending time with him, since after the hospital stay, he's now in the nursing home for physical rehab, and is not very happy about that. I visit often and stay long to help him with things that the staff is stretched to cover. My sister has also sold her house and is moving in with my Mom temporarily to help with my Dad when he comes home (wants no part of the nursing home if he improves enough to leave), and of course, I will be taking a big part of the help on myself. My Mom is 85 next month and will be hard-pressed to do it herself, having rheumatoid arthritis. Her hands are pitifully crippled, and she is all but disabled too.

If I can get myself a bit more organized with all that I have going on, I can have more to "show and tell." All you about my age remember those days in school when we had "show and tell?" I can't believe some of the things I took to school! I wonder if kids still do that. Sometimes I feel kids are missing some really good times, but I may be wrong. Even my grandkids are grown so I don't have a clue what goes on! I'll look forward to having great grands one of these days.

Now let's see if I can get my latest things together to put in a post!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Owl SAL Progress

The monthly owls by Tonia Pappan of OakHaven Designs Yahoo group. I'm all caught up with this one!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Stash, Stitches, and other things...

I've not been very good at regularly blogging, but here is a pathetic attempt to get caught up, and if I can get organized, I'll try to keep at it.

Since last time, I've done two birds on the OakHaven Designs Yahoo Group bird SAL.

And in The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group, I have caught up with the Tree of Stitches; however, I'm not too pleased with the Carrie's Autumn Leaves thread I chose for the last part. It's too much of a contrast with the muted colors of the rest of the tree. Don't you think? Now, there is the last part coming with the critters in and around the tree. It isn't too late to join in this SAL.

Also, I have joined a Chatlaine SAL in which I'll be stitching Convent's Herbal Garden. I've taken a photo of two cut of fabric that I can't decide upon. The mushroom lugana is 28ct, and the more ivory color is 32ct linen. I thought that the beads might be crowded on the 32ct, so I bought the lugana. Later I found that quite a few ladies had stitched the design on 32ct and had no problems with the beads being crowded, so all I have to do is decide. Can you help me? I have to stitch a small floral center over one thread. Here are the two fabric from which I'm trying to choose:

And for the dab of stash this past month, there are things to help me get my stitching stand in operation again, some beads for my Tree of Stitches, a Pako gadget for line magnification, some threads, platinum needles I wanted to try, and Little House Needleworks' first reproduction sampler.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gabi's Blogoversary!!!

Gabi is a well-known person in our stitching community from Australia. Her stitching and knitting is divine! She's celebrating a blogoversary, and her loving and generous giveaway is a $100 voucher to Anita's Little Stitches, $50 of which comes directly from Gabi! Skip on over to her blog and wish her congratulations on her blogoversary!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stitches and Stash

It's been over a month since I last was here. I do have a good excuse though. I've been very much into my new duties as a new moderator on The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group. That is the group in which Abi Gurden designs SALs of her brilliant designs. That's where the Tree of Stitches comes from, and you can see where we are, as I am now caught up:

You can even see the branch in the center of the tree where the little owl will sit, and there will be a little rabbit on the ground and yet another branch on the tree. It's not too late to join in the SAL, and we do have a lot of fun. There will be yet another SAL after this, and another, and another....

And I'm slowly getting caught up with the other two SALs I've gotten into: The bird SAL is my slowest because I had a rough start (a post below explains), and I just recently got my July owl chart, which I have not yet started, but the owls don't take long at all, and they're just so cute!

And though I swore to myself I wouldn't buy any more stash, I'm always in need of hand-dyed threads and fabrics to stitch what I have in my stash, then I saw a few charts I couldn't pass up:

I also must have Little House Needleworks' new reproduction sampler, Melicent Turner's Sampler and the threads and fabric to stitch it. I don't know when I'll get to that or any of what you see here, but that's totally beside the point!

One of my fellow mods on The Stitch Specialists has the same stitching stand as I do, and she does such lovely stitching that she insprired me to drag mine out of the abyss under the basement stairs and put it together. She directed me to a link of her setup, and I asked my son-in-law, a carpenter, to come over to see what I had and the adjustments I needed to have made to get mine up-to-speed so I can adapt it to accommodate my American Dream brand scroll rods and 30" rods I just received. I have a large clamp-on magnifier coming that he's going to attach to my stand and make a new control bar across the top; also make me a 20" set of rods. I dug around and located my needle trolley and the Perfect Stitch tool I bought from the same man who built my Grip-It Legend stitching stand, from whom I can no longer get things as they're out of business. I also have a recliner attachment to my stand which I can no longer remember how to attach, and my SIL promises me that he'll take the time to figure it out for me. I bought everything I thought I would ever need from him and so glad I did now that he's out of business. I even bought their Sit-On stand that can be carried and used anywhere. And I'm so glad I have my handy son-in-law around to fill in the gaps.

So you see... I'm still stitching, but also preoccupied and very busy learning the ropes. I'll really try to be more diligent about reporting in here, as much for myself as anyone. Yes, SusieQ, I will.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

I'm Still Stitching...

just not as much because I've been working outside. We have so many bushes and trees, it's difficult to get around to them all, plus plant flowers, and it has been so unGodly hot! Today was the first day in awhile that it was not terribly uncomfortable.

I'm still trying to get caught up to date on my SAL's, although I have no pictures of my progress since last time - not yet anyway, except for the Tree of Stitches:
This is through part 8, and number 11 was just released, so I've still got a bit of catching up to do I also joined an off-shoot of the Tree of Stitches SAL group, The Stitch Specialist Yahoo group, on which several girls were discussing Chatelaines, so Abi, the designer on the group, started TSSChatelaineSAL Yahoo Group. I joined because I have Mystery II, Convent's Herbal Garden, purchased from European Cross Stitch, probably 5-6 years ago and have never started it! This new group has quite a few seasoned Chatelaine stitchers in it, ready to help if I run into snags. I won't be starting it for some time yet. Several of the gitls are joining the Yahoo class for the new Chat, Herbularious. Personally, I don't care mush for it. I see others I like much better, and mine is my all-time fave.

An old friend of mine, Vikki Gable, is busy these days making fobs and stitch counters for an exhibit with Vikki Clayton, who makes the wonderful hand-dyed silks many know & love. Vikki Gable offered to make owl fobs for those participating in the Owl SAL of Oakhaven Designs Yahoo Group and had them pictured on her blog with the price list, along with the other things she was making. I ordered a tiger's eye owl fob, a shorter blue crystals cat fob, and 2 sets of stitch counters from her, which I received today. She knows how I love her stitch counters, so she tucked in a set of her clay heart stitch counters as a surprise for an old friend. You can see them all below:

I just realized how long is has been since I last posted. Where does the time go? I totally wore myself out in the yard today and have no yearning to stitch this evening. I feel a tad guilty not stitching. I pulled out a couple of stitching stands that were in hiding in the abyss under the basement stairs and put them together to try once again doing two-handed stitching. I still find it awkward, but I'm really wanting to give it a good try this time. We'll see...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Caught Up in SALs

I ran across several blogs that had SALs, but it's what I want to do at this time, and since it's an enjoyable hobby, and not a race, I've decided to just get caught up with the SALs I joined and forget about my WIPs for a while. See? No stress any more. I've decided to take the advice of many and just stitch what I want and enjoy it.

I love these little guys. Each owl is cuter than the one before, and I'm anxious to get caught up so I can await the next month's surprise. Tonia Pappan does a nice job on designing the owls.

After royally screwing up the placement of January's bird (last post), I have finished February's bird. I love stitching these pretty little fellows! The colors are scrumptious. Again, nice designing job by Tonia!

I'm loving this Tree of Stitches by Abi Gurden of The Specialty Stitches Yahoo group. She designed this and a Little Lace hardanger piece that we're SALing in the group. I have not yet begun the Little Lace hardanger piece but I'm proud of the Tree of Stitches progress, though I'm behind since it started at the first of the year, I believe. Each part is made up of a different specialty stitch. Abi's clear, concise instructions make it a pleasure to work on.

Friday, May 06, 2011

What Is Wrong with This Picture?

I'm so frustrated! I got caught up in SALs I've seen on several blogs, and Karen of Sushine Stitches is a bad influence on me. Not really - she inspires me to join Yahoo groups and forums in which there are SALs going on that started at the beginning of the year. This means that I have a lot of catching up to do. In OakHaven Designs Yahoo group, there are two monthly SALs going, and I decided to do them both. Why? Because one is cute; one is pretty. I did the January owl without a problem (no pic yet). We're talking about simple here. Tonia Pappan of OakHaven Designs does wonderful, easy-to-see, easy-to-do and quick-to-stitch pdf charts. They're no-brainers. If I had a brain, the above would never have happened. I had bought 2 large pieces of 14ct aida in two different colors, mainly because it seemed that aida was being used by most of the members, and I liked this linen-look aida, although I nearly always buy linen or evenweave now. I do have nice colors of aida in my stash, even hand-dyed colors, that I will use from time to time just to get it used up. Anyway, I calculated the size I needed for the bird SAL and the owl SAL. The owls are bigger up and down; the birds are bigger side to side. I stitched the owl correctly. I stitched the bird you see on the right so that the others coudn't be stitched 3 across and 4 down, the way I had planned with the size of aida I had them cut for me. Sooo... I stitched the bird on the left the correct way, but it's one stitch off. The birds all are the same basic size and shape, just different colors and different surroundings. If I don't frog the 2nd bird, it won't match up with the other birds. I have yet to frog the first incorrect bird on the right, just so you could witness a no-brainer's work.

I'm a slow stitcher, so I've had to abandon my rotation to get a start on these SALs, and the thought of doing the same bird makes me sick. To think I've just joined The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group to do another SAL, the Tree of Stitches (featured on their homepage) and yet another SAL with the Merry Members of the SanMan Originals message board makes me even sicker. I've had different sweet souls tell me to weed out the ones that don't thrill me and just do the ones that do. Well, they all thrill me! So I've decided to put my rotation on hold and concentrate on these SALs to try to get caught up. It's supposed to be fun - that's what one of the sweet souls said to me, and she's right! My plan to get the SALs started are what thrills me right now and makes me happy, so that's what it shall be, and my other WIPs will wait. It's not a race, thank goodness!

The problem is that 2012 will bring another string of new SALs that will call to me, and I'm weak. I have no discipline, which is why I have a Chatelaine, Convent's Herbal Garden, along with the shocking sales receipt from European Cross Stitch from about 2004 or 2005 - untouched. I just bought the linen for it a couple of years ago - still untouched. My intentions are good, and I recently took it out to look at the pattern and instructions but that was before I got sidetracked by all these 2011 SALs that stole my heart. I have to get them going, then back to my other WIPs I had on the go, then I dearly want to do the Chatelaine, The Sampler Girl's Jane Austen's Mansfield Park SamplerInk Circle's BoInk that I never got to when the Tracy's Yahoo Group was going (it has since closed, but I printed the charts while there), and Garden Spot Sampler (circa late 18th century or early 19th century), and a host of Little House and Country Cottage Needlworks thread packs and kitted others, not only LHN and CCN, but tons of others. Why, oh why, can't I live a whole lot longer?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Stash Alert! And Scroll Down For a Giveaway...

This seems like a lot of stash, but it has been collected since the Super Bowl Sale at my LNS. Some things were bought to finish projects already in my stash that hopefully soon to be projects "on the go." Of course there is some that is quite self-indulgent and not needed at all, but as I saw a design say, "Need has nothing to do with it." I tell you - it's an illness.

Several cuts of fabric bought at Super Bowl Sunday at my LNS.

A couple of Heaven and Earth Designs bought from their site on sale. The first is Storykeep (bookmark) Seasons Spring; the second is Autumn Magic, a full size graph. I must be nuts!

Hand-dyes for projects I am doing or want to do.

A Stitcher's Journey by Blackbird Designs. A "must have" for me.

A liitle basket kit from Stoney Creek, targeted for a Christmas gift this year. So sweet!

Hob Nobb for a cute little St. Patrick's Day piece that I didn't get a start on this year. It was marked down at my LNS.

The Prairie Schooler new spring designs with the freebie little card. I ordered these in a special offer from Mary Kathryn at

Since I acquired these, I bought the 3rd month of the Stoney Creek Pattern-of-the Month (an 8 month program that my LNS is ordering from). Actually, they advertise them as free, but there is a S&H charge of $3.95, which is what my LNS charges for the individual patterns. There is the raw/gold linen and beads, threads, and embellishments so far.

Some stash ordered from J.J.'s Collectibles Super Bowl Sale, all on my wish list.

Lizzie Kate LE Spring scissor fob, marked down at my LNS. A couple of patterns from J.J.'s Collectibles again. I'm working on one, Winter Lineup now.

I saw this on the Internet and had my LNS order it for me - a pricey pattern and one that I may never do, but I just love it!!! There is a lot of stitching to this one - several pages!

I think this is the last Charles Wysocki's artwork turned into counted cross stitch kits that I needed to complete my collection I may never do (may sell). This is Maggie the Messmaker, and I got it for 40% off.

The Sampler Girl had a 25% off sale on patterns so I purchased Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Quaker Boo, the last of which was on my wish list also.

More stash from LNS Super Bowl Sale, all on wish list.

The 32ct hand-dyed evenweave for previously shown Mansfield Park.

32ct hand-dyed linen for the following BAP Garden Spot Sampler (a replica of an antique sampler).

I don't know how I came into possession of this pattern, though I remember having a broken leg at the time, and there were a few girls on the Internet who were doing a SAL with this. That was in 2005, and I just came across this with the following Vikki Clayton silks for it - the way she used to package her silks.

The silks packaged by Vikki nearly 6 years ago. The following Vicky Clayton silks were purchased by me recently to do Mansfield Park.

And if you've hung in there with me this long, there is a giveway on Deborah's blog, Cranberry Samplings. Hop on over there to see what that's about. She has done some wonderful stitching!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Won A Blogoversary!

What a lovely surprise to find my parcel in the mailbox today! I had commented on Bekca's blog, The Stitching Lion and had no intention of winning anything. I just loved her Nature's Beauty WIP by Little House Needleworks. I have that one in my own stash and love the design. She commented on my blog that I should pay her blog a visit; that I would be glad I did. I was astonished that I had won anything! The parcel got here in just a few days all the way from the UK! Bekca's stitching is beautiful, and I'm going to enjoy every bit of the contents. She even wrapped it all in cupcake paper. Just a really beautiful little package that thrilled me so much! Thank you, Bekca!

Isn't this the sweetest little ducky Bekca stitched on a bookmark? The back looks as good as the front!

Here is the wrapping paper, a very sweet card to me, a new pair of scissors, a skein of Duchess floss, some springy finishing fabric, and some lovely 32ct hand-dyed Belfast linen. Isn't it all just a lovely package for a very sweet teenager to put together?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

To all my stitching friends who celebrate the Christ Who Is Risen!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blogoversary Alert

Tangerinedream of Cross Stitch and Cupcakes is doing a huge anniversary giveaway! Check it out!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Big Update, Long Overdue

I'm really trying to keep it together after the loss of Bear, so I've kept busy stitching. Though I'm a very slow stitcher, I have managed to have a few things come together at approximately the same time. I'm finally doing a rotation that I worked out with the help of several girls who offered suggestions. I really think it was actually Shelleen who helped me the most. I work on two UFO's a month and two WIP's a month, then just on Sundays, I work on a Halloween/Autumn/Thanksgiving project, and on the 25th of each month, I start on a Christmas ornament. The latter two are done as SAL's with a Yahoo group I'm on, Stitching Sisters. I'm thinking because of being so slow that I should start one on the 20th of each month to insure a finished ornament before the end of each month and still allow for my other rotation stitching.

Also, as I finish things, they go into an increasingly larger pile to be either framed or sewn into their respective finished forms. I need to gather small print fabrics and other notions to take a week or two and put everything together. I haven't had many pieces framed lately because of the expense, but I need to begin having things framed, even if it's only one a month. If not, I'm afraid that all the things I've stitched will end up in hands that know nothing of the work involved and get tossed eventually.

These are shots of one of my UFO's: "Winter Sampler" by Little House Needleworks.

This is my ornament for the month of March, "Snowy Pines" by Little House Needleworks.

The results of my Sunday SAL, "Haunted House" stocking by Blackbird Designs. D'ya think I'll find Halloween fabric to make this into a stocking? Don't think so this time of year. I've started on the 2nd stocking from the same book:
This stocking is named "Whooo's Knocking At My Door."

Here are some things I've also been working on:

Another UFO, a kit, "Goldfinch Gathering." This is what I pulled out of hiding in the abyss under the basement stairs. This has now been put back out of sheer frustration. I did finish the bird, but any pitiful progress on starting the fence post has to be frogged (one stitch off).

I found that one of my problems is that I don't really like stitching on 18ct aida any longer, so who knows what will become of this piece. I really love the colors in it! And to top it off, there is not enough thread to finish it all. No great loss, though, as I bought is for about $4 quite a few years ago.

Another UFO I've had for a couple of years, "The Library" by Little House Needleworks. I am not pleased with the stitching that is shown in this photo, as I was half blind because of  Sjogren's Syndrome, which is secondary to my lupus. Thank goodness you can't really see how bad the stitches are, but they are very distasteful to me. Though I use artificial tears, they weren't helping at the time that this part was stitched because my large tear ducts were opening back up after having had them cauterized so that they healed over (closed) to preserve moistness in the eyes. I had them re-cauterized in late December 2010, and my eyesight is much improved so that this part of the design is going to be frogged after I finish the rest of this piece. I really like this design, so I'm sticking with it if it takes me a couple of years!
And here is the same with a bit of progress stitching that is acceptable to me.

This will be the second time I've stitched this one. The first one went to my daughter after having it framed for her. Here is the first one:

And yet another WIP, just recently started:

This is the cutest lil' thing - Country Cottage Needleworks' "Bunny Hop."
My next post will be a "catch up" as well, with the S.A.B.L.E that I've hauled since my LNS's Super Bowl Sale till now.

Signing off with a photo of my oldest kitty, Pib (Pain In the Butt), whom we call Pibbie. She's a pitiful little 15-year-old tortoise-shell kitty that no one but a mother could love.