Saturday, October 30, 2004

Mrs. Productivity Came to Visit

With the kids gone, I have gotten quite a bit done here, and that even counted time for "just ME" stuff as well. It's been a quiet and relaxing time. Something that I've needed to get centered again. I've cleaned things I have put off, I've sorted those things that I didn't want to get near, and I've even dusted of the sewing machine and fixed things. GASP!

Best of all, was my time stitching. I pulled out a Mill Hill pin kit that I've wanted to do for a couple of years now. I can now say that it's not only finished, but it's also put together and ready to wear!

He's called "Mr Twinkle Flake". I was very pleased with how he turned out. This is my first pin that I've ever done, and I'm so happy with the results.

My other bit of productivity was getting the umph to dig out all the fo's that I have in my box, and actually finishing a couple to be able to display. I sewed up Lorri Birmingham's "Gardener Needleroll" and the "February Fob" that was stitched a couple of years ago.

I still have a few tuck pillows I want to make, but for the life of me, I can't remember where I put the fabric to make them. Where it normally would be, it isn't. Guess I put it somewhere where I wouldn't lose it! LOL

DH has gone hunting today. He left early and will go to my brothers and get DS to go along with him. I don't know if he'll be bringing the kids home tonight or if we will be getting them tomorrow, since we'll be going to my brother's tomorrow. We are gathering for "Hoagie making night". We will be taking all the "fixings" up to make hoagies. It's a nice treat for everyone - we all make the kind of hoagie we want, and then we play games afterward - which usually turns out to be "Uno" :-) I'm looking foward to that - cuz I'm finally gonna whoop them and win (like that will ever happen!! LOL)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

A Little Finish

The day was so chilly yesterday, and leaves are falling like giant yellow and orange snowflakes, that it put me in the mood to want to stitch a fall design. Wouldn't you know - there was nothing on my WIP list that qualified for fall. So, I got to play in my stash a little and chose a small freebie design that would be both fast and fall-ish

This cute little freebie is from Waxing Moon Designs . I found I was missing 2 threads and the recommended button, so I substituted WDW Whiskey for the GAST Tarnished Gold, WDW Carrot for the GAST Pumpkin Patch, and the squirrel charm for the recommended Crow button. The design called for black for the binding on the shook, but I thought that too drastic with everything else being in the oranges/yellows/browns. I chose DMC 780 for it instead. You know, I love freebies. They are so small and I almost always substitute something on them. I have the "guts" to play with them, but not the larger designs. One of these days....

The kids will be staying at my brother's for the next couple of days. He needed some extra help there on the farm, and they love helping him out. They have to take their schoolwork with them and I hear lots of "OH MOM! Do we really have to?'s". Mom's so mean, isn't she?! LOL I'm hoping to get caught up on a few things here with them gone, and to have some "me" time during the day will be an unusual treat.

Now off to make sure the kids are packed with everything they will need - including school books...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Another One Bites the Dust...

Another WIP has been finished. Not a big one, but still one that was started.

Just Nan's Christmas Rose is a freebie pattern. I used Eterna silks in the colors 3920, 2020, 2150, 2170, and white and stitched it on 32 ct. raw Belfast linen. The scanner didn't do very will with the beads, and mushed them so they are in a disarray from what they really look like. I will be finishing this into an ornament for my brother's Christmas tree.

I also made a dishcloth using Lily's Sugar 'n Cream in white and varigated yellows. It was just the plain old "Granny's Dishcloth" that can be found at Dishcloth Boutique . I love looking through that site and trying to decide on what dishcloth I want to make next. So many fun patterns, and all instant gratification!

What are you working on right now?

Today, I'm working on my WIP list (like normal) and pulled out Mill Hill's "Winter Wonderland" - a Buttoned & Beaded Kit from the Holiday II series. Since the weather has cooled down, I've been in the mood to work on fall and winter things.

On to a more personal note, the kids each got a 3 week old hamster last week. They are having such a blast with them! Surprisingly, DH loves those little critters, too, and every evening after work, he sits down on the living room sofa and plays with them. DH is a big 6' tall and strong and husky type that certainly doesn't look like he'd play with a little critter like that. It's quite comical to see - this huge guy with a baby hamster crawling all over him and giggling when it tickles him.

Friday night DD and I were watching Joel Osteen on TBN, and he was doing a sermon on appreciating others and planting "seeds". DD thought the sermon was fantastic, and on Saturday she decided to let the mail delivery person know how much she was appreciated by baking and putting out cookies with a nice note attatched. She then put them out in the mailbox and when she went to get the mail that afternoon, she found a very nice letter in return with a couple of lollypops. A nice surprise for DD as well :-) Today, she has done the same thing for the regular mailman - and they are sitting out in the mailbox ready to be picked up. So often we do take advantage of those that deliver our mail, or parks our cars, or picks up our garbage, etc. I'm hoping that our children will see those people as someone who deserves to be thanked and treated like the wonderful people that they are. Since we homeschool, those values can be inground more and hopefully will stay their entire lifetime. Maybe we can instill the values from past generations that seem to have all but disappeared.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Finding More WIPS

Being on "The Wagon" has made a great difference in how I look at my stitching. When I see someone's postings now, I don't drool and don't get into the "have to have it" mode any more. There are things that I like and some I may even buy one day, but I don't put in huge orders at Needlecraft Corner any more. There are times that I do send a nice order in for supplies, but only for patterns that I have on hand. I do miss talking with Drema - she's such a sweetheart, and my goal is to one day go to Baltimore to see the shop and say "HI!!" to her in person.

After lots of ripping on the White Bindweed Fairy I needed some quick gratification, so I went to my WIP box and dug out the Mill Hill Strawberry Basket that I had about 3/4's finished. I was chugging right along, doing the flowers on the basket, when I found that there weren't enough beads to do all of them. No biggie. Since it's a Mill Hill product, I just might have these beads in my stash. The number sounded familiar, so I went looking. Yup - got 'em! So I went to work on it more, and found that even though they are the same number, the beads are a different color!! Hmmmm.... Will this now be a UFO - not on your life! So, I just bit the bullet and did it in the different color, hoping the flowers in the basket would be far enough apart from the one in the corner to not really show up. Well, it does to me, but DH didn't notice, so it can't be too bad. And here's the finished product:

Yup - to me it shows up like a sore thumb. I may just rip out the corner flower. I'll just have to see if it's something I can live with. I guess the fact that Mill Hill either didn't get their directions correct, or has changed the color of their beads makes me a little TO'd, but it is an old kit. I'll have to keep an eye on my older beads in my stash to make sure there isn't a color change on some of my larger projects. Either that, or just buy all the beads that I need at the same time.

While being on "The Wagon", I've also found out something else about my buying habits. I buy to medicate myself when I'm feeling down or stressed. It was a hugely difficult year this year with 4 deaths in the family, a flu that turned into a month and a half sickness for all here, my father going into the hospital/nursing home for more than 3 months and with his amputation, his lifestyle has changed, and in turn, changed ours somewhat. Plus the normal everyday routine stresses that become bigger when something something else is going on. Yah, I could have spent a bundle this past year, and really wanted to some days. That's when I realized that stress causes me to hoard.

While searching for the beads for Strawberry Basket, I came across 2 more WIP's!! That pushes my WIP's back up to 36 but this is the first year I can remember where my WIP's and UFO's have actually been the same amount as my FO's and soon to be less. That is a major accomplishment for me!!

Saturday, October 16, 2004

OK... Who Sent the ?!

I have been happily plugging away with my White Bindweed Fairy, when I found that everything to the right of the flower I'm working on is one stitch off! Yah, I knew it - Murphy's Laws just had to get involved here, as things were going so smoothly. That's one heck of a lot of stitches to rip out, but hey - that's half the fun, right? DH said that since it's just one stitch, I can compensate for it with no problem - heck what's one stitch matter? Well it isn't so much one stitch as one row of 197 stitches is off, so if I compensate for that one, I must do it for the next row, and the next.... and it would be more work trying to compensate than to just and do it correctly.

Even though I need to do that, I'm still loving this piece so. With all that said, here's a pic of the flower I'm working on. that's located at the bottom left hand corner. I'm very pleased with the results.

So everyone can rest easily for a while, as that pesky little will be keeping residence at my house for a while.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Still on the "Wagon"

The rain is falling temps are hanging in the 40's this morning. Brrrr - it's hot chocolate weather!!! They are calling for flurries this weekend. Nothing new for October, but it just seems that fall shouldn't be here yet.

I finally got to start working on DMC's "The White Bindweed Fairy" yesterday. I put in about 500 stitches, maybe a little more. I'm really happy with the progress, and had a hard time putting it down to go to bed last night. It was a good piece to work on during the Presidential Debate as it was both pleasing to work on, and the area that I was doing didn't need much concentration.

I love some of the patterns DMC puts out, but don't care for the size of the charts, and don't like having my patterns folded. They always wear, no matter how well you take care of them, or store them. I do make working copies though, so that I can mark them all up. But on the flip side of things, DMC makes their symbols large and easy to read. I do like that about them.

I've signed up for another few months of Stash abstinence on the The Wagon BB . I haven't been buying patterns for the last 10 months. The only thing that I have received were the items I get on automatics - the JCS Ornament Issue and Paula Vaughan's new releases. That is approximately 1-2 patterns a year from PV and the one Ornie issue. Some may say that's cheating, but DH told me NOT to cancel the automatic shipments, so... who can argue with DH?

I will say that jumping on the Wagon has been the best thing I could have ever done. I've finished more pieces that I've started than ever before. I also am stitching from things I have and not buying more stuff to start. The most amazing thing is, the first time I sorted through my stash after deciding not to buy any more patterns, was all the things I had that I forgot that I purchased!!! Wow! It was like browsing a LNS!! I was ooohing and aaaahing over things that I wanted to stitch and forgot about. Some even were kitted. So, I've decided that when I do get off the Wagon, that I probably won't be going hog-wild and buying things except for something exceptional or something that will be going out of print and I really would like to stitch it someday. So far, things that were on my wishlist that was created before I went on the Wagon, really don't interest me any longer. I was to the point, if it was posted on a BB, I usually wanted it. Now, it's only the exceptional pieces that impress me and make me want them. However, I'm NOT making a wishlist anymore. The only purchase I will be making any time soon, is to buy what I need to make up what I have. I have a lot of patterns that use specialty items, be it threads, fabrics, or buttons - and they sit not being touched because of the lack of those items. My idea was to buy all the patterns on sale (heck most I have I paid 50% to 75% off retail) so I'd look at my money and see how far I could stretch it. Frugal? Not really, as most of those patterns required stuff I didn't have. So instead of buying the items I needed to stitch them, I'd buy more patterns on sale, because my money went further. See the problem? With eliminating the pattern purchasing, I have the money to buy the specialty items - or better yet, I'm becoming a bit more creative and subbing buttons, colors, and threads.

With all that being said, I'm really much happier working on what I have. Amazing, isn't it?!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Another Finish!

Another finish for me today! I'm happy that this one is done, as it was a gift from a dear friend of mine. She sent me the pattern and the fabric a couple of years ago, and I've had it on the back burner, as it seems other items need done before something for me does. So, since I've been down sick, I thought I'd take "me" time and work on something for "me". So I dug it out and have finished it. It's an adorable pattern from Bent Creek called The White Cat.

The middle where the flowers are is somewhat blurry. Sorry about that. The buttons held the fabric off the glass when I scanned it, and I don't really know how to fix that problem.

QOTW: Stash enhancement
You've just been given a $100 gift certificate to buy anything cross stitch or needlework related - what would you spend it on right now?
Ohhhh! What a wonderful gift! If only that happened in real life (grin). I've been wanting a mat cutter, so I'd blow the whole thing on a pretty decent one. I would love to be able to cut my own mats. Then I'd be able to finish more of the projects I have sitting and waiting to be framed.

DH and DD are away at a star gazing class tonight. DS and I were supposed to go as well, but DS seems to have caught the same thing I have and he really didn't want to go and hang outside with the temps dipping into the 30's. Can't say I blame him one little bit! We were supposed to do an overnight thing, get breakfast in the morning, and then come home. Well, DH & DD are doing that anyhow. I'm sure they are having a great time. Maybe it's a good thing DS didn't go. DD doesn't get enough alone time with Dad.

We collected all the seeds from the garlic chives. They are just starting to open, so we brought them in to finish drying. My chives just aren't multiplying fast enough, so I thought I'd plant some more next year. We are slowly collecting the seeds from our Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory. That was planted years ago, and it reseeds itself every year. I'm making sure I have some seeds on hand just in case it doesn't come back for some reason, or someone decides to mow it down or something. I had those Garden Huckleberries planted at the end of my garden. They came up every year, until one year DH decided to till in that area. I have no idea what posessed that man to do such a thing, but he did, and all the little seedlings that he thought were weeds were gone.

DH and DS are building a rabbit cage and boy is that thing huge! It's 4 times the size of the one the rabbit is in now. I hope he doesn't get lost in it! (giggle) DS is having a great time making the cage. In fact, he went and took his bunny out to it so he could see just how small the rabbit looked on it. They have 2 more cages to go after this one.

The leaves are turning and falling off the trees. Soon the trees will be bare. I can't believe it's already the middle of October. Soon it will be Halloween, and we'll be off on our day out. Every Halloween, we go out for dinner instead of the kids going trick-or-treating. They prefer doing this, as they get to try a new place to eat every year. This year we will be going to The Outback. That should be fun! And we hear the food is good, so the kids are anxious to go. Plus, we'll make a good day out of it, and we'll have to make a stop at Sam's Club and a few other stores we don't go to very often. Sam's Club is usually a $400+ trip that we do twice a year. We save quite a bit by buying in bulk. We have changed our eating habits, going mostly with whole foods, so we may get out of there cheaper this time.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Two Finishes Today!

I'm down with a miserable cold, not wanting to do any housework. So while the kids and DH were out cutting wood, I sat watching movies and stitched my little heart out. It paid off with 2 finishes:

The first one that I finished was the Lynn Walters Busa "Little House Sampler".

Now I need to get to A.C. Moore's and pick up a frame for it.

The other is Lorri Birmingham's "Gardener Needleroll" kit.

I had a hard time finishing this one - it's been in progress for quite a long time. Not because it was hard, but because the bees were all French knots. UGH! The wings were also supposed to be done in white French knots, but I didn't want the wings white. Instead, I pulled out my Krenik 032 blending filament, and did a sort of padded satin stitch to make the wings irridescent.

Now off to the sewing machine to finish my needleroll and I also have a scissors fob that needs finished as well. I usually get a few things together to sew at once, as I hate getting the machine out just for one thing. Oh to have a craft room where things can be left set up!

Friday, October 08, 2004

White Bindweed Fairy

Here's my lasted WIP:

It's DMC's "White Bindweed Fairy" that I had so graciously adopted from J.S. Cooper. It is being stitched on an ivory/off white aida. I'll be putting more stitches in it as soon as my Little House Sampler is done. I'm itching to start!!!
Cross-Stitching my little heart out....

Finally life has wound down enough to allow me to take some time to cross stitch and enjoy the process. XS is my first love with knitting and crochet a close second. I love painting with threads, metallics and beads and it always amazes me how the picture just forms - going from splotches of colors to a picture!! Knitting and crochet are amazing as well, creating a useful object with loops/knots in a string. Imagine being the person that thought up all that stuff and how it must have amazed their peers. I see how people are amazed at how a sock is made, and that's "old hat".

Currently, I'm working on Lynn Walter Busa's "Little House Sampler" and I'm coming to the home stretch on it. I haven't touched it since April when it looked like this:

I should be posting a finish soon :-)

Stitcher's QOTW: Thread organization: plastic bobbins, yes or no? How do you organize your threads? Shhhhh - don't tell anyone, but I still use those little cardboard bobbins except with the more used colors like white and black. With those, I use the more durable plastic. Someday I'll find a better system to use, but until then, I'll just keep winding. Now, if only I could find a better way to store my speciality threads....

Last month we went to see a concert by Scott Krippayne. It was outstanding! I'm not one to go to concerts because they never sound as good as the recordings. However, Mr. Krippayne's concert was fantastic. That guy could actually hold a tune and not make one cringe from going off key. And personality? What a personable guy he is! Amazingly enough, he traveled here from Washington state right when we were flooded from Ivan. He came through all the rain just to put on the concert. I was so sure it would be cancelled, but nope - it went on as planned. He came in with his piano, and a drummer. That's it - and those two held us entranced through the whole concert. This guy is a must-see live. He is just incredible!

Dad went back in the hospital to get therapy to learn how to use his new leg. He did very well, and is now back home and has a visiting therapist coming in 3x a week. While he was in the hospital, my FIL had a heart attack and was admitted. You'd think after his triple-bypass a few years ago, he'd learn and stop smoking like they told him to, but... So, he had his last untouched artery taken care of and opened. He's back home with lots of instructions, including the no more smoking one, but you know how stubborn those old FIL's can be.

Our house is almost half painted now. Looking pretty neat, but the new blue paint with the old yellow makes one wild contrast. Hopefully we will have time to get the rest painted before the really cold weather sets in. We had to take a break to help my brother with his roof as it needed fixed more than our house needed painting. Of course, you know they ran into a lot more than just patching - replacing one whole side and realizing that next spring the other side will need done. I don't think any of us have run into simple fixes when it comes to house repair. Why is that?!! grin

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

One Quick Sad Note

At 4:40 am the last little mouse died. They were way too young, just as we were told, but we tried. DD will be heartbroken when she finds out, but we had warned her again that none may survive, especially since we were given the slim to none chance.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

October Already?!! Where has September gone.....

Here it is - October and we aren't near ready for fall yet. We went out yesterday to collect our first batch of firewood. Nothing like putting it off, is there? So here we are, out minding our own business getting a load of wood, when I saw this mouse run away from one of the logs we cut, with the dog in hot pursuit behind. No sense calling the dog, as it won't listen to a word you say when it sees a running meal. Yup, my brother's dog loves to eat rodents. Well, off we go toting these logs to the trailer when I notice a tiny pink body laying in the trailer. OH NO!! Daggonit! It's a teenie tiny baby mouse, still alive. Crap - we must have hit a nest. Sure enough, on further examination, there was a nest with 4 more babies besides.

Now, I think mice are cute, make great pets, but I also know that they are nasty little creatures when they're in your house or garden. So here we were with 5 innocent baby mice that were in their log minding their own business when we chopped up their home. Mom was long gone or eaten, and there was nothing I could do with them except... give them to DD to see if she wanted to take care of them. What's the chances of pink ones living? Slim to none, but right now we have made it through 24 hours of feeding every hour. Yeah, you did see we. Since DD is still young, I'm not making her stay up all night. That's what mom's are for.

DH isn't very happy about the situation, and he's hoping they all die, which means they are sure to live :-) I was about DD's age when a friend of mine came to me with a bundle they found in their stove pipe while cleaning it out. She said her parents were going to kill them, and she talked them out of that because she knew I'd take care of them. She brought me 8, and out of them, 5 survived with the help of my mom. So, I'm honestly expecting a couple out of this batch to live.

DD is already feeling the pinch of motherhood, as she has to take care of them during the daytime, and with hourly feedings, she's not able to do much. In less than 3 weeks they'll be weaned, but right now, 3 weeks will be like 3 years. :-)

Since I was up last night, I pulled out an old cross stitch piece to work on. No way was I going to get out my knitting as tired as I was. I hate ripping out knitting mistakes. I'm intimidated by all those loops that can get lost. Being so tired though, I didn't stitch much. Seemed like what I did do took forever.

My pantry shelves look pretty good. Not as full as I would have liked them, but darn good for our growing year. They are calling for frost early this week, so I should head out to the garden and pull the bean plants that we were saving seeds from. They aren't dry yet, and at this point I don't know if they will get there. I've never pulled plants like this before. A new experience for us, but one that will be a learning one!!

Our friend gave us some hot peppers on Friday - so I have to can them yet. And here I thought I was done :-) We have them canned, BBQ'd, pickled and dried. So what should I do with these ones? I'll have to dig out my canning/freezing books and see what looks good.

Well, that catches up with what's been going on for the last couple of weeks. I'm looking forward to things calming down so I can have some knitting, crafting and PC time.