Tuesday, August 18, 2015

12 Years Ago

Twelve years ago today my beautiful Mocha and her lovely brother Midnight showed up on my porch. Unfortunately Middy is no longer with us, but Mocha has stayed my loyal friend.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sew What....

It's been so long since I last posted. Just when I thought that the months of June and July were a total loss in regards to stitching and crafting, I went back and reviewed the photos left on my camera. There seems to be quite a good selection here. A little bit of sewing. a little bit of cross stitch, a little bit of doll clothes.This all intermixed with my usual numerous photos of the cats.
But the lovely kitties will have to wait until next time.

First up is a christening gown that I made for  the neighbor's baby. She wanted something very masculine even though she had chosen to use a traditional gown. The main fabric is a men's shirting material of white cotton with a very thin white pinstripe in it. The cummerbund and the hem are satin.

I also cross-stitched a little Initial Pillow with the Christening date to display with the gown.
 
 
Next up is a long awaited doll dress. I've been looking at ideas and fiddling through fabrics and basically procrastinating for several months. I always get so many ideas for doll costumes off of BBC dramas. Downton Abbey, Mr. Selfridge, The Paradise,  Poldark, Upstairs Downstairs, and my new favorite, The Crimson Field.


This is an 1860 Day Dress made of a light weight black cotton with white embroidery on it.  It has pagoda sleeves, lace gloves and a hoop under the skirt.
 
I found a super selection of black and gold fabrics at Wal-Mart, of all places. Black and gold is kind of an obsession with me. Those are my high school colors, and now they are my niece's high school colors.(She's the one on the right)
 She graduates next June and these fabrics will be made into some banners for her graduation party. The idea photo is from Pinterest. The lower photo is of the fabrics

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Then there are the famous (infamous) brown satin chair covers! This project is for a parent of one of my gymnasts. She had four rather oddly shaped old kitchen chairs. She wanted them covered in her color scheme of choice. Little did I know that the fabric she would choose was a glittery brown satin. She realize that the bolt was rolled backwards and she actually wanted to use the inside part of the fabric, which was the part without the glitter. To make a long project short, 6 chairs later this assignment is finally done.

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And now for the cross-stitch........Summer is usually a big time for cross-stitching, but the days (weeks, months!) have just slipped away.  I did get to an item that I have been thinking about/designing in my head for quite a while.  Mail Art!  I entered a mail art contest a few years ago and I loved the whole process.  Much like the doll dress project, I fiddled around for the longest time...consulting Pinterest, going through the fabric/thread/chart stash.  I chose Mon Ami Pierre motifs and some fabric I had dyed myself.  The thread was a clearance item at Hobby Lobby.
Eventually the envelope will go to my friend Martina in Germany.

  Now, what to fill it with.................
 
The project I am working on now is Moon Dance by Kathy Barrick.  I have an on-going love affair with peacocks and this design was an irresistible must-have.  It has spent a few months in the project bag but has made a reappearance.  The stitching is going quickly and I love the colors.  This one should be completed over the weekend. 

 
 
Speaking on weekends, I am looking forward to this one.  It seems that I have spent the last few months subbing for everyone else at work while they are away on vacation.  Last night infact, I was assigned to play not only myself, but the role of THREE other coaches.  If only there was THREE TIMES THE $$$ to go along with that...
As I near the 51 year mark I know I must modify my attitude, accept things as they come and  be less of a Negative Nancy.  I try to temper it all with a good sense of humor, but I know I've become down-right grouchy lately.  There is such joy to be had and I know I've spent too much time lamenting the past and agonizing over the future.
The peacocks await on this bright sunny day....................










 

 

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Walk In The Park


I try to take a little stroll every day. My sweet cat friends follow along. They walk with me like dogs! On rare ooccasions I can get ALL FIVE to hang out with me.  All have such unique personalities and there is usually some "clashing of views"


The older I get, the more I feel a closeness with Nature.  I appreciate these Spring days even more after such a cold Winter.  Everything is blooming and growing. The little veggie patch is in.  The sunflower and pumpkin seeds are scattered in random spots.  Two families of Barn Swallows have nested with us this year. One in the barn (of course) and one on the porch. They have taken over the abandoned Peewee nest from last year.
 
In my ongoing struggle with technology I am trying to "disconnect" a bit more,  In the past it was pen versus keyboard.  Now it is laptop versus phone.  Now matter how far technology advances and insists on making things "easier" for me, the more I find myself wanting to go backward.  The words and thoughts just don't seem to flow properly through the tiny light-up keyboard of my phone.  Even the laptop will never be as smooth as the pen, in my opinion.  As much as I would love to blog every day, I find myself returning more and more to my journal.  Yes, plain old paper and pen.
I should also be returning to some plain old needle and thread too!  There are half-finished projects scattered all over the place.  I just can't seem to settle on anything.
My American Girl doll clothes sale is running again this week at the gym.  I have a Christening gown to complete for my neighbor, and two friends from the gym want chairs recovered.  If only I could make a living with all this sewing!
Today is steamy and cloudy and full of mosquitoes.  A good day to pull out the "Idea Book"....my personal forerunner of Pinterest....and see what's next up in the world of cross-stitch, knitting and dolly fashions.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Visit

It seems like I have spent the month of April catching up, running in circles, starting things that are never finished and generally wasting time.  This always happens when one week out of the month is spent visiting my mother and father.  I was in New Jersey again 7-14 April.  It was one of the more pleasant trips in recent memory...on that new "sliding scale of  pleasantness" that I have had to create to maintain my sanity.  There was usual bickering between Mom and Dad as one refuses to yield even an inch to the others' maladies.
I plugged along in my usual way, attempting to ignore all of that and gauge my "success" by my daily accomplishments.  A lot did get done.  Windows cleaned, inside and out.  Curtains taken down and washed and put back up.  Mini blinds cleaned (and in some cases hidden away in order to prevent all windows from being sealed off like a morgue.)  I know it improves the overall mood of the house if it is more bright and open.  I can't imagine how they have not killed each other being cooped up in that house all Winter long!
 
 

 
The lovely Pepper has become even more friendly and at ease in her new home.  She loved the fact that I opened all the windows for her to observe the deer, squirrels, rabbits and various birds.  She has a very loud meow to begin with, but that chattering sound she makes at the wildlife is so interesting.  She has learned a few new "tricks" since Thanksgiving.
Jumping up on to the dining room table is her latest bit of entertainment.  She never mooches food or gets in your face.  She is just very curious and looking for attention (or to be the center of attention more likely)




 
 
She has also discovered the rocking chair in my brother's old room...mostly due to the fact that I finally cleared most surfaces of excess clothing, blankets, bags of yarn,, sheets, towels and whatever else was tossed there.  My father does his best to keep up with the housework, but things tend to end up in odd places.  Mom's Parkinson's Disease prevents her from doing cleaning, cooking, laundry etc.  All of the tasks a man in his 80's never did before and is not used to doing now.  But they plug along and do their best.  Luckily my brother lives close by.  He and my sister-in-law are a tremendous help to my parents.
 
 
 
Many a fine meal was cooked, much to my father's delight.  he is a man of few words, but he is always very complimentary of my culinary skills
 
 
 
There was even some delving into fields way beyond my talent or skill level.  Tiling is just such an adventure.  My goal was to replace 4 tiles that had fallen down.  They were gray and only one had survived. Home Depot only had black so I was behind the eight ball in terms of supplies as well as my lack of knowledge!  Well, 4 tiles turned into eight and 5 surrounding border pieces!!  The harder I tried to get the new tiles to stick, the more old ones fell off.  The original missing four were in a square, which would have led to a very inartistic arrangement of grey and black.  But thanks to the fact that some many others dislodged themselves during the process I was able to create a rather eye-pleasing mosaic,

 
 
 
When I spend a week in New Jersey it gives my brother and his family a week to escape.  And escape they did to do some university visits with my niece, followed by a short trip to Florida.  This gave me the chance to care for my old buddy Mel.  He is such a wild boy and I just love him!!



 
Pepper kept us entertained in the evenings.  And while I did help my mother finish 2 more knitting projects I didn't make a single cross-stitch, knit or purl myself!


 
So Spring has finally come.  By now this Magnolia in Mom and Dad's yard will be in full bloom.  I hope they've left those mini blinds off and the curtains open so they can see it.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Cat Collage!

The black boys Deuce, Coal, Roy and Simon.
 
 
All who have been at this house (some for just a little while) this past year. Mel, Roy, Deuce, Coal, GW, Houdini, Mocha, Simon and Jinxy.

 
 
The current residents: Roy, Simon, Mocha, Deuce, Coal and Mel.
 
I made a collage of just Roy, my special boy.

 
Poor Roy got left out of this collage (part of the reason he got his own, above).
Houdini, Mocha, Deuce, Simon, Mel, GW, Jinxy and Coal.

 
Just in case you haven't had enough cats.......Mel, Deuce, Mocha, Simon and Roy & Coal together.

 
 
...and the varieties of woodpeckers that come to my yard.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Importance of Being Modern

I've never liked very much being modern. I much prefer to live in an old fashion world with old fashioned things. But as I ponder the wonderousness of my new phone I wonder how modern I really can become.
I resisted for so many years getting a cell phone. Then when I finally got one 2 years ago, I managed to promptly lose it at the airport after only one month. Then a few weeks ago my cell phone carrier decided that I needed a mandatory upgrade. Those two words alone bring terror to my heart. Mandatory. Upgrade.
 It's taken me a full three weeks to figure out all the features of the phone, & I am sure there are many I still haven't found yet. Last night I was amazed to find that this phone has saved over 1500 of my old photos via Google Chrome.  I assume these are photos that I've posted somewhere on the internet. But it was a little scary seeing all of those faces and places come suddenly back onto the phone screen. A phone that I had just met apparently has known me for nearly a decade.  There it all was in bright living color. The family gatherings, the holidays, and sadly all those dearly departed pets.
 It is that time of year anyway. When I start to ponder things past and things future. Start to make plans for the garden, and the clean up after the "winter of our discontent". To see all these old friends and familiar sights was very comforting in the freezing cold.
But I think I'm far too attached to my new phone friend. So I put him down for a little bit to think about the present day. Christmas and New Years have long since passed and even Valentines Day has passed me by again very much unnoticed. So my creativity and crafting has now set its mind on Saint Patrick's Day.
I give you the green collection.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Can I?

Can I? Can I actually post to my blog through my new fancy phone? Can I actually post to my blog while speaking into my fancy phone? This is absolutely against everything I came to blogging for. It's driving the cats crazy. They can't understand why I'm talking into this little box while I'm' watching it type right on the screen. I'm not even going to attempt to post pictures. I'm going to press pause and wait and see what happens.