Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Expectations

No, not the book, but my unrealistic mental picture of what Christmas should be like. I do it every year as an adult. I remember those childhood Christmases. Though far from "perfect", they were always a day that was much anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed. I don't know what it is exactly that I am expecting out of Christmas. Something more Martha Stewart-like? Maybe Little House On The Prairie? I can't quite figure it out. This year, being what it was, I felt more disappointed in myself then ever before. The gift-giving dwindled down to 4 people out of the so many, many that deserved a gift ( if not 2 or 3!) from me.
I try to step back from it a bit, now that it has mercifully passed. I try to appreciate something in Nature everyday, be it bright sun, snow or freezing cold. I feed the birds, savor the walk to the mailbox and admire the pine trees. Maybe it shouldn't be what I expect out of Christmas, but what Christmas expects of me. An open heart, a forgiving soul, a joyous spirit. A creative mind and busy hands. Gentle words and the abitlity to express them...out loud. Thankfulness for all I have and humbleness to accept what I can not change.

Thursday, December 24, 2009


My days are measured by what I can accomplish. It is on a more muted scale then in previous times, but I still need to move forward in some way.

Finished appliqueing the last 9 squares of a quilt and then sewed the blocks and rows together. Hopefully, the wide border will be put on soon. It will have a winding "vine" dotted with the stars and some crescent moon shapes.

Made a bird suet wreath for my mother-in -law. A very easy recipe of 1/3 cup (six envelopes) of plain gelatin powder, 1/2 cup of hot water. This is mixed on medium heat until the liquid is clear and all the gelatin is dissolved. Then add 5 cups of mixed bird seed and let it cool slightly. I pressed my mixture into a bundt pan to make a wreath, but the mixture can also be spread on to a cookie sheet and cut into shapes. Make sure to punch a hole to hang up the shapes. I strung my wreath on a wide red ribbon. After chilling in the fridge for several hours it was ready to unmold.
Nearing the end of the "Christmas Build-Up", which is my favorite time. Now on to the obligation end of the deal. It's not that I don't appreciate all the invitations, especially this year, but I feel more like staying at home in the quietness.
I must remember everyday: "It's not all about me", and just get up and go.
I have been so blessed by the kindness of friends and I want to wish each and every one of you a Very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Defining Who I Am

Forces of the "outside world" have tried to re-define who I am allowed to be. I will not change and I am too big to disappear!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Year In The Life..........

.....of Roy and Carmella. Really, it's hard to believe these two wonderful little cats have been with us a whole year already!
A few stitchy finishes to share. The latest gymnast creation, Shawn Johnson at the 2008 Olympics;an adorable Barbara Ana Design I finished a while ago but just now got around to "decorating" it a bit.

I had planned a long-winded, chatty post and a few more photos but I just received some very sad news. Dear, sweet Annemarie has just announced on her blog that her father is ill with terminal cancer. Please stop by and wish her well. Her heart is breaking and I know any comments and good wishes will be welcome. I'm thinking of you, Annemarie, and praying for your family.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Gift of Friendship

Sometimes I get the most amazing gifts from friends. I am not one who is comfortable asking for gifts, but when they arrive unexpectedly....oh, what joy they bring! This gorgeous pin-keep from the artful hands of Harmien. Aren't the colors just beautiful. And to top it off there was the sweetest little card and more of the wonderful floss(Atalie "Ciuvre") in an amazing thread-keeper. Thank you so much Harmien. Then there is this friendly friend from my fabulous friend Barbara. Barbara knows how much cats mean to me and this smiling, delightful guy (or perhaps girl) arrived to me several weeks ago. I've been so caught up in my own self that I forgot to properly thank Barbara or to post a photo of my new feline friend. Thank you Barbara.

But the greatest gift of all is the friendship itself! Friends from the gym, from the pool, from my own town and the far-flung corners of the globe. Friends I have known for years, some only a few months and others that I didn't know were out there. I can not begin to mention all of your names here. I know I will forget a name or two so I won't even try. You all know who you are. Some of you read this blog; others don't know it exists. It doesn't matter really. Each and every one of you have touched my heart in a special way at a most difficult time of my life.

Thank you my friends.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Filled With Photos

The words don't come too easily to me these days, but luckily I am able to post some of photos of the most wonderful things in my life.

Yes, those are the chickens on the roof behind Carmella. How they got up there I'll never know.
Roy enjoys playing on the wood pile. Elliot prefers to bask in the sun. Coal and Sammy share a drink from the urn.
As the season changes all the garden ornaments patiently wait to be stored away for the Winter. The last of the corn waits to be harvested, and a single leaf hangs on for a little longer. That's all any of us can really do, isn't it..................

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Golden Wedding

My parent's 50th Anniversary is officially 9 November, but since they were here this past weekend we had a little party for them. It was just me, Joe, Mom and Dad. I made them a cake and planted these birthday number candles on the top. Not very chic but the cake was tasty. Spice cake with pumpkin custard filling and cream cheese icing. The main meal was a pork roast roll-up with cranberry stuffing inside, some gravy and Brussels sprouts sauteed with panceta.

The weather was wonderfully Autumn-like...not too cold, but just crisp enough to start a fire in the wood-burning stove. My mother always loves the "rustic" heat from that. The pets are loving this weather and it's hard to keep track of them all in their wanderings. After last weeks scare with Roy I keep a close eye on them. Here Carmella enjoys a moment on my lap.

The Susanna Goose tombstone is nearly finished, so I'll wait to post a photo of the final product. I did finish up this little cutie over the weekend. "Be Thankful" by Barbara Ana Designs. I love it, especially the bead detail on the Indian Corn. Barbara Ana is so innovative and a master of American-themed designs and expressions. That is a true talent for someone who doesn't have English as her native language.
The German dresses seem to be rather popular. The lady and has already sold a few and ordered more from me. I still have to keep up with the doll clothes stitching for my Christmas sale the second week of December. I'm wanting to do some serious cross-stitching, but "obligation sewing" comes first. I really shouldn't call it that because I love to stitch in any form. It is also a chance for me to make a little extra money, which will of course be spent on more stitching supplies!
P.S. Regarding Melissa's comment on my last post. Of course the water is running in the background! Did you think this was Martha Stewart's house? My usually A.D.D. coming into play. 'Hey let's wash the wait Elliot is doing something cute...let's take a picture instead.............................'

Friday, October 16, 2009

Look Who's Back!

Our lovely Sammy returned this morning after being gone for over a week. I was at the gym swimming and Joe found him somewhere...............I passed by Joe on his way to work and he simply said"Remember what I told you last night?" Meaning, he said Sammy would be back today just in time for my parent's visit this weekend. There has been so much stress around here lately and my parents suddenly decided to make another visit this weekend. It is more of a "business trip" as they are giving us their old car. A gift we really need, but the timing was a bit off. Anyway, things are nearly back on track for this weekend. Had a scare with little Roy yesterday. There seemed to be some sort of "Black Hole for Black Cats" in our world the past week. Roy vanished on Wednesday and was gone for over 14 hours. When he finally came back very late Wednesday night I was overjoyed, but still so down about Sammy being gone. Then Roy went out Thursday morning and within a matter of moments I heard that dreaded 'thud' on the road. You pet owners know the noise I'm talking about; when a car speeds by and you hear that awful sound and you know what it means. I immediately ran outside calling for Roy. No sign of him in the road but I could hear him meowing frantically from the porch behind me. There he lay with his back legs in a very awkward position, panting and howling and covered with wet leaves and mud. I picked him up and brought him inside where he regained his footing (Thank God!) and now limps around a bit today. He must have bounced right off the speeding car and hurt his right back leg when he hit the ground. No blood, no wounds that I can see. He is able to go up and down the stairs, jump on to the bed and the couch and he just left me a nice healthy "gift" in the littler box! That is always a sure sign that a cat is doing better. Everybody settled down for a snack.....
Even Elliot got into the action from his usual vantage point, the kitchen counter.

I was just thinking this morning on my way home from swimming, how beautiful the Autumn leaves are and that I must really find some sort of joy in this season before it passes me by. Now I feel renewed and all other worries seem to fall properly into the correct perspective. How the things of the outside world overwhelm me and are really so meaningless compared to the things I love in my own little world.
On to some serious stitching this weekend. Maybe this tombstone will get finished.My parents like nothing better then to sit by the wood-stove; Mom and I stitching or knitting and Dad reading. The baseball National League Championships are on this weekend though so Dad might find that hard to resist.

I hope everyone has a peaceful and joyous weekend, as I plan to have!