Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I don't know what's wrong with me lately. This time last year I was completely committed(yes, I should just end the sentence there) to my New Year's Resolution of no new stitchy, crafty, hobby stash buying. I did rather well with that, lasting well into August. The now notorious "Economic Downturn" at the end of 2008 kept things pretty well in check until shortly after Christmas. Maybe it was the little bit of holiday cash burning a whole in my checkbook; maybe it was the fact that I've had a rotten cold for nearly two weeks and needed some "comfort buying"; maybe I'm just being patriotic and stimulating the economy. Whatever it is I have gone totally crazy with the stash-buying. Magazine subscriptions, books, threads, fabrics, charts, clothing patterns, a new swimsuit. It's completely out of hand. eBay is where I commit most of my offenses. The fact that my local JoAnn Fabrics is going out of business and now had most items reduced 70% is also a major factor. Here's what I got from them this past Sunday. Look at the length of the receipt in the photo. That's 238, yes, TWO HUNDRED THIRTY EIGHT, DMC floss skeins at an amazing 13 cents each! They were out of stock on a lot of colors, but I bought one of everything they had left. I also bought 2 yards of 18 count Aida for dying at $3.99 a yard. It was the big 60 inch wide stuff off the bolt too. I got this lovely Vogue pattern for $5 ( regular price $25.00) and this pretty sheer fabric to go with the pattern for 50 cents a yard ( regular price $7.99/yard). I like view B, the middle photo, the best. The sleeveless thing just doesn't work for me anymore. This, along with a lovely summer dress pattern by Vogue and it's accompanying fabric, lining, zipper and thread will all soon make their way to my friend Larisa in Russia. Sorry to ruin the surprise Larisa, but I just couldn't resist sharing my great bargain finds. As for the eBay damage.........I got a wonderful Jantzen bathing suit for $10.00. It's navy blue with white tropical flowers and thin red piping at the armholes and leg holes. I love Jantzen suits. They are well-made and I know this style will always fit if I get it my usual size (which shall not be mentioned). I finally got back to my Monday, Wednesday, Friday lap swimming this past Monday after over a week off due to illness.
My other eBay purchase was this amazing Valdani thread collection. Twelve "Vintage Hues Sampler for Jacqueline Paton". I have no idea who Jacqueline Paton is but these threads are amazing.....and a great deal at $27 for the set (free shipping!). I discovered Valdani threads about the same time I discovered ThreadworX, the replacements for my beloved Needle Necessities. Valdanis' are 10 yards each and ThreadworX are 20 yards each. Both great for large,one-color designs, like Quaker animals or samplers.
I wrote a check today for the outrageous water bill and then rewarded myself from the quickly dwindling checking account by subscribing to "Sampler & Antique Needlework Quarterly". This magazine is a little pricey and I've subscribed to it on and off for about 8 years as finances allow. Finances really didn't allow it this time, but oh well............ The magazine always has great patterns and when I am through with the magazines I usually pass them on to another stitcher.

Pet snap today is Coal hiding under the mower wagon from the snow. We are getting hit with a good one this time. The kind of snow I dream of. Not that wimpy inch or so, but about 4 inches as of late afternoon. We are now being dumped on with freezing rain, but more snow is promised to accumulate on top of that. No gym tonight, but I hope it's clear enough on the roads tomorrow to get to the indoor pool for my laps. Still haven't lost an ounce, but it's become and obsession with me. Speaking of obsessions, I'll play the little game of tag from Barbara, Five Things I Am Addicted To:
1. Cats- all shapes sizes, colors...it doesn't matter. I don't know why this particular animal has such a hold on me. I love all animals, but cats are extra-special to me.
2. Chocolate-again, any shape/size/color will do.
3. Stitching-mostly cross-stitch these days, but quilting, knitting, crochet, garments (both doll and human size). I think it's genetic, so there is no cure!
4. Gymnastics-By the age of 12 it was the "moving force" in my life and that passion has never wavered.
5. Joe-my husband. Another moving force for which my passion will never waver.

Welcome to all the new visitors to my blog. I love reading all the comments from old and new friends alike.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day and Night

I have read on several blogs about "rotating" projects to be stitched on different days. I am positive that the rotation thing won't work for me. I seem to bounce from one project to the next without any specific themes or goals. It has worked pretty well for me over these past 35 years or so of stitching, but I have found one thing has changed. My eye sight! I started a new project last week. Goode Huswife's "Black Forest", a beautiful design that I have wanted to stitch for a while (thank you Nicole). The bad thing about it is that it's stitched on some torturous piece of 32 count black linen. I love the look of linen and the results it produces in finished products. I am insanely jealous of those of you who can stitch endlessly on this tiny little stuff. Those of you who are gifted enough to stitch "over-one" .....well, jealousy doesn't even begin to describe my emotions on that topic. As you can see from the close-up photo the lovely reindeer has been severely abused by my lack of talent in linen stitching. He is 'off' by one thread on the left of the body and it has thrown the whole thing into quite a mess. I have traced my mistake to my own "cheating". Trying to map out the design by skipping all over the place in order to pre-determine the dimensions of the finished piece, I went off by one on the lower green motif at the center bottom. I just continued blindly on; blindly being a key word here. I just can not work on this piece at night. So I have set up a pseudo-rotation thingy where I have daytime and nighttime pieces to work on. My new nighttime piece is a gymnast design on friendly 14 count Aida. I haven't made a gymnast in ages. I have tons of photos and partially drawn up charts just waiting to be stitched. I finally got on to starting this design of American gymnast Shawn Johnson on the Bars. Now bars is not my favorite event as a stitcher, athlete or coach. The angles are odd and the body is hard to capture in photos or stitchery. I won't even get in to the intricacies of catching a gymnast on such a piece of equipment. I bruise just thinking about it. But I love the colors and design of this Olympic leotard.

On the theme of "Day and Night" the weather has changed that quickly too. Thursday and Friday it was warm....OK, 54 degrees F isn't really warm, but after the temperatures in the Teens and Twenties it was a welcome change. This may have helped our ongoing plumbing situation. Apparently the leak in the laundry room over our Christmas vacation was the least of our worries. We got the water bill last week and it was the cost of the entire year of water usage. It seems there was a leak under our kitchen sink where the garden hose attaches to the outside of the house. With the bitter cold weather and an ongoing leak for over a month our house is now sitting on top of the Polar Ice Cap! This caused the bathroom to freeze up. The water still worked, but both the tub and bathroom sink would fill up with water and not drain properly. Suddenly the water drained from the tub after my shower on Monday and I felt a great relief....until I stepped out of the tub to find that same water covering the entire bathroom floor. Wonderful, patient Joe has solved all the problems with minimal financial damage, but the water bill still looms. The meter reader came out again Friday and said it was running normally with below average usage, so the leaks are fixed.

The frozen tundra inspired me to finally finish this old Christmas sampler...a design from Better Homes & Gardens in the early 80's, stitched with ThreadworX "Joy Noel".

I was lucky enough to find the perfect frame in the attic (9 x 12).

Pet snap of the day is Coal showing Roy the joys of looking out the window on a cold day. The kittens Roy and Carmella are such fun. They have recently discovered the wonders of watching the birds at the feeder outside the window.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Peaceful Rest

No little stories, no stitchy photos. Just my heartfelt sympathy to Harmien and Eric for the loss of their beloved cat Gabber, loyal friend and companion for 22 years. My oldest cat Alix will be 17 in March and Harmien has given me so much good advice about dealing with an aging pet. I will be forever grateful to Gabber and Harmien for sharing their wisdom and common sense.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Off To A Good Start

No complaints about the new 2009. Things are going along well. The pets are happy and healthy and all accounted for. The only one giving us a bit of a headache is Carmella. She has apparently "matured" a little quicker then her brother Roy and has spent the last four days and nights howling non-stop! She is quite attracted to Coal, who shows no interest in her what-so-ever except as a new playmate. This really aggravates Carmella who is searching for a MATE, period!
Things at the gym move along at the usual hectic pace, but no major controversies or conflicts....so far.
I've fallen terribly behind with my own blog and the reading and commenting on others. I have a good excuse though.....lots of stitching. Included in the category of stitching is "stash acquisition". Here are a few of my recent purchases. A year's subscription to "Just Cross-Stitch" magazine. The first issue arrived today. Three Carriage House Samplings: "Frederick", "Noah's Stocking", and "Gingham Dog & Calico Cat"and "Hallowe'en Queen" by Not Forgotten Farm. I really let lose in late December and early January with on-line purchases. I have an outstanding order of threads and a new Mirabilia mermaid chart from Stitching Bits and Bobs, order on 13 December. I love their stuff but the shipping from them is horrendously slow. The pictured charts I ordered are from Laurel's Stitchery and they arrived in just 8 days. So now that I have these charts and more stuff on the way I need to get down to work. It's not that I haven't been stitching at all. I've made some progress on the French Sampler and started on Workbasket's "Quaker Cat". She's done in pink and brown(DMC Color Variation 4145) to match my niece's bedroom. I plan to finish her as a box covered in pink and brown paisley with the cat mounted on the lid. This seems to be my favored finishing technique for the Quaker animals as I finished the sheep and the rooster in the same way. Cow is done and waiting to be mounted on a box when I find the right shape oval and the proper matching calico fabric to cover the box. No lack of shopping for crafty, stitchy, knitty supplies lately. My local JoAnn Fabrics is closing and having a huge 40-60% off sale. Each week the percentage off gets higher. Last week I got DMCs for $.20 each. That's the best price I've gotten in years. I was kind of surprised to see the big sell-off at JoAnn. The store is reopening about 10 miles further away from my house as a "super-store" and I thought they would just ship everything over there. Although I know the selection will be excellent at this new store, since I worked at a JoAnn's Super Store in Florida about 10 years ago, I find the whole "super-store" concept, well,over-stimulating! I get Shoppers A.D.D. every time I go into one of these places...Super Wal-Mart, grocery super-store, JoAnn ETC. The regular version of these stores suited me just fine. Now I can hardly go in for a spool of sewing thread without coming away with 75 other items I didn't know I really needed in the first place.
Back to stitching. Here's a little Primitive Pumpkin that I whipped up last week. I borrowed the letters and the little motifs from various Carriage House Samplings charts and stitched it up on some hand-dyed orange Aida. I used a stick from our yard and some coiled copper wire to finish it off. My first attempt at designing and stitching something other then a gymnast. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Here are some pet snaps for today. Coal and Sammy reunited and enjoying each other's company.

Alix, still queen of the couch.

Cold and foggy, but no snow yet. My parents in New Jersey are being piled on with snow today. I still have a nice "nesting feeling" going on, so it's back to some stitching this evening.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!

I had originally titled this post simply "New Year", as I really wasn't very happy at all. Then at about 1:30 this afternoon came a familiar meowing at the door. There was Sammy, as loud as ever, wanting to be let in. He seemed healthy, clean and not to have lost any weight. He did seem a bit confused at first and went immediately to his food dish and ate and ate. Then he sat on my lap in the living room by the fire for over an hour. He wanted to go back out and I really hesitated on that on. Joe of course gave his usual reply..."Let the cat be a cat". Sammy went out for about 15 minutes and then came right back in. We have no idea where he was or what was wrong with him to stay away for 6 days. He seems to have some sort of scrape on his left back leg, but it's not all bloody or bad looking. Maybe he was just healing-up from that while he was hiding. We will never know as he won't give up any information and the other cats are staying mum about it too. Our little family is back together and 2009 is becoming much brighter and more hopeful for me. Not that I wasn't looking forward to it. 2008 was pretty good overall and I have many stitching, crafting, gardening and gymnastics plans for 2009. While Sammy was missing a huge cloud hung over me and I just couldn't settle into any projects except frantic cleaning and knitting of scarves. Knitting is my tension-release craft, especially scarves. I can just whip through them without much thought or concentration, but it keeps my hands moving and the brain functioning in some way. As for moving and functioning, I am still swimming 3 mornings a week after break while I pigged-out at Willy Wonka's Christmas house (aka my parent's house). I never remember that many candies, cakes, cookies or any type of snack food for that matter being at that house while I was growing up. I suppose the generational progression has come around. The same way my grandparent's house was the "Feast of Treats" when I was little, my parent's house has become that way for my niece and nephew and when I visit I reap the benefits.

Tonight I dyed a few pieces of fabric...some linen and a bit of 18 count Aida, to some nice brown tones. Last week I ordered some Barbara Ana Designs patterns at Creative Poppy and my friend Alisha was kind enough to print them out for me. It is really a struggle without the printer. Luckily the scanner part of the machine still works. I also went a bit crazy at Laurel's Stitchery. She's having a 20% off sale until midnight tonight. I love her on-line shop. The prices are always reasonable and she only charges $2 shipping no matter how big the order ( $8 to Europe). Can't beat that. I know I will regret my little "retail therapy", but now that Sammy is back I can get into my normal routine and stitch a little......and exercise a lot. No, I won't even dare to make a New Year's Resolution about my weight AGAIN! Every year it is the same old story. This year there are a lot more aches and pains to go along with the excess pounds, so I will stick with my swimming and I bought one of those small exercise balls to go along with the big one I already have. Now they can be friends as I seem to pay no attention to them at all.