Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Statue of Liberty visit with Daddy and Jeff, June 1969.

To dads of all sorts (including pet-dads) Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Time Warp

Made the HUGE mistake yesterday (while searching for a bit of trim cording in the attic boxes) of opening the box with my old journal books. All my "dear diaries" dating back to the late 80's. So what did I do? I sat down and started to read through them. As if LIVING through the damn stuff wasn't enough!?!? As if having a brain that often has "instant video replay" of the most awful events of my life isn't enough!?!?! There I sat, trapped in a time warp for over an hour. Then the wharping continued for the rest of the day, as I thought and re-thought each written entry, each event, each person, each place. Yes, yes there was some happy stuff in there, but it seems I never took much note of that while putting pen to paper. I am "glass-is-half-full" kinda girl and it seems the glass was filled with cobwebs and dust yesterday.

In the imortal words of the Monty Python crew......."Now for something completely different". In the lucid moments when I have been able to focus I have done quite a bit of stitching. I think I will fill up the remainder of this post with photos while the clouds clear from my brain.

Quaker style freebie from "Pieceworks" magazine website. Stitched with WDW "Bethlehem"

Barbara Ana Designs "Let It Snow" with the cording I've chosen to finish it with.

WIP "Tombstone Angel"

Freebie little bird from a French website. I finished him a while ago, but just got around to mounting him on the basket and adding trim.

Another Barbara Ana Design (I love her stuff!) nearing completion.

And for those of you who I pestered via e-mail in search of Blackbird Designs of a patriotic theme.....if I had just searched through my stash of magazines, I would have known I already had the perfect design right in front of my nose. "Summer Jubilee"/Just Cross-Stitch-August 2003.

I didn't have any of the Gentle Arts Sampler Threads called for in the chart but I found similar colors in my Valdani stash. Usually I use the DMC conversion to match up the colors, but there was no DMC conversion on this chart. So I had to go on-line and find the threads at an OLNS and print out the GAST color chart. Then the matching-up began. I've chosen a very easy-to-stitch 14 count denim Aida as the fabric. I've done quite a few little projects on linen lately and my eyeballs are spinning.

Ahh, now that feels better. An update, some photos and I feel a bit closer to the present-day me.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gone In 60 Seconds

Contrary to the title of this, my car was not stolen. But my parent's visit is already over and done with. It seems that they had just gotten here and then they were gone. I work myself up into such an emotional frenzy every time they visit (or I go there) and then everything is wonderful after that first half hour and I am again "their child" for a little while. The big "mental upheaval" for me this year is the fact that my mother now uses a cane. OK, I worked in the geriatric ward of a hospital for over 6 years and maybe a million or so people in the world use a cane, but this is my mother. I don't know why I take these things so hard. She showed off the cane for about 20 minutes and then it never reappeared from the trunk of their car the rest of the weekend. She even took a lap or two around my not-too-level yard to inspect my flower beds. Then something happened that really threw me. Those of you who know my somewhat dysfunctional relationship with my family will understand this one. As we were taking a lap around the house my mother was holding my hand. Nothing earth-shattering there, you say? It didn't really hit me until later in the evening after my parents had returned to their hotel. I hadn't held my mother's hand since I was about 7 years old! Was I happy, was I sad? I am still working that one out.

My parents enjoyed their visit overall and I was very sad to see them go on Sunday evening. While I was waiting for them to arrive on Thursday afternoon I started and finished the cute little ornament "Good Cheer" by Goode Huswife. No sooner had I stitched the backing on, the little rustic cord, stuffed it and showed it to my mother did she have it in her hand and then into her purse it went. "Perfect on a gift wine bottle", she said. Gone in 60 seconds! She also pocketed two cone shaped santas stitched on plaid Aida and a little freebie Quaker heart ornament in Treadworx "Victorian Christmas" floss. I am overjoyed that she admired all my needlework. My dad on the other hand was a huge fan of my cooking. I made one of his favorites, Eggplant Parmigiana. My mother is not the cook she used to be. I think the increasing lack of mobility and the arthitis in her hands makes her opt for quick and simple meals. "We ate like kings", was his comment to me. Very rare are the compliments from my father so I treasure every one.

We spent our days stitching(me), knitting(mom) and reading(dad). When I say days I mean 7 to 8 hours per day. I got some serious cross-stitching in! Elliot became the newest favored cat.He made the rounds of everyone's lap, much like Alix used to do. Bud even stuck around for a little while to sit with my dad.

A lovely four days that went by far too quickly.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Dye-ing For A Tombstone

Too beautiful a day for such a morbid title! Today I broke out the box of RIT dyes and dyed some linen and 16 count for some of Carriage House Samplings "Tombstone Angels" series. I've had the charts for a while and always wanted to make one or two. Now I must be patient and wait for the fabric to dry. I'm switching up the thread colors a bit to coordinate with the hand-dyed fabrics. Meanwhile, the storm clouds rolled in and everything stitchy was rushed inside.....but nothing happened. A bit of thunder to drive the dog nuts, but not a drop of rain. Two hours later and the sun has come back out.

Filling the days with stitching, gardening and preparing for my parent's annual visit. They arrive on Thursday afternoon. Trying desperately to make the house presentable, or at least not the giant litter box/laundry basket that it usually is. Also stocking up on some of their favorite foods. I love to cook and my father is one of the biggest fans of my food.

I am trying to set some "Summer Goals". Now, there are two words that really should not be placed next to each other! I do want to be productive though. My schedule changes at the gym when we go back on 8 June. Later in the evenings, but with Fridays off. So I have designated Friday as "Sewing Machine Day". Had the garage-sale Singer out for a while last week. Worked on some 18" doll clothes. The poor 16" fashion lovelies will have to wait a bit longer for their new wardrobe. In the stitchy "done pile" is French Sampler by Denis Chabault. Finally after three years and several airline trips this beauty is finished. I'm really pleased with the results. Thank you, Barbara Ana for loaning me the chart. My other "done" is the revamp of the vintage Howdie Doodie puppet for Joe's friend. He was very satisfied with my work. I have a little pair of cowboy boots on order from the doll supply place to complete his total look.

The vegetable garden is coming along well. There is even the chance of sharing a bit of my own 2 acre field. Yes, the local farmer has decided to put corn in there this year. Somehow he forgets to ask us and just plows away. Oh well, it is just wasted land and at least I will have corn stalks for my Autumn display. He has graciously allowed me a 10 foot by 80 foot strip to put in pumpkins. The numbers just don't do it justice. The area is HUGE...... enough space for me to plant several varieties without them intermingling and becoming some odd hybrid of pumpkin. My two favorite are "One-Too-Many" and "Jarrahdale". I'll try to dig up some photos of these two. One is at Johnny's Selected Seeds and the other at J.W. Jung Seed Company. The only thing that isn't growing very well are my transplanted Hens and Chicks. I wonder why?

Rather belated Happy Birthday wishes to Barbara. Thanks Barbara for your good advice, treasured friendship and joyous spirit.
Looking forward to the rest of this week and the peace and quiet of my Spring Break. Hope you can kick your shoes off and enjoy some of the same.