Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve Day

We did get to take both teenagers to the Howard Dean rally on Monday. Both now wish they were old enough to vote. He certainly comes across as totally honest and forthright. But I still haven't made up my mind which way I'm voting in the New Hampshire primary.

Return of the King was everything I thought it would be. Children want to see it a few more times to hold them until it comes out on DVD.

I did manage to snatch a little time for stitching yesterday. Working on my own scissor case on black canvas. As I don't have any of my reference books with me, I'll be making up stitches as I go along. Could be interesting.

My sister and I did dinner out last evening. Just the two of us. Felt a little bit selfish going off and leaving everyone, but at least I made the meatloaf for dinner first. We even had desert! Ah...things like this just make me wish we lived closer.

Today is reserved for one last trip to the grocery store, maybe a stop at the liquor store, and baking. Merry, merry, to one and all.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Close to a Holiday Disaster

We were less than an hour away from home on Friday, driving both cars to New Hampshire, when we came as close as I've ever come to a major disaster. We went from 55 m.p.h. to a dead stop in record time. I must have been a mere 6 inches from that Toyota Camry when my Honda came to a stop. DH nearly rear-ended me! I saw him getting closer in my rear-view and a vision of ruining two cars, ourselves, and all our presents the week before Christmas flashed through my mind. When we finally pulled over to eat dinner, I was still shaking. I definitely drove the next two hundred miles more conservatively than usual. Thank you, ABS, and whichever Christmas angel was watching over us!

Today we are finally going to see Return of the King. But first, DD wants to stop by a Howard Dean rally. Nothing like the political season in New Hampshire.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Fa La La La La - The Time Has Arrived to Depart

Last load of laundry is in the machine whirling away. DH is applying shaving cream and razor to his face. Kids are in school, though they begged and pleaded to be allowed to skip today. Children packed their bags last night. The cats definitely know something is afoot. The king keeps looking at me reproachfully. He does not know he's going for a trip in the car. And the petite black princess is being her usual slinky self.

After much debate we have decided to take two cars. Which means I can bring the king's kitty basket with us. He'll be grateful. And we will all be much more comfortable for not being squeezed into the Honda with all that luggage, cat do-dads, and presents.

I still need to pack my stitching bag. What to bring. Hmmm.
I'm looking forward to at least one trip to my favorite homestate stitching store. Ahh. Shopping for me at last.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Again with the Rain

For the second week in a row, we're about to get a major rain event on top of the weekend's snow. Time for flooding. Makes me glad that this house does not have a basement.

Wrap, wrap, wrap. Cards, cards, cards. And certain people in my family keep giving me other tasks that need doing before Friday. I'm saving my baking for next week. I've already packed up a box of cookie cutters, spices, decorating tools, etc. to take to my in-laws house. Now if I could only find my Silpat. I don't understand how that thing could have vanished. It was in the pantry when I did a major reorginization last month. In theory, it should be with baking tools, but it's not.

And now for a little rant about this country's largest retailers one-hour photo developing. HOW ABOUT HIRING SOME MORE HELP? Or informing people who are dropping stuff off that there's no way it'll even be done today, much less done in an hour???? Evil. I need those photos to finish a birthday gift. Argh.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Again with the Snow

Another weekend, another snow storm. School is officially cancelled this morning as there is a thick layer of ice on top of all the snow. Kids are happy. Yeah.

I did manage to pick up my stitching this weekend. Got out my scissor case on black canvas and started improvising stitches again. I started this case using Wildflowers Forest Fire, and have moved onto to some complimentary shades of green, yellow, and orange by Weeks Dye Workes. By January, I should have my photo site working.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Christmas Party Time

Tonight is a very popular night in my community for Christmas parties. The requests for my two children as babysitters poured in last month. We managed to accomondate three families. It's nice knowing your teenagers are well-liked by the small fry and respected by the parents.

I did finish my Christmas shopping/buying this week and have made a major start on wrapping. I need everything done and the house cleaned by next Friday at which point we make our pilgrimage home. It is a wonderful and lovely thing that my in-laws are such terrific people.

Now I need to go figure out how to style my hair without killing my shoulder. Things are definitely improving, and maybe I'll even be stitching again before the weekend ends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

just checking in

No time for fun and games. Got physical therapy to go to this morning.
Today they start to torture me anew with the UBC, or upper body cycle, a bicycle for the arms. A few more days of this and I may be able to fasten my bra behind my back again. Woohoo!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Bring It On

Christmas tree is now decorated. It'll take me maybe an hour to finish the rest of the house. But I definitely overworked my knee yesterday. I'm okay sitting, standing, and walking, but the stairs are a painful obstacle to overcome.

Shopping is 75% finished. Cards are a to-do task. Looking forward to going home and not having anything to do. Except my MIL is going to stressing about this surprise party she's throwing. Just need to not allow myself to get caught up in the stress part.

Lynn Skinner was musing on procrastinating finished. Yup. That's me. She's not alone on this one. I've got 3 ornaments now that just need finishing. All the stitching is done. And the number of projects in my finished box may outweigh the number of WIPs that I have.

My sis has a theory about her and me having ADD. She thinks that's part of our problem with ending things. We just get sidetracked into something new. I'll have to think about this some more.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

yup it's snowing

It's snowing and snowing and looking like it may never stop though experience has shown that it does come to a conclusion eventually.

Right now I can't see a blessed thing except snow outside.

And with my shoulder, the shovelling duties will fall to other family members.

It is good and well that there should be some advantages to pain.

But meanwhile, I can't really stitch either.


and now it's time to go and watch the Army vs. Navy

Go, Black Knights!

Friday, December 05, 2003

pain, etc

I'm being sidelined by a pain in my shoulder. Yesterday was my annual checkup so I explained my problem and asked if this was bursitis. Nope. Problem a muscle thing. I do have a referral to physical therapy. Meanwhile, I'm sitting here and my shoulder is just aching. Been this way since last Friday. Time to go stand under a hot shower. Then call for that appointment.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

A Small Plea

I do check in on other needlework blogs often hopping from blog to blog with the links. Occasionally I read something that just makes me want to reply to someone. Unfortunately today this happened on someone's blog who doesn't have a link for e-mail. Now I realize that some of us may not want our e-mail addresses bandied about the net, but how about setting up a free account at hotmail or some such place?

There is an amazing diversity of people of doing these blogs and I am enjoying every minute I spend reading.

The tree is up and undecorated. I wonder what I'm doing today???

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

My Attempt

December is such a challenging month, especially for us perfectionists. I am trying so hard to leave these tendencies behind and move on to a place where I am happy with things the way they are. There are somethings that I don't even want to start because I know I won't be able to do them perfectly. Ah, what idiocy is this?

I need to go wash my hair and work on my to-do list. How many things can I knock off it today? And when am I ever going to find time to take kids to do their Christmas shopping? We potentially have a snowstorm heading our way for the weekend. Too many things and not enough time.

Whine. Whine. Whine. Someone bring on the crackers and cheese...

Tuesday, December 02, 2003


Between having holiday company and my DH putting together his new computer, I haven't had much online time. That's alright, because I had a great visit with my sister and family. Their manical dog and our two kitties managed to survive unscathed. Nephew got to make a pilgrimage into NYC to a park and its noted basketball court in Harlem. Brother-in-law got to visit Orange County Choppers. Sis and I got in some antiquing. I think everyone was happy.

No real time now for writing. I'm off to create a Christmas ornament out of a piece of velvet and a rubber stamp. Add a little floss as cording and a tassel, and voila, a truly elegant ornament for the ornament exchange I'm attending tomorrow evening.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

hijacked by virus

I was so far ahead of the game until I got hit with this nasty awful cold on Saturday. I've been muddling through, trying not to make bad choices. Funny how when you don't feel well, your brain doesn't work properly. Kids have pitched in some, and will help again today when they get home from school. I am finally feeling a tiny bit better and did get some sleep last night.

But that means no possibility of stitching. Rats.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Library Find

I got lucky at the library. Found four needlepoints they were giving away. They are in awesome condition. Three vintage 1960's and one from 1972.

At least the wind never blew us away last week. But it did take the majority of leaves in my yard further down the hill so now I've got nothing to rake. Living here is making up for 2 years spent living with 30 or so oak trees in Virginia. But my poor chrysanthemums which are in pots have take a few journeys around the porch which have left them looking like they lost the fight.

I've been busy planning and plotting for a visit from Sis and family. House isn't in bad shape, but there are still things I can do. I've rearranged furniture this week. Hung valances in the living room. I've got two light fixtures I want to replace. And maybe do a quick curtain for DS's room. I ordered my fresh turkey (no additives, no growth hormones, etc.) Fortunately for me, cooking is a pleasure not a chore. I'm looking forward to this visit.

Which of course means that there won't be much time for stitching. The best I'll probably accomplish is crocheting on scarf and lap rug. Better than nothing.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Got my Wish

I did get to drive to my not LNS on Saturday to pick up my framing. Also got some Kreinik braid and silks. My piece looks lovely except there is one teeny tiny little white thread ort smack dab in the middle. You can't see till you get within 12 inches of it. I didn't even notice it till later in the day. DH got his wish, too, which was a trip to Circuit City. He's building a new 'puter and has been furiously ordering pieces online. But there was a great deal on a video card at CC.

We also got the treat of dinner out without the teenagers. Much cheaper that way. And a nice long lingering visit to a bookstore, where the only money we spent was on Chai. Gosh, I'm a cheap date.

Finished my Star of Wonder ornament by With my Needle out of the JCS 2002 ornament issue. That is, I finished the stitching. The true finishing part of the piece will have to wait till after Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Wind still a-blowing

Third day of nature attempting to blow us off the top of our hill. DH and I are supposed to clean out the garage today so he can park his car in there. (It's not too disorganized. Just leftovers from the yard sale, and his model painting that need to be cleaned up.) He does enjoy just driving away after a snowstorm without having to do major snow/ice removal. But I can hear him downstairs coughing. Maybe I'll get to drive to my not-LNS to pick up an original piece I left for framing. I left a space on the wall for it after painting the wall this summer. I'm looking forward to sitting and admiring it.

Friday, November 14, 2003

What We Do While We Stitch

I'm huge fan of having the television on while stitching. Yesterday while working on my With My Needle ornament, I watched "The Shipping News." They did a credible job with this movie, but no way near as powerful as the book by E. Annie Proulx. Kevin Spacey was fine, but Dame Judi Dench is amazing. I can see why it wasn't a huge commercial success, but I don't feel like I wasted my time.

I didn't sleep at all last night. The wind was making the house creak like an old wooden ship at sleep. I haven't gone out to do a visual inspection to see if all our siding and shingles are still attached. We were fortunate that we never lost power. But now my brain is a bit addled and don't think I'll be great at concentrating today. No counting threads for me, only crocheting.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Two, Two! Two Posts in One Day!

Had a fun time at EGA meeting last night. It seems lots of us have tried stitching our scissor cases in different colors and stitches. Such talent. We also had our annual auction. I won a cross-stitched card case. Absolutely beautiful and a bargain at only $25! My only goof was forgetting to take pictures of the two projects I donated - an Old Colonial Designs, and Twisted Threads "Home of the Free."

It seems everyone was enamored of my crackle painted frame that framed my Twisted Threads piece. I found a nice wide square unpainted frame with a 3" x 3" opening at large unnamed craft store. Underpainted it with a grayish ivory, overpainted it with a blue (was trying to match the colors of the gingham linen), then crackled it. $1.99 for the frame, pennies for the paint. What a deal.

A friend and I just mutually agreed to cancel an appointment for this morning. Neither one of us feels much like going out in 50 m.p.h. winds. So far I've had two grill covers and picnic table land in my yard. Who knows what else I'll see? This means found time for stitching today. I've been working on my ornament from With my Needle. Maybe it's time for another round with Agnes Scott.

cross stitch bloggers challenge

I see Meri has a limerick on her blog. Now I've fiddled around trying to write serious poetry about needle, thread, and fabric before, but the serious ones never work out for me. Can only do non-serious. So here's my answering limerick. Anyone else? Hasn't it been a few years since we did a round of limericks on RCTN?

There once was a woman who stitched
Who wondered if she was bewitched
When she tried to stop sewing
She kept right on going
And couldn't even scratch when she itched

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

for those with rough skin problems

As soon as the weather started to turn colder here in October, the skin on my fingers became a problem when stitching. Rough, dry, hangnails. Just plain ugly. Working with silk thread became impossible.

But I'm here to say I found a solution. Bought one of those parafin hand spas on sale. It's amazing how good it feels to coat your hands with warm wax. I don't use it everyday (usually because I forget to plug it in.) I'm using it 2-3 times a week. Between that, and using Jergens Ultra Healing every night, I've solved my problem.

I took my veteran to the mall yesterday so he and kids could see "the Matrix Revolution" in IMAX. They enjoyed it. And I went lingerie shopping. All in all, a good day.

Started a new scarf to match DS's cross country jacket. Crochet in school colors. But will have to do another one to match his new winter coat.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

election day

Today's election day, so my kids have a conference day off from school. One is still sleeping, quel surprise! The other is already glued to the History Channel.

All plans for travelling/shopping have been put on hold. DS's cross country team has made it to the state finals coming up this weekend. What an experience for a freshman!

Alas, there is no sunshine today. Maybe I'll just work on my afghan - a simple crochet lap rug.

Friday, October 31, 2003

happy halloween

It's that haunting time of year again. Tonight I'll sit home alone passing out treats while DH takes DD to see "les Mis" and DS goes out with friends. For the first time in many years, it will not be raining or frigidly cold where we are. Amazing.

I have had an epiphany about our Christmas tree. Other than my perforated paper cross-stitched Santas, I do not have any stitched ornaments on my tree. Not that I haven't had a long, fulfilling career stitching ornaments. But all have been given away either as gifts or to charity auctions.

In the spirit of redeeming this oversight, I've been going through the JCS ornament issues marking down designs I'd like to stitch. I've narrowed it down to 12, and have managed to kit up 3 of them.
This means a nice long drive out of not-needlework-paradise next week for some well-deserved stashing. Meanwhile I've started with Ellen Chester's of With My Needle ornament from the 2002 issue.

I realized I'm drawn to ornaments that have the title or words from favorite Xmas carols on them.
And yes, this means we have already begun listening to seasonal music at my house. We've started playing our favorites - Ed Gerhard's two lovely acoustic guitar CDs and the Bobs too funny for words CD.

Monday, October 27, 2003

football and stitching

it's that time of year again. Time for football viewing and stitching. Yesterday I didn't think I could concentrate enough to work on Agnes Scott, so I cut a piece of 18ct black mono canvas and started to work a needlecase for myself with Wildflowers Forest Fire. Boy, do I know myself. In between stitching I was getting up to do laundry and cook (stuffed flank steak)- translation not paying close enough attention to what I was doing.

I'm stitching smyrna crosses all the way around and when I get nearly back to the beginning I realize that I've stitched 64 smyrnas down the long side, not 68! No way am I going to unpick nearly 80 smyrnas!

Now I had been contemplating changing the design, but now I guess I have to change things to accomodate my error. At least the colors look wonderful on black. Maybe I need to come up with a falling leaves design of some sort. Guess that is now the project of the day.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Old Army slogan

Found a magnet for my darling. It says, "I've already been all that I can be." Now at first I just thought this was humorous. (And fortunately so did he.) But I've ruminating on this and realized that it can actually be insulting. To say that you've already hit the heights, and nothing will be greater - isn't that one of the defining moments of a mid-life crisis. After 18 years in the Army, we now are contemplating what to do once he retires.

It would be pretty funny if he ditched me for a young, blond bimbette and red sportscar...

Now that's far away from stitching topics. Been doing the hum-drum this morning. Dermatologist with my daughter, grocery shopping, laundry. It's time to leave to meet some neighbors for a morning get together.

Maybe I need to make a companion magnet. "Go away. Can't you see I'm an Army of one?"


Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Hey, I'm getting educated

Wow. Being new at this whole blogging enterprise, I've got quite a learning curve to cover. Notice that I have figured out how to add links, including a link to my e-mail. I will slowly be linking to other needleworkers' blogs. Freakin' cool.

I was going to take today to drive (remember I'm not in paradise...) to a LNS in Jersey. But I see they are closed on Wednesdays. Oh well. Next choice is an even longer drive into Connecticut. I've got quite a collection of unframed items that need attention, one of which is especially needed to complete a wall arrangement. (Finally painted that wall last week. Three walls painted in the living room, one to go...but I've got a 7' by 10' foot entertainment center on that wall and need assistance in the moving phase. So I'm not doing that today.)

Guess something is telling me to stay at home. And stitch.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

time passing

Circumstances beyond my control have kept me off the 'net for a few days...
But I did finish the stitching on my scissor case. Sat on the front porch in the sun on Sunday morning drying my hair naturally and did the plait stitching that anchors the ribbon. We are supposed to be finishing this piece at October's meeting. But I may just assemble it on my own. Directions seem fairly straightforward.

Recently picked up my "Home of the Free" by Twisted Threads. This over one piece is stitched on 28 ct Riviera Gingham, a cream/blue linen by Graziano. My house is done, and I've started on the lettering. I did change the threads on this one, and am working with Needlepoint Silks. The picture on the Twisted Threads website does not do it justice. I am trying to decide how to frame this piece. I am not fond of how they did it on the chart...

Thursday, September 18, 2003

knots, not naughty knots

Well, I did the French knots on back side of my scissor case and started doing the majority of them on the front side. The front has something like 138 of them. I just had to stop and count after stitching about 10 of them. Smooth sailing for the most part.

Now I need to go play with my stitching software. Need to design a West Point related Christmas ornament. I was doodling the Army "A" but think it wouldn't too much fun stitching all black and a little bit of gold several times. Will have to ruminate on this one.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003


Don't forget.
September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Avast ye maties!

Just practicing...

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Stitching and Football

Thanks to watching the Black Knights of Army on Saturday and the Patriots on Sunday, I've nearly finished the stitching on my scissor case. I've got about 100 or so French knots to go.

Having participated in an informal poll, I know that a lot of stitchers hate French knots with a passion. And will do anything to avoid them. Frankly, I only hate the ones that don't knot properly. Then you've got this lovely mess to try and unpick, which is extremely frustrating. May as well cut out the entire thread and start over. Having participated in the candlewicking craze of the 1970s, I've had plenty of French knot experience.

Now let's use our psychic energy to keep Hurricaine Isabel out at sea.

Friday, September 12, 2003

After the Meetings

There is something about sitting at an EGA meeting with others who get as excited by fibers, fabrics, and such that just thrills me.

This is especially true because I chose the title Needleworker Not In Paradise because I've got no local needlework stores.

Being an Army wife I've had the pleasure of shopping some of the best needlework stores. In the past, when I was in need of inspiration, I would just go shopping. Browsing stacks of charts, admiring fabric, covetting silk floss, was all I needed to start my fingers flying on my own projects. Not having this option is painful.
Which makes those monthly EGA meetings even more important.
The talent and dedication of these stitchers is overwhelming.

This month we are working on a canvas scissors case. It's not a project I would have chosen to do on my own. But it's highly enjoyable to stretch and try new things. Now, a hardanger piece would really challenge me. There is something about cutting threads that always takes me out of my comfort zone.

Here's to finding inspiration. Whereever it may come. May it visit you often.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Bad Blogger

I want desperately to faithfully post here. But it has been a tough start to the new school year at our house. We all dealing with the unexpected loss of a dedicated, smart, athletic, and handsome 19 year-old who we grew close to in the past year. I know I am grieving and depressed. I pick up my stitching and can only concentrate for five minutes before I put it back down. Time. I know I need time.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

A new month and a new adventure. Brought here by my habit of lurking on RCTN. It's a gray and dreary day, not conducive to stitching at all. Even the cats have gone back to sleep and it's only 8:32 a.m.

As for the stitching, I am all encompassing. There is little that I won't (or haven't) attempt(ed) at least once. But samplers are a big passion. I am committed right now to my Agnes Scott sampler and should try to make some progress if I can get out of today's funk. I would like to finish my current band by next week's EGA meeting.