Monday, December 31, 2007

My Bad

Haven't been on the 'puter much this past week. My bad. But it's a new year approaching and with a new year comes a fresh start.

Anna at the Stitch Bitch had a link to the crazies who are going to attempt a 365 blog - post every day for the next year. This would be admirable if I thought I had enough to say that mattered. Not that I think I don't matter. I just fear attempting such a feat would suck some of the fun out of things and make it more like a chore. Basically I'm happy with my level of posting. I am much more consistent than I was the first year. And I actually have two other blogs which I do not overlap with here. One is food based that I started in August of '07 when both children went off to college. The other was political, then became a writing blog. I think the latter one is continuing to morph into something else. I haven't quite figured it out yet.

So. No stitching presents because no one in my family would dare. LOL I know that I treat myself to enough stitchy stuff all year round. I did find the latest issue of Stitch, the British guild mag, and purchased the Crochet page a day calendar on clearance. They had a good mix of projects in it, including Tunisian crochet which I intrigues me.

On Saturday I made some amazing progress on Agnes Scott - I finished the border, finished the fence at the bottom. Finished the bottom of the house and moved on to the roof. Did two of the Queen stitch flowers - this did entail putting my frame on my Elan stand with frame weights to counterweight it. Then I adjusted the overheard light and the Daylight light and magnifier. Positioning is a little bit awkward as I need the magnifier a little too close to the fabric and I have to be careful with hand placement. But I made much better progress this way and I think those dreaded Queen stitches will finally be mastered.

All of which has me dreaming of other projects. My local shop owner has asked me to model stitch a piece for her - she designed something with blackwork and then decided she doesn't like blackwork at all. Too funny. This will be a deadline project as she hopes to take to market in the spring. Plus I've got a gift project for someone, but that one should be easy and take two weeks or less.

No goals, no resolutions. I'm just not that kind of person. I did publicly state a January goal for Agnes Scott and am still hoping to have this off to the framers by January 10th. But that's it for goals for me. I think last year I started off with a goal of finishing some UFOs. Which I did accomplish. But then around May, new projects started clamoring for attention and I was happy to oblige. I guess Agnes will be my biggest UFO finish for the year even if she's actually finished in January. (I could stitch for the next 14 hours straight and I'd not be close to finished by midnight.)

Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 24, 2007


On Saturday, DS's girlfriend came to visit and DH and DD went Christmas shopping. There I was thinking I could just sit and stitch on Agnes Scott while watching I Love Lucy on TVLand.

But no.

I realized I was about to run out of the off-white silk.

I knew the Scarlet Thread doesn't carry Soie d'Alger. I called Needlewoman East and they don't have it either. But I knew In Stitches in Alexandria did. So I called and got their hours and realized I either had to go right then, or wait until Thursday. But if I waited till Thursday I might miss some prime stitching time. Quick trip to In Stitches where I bought my one skein of silk and a lovely little magnifying glass. She said the only people coming into the store on Saturday were confused husbands with a shopping list or the need for a gift certificate and women about to take a holiday trip and needed a project to work on.

My real problem lies in having messed up three times in one week on this piece. Requiring much frogging, a little cutting, etc. I'm finally back on track and vow to avoid further mess-ups.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2007

As Promised

Here's Agnes Scott - some of the work in that's close in color to the linen doesn't show up. I've still got some serious stitching to do on this piece. But I'm pretty darn determined.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


1) All presents wrapped and mailed - one box to Florida, one box to Texas, and three boxes to New Hampshire

2) Exchanged shredder at Staples - I'd say the overheat button on the first one did not work...

3) Library fines paid - I keep using the Express checkout - had to stand in line to pay them money...

4) dry cleaning dropped off and picked up

5) Christmas card photo taken - will print them at Target today and start addressing them tonight

6) All my shopping is done except someone has the nerve of having a birthday the week after Christmas...

Agnes Scott

One should never, never check a simple thing like Agnes Scott in an anagram maker. It made 368 and I couldn't even think of one... I need more sleep. Sorry about the no-show photo. Today. And I will post one tomorrow. I promise.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Will Unroll Agnes and Phake a Toto

Anyone else a Capitol Steps fan? They always end their shows with a Rindercella type piece. Certain phrases become code words and "someone phook a toto" is big at our house.

I haven't gone back to the Queen stitch yet. Got caught up in finishing the bottom section so I can start on the house. But I will do them. Eventually.

Not much new here. Christmas shopping with the college students today.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

We Did A Survey Once

We did a survey once at one of my EGA meetings. Went around the room and you had to say which was your least favorite stitch and why. (hey, Stitch Bitch! hint, hint!)

The majority of the group either went with French knots or Queen stitch. One or two said Palestrinas and there was one other stitch that I'm not thinking of at the moment.

I may dislike doing the Queen stitch, but I love French knots. I think that trend of candlewicking back in the day made me proficient. So maybe doing more than 150 Queen stitches on Agnes Scott will turn me around. I know I've done pieces with 40-50 of them. Maybe I need to get out my floor stand and see if I can't improve something about this stitch that will cause me fewer problems.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Apparently This is the Policy

If you google any variation of Girl Scouts and stolen cookie money you find stories galore of people who have walked away with the cookie money, usually in the thousands of dollars.

And my experience is not unique. The Councils decline to press charges for thievery because they don't want adverse publicity. They refer to the matter as a debt and call in a collection agency.

Though I kind of understand the adverse publicity thing - some people might remember reading about a case of someone stealing the cookie money and decline to buy the next year - in reality I think this encourages people to think they can get away with stealing from the Scouts who have worked hard and long.

Le sigh.

Yesterday I started the dreaded (for me anyway) queen stitches on Agnes Scott. I did a quick estimate of the number of them and think there's over 150. Yesterday I
did 11. And I messed up but refused to frog this stitch. So one floral motif will be a tiny bit higher than it should be, but I think it will be unnoticable. I just need to remember what happened when I go to stitch the other motifs so I don't move them all. I've been trying to be extremely careful with my counting and placement.

This is all the time I have. Have to go pick up DS after his last final. The kitties will be very happy to have other people to sleep with tonight as they don't like each other and that means if the big guy wants to sleep with us, the little one is out in the cold.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

No Pain

I did limit my stitching time yesterday and had no pain. That's good.

Still need to dig out fabric for finishing my mother's little kitty piece. If the Hancock in Vienna hadn't closed, I'd just go buy a piece. But I think I've at least got dark blue velvet scraps which could be very pretty.

Tomorrow DS comes home from college, and Saturday - barring bad weather - DD will fly home. Makes me happy.

Last night we went to an Eagle Scout ceremony - a first for me. DS did Cub Scouts and started Boy Scouts, but we had an incident that kind of turned me off in Cub Scouts so when we moved, he didn't continue.

One night I went to a Pack meeting (I was impersonating a single parent at the time as DH was in Kuwait for a year.) Our Den Leader was relocating and the Pack Master took all the parents from this den into a separate room and told us if one of us didn't step up into the Den Leader position, that was it in scouting for our boys. Blackmail at the expense of children. Wonderful. I refused to take this on as a single parent with at the time, many obligations. But they let us a cobble together a solution of Den Leader by committee. It was kind of ugly. I went to the Leaders meetings and the other parents rotated through the weekly den meetings.

This all happened to us a year after DD's Girl Scout leader absconded with the cookie money. And the Council declined to press charges. Left the girls and troop hanging. No money, no activities, no leader, no help. That was another terrific experience.

Now on the whole, I do thinking scouting offers some great experiences. I was a Girl Scout. I was a Girl Scout leader, while I was in college and while DD was in scouting as a Brownie. I worked in a GS scout on summer and had an amazing time. I learned important things about first aid and emergency preparedness all while having fun. And even today the whole Be Prepared thing provides daily guidance. I never leave home without a stitching project in my purse 'cause you never know when you'll have free time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Whine, Whine, Whine

I was bopping along on Agnes Scott last night and trying very hard to ignore the pain in my hand. But eventually it became too much to stitch. Overuse injury, anyone? Crap.

Will see how it goes today. I'm okay as of right now. But I may have issues later. Guess I'll start with some ibuprofen before I even pick up my needle.

I am stitching on this piece two-handed. My non-dominant left hand is on top of the piece and my dominant right hand is underneath. I've been stitching this way on large pieces on scroll frames for 10 years and can sail along pretty quickly. This could be tendinitis or carpal tunnel or even arthritis. Or maybe I was just sitting funny and as a result was moving slightly differently. I don't know. But I'll definitely be paying attention today. I'm making such great progress that I abhor the idea of slowing down or worse, stopping.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Next May

Next May is my 30th high school reunion. I have yet to attend a single reunion. I was alerted to this reunion (so far) by multiple mailings and a phone call from an old friend who was on campus playing dialing for dollars with alumni. First, how can it be 30 years! It's official. We are our parents now. Second, the powers that be have set up a website for our classmates and have encouraged us to post links to our blogs for staying in touch. I know I'm not linking this blog to that website. But I have contemplated creating a separate one. Or maybe I should use my now defunct and abandoned political one. Obviously I need to think about this.

The good news on the old school front is that they are changing admissions so that anyone who can pass muster on admissions and the parents make less than $75,000, can qualify for free tuition, housing, and a laptop. Harvard started this trend among private schools and set their amount at $60,000, but I read in the paper today that Harvard is intent on providing much more aid to families making more than $60,000 and less than $180,000.

These are schools with large endowments. Harvard has the most money - Reuters is reporting the number is over $35 billion, but I'm not sure where their numbers are from. It was nearly $26 billion in 2005. My high school's endowment is second largest in the nation at over $1 billion.

(By this some of may have deduced that I did not attend your average American high school and you'd be correct. I was fortunate enough to live close enough to an amazing prep school. But after high school, I attended my state university.)

Just ruminating on things...

And in Stitching News

I've got things to do and all I want to do is stitch on Agnes Scott. I made some errors over the weekend while stitching and spent some time frogging. Probably gave up close to 3 hours of progress. Need to look more closely at the chart and stop making assumptions!

I also received an early Christmas present of a new camera. I had a few criteria for this one - small enough to always carry it around, image stabilization and a better than 3x optical zoom. The Samsung L77 fit the bill. Got it on sale and had a $15 discount. I'll unroll Agnes from the scroll frame later and see what kind of picture I can get. I'd post more photos of progress but 70% of her is rolled up and I hate unrolling and rerolling.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Agnes Scott Progress

Took my lovely Agnes out yesterday to the morning stitch-in my LNS. The green silk sent to me by a lovely lady in California worked beautifully as I finished the green on the bottom border. And the border matched up. Always nice when that happens. For a second or two I thought I was one thread off. Just my eyes playing tricks on me, I guess.

On our last trip to IKEA I bought one of these large plstic bags, an ISIG that cost all of $1.99. I thought it might be useful for storing needlepoint canvases in progress. Turns out it works perfectly for toting around a large project on scroll frames and now I need to go back and buy a few more of these.

I'm looking at Agnes and have realized that my goal of finishing her in January for framing is realistic. I do need to work on her every day though. I figure my deadline is to have her completed and at the framers by January 10th. (Publicly stated and I'm sticking to it.)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Da Christmasy Meme

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial. Real trees got too expensive. Our first fake lasted 13 or 14 years.

3. When do you put up the tree? Sometimes the weekend of Thanksgiving. Or the next weekend.

4. When do you take the tree down? Not till after DH's birthday on Jan 2nd.

5. Do you like egg nog? Love it.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Nothing stands out for me, but I know it was always good.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? A German wooden one, a ceramic one, and the Playmobile one. How's that for a Unitarian?

8. Hardest person to buy for? Varies from year to year.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Childrens.

10. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? Handmade in the mail.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I don't spend time remembering things like this.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? January.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Certainly.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Aunt Martha's Finnish Bread - I make it myself.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Carol of the Bells.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Both. This year at home.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes. And it's Donder, people.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Silver star.

21.Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning. Though I will relent for one present on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? Having to go to the post office. Which means having to wrap and package. Which usually means doing it all myself. Argh.

23. Favorite ornament theme or color? This year, it's my Quaker heart that I stitched. I've got a growing collection of perforated paper santas, too.

24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Didn't we already answer this on question 15?

25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I like Anna's answer of World Peace.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

I so enjoy watching the people in this region turn into raving idiots at the mere mention of the word snow. It's all we've been hearing about for days. And now it's here. All one or two inches of it. Maybe not even that. But apparently the world is coming at an end. LOL The best part - I don't need to go any where in the car today. Unless I want to.

Stitching! Yeah for me!

I picked up a Calico Crossroads cat thingy that I had decided to do for my Mom. I had already made her an orange tabby cat piece, when she relented and fell in love with a black cat. It's nearly finished except I need to replace the month of May with the cat's name, Onyx. Just a little charting to get things centered properly. Then a rummage through the fabric bins in order to turn this into a pillow or something.
Would be nice to get this finished and in the mail by the end of the week.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Horribly Bad

I said I wasn't going to let another day go by without stitching and apparently I lied. Every time I sat down I had a 20lb cat looking for warmth.

But at least the tree is decorated. Now on to the other boxes. And that remote light switch works so well that I can stand in the middle of my living and turn on and off the lights at the front and back of the house. I love it.

Of course I have already wondered about riding around with remote and seeing who else's lights I can turn on and off...Bad me, Bad!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Not Going to Let Another Day Go By

I'm not going to let another day go by without stitching.

We moved the furniture so my chair is back where it was. Now I need to bring my lamp back upstairs. The tree is up - pre-lit - and it has new garland. And exactly one ornament as of right now - my Quaker heart that I did last spring.

I did find the best invention at Target, though I suppose these are available everywhere - a package of two controllers to plug into different outdoor sockets and plug your lights into with a remote control. No more having to go outside to plug in or unplug. Yippee! One for the front of the house and one for the back. Works for me.

Yesterday DH accomplished some things that needed doing. Hung a shelf in the office after I went and bought a new stud finder. And hung a curtain rod in the bar so now we have nice red satiny drapes giving the place a certain brothel look, but whatever. I don't mind at all. Time for a chorus of Voulez-vous coucher avec moi? The drapes match the red paint that on two of the walls. Should help in keeping the room a bit warmer. Now I need to seriously go through the extra large bookcase that is covered in my needlework books and tons of cooking magazines. LOL There's a project.

Even better. Finally convinced that he is no longer moving every two years, DH willing parted with boxes. Lots of boxes. Two monitor boxes. Several DVD player boxes. A receiver box. A satellite box. Various other electronic things boxes. Took us half an hour just break them all down. This morning the styrofoam inserts hit the trash and on Thursday the cardboard will make the recycling. I had to move all these boxes to get at the containers of Christmas decorations. Now I've got a pile of things again for freecyling.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Almost Forgot

Due to circumstances slightly out of my control, I was only able to write for NaNoWriMo for 15 of the 30 days of November. The good news is that yesterday I made 25,000 words which is half of the 50,000 word goal.

I can do this. I just need to not be in the middle of an office renovation or have company for nine days.

Maybe next year I'll be an actual winner.

Meanwhile, the novel I was working on will continue. I'm shooting for the 50,000 words by Dec 15th. And then I'll evaluate what I've got.

Fa Fa Fa Fa

It's not a Christmas tune. I'm hearing a Guster song in my head. What can I say?

Last night was DH's company holiday party. Nothing like a bunch of well-dressed people having to board buses to get from the parking lot to the hotel. I found a pair of red tuxedo pants and paired them with my red velvet jacket and a silver cami. I'm not so not into dresses anymore. DH wore his red bow tie with his tux so we kind of matched. For a place serving more than 300 at once (actually they had two large parties going on at the same time, so more than 600) they do a bang up job on the food. The salad is okay. The bread is pretty good. But the main plate was mashed potatoes with a grilled chicken breast with wing drummette still attached plated with a some kind of cream sauce alongside a piece of tenderloin over mashed squash with a demi glacee and asparagus. Almost forgot their idea of appetizers - mini beef wellingtons, crab cakes, and veggies and good cheeses.

I was not into standing up - knees still complaining. But it was fun anyway. Even if we didn't dance.

Oh and I took a huge gamble yesterday. I haven't had a haircut in over a year. But I was hating the way the layers were growing out. So I stopped at a Hair Cuttery and let someone chop three inches off. It looks better. I nearly walked out though because of the inorganization. Glad I did it. Still isn't a true hairstyle cut, but considering my hair grows nearly an inch a month, this needed to be done.

This means I spent the night looking at women's hairstyles. Considering I spend most of my time with my hair pinned to the top of my head or pulled back in a ponytail, I could use some options. There was one woman there with striking white hair down past her shoulders. I loved it. Wish mine would hurry up and do that color. But so many women of a certain age just seem to give up and cut it short. Either football helmet hair or short permed poodle hair. I refuse. I'd rather have long and straggly thank you very much.

We may fa la la later. Time to drag out the Christmas decorations. Something to do during the Army/Navy game. Go Army!