Words to live by

My summer retreat.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

I can't believe summer is coming to an end!

Granted, I have not had much of a summer between overtime and coordinating contractors and my own home improvement projects.....but as I sit and plan my email about our Annual Labor Day picnic I see the end is looming.

About a dozen years ago what started as my daughter and son-in-law for crabs and beer for the Labor Day Weekend has blossomed into their friends and their friends kids, and my daughter from Boston and her friends and my son and his family and his friends!  It will be a great weekend long of fun and family and good food and laughter but it is the signal that it is the end of summer.

As for work, the second round of interrogatories have arrived and work is ramping up again.   Thankfully fewer questions arrived this round albeit a nasty 12 day turnaround instead of 28 days.

That said, still again, not much stitching going on.    Here's my limited progress on Penny America as well as progress on A Little Quakereques from Blue Ribbon Designs.   I started this as one of those crazy January challenges as couple of years ago when you start a new project every day for the first 15 days.....yeh, right, it gave me 15 WIP's!   Sorry for the wrinkles on both......

Since finishing Grace Mason, I vowed to work on cleaning up a couple of WIP's before starting anything new.   Let's see how long I stick with that resolve before something temps me to stray yet again.

As for Mr. Wonderful, he arrived home last Sunday night after 8 weeks on the road.  Every year when he returns he vows he will never go again.   I get it, I did the modified tour two different years and it gets old living out of a suitcase, sleeping on a gym floor and showering in high school locker rooms with 50 of your closest friends!  This year, he is ready to go again next year.   Must have been a good tour!   His group, The Jersey Surf, finished as 22nd in the world out of over forty groups.   A couple of years ago, Drum Corp International ("DCI") realigned the divisions combining them.  That kind of put his group, equivalent to Division AAA Baseball in the big leagues so the group is happy to have finished in the middle of the pack.   DCI did honor Mr. W. as Volunteer of the Year.   In their presentation they totaled all the miles from last fourteen years and it was well over 100,000 volunteer miles driven!  He downplayed it but I think it is pretty cool.

Monday, August 4, 2014

No more falling down on the job.

And  I mean that both literally and figuratively.    I came bounding out of the shed early Saturday morning with my paint tray and roller in hand and hit the slippery  ramp and ka-boom.   Not to worry, I landed on a very padded area.  I think my ego got the worst of the injury.

Ready for a sit and chat.

The contractor finished my long list of nuisance jobs....hallelueyah.  I managed to complete the paint on the stairs and bookcase and paint two of the 6 new interior doors he installed.   I want the paint to set on the bookcase before I put my books back and I will be putting fewer back.   My daughter and I rearranged furniture and put up art work  on Sunday.  I ordered a new canvas print.   Really mixing it up and changing the look with art work and accessories.   It was time.....some of the pieces have been on my walls for more than 30 years.   Styles changes, tastes change.    I now know why painting is such a lengthy process for me.   It is not the actual painting which I enjoy......it is all the moving, patching, sanding and putting everything back that takes so long.  I am packing off quite a bit for storage in the shed that it may just burst at the seams.  I am an anti-hoarder but I hate getting rid of things that there is nothing wrong with.  

Fewer books and more decorator items in this bookcases future.

It is amazing how one thing leads to another.    Putting
fewer books back on the bookcase leads to where to put the extras, moves to Heather gave me two mini bookcases, causes me to move my fat quarters from where they are housed, and my collection of sewing baskets into the cabinet where the fat quarters were and the books in the Expedit that housed my sewing basket.  Phew!    I swear I just CREATE work for myself.  Maybe that is why it seems as though I never finish anything.  Crazy how it goes like that.  
This little spot is waiting for me to complete the refinishing of my round oak table.  
Hopefully it will be done after next weekend and ready to move back into place.

Need to get my son-in-law to rehang this lamp made by my dad. I'd better get
back to Home Depot for the new wiring I need.
My new Lazy-boy.   Perfect for early evening stitching.

Also, got to share my newest tool.   It is not a needlework tool but we need to share but any tool that makes our jobs easier.   I grabbed this hand held paint bucket on my latest trip to the hardware store.   It made painting trim and the bookcase so much easier.   There is even a magnet inside that holes your brush.   Cleans easily and a great place to 'park' your brush after you wash it while it dries.

A lot nicer that carrying the paint can!

I worked from sun up to sunset both Saturday on household projects so there is no stitching to share again. So much for that bag of office work I brought home.  A great week is ahead with a couple of dinners out with friends and hopefully a more than a few stitches will be made.   Work has slowed for a couple of weeks.   Taking a couple of well deserved vacation days at the end of the week.  Hope to get a hair appointment; catch up on reading; enjoy the yard/the pool; stitching!; or maybe just do nothing!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hello Old Friend!

Nineteen 12 hour days with only one day off in the middle of that mess and I have conquered 95% of the project.   Next week will be ticking and tying with the attorneys to make sure all the exhibits are referenced correctly and trust me, this will all be done during normal working hours.    It was a welcomed treat to wake up and not have to go to work and to find a long lost comforting friend sitting in wait.   Ahhhh.....a couple or three cups of coffee, stitching and a lazy morning for me. 
 Really love the colors and the cute flowers.

I picked up this goodie at a craft event in June.   Just love the whimsy of it.   Not sure what I am going to do with it.  It is a neat way to use old buttons.   The booth has tons, in all kinds of color combinations.....wish I had bought more.

Not the best display but my vaaaahhhses have yet to be unpacked.  Furniture back in place but the contents of cabinets, bookcases, etc., still in tubs.   My mission today will be to finish painting the bookcase and unpacking a couple of tubs - sorting and minimizing as a go.   I am liking the cleaner, less cluttered look.....probably won't last but a girl can dream.

Look at the support I am getting!    Appears Buddy is too tired to help me with a few house projects.   Males!    I guess I will tackle the laundry and errands and putzing alone!  Have your rest Buddy, you apparently need it since you like to play and pounce all night long!  Such a tom-cat.     Thanks for stopping by......have a great week all!

Monday, July 21, 2014

And on day 15....

I crashed......I left work only an hour after close of business tonight came home and slept for two hours shoes still on and all!  I needed it.   I feel like I can get back on the horse tomorrow and ride out the duration.  My work project is going fabulous.  I created a big old database on our intranet with workflows to automatically forward tasks to the next person who has to review or approve each response.....and for the slackers.....the automatic emails started going out today for all unanswered questions.   I had a few push-backs......like, I answered that question; well maybe you did but you didn't submit it and keep that workflow happening!   If they think these are annoying, wait until 2 days before the deadline and the trigger is tripped for emails to the responder and their manager!  On the back end I have to export, format and verify language, verify attachments, etc.    I am the admitted bottleneck of the project.  But I uploaded another 99 files to the lawyers ftp site today.  262 responses completed along with  their various attachments, financials, and general support documentation down and 203 data requests to go.   I think we are in good shape but my boss is pushing for more which I really am not understanding......I mean really, deadline to the attorneys is August 1st.

I really know now what all work and no play is no good.  And I can attest the sleep deprivation is inhumane.  Let's see, I went to work on Saturday with my shirt on inside out!   Good thing it was only me and another girl.  It made for good comic relief.  I warned everyone at work weeks ago and I begged everyone at work to just leave me alone explaining the attention to detail needed on the project.    Long about Thursday, and no less than ten stupid interruptions in a half hour.......like....Robin, do you know the printer is out of ink?, or better, Robin, IT put in the toner in the printer! or the copier is out of paper, or what time does this morning's meeting start? or everyone that thinks they need to stop with their coffee and muffin and tell me office gossip.   Really?  They all think their interruption is worthy of being a $10M interruption........so I locked the office door...... needless to say, 2 minutes later when my girlfriend wiggled the the door handle, rapped on the window I was not a happy camper....and what does a sleep deprived, super stressed, incredibly burdened person do..... I stormed across the room and flung (and I mean flung!) open the door and firmly (maybe a little loudly) stated...."Is the building on fire?  Otherwise I can't imagine why......." and then I see that there is an officer of the company with a question.    Oops!   Good thing is that everyone on the third floor kept their distance the rest of the day.

On the home front, I have a pool that is on the verge of turning green from non-use.  I have been
I just had to run and get the camera when I went out to tend to the pool
after my little nap.   It was such a pretty night and it grounded me that
this is part of why we work hard....to have nice things at home.
living like a hoarder with boxes of things and furniture piled high and the cat's food and litter box in my bedroom.  Now that the floors and painting is complete, each night I have come home and try to do an hour of moving things back in place.  I am getting there.  Thankfully my kids were in town for the weekend and I stayed home on Sunday but physically worked at moving furniture and cleaning all day.  No rest for the weary I guess.   I have canceled my hair appointment but am not yet close to sporting the skunk strip down the top of my head.   Canceled my nail appointment - a treat to myself in recent months that I am missing.   Canceled my dentist appointment - now that's a heart breaker!

Now this is a welcome site after 6 weeks of no furniture!
Getting by with a nightly glass of Pinot Noir (a new love that I was introduced to a few years ago) and leaving the TV on a night to drowned out the constant numbers and reminders and questions running at warp speed through my head, it's a bedroom sanctuary for me now that it is minus the cat's dish and litter box.

More than a few things to hang back on the walls.
Stitching, HA! I laugh in your general direction.   No stitching for me.....I do carry it with me every day just in case I want to do a stitch or two at lunch.....but lunch has been at my desk......and will be for a little longer.   I guess it is like my wubbee, my stitching that is not my desk!  I am halfway through this mega project and the end is in site....and although I don't expect it, I sure wouldn't turn down a little something something in the way of a bonus when I am done.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Oh I Love a 3-Day Weekend

Enjoyed a salted beverage
I wish we had one a month.  I guess there are those little things called vacation days that I could use to make monthly three day weekends happen. We had beautiful weather here in the mid-Atlantic.  My daughter, her husband and friends showed up and once the remnants of Hurricane Arthur rolled through it was a fab afternoon and evening.   I even needed to put on a sweatshirt sitting on the deck the evening of the fourth.
So let's see what's been going on in my corner of the world.   I have been getting up to speed with Mr. W. on the road.    All thoses little tasks like pool chemicals and recycling that usually just get done now fall to me.  At work, I have been gearing up for a $20M project that I have to manage  starting on Monday.  I have been working with our IT Dept to create a database with the work flows I need to automatically send assignments as well as reminders to the slackers.  Quite simply, I am the administrative funnel of the project. I am expecting hundreds of - more likely thousands when you factor in all the multi-parts Data Requests - will arrive from the Public Service Commission and the Public Advocate.  All the different departments will send me their responses for me to format, gather and label exhibits, get officer approval and forward on to the attorney's.  I am stressing that my co-workers will be waiting to the last minute that will result in work not flowing through that funnel smoothly.    Last case I work 46 days with only one day off.  By the end of the process I was on autopilot not remembering how I got to work or home.   I got home to find the cereal I put away in the fridge.  I am hoping this time that my being pro-active with using a SharePoint database to track everything will make it easier.   We shall see.

Everything came together like it was supposed to!
So because of work.....not been stitching much......it was a beautiful thing though when I reached that all important final corner and the stitches linked up!   Yeah.    I had hoped to be done by this weekend and I am close.   I have a couple of little motifs over one to add and then the verse.

I might just stitch another basket in the opening.
Oops! The grey flowers on either side of the center stem were to be all pink.   
I really messed up on the final center motif.  I used the wrong color and since it is one thread over one I decided it will just have to stay and will just add to the other anomalies of Grace's design.  As for the verse, I am thinking of changing it to a verse I have on a wall hanging which brings me to this.......

everything has been stowed like this since 6/6 when Mr. W.  helped me move it.   The wall hanging is SOMEWHERE in these mess.   Seems not to have bothered Buddy.   It is not on my last nerve....YET.

Painters come this week.  I am having a real issue with the painters but I think it is on my side of the equation.  I just have a hard time paying someone for something I can do myself.  It seems though I am known through my family as the one who never finishes projects so I guess I need to get over the painter.

After my son-in-law left on Saturday, Heather and I did a little crafting.   We decompaged the inside of the drawers to the J. P. Coats  two drawer I got.  We were going to use tissue pattern pieces but decided to go with the instructions cut into various shapes.
Not a good pix to see the cording we made.   I used one skein each of black and beige perle cotton to make a twisted cord that we put into the corners.

Thanks for stopping by.....that's all I've got for now......

Friday, July 4, 2014

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A quick fly by...

Things are going well with my household updates.   Floors done, painting scheduled and a long to-do list turned over to the contractor for an estimate.  What a relief that has been to move 'jobs' off my to-do list and to the professional!   Mr. W. won't recognize the place when he returns.

Backing up  a few days first.....floors sanded and ready to go.    I have a taste of living like a hoarder with the cat's dish and litter box in my bedroom and the overflow of furnishing moved shoved into any available space.

Earlier this week, I spent two hours and twenty-seven minutes on hold with Yahoo! and never got to talk to a person.   One of the websites I manage for a non-profit has been compromised.  Online help keeps sending me in a loop with the end result of wanting to send an email to the email address on file WHICH IS NOW NOT MINE!  So, see I do need to talk to a person at the other end of the line and, no offense, hopefully located in this country.  Plan to try again today.....perhaps on Sunday their call volume will not be as high as on a week night.  I passed the time reading and playing Mahjong and trust me while not getting irritated there is only so much time a person can play Mahjong.

Also a bit of retail therapy for me.   I hit some antique and consignment shops locally as well as headed to Lancaster County PA for some shopping.   Got some great deals on some things, 10% knocked off others and bartered $20 off another.   Some I might have paid too much for, but definitely got steals on others so overall I was a winner.  Starting left to right......cute maple end table/night stand for $30, a Martha Washington sewing stand which I negotiated $20 off,  some accessories, a wrought iron floor lamp, in front of the bench a chalkboard for my kitchen, the distressed bench and a J. P. Coats cabinet for 10% off.

 (Look how pretty my floors are!!)
The chalkboard is a cabinet door with the recessed portioned painted with chalkboard paint.   People are clever!

Love the circular hanging mirror with the little bird at the top.

A couple of colorful pieces for accent and had to snag the buttons for the Rosewood Manor Barnwood Buttons 'next up' stitching piece.

Love the bench.....originally thought I'd use it as a coffee table but really like the look of it on my front porch.   If I were to paint door and shutters black next summer it will tie this piece to the porch for sure.

The J. P. Coats cabinet I am sure it not authentic but I do believe it is old or at least constructed with older wood and I did pay less than asking price.  I buy what appeals to me regardless of age and I didn't want the regret of not buying this like the one I let slip through my hands a few years ago.    I hope to line the drawers with felt and I know I can make good use of it.

Last bargain, the wrought iron floor lamp for $35.   Not a particular fan of the beaded shade but I can work on that.

So that's me this week.   Minor stitching done.   I seem to have slowed to a snails pace on that front with no stitching today for me.   Dust and clutter is everywhere. I hope to put things back in the two hall closets today which will alleviate some of the mess in my bedroom and sooth my soul a bit.   have promised myself to use an honest and critical eye when returning items to each closet.    Hopefully that yard sale/Goodwill pile will grow today!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Lots going on but little time to share

Just like the title says.....I've got lots to share but no time to post!   So here is a super quick update on a couple of things.......check this out....my living room.  If you put 2 and 2 together and realize no furniture here means it is shoved somewhere else, you get the gold star!   After not biting the bullet for the last few years, I finally have committed to having my floors refinished in my living room, dining area, halls and stairs.  I timed it for when Mr. W. would be on the road 'so as not to inconvenience' him.   Out the door he went early on Friday the 13th for 8 weeks......but not without me having him help me move all the furniture.

I hope to sit in this same spot in three weeks and show you both a glorious floor and a newly painted living room.
 Say goodbye to ugly, worn floors.

Guess I should think about replacing the two missing balusters too.

Two weeks after the floors, I am having the whole area painted.   So I kind of have been living from one corner of the sofa in the family room.  It leads to two things......a good way to clean out cabinets and closets and the desire to update some things.    Been searching the Internet for 'looks' and did a bit of consignment shopping yesterday.   I found what I thought might be a good coffee table but left the store without purchasing it........I mulled it around last night and decided the piece is multifunctional and if not used as a coffee table, it will work somewhere else.   So I will be heading back to be at their doors when they open at noon with my fingers crossed that my hesitation is not my loss and no one bought it between 3 p.m. yesterday and noon today.  

And I have been really trying to burn up the needle with Grace Mason.   I am getting there.   Pardon her wrinkles from my q-snaps.

I am alternating between stitching the motifs across the bottom with the over one initials.  They are time consuming and what's better than stitching over one?   We all know, ripping over one.   Let's hope there is not too much of that in my future.

So glad I have been able to stick to my pledge to stitch on only one piece at a time and to stitch from stash.   That's the temptation fellow stitchers....all the fabulous designs we see and trying to keep that resolve.   I gently remind myself of my S.T.A.B.L.E. Stash and exactly how many projects are kitted up and just waiting for me to start.

Next up - work, summer, yard saling, my visit to the Downton Abbey exhibit at Winterthur.....yadda, yadda, yadda and now I am on my way outside to vacuum the pool, pull some weeds and  enjoy the day AND  to head back to the consignment store for the bench I saw and maybe the floor lamp too.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - The Lucky Charms Tree **UPDATED**

About 2 x the approximately size, 1984
When my son was about 4 we saved box tops from Lucky Charms cereal and sent them in for a teeny tiny pine tree.   We sent in our box tops and I am sure with some postage and handling money and waited to our prize to arrive.   Finally this little itty bitty little tree the size of your little finger
Summer 2005 after my son and I  transplanted  it
from the back corner of the yard
came in return mail.    So me and my three little ones planted the tree in the far back
corner of the property......and watched and weeded around it and watched it grow so slowly, never seeming to get any bigger.   One day we found out why it was growing soooooo slowly.....seems Mr. Wonderful didn't know there was a tree growing and would just run the lawn mower over it every week or so!!    (No. 1 Reason I preferred to cut the grass and not him.   No further evidence was needed as to what happened to other plants.) We took rocks and arranged around the little bitty thing and let it be safe from the nasty lawnmower.   This tree has been a landmark in the yard.
Winter 2006 - Oh no poor little tree, please survive the winter

Spring, 2014

We have pine cones this year!

It has become a nice 'screen' between my pool deck and the neighbors deck - now with 5 children under 8!

So, now 30 years and one transplant later, the Lucky Charms tree grows tall and strong and is currently  home to a next of baby robins....but with Buddy the cat, maybe not for much longer.  Over the years and to this day when I am relaying to my kids where something is....it all relates to where is it in proximity to the Lucky Charms Tree!

"let's have a picnic"
"by the Lucky Charms tree"

"I lost my keys"
"Where were you when you last had them"
"by the Lucky Charms tree"

"I want to plant some flowers"
"around the Lucky Charms tree"

"Where's your brother?"
"Hiding behind the Lucky Charms tree."

"Help me put up the holiday lights"
"What trees in the yard to you want to decorate"
"Let's put christmas lights on the Lucky Charms tree"

I received an email from General Mills today asking if they could share my story of the Lucky Charms Tree on their social media page and they sent me a copy of the box with the free tree offer.  This is just too funny and has me sending emails across the country to my children.  I had intended to add a photo of my son then and now but just didn't take the time to did through the box of photos.....I think I will now.    I am grinning from ear to ear.  Check out the box offer!