Saturday, May 30, 2009

STRAWberries


Went berry picking this morning with a friend. Boy did is bring back memories of taking my kids when they were little and they ate more than they put in the basket. I think the farmer's must count on it. Also brings back memories of my disasterous first attempt at making jam. If I remember it tasted alright but my m-in-l told me I did it all wrong. Funny thing is I look back now and realize she was an authority but has never done it herself. I do remember I had strawberries from one end of the kitchen to the other. Hey! At least I should have got points for the effort. First and last time I did jam.

I have already wrapped some up to deliver to my son and I am taking some to me son-in-law as well. I just printed a recipe for strawberry rhubarb pie and I am making one to take to my s-in-l as well. I am cleaning the rest and freezing a lot. I will be able to pop them out later to make smoothies, or ice cream or use them in recipes.

Finally posting my WIP on Side Two of my Etui. I actually have more done since I took this photo.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weird sky

There is really weird cast to the light being shed by the sunset tonight. Everything is kind of pink-yellow looking. Another missed photo op. Kind of erie but it matters not. It is Friday! Yeah! I have stitching ahead of me tonight and this weekend. Tomorrow I am picking strawberries with a friend. Yum-mo! I will freeze some, eat some, take some to my daughter in PA and give my grandson some.

I am so happy to be done with work for the week. So happy I could jump up and do a dance and this is one non-dancing chick-a-dee. Something about 4 days weeks being harder not to mention office politics (and games!) This is exactly why I need to stitch. Non-stitchers can never appreciate how you can clear your mind and lower your blood pressure and release all the tension by stitching. It always cracks me up when the NSer's comment that stitching would get on there nerves. Nah!

I didn't get much stitching in this week. Actually every time I sat to stitch I ended up falling asleep....not tonight. I am getting a big cup of coffee. I need to make progress on the second side of my Etui and I need to make sure a post a picture of my latest project.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Tribute

It may be a couple of days late to post this but I thought it was worth it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Where's the warmth!

Man oh man.....maybe it's the sunburn from this weekend and maybe not. I came home and put on my fluffy pj's! A cup of french vanilla coffee, the recliner, a blankie and my stitching. Now this is heaven!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Giveaway

Here's a neat give-a-way with more than one chance at winning a scissors fob. See Carol's blog at for more details.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Make me stop!

A half hour later and I am still playing on this computer. I need to get outside NOW, so I can stitch later......I had to play with templates. I like to change things every now and then. I guess I get bored easily. Some sort of ADD.....you think?

So many choices

Do I stitch, do I work in the yard, do I clean? Well 2 outta three ain't bad.

Great progress was made last week while in OCMD at the Salty Yarns. Side two of my Etui is over 50%. As much as I would love to sit and stitch, I believe the beautiful sunshine and mild weather of the east coast will win.

In days gone by, I would have already put in an hour and a half outside. Yard work seems to be harder this year or I am just that much more out of shape. Face it, my extent of exercise is with fingers, thumbs and forearms as I stitch. Just thinking about exercising doesn't count.

Currently I am doing a little bit of dr. assigned stretches. I was having a lot of hip pain - searing pain at times. Last weekend it combined with my sciatic nerve acting up. I thought it was the hotel bed or the long drive to the beach. When I look back I can see why I have been withdrawn and quiet at work.....it is that dull constant ache that brings you down. So I finally break down and make the appt., apologize to the nurse when I get there for wasting their time.....she was sweet....."Pain is your signal something is wrong. Don't ignore pain." So I felt better. Long story short is.....seems you have a similar muscular arrangement around the hip as you do with the shoulder and rotator cuff and those are the muscles I need to stretch. The doctor was perplexed as he played with all the mechanical devices in his new office. Seriously, he made the exam chair recline, go up, go down and everything but swivel and admitted he was playing with the 'new stuff'. He said I have done some repetitive motion for months or even years that has finally come to a head. Immediately I knew and he soon confirmed.......when I go to sit on the couch or anywhere for that matter, I bend my left knee and tuck my left foot under my right leg. Viola! That is exactly what would to it. So ladies Extend your legs. Well we always knew I was a bit messed up and this confirms it......rotator cuff of the hip!

As I write I can see the crisp shadows of the maple tree dancing across the wall as the sun is shining and there is no hesitation in my decision....I am on my way outside with a vow to dig, and trim, and sweep, and mulch, and plant until 5 pm......at which time I will be sitting on the deck in the shade stitching away. And if I am lucky it will be under my new pergola but that will only be if my husband gets finished buildng his drum corp at a decent hour. And I quote as he goes out the door this a.m......."Kitty (our very original name for our cat), I need to go. I can't play with you now. I've got a drum corp to build". I guess we all have our little (sick) obessions.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Retreat!

and not the kind that means you pull back. Retreat as in Stitching Retreat at the beach. This is my first one and I am so excited. I have my 'stuff/projects' packed and am ready to leave work at noon and head on down to the beach.

I have had the weekends at the various conventions and they have always been a blast. This is a bit different......stitching at a seaside hotel as if the beach by itself wasn't enough. Am I ready for some complete R & R. No reports to do, no deadlines to meet, no forms to complete, no pdf's to email.

I've heard rave reviews about the previous retreats. Salty Yarns here I come!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Finished Etui Side One


And four more to go (including the top). Side two started this past weekend.....

Progress of my lunchtime Quaker piece....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I drove, I shopped, I succeeded

I think. Well, I know I drove to the state of tax free shopping; I know I shopped; succeed........that is debatable. I succumbed to the chain store capitalism trap and landed in the parking lot of David's Bridal. No offense intended to David's Bridal. The parking lot is quite full but if you know me you know I don't readily put 2 and 2 together. Minor details......which opens up whole other quandary. How can someone as anal an I am be so oblivious to the full parking lot equates to full store? What is going on that I don't take that leap? No worries.

So anyway, enter I do. It becomes immediately apparent that every teen age girl in the tri-county area is here to get her prom gown. I hesitate but steel myself because I know, or I have been told, I need to do this. I start towards the back left of the store because that is where the dresses with color are as opposed to the dresses devoid of color which will be worn by the bride. Somewhere between what looked like the "Finance" table with the no payment til 2010 signs and the back left, I want to stop and turn around. I need help! Everything looks like a Prom gown. I tell myself just admit it to the sales girl I have no idea what I am doing in this store full of poof and lace and layers and layers of billowing white satin. No, get it over. So what if I am out of my comfort zone?

OK, I'm walking, I'm walking, OK, I'm turning around, I'm retreating. I am in foreign territory. There is a wall of mirrors that turn and twist to give the best angle. There is a row (or two) of upholstered easy chairs with mothers and girl friends and grandmothers looking on and there are BRIDES in full regalia on the raised circular stands. I feel like I am intruding in a private, special moment. This is their big deal. I am a stranger and shouldn't be ogling at how pretty they look. Truth be told, we have all heard of the horror stories of Bridzilla and I want no parts of it.

The look of despair must have been all over my face as a cute, perky oh so serious, sales girl passes. I don't know if she offered or if I said it aloud. I need help! I tell her I need look at Mother of the Groom dresses and she directs me to the back left corner. Ah ha, so I was moving in the right direction.

This whole thing is really foreign. Prom was 35 years ago and the Prom was not what it is now or if it was I wasn't up to that speed. I am now at the Mother of the Groom dresses. Ms. Perks-a-lot tells me that I may want to look at the bridesmaid dresses as well. Some of the younger mothers choose bridesmaids dresses she says. Ok, so that was either Yeah Me! I am a younger mother and sincere on her part or typical sales girl shop talk. Whatever, it works. I now feel like the younger mother and I am shopping.

I continue on in my confused state. I flip through the rack. One side soft summer colors; the other filled with burgundies, navies, blacks and of course, the glitters. Quick U turn to the softer side. I see some of the ones I saw on the Internet. Something must have been wrong with my laptop or I have amnesia because I am now getting sticker shock at the prices. Alright, you are this far I tell myself, suck it up and dive in. As I flip, I see several I saw on the Internet including the fish scale dress. This is what Morgan (the bride) and I named it when we searched the Internet last week. In unison, we were like no way; who would wear that? Glad to know that I have a little bit of taste. There is the one with the beaded jacket, the one wrap looking style with the bugle beads that would make the girls look voluptuous and the fish scale dress that are in my size....or rather one size larger than I usually wear. I know enough about formal clothes to know you go up one size.

I now need a dressing room. Why do I feel like I am in the laser tag game room? It could be the squealing teeny boppers that are darting in and out and sounding off in the that high pitched squeal. I'm looking, I'm looking, I see Cynthia. She is the second sales girl who helped me and who was so very pretty and so very helpful as she listened to my erratic rant. Cynthia escorts me through the wall of mirrors and upholstered chairs to the fitting rooms. And yes, the fish scale dress is with me.

First the fish scale dress because I am really curious. It didn't even look good on the Internet. To my surprise, it looks pretty good. The Prom Squad even joins in and tells me how great it looks. Back in for #2 and the bugle beads. Nice again but this feels so very heavy. The jacket off is good and the 'girls' look great. Now for #3, straight dress, with almost a v-neck, spaghetti strap look going on. This gives me the muffin top over the back for back boobs and I don't even have it zipped all the way. Cynthia is at the door with the fish scales in another color but I have decided, I have given this the half hearted college try and feel somewhat successful.

I can't wait to call Morgan and tell her I am pretty sure I am getting the fish scale dress. The lines were just perfect to make me look slimmer and make the chest not so offensive.

Cynthia wants to ring me up. OK now, we are going to fast. I can't get the dress until the guys get their tux's and I know colors better. Mother of the Bride is wearing lilac, the bridesmaids are moss and champagne. I think I might make Morgan go with me so I can get her approval as I don't what to compete with the bridesmaids. I write down the name and style number and feel pretty sure I have succeeded.

I am happy. I call Morgan as I sit in my car and she has a sincere OH NO! I think she feels an intervention is needed. I assure her all is well. Damn, I am going to look good. I tried to add the link but was not successful.

It is not that I mind dressing up. What woman doesn't? But being the practical type I say give me back my crocs and sweatpants however, being the realist that I am, I know......fish scales are better attire in a mansion where the wedding will take place than the sweats.

Friday, May 8, 2009

ARGH!

It is not bad enough you have to get into the mood and muster up the courage to have to shop for clothes.....the fluorescent lights, doors that don't lock, the next ingenue who is size 2 wanting in, the pins and little plastic clips all over the floor for you step on, not to mention the mirrors on all sides that just accentuate the dimples in your thighs. Then there is the grabbing of your size off the rack that now must be being made with the pre-requisite of first putting on a corset. It has to be the humidity in my closet that the girls at work are now believing is in their closets too......the humidity does something during the off season to my clothes. How else can one explain that things that fit last summer are now tight. Humidity! enemy of soft silky hair and purveyor of frizzies. This is the ritual for just buying clothes for the current season, clothes to augment your wardrobe, not even bathing suit shopping which is the ultimate insult in dressing rooms.

So I am being bugged....have you got your dress yet??? (for the Aug 28th wedding) What's the big deal? I seem to have wrongly assumed that I can get something off the rack from Macy's or JC Penney's.......well dress me wrong. Apparently that is not what is done and the practical side of me that is already thinking.....hmm, where else can I wear this dress of all dresses...... Yes, I want to look nice and yes, I only have one son and yes, this his is one and only wedding or that is the plan as the lovebirds walk around in the bliss of young love. Well after several nights of internet searching, prodding of my husband to get a tux, all I find is matronly, I mean MATRONLY dresses my grandmother would wear. So I am discouraged for the styles I find, for the fact that I haven't lost the one of the 15 pounds I promised and because apparently these high dollar, looking like coffin lining, dresses to be worn by Aunt Clara of (the original) Bewitched need to be selected 4 to 6 months ahead. I think I am going to Joanne Fabrics for a pattern and fabric.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

If I can only find the words

We are off to the Garden Tour....

Maybe I should start with is took me til Tuesday afternoon to be rid of the headache I got on Saturday on my outing with friends. Try to envision a car full, I mean FULL, of women. On the road and really having no idea where they are going. Well, they have some idea but really no idea. How my driving didn't get us into a serious accident I don't know. I guess someone was watching over us.

So here we are all comfy in my little hybrid. The little car (love my Peggy Sue) holds five normal sized adults quite comfortably. Normal being the operative word here. On to the interstate, over the bridge and into the foreign lands of another state we go. We are armed with our umbrella's, our cell phones, Peggy Sue's in dash GPS, our guidebooks for the day and the anticipation of much laughter. And yes, we look like a motley crew of tourists with our tickets looped around jacket buttons or pocketbook handles. Oh we are just the kind of group people stare at.

So off to the first location and a walk through the lovely garden, by the pond and the Iris'....how do they get their iris's to bloom already? The secrets of the home owner, amateur horticulturist never to be shared. I wonder if they used a sun lamp...... Leaving the garden we enter the homeowner's wood working shed. What a treat and what a talented man. What beautiful pieces which he encouraged us to pick up and handle. We oh and aw and with that we are off to the next location......Punch that address into Peggy Sue and go.

My poor brother is following along behind in his truck and lord knows what he is thinking. I blink left but turn right. I zig and zag back and forth from lane to lane and of course make the quick turn with out a signal at all. Peggy Sue directs us to the next legal u turn. And then there was the cul de sac that we circled and waved to my brother as he must be thinking "What the hell". I can only imagine that we resemble Ethel and Lucy if they were shoe horned into a car and on an excursion. And the four women in the car are telling me to turn here, go there. Are we there yet? Someone has to pee. Another wants a cigarette. And yet another is having a hotflash. We are on our adventure. In the back seat at I turn around I see my girl friend hanging on for dear life to the "ah shit" handle. And I think......did I take that last corner too fast......nah. Did I mention, someone wants chocolate?

So fast forward, in oh so many ways, to house number six or seven in our excursion of the house and garden tour. This is an 8 acre estate with little gardens and found and reclaimed statues and yard art all around. Somehow my description pales to the real thing. As we approach there is a woman standing in between the christmas trees. Odd me thinks but for anyone looking in the windows as us, I have no right to talk odd. So I slow because now she is waving me into the yard. I hesitate because I can see the perfectly good driveway not 50 yards ahead. But she beckons. Now no one in the car is paying attention. They are after all either holding on, texting someone or something. As a turn into the yard, I can now see that mulch has been thrown out as a driveway. Not a dirt road but a mulch road. And still I wonder, why aren't we using the driveway? So this little makeshift road scares me but I resolve to proceed. Now my co-horts I am sure are oblivious as the hooting and hollering and hullabaloo resonates from the back seat. I am not 25 feet in and I have the sinking feeling I am going to get stuck. What what what! How can I get stuck? All that mulch has to be good for traction. Right? Well Wrong! As I trudge forward and the car slows there is a strange feeling beneath my feet. I feel the mulch under the floor boards and I find myself suspended over the trail as the underbelly of my car rests on the hump between the tire tracks. I am at a standstill. I am stuck. I can not move. OK, so the traffic directing little lady all nice and crispy and clean is telling me to back up. OK be-otch, let me spin my tires and splatter you with mulch. What does stuck - I can't move mean? Someone from the back says, put it in low. It's a hybrid! I have drive, reverse and park. Ok girls, you need to get out and push. Well the happy sounds have ceased. Out they get......and I ease on the gas in anticipation of them pushing. Well low and behold I can move. There is no need for any pushing. Now and forever more, my passengers are to be known as "the fat asses". I didn't even name them they named themselves. Once they exited, just removing their weight and I sailed on out of there. So I for one rejoice for the fat asses of the world!

Oh and the headache was not from anguish but any means. I think I laughed more in one day they I had in the last six months. It wore me out. I rested all day Sunday. The escapades of lunch are for another day.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Great Day Ahead

The best thing to me that one can do with their time is.......well as I type this I realize I have many 'best' ways to spend time. Spend time helping others, spend time stitching, or as I will do today, spend time with family and friends.

Today is the 62th Annual Wilmington City Garden Tour. And although it looks like weather wise it won't be the best, it other ways it will be perfect. A little history here: when my mom was alive, she and I would attend. Back then, they ran little school buses from house to house and estate to estate. We were given little boxed lunches that we ate in the park along the Brandywine as we chatted and oh'd and ah'd at the beautiful yards and gardens we were visiting.

Gardens from estates, to those of the landscaping enthusiast, to yards acres and acres large, to small walled city gardens (and sometimes interiors as well) are on the tour. You can look and dream and get ideas and marvel at the cleverness and beauty. All and all it is a wonderful for the senses. It gets the creative juices flowing for things to come home and do.

Well I stopped going after my mother passed away in 1993. In the late 90's, I took my daughter and the ritual began again. We don't go every year because it is the same weekend of Celebrations in New Hampshire as well as so many other spring time events. As a treat to my sister and a dear friend, I included them two years ago. Well we had such a great time. We laughed until we cried. And of course as all women my age know, often laughing and sneezing lead to that little embarrassing problem. Without going into a whole lot of detail, suffice it to say, I toured one estate with my sister's jack tied around my waist. That god for cotton and a warm day. So you can imagine as we plan to go again today, there are countless emails about me remember to get my Depends!

This year I included my brother and his girlfriend as well as my niece. They don't seem to quite get the whole 'tour' nor do that understand what could possibly be so funny that I would pee my pants!

I am expecting everyone around 8:30 for breakfast before we head out and the timer just went off for the homemade cinnamon rolls.............