Saturday, March 31, 2012

Oldest WIP Post for March 30

I did it!  I finally finished it.  Without further ado....

This is how far I was when I re-discovered the incomplete project tucked away in my project basket.  

One of the things that drew me to this pattern all those years ago as well as what held my interest are all the little motifs that one could pull out and stitch up all by themselves.   


 Sorry with the sideways view!  Think of it as exercise while on the internet!

I think another trip to my framer in Pitman is being penciled into my calendar.   I want to frame this up and put is in my sewing studio.   It will be a reminder to me to stick with the job until it is finished and reap the rewarding feeling of accomplishment when you are done as well as a reminder to never again have an 18 year project!

Monday, March 26, 2012

OK, so I've been playing around

I thought I'd mix it up a bit and give my blog a brighter springier look.   I don't know what is going on with some of the older posts and the background colors but enough html messing about!  I am still struggling to master the blogger upgrades .... perhaps if I read directions it would come to me easier but alas, I just charge through.  So, as promised, much updating to be done and here is a little sampling......

first up - my Drawn Threads Love and Wisdom piece I finished a few years back finally made it to the framers.   I love the frame Karen helped me with.   Just pardon the spacing with the pictures until I figure out the upgrades!

Maybe it's not the upgrades but my playing around with layouts and templates.   But I digress.                                                          I love junking and found a new shop not to far from my office.   They specialize in estate cleanups so the items are nice.  You tell me....which is better.   Four weeks ago I bought a new planter to transplant a cactus.  $17 from Home Depot and it is OK.   The gray kind of matches the stainless steel and blue of my laundry room backsplash tiles.   

But three weeks ago, I picked up these babies.  $15 and $12 and so much nicer than the new one.  I quickly transplanted my jade plant and bought a cyclamen for the other.   Look at the detail.   The handle shown below is the cutest!  Just goes to show you they don't make them like they used to.

You can see here the size is the same.   

 Next up, a little tease......
Oh yes, I finished and it was not complete without the embarrassing start and finish dates added.   I mean really....18 years!  My goodness, you can raise a child in that time.  More pix to follow.
My current work in progress is called "Keys" by Shakespeare's Peddler.   It is a quick stitch doing a key or a lock in each setting.  However, this is 36 count and my eyes are not really ready for this teeeny tiny work at 5 a.m. even with my cheaters.   I think I want to kind of finish this as some sort of tray to place my keys in....don't know...will have to talk to Karen at the frame shop for her advise.

I kind of had a calendar snafu.   I kept thinking Wednesday was the first of April...don't know what I was looking year I was looking at.  I guess I am looking forward to April.....busy busy month.   Travel and a class with the  Ellen Chester!    I am part of the planning committee so I get to have dinner with her and Tom the night before our weekend of classes.  At any rate,  I  continue my exercising each morning, remembering to take my vitamins, been reading, definitely stitching and enjoying working in my is good.  I might just have to play hooky a couple of days next week to get some flower beds edged and mulch spread.  Hope that warm weather comes back.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Updates coming...

Wow!  No time to post right now but just had to send out a Big Thank You for all the positive and supportive comments to my Where Have I Been and Where Am I Going post....thanks Lynn, Mindy, JAS, Jodie, Catherine, Donna and the rest.....

Just like when a team is struggling and the coach takes the players back to the fundamentals....that is what I did.   I got out the ole playbook and said what was I doing when my life made sense?  What is it that soothes my soul?  I went back to my basics and feel like my stars are once again aligned.    My basics?    Stitching and my yard.   Lucky for me we are having unseasonably warm weather on the east coast and lucky for me I convinced Mr. Wonderful we did not need a lawn service to do all my  fertilizing, cutting, trimming, weeding and mulching.   I caved on the bobcat work for the  fallen trees and caved on the grass cutting.   First, I just can't handle moving logs anymore and the chain saw is busted; second, Mr. W will be away for 8 weeks this summer and he thought it would be nice to have the lawn taken care of while he was gone; and third, it frees up my weekends to head to Philly to be with my daughter or hit the beach with my girlfriends.......I hesitated and then remember cutting the grass in the dark after work last summer and relented.  I got over the mentality that it has nothing to do with my ability to do it, it my reward for working hard, scrimping and saving all these's my cigarette money.  (WOW - I justify a lot with that money I don't spending on buying cartons of cigarettes like others do!) ......I get to be the lady of manor with a groundskeeper but I still get to play in the flower beds and hope to get my mulch delivered soon!  I see a vacation day in my future.  LOL

Enjoy the rest of your weekend ladies....I am off to a fundraiser and hope to update my blog later this week with details on a recent finish and a recent framing!

PS  A day of beauty and a new haircut helps to boost the spirits too!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Where have I been and where am I going???

I haven't fallen off the edge of the world but things have been a bit overwhelming for me since the beginning of the year. Where do I begin and where do I go from here….first and foremost, apologies to all for the long-winded/non-stitching related/whining post…..

I was once told when you have troubles a method to ease those troubles was to put pen to paper. There is supposed to be a ‘release’ so to speak of your woes and worries as you let them flow down your arm, through your hand and out onto the paper. In this day of computers, iPads and laptops, writing becomes typing and journals and diaries have transformed into blogs or Facebook. To that end…..this particular post is a venting, a questioning, a pondering of what the heck is going on with me and, hopefully, a path forward.

Just recently, my son’s mother-in-law passed away. Although she had been ill, her poor condition accelerated rapidly in the last six weeks. While we were neither emotionally or geographically close, you still hurt for your child and his family while they are dealing with the immediate and emotional issues and stress when a loved one passes. It also gives you a bit of pause with your own mortality. I need to get my affairs in order. I need to see a lawyer about a will. As I was heading out the door to attend her memorial services and I received a call that my sister-in-law had passed away suddenly. You know that minute when your world stops. Well it happened. How will I tell my husband? She’s younger than me; she recently beat cancer, she was always full of life. How will my husband take the news? Shirley and I were not what you would call best friends but she had a good heart, always accepted me with open arms and was a part of my life for 38 years. We had different political views, different philosophy on child rearing, different tastes, different wants and goals, but we were family.

As I have tried to ponder the events of the last several weeks, something seems to come up universally……take time for the ones you love…family or friends….just do it. In this world of texting and Facebook (and while they both have their place and usefulness) we sometimes forgot to reach out and manage to pacify ourselves that we have done it via a text or email. With my sister-in-law, Shirley, touching base with her in a few days became a week, became a few weeks and ultimately became months. I kept telling myself I was going to head out early some Saturday morning, take the 3 hour drive to visit her but there was always something else to do. So while I ‘liked’ and ‘commented’ to different posts on Facebook, I never took the time to take that drive and now I never can.

Families have issues. All families do. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was that no matter what, my brother, my sister and I, we are always there for each other. Talk about goals, hobbies, interests that differ but it matters not….we are family. We have a history. While I have always longed for the Norman Rockwell life, my husband’s side is more like a scene in Parenthood where Crosby and his brother break out in fisticuffs in the living room. We have never had physical fistfights; there have been the verbal ones that put a wedge between family members. Maybe these recent events are meant to serve as a wakeup call.

In my life I have had people who have hurt me. People I have trusted, people I have shared my dreams and my secrets, people who I have invested my heart with to be blindsided by the reality that our whole friendship was a lie to the point that it rattles your foundation. What you thought you knew as true, wasn't and you no longer trust your instincts. You build a wall to protect yourself from the pain people might cause you. I long ago came to the realization that I am the support person. I need to be needed. I have a lot to offer in the way of help, in the way of a shoulder, etc. and I keep on giving even when it is not reciprocated. There were events that become so catastrophic in my life that I have shut that side of me off out of the fear of being hurt. Is it self-protection? Definitely. So what have I done to fill the void? Throw myself into my volunteer work and hobbies as a way to avoid dealing with the personal connection?

Weeks before Dee and Shirley passed, I have found myself in a funk of sorts. No direction. No energy. No drive. Post holiday recovery I was telling myself. I am finding that I don’t do things halfway. Because I decided it was important to exercise every morning, I sacrificed my daily morning stitching time. Years ago when I wasn’t such a stitching fiend, the morning workout worked for me. This is no longer true. Who really wants to be out the door four out of five days at 6 a.m. and not get home again until 6 or 6:30 p.m.? Maybe others do it, and maybe I could have done it 20 years ago, but not now. These "others" don't have any other interests. So my stitching therapy has been ripped away from me. It is amazing how our stitching centers us or at least it does me. It is amazing how not doing this one simple thing every morning has left me adrift in this sea of confusion. You non-stitchers will just not get it. Stitching is a part of me. Take it away and you might at well have taken away my right arm. The void is that great.

Another incredible thief of my time lately has been Facebook! It is one thing to keep track, send a quick comment but I have gotten sucked into the vortex of the games. I don’t want to tell you the number of mindless hours I have let slip through my fingers playing games and remaining completely impersonally, justifying there is no cost involved, I was not bothering a soul, I needed 'mindless' diversion, but really……what does it matter? I mean really, it is the stereotypical mentality….”do you have the Tea House yet?” is not that dissimilar than “What color/brand is that nail polish? No disrespect to anyone intended. Nail polish is important to some but I have other interests. I do enjoy the games and like the search and find puzzles but I need to get this in perspective. I feel myself being sucked into this time draining vortex of mouse clicks as my way of not dealing with what I need to. For someone that started this year with over 25 WIP's I don't recognize this person I have become that can only devote time to one thing. I have started to tell myself how unproductive and that every hour I spend search for clues is an hour I could spend outside in the yard or sewing in my sewing room. My struggling to strike that good balance is a battle I want to win. There are only so many hours in a day and I need to straighten up and fly right and stop wasting them! Life is too short.

I did finish a baby quilt last week and here you go again…..this is for someone I do not know, never have met and probably never will. Why? I convinced myself it would be good practice. It is for the new baby for the son and daughter-in-law, who I do not know, of a friend. Yet, I cut and sewed for this person but didn’t take the time for make quilts for my two newest nephews. Why….it is that family wedge thing again? It is that so much time and energy in different directions has passed and we can’t find our way back? Is it keeping up appearances for others and being more worried about what outsiders think? Is it being afraid to let someone in again in case they might hurt me later? Whatever it is, I have vowed I will be making two little boy baby quilts that I will deliver to my family members.

The couple does not know the sex but wanted a monkey theme. The colors don't show well in the bright sunlight.

I just love the backing fabric.

I already have fabric in mind for my two nephews baby quilts -- trucks and bulldozers!

As for cross stitch, I really hope to move this to the finished column this week. Should only take me one pre-work morning of stitching and then I can be off to the framer's with it.

Where do I go from here? I hope this is just a blip in my life and I rebound shortly. I plan to follow my six steps for a better life.

I always find solace in picking up my daily mediation book and reading the verse of the day. So for Step One, that is what I will do.

Step Two, I hope I will keep those promises I have made to myself to reach out to family and old friends and stop convincing myself I can't with the ‘busy’ barricade. I will stop fearing hurt as a way of avoiding family and friends.

Step Three, I will pick up pen and paper and return a letter to a friend, I will write the thank you note that is needed, I will pick up the phone and make that call.

Step Four, I will try to find that balance between exercising and crafting and other things in my life. I may need the exercise physically but I need the crafting emotionally and for my well-being more. It is as much a part of me as having blue eyes!

Step Five, I will stop being so hard on myself. From the outside we think everyone else has it together and only we do not. Not true.....I will stop finding it so hard to give myself a break.

Step Six, I will take better care of myself, the right amount of sleep and take my vitamins.

Thanks for letting me bear my soul and vent. I think I feel better already. I do feel like I have released some stress and have a direction forward.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Oldest WIP Status

After last month's post on my oldest WIP, I was embarrassed that I have not added a stitch to my oldest WIP!  This past month I put it into gear - not necessarily high gear, but into gear.   I am going neck and neck with the  two WIP's that I am concentrating on.   I actually have been faithfully devoting only work to these two cross stitching projects.    I  grew tired of doing finishing work on my etui and haven't touched it for two weeks....and I am so close.....just pop in the bottom, attach the top and viola 

Since I haven't attached the ribbons, I am holding it together with a rubber band.

but alas....time has been devoted to my oldest project in the pile.......I was able to log a record six hours over the course of the last weekend and I am getting close.   I completed the section with the sewing machine and am working on the pink quilt.   I really can't believe how fast I have been able to get this done. Really these two projects are neck and neck......and I am amazed I have not waivered and been tempted to pick up other cross stitch projects.    (there it is again.....cross stitch projects)  Did you see veiled reference that there are other projects I have been working on.    I knitted two scarves and have been cutting up a storm of hexagons and have cut out a baby quilt I need to assembly.    I am truly amazed at how much I can get done now that I am not doing someone else's paperwork and financial reports weighing me down mentally and sucking my time and energy.

Happy stitching all!