Monday, July 30, 2012

Be still my heart.....

Oh, I am in love. I know it is wrong to stray. So wrong to turn my affections elsewhere. So sinful to allow temptations to turn my head. I have admired from afar for so long all the while I have felt I wasn't worthy of such fineness. But I have only so much willpower. I know I am not the first to have such feelings of disloyalty and I won't be that last. And then it happens.  A friend guides you into the unknown, luring you, using a gentle thoughtful teaching hand, I am after all only human.....

Oh my, Blackwork! A new love. If you haven't tried it, please do.

This month at guild Pat gave us a lesson. Most of the gals have done this before but I never attempted. I never thought I had the talent to do it. I thought the structure of it would not be to my liking since I live to do compensation stitches it seems. Pat was insightful and thorough in her explanation of making a trail and plotting it out and leaving a way back. It really appeals to my sense of order. I am having fun plotting the 'trails'. Although I may be a fan of compensating, this appeals to my mathematics side and my sense of organization.

This is my start of the 15 sided biscornu (free Internet pattern). Almost 3 done and 12 to go. I can do one in just over an hour so I should have no problem meeting the October deadline.  I am sure my speed with pick up as I get more confident with my stitch path.  Lucky for me, Pat is one of my Thursday stitching pals so if I get in trouble and run amuck, Pat can reign me in!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Then and now

Short and sweet.

Here is where I was in the beginning of the month.

And here I am now! Finished

And again, then and now. A second finish and two more off my WIP list.

Now what will I get my hands into?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lots accomplished

Lots accomplished and so glad I used my timer......see I know that when there are jobs I don't want to tackle or know where to start, I just don't do them........using the timer allowed me to make progress and not feel like I was chained to a nasty job all day!   Yeah me!    I entertain easily.

So what did I do

  • Pulled everything out of my hope chest, sorted and folded
  • Inventoried and boxed up two boxes for Goodwill
  • Read
  • Stitched
  • Blogged
  • the three previous, in moderation
  • Rearranged little vignettes with my new purchases
  • Really cleaned the bathroom, not just the swiffer job
  • Sorted and bundled old magazines for recycling

  • Finished 3 finished stitching projects
  • Pulled all the linens out of the blanket chest and sorted and folded.   (Learned this trick on Pinterest - Store each set of sheets inside one of the pillow cases to that set.   Makes it super easy to grab a complete set when guests come.   Duh!  Why didn't I think of this one years ago.
  • A double Two double sessions on the computer doing financials (argh! the job I have put off for a week)
Here's my finishes:
Last year, Theresa from my Delaware guild, demonstrated how to make a strawberry with the spider-web cap.   Cool, quick and easy.   Earlier this year, she provided more of the same fabric to make a needlebook.    She provided instructions and two pieces of upholstery style fabric.   One for the inside and one for the outside.  Of course I had to go the non-conventional route.  I took one of the fabrics and cut it into four equal strips.   I added a strip to each side of the other fabric.

 And I made this little needlebook.   I used her fabrics to make a larger book because I had a brainstorm.   These brainstorms of mine often end with my damage done as I spin out of control!  Sort of like tornado winds. I touch down here and there on this and that and leave a mess in my wake.
 My idea was many needle books, and strawberries and other ditties does one need that don't match?  All these, one of this, one of that.  I decided to incorporate a pocket for my stitch starter, add a button closure for scissors and nun stitch a bit of linen for needles.
 And now I have a set!

 Next up, Blackbird designs.  This is one of those little stitchy patterns that had me stray from the straight and narrow of working on WIP's but I know I am not alone in my transgressions.....
 Stitched it up last month and assembled yesterday.   Used crushed walnut shells as stuffing.  (Note to self - need to buy more walnut shells.)   Love the feel and weight they give it.

 Oh come on!    All I did was remove the pins and snap another photo and #BAM# it comes out sideways.   Below is a glimpse of the civil war fabric I pulled for the back.    I have already put this to use.

 Lastly, Mr. Bones is finished finished.   I apologize for the crappy photos.   I couldn't get any without terrible glare.  Now I know why we pay extra for museum glass when we frame things.
 It is very difficult to see but he is mounted in the back of a 2 inch deep shadow box.   He has bones and scary things at his feet - glued in place because I know someone will pick him up and turn him about without thinking.  
 He came with all the extras.   It is a Prairie Moon design and the shadow box is from A. C. Moore and was under $5.
Speaking of framers.....I am so very close to finishing Lizzie Kate's ABC's of Aging that I can see a trip to the framer's next Saturday.   I know Karen will be able to finish it up in time for my September EGA meeting so I can add it to our WIP's contest.    I have the perfect place for it in my newly arranged bedroom.....but more on that and my junking finds in my next post.....for now my timer is going off and I must get back to my non-profit financial mountain of paperwork.   (Another note to self - 30 years of volunteering for this group and that group needs to come to an end!  I think I've done my share as well as the share of some others!! I just don't know how to leave my little ladies high and dry. I am thinking Archimedes Principle - if I were to remove myself from the organization, someone would fall in to replace me.  hmmm, highly improbable but a nice thought.)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Posting in increments

So much to share and so many pix to add that  I am posting many little posts to catch you up on life in my neck of the woods.....

This arrived this week.  This proves your kids do listen to you.   Ever hear those words from your child...."how come she can do it and I can't?...."  Once I shot back at them...."Well it is because she is my favorite.  I love her best."    Silence.

It became a running joke once they realized I could never ever have a favorite and that I just used it to put a wrinkle in the incredible grief they were lamenting over that very moment.  Smoke and mirrors people.  When I unwrapped this UPS package from my son, I laughed right out loud.   Obviously someone at Hallmark had the same as my sentiment.  

Minding my time

I have a ka-zillion projects that I want to do and, as usual, I put the pressure on myself that I must complete them all.  This weekend is no exception.   Some jobs I avoid with a 6 foot pole and other tasks I find I spend too much time on and others I get completely sidetracked off of.    To not get frustrated that I frittered away my day (really?  who fritters?) I am employing my Pampered Chef timer.  
Love this time!
It has a magnet to attach to the fridge or pop out the easel to put on the counter or  your desk.
Or best of all, clip it to your waistband.   No more burnt cakes or cookies because you walked away from the timer.   
The pre-arranged time is 90 minutes per task and the tasks are many.  Not too much of a control freak am I?   I know me, if I don't set a time line some jobs will never get approached and others, like stitching could consume the whole day which is not necessarily a bad thing except when it interferes with running a household, paying bills, buy groceries, doing laundry, etc.  I really don't want to start off my workweek with no clean clothes! 
It has happened before with reading (a very worthwhile pastime)  ...... I look up to realize the sun has set and the only light in the room is the glow of the iPad.   

Let's see what I can get done today and tomorrow and what I may have to show tomorrow evening.    I have some minor progress on my bedroom update to share, some stitching progress and of course, I've been out junking this morning and came home with some new treasures....and yes, I allowed 90 minutes for that trip and came in under 'budget' which left me time to post!

Happy stitching all and may you too cross some chores off your list this weekend.

Vegetable Gardening - learn as you grow

The things I have learned from my garden......

  • Tomatoes grow exponentially 
  • Six inch plants can grow to six feet plants rivaling the size of an arborvite
  • Space planning is a. necessary, b. critical, c. not negotiable d. All of the above
  • Once everything starts growing you are thankful that a couple of plants didn't make it 
  • Warm cherry tomatoes right off the vine are awesome 
  • Squirrels like tomatoes 
  • It is awesome to harvest lettuce each night for a dinner salad 
  • Cilantro and basil out of your garden are terrific
  • No matter how big your tomato cages are, they won't be big enough 
  • When buying plants definitely put half of the tomato plants back before checking out 
  • Beans are fun to grow  - grow more beans next year
  • Potatoes near tomatoes get lost
  • Apparently one dose of miracle grow is all that is needed 
  • Gardens can become jungles 
  • Gardens are fun

Monday, July 9, 2012

Done did wilt already!

I am not alone having been hit with this heatwave and I know many of us are ready for a break which I am hopeful has arrived today.

It has been a busy busy weekend. My daughter came in from Boston. She had Phillies tickets and took me to the game on Friday night. It's the first time I have been to the new stadium and we went in style....preferred parking, seats in a suite, watching the game in a/c and being waited on with food and drink,  I could easily become a sports fan.   Yes, I know, next time I will be in the cheap seats!

Daughter No. 1 and her husband arrived Friday evening as well. Now we three girls together means laughter and silliness! And not to disappoint, we carried on the tradition. More friends and good food on Saturday with my son-in-law manning the grill. The was a lot of pool time but believe it or not, the water was so hot in the pool it was not really refreshing. Ran that good ole garden hose in it for an hour to no avail.  We suffered through it by floating on rafts and hanging onto noodles and drinking cold beverages.

Sunday brought two more picnics at friends, more food and continued heat. All these picnics mean good salads, good desserts, too hot to bike and I will not be getting on the scale this week.

I arrived home last evening from a picnic in DE and Mr. Wonderful had arrived home for a four-day respite. 
Some may see the RV, I see my poor grass suffering in the heat!

Hmmm, doesn't look like an 18 wheeler to me,
Ever present stuffed squirrel that is always on the dash board of whatever he is driving. 
He saves the parking passes every year and nails them to the ceiling of his man cave.

This is his home away from home....not driving a tractor and trailer on tour this year but rather driving the RV advance vehicle. About an hour out of the housing site, he distances himself out in front to arrive and get the lay of the land, to be ready with doors opened, with parking instructions, sending the kids and staff to lockers rooms and sleeping quarters, etc., when they arrive with the rest of the convoy  I guess it is like living the fantasy of running away and joining the circus if only for just the summer except he has a/c and satellite TV.   
Once he is back on the road again Friday, I will rearrange my bedroom and start to put into play all my restyling ideas with my new purchases and the ideas have been incubating fabric arrived and has been just waiting for me to take scissors to the bolt and start the curtains.

On the stitching front, it has really been rewarding to work on some smaller stitching projects and see finishes happen in a week's time. I think I might have to re-evaluate my choice of patterns when shopping in the future. But alas, I am just delaying the inevitable and need to refocus on two of my larger WIPs if I hope to complete at least one of them by September. I do this all the time - create timelines for myself...self inflicted deadlines. Somehow in and amongst all entertainment and pool time, I managed another finish. 
Look at all the 'scary' things that are part of the finishing.  

This is from the crazy January 2011 challenge. I look  forward to finishing this finish.....maybe I will get on a finishing spree in several that I should make it a mission to complete before September.

And remember that IRS mess I was working on for my non-profit?   The 12 months of sorting 25 years of records and financials and filling out the required forms and application; the 6 to 9 months of waiting for a a letter from the IRS that we need to amend our Articles of Incorporation (doable) and send them a copy showing the State's seal of acceptance (doable) and I have 20 days to do it (near impossible when one works and just can't traipse off to Trenton (like I would even know what office to go to!!).   Oh I love my little ladies but they will be the death of me yet!

As hot as it has been I am thankful that  I have been so very fortunate to have not lost power.  I am fortunate to be able to find relief in my pool, I have a/c to keep me cool and allow me to sleep in comfort. I am thankful today brings a break in the heat for us.  Who would have thought we would welcome 90 degrees?  Hopefully it will also curb the damaging storms we have had.   And hopefully those who have been victums of the wildfires will see relief as well.   It is time for Mother Natures  to shine fairly on everyone.

Between IRS and a bedroom re-do, I am may be in absentia for a while.......

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Happy 4th -
First let me take a second to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!  I hope all enjoy a day of good picnics, good food, good friends and good fireworks later tonight!

WIP's - 
And now for a quick WIP's update for the month of July.     I strayed a bit, as you may know and started and finished two new projects.  Now that  I got that out of my system, I picked up my Skeleton Shadow Box from Prairie Moon.   I started this as part of the Crazy January 2011 Challenge and you can see how far I got.    I was using the recommended fabric (30 ct. WDW Onyx)  but it was not working for me.   The fabric was too soft (?) shall we say and each stitch seemed to pull at the horizontal and vertical I quickly became discouraged because I was not liking the look and there was much frogging.   Into the 'time-out' pile it went.    When I started the WIP Challenge this year, I put it on the list vowing not to let a silly little piece of black 30 ct get the best of me.  
WDW 30ct Onyx
New gray fabric -which I cannot find the slip that identifies it!  But it is a 30 count. 

I have the shadow box already and all the little parts for inside.  Just need to stitch stitch stitch

This is working up fast and I am actually enjoying stitching bones!  Maybe some sort of Hannibal Lechter in my past.   I hope to finish this up by the end of next week and cross another UFO off my list.

I think I am getting my groove back on pulling out my Lizzie Kate ABC's of Aging.   I have a carrot dangling in front of my EGA we are having a WIP contest that will wrap with our September meeting.   I hope to finish both the Lizzie Kate piece and a LHN piece I have on the stretcher frame so I can enter both in the drawing along with Mr. Bones.

Other WIP -
Last but not least, my other major WIP.   It involves machinery. Check it out -

What is it?   My new bike!    And the other WIP is ME!  On the road to maintaining a health lifestyle.  It has been more than 15 years since I was on a bike - had a bit of a nasty crash years ago and other than getting back on the bike the very next week for just one time - me and bikes have not been friends.

But I did it.   Been thinking about it for a while.  Got to move myself out of the comfort zone every now and then.   Tried to buy one at Walmart on SEVERAL occasions but the sales people were more interested in talking about their last date, their next date, twirling their hair and/or cracking their gum to make a sale.  One day last week on the way home from work my car just headed to the local Sears.   I tried the Cruiser style but went for this one with the gears.  Sears didn't have a great selection but it was Sears or no where.   

Cushy handle bars!

When did the kickstand get moved to the back of the bike?
A lot has changed with bikes like disc brakes and not center pull calipers?  I need to get up to speed.   I have been going out in the early morning before it is too hot and was so proud the first time until I realized I was only out 20 minutes.  I am, still a bit wobbly but getting better.   I am now up to two laps around the neighborhood and two laps around the local high school and back home.   Really not a big distance but I need to get my confidence up.   I kind of am turning the whole bike when I turn to look over my shoulder for traffic and I could make a tighter turning radius in my car than I do on the bike but I will get there.  My friend, Roxy, asked how I was managing in this heat and I told her it was the SEAT not the heat that is the problem.   I need to get my sitz bones used to the seat and I will say no more on that!   Hopefully, I will be able to continue the 30 to 40 minutes of cardio at least 4 if not 5 days a week and this WIP will continue on the get healthier trail!