Sunday, April 28, 2013

Oh the joy....

Just back from 4 days in Ocean City MD and a cross stitch retreat.....ahhhhhh.   Better than a Calgon Take Me Away bath it is to be with friends and stitching.

We stopped at Serendipity Quilt Shop in Dagsboro on the way down.   I picked up several different sizes and colors of ric-rac.   Do I have a project in mind for the ric-rac?   No, but I needed it.   It's an exercise in stash building.

I only got my camera out once and wasn't able to really capture the true beauty of the moonrise.

This is what I pulled from my stash to start at this season's retreat.   It is really working up fast.
The little needle minder that looks like the end of a spool of thread was a little gift to myself because I like the nostalgic look.

Bought some peanut butter kisses (saltwater taffy with peanut butter inside) as "I'm sorry" candy for two co-workers who I bit their faces off.   (Really was their fault because I told them I didn't feel good and I was miserable and they should leave.....but they didn't and I barked at them.)

Not sure why I am on a Halloween kick, but I am.
 More Halloween and a patriotic stitch.

And another group project.   We all enjoyed the Santa we stitched together last year and we found another one to work on as a SAL.   I am not sure when we will start it but four of us are on board to do it.

I was also able to get in the first four rows and part of the fifth my guild white work SAL.   Sorry, it is too hard to see but trust me, it's there.   I will try to get a better shot and replace this one.  Excuse the little ends of my away knows.  Haven't woven the ends in yet.

Halfway home I got an uneasy feeling.   Mr. Wonderful was so anxious for me to go this weekend which is totally unlike him.   Not that he has a problem with me going on my excursions; it is more like - whatever.   But this time, he was very encouraging and actually insistent when I was considering cancelling because I had been so I got to thinking, Why did he want me out of the house?   What was he buying?  Was he getting us a new kitten since Miss Babykakes went missing?  As  the girls quickly unloaded their bags and switched cars, I came in to find a set of shiney new keys on the table.   Ut-oh!  Mind was racing.   A John Deere Gator, another Kawasaki Mule, a Kubota????   No, it was just new keys to the new locks on the drum corp trailers.   Whew!  Dodged a bullet there!  Hmmm, Mr. W. may have turned over a new leaf.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 8

or maybe 9 or 10......of being sick and officially FED UP with this.   I say day 9 or 10 because you know when you start to get sick but don't recognize it?   Think it is allergies; think working outside in the wind all day is the reason for the earache.  I went to work for about 3 hours yesterday before my boss sent me home.

Today I am feeling somewhat human and can't possibly watch anymore episodes of Criminal Minds or Law & Order SVU, I got my camera out to snap a few pictures of progress to share.  

With these extra days home, stitching between coughing and napping I think I will manage to meet my self-imposed deadline of April 30th by finishing off these two.  I need to pick up some floss to make the cording to finish the smalls on the Icelandic Christmas.   The floss is on the list for retreat this weekend.  I hope to attempt the finishing on the board.  I am feeling somewhat guilty that I am taking off for two days after only being at work for less than 3 days in two weeks.   But this has been on the out of office calendar for months and I'll just have to get over it!

I am so close to completing Christmas Tree Farm by Victoria Sampler.......When I was about 95% completed, I broke the rule of stitching first, beading second just because I needed a change.

And the 'frogs' have come to visit.  The frogs are from a change I made......some of the white bands were stitched in #8 perle cotton and I felt it was too heavy so I changed it out with #12.   Bored much with all this time on my hands?   I think yes.

This one has been in my stash forever.   I was intimidated to start it and when my EGA started a Never Been Stitched challenge this year, I knew it was time.  The leaflet, linen, silks and beads came kitted up.   I did change out some of the tree colors along the way because the silks did not show well on the blue.  It worked up relatively fast and I think I made it all the way to the last band before I messed up something and had to do a bit of compensating stitches.

Just need to cross over that bridge to grandma's house and I will be done!

I am off to search projects and make a decision of what to take with on retreat.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Catching up

First let me tell you that I now know Dr. Robin has no business doctoring herself.   I seem to have lost about 5 days this last week with a bad sinus infection.   Seriously, two days with a high fever I don't really remember at all.  Feeling so bad I didn't even stitch.  I now feel 100% better but not yet 100% after dragging myself into the local Med Express yesterday.

But enough, three RX's on the counter and I am turning the much needed corner to a bright new week that will end with a seaside retreat in Ocean City, MD.   That was the incentive to going to the doctor - the need to be better to be able to enjoy four days at the beach :-)".

So here's what I did manage to accomplish because the inner control freak in me would not give in to mere germs and the sofa with hot tea, blankie and chicken soup until I was much sicker than I realized.

I sanded off the old finish, re-stain and poly my dining room table to now better match my chairs.
Goodbye beautiful flawless incorrect maple finish and hello new finish.   This time since I now had the chairs in hand I stained the rails for the leaves and did a color match with the chairs before proceeding.  

My discerning eye is not quite happy with the brush strokes I see in the center section but that is for a June weekend when I can air the VOC's out of the house.  I don't have a garage or basement so the finer parts of refinishing must be done in-house.

I did a bit of rearranging switching out my dry sink and the desk.   I also took down the christmas tree and passed it on to my sister.  It was our mother's and must be 40 years old.  My sister has decorated it somehow with a sewing theme which I can't wait to see.   She could have been an interior decorator that sister of mine.   She can take a box of junk and create the neatest arrangement from nothing.  But again, I am off track.

I shopped my house and swapped out a few pieces from other rooms.  I replaced the heavier bench I had with the lighter one on the left - all ready to provide that extra holiday seating.

I pull some black wrought iron in to complement the black on the chairs.  I  may need to do some editing with accessories, but this too, stands ready for pies and cakes when holidays come.

Last but not least, I moved "Ike", the fern,  and my $10 flea market table to the corner.   I am not sure what will reside here once Ike is moved outside for the summer.   I do think at that time I will refinish the table to match the finish on the chairs by painting it black and distressing the edges to have the wood show through.

Overall happy and the room is clean and (nearly) completed.

Friday, April 19, 2013


The bombing at the Boston Marathon is still so hard to wrap my brain around.  Such a senseless act.  The devastation to those poor peoples lives that were there to cheer on the athletes.  I just can't imagine what it must for the people of Massachusetts as the events have unfolded across the tv today.  My Boston daughter is fine as are her friends and coworkers.  My hearts go out to the victims and their families, to the first responders, to the everyday mom and dad in lockdown with their scared children in their own home, to the police and government agencies trying to put an end to this and I pray the authorities can get this guy in custody with no more injury or loss of life.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Our Stitch-a-Long with my Delaware Guild started this month.   For more info, see my other blog.....

Afternoon off

Well not really but it seemed like it.   I was home by 3 on Friday and tore around the house catching up on what I have let slide the last week.    I think that is the hardest part (for me) when working extra hours.   The accumulated mess that I am too tired to deal with when I get home starts to get on my last nerve but anyway....

Even though I was dog tired Thursday night I pushed on right from work to my EGA meeting.   I am glad I did.   Deb S. from my Delaware guild taught a class at my NJ Guild.     She showed us the basics of adding a beading edge to a finish.  Check it's my doodle cloth.   It was easier to do than it was to photograph!

Next up, I vegged out on the couch last night catching up on some DVR'd shows and did the finishing on O Tannebaum.   He's a bit lumpy in places and the bag inside that is weighted with pellets and sand keeps shifting. to think of a remedy to punching him into shape!

Compared to my cup of tea and my glasses, you can see how big he is.   Can't wait to put him out for Christmas!

Weather looking up for weekend.......hope to enjoy the outdoors.  Happy stitching!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Stop now if you are looking for a stitching update.  I can count the number of stitches I have put in on the last ten days on my finger and toes.  After long days at work, I have opted for a little time in the yard weeding and prepping for mulch.
Rich is second from the right, kneeling, in the second row.

First an update on my son's surgery.  He had surgery at 7:30 Tuesday morning to repair the break to his left leg.  Hmmmm, not three breaks as indicated on the X-ray.  Five breaks repaired, one plate the  length of the leg from the knee to the ankle and 13 to 15 pins later, he was out of recovery and home by 3 p.m.  That's my boy, don't just break your leg, make it epic and break it in five places!  See, they broke his arm during delivery and I tease him that I should have returned him since he came broken.   From that point it has been a revolving ER door that I feel responsible for the ability of the hospital to add a new wing!  His surgeon is the team doctor for the Penn State Ice Hockey team and feels he will have a 100% recovery and be skating again by the fall.   He is not on the college team, just fortunate that he lives in State College and had a great sports medicine doctor.  Rich sounded a bit rough with the post surgical pain last night on the phone.  PT starts next week.   So because he was always having surgeries or hospital stays and was such a trooper and was soon a favorite of the technicians and nurses I used to buy him the same Dakin stuffed dog for each visit which we named Dr. Dog.  The hospital staff would put a hospital bracelet around Dr. Dog like a dog collar and let Dr. Dog go right into surgery and recovery with him.  I searched the internet and found a Dr. Dog on eBay and bought it and am having it shipped directly to my son.  I really hope it cheers him up.

Better times with her bike
More family news, my daughter had her motorcycle stolen right from her sidewalk during the early morning hours Monday.  Since the bike was reported stolen and found and stolen again in one morning  Philadelphia's finest explained.   The"bad"guys report it stolen and then when they steal it, report it found.....this way when reported stolen for real the reports cancel each other out and if  sighted it appears as though it has been found already.  Pretty slick.  When I was telling the girls at lunch on Monday I said it was probably chopped by now.  They had no idea what I meant and then were incredulous when i explained.  Really.  Love you girls but let's be realistic.  At this point we would rather it not be found.  Heather feels so violated as anyone who has had anything stolen does.  She put it in perspective by Tuesday night saying that no one was hurt, the bike could be replaced and it is not like she broke her leg in five places and had to have surgery.  She and her husband are going out to the dealer this weekend to 'look'. A motorcycle you say.  She's a city girl and this is her main source of transportation if not on public transportation.

Me, I notified my other daughter if she felt the need to contributed to the family timeline this week, it had better be that her cat had kittens!  I didn't want to hear anything more exciting than that from her corner of the world.

For myself, it has been crazy mad at work.   One girl was terminated, I am training a new girl for the position, one girl had a heart attack and I am covering her position and of course there is my department to maintain so I am weary.   No stitching?   Hell no....I am zombie like when I finally arrive home and manage to sit down.   I manage to fool myself and believe I was holding my own for over two weeks but now the the little messes around the house are starting to get to me.   Could this be why I announced my retirement date!   74 months/1480 work days, give or take a few.  I know!    74 months.   Before you know it, I will be in the 60's age wise and remaining months-wise!  LOL  My boss said he'd better get his plan in line then.   Of course, I told him we have to leave at the same time since everyone thinks we don't do anything anyway.

Watching the news just now, I put it in perspective too.   The tornado season has started tearing its way across the south last night.  I pray for the people that are and will be in their paths.  I am fortunate that my only issue is making through the latest work push time.  OK, off now for another 10 -12 hour day!  Ye-Ha!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Finally, a stitching update

Is it a bird?  is it a plane? is it a pterodactyl?  Certainly doesn't look like a horse at this point.   Kind of scary looking but I have confidence that he will take shape just fine as I put in the rest of his stitches.    Progress has been slow since I am being pulled prefer being outside by to enjoy the springtime weather and yard work.

Here is my carry along project.   This is Icelandic Christmas.   I have the smalls stitched and am working on the center motif.

I think I can round up the stitching part of both  projects in the next couple of weeks even if I put minimal time into stitching.  Especially since I can't wait to get my hands on the beads for the Christmas Tree Farm.

Gardening 1.1.2

You know what is know a little bit about a lot of things.   I love working in the yard but by no means am I a true gardener.  I don't know one plant from the next and love the look of wildflowers which many call weeds.....but I can edge a mean flower bed, spread mulch, pull weeds, push a lawn mower well and handle a wheelbarrow among other yard and gardening type tools and tasks.  I am also very good at creating and moving flower beds.  See I start a lot of things and then.....get bored and move on....Squirrel!...... so it is a surprise that I am starting Year 2 of a vegetable garden.  Let's review last year what I learned:
Last summer's overgrowth of tomatoes after a
beat down from a summer storm
  • Small plants grow large and your garden is never big enough
  • Plant fewer tomatoes
  • Enjoy dinner salads right from the garden every night
  • Don't plant more than you can eat
  • Put lime on your bed in the fall.   Oops, missed this one last fall.  Already have a note on my calendar for October 2013 to do this.  
Easter weekend I weeded and tilled my garden bed.  It was so good to get my hands back in the dirt.  I added  2 cu. ft. of vermiculite.  Don't know if I needed to but figured it couldn't hurt.  I planted seeds this year so we shall see how well I do.  I might have to get plants from Home Depot or similar if I am unsuccessful with the seeds.   This year I put in carrots, beets, two kinds of lettuce, zucchini and radishes.   I will add beans, tomato and pepper plants later.  I am still a newbie to this so I have that fun new thing anticipation going on.
My goofball frame that will (hopefully)be eclipsed by
growth before the summer's end.
Look at my crazy paint stick seed markers!   Improvise people, use and reuse, that's my motto.   I've got my cages in place for my tomatoes and peppers.  Just one beefsteak and one cherry tomato this year.

I used plant stakes from last year to create this frame for the zucchini to climb.  I still need to string it with clothesline or similar for climbing.  I think the lettuce will be fine underneath.  If not, I was mark it up as what I learn this year.   If this year goes well, I may have to convince Mr. W.  to build me another raised garden square.

Here's to spending as much time as possible outside this week.   Seems like I have come across the reason for not much stitching progress going on.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

DR Update or 1 Degree of Robin

When handed adversity you can a.) feel sorry for yourself and wallow in it or b.) get over it, learn from it and move on.   Let me are my super awesome I love them new Dining Room chairs.   Five side chairs and one captain's chair.
And here they are again from above.     Does the keener eye of a cross stitcher who can detect the subtle differences between DMC 501 and 367 catch my issue?   I finished my table beautifully if I do say so myself, but I choose the wrong stain color.   Kind of doesn't match the chairs.    I blame it on the fluorescent lighting in the home improvement store and the fact the everything I do seems to be one degree off the mark.    I must have chosen one shade to the left of how the leaf matched the samples in the store and then choose a stain one shade to the right of the color chart at Home Depot.  I also believe the more you do the more opportunity you create for making a mistake.  I don't live in the safety zone by sitting on the sidelines.  Nope, not me.   I try stuff even though I know my results end of one of three ways:  I botch it up; I leave it half finished; or I do a spectacular job.  So, next weekend, I will resand and restain the table and all will be right with the world and I will have a spectacular finish.  I consider last week practice for the final job.

Not a too bad match with the lights off.     It is just a table and about 8 hours worth of work.   Come on people, can't get too distressed over it.   Besides it gives me more time to consider my accessories and how I might want to rearrange the room.

Really, it is about perspective people.   It is fixable and it is not like my name is Richard and I broke my leg in three places yesterday like my son did on the ice hockey rink.   More updates on that once he speaks with the orthopedic surgeon on Monday.   For now he is in a stabilizing cast and on great pain meds.   It was good to see his silly face on Facetime last night after seeing the x-rays on Facebook earlier in the day.  Times like this are when it sucks that your kids moved away.  I feel for his wife!  LOL

For now, I am off to the garden to see what trouble I can get into out there!  Have a great week all and happy stitches to you!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Suggestion for Yankee Candle

Last weekend I tackled the job of refinishing my dining room table.  Years ago when buying furniture it was more affordable to buy the better quality unpainted furniture and refinish it myself then buy the particle board stuff that was really in my budget. So refinishing the table again didn't scare me.  What I have is a massive trestle table that we used as our kitchen completed with two benches and corner piece that made an "L shaped set up, or, as friend would is like eating a Denny's and sitting in a booth.   Until last week the table was about five years past needing to be refinished.  Last week I moved the table top outside to sawhorses and sanded. I forgot how much I love the smell of sawdust.  I wonder if Yankee candle makes a sawdust/fresh cut wood smell?  But I digress...... I started with the 80 grit on my hand sander, moved to the 120,  then hand sanded with 220 and finished with 0000 steel wool.  Baby bottom smooth.   I stained the first coat and let it dry outside before moving it inside for the second coat.   Three coats of polyurethane and a much smelly house later, even Mr. W. made a comment that it looks good.  I think I might pull the steel wool out just one more time for a fourth coat of critical eye detects brush strokes in a couple of places.

In March I purchased new chairs for the dining room that I am picking up in Lancaster County PA this morning.  I am excited about my new chairs.  My sister helped my decide on Windsor style chairs with black backs and maple seats.  The black worried me but it was so much richer looking so I went with it.  (stop being so conservative Robin!) My friend Barb reminded me what Ed of Trading Spaces used to say.......every room
This is from the store's website.   It is the
style but not the color I choose.
should needs some black in it.  Shopping my own house I was surprised at how much I had that was black.   I think I will changed out some frames from gold tone to black.  About ten years ago this room was changed from a TV room to a dining room and has become one of my favorite rooms in the house.  I always thought a dining room was a room that seemed to be saved for holiday dinners.   Not mine.  I am happy with my update so far and will post some more pix when I get it all pulled together.  I am sure that will involve rearranging the whole room!  OK, maybe now, back to stitching......