Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014 New Year's Resolutions

Not resolutions really but my 2014 Goals -

We I have a tendency to set unattainable goals and set ourselves myself up for failure so I am keeping things simple this year.
  • Continue the weight loss (hopefully the holiday cookies and candy did not reverse ALL my progress to date).
  • Be more consistent with my fitness routine striving for small changes.
  • Stop wasting time.
  • Curtail my extensive side-track issues.
  • Stop putting off things. 
  • Concentrate on two WIP projects at a time to get them completed. Alternately adding another WIP  or a new stitching project as a reward for each finish. [What a hoot!  Maybe a better challenge would be to organize/count ALL the WIP's I have ;-) ].
  • Stitch from my stash.   There is an internet challenge some are doing but I am not putting the 'challenge' pressure on myself.   This is just me, on my own, planning to shop my stash.
  • Finish two quilt projects - both are so close! - and only then start another.
  • Just simply Finish! some already stitched items in the basket o' finishes.
  • Sort, organize and purge 38 years of marital/homeowner paperwork.  This is a job I start at least once a year but seem to get distracted before I finish. Why why why do I have owner's manuals for appliances I no longer own?  In my defense, I did manage to cull down from 5 xerox boxes to 2 and did sort all the family photos last year.  Now to finish the job in 2014.
  • Make a list and hire a handyman to fix all the 'little' things around the house. 
  • Read 12 books.   In 2013 I set my goal at 12 in Goodreads and managed to read 18. 
  • Purge closets, drawers, attic spaces of items that haven't seen the light of day in years and send it all for Goodwill or somewhere similar! (I am sure there will be enough to outfit a consignment store booth!)
  • Last but not least - Be kind to Robin this year - Just like my friend Shirley has decided to do. I am the only one that can make this happen by setting my limits for what I allow myself to get roped into by others.  Learn it is OK to say no.
Rereading my list it may sound ambitious but it is downsized from what I usually expect from myself!  I will have to re-visit the list same time next year to see how I did!

One last finish for 2013 to share.   This was enjoyable to do and I am sure there are more like this in my future.  It is from Lily Anna's Designs.

 That is the backing fabric to the left that included in the kit.

 I hope to snag an hour or two on New Year's Day to do the finishing.  
Used my fancy pants new camera for these shots.

So happy new year one & all and one & all be kind to yourself too!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays One and All

Well I am just about there.   I just couldn't seem to get myself into gear this year.  Got some things going on after the first of the year but more on that later.   Grocery shopping tomorrow after work, pick up lottery tickets for stocking stuffing and buying some spirits, and we will call it done.     Funny, I put up only about a third of what I usually do and it looks just fine.   Funnier still is that I probably put up more than most others.   Time to pare down the holiday decorations for sure.   So here's a quick pictorial tour of the little vinyettes I like to create.
 My kitchen desk.   A place to drop my keys and cell phones when I get
home but also a little corner to cozy up to the season. 

 Close up of my new shadow box (Thank you Carol!) with my 
consignment store Christmas Teddy Bear towels/$0.25 each.

 Anna Lee Carolers brighten up the kitchen counter.

 Inside the berries is a candle in a glass cylinder.  (Oops! Dishes drying in the background!)

Some sparkles on the kitchen table.

 I like a little bit of glitz.

 My desk that sits in the Dining Room just waiting to hold dessert.  These are my few
pieces of Lefton.   The square candy dish with the lid was my mother's.   I see a lot of
Lefton in consignment stores and pick up the pieces the 'move' me.

 Table is ready. I actually took this with the lights off.

 Just a little sparkle in the corner.  Love the tree on the left and should have bought more 
when I made this purchase.   Guess another day trip to Lancaster County is in on the list.

Much laughter, good food and good times to be shared here.

 Good enough to eat!

 Center stage - a little something from my friend.  (Thank you Shirley!)

 Some greens and glitz.

 All the boys are dressed and ready.  

 It disturbs my son-in-law that I dress stuffed animals.  Not only dressed but 
decked out and arranged.  He could be on to something.  

 Almost all the presents are wrapped and in place.  I have an excuse - I ran out of tape!

 Don't you just love the glow the holiday lights cast?  

 The Byer's Dolls are set up somewhere different this year 
since Mr. Buddy Cat has taken over the fireplace mantle.

Ah, a hard days work and some homemade baked 
potato soup with bacon and cheese.  Yummo!

A joyous and happy holiday season to one and all.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Status Check

A while back I was wondering what was up with the blogging world.  Seemed like everyone had slowed down or became non-existent on posting.   Others noticed too and we all made vows to post more regularly....but alas I have fallen short.    Can't tell you where I have been or what I been up to because if I look back over the last few months, nothing really stands out.

I seem to be in the go to work/come home/go to bed/get up/go to work rut with a meeting or dinner or three wedged in every now and again.    Not even stitching on a regular basis!  What is up with that?  All is in a dither in our world when we don't stitch regularly.

I do have a tiny bit on progress on Grace Mason.   At one time I had her in 'time-out' but now I fear she may want to run away from home if I don't get my needle in motion!  I am enjoying this piece.  I just am not dedicating the time to it.

 I used the wrong green for the "f" but I don't think I will change it.   It fits right in with the other irregularities stitched by Grace Mason in this design.   Heck, she was only 10!

I can post some tiny progress on another mission I have been on.    Since July 1st, I have lost 15 lbs as of this morning (in disbelief, I actually got on and off the scale 3 times).  Trouble is, I can't see it when I look in the mirror.   Must have lost it in my ankles or wrists.  I actually believe that I will wake up one morning and find it has all been a malfunctioning scale and no pounds have been lost.  Not doing anything special - portion control, more water, using the stairs and not the elevator, parking further out in the parking lot, keeping busy around the house and not flopping on the sofa when I get home.  I'd like to loose another 15 lbs by next July but with the holidays and a cruise in January, I will be realistic in my ridiculousness and simply hope I don't put all 15 lbs back on!

Here is my wool piece that I take to work to sneak in a few stitches at lunchtime.  I made a nonchalant comment at work that I bring it because it is mindless work.   While you and I may think it mindless, non-sewers find it as foreign and difficult as I view learning to write in Chinese!  I am humbled by their Ohs! and Ahs! at what I think is nothing special....just keeping my hands and mind busy.  I think we stitchers never give ourselves the kudos we deserve so give yourselves a collective pat on the back!

I hope to finish the stitching this week and then we will see about the 'finishing'.
 It's hard to see but all the tulips and some of the leaves have been blanket stitched.   Next up, the blue berries.

OK, busy weekend coming up.....I hate to even admit this.....I think it is time to actually bring out the Christmas decorations!  OMGosh, I have never been this far behind in decorating OR shopping.   I just haven't been in the mood to lug it all out.  By now, all the trees should have been done, all the shopping completed and presents at least halfway wrapped.  Where did the time go?  I guess I'd better get focused or I will be called Mrs. Grinch!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Silent Sunday

We were supposed to be on the rain side of this storm.

I love the silence of a day of snow.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving All

Happy Thanksgiving everyone...my favorite holiday.  

It is a time to reflect on what we have to be grateful for.  Sure for some it will be the bowl games on TV but for me the togetherness is what I look forward to.   Two of three children and their families will be here.  And kids and dogs and a cat will be running everywhere!  It will be hectic/it will be wonderful/it will be exhausting.   There will be too much food and by late afternoon we will be in food comas and bodies will be napping on every piece of furniture.   After a bit of a rest, dessert will be enjoyed and we will settle in with some *spirited beverages* and a board game or card game and tons of laughter!  Somewhere in there, there will be stitching time for sure.

You won't find me out shopping on Black Friday but I will do some shopping on Small Business Saturday at local shops.

For now, I will count my blessings.  I will be grateful.  I will be thankful for what I have.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Jumping Jiminy!

It is cold out there and blustery too!   A week ago we were without coats....and now, double brrr!  I guess I should just cuddle up on the sofa and stitch!  We stitchers you know we don't need much coaxing.

So nice to have a weekend to myself.   It allowed me the time to get ready for the family coming in later this week for Thanksgiving.   Let's see in 3 days we went from four for dinner to 10 or 11.   It's all good.....you know how Turkey Day is and I doubt I will cook any differently.  I will just put more plates and chairs at the table.

I took this WIP to the next step.   I bought this last spring to finish and put in my dining room when I bought the new chairs with the black finish.  I cut everything and ironed on the interfacing and then put it aside.    Yesterday I peeled the backing and ironed the individual pieces to the ground fabric.   This will be a great take-a-long project because the blanket stitch is mindless.   I need to discipline myself and load only three needles and vow to stop when I exhaust that supply or I will never make progress on some other WIP's, like...

on Grace Mason.   Seven of us are doing this one.   Two ladies are completely finished and framed; 4 of us are at about the same place with me slightly bring up the rear of that middle group; and one hasn't started.    

It has been helpful to have  some ahead of me to give me pointers.   Each lamented about the 4 sided stitch and I thought What?  It's just a four-sided stitch...trust me it seems like you are stitching four-sided stitches forever.

Then there was general grousing about the curly-ques around the letters in the next band....and again, I am thinking, what's the big deal?   Now that I am there.....yuck!  It is not the stitches but it is the difficulty seeing the placement on the pattern.

So far only a little bit of over one but I know there is more to come further down the pattern.

Yesterday's post from Needleprint shows what they called 'sister samplers' from the Feller Collection going to auction at the end of the month that have very similar bands for the upper half of the piece.  Grace didn't date this piece so it is interesting to see similar works and maybe try to put together a history.

All and all I am happy with the progress I have made since I took Grace out of time out.  Each of us has changed something:  the linen color or count, the shades of green or red, etc.  I think it will be neat to have all 7 photographed when we are all done.  Maybe we should make it 8 and include Susan who inspired us to all do this.  I'll put that out there on the 2015 to-do list. LOL!

So guest rooms have been cleaned and made ready for company and I am ready to bundle up and head out to do my Turkey Day grocery shopping and then back to an evening with Grace Mason.   Happy Thanksgiving All!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Luckiest Girl in the World

well maybe in the town....let me tell you what happened.   It was nicest sweetest thing ev'va!    Let's back up a week or so...remember my rant and general grousing because of my burn out on volunteerism?   The general woe is me bitch session?   Yeah, that one.  A post that I have almost retracted since it is not the way I normally look at life...anyway......

Let me set this up for you..... I am feeling a little like exploring the internet and doing a bit of retail therapy last weekend....I ordered some CC and WDW threads from my new favorite internet shop - 1-2-3-Stitch!  Woot Woot! for them.  (I have ordered from online shops before and it seems whatever I order is backordered.   I mean really, why is it on your website if you don't have it.    I darn near live in the stitching supply dessert!)    In like two days my items were here....except for one Crescent Color - Black Coffee.   Two days later another package from 1-2-3 Stitch and because I KNEW it was the Black Coffee floss, I let the package just sit on the counter until tonight when I got in from work.   Imagine my surprise, my delight, my heart skip a beat when this is what I pulled out.

I am stunned.   This is the nicest, sweetest thing that has happened to me in the longest of times! Just a silly little RAK! and I am just beside myself.    I am just taken aback that someone thought enough to stop whatever they were doing in what I am sure is their busy life and took the time to put a grouchy and miserable me first.  Someone has paid attention enough to my blog to find my wish list.  I know whoever sent it must be a friend since they had my address so I have it narrowed down to 1 of 2 or maybe three possibilities.   But you know, I don't think I will do any slouthing to find the identity of the sender.   I think I'd rather 'suspect' several different people.

I feel like Sally Field when she won her second Oscar.......someone likes me!  I'd like to thank the Motion Picture Academy and everyone at my Delaware Guild and my friends at my NJ Guild and my Thursday night stitching pals who are just the best group ever and have encouraged me along the way.  And  my long distant stitching friends and all the people who have supported this crazy pastime of mine and made this moment possible.    Just know that every stitch I take when I work on this will be filled with a feeling of love, fulfillment and warmth and when finished this piece will forever be special to me!  I can't wait to start it.

I always start a new project on New Year's Day so I better get to ordering the linen and floss.  And I'd better get stitching to get some WIP's and SAL's closer to completion so I can reward myself with the new start!

Have a great weekend everyone.   I know I will because anytime I am feeling even the slightest bit stressed or tired or just randomly throughout the day, I will remember the anonymous kindness and that I was special to someone!   I just might go out and do some RAK myself this weekend and pay it forward!  Better reign myself in before I go picking up the grocery bill of someone in line at the Acme.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Stepping back, reassessing and enjoying my cat.

Stop reading now if you don't need to read the major rant of a mind numb minion ......you are more than welcomed to skip right to the photos of Buddy or click the next blog instead.

I enjoyed a relaxing weekend with only a couple of things on my to do list.  It has been a obligation filled four weeks that has really gotten me down.  EVERYDAY there has been at least one extra curricular thing I had to do, an appointment to keep, financial report to balance and distribute, mail merge to complete for invitations, a fundraiser to set up or attend, etc.   I have always been a volunteer and long have taken much heat from friends and family for it but I believe you can't always be a taker, you need to give back....so that is how I get myself wrapped around the axle.   Not to mention the pace had me freaking out about the upcoming holidays!  When will I shop and decorate!  I can easily work myself up into a frenzy.  It boiled over last weekend when I was running around trying to pull off an indoor yard sale for my non profit selling 25 years of theater props, costumes and junk as well a coordinating renting tables for others to sell.  It was a good exhausted I was felling as I was checking FB that evening until I read a post of a board member who was not available to help.....the post said that she had a boring week and nothing to do for the weekend and went to the casino for some fun.  Well I am a smacked a$$ I guess.  My immediate disbelief turned to anger then to frustration and it just got me down.  Right now my mindset is all the volunteer work is standing in the way of what I want to do.  I will fulfill my obligations but soon my obligation will start when I am on the other side of the bake sale table or standing in line when  the doors open if I participate at all!   If I do go, my hair will be in place, my make-up freshened up, I will have dressed at home and not in a Ladies restroom, I will have had a real dinner and not a candy bar or something I packed before I left the house hours earlier and I will be able to smile and have mindless chit chat with others.  I will leave the event without having to cleanup and walk out with the security guard locking the door behind me.....just been plain tired and short tempered and have not stitched more than a few stitches in what seems like forever.

To stitchers, taking away our stitching time is like taking away our sunlight!  Right?  I mean, we need to stitch on a regular basis or else we become not nice people.  One of my errands for work took me to Michael's so I took advantage of a gift card I had and bought myself two new sets of q-snaps. I didn't realize how crappy my other q-snaps were.  A boost to the sagging morale.  After spending a couple of mindless hours on the sofa yesterday morning watching Hallmark channel sappy Christmas movies and pulling out Grace Mason, who surely must believe I put her up for adoption,  I am better! Not enough stitching completed worth photographing but I am sure there will be progress to show by next weekend.

And then there is Buddy......

Buddy!  Not my Dovos.
Too bad I did not have my camera ready when he jumped up and took
them right out of my stitching basket in his mouth.

As for Buddy.  What a hoot this cat is.    He is all the finer points of every other cat I have every had rolled into one mischievous ball of fur.  It is so nice to come in the door at night and have his unconditional love.     I tell him about my day and he listens and purrs acceptance and then I am off to discover what he has done while I was out.

Hmmm,  when he is not setting off the motion sensor in my family room and causing the security company to check in with me, he is raising and lowering the blinds.
He needs help on learning how to keep them level.
This peacock feather was brought downstairs from an upstairs
bedroom WITHOUT knocking over the rest of the arrangement.
Buddy helps me put away groceries! Maybe
he wants to audition for "Chopped"
After almost shutting him in one night as I
was walking away I make sure he is not in there.
Buddy pauses from our paperwork to re-hydrate.
Oops!  No flash, but Buddy is in jail.
I was wrong, Buddy must want to get ready for the next season of
"Project Runway" since he saw fit to toppled my mini
mannequins.  I bet that crash sent him scurrying.
The 'before' arrangement in my sewing room.
Who me.....I will play aloof and catlike and ignore you

My morning ritual is to get up, get coffee, grab my laptop or iPad and watch the news.   This is now enjoyed with Buddy on my lap so replying to emails or even stitching is not happening.   I am really enjoying this additional to my life.