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The 5 Ws of Stitching

  • Posted on April 30, 2008 at 12:47 pm

To answer a meme proposed by Barbara, here are my 5 Ws of Stitching:

Who taught you to stitch, and were there any special circumstances or memories surrounding this?
My mother taught me to cross stitch when I was able 11 years old or so. I didn’t have any earlier introduction to stitching, like stamped cross stitch or embroidery; just straight into cross stitching. I remember my first project was the little owl kit that was so popular back then. Anyone remember that?

Whatโ€™s your favorite thing to stitch? (A project, a kind of stitching, etc.)
I think that I like band samplers the best. That and hardanger projects. ๐Ÿ™‚

Why do you stitch?
Like many others, I stitch because it’s relaxing to me. At least, most of the time it is, unless I’m having a frog attack. It’s also nice to finish pieces. If I could finish some bigger ones, I would definitely feel more of a sense of accomplishment. I’m working on it…

When is your special stitching time?
I like to stitch on the weekends. Particularly on Sundays, when life slows down a bit.

Where is your special stitching place? (An accompanying picture would be great!)
I have my stitching corner in the living room where I have my Ott Lite and a folding table serving as an end table to catch my current stitching tidbits. I also have a lined basket squeezed in on the floor next to the television stand that contains some of my WIPs and next projects.

Here’s an older picture of my stitching corner. Things are a bit messier at the moment, but this was on a good day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Photo Spread

  • Posted on April 29, 2008 at 9:26 am

Just a few photos, since my last two weeks of posts have been lacking. The first one is cut off (as are others, but you’re not losing anything), due to the width of my blog, so click for the full picture, if you so desire.

First up, a photo of 4 big blue jays that were on the ground under my feeder on Sunday. There were actually 6 of them on the ground at one point, but I didn’t grab the camera fast enough. I was outside sitting on the porch when one of these landed on Saturday and they are huge! Probably a foot long from the beak to the tip of the tail.

Next is the squirrel that I found sitting contentedly amidst all of the birds (though there was only one when I snapped this photo), nibbling away at the sunflower seeds.

Then, what did I spy with my little eye while doing the dishes yesterday evening? Why, little lavender sprouts! See, I told you it could be done. It’s just the period when they are transplanted outside to when they grow up that’s the tricky part. But I have a plan for that, as well. Intermediate housing, so to speak. Each individual seedling will be transplanted into its own little cup to grow nice and strong before being put into larger pots outside.

And finally, this Sunday’s update to Barnabee’s Quest. I finished 4 bands on Sunday and now have just two bands and the border left to go! I can almost see the finish line, except for the beads and charms that need to be added to the whole piece before it’s truly complete. But still, I’m getting there!

2007 Finishes

  • Posted on April 28, 2008 at 11:27 am
  1. Sandy Clough – Rose Basket (Catherine Michele’s Piece for Cathy’s RR) — Finished January 30, 2007
  2. Just Nan – Snow Faces (WhimZi) — Finished January 31, 2007
  3. My Mark Designs – Never For Granted (Valentine’s Day Gift for Terry) — Finished February 4, 2007
  4. Tor Rhuann Designs – Celtic Mission to Assisi (Part 2) (Turned into a WhimZi) — Finished March 3, 2007
  5. The Sweetheart Tree – Renaissance Romance (PIF Gift for Cindy – Part 2) — Finished March 8, 2007
  6. The Sweetheart Tree – Renaissance Romance (PIF Gift for Cindy – Part 3) — Finished March 9, 2007
  7. (Part of) The Sweetheart Tree – Renaissance Romance (My Biscornu Top) — Finished March 9, 2007
  8. Tor Rhuann Designs – Celtic Mission to Assisi (Part 1) — Finished March 16, 2007
  9. Tor Rhuann Designs – Celtic Mission to Assisi (Part 2) — Finished March 19, 2007
  10. The Victoria Sampler – Thea Dueck – Sea Shells (PIF Gift for Barbara – Part 1) — Finished March 21, 2007
  11. Periphaeria Designs – Alegria #1 — Finished March 22, 2007
  12. Periphaeria Designs – Alegria #2 — Finished March 23, 2007
  13. The Victoria Sampler – Cathy Jean – Crow and Corn (PIF Gift for Barbara – Part 2) — Finished March 26, 2007
  14. Periphaeria Designs – Alegria #3 — Finished March 29, 2007
  15. Periphaeria Designs – Alegria #4 — Finished March 30, 2007
  16. Model — Finished April 16, 2007
  17. Sherrie Stepp-Aweau – Spring Dragon — Finished April 20, 2007
  18. The Sweetheart Tree – Renaissance Romance (PIF Gift for Cindy – Part 1) — Finished April 20, 2007
  19. Tor Rhuann Designs – Assisi Spring Bookmark — Finished April 25, 2007
  20. Model — Finished May 1, 2007
  21. Periphaeria Designs – Kokopelli — Finished May 4, 2007
  22. Periphaeria Designs – Kokopelli (partial) — Finished May 4, 2007
  23. Roz Watnemo – Hardanger Heart Suncatcher #1 (PIF Gift for Coral – Part 1) — Finished May 5, 2007
  24. Eventide Designs – The Golden Pineapple — Finished May 6, 2007
  25. Jean Mann – White Oval Doily Box Top (PIF Gift for Coral – Part 2) — Finished May 6, 2007
  26. Periphaeria Designs – Echoes of a Squared Lotus — Finished May 10, 2007
  27. Indigo Rose – Peace on Earth (Christmas Ornament) — Finished May 19, 2007
  28. Periphaeria Designs – Tribe #1 — Finished May 20, 2007
  29. Just Nan – WhimZi Rose — Finished May 27, 2007
  30. Dimensions Reflections – Butterfly Fantasy — Finished May 31, 2007
  31. Charland Designs – Angel Heart Ornament — Finished June 1, 2007
  32. Model — Finished June 12, 2007
  33. The Sweetheart Tree – Renaissance Romance — Finished June 17, 2007
  34. Roz Watnemo – Hardanger Heart Suncatcher #2 (RAK for Anne) — Finished June 23, 2007
  35. Sherrie Stepp-Aweau – Summer Dragon — Finished July 7, 2007
  36. Roz Watnemo – Hardanger Heart Suncatcher #3 (Birthday Gift for Grandma Magee) — Finished July 18, 2007
  37. Dragonfly Stitches – Romance in Bloom – Tin Topper (Birthday Gift for Heidi) — Finished July 19, 2007
  38. Dragonfly Stitches – Romance in Bloom – Scissors Fob (Birthday Gift for Heidi) — Finished July 19, 2007
  39. Dragonfly Stitches – Romance in Bloom – Biscornu (Birthday Gift for Heidi) — Finished July 27, 2007
  40. Dragonfly Stitches – Romance in Bloom – Bag (Birthday Gift for Heidi) — Finished July 30, 2007
  41. The Cat’s Whiskers Design Studio – Alyssum Scissor Pocket — Finished August 19, 2007
  42. The Victoria Sampler – Hearts of America – Pennsylvania — Finished August 21, 2007
  43. The Cat’s Whiskers Design Studio – Alyssum Scissors Fob — Finished August 24, 2007
  44. Periphaeria Designs – Skull Crossing — Finished August 26, 2007
  45. Helga Mandl – Beware of Cat — Finished August 28, 2007
  46. Helga Mandl – Frog Spit — Finished August 30, 2007
  47. Helga Mandl – Guess Who Day — Finished August 30, 2007
  48. Periphaeria Designs – Growing Skull — Finished August 30, 2007
  49. Periphaeria Designs – Night Owl — Finished August 31, 2007
  50. The Sweetheart Tree – Ladybugโ€™s Lament #1 — Finished September 2, 2007
  51. Periphaeria Designs – Evening Stroll — Finished September 4, 2007
  52. Periphaeria Designs – Night Owl #2 – Finished September 4, 2007
  53. Periphaeria Designs – Ikebana — Finished September 6, 2007
  54. The Sweetheart Tree – Ladybugโ€™s Lament #2 — Finished September 8, 2007
  55. My Big Toe Designs – Angels Watching — Finished September 10, 2007
  56. Helga Mandl – Frog Spit #2 — Finished September 15, 2007
  57. Helga Mandl – Too Cute to Spook — Finished September 17, 2007
  58. Little House Needleworks – Berries — Finished October 3, 2007
  59. The Sweetheart Tree – Model — Finished October 12, 2007
  60. Elizabeth’s Designs – Little Leaf Designs – Betsy’s Butterfly — Finished October 13, 2007
  61. Shepherd’s Bush – Heart Frame Necklace — Finished October 14, 2007
  62. Design Works – Sailboat Coasters — Finished October 18, 2007
  63. Enchanting Lair – Twinkle Twinkle — Finished October 24, 2007
  64. Sherry Stepp-Aweau – Fall Dragon — Finished November 10, 2007
  65. Dimensions – Gift From God Birth Record — Finished November 13, 2007
  66. Just Nan – Among the Roses — Finished November 20, 2007
  67. Mildred Torgerson – Bee — Finished November 25, 2007

Allergy Attack

  • Posted on April 28, 2008 at 10:25 am

This year’s allergy season seems to be in full force and must be 10 times worse than it’s been in the past. I don’t usually have a lot of allergy problems and don’t typically take anything other than an Alavert (over-the-counter medicine) every once in a while. But this weekend… WHAM! I woke up on Saturday morning with itchy eyes and throat. As we went through the day, it got progressively worse. Just by the time I had showered and we went out to run some errands, I was stuffy with my breathing a little bit more difficult than normal, making me feel worn out. I transplanted the four african violets and two more houseplants that we bought that morning. By the end of the day, I felt like I had a cold on top of the allergies, with coughing and a headache coming on. I didn’t sleep very well Saturday night because the stuffiness worked its way into my sinuses and gave me a headache. Sunday, we lounged around the house and I was able to do some good stitching on Barnabee’s Quest (progress picture to be posted later, once I download it from the camera when I get home). I still didn’t sleep well last night, not really sleeping after about 4:30 AM. I laid and rested my body as much as I could, but my mind was awake the whole time. So, my body’s not in too bad shape, but my brain’s not in great shape. Not to mention, I had a headache the whole time I was laying there. All this when I’ve been on Allegra for nearly a week! It’s been a rough weekend, but it’s raining today (thank goodness), so hopefully that will subdue the pollen a bit so that I can sleep tonight without pain. If this continues too much long, I foresee another doctor visit in my future. This time for an allergy medication specifically for nasal allergies, preferably in nasal spray form, so I know it’s going straight to where it needs to be.

No worries, though. I’m still my positive, cheerful self. This too shall pass.

Happy Anzac Day!

  • Posted on April 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm

To all of my New Zealander (do I still have any of these?) and Australian readers, Happy Anzac Day! I hope you all enjoy the long weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

For those of you who don’t know what Anzac Day is, here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

Anzac Day is commemorated by Australia and New Zealand on 25 April every year to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I. Anzac Day is also celebrated in the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa and Tonga.

Beginnings of the Memorial Day

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, whose soldiers were known as Anzacs. The pride they took in that name endures to this day, and Anzac Day remains one of the most important national occasions of both Australia and New Zealand.

You can read the rest of Wikipedia’s details about Anzac Day here.

P.S. I Lied

  • Posted on April 24, 2008 at 8:53 pm

I just spent the time since I last posted sitting here, getting my accounting software (mostly) up-to-date and filing my sales tax return for last quarter. Luckily, I didn’t owe anything anyway because OSL did no sales to Pennsylvania customers last quarter. My first quarter with no sales tax due to PA. Woohoo! I think…

Eeek! A Mouse!

  • Posted on April 24, 2008 at 8:00 pm

And I disturbed its house!

Actually, it’s more like “Awwww…” than “Eeek!” Today was another gorgeous day and I was determined to spend some time outside when we got home from work. Probably more because I was frustrated and angry than anything, but anyway… I planted some lavender seeds and promise photos if they take. I planted some last year, only got some of them to germinate and only really got two grown plants out of it, I think. They are still in a container in the back yard, waiting for me to transplant them somewhere. They are a different variety than the ones I’m going to try to cultivate this year for use along the driveway, so I’m really not sure what to do with them. They may just get a little more space in their existing container for now, until they get through another season. Maybe.

So, after I got the lavender seeds in their little, expanded peat pots, I went outside, checked on the clematis in the front yard and generally surveyed the overgrown landscape. I have to admit to not being very good at tending my lawn and the green things around the front of the house. I’m a “live and let live” kind of person. Plant it and forget about it. ๐Ÿ˜† I filled the two bird feeders, since the pigs emptied nearly both of them in just one day. Then I turned my attention to dumping out my old african violet plants and transplanting the new ones into their new homes. To do this, though, I was going to need my bag of potting soil. In previous years, I had left one on the porch for just such occasions, but, for some reason, I bought a bigger bag last year and left it in the shed. I retrieved the bag, having the dig it out from under some miscellaneous implement and set it on the front sidewalk. I then went inside, pulled out the four old pots and brought them outside, along with the four new plants. I dumped out the contents of the old pots, gave them a once over to make sure they were relatively cleaned out, then pulled the first new plant out of its bag. I opened the bag of potting soil and immediately saw what I knew to be nesting material for a field mouse. I figured, “Ah-hah! That’s where they nested this winter, instead of on top of the riding mower engine, like they usually do.” (Yes, that can have a sad outcome, if we’re not really careful in the spring.) I pulled the material out, figuring it was past nesting time and then I saw some wriggling in the bag and a little mouse poked her head out of the soil beneath where the nesting material had been. I went over and grabbed Terry to have him help me transplant her to another location so that I could use my potting soil. Well, imagine my surprise when he comes over, opens the bag and we see that it was a mama mouse with 3 babies actively suckling her! I felt so bad that I had disturbed the little lady and her babies. Here she was, trying to move around a little bit, scared to see us, with three babies hanging onto her teats. So, I gave Terry the nesting material and he put it back in the bag, gently scooped it up and put it back in the shed.

I wish I could have gotten a picture, but I didn’t think of it until Terry had put the bag back and poor mama was so scared, I wouldn’t have wanted her to go one more minute without her nest back. So, sorry I couldn’t share the moment with you, but it was cute. Now I’ll have to buy another bag of soil to use this weekend. I think I’ll go back to keeping it on the porch this year… ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, let me go and see about some stitching, completely ignoring the fact that I have a quarterly sales tax return for OSL that’s a couple of days overdue. It can wait a little longer, can’t it?

The Rash Saga

  • Posted on April 23, 2008 at 4:11 pm

So, Monday morning, before I get in the shower, I notice a rash on my abdomen. Little tiny red bumps. No itching, no swelling, no other symptoms. Just this vaguely bumpy rash. But I had to report it to my psychiatrist, so I called her to check in and she called me back that afternoon. She told me to get into my physician and have it checked out as soon as possible. See, while I was reasonably sure that the rash was benign, there’s this little thing called Stevens-Johnson syndrome that is a rare, but serious side effect of one of the drugs I’m on (Lamictal) which can be life-threatening. So, again, while I was relatively sure there was nothing to this rash, I was still mildly panic-stricken.

On Tuesday, there was fortunately no visible difference in the rash. No better, but no worse. In looking at it more closely, Terry discovered that it pretty much seemed to be the areas of skin that I had exposed to the sun on Friday when we were out working on and sailing the boat. We suspected it was some sort of reaction to the sun or sunscreen.

I worked from home on Tuesday and ran out to see the doctor in the early afternoon. She checked it out, we agreed that there were no dietary or soap/lotion/etc. changes recently and she didn’t believe it was a drug reaction. She has had people who have reactions the first couple of times they are in the sun for the season. She’s also had people who have an allergic reaction to old sunscreen. Since mine was technically from last year, we’ll throw out the little bit that was remaining and already bought a new spray can for me and for Terry. So, she prescribed an allergy medication (Allegra) and a topical cream. So far, no change, but I’ve only taken one pill and used the cream once.

I called the psychiatrist back today and let her know what the physician had to say. I’ll be seeing her next Tuesday, so we’ll see if the rash has cleared up by then.

On the stitching front, I was able to finish the other half of the Italian cross stitch band on Barnabee on Monday night. Yesterday evening, I worked and then slept, so no additional progress. We’ll see what I can get done, if anything, the rest of the week. Hopefully, I will get some stitching in this weekend, if it’s not too nice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Sunny Times

  • Posted on April 21, 2008 at 2:21 pm

We did get out on the boat finally Friday afternoon. We took it for a relatively short sail, but had a nice time in the 80+ degree weather. I was wearing a bikini top and jeans.

Saturday, we did some errands, running around getting another bird feeder (the birds around our house are little piggies) and 40 pounds of birdseed. I also bought some African violets to replace the ones that I pretty much intentionally killed off a while ago. They needed to be transplanted and I didn’t feel like buying additional, larger violet pots for them. Combine that with unintentionally forgetting to water them, and nature took its course. I had really wanted to take cuttings from the parent plants and start new ones, but this works, too.

My seedlings are coming up quite nicely, for the most part. The tomato seedlings are quite vigorous (which I have found in the past), with each little pot yielding at least one seedling. The green onions aren’t doing too badly, either, though they didn’t germinate quite as nicely. But, the regular onions only germinated with a 30% or so success rate. I had problems with them when I direct-sowed them into the ground last year, as well. Not sure what’s up with that. Next up, it’s time to work on germinating some lavender seedlings. I want to create a border along the driveway of all lavender at some point, so I have to start somewhere!

No stitching progress this weekend. I was back to feeling tired a lot, which just isn’t conducive to working with specialty stitches. Every time I went to work on it, I looked at which band I was on and was turned off. I’m halfway through the Italian cross stitch and because I’m using a dense evenweave (Monaco, I think), the stitch won’t pull the fabric at all. So, it ends up just looking like a cross stitch. I think that has me a bit bummed out. I need to finish this band and move on so that I can feel better about what I’m working on.

Well, that’s it for me for today. Hopefully, I will have some stitching progress to share in the near future, if I don’t go home and sleep every evening this week!

Feeling Better

  • Posted on April 18, 2008 at 11:03 am

I’m feeling a good bit better today. It actually started yesterday when I laid down for a nap after work and only slept for 2 hours before getting up. To be honest, I think I only laid down in the first place because I was bored. I should have stitched instead. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m hyped on caffeine today because I woke up with a sinus headache this morning and took Excedrin plus Sudafed. Now I’m freaking out because I’m super-efficient at work with not nearly enough to do.

Today is a gorgeous day, with highs potentially hitting 80. The sun is shining with not a cloud in the sky and I just want to be outside right now. Terry is taking the boat down to the marina today. We decided to get a slip this year (thank you tax refund) so that we don’t have to continually put the boat in and take it out of the water. Much easier and quicker when the boat is already in the water, so all we have to do is load up and go.

Unfortunately, the jack on the trailer broke last night, so Terry dropped me off at work and then had to go get a new jack. Now he’ll have to install it before he can even get the boat down to the marina and then the rigging will take several hours. At this rate, I may leave work and go with him to help with the rigging. We might be able to whip through it at the rate I’m going. Eventually, I’ll slow down.

Anyway, I’m typing 90 miles an hour and talking 90 miles an hour, so I’ll end this post here before I ramble on forever. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great weekend, everyone!

My Stick Family from