God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend Report, Mungo Jerry, & A SAL (Sing Along)

Four hours of my life were spent spraying weed killer on the weeds in the foundation garden beds Friday morning in 90+ degree heat & humidity.  Saturday morning brought me a 4-hour repeat under the same conditions with the addition of pulling weeds in the little strip garden along the back of the house which sits in the shade most of the day but is still one of the devil's favorite places to spend his summer vacation because of what he considers to be "weather just like back home."  Sunday I had to rest.  I didn't have any choice.  You would think that 2 days of bending, crouching, & kneeling for a few hours to spray/pull weeds would not be all that physically demanding but I felt like someone had beat me with a baseball bat.  I could barely move.  John had to help me get up out of my recliner Saturday night & I was about half way up when he jokingly asked if I wanted him to get me a walker & we both started laughing so hard that I ended up having to sit back down & then had to try to get up again!  This afternoon I decided to shuffle out & plant a couple daylilies we picked up at Walmart this morning.  Once again we're talking about 90+ degree temperatures.  After making my way back into the house ... a big, sweaty lump of a woman ... I thought of a song that was popular when I was in high school.  It was a little ditty called "In the Summertime" by a group called Mungo Jerry.  They sing about what they consider to be the joys of summer.  What can I say ... it was the early 70s.  They were apparently on drugs.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the song, you can listen to it by clicking on the link below.  Note that I have provided my own, more realistic lyrics underneath.  Feel free to sing along   : )

In the Summertime
Words & Music by Ray Dorset
Alternate lyrics by The Easily Influenced Stitcher

In the summertime when the weather is hot
You can scratch away at the bug bites you got
In the summertime you be scratchin', you be scratchin' all the time.
When the bites start to bleed then a Band-Aid you see if you can find.

When the sun is bright that's a problem for you
If you're in it more than a minute or two
'Cause the sweat will pour down your face into your eyes & you'll be blind.
And your clothes will be wet & your underwear will stick in your behind.

You buy sunscreen & you layer it on
In the blink of an eye the whole bottle is gone
But your skin still burns & it blisters, yes it blisters & you cry.
And your nose always runs 'cause of allergies & you wish you could die.

Sing along with me, dee dee dee dee dee
Da da da da da, we are NOT happy
Da da da dee da doo dee da doo da dee da
Da da da da da da da da da da.

When the winter's here it's like Party Town
Wearing sweaters by the fire as you watch the snow fall down
But it doesn't last, soon the summer comes to torture us again.
Come & kneel with me as we pray that Jesus takes us before then.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Memorial Day

Before I head out to the yard to do some work on this already too hot morning (90+ degree temperatures predicted for the entire weekend) I wanted to wish everyone a blessed Memorial Day.  It is so important to remember the men & women who fought to keep our country free.  We owe them all the honor & respect we can give.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Bit of Gardening Stuff & More

I am still chomping away at the Xanax & still beating my head against the nearest wall (see previous post).  On a more productive & happy note I am also still stitching away on Noel Pinkeeps.  I finished 2 & have decided to go for 4.  Part of the reason for that is I finished #2 on Tuesday night & just didn't want to spend time trying to decide on another CRP/Nash design to start right then & there, nor did I want to spend time going through my floss to find the necessary color(s) for another design.  It was easier to just grab another piece of osnaburg, load up my needle with the floss already at hand, & start another Noel.  The plan is to keep one for me & sell/gift the other three.

I spent a good block of time yesterday sitting at the computer reading about the current housing market specifically pertaining to sellers.  I know I posted a while back that we had reached a decision regarding the sale.  That decision was to do what we could do without stressing ourselves out about it & then put the house on the market for 3 months starting June 1st.  It was probably an hour later when we started questioning ourselves on this decision.  Since then we have toyed with the idea of ... you guessed it ... pushing back the start of the sale to July 1st.  We have also toyed with putting the sale off until next year.  The scary thing is that we have also toyed with the idea of just staying put!  I can't believe that last thought has even entered our brains!!!

Some of you know the sordid details of what our life has been like since signing the contract on this house 3 years ago.  Perhaps the root of the problem is that we are too trusting.  I don't know why because we have been swindled in one way or another more times throughout our lives than I care to think about.  However, the swindling we experienced here was truly a masterful one.  The resulting 2 years of depression were ... well, let's just say they were bad.  Almost beyond bad.  I'm not saying this for dramatic effect ... it's just the way things were.  Part of me sees the cheating, swindling face of every person connected to this swindling everywhere I look here in the house ... but another part of me, a very, very, very, very tiny part, sometimes, for a brief second or two, catches a glimpse of what I thought this house was going to be & why I fought so hard to purchase it.  Looking back I think the real estate agent & her husband were/are disciples of satan along with several of the repair/remodeling people we hired to do work for us.  Kentucky is noted to be part of the country's Bible belt but my guess/experience is that there is a large nest of evil operating in this particular region.

I don't know why we are having these second (third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, ad infinitum) thoughts about selling but we are.  Heaven help us, we have even thought "let's just stay here & make the best of it."  The information I have been able to glean from the internet regarding the current selling market is (A) unless your house is a burden to you, now is not the time to sell, & (B) if you do sell your home, you can be sure that it will sell for less than it's worth.  Money has never been important to me which is undoubtedly why I'm so poor today ... lol!  However, I don't want to just "give it away."  The house is certainly not a "burden" to us.  Many things about it & related to it are not what you'd call happy but I'm no longer mentally tortured 24 hours a day because of them.  I do see that there are good things about living here, much as admitting that sticks in my throat.  We have our privacy (important to us).  The mortgage payment is good.  The taxes aren't too bad.  We are basically happy with the health care.  We have become comfortable as far as knowing the best places to shop, the best places to buy gas, & the best places to eat.  It's a semi nice looking house ... from the outside at least.  We live within an hour or an hour & a half of 2 "big cities" so we have access to pretty much whatever we need.  We also live close enough to several other places we might want/need to go which we can drive to in under 12 hours.  On the other hand I live in daily fear of running into one of the satan worshipers that came into our lives.  We sort of did a couple weeks ago ... first time since moving in.  We pulled up to a gas station & parked so that John could go inside & get something to drink.  As I started to get out of the car I noticed on the van parked next to us a real estate company's logo with our satanic real estate agent's name displayed above it.  It was like a big cosmic kick in the stomach.  I couldn't move.  John did go in to get his drink & came out saying he had seen the RE agent's husband (David) inside doing some sort of repair/remodeling work but David did not appear to see him.  I know how ridiculous this must sound to some of you but it is what it is.  There is also the fact that pretty much all the repair/remodeling work we had done prior to moving in ... quite an expensive undertaking ... needs to be redone because it was done so poorly in the first place.  We don't have that kind of money now so all this work would have to be done a little at a  time & would take "forever" to accomplish.  We also discovered after moving in that the previous owners who built this place chose to use the cheapest materials & didn't really care how they put them together.  Then there is the miserably hot summers, the lack of snow in the winter, the unfriendly neighbors, the overabundance of dishonest people, & the bugs along with a few other things.

Someone posted a comment on someone else's blog a day or two ago that they had been thinking about selling their home.  They prayed about it & felt that God was telling them "no, not at this time."  I have been praying.  I plainly tell God that He knows how thickheaded I am & please don't just give me a "gentle nudge" type of answer ... give me an answer that a day old infant would be able to understand.  Thus far I haven't heard anything.  Then there are times when I think "hmmmm ... maybe our indecision is the answer?  I just don't know.

So this is my life ... lol!  I do tend to over think things.  I'm a perfectionist with OCD.  It's not an easy road to travel   : )

Gardening stuff!  A couple days ago I posted some pictures of how our gardens are semi-flourishing despite their neglect.  A few things have blossomed a bit since then.  Here are a few update photos.






This hydrangea bloom is about the size of an extra large chicken egg.  I told John they are supposed to be huge.  I thought maybe the bloom is so small because the plant itself is small.  However, we stopped by the plant department at Lowes yesterday (we need a Japanese maple to replace one that died) & they had hydrangea plants the same size as this one.  I called John over to see one of the blooms.  It took both my hands to hold it up!  We didn't find a replacement Japanese maple but we did find a replacement red myrtle.  We also spied a yellow rose bush with a rose on it that smelled pretty good!  It's so hard to find roses that smell like roses now-a-days ... have you noticed that?  Anyway, we decided to bring that home with us too.  Remember the roses I told you about a while ago ... the ones we bought last spring & left languishing in the driveway totally neglected throughout the summer, fall, & winter yet this spring they were the healthiest looking things you ever did see?  John decided they needed to be planted afterward which 2 of them died.  John has a pruning fetish.  It's almost like watching a comedy skit.  He will notice a small dead piece on something, find the pruning shears, & the next thing you know there's nothing left of whatever the plant was.  I keep hiding the pruning shears but he keeps finding them!  I should hide them with the cleaning products ... he'd never look there.  Anyway, he pruned these roses after planting them leaving little more than a bit of a stump & the result for 2 of them was death.

This last photo is of a very tiny nest which a sparrow built in one of our landscape shrubs.  Isn't it the cutest thing?  I am hoping I can retrieve it for crafting purposes when she no longer needs it.  Notice the 2 different eggs.  There is only one now.  That larger white speckled one is a cowbird egg.  I've talked about cowbirds before ... they are nest parasites.  They lay their eggs in the nests of other birds & then fly away.  These other birds don't seem to notice the difference.  The eggs hatch & usually the cowbird babies will hog all the food that mama brings to the nest or they end up pushing the mama's real babies out of the nest.  Not a good thing.
Today's excitement will include yet another visit to the dentist so she can check my bridge which is still causing problems.  We have a real Catch-22 situation here.  The bottom bridge on this side needs to be redone one of these days.  She is trying to make the new bridge accommodate the old one.  However, the old one was apparently not made correctly in the first place & by accommodating the new one to it that means that when the time comes to replace the old one it will have to be made incorrectly again in order to accommodate the new one.  Also, I need to have a bridge made on the left top side at some point.  Of course the right & left parts of your mouth should look alike.  If she accommodates the current new top bridge to the old bottom bridge then she is going to have to accommodate the future new top bridge to the current new top one which may not work well with the bottom bridge on that side which will probably mean that bridge will have to be redone as well.  Argh!  She & I have a lot to talk about today.  Her receptionist thinks this is going to be a little 15-minute visit.  I tried to get her to switch my appointment to the last one of the day explaining that my visit was going to undoubtedly last a lot longer than 15 minutes but she didn't think so & told me to come in as already scheduled.  Sigh!  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Morning Update

Well here it is ... another day, another handful of Xanax.  I'm now to the point where I'm living with a daily river of anxiety flowing through me & I'm pretty sure I won't be feeling anywhere near better until all this house selling stuff is over & done with.  I have taken more anti-anxiety medication this month than I have in my entire life.  If this keeps up I'm going to become a druggie!  Can you just imagine the frogging I'm going to have to do if this happens ... assuming I can actually stitch while being drugged out?  Or maybe I won't care where the stitches end up at all!  I'll just stitch away ... threads on top of other threads, over 2 here/over 5 there, knots all over the place both front & back, etc.  It would prove to be an interesting future show & tell post   : )

The shake-like drinks which go hand-in-hand with my inflammation cleanse remain unopened.  My house is devoid of the allowable cleansing foods & the goodies still abound.  Now I know that I can just toss out the goodies but honestly ... the nuns in elementary school pummeled into our brains that there are pagan babies out there who are starving!  How can I toss away food ... even junk food ... with that on my mind?  I was looking in the pantry yesterday & noticed something lumpy underneath a bag of oyster crackers.  The lumps turned out to be several Tootsie Roll Pops.  I don't know how long they had been there but they were very chewy & I'm not just talking about the chocolaty center!  Of course I ate them.  Can't throw food away (see pagan baby reference above).


I know that since my post yesterday you've been waiting with baited breath to see which PS chart I chose to start stitching last night.  Well, the answer is neither!  I decided to stitch this instead.   
It's a Country Rustic Primitives design called Noel Pinkeep.  It is stitched on osnaburg & I really like the primitive effect this fabric gives.  As you can see I finished stitching one of the design & have started a second.  I plan to make several CRP/Nash designs for Christmas for myself as well as for gifts & maybe even to sell in my Etsy shop (if I can ever decide on a name!!!) so I figured "why not now?"  I decided against the Santa & Friends because I didn't feel up to stitching on black.  I decided against the Starry Night because I didn't want to mess with the silk metallic thread ... nor do I know if I will ever want to!  I then went for another trawl through my pattern files & came up with a lovely ornament leaflet by Victoria Sampler that features birds but calls for fiddly stitches which I decided I didn't feel mentally able to deal with at this point.  The CRP/Nash designs are quick stitches & I can use the instant gratification   : )   

I will end with this video clip of me captured by the local paparazzi yesterday although it could very well be from the day before ... or the day before that ... or last week ... or tomorrow ... or ...   

Monday, May 21, 2012

IHSW Report, Old Finishes, UFOs, & New Stuff

Good Monday morning!!!  I am having a bit of trouble this morning because I feel like it's Sunday.  I don't know why.  The last few days have actually been sort of "confused" in a way with me thinking it's a different day than it actually is.  Don't know what's up with that   : )

I will start off with my IHSW report.  Last night I finished stitching the project I was working on but I can't show it to you because it's an exchange gift.  Tonight I will start something new & it is probably going to be one of these Prairie Schooler Santas from their Santa & Friends chart ...

... or one of these designs from their Starry Night chart.
Decisions, decisions   : )

I am now going to share a few things with you that are from my past stitching lives.  Initially I thought I had sold or thrown away or given away anything cross stitch related in the bout of insanity ending my Stitching Life #2.  However, I was greatly pleased to find that I did hold on to a few things.  Now ... this first one I knew I held on to because I had it professionally framed & it has been hanging on my walls since the mid 2000s although I finished stitching it back in 1987.  I have no idea what the name of the chart is because back then I'd stitch something & then figure I'd never stitch it again so why keep the chart.  I apologize for the reflections in the glass.  I have no idea how to avoid them.  Also I do wonder why when I take a photo of something hanging on a wall it oftentimes looks rather curved.  Any ideas?
This is also an old finish that I kept ... a personalized chatelaine   : )   I've never used it but I thought it was wonderful when I saw the chart featured in a magazine.  This is from Stitching Life #1.
And here are some old UFOs.  The first two are from Stitching Life #2.  This first one is, I think, from a Shepherd's Bush chart which is long gone.  There were 4 different charts (all separate), each with a button decoration, each stitched on burlap using pearl cotton.  This project will probably remain unfinished unless I can find the button that goes with it.
I have no idea who the designer is for this next design but it is an ornament which just needs to be made into one   : )
This next UFO is my oldest one (from Stitching Life #1) & as you can see I didn't get too far on it!  I am guessing that I started stitching it in early 1982 which would've been when I was pregnant with our son.  I apparently ran into some trouble early on because I can see where I frogged a couple lines of stitches.  What happened next is anyone's guess.  I know I was thrilled when I saw this kit because my pet name for my husband has always been Bear so our son naturally became Little Bear. 

It's a really cute design with a cute poem.  Since I ended up not going any further with it I remember packing it away thinking I would stitch it for our future grandson when Matt got married.  Strangely enough Matt said when he was a little boy that he was never going to get married.  He's going to be 30 years old next month & still sticks to that decision.  I keep holding on to the kit though ... just in case   : )    

And finally here is the new stuff.  I have seen way too many people posting their stitching of The Shores of Hawk Run Hollow recently.  It's a breathtaking piece.  I resisted as long as I could but the influence became too great & I had to purchase the chart.  It will be quite an undertaking but quite a masterpiece in the end.
While searching for Shores I came across another Carriage House Samplings chart which I had not seen before & I determined it to be a must have ... Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow.  A nice little town this Hawk Run Hollow.  There are lots of charts available depicting various aspects of the town at various times of the year.  This again will be quite an undertaking but quite impressive when finished.
And lastly here is a Carriage House Samplings design that I've had my eye on for quite some time ... Sarah Talbot 1787.  Something about it just calls to me   : )
And th-th-th-that's all folks!  I hope you have enjoyed your visit to a bit of my past, present, & future stitching   : )   Now I should go do something house sale related or at least clean or dust something but I have no idea what I'm going to do.  Today is supposed to be the first day of my 28-day anti-inflammation course prescribed by my doctor which involves a very restricted diet along with these shake-like things to drink but gosh-golly-gee, there are still goodies here!  Ah well, maybe tomorrow   : )

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Another Finish to Share

Happy Sunday morning one & all!!!  Well, it would be a lot happier if I was living in the Yukon like my blog friend Evalina but alas, my life is what it is & today will be spent surrounded by miserable heat although not as miserable as it will be next week when temps are predicted to be in the 90s.  Yuck!

I have another finish to share with you   : )   When I returned to cross stitching last year one of my first projects was a Lizzie*Kate design called Bless Our Home.  I stitched this especially for my Italian friend Laura who had just moved into her first home after years of apartment living.  A while back I sent several of my stitched pieces to Faye (Carolina Stitcher) to finish for me & I asked her to finish Laura's gift as a small wallhanging.

Laura received her gift yesterday.  She said she loves it & immediately sent her husband to get a nail so she could hang it on the wall   : )

I have been spending this IHSW weekend working on an exchange piece which unfortunately I can't show you until everyone participating in the exchange has received their package & that probably won't be until sometime in late June or even July.  However, I can tell you that I'm almost finished with the stitching which should be completed today.  My next project is going to be a Christmas ornament for me.  I'm participating in the Christmas All Year Round SAL & each month we have a specific category of ornament we are supposed to stitch, for example Santa, snowman, angel, etc.  This month's category is Gingerbread Person/Elf/Angel.  I have really been wanting to stitch some Prairie Schooler Santas for myself & one of those designs might be my next project.  Clement Moore, after all, described Santa as "a right jolly old elf" so I think I can get away with it   : )

My dentist, incidentally, listened patiently about my bridge woes although she wasn't quite able to grasp what I was trying to describe to her right away.  I was in the chair for over 2 hours.  She had another mold made, removed the bridge, took lots of measurements, shaved the bridge down a bit, put it back in with temporary cement, & told me to try wearing it for another week.  Assuming all is well when she sees me again this coming Thursday she will order a new bridge & that will be the end of it ... at least for now.  I will admit that the bridge feels better than it did before but it still doesn't feel "normal" to me.

At this point the garage cleaning is just about done & half the weeds have been sprayed & actually look dead.  Today, however, I will be venturing upstairs to do a bit of tweaking up there.  This coming week will hopefully bring death to the rest of the weeds, completion of the garage cleaning, removal of garden debris from the driveway, a visit from the exterminator, & a bit of tweaking here on the main floor.  Next week I will call a new real estate agent & then there will be nothing left to do except sit back & wait for an offer on the house ... hope, hope, hope   : )

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This & That & Begging Your Pardon

Yikes!  

Let me say that again with a bit more feeling.

YIKES!!!

The time is moving swiftly this year, isn't it!  I swear ... when I was younger each day seemed to be a month long.  Now each month is like a day!  Argh!  I've got 15 days ... 15 days mind you ... until the For Sale sign is posted at the end of the driveway.  I've noticed that quite a few other houses in this town have been recently listed on the market.  They are joining the 3 that have been for sale since we moved here 3 years ago.  I am trying to be optimistic but the butterflies are break dancing in my tummy & I just want it all to be over & done with.  Sigh!

First of all let me beg your pardon if you have commented on one of my posts & have yet to receive a response or you have sent me an email & have likewise yet to receive a response.  I am freaking out more & more as the days go by resulting in total paralysis on some days & then flurries of activity on others.  Then there are the continuing medical/dental visits which eat into my do nothing/do everything times.  Calgon can't even take me away since I can't use the bathtubs here (they were made for Munchkins).

John & I were in Lexington for 7 hours yesterday running various errands & visiting the eye doctor so I could tell him what he could do with those no-line bifocals he talked me into getting even after I regaled him with the history of my inability to get used to them last year.  I now have a pair of simple computer glasses ordered & let's all hope they actually allow me to see the computer screen!  On the way home we stopped at Walmart & if you remember my last posting then you can probably already guess what I came home with   : )
I took along my list of colors I still didn't have & my sweetie bought them for me   : )   A few of the colors were not available.  I think maybe Walmart is stocking just what they think are the most popular colors?  I'm not sure but they had what I needed (with the exception of maybe 10) so I'm not complaining   : )

Throughout the flurries as well as the paralysis I have been trying to stitch at bit each evening & usually have been successful at it.  I finished stitching my May RAK as well as a small gift for someone but I can't show them to you yet.  I still need to make them into something.  I wonder if there's some sort of "stay awake & be productive" pill that I could take for a while?  It sure would be nice if there were.  Anyway, I did start a 3rd project ... something for an exchange ... which is just in the early stages so I can show you a wee bit of it.
It's one of those "I need to make one of these for myself someday" projects of which I have stitched many ... lol!  I hope I do actually get them all made for myself one of these days   : )

Tomorrow I revisit the dentist.  She thinks she is going to permanently cement my bridge but I am once again going to tell her how unhappy I am with it.  When I told her this before her response was that I needed to get used to it.  Well, it's been a couple weeks now I hate it even more.  Even John has said that I talk as though I have a set of bad fitting dentures in my mouth ... lots of "sssss" sounds & whistles.  That shouldn't be!  A crown also isn't fitting correctly & she nicked the edge of one of my front teeth when she was doing some drilling in that area so it's uncomfortably pointy there.  I am not a happy camper.

Okay ... that's it.  I need to finish the garage & yard work which the days of rain prevented me from doing last week.  John is upstairs working on making "his room" (where he stores all his CDs & DVDs) look presentable.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Walmart

I am not a big Walmart fan but I just have to post this kudo to our local store.  Many years ago DMC was available for purchase at every Walmart that had a decent craft department.  It was wonderful to be able to buy DMC for 20-25 cents per skein!  Then for some reason the Walmart where I was living at the time (it was either in Bismarck, ND or Iron Mountain, MI) decided to stop selling it.  The scuttlebutt was that all Walmarts were discontinuing it & it certainly seemed that way as every time we visited another town or moved to a new area the Walmart stores were devoid of DMC.  Anyway, at the time of the Walmart DMC discontinuation the floss went on clearance for 10 cents per skein!  I purchased as much as I could but of course ended up selling it all in my "never gonna stitch again" insanity attack several years back.  Since returning to stitching last summer I have indulged in memories of those "good old days" of being able to buy DMC at Walmart for often half the price they charge for it online or at LNSs.  Well, lo & behold ... John & I had to take a run to Walmart this morning to buy trash bags.  John, of course, had to stop by the DVD section to see if there was anything there he had to bring home & I decided I would saunter through the store at a leisurely pace just to see what was there.  As I was passing by the crafting area I just happened to glance up an aisle & stopped dead in my tracks thinking that I must be hallucinating, but no ... I changed direction walked down that aisle & it was really there!  A DMC display with skeins marked 30 cents!  I looked around ... surely I was being filmed for some kind of hidden camera reality show focusing on Walmart shoppers but there were no cameras anywhere!  Sadly I left my floss list at home so I had no idea which color numbers I still need in my stash but needless to say another trip to Walmart, list in hand, is on the horizon   : )   I just thought I'd pass this information along in case you want to check out your local Walmart & see if they are restocking DMC as well   : )   

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The "I Don't Care If This Lives Or Dies" Approach To Gardening - Part II

Today's post is a treat (or horror story) for all you gardeners out there   : )

I didn't sleep well at all last night & felt rather peculiar this morning so alas, continuing my work in the garage had to be taken off the agenda.  I did make good progress yesterday, however, even though I had to switch directions on how I was reorganizing everything.  I think (hope) this latest reorganization will  be something John & I can live with until I can devote half the rest of my life literally going through all the boxes out there & getting rid of things we haven't used in ages & never will again.

Before realizing garage work was out of the question for today I did go outside with my camera to take a few photos to share with you ... specifically photos of my irises which will demonstrate yet another example of what has become my unique approach to gardening.  Somewhere I have a list with the names of all the irises I invested in when we moved here but I have no idea where to put my hands on it right now.  Therefore I can't share with you the name of this particular iris but isn't it pretty!

I love irises!  I would have a whole slew of them if I could ... & technically with the size of our property I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that.  The only thing I don't like about them, which is the same thing I don't like about other spring bulbs (although I love them when they're blooming) is that once the flowering is done the plant looks dead & has to stay looking that way till fall.  It's my understanding that you are supposed to leave the plants looking this way because the green parts feed the bulbs for next year.  I'm not sure where I read that or even if it's true so if any of your gardeners know differently, do let me know   : )   Continuing along ... last year prior to our landscaper's work which ended up showing off his total lack of plant knowledge & landscaping skill I had to remove my strip of iris plants from against the house.  I had no idea where I wanted to replant them so I just tossed them willy-nilly into large plastic pots & stuck them on the ledge along the side of the driveway.  This was intended to be a temporary location.  Well, here it is a year later & they are still there.  They were never watered unless it rained, they were not protected from the temperatures, but here they are, blooming away.    
Since I wanted to look at a few of the other plants in what was my last year's attempt at cottage style gardens I decided to bring my trusty camera with me & unashamedly show you a few.  I'll tell you the names of the plants I remember.  In the photo below, from left to right, you will first see what is a French lavender.  I love lavender!  Next are 2 cone flowers.  I love cone flowers as well   : )   If I remember correctly, one of these cone flowers is called Tomato & the other is called Pumpkin.  Next is a red yarrow.  Look at all those blooms!  They are nothing, though, compared to what you will see in the next photo!
Another yarrow with even more blooms!  What that big empty hole is in the center of the plant is anyone's guess.  It's as though the plant is growing like a wreath.  I don't remember the color of this yarrow.
Next you see what I think is called a poker flower?  Then there is a pretty bush at the far right of the garden.  You can see this bush in this photo & also in the next one.  It has dark purplish leaves & pink flowers.  I have no idea what it is either although I do remember reading on the tag that it grows up to 6' high & just as wide.  I think I'm going to have to find another place to plant this one if we end up staying here   : )

And here, behind the yarrows, is my black-eyed Susan.  I moved it in the middle of the growing season last year & it looked as though I had killed it but I see it's gotten over its transplanting shock & should be quite a specimen this year   : )
There are a few other plants in this garden but some of them I'm not sure if they are good plants or weeds!  I guess I'll find out soon enough   : )

Here is a photo of another garden ... the one on the other side of the driveway where you start to follow the sidewalk around to the back door.  You really can't see much here except for neglect but everything looks healthy & buds (& even yellow flowers ... a coreopsis variety I think?) abound.  
Although this next photo isn't showing a plant in an actual garden bed like those above I thought I'd take it anyway to show you how beautifully one of my astilbes is growing.  We have this small strip of dirt at the back of the house between the house & that sidewalk I mentioned.  It gets shade 24/7.  When we bought the house that area was basically a trash dump for candy papers, potato chip bags, weeds, & a few hostas.  Hostas can be quite nice but only in other peoples yards.  These hostas were humongous.  We got rid of them & instead planted some ferns, a few lilies of the valley, a couple bleeding hearts, & a couple astilbes in this one particular strip.  This one astilbe in particular promises to be quite lovely   : )
I am actually surprised we have any plants growing at all.  A couple weeks ago we had hard frosts which attacked our area consecutively for a few days.  John & I never pay any attention to frost warnings.  Even if we did, there aren't enough sheets outside of a Holiday Inn for us to cover all the flowers, bushes, & small trees we have planted.  We have gotten a lot of frost warnings since moving here but they have never materialized ... at least not in our yard.  We told ourselves that we are maybe in a "safe zone."  Apparently not.  Almost everything looks like it has survived these frosts although the myrtles are questionable.  If we end up staying here perhaps we should invest in some smudge pots   : )        

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Threads?

When we were in Lexington the other day I visited Michael's while John spent his time at Best Buy which is sort of next door to Michael's (there's a Marshall's in between the two).  He found 4 DVDs to bring home & I found these!



"Hand dyed" DMC threads!  Aren't they gorgeous though!  I don't know if they are new on the market or just new to me but I have never seen them before & I fell in love   : )   I know I'm missing a couple of the colorways & I will look for them when we go back there next week.  

I think DMC gets a bum rap sometimes.  It seems a lot of stitchers began to relegate it to the lower end of the desirable floss ladder when the designer flosses hit the market (GAST, WDW, etc).  I don't know why.  I think it's a great floss, easily accessible, doesn't cost an arm & a leg, & probably 90% of the time I will choose to use it rather than the designer stuff.  The only type of floss that might trump it for some projects, like special samplers, would be silk floss ... IMO   : )

I'd like to give you an update on the garage cleaning but I never made it out there yesterday.  Believe it or not, it was "too cold" ... lol!  The temperature reached the mid 60s but the garage is in the shade most of the day & it stays pretty cool in there unless the outside temps get to be around 80.  The temp today is predicted to be 75 ... close enough ... so I will definitely be heading out there soon & picking up where I left off a couple weeks ago.  I will also take care of the weed killing.  Wish you were here   : )       

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Giveaway Win, A Gift, & A Decision

T'is a gorgeous day if you like sunshine & temperatures in the high 60s.  My plan for today is to continue cleaning out the garage ... something I started doing last month I think (hanging my head in shame that it's not finished already).  I also need to drown a multitude of weeds in weed killer so that is kind of a co-plan.  The garage has priority though.

Yesterday's trip to the post office brought me not one but two packages from dear friends in the British Isles!  I was lucky enough to be the first name chosen out of the hat by June's husband for her giveaway at Butterfly Wings a couple weeks ago!  I received this beautiful Jane Greenoff kit & I am really looking forward to stitching it!  Thank you June ... I love it!

I also received a surprise gift from Michelle at Michelle's StitchCraft Place!  She wanted to share the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee with me & so she sent me this lovely set of porcelain thimbles commemorating the event!  Thank you Michelle ... they are very special to me   : )
And now for the decision.  This is actually something that was decided about 2 weeks ago but I'm just getting around to posting it now.  John & I are definitely going to list our house for sale starting June 1st with the listing ending August 31st.  Three months.  I know that's not giving it much time but we don't want people traipsing through here during bad weather & holiday times.  Also, we don't want our house to be like the majority of other houses for sale in this area, three of which have been on the market since we bought this one 3 years ago!  We figure that if there isn't any interest in the house in 3 months' time then there probably isn't going to be.  If the house doesn't sell, the plan is to settle in & try to make the best of it.  I think that will be easier said than done (to infinity & beyond) but that's the plan.  I did try to make contact with our real estate agent (Dawn) last week but I have not had a response.  This is odd as she usually responds to real estate queries within a day.  She could perhaps be out of town but I wonder if that's the case because I noticed a while back that her sale signs are no longer posted on any properties in the area.  Perhaps she got out of the real estate business (the last time I talked with her she indicated that it was difficult to make a living from it anymore) or perhaps there was a family problem or health issue.  I could guess from now till Christmas but I think the end result is going to be us finding another real estate agent.  I did a bit of research this morning & found someone who appears to be a good choice.    I'll wait till next week & if I haven't heard from Dawn by then, I will contact this other person. 

So there you have it   : )   I shall now have a bit of breakfast & then push myself out the door & into the garage.  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Doctor Visit Results

Good afternoon!  At least I think it's afternoon.  I'm not sure of anything I'm seeing anymore.  Yes, I picked up my no-line bifocals from the eye doctor yesterday.  The technician smiled brightly & said "Let's give them a try, shall we?"  What choice did I have?  I put them on & she disappeared into a cloud.  I looked at the poster on the wall behind her.  Another cloud.  I looked down on the counter & thought "How did all these stupid clouds get in here?!?!?"  However, it did not appear that I was seeing things in a bowl.  When she said "What do you think?" I politely replied "I think it's too soon to tell if they're going to work for me or not."  She then said "Well, give them a couple days & if you aren't happy just bring them back & we'll do something else for you."  I'm sure she'll be seeing me again very soon.  I'm wearing them now but I honestly can't read what I'm typing.  These particular no-lines have 3 "tiers."  The top half of the lenses is supposed to correct my distance sight.  If I look through them to see something across the room & try really hard to notice a difference between looking at whatever is there through the glasses & then looking at whatever is there without them, there appears to be such an infinitesimal bit of difference between the two that I really can't say it's worth the bother.  The bottom half of the lenses is divided into the remaining 2 tiers.  I have no idea what the largest tier in this area (the top part, about 3/4 of this half of the lenses) is supposed to correct.  It doesn't help me see what is written on my computer screen, anything beyond that, & nothing closer than that as far as I can tell.  The remaining sliver of a tier at the very bottom of the lenses ... & it is a teeny, tiny sliver ... sort of helps me see a couple words on the computer screen which are directly in the center of my vision.  All other words to the left, right, top, & bottom are cloudy.  I also have to tilt my head up a bit toward the ceiling in order to look through this slivered area & if this were to continue I can just see myself before too long making trips to the chiropractor or physical therapist in order to have neck adjustments.  I should not (should not, SHOULD NOT) have let that eye doctor talk me into trying no-lines again but I thought perhaps since they were being made by a different company than the ones I tried last year they would be different.  They really aren't.  Another trip to Lexington is on the horizon.  Sigh!

The visit to my regular doctor was also interesting but in a different sort of way.  You may remember that a couple months ago she suspected that I have Lyme disease.  She ordered lab tests which confirmed this.  I, however, knew better & said there must be some mistake.  When I came home, Googled Lyme disease & read several articles about it, I was even more convinced that I do not have this malady.  My doctor has the patience of Job & ended up letting me have labs done a total of 3 times (using 2 different lab facilities) & yesterday I was told that the third series of lab tests likewise revealed Lyme disease.  I told her okay, I would give in ... she can treat me for Lyme disease.  However, she has also now discovered that I'm anemic (I guess this is unusual for a postmenopausal woman) & I have some type of inflammatory process going on somewhere in my body.  I cannot start the treatment for Lyme disease (which is just a very long course of low-dose antibiotics) until we take care of the inflammation & anemia so the next month will be spent working on those 2 things & then we'll take it from there.  We also talked about how I've allowed myself to gain back half the weight I lost last year.  She told me I need to focus on a healthy diet again which means no more dinners like this.

This truly was my dinner the other night.  No, I'm not kidding.  John insisted I take a picture of it to share with everyone.  In what I know is my pitiful defense, we had a big lunch that day & neither of us were wanting a big dinner.  I think John had opted for a simple cheese sandwich.  This was my choice.  Anyway, no more dinners like this apparently but we won't be focusing on a healthy diet until after the anemia & inflammation are taken care of.  I just sat in her office shaking my head.  I have got to be the poster child for strange ailments.  This doctor is always telling me how I challenge her & what a fascinating patient I am.  As we were ending our visit I said "You ought to do a case study on me."  She smiled & said "I am."  I guess my physical condition will be providing me with my 15 minutes of fame when I will be focused upon in her next book.  

More lab tests today but that should be the extent of ... oh wait.  I forgot about having to return to Lexington to visit the eye doctor's office again.  Surely there will come a time when all these visits will be a thing of the past?  I hope so!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Hand-Dyed Floss ... What Are They Thinking?

I have gotten back to stitching these past 2 days after being out of town & then recuperating from same.  I had joined a mini SAL but unfortunately could not finish the mini project in time so it had to be abandoned.  I did, however, resume stitching on my May RAK which of course I can't show you right now but will do so when it is received by the person who is getting it   : )

One of the things I did yesterday, in addition to going to the dentist again, was I filed away my new floss acquisitions that had been piling up here on the diningroom table for longer than I want to admit.  All went well until I filed the GAST threads & saw I already had a skein of this particular color ... or so the tag says!

Both skeins are GAST Simply Shaker Sampler Threads & both are the color Grape Leaf.  Really?  If it wasn't for the names on the tags I would doubt that!  I know other stitchers have sometimes mentioned the difference in shades they have encountered in skeins of the same color name now & then, & yes ... hand-dyed skeins often come out a bit different with each new batch ... but this different?!?!?  Both skeins were purchased within the last 9 months. 

Another thing I did yesterday was I finally disassembled my designer floss filing system from the diningroom chandelier.  For those of you who did not see this system while in use or who may have forgotten about it, here is a photo of it in all its glory.  As you can well imagine, the chandelier looks rather bare now & is definitely no longer unique in the world of home decor.  I made some space in a closet upstairs & hung the rings of floss on the rod in there.  It's not as convenient for me since I now have to go upstairs in order to gather floss for a project that calls for designer stuff, but the floss is more easily accessible as far as finding the brand & skein color I am looking for.  I suppose the exercise I get going up & down the steps every now & then to do this ... the only exercise I get for the most part ... is a good thing as well.  
Yesterday's visit to the dentist was rather painless.  The root canal has finally settled down (thank goodness!) but the permanent crown keeps popping off & the bridge is taking some getting used to.  I just have to make it through another 2 appointments & then hopefully all will be well & I'll be able bid farewell to dental visits until next year.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Today it's off to Lexington again.  I will be visiting the eye doctor to pick up my no-line bifocals.  I can't say I have a whole lot of faith that these are going to work for me this year since they didn't work for me last year but we shall see ... no pun intended    : )   Then I'll be off to my regular doctor for a followup with her.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if the glasses work well for me & my doctor says I don't have to see her again for 6 months?  I'll hold that thought   : )  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A Dish Towel Swap With Kendra

I was not familiar with Kendra or her blog, The Stone House Primitives, until after she had completed hostessing a dish towel swap.  In fact, I had seen someone post photos of the goodies they received from their partner in that swap & that is what introduced me to Kendra.  Long ago when I was a young mother there was a magazine called Women's Household which I enjoyed very much.  This was, of course, way before the advent of personal computers so swaps were conducted through the mail by the hostess posting an invitation (free of charge) in the magazine.  I always enjoyed the dish towel swaps so I was excited to see that someone did one in blog land but also sad that I had missed out on it.  I began to follow Kendra's blog & made mention a couple times about how sorry I was to have missed out on this swap.  Well let me tell you ... Kendra is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever met.  She offered to do a one-on-one dish towel swap with me & I jumped at the chance   : )  

Here are the goodies I received from Kendra.  I must ask once again that you excuse my poor photography skills & lack of staging.



Kendra made that wonderful crow dish towel!  The whole thing can be hung on a knob or nail & the towel part itself can be removed for washing!  Kendra had read my posting about my husband using my favorite old grater to cover a gutter drain which a blackbird seemed intent on blocking so she estimated what size grater would fit in a gutter & sent me this one ... & can you believe it is the exact same grater that is now duct taped in that gutter?!?!?  Unbelievable!  She also sent a an old pint size Ball jar with a lined zinc lid, filled with fake snow!  I can now enjoy snow whenever I want to   : )   If you look closely you will see a small glass vial to the right of the dish towel.  This is a vial of lavender essential oil.  I told Kendra about these horrible headaches I've been having every day & she told me that a drop or two of lavender essential oil on my temples or sternum would help ease them.  Once again she showed her thoughtfulness by sending me some of this oil along with a sheet explaining other uses for essential oils & she wrote on the back many benefits of lavender essential oil in particular!  She also included a battery operated grungy candle (I love those things!) & a little wooden star peg hanger that reads "homespun."  This is one of the most thoughtful swap packages I have ever received.  Thank you again Kendra!    

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Fun Stuff : )

I see I'm a day late in posting about something "fun" I experienced while on our trip.  I beg your forgiveness & will post about it now before I get too busy procrastinating my day away   : )

When we left Iron Mountain we headed to Wisconsin ... south on 41 to Milwaukee & then west toward Beloit on I-43.  Somewhere on I-43 we stopped at a little shopping area where there was a Target & right next door a Michael's.  I was impressed with how friendly everyone was.  We then continued south into Illinois on I-39, continuing down 51 & stopping overnight in Bloomington.  The next day we continued south & then headed east on I-64 toward Evansville, Indiana which led us to Louisville, Kentucky which of course led us home.

Here's the fun part   : )   There was a Polish pottery store which we encountered on our way out of Illinois.  My mother's mother & father came to this country from Poland so I grew up hearing about Poland & Polish things quite a lot & I've always felt a connection to that country.  My dad's parents came from Russia & Czechoslovakia.  That doesn't pertain to this story but I thought I'd give dad equal time   : )  

I have a small collection of Polish pottery which I purchased when John & I were in Poland a few years ago.  I have always wanted to go back there to add to my collection but that is easier said than done so finding this store selling Polish pottery was very thrilling for me!  The store was located in a very small town away from any large areas of population & I wondered about this.  Was it a Polish community?  I never got to ask any questions because when I walked in the door I was speechless!  This store didn't sell your run of the mill Polish pottery ... they sold the "good stuff."  Stuff that had been partially stenciled/partially hand painted (UNIKAT pieces) as well as signature UNIKAT pieces (all hand painted) as well as "Limited Edition" pieces which I didn't even know existed!  It was like I was in Mrs. Sullivan's store again looking at all the penny candy!  I could've just stood there at the counter saying "I want 1 of those, 2 of those, 5 of those, etc."  Lol!  Here is a photo of the store.

The store itself is located on the first floor & is comprised of 3 rooms of Polish pottery pieces as well as the checkout area.  It was very difficult to choose one item over another & of course I spent quite a bit of time there with my little notepad taking inventory of all the things I wanted & then revisiting them, going over my list again & again, & adding things up to make sure I didn't spend more money than I had   : )   

Here is what came home with me   : )   As always, please forgive my photography.  There wasn't much space anywhere to put these items for picture taking purposes so I settled on clearing off the shelf on my diningroom hutch which had some strong sunlight coming in from the window on the left.  Sigh!  I sometimes wonder if I should take a couple photography classes.  

These first 2 photos show a salt & pepper set on a tray.  That little piece in the center is used to hold toothpicks. 

A cup & saucer (for when I can get a set of place settings one of these days), a tall mug (which I plan to use when drinking my tea or hot chocolate), & a small bubble mug (just because it was so pretty).
A small canister & a small bowl.  

My lack of photography skills is exceptionally depressing here because these 2 pieces are breathtaking.  The small basket on the left is a UNIKAT signature piece & includes a few colors I have never seen used in this type of pottery before.  That is a small pitcher on the right.  


This is what is called a "covered pastry dish."  One of the things that amazes me about this pottery is how there are designs painted where they oftentimes will not be seen & aren't really necessary. 

This next piece is a muffin baking tray.  I didn't take a picture of the bottom or sides of the tray but designs are painted in those areas as well.  Incidentally, if anyone can tell me why my photos sometimes make flat things look as though they are curving I would really appreciate it!  If you multiply the effect you see below by about 100 you will understand how I saw things through my no-line bifocals when I was prescribed them last year.  Back to the baking tray ... I have been told time & time again that Polish pottery is to be used, not just put on a shelf & admired.  I have never used any of mine & truthfully I would like to but doesn't it appear to be a shame to use something so beautiful?
I have saved the "best" for last ... the "Limited Edition" pieces.  This first one is a basket.  I would've never seen it because it wasn't on display.  While I was putting things on the counter the sales clerk remembered there had been a special basket that someone had purchased a day or two before & that there was another one just like it in the storage room upstairs.  Of course my sub-par photography does not show how beautiful & intricate this piece is but hopefully you will have a bit of an idea.

And finally here is my "if I could've bought only one item, this is what I would've bought" piece ... a Limited Edition cookie sheet/cutting board.  (It is sold for either purpose.)  The sales clerk told me that she bakes her cookies on these sheets all the time & the cookies turn out perfectly browned & easily slide right off the tray.  
Needless to say I had a LOT of fun in this store   : )   It was sort of one of those "once in lifetime" experiences although I hope to repeat it one of these days   : )   I've really got to get my Etsy store set up so I can make some spending money ... lol!  I know I'm a primitive sort of gal & these pieces don't look like they would mix well but surprisingly they do!  Even if they didn't, a wise blogger once posted that your decor should be "whatever makes you happy."  Polish pottery makes me happy   : )   

Posiada wspanialy sobota!  Polish for "Have a wonderful Saturday!"