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

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Procrastination

This is, alas, so "me" ... lol!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Package Delivered!

John went to the post office this afternoon & came back with a package for me!  Inside was a card & this prettily wrapped gift with the cutest little picture & stitching poem on it!

Here is what was inside the envelope & the wrapping ... this beautiful tea themed pinkeep, a skein of the thread used to stitch it, & a delightful card filled with kind words from my dear friend Sally at Stitchyangel's Treasures!!!
A while back I learned that Sally is a fellow tea lover so I set about stitching a tea themed RAK for her.  Little did I know that at the same time she decided to stitch a tea themed RAK for me ... lol!  Thank you again dear friend!  Many, many hugs to you   : )

A Day of Disappointments

When we last left our easily influenced stitcher, she was getting ready to trek to Lexington where she joyously anticipated (A) total healing from her doctor, (B) new computer glasses, & (C) the completion of various errands, most importantly purchasing a few chocolate chip pound cakes (they freeze very well) at Whole Foods.  Alas, it was not to be.

(A)  I assumed my doctor visit was going to be a typical visit with her asking me about my problems, me rattling on for half an hour about the hellishness that is my medical condition, & her then dispensing wisdom for my healing ... but no.  It was, unbeknownst to me, only an appointment for a simple procedure.  I was aware that this simple procedure was going to be done of course, but not that it was the only thing that was going to be done.  She did state that said procedure would most likely bring me relief from most of the issues that have been plaguing me for lo these past few months.  She gave me an order for yet more lab testing & said we would meet again in 2 weeks & see if I'm experiencing any improvements at that time.  I think she just wanted to hurry me out of there so she could go buy some chocolate chip pound cakes before Whole Foods closed.

(B)  Last year I was told that I needed to graduate from computer glasses to full fledged bifocals.  In my opinion, my distance sight is not a problem.  I'm sitting here now looking out the window toward the street.  If a car drives by, I can see that it's a car!  I can even tell the difference between an ordinary car driving up the street & the country singer's tour bus!  And when I look across the room I can see a greeting card sitting there that an old friend sent me for Easter.  I can see that it's a greeting card!  Oh sure, maybe I can't read the writing on the front but what does that prove?  Who do you know that reads greeting cards from across the room?  However, the optometrist insisted that because I could barely see the top line on the wall chart that the bifocals were a necessity.  I reluctantly agreed.  He enthusiastically recommended the no-line bifocals & I assumed that, just like the father in that old 50's TV show, he knew best.  To make a long story short, I could not get used to those blasted no-line bifocals.  It was like I was seeing everything in a bowl.  I went back to his office to have them remade (3 times), then changed to regular lined bifocals (twice), & then in frustration to have them made into regular computer glasses (once).  That looking through a bowl effect continued throughout.  I finally gave up & decided to keep using the old beat up pair of computer glasses I had purchased from an optometrist's office in Michigan back in 2004.  They were good glasses & served me well but they're like wearing someone else's prescription now ... thus yesterday's visit.  Once again I was told at the end of all my testing that I am blind as a bat, need bifocals (despite my car/bus example of perfect vision), & was encouraged to buy the no-lines.  I explained to Dr. Whatever His Name Was that I was not trying to be argumentative but ... & then I told him of my experiences last year.  He insisted that "something was wrong somewhere" (no kidding) & suspected it was either the technician fitting the glasses or the company making them.  He strongly suggested that I try the no-lines again.  We went back & forth like this for a while ... him insisting that their no-line bifocals were the best thing since chocolate chip pound cakes & me reiterating my past experience with no-lines.  One of us had to back down sooner or later & since the clock was ticking I gave in.  He assured me I would not be sorry & even added that if for any reason I was not happy with the no-lines I could come back as many times as I wanted to have them remade, made into regular bifocals, or even to settle for a pair of computer glasses although he highly doubts that will be the case.  We shall see ... hopefully.  I will have my glasses in 2 weeks.

(C)  Because I spent almost 2 hours having my eye exam, debating with the optometrist, as well as picking out frames & lenses & having them fitted ... & this was our first stop ... not a whole lot of errands were accomplished.  While I was in the optometrist's office I told John to visit Half Price Books by himself.  When I was set free we headed to Barnes & Noble & Target.  Knowing time was of the essence I told him to go to B&N himself & I would meet him at Target.  Even though all of this didn't take very long it did mean that John's visit to Best Buy & my visit to Michael's would have to wait until another day.  It was at this point that we headed to my doctor's office after which we went to Whole Foods where of course not one chocolate chip pound cake could be found   : (   My first thought was "My doctor was going in to see another patient when I left her office ... how in the world did she get to Whole Foods & scarf up all those chocolate chip pound cakes before me?!?!?"  I have never gone to Whole Foods & not seen a display of chocolate chip pound cakes!  Never!!!  Well, I can't say that anymore.  I was so distraught that I even did something totally out of character for me.  I rang the bell at the bakery counter & said to the worker who responded "You don't happen to have any chocolate chip pound cakes in back, do you?"  When I was told no, I asked "Do you know when you will have some?"  The response was "No, I'm sorry, I don't.  Maybe tomorrow."  In my mind's eye I pictured myself screaming "TOMORROW?  TOMORROW?  GO BACK THERE & MAKE ME SOME NOW!!!"  However, I instead smiled a brave little smile in an attempt to lessen any deep sorrow this person may have been experiencing due to having to disappoint me, thereby assuring him that I wasn't wishing I had a gun in my purse, & merely said "thank you."  Sigh!  I think the next time we go to Lexington I will call the Whole Foods bakery a day or two before to see if I can order half a dozen chocolate chip pound cakes to be made just for me.  Hey!  Maybe I should call today & go pick them up tomorrow!  I've done wackier things in my life.  Hmmm ... might have to think on this a bit   : )

I will end this post with a little giggle.  May your day bring you whatever your version of a chocolate chip pound cake might be   : )

          

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

IHSW & Other Things In Life

Good morning!  Let's start off with the most important news, shall we?  I had a successful IHSW in that I not only finished stitching my Stacy Nash (not without some bits of aggravation ... more about that later) but I started something new as well!  I guess I have become a chain stitcher.  I remember hearing some people referred to as "chain smokers" ... they smoke continuously, lighting their new cigarette off the one they are ready to snuff out.  Well, it seems I am the same way when it comes to stitching.  No sooner do I put the last stitch into one project than I grab another one to start.  A much better vice than smoking, for sure   : )

I am proud to have finished this Seek Joy In All Things Pinkeep Pillow by Stacy Nash although it was sometimes frustrating & sometimes boring (that honkin' big block of house in the center) although I tried to entertain myself whilst working on that house.  It occurred to me that "Stacy Nash" had the same amount of syllables & rhymed perfectly with the title of an old song ... "Monster Mash."  So there I sat, stitching on that big honkin' block of house, bored out of my wits, singing!

She did the Nash!
She did the Stacy Nash!
The Stacy Nash!
It was a stitching smash!
She did the Nash!
It stitched up in a flash!
She did the Nash!
She did the Stacy Nash!

If I put my mind to it I know I could come up with complete lyrics, perhaps get permission from the original people involved with the song to parody it, hire musicians & someone who can do a good Boris Karloff impersonation, record it, & send the demo to Stacy to use as background music on her website, let's say ... or it could be played during her introductions as teacher at stitching retreats, etc.  I am even seeing a pretty good music video here.  Thus travels your mind when you are faced with a big honkin' block of house to complete.  Anyway, here it is.
Wow!  What a lousy photo!  I surprise myself sometimes with just how horrible my photos can be.  Oh well, I shall continue on.  Those of you with sharp eyes (eyes that can make clearness out of blurriness) will see I stitched this design using 1 over 2.  I did that on purpose for a more primitive effect.  You may also see that I changed the color of the bird's beak.  Stacy wanted it to be a funky kind of green.  I don't think so Stacy!  Okay ... so I'm stitching along, purposely saving that big honkin' block of house for last.  Actually I saved the date for last but we'll get back to that.  When it came time to start the house, I stitched the roof, began the brickwork, & started the windows.  I stitched the front of this house in thirds ... the left brick area & 2 windows first, then the center brick area with 1 window & the door, & then started on the right side of the house.  The first thing I noticed was that the Stacy wanted me to put 6 "bricks" (stitches) to the right of those windows & I only had room for 5 (following in line with the roof).  I then looked at the left side of the house.  It had only 4 stitches.  Why oh why oh why did she not do 4 stitches on the right AND the left sides ... or 6 stitches on both sides ... but no, one side has 4 stitches & the other has 6.  Go figure.  Due to my sometimes extreme OCD, this drove me crazy!  However, "fixing" it to make each side have an even number of bricks was going to be a lot of work & I didn't want to spend any more time on this big honkin' block of house than I had to so I decided 4 bricks on one side & 5 bricks on the other side would have to do.  Sadly my OCD at this point was indeed extreme & it forced me to go back & see where I had made the mistake resulting in only having room for 5 bricks instead of 6 in that area.  Naturally I first investigated the roof thinking I must've counted wrong & positioned the chimneys incorrectly thus resulting in the roof being 1 stitch less wide thus resulting in the 5 bricks rather than 6 dilemma.  I counted.  I counted again.  That wasn't it.  I then looked at the reindeer above the roof & counted from the chimney up.  The chimney was positioned exactly where it was supposed to be underneath that deer.  ARGH!  Where's that error???  Where-where-where???  I then concentrated on the reindeer & there it was ... somehow when stitching that critter I miscounted & this resulted in the reindeer stitch that is supposed to match up to the first stitch of that chimney matching perfectly but being "off" by one stitch resulting in room for only 5 bricks.  Well, my OCD was bad but not bad enough for me to try to fix this so I continued.  The discovery of the error, however, so frustrated me that I forgot to change the color of my floss for the top right windowpanes.  The panes in that window are supposed to be the same funky green color Stacy wanted the bird's beak to be.  I thought "how cute is that!"  I thought it could kind of represent the rest of the house slumbering peacefully while the woman of the house was in her little stitching room getting in a few more stitches before joining her family in dreamland.  HA!  It was not to be.  I told myself that she got fed up stitching a project with a big honkin' block of house in the center of it & decided to just call it a night.  

You won't need real sharp eyes for this next "forced error" but anyone familiar with this pattern will know that the date is supposed to be 1802, not 1822.  I had no problems stitching the 18 & getting it to look nice but I can't tell you how many times I tried stitching that 02 with vomity results.  If by this time I had CARED I would have played with figuring out numbers that would (A) be particularly meaningful to me & (B) matched the style of the other numbers.  However, at this point I just wanted to get the stupid thing done & since the 2 wasn't stitching up too badly I decided to go with 22.  

One more thing about this project.  I stitched it on a mystery piece of linen that I received in a swap.  I didn't notice until I had started stitching that there was a great, big, fat flaw in the linen in one area ... almost like a hole.  A sloppy hole if that makes any sense.  Like "Oh look!  Shirlee must've poked her scissors through here.  Boy, is she stupid!  Why does she even bother trying to stitch anything!  She ruins everything she gets her hands on!"  You get the idea.  Since I had already started the project & had completed enough stitching to not want to just toss it out I continued to stitch hoping that big honkin' block of house would perhaps cover that holey area & hide it.  No such luck.  Because of the lousy photo I don't think you will be able to see this area even if you enlarge it but there it is ... right underneath the 22, right above the peacock's tail, to the right of the house.  I hoped it would sort of "disappear" when I pressed the piece before photographing it.  No such luck.  Now I'm hoping it will disappear when I adhere some iron-on interfacing to the back of it.  Maybe I'll just use it for a dust rag.

I don't think I took more than a few breaths between finishing Stacy & starting a new one & here it is!
Doesn't look like much, does it   : )   This is probably all you're going to see of it for a while as it's my next RAK & I can't let the cat out of the bag before it is finished & received.  I will, however, tell you it's not a cat design   : ) 

In a little over an hour John & I are going to head off to Lexington.  I have a doctor appointment at 3:30 but we are going up early so I can get an eye exam, order new glasses, & run a few errands before seeing her.  I got dressed for the excursion when I got up this morning, sat down here to read emails & check blogs & then something very sad happened.  My waistband was cutting off my circulation so I had to go back to the closet to pull out my "fat pants."  After losing 70 pounds last year I only lost one clothing size which will forever baffle & anger me but I didn't think I'd ever wear those fat pants again & actually had them sitting on a pile of junk in the corner of the bedroom with plans for some sort of disposal.  Luckily my lack of motivation these past many months has made me neglect doing anything with that pile of junk so the pants were still there & are now comfortably gracing my "gained 25 pounds back again" body.  I have "resuming diet" marked down on my list of things to discuss with my doctor.  However, I also have "chocolate chip pound cake" marked down on my shopping list for Whole Foods.  I need professional help!  But not until I eat that pound cake   : )      

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Must Work! MUST WORK!!!

I'm trying to motivate myself today by chanting "must work" over & over again.  It is a lovely, blessedly cool (57 degrees predicted I think), sunny day ... just perfect for taking a drive, or sitting & stitching, or baking some brownies, or any number of things.  However, I sit here thinking about all the work there is yet to do if we are going to get this house on the market in ... Lord help me ... 8 days!!!  Therefore I am pushing myself toward going upstairs & doing a final clean-up up there.

I'm a little undecided about this 8 day thing which I'm sure isn't a surprise to anyone since we decided last year that we would be listing the house on March 1st, then it became April 1st, then it became May 1st & I honestly don't think we're going to make this deadline either.  I've been thinking we'll now shoot for sometime in the middle of May ... the 14th perhaps ... or we'll just wait & list it on June 1st.  Of course my husband is on the sidelines saying "We can always wait & list it next year!"  That, as Dr. Spock would say, sounds "logical" but it would also mean another year of having most of our things packed in boxes, another year of living in this house the way it is (which I hate), & another year of indecision.  Sigh!  The original idea was to list the house for 6 months & if it didn't sell then we would just stay here.  Since we are "late" in listing I am now thinking we should list it for 3 months.  I mean if anyone is interested in it then they're probably going to jump on it within 3 months, don't cha think?  Argh!  Those of you who aren't plagued by indecision ... you should be VERY thankful.

I mentioned in yesterday's post that I mailed 2 RAKs last week.  I am pleased to say that my second recipient received her package yesterday so I can now show you what I sent to her.


I'm sure most of you will recognize this as a Lizzie*Kate design called Garden Sampler.  Believe it or not I stitched this back in 2003!  When I decided for the second time that I was no longer going to be involved in cross stitching (what an idiot), I thought I had sold or given away absolutely everything I had pertaining to cross stitching but last fall ... probably when I was "getting things ready so as to list the house for sale on March 1st" ... I found a box with a few things I kept including a few things I had stitched but never finished.  This design was one of them.  When I recently decided to send several items to Faye at Carolina Stitcher to professionally finish for me, I included this & asked her to finish it however she thought best.  I was thrilled with her choice to make it into a needlecase!  June at Butterfly wings was the recipient & hopefully she won't mind me borrowing her photos because I forgot to take my own before I mailed it to her   : )   

I am now "caught up" on RAKs.  My intention at the beginning of the year was to choose one of my participating followers each month in order to gift them with an RAK.  Michelle at Michelle's StitchCraft Place inspired me to do that.  I already have the person chosen to receive the May gift & I will start working on that tonight   : )

Okay ... while I've been typing this I've had "Must Work!  MUST WORK!!!" mantra swirling around in the background of my mind so that is what I am going to do!  Wish me luck!    

Saturday, April 21, 2012

RAKs & Root Canals

It is unfortunately one of those "wake up at 2:30, get out of bed at 3:30, write a blog post at 4:30" mornings.  My intention was to say how "overwhelming" life has been lately but then I thought "overwhelming" doesn't really cut it ... there must be a stronger word I could use to really get the point across of how "beyond overwhelming" it has been.  I therefore started researching this on Google & do you know what I found?  Not one word meaning "beyond overwhelming" but did you know that "whelm" is actually a word?  How many times have you ever heard "whelm" uttered in a sentence or seen it in print somewhere?  Merriam-Webster says it means "1.  To turn (as a dish or vessel) upside down usually to cover something; cover or engulf completely with disastrous effect.  2.  To overcome in thought or feeling, as in 'whelmed with a rush of joy' or 'the news so whelmed them they were stunned into silence.'  3.  To pass or go over something so as to bury or submerge it."  My working life was spent as a transcriber, proofreader & editor but in all that time ... in all my life ... I never had any exposure to the word "whelm."  I guess waking up at 2:30 sometimes has its advantages.  Today I learned a new word.

Continuing along ... things have been "beyond overwhelming" lately.  Sometimes I just want to go into a closet, close the door, curl up in a ball & stay there till Jesus comes to get me.  I'll spare you the details but suffice to say that "beyond overwhelming" covers it.

I had a root canal recently.  I've had root canals in the past & I don't remember them being horrendous so I didn't give this one a second thought.  Believe me, I'll remember this one because it was indeed horrendous.  The tooth was supposed to have one nerve but when the dentist starting working on it she discovered it had two.  Each was roughly 1-1/8 inches long.  She had numbed me well but because there were two nerves to deal with the work took longer than planned.  By the time she was shoving her little file up there to file away the second nerve I was not having a good experience.  However, the real horror came after I got home & the anesthetic wore off.  I had several days of pain due to the trauma of all the filing & drilling & poking around she had to do.  I was informed that what she had done was just the first part of a two-part procedure.  I had to return 10 days later to be filed & drilled & poked again in order to put some kind of filler material in the spaces where the nerves used to be.  The filler material was put in place this past Thursday & then HEATED (!) to make it expand.  Even though I made sure she used lots of anesthetic this time around, heating up that filler material was again not a good experience.  I am now beginning this round's Day 2 of ingesting prescription pain killers & this will continue for a few more days I'm sure.

Just before going in for my second part of the root canal procedure my TMJ started acting up.  I've had this for years & saw two different specialists about it but both of them said it wasn't bad enough for surgery.  (Surgery, by the way, doesn't always take the pain away & can sometimes make it worse.)  There are times when the TMJ will be dormant for long periods of time & then suddenly one day I'll open my mouth to yawn or take a bite of something & tremendous pain will begin & last ... well, it's anyone's guess how long it will last.  This bout has been lasting a few days now & I say enough already!  I can tell the pain is starting to subside but I have to be very careful because it can easily flare up again if I move my jaw "the wrong way."  Of course I don't know what "the wrong way" is until it occurs.

On a happier note, I sent out 2 RAKs this week & one has been received!  Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of them before mailing them so I have borrowed a photo from the blog of the first recipient to receive her RAK ... Marly at Samplers & Santas.  Hopefully she does not mind   : )

Marly's RAK is this ornament made using a Homespun Elegance pattern called Sampler Santa.  I really enjoyed stitching it & plan to make one for myself one of these days   : )   I did all the stitching of course but then sent it away to Faye at Carolina Stitcher for her professional finishing expertise.

Speaking of Marly, God bless her!  Blogger's sudden change to my dashboard freaked me out but she posted how to get it back to what I was used to.  You can read her instructions here   : )

Although I began writing this blog post at 4:30 this morning I ended up going back to bed at 6:30, slept till 7:30 & then got up again.  It's 9 p.m. now.  It's been a cool, rainy day.  This, coupled with the lack of sleep last night, naturally meant napping took place.  I also did a bit of housework, some stitching for IHSW (I finished stitching my house on my Stacy Nash ... HOORAY ... although this is a bit of a story in itself that I will save for another post), made chicken noodle soup which turned out pretty good (another future blog post), & John & I watched our Saturday night movie.  I foresee it being an "early to bed" night.  Hopefully I'll sleep ... fingers crossed   : )   

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My Love/Hate Relationship With A Bird

We have many birds that visit us.  Cardinals, finches, blue jays, bluebirds, robins, red winged blackbirds, & quite a few birds we don't recognize.  We also have swarms of unknown dark gray birds that fly in here like locusts swarming Egypt prior to the exodus.  They swarm down on one section of the yard, apparently find bugs to eat, & then a few minutes later swarm to another place in the yard where they find more bugs.  Swarm & repeat.  They are welcome visitors even if you sometimes can swear you're living in the middle of an Alfred Hitchcock movie.  You know the one.  We also have cowbirds from time to time.  They must be the devil's pets because they are brood parasitic.  This means they watch when other birds lay eggs in their nests.  Then the cowbirds fly in when the parents leave for a time & they lay their eggs in with the others.  When the eggs hatch the baby cowbirds grow faster & bigger than the other baby birds & they push them out of the nest.  Also, the cowbird parents often keep an eye on the nests after laying their eggs in them.  If they see that the owners of the nest push out the cowbird eggs, the cowbirds will then come in & destroy the owners' eggs!  I have never liked it when one group of people (or animals or birds) are mean to another group.  Therefore I don't like cowbirds.  The purpose of my writing this post, however, is to talk about a particular blackbird that has robbed me of my very favorite old grater.

See that blank bit of wall above the piggie salt & pepper shakers?  That's where my favorite old grater used to hang.  It was also my first old grater.  I don't have many graters ... I don't really need a lot ... but I'll miss that one.  

By now you are probably wondering how a blackbird robbed me of my favorite old grater.  Well, we happened to notice a couple days ago that this one blackbird was hopping in & out of our gutter at the corner of the porch precisely where the downspout attaches.  At one point we noticed that she was flying little bits of grass & other debris up there & I mentioned to John that she must be making a nest.  On the one hand I felt sorry for her.  Obviously she was brain wave deficient choosing to build her nest in a gutter close to a downspout like that.  Didn't she know that one good rain would wash away her nest & her eggs?  We were also concerned that the nest was going to block the gutter &/or downspout & then we'd have drainage problems.  We decided that we needed to put a stop to this.  Yesterday we got the ladder & John climbed up in order to remove the nest but there wasn't one.  It seems she was maybe trying to build one by filling up the downspout with debris until it all got high enough to actually support a nest.  Not a good thing.  John was able to pull a few lengths of dried pampas grass out of the downspout but couldn't really see or reach anything else.  I brought him out a pitcher of water & he poured it into the downspout & it drained without a problem.  We figured that our tampering in the area would discourage her from returning to her nest building attempts but it didn't.  We no sooner put the ladder away & came back inside than she was hopping in & out of the gutter again.  I suggested that the next time we go to Lowes we should get some screening to put over the downspout opening before she blocked it up.  This morning I was in the kitchen making tea & heard her singing.  Sure enough she was flying into that area, dropping off debris, & flying back out again only to return with more.  Since Lowes is a bit of a drive ... & John was too impatient for me to think of an alternative ... he duct taped my favorite old grater in the gutter over the downspout opening.  When we came back inside she flew immediately up to the area, looked around, & then flew away.  We haven't seen her since.  It seems the old grater is doing it's job but I miss seeing it hanging on that bit of wall.  Oh sure, I could find a replacement grater.  I could even use one of the ones you see there in the photo which were unfortunately too wide to put in the gutter.  However, it wouldn't be the same   : (   

For those of you who may be wondering, yesterday indeed was spent snuggling in my recliner, eating chocolate, & taking a nap.  Today it is sunny & warm & as soon as I click on Publish Post I am heading out to start work in the garage.  I will even take before pictures so you can see what I'm dealing with.  I hope you will find something a bit more fun to do today   : )   Although cleaning out the garage is not technically what anyone would deem to be "fun" ... it will make things look nicer out there, I'll get rid of some things I no longer need or want, & I'll have a great feeling of accomplishment when it's all done.  Sounds good to me   : )   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Candy

A while back I posted a photo of some candy cigarettes I found for sale at the local gas station.

These were one of my favorite candies when I was growing up ... but not THE favorite.  

I was quite the penny candy aficionado when I was a child.  Okay ... let's be honest.  I still am.  Like Lady Gaga sings, "I was born this way."  Whenever I'd get money in my hands I'd head off to the neighborhood mom & pop store which was called Sullivans.  They had a freezer full of wonderful frozen treats.  Popsicles just don't taste the same as they did back then ... sigh!  Behind the counter was a wall of shelves full of penny candy.  Boxes & boxes of it.  I am sure Mrs. Sullivan wanted to slap me silly as I stood there for who knows how long asking for a penny's worth of this & a nickel's worth of that.  I'd leave the store with my little brown paper bag filled to the brim with all sorts of goodies & I was in heaven   : )   Do you know what I loved most of all???  
Satellite Wafers!!!  We kids always called them "flying saucers."  I think they were a penny each & the bulk of my money was spent on these.  I don't know why I love them so much ... they are just thin, some would say tasteless wafers with little sugar beads inside ... but love them I do.  Time passed.  I got older.  Sullivans was no more & it seemed the flying saucers were forever lost but believe me, I looked for them all the time.  John & I got married & for our second Christmas he surprised me with a stocking full of flying saucers!  He found a box of them for sale someplace during one of his shopping excursions ... just one box ... & immediately bought it for me.  What a happy Christmas that was   : )

For the next many years John & I moved here & there ... lived in various states, visited others ... me always keeping my eyes open for flying saucers.  I never found them again.  I even wrote to the candy company that made them (I had torn their address off that Christmas box) but I never received a reply.  Enter the internet.  One day I typed Satellite Wafers into my search engine & lo & behold, there they were for sale in an online retro candy store!  Every once in a while I order a couple boxes & have a "lost weekend"   : )   Important Note:  There is a "new" type of Satellite Wafers on the market that has joined the old standby but beware, they don't hold a candle to the original pastel colored wafers with the candy beads inside.  They are brighter colored wafers filled with sour powder.  UGH!

Another candy I remember from the old days are Mary Janes.
Chewy molasses candies with a peanut butter concoction in the middle.  Yum!  John & I went to Louisville twice this past week & on one of those days we stopped by the World Market.  What a fun store this is!  They have, like the name implies, things from all over the world including interesting candies!  This particular World Market has a little retro candy section & I was so excited to see the Mary Janes.  I just had to get a box   : )

There are other candies I remember from my childhood.  Red shoelace licorice, Bonomo Turkish Taffy, Mallo Cups, & Bit-O-Honey, just to name a few.  Then there were those special holiday delights ... wax lips, wax tongues, & wax teeth.  How I loved the fall because that meant Halloween was right around the corner & these wax yummies would be available.  You can still find all these things for sale.  Unfortunately none of them taste the same as they did back then   : (

I have also always been a chewing gum aficionado.  Clarks Teaberry can still be found but it doesn't quite taste the same.  It smells the same though which can still take you back in time   : )   Remember the Teaberry Shuffle?  And Beemans!  Beemans still smells the same & still tastes the same.  You can find it only at a certain time of the year along with its counterparts ... Clove & Black Jack.  Then there's Adams sour gums.  These were popular when I was in junior high & there were 4 flavors ... Sour Apple, Sour Cherry, Sour Orange, & Sour Lemon ... & a bouncy commercial telling you "Adams makes the sourest gum around & old man Adams is the sourest man in town," to which old man Adams would reply "Gee!  Thanks!"  Sour Apple, is back on the market.  I remember making gum paper chains.  Over time I had constructed quite a lengthy one & then one day my mother convinced me I should throw away.  Mothers!

Are there any old candies or gums that you have fond memories of?

Gifts & A New Tea

I can show you two more finishes that have now reached their destinations.  This first pinkeep was an RAK for a dear blogging friend.  (Try not to laugh at my pitiful attempt at staging in this photo.  Hopefully I will get at least somewhat good at this one of these days.)

Sally & I share a love of tea so when I spotted this pinkeep pattern I knew I had to make one for each of us   : )   This is a pattern by Laura at The Little Stitcher.  Laura has some lovely cross stitch designs!  I stitched this pinkeep on Old Salem linen which I've mentioned several times on this blog.  Isabella at The Primitive Hare stains this linen herself & you can purchase it directly from her.  I fell in love with it the first time I used it.  She also has some lovely cross stitch designs   : )

This next pinkeep was a birthday gift for another dear blogging friend.
It's a Stacy Nash design from her pattern Pine Tree Farm Pinkeeps.  If you have a good eye you will notice that once again I used dear Isabella's Old Salem linen   : ) 

Both of these finishes are actually mine!  They were completed that one day recently when I had some sort of "I don't know what" come over me & I sat down & finished 6 stitchings in one day.  I don't know if that will EVER happen again!

I'm working on another Stacy Nash pattern now ... a cupboard tuck called Seek Joy In All Things.  I'm doing it a bit differently than suggested using 1 strand of floss instead of 2 & using 32 count linen instead of 28. 
I'm using the pattern photo here rather than taking a picture of my progress.  I tried to take a photo myself before starting this post but discovered my camera battery is dead.  It is recharging now.  Anyway, I love the design (I love all of Stacy's stuff) but do you see that big house in the center?  I love houses but have always avoided stitching them because I have a dislike of stitching a big concentrated area of anything.  For some reason I didn't think this would be too bad.  It's not really.  It's just my phobia that I have to deal with.  I have completed stitching everything on top of & around the house so I had no choice but to start the roof the other day.  I haven't been stitching very much this week so I just completed the roof last night.  I keep telling myself "one foot after the other ... one step at a time."  I will definitely complete the stitching but that house looks like it's about a yard wide & a yard high when I'm stitching it   : )   Surprisingly I'm not using Isabella's linen on this one but rather some mystery linen & I wish I had used Isabella's instead.  Hopefully I can stain it when it's done without destroying it.   

And speaking of tea (again) I went to make my usual cup of tea this morning but YIKES!  I discovered that I was totally out of my favorite Hot Cinnamon Sunset tea by Harney & Sons so I decided to be adventurous & try something new.
I have several teas in my pantry that I haven't tried yet & this was one of them.  Bigelow has some delicious dessert teas.  This one is good but nothing special.  

The plan for today was to start cleaning out the garage but uh-oh ... it's one of those gray, overcast, "it's going to rain any minute" days so I just want to sit in my recliner drinking tea, eating chocolate, & having a lie down or two.  I'll let you know which road I end up taking   : )

Friday, April 13, 2012

Can You Help Me Name My Etsy Shop?

I've decided to do away with my selling blog & instead put my energies into selling on Etsy.  However, I need a name for my shop & I am drawing a blank.  Can anyone suggest a good shop name for me?  I will be selling craft supplies ... mostly cross stitch, bobbin lace, quilting, & rug braiding supplies to start with ... & eventually I will offer some finished crafts as well.

If you are the first one to suggest a name & I choose to use it, I'll make it worth your while   : )

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our Easter Feast - Part II

We left the last post with a skillet full of peeled potatoes & the realization that we needed more butter.

9.  Cut more pats from the second stick of butter & place them on top of the potatoes with the other pats of butter until it looks like enough to you.
10.  Move your skillet full of potatoes & butter pats to your stove & begin to cook on medium heat.  Keep what remains of that second stick of butter close by.  If your potatoes start to look dry during cooking, you will be able to easily cut a few more pats to add to the skillet.  
11.  Cook potatoes on medium heat, stirring from time to time so they will brown evenly.  
12.  My skillet full of perfectly browned potatoes looks like this.  If you are so inclined, this is the time to add a delicious "extra" to your potatoes ... freshly cooked, crumbled bacon (as much as you wish).  If you decide to add the bacon, continue to cook on medium heat for another minute or two, stirring to mix the crumbled bacon evenly throughout the potatoes.  I opted not to use bacon this time around.    
13.  When you have finished cooking the potatoes, separate them into portion sizes & lay slices of American cheese on top to melt.  You don't need to separate the potatoes into portions if you don't wish to do so.  I do this because John likes less cheese melted on top of his potatoes.
14.  Shovel each portion onto a dinner plate, add salt & pepper to taste, & enjoy!  

I also made a whipped cream dessert that has various adaptations from location to location & from family to family.  I grew up eating my Aunt Dorothy's version of this dessert which she called Angel's Delight.  There are 4 ingredients:  a pint of heavy whipping cream, a bag of miniature marshmallows, a can of pineapple slices in heavy syrup, & a jar of maraschino cherries.  You drain your pineapple & cut the slices into small chunks.  You likewise drain the cherries & then cut them in half.  Put the pineapple & cherries on paper towels.  Pour the heavy whipping cream into a bowl & beat on high until it has thickened & is stiff.  Add the cherries, the pineapple, & 4 handfuls of miniature marshmallows to the whipped cream & mix thoroughly.  Put into a Tupperware-type container, refrigerate, & enjoy!  
  
And yes Virginia ... this is no doubt why I need to buy my clothes from Omar the tent maker   : )

Our Easter Feast - Part I

Disclaimer:  Those with heart or cholesterol problems may want to avoid reading this post.

Our Easter feast was a tad outside the box this year.  John still has a limited amount of things he can eat since his continuing dental work so I have been keeping away from cooking anything chewy or crunchy. Since I haven't made one of our favorite meals for about a year now I asked him what he thought about me making it for Easter & he was very enthusiastic!

We both love potatoes, especially fried potatoes, & as the years went by we developed something which we have referred to as Cholestrol Potatoes, Heart Stopping Potatoes, & most recently Killer Potatoes.  I decided I would share this prized recipe with you.  Try it if you dare   : )

Killer Potatoes

Ingredients:  One 5-pound bag of red potatoes, a skillet big enough to hold 5 pounds of potatoes, 1 stick of butter, slices of American cheese.  

1.  Put the potatoes into a large pot & bring them to a boil.  Turn the heat down to medium & continue cooking all the potatoes until soft.  You will know they are ready when you can easily stick a fork about 1/2 inch into the potato.  Another clue to them being done is when the skins start cracking & peeling but don't rely on this only ... use the fork test as well.  Be careful not to over boil the potatoes.  You don't want them to get mushy.  
2.  When the potatoes are ready, remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon & place them on some paper towels.
3.  Get your stick of butter.  
4.  Cut about 2/3 of the stick of butter into pats & arrange them in your skillet.  Set the remaining 1/3 stick of butter to the side for now.  
5.  Peel the potatoes.  They will still be hot so be careful.  Using a Playtex Rubber Glove to hold the potatoes while you peel them is a big help since the heat will not transfer very quickly through the glove.  
6.  Immediately after peeling each potato, cut it into roughly 1/4 inch slices.  
7.  Place the sliced potatoes into the skillet on top of the pats of butter.  
8.  Repeat steps 6 & 7 until all the potatoes have been sliced & placed in the skillet.  Cut the remaining 1/3 stick of butter into pats & place them on top of the sliced potatoes.  Uh oh ... there doesn't appear to be quite enough butter on those potatoes.  Luckily I had another stick of butter in the fridge. 
Alas, this is as many photos as Blogger will let me have in this post.  You will find the continuation of this recipe in Our Easter Feast - Part II.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

An Easter Treasure Hunt

Good morning everyone!  I wish you all a very Happy Easter   : )

I am participating in a special Easter Treasure Hunt sponsored by Jo at Serendipitous Stitching.  She is always coming up with such fun ideas   : )   The "rules" of the treasure hunt are simple.  You need to visit, in order, all the blogs that are participating to gather letters which you will find directly above a posted photo of a cross stitch project with an Easter/spring theme.  These letters will spell a word or phrase.  You begin at Jo's blog with a list of the participants & you will end at Jo's blog where you will find the last letter.  Decipher the word or phrase & leave Jo a comment telling her what it is.  She has temporarily enabled blog owner approval so your comment will not be seen by others.  You have one week in which enter for a chance to win a lovely little prize   : )

My letter is ...

B
I stitched this little cupboard tuck from a design by Deb at Pilgrims & Pioneers Stitches.  The name of the design is Spring Bunnies.  I stitched it on one of my very favorite linens, 30 count Old Salem linen which you can purchase from Isabella at The Primitive Hare.  Deb designs some great primitive cross stitch patterns!  In fact, it was buying a pinkeep from Deb for the winner of my first giveaway that got me involved in stitching again last summer!  Thank you again Betty for getting me back home   : )     

You will find the next treasure hunt letter at Beth's  Blog.  When you visit the blogs, take a moment to leave a comment.  It's the nice thing to do   : )    
Prior to starting to write this post I made my usual morning cup of tea & had it brewing in the kitchen.  I'm embarrassed to say that I totally forgot about it, what with my being all involved in this post & the excitement of the hunt, when suddenly I felt something bumping at my leg.  I looked down & here's what I found!
My tea had gotten strong enough to shimmy off the counter & across the floor to let me know it was ready!  I was, needless to say, overwhelmed by contrition & promised to set the timer from now on rather than trust myself to glance down at the clock on the computer screen to determine when the brewing was done. 

I will leave you with one last photo.  If I were doing a separate blog post about this I would title it Wild Kingdom III since it's a continuation of the wildlife we see around here ... not to be confused with "wild life" which John & I never see around here & in fact haven't seen since we were dating.  Anyway, I glanced out the bathroom window the day before yesterday & here's what greeted my eyes.
Isn't he beautiful?  I took this photo through the bathroom window using zoom since he was over the fence in the neighbor's hay field.  He's certainly watching something intently, isn't he.  I don't think even a second elapsed after I snapped this photo before he jumped down & I assume caught whatever it was that he was so focused on.  John said we'd have a bit of a problem if we end up staying here & decide to keep chickens.   

Once again I wish you all a very Happy Easter!  While you are having fun with the treasure hunt & enjoying a good Easter meal along with delicious desserts, do remember that today is a celebration of Christ's resurrection.     
"Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection 
& the life.  He who believes in me will live, 
even though he dies; 
& whoever lives & believes in me 
will never die."
John 11:25-26

Friday, April 6, 2012

Well blow me down!

Those are the immortal words of Popeye once again uttered when he stopped by my house yesterday & saw this.
Don't be alarmed.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  What you see here really are 6 cross stitched pinkeeps in the throes of construction.  I don't know what came over me.  We all know how much I hate to finish cross stitch projects.  I was just talking about this the other day.  However, yesterday something came over me & I pressed & measured & cut & fused & backed & sewed & stuffed & ladder stitched my heart out & felt semi-contented doing so!  I even tried a different type of stuffing which I think is my favorite so far   : )   I don't want to spill the beans on that one yet though & no, it's not beans.  Anyway, here's what the pinkeeps look like today.
Yes, that's the back of them.  I'm sorry but I can't show you all the fronts because a few of these are earmarked for gifts.  I can show you the ones I'm keeping though.  This first one I made specifically for a contest that Isabella sponsored on her blog, The Primitive Hare.  I have raved about Isabella's Old Salem linen before.  She sponsored this contest in February (or maybe it was January) with a deadline of March 31.  You had to stitch this particular pattern (her own design) & send her a photo of the finished product.  You would then be entered into a drawing for a really nice prize.  I finished my stitching before the deadline but of course froze when it came to the final finishing so I missed out on entering the contest.  However, I now have a nice red/white pinkeep to add to my red/white pinkeep collection.  That makes 2 r/w pinkeeps I have in my collection   : )   I decided that the little bunnies are me & John & that the sentiment applies to us.  It has so far   : )
Hmmmm.  This photo looks blurry, doesn't it   : (   I am getting discouraged in my photography efforts.  Once again the photos at times turn out crystal clear but at other times they look like this   : ( 

The next pinkeep I can show you is ... no, wait a minute.  I can't show you any others   : (   So sorry.  I thought I could share one other pinkeep with you but I need to keep it under wraps until Easter Sunday.  Jo who can't think of a clever nickname at Serendipitous Stitching is conducting a special treasure hunt & I need to keep in line with the rules of the hunt   : )   What I will post, however, is this.
It doesn't look as luscious as it really is.  This is a special cake made only at Eastertime at the legendary Burke's Bakery in Danville.  It is a 3-tiered orange cake with pineapple filling between the layers & a delicious frosting sprinkled with coconut.  "Food for the angels" is a good description   : )   You can learn a wee bit about Burke's Bakery in this clip.
Since I'm rambling on here I will sort of catch you up on some things I mentioned a while back but never followed up on.  The spider bite on my wrist was not alone.  I discovered I had 4 spider bites in various places on that wrist.  Apparently Boris the Spider was a bit hungry that day.  

Sorry, I've just got to post this.
I haven't thought about Boris the Spider for years but for some reason he just came to my mind while writing this.  It was a song on a 1966 album by The Who.  That means it had been out for a few years before I ever heard it.  I was introduced to it by my then boyfriend/now husband who was born with an addiction to music.  It's a cute little tune   : )   Anyway, my 4 bites swelled & itched but nothing oozed & my hand didn't fall off so all ended well unless you consider the fact that I didn't develop any useful superpowers in which case it could've ended better   : )  

The only other thing I can think of to catch you up on is our trip to Iron Mountain.  Now you would think that I could find a photo to post for you of Iron Mountain but this is the best I can do.  
Pretty sad, isn't it.  Granted, the town isn't what you'd call "picturesque" ... there's nothing really all that special about it ... but you would think I'd be able to find a picture of the town somewhere!  This does show a bit I'm very familiar with though.  Of course as you can see Iron Mountain is the "proud hometown" of Tom Izzo & Steve Mariucci ... whoever they are.  Actually they are connected to sports in some way ... thus the basketball & football you see over their names.  I can' say for sure but I think we've lived in a couple of places that boast signs like this.  Where we live now there are signs when you enter the town letting everyone know it's the proud hometown of Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry fame which I guess will mean something to you if you are caught up in country music.  Eddie is our neighbor (3 doors down) but we've never met him although we see his tour bus drive up & down the road quite often.  One of our brushes with fame but not as close as when Leon Russell almost was our neighbor.  A story for another time.  

Now where was I?  Oh yes, Iron Mountain.  In that photo above you can see a couple houses in the background.  They are model homes.  The house on the left (the brown one) was a "dream house" of ours.  You buy your land, they build your house.  The inside is beautiful.  This sign & home building place are on the main road when you enter the town & are located just over 2 blocks from where we used to live.  We used to walk along those train tracks from time to time.  I bet I'm rambling on about stuff you couldn't care less about, right?  I'm sorry again   : )   I started to tell you about our trip to Iron Mountain.  There wasn't one.  Yes, we canceled again.  We had decided to just forget about it but then I discovered over the past 2 days that (A) there's a great pysanka store west of Chicago (these are pysanky ... plural of pysanka ... if you aren't familiar with them) ...
... & (B) there's a great Polish pottery store a little west of that!  Needless to say we are now planning a trip to Iron Mountain once again ... maybe on the 15th.  Will the third time be the charm?  We will take care of our business there, eat at Fontana's (best Italian food outside of Italy), buy me some t-shirts at Shopko (the only place that ever sold t-shirts I like ... hopefully they still sell them), maybe visit the "dream house" again, probably zip down to Escanaba to spend $20 playing the penny slot machines, & of course stop along the way there or back at these places west of Chicago.         

I've been here too long already but I actually thought about a couple more things I can catch you up on.  

1.  The repair shop still has our riding mower & will probably have it for quite some time yet.  That's the way they are. Our first attempt at finding someone to pay to cut our grass (5-6 acres of it) wanted us to sign a contract for the season & pay them $390 per mowing.  It was hard to keep a straight face & not laugh when they told us that.  A few days later John spied an advertisement on a bulletin board at the post office for mowing & bush hogging.  He wrote down the number & I called the other day & we now have a wonderful man who guarantees his work, we don't have to sign a contract, & we will pay him $120 each time he mows.   

2.  The power washer guy came yesterday & did an okay job.  He is usually quite good but I went outside today & noticed he missed a spot in the back.  No big deal I guess.  

3.  Now that the power washing is done I can call the exterminator to come spray & fog.  I'll set that up around the middle of the month.  

4.  The handyman came today (this one highly recommended to me by more than one person, Angie's List, & the BBB) to give us an estimate for taking care of several little jobs we have to get done around here including breaking down & carting away a dilapidated shed out back & removing upteen boxes of leftover house siding that was left in the garage by the previous owners.  His estimate was a good one & he will be coming next Thursday to take care of everything.  

Hallelujah!!!

I will end by saying it's a weird day.  I am actually feeling like I'm "home" today.  This has happened every great once in a while over the past year or two ... no more than I can count on one hand I'm sure.  It's kind of scary since it brings up all those "should we really sell the place" feelings.  Usually the home feeling doesn't last for more than a second or two (really) but it's been hanging around me all day today.  It must be the euphoria of all these jobs being taken care of coupled with cooler temperatures which are predicted to stay around for the next 10 days or so.  I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon & be back to my old GET ME OUTTA HERE self   : )

Once again I wish you all a very Happy Easter weekend!  

Happy Easter!!!

HAPPY EASTER WEEKEND TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A New Blog To Follow : )


I am letting you know that there is a new blog in town   : )   Actually it's my stitching stash selling blog ... Shirlee's Stitching Stash Sale.  I have placed a little icon & link to it at the top of my sidebar.

When I returned to the world of cross stitching last year I bought just about everything that struck my fancy. However, my tastes/plans have changed & I have been focusing my stitching on certain themes & with others I have changed my mind.  Therefore I am offering these for sale for less than what I paid for them so it's a good opportunity for you to get something at a discount   : )   However, if you think my prices are too high for some reason, make me an offer!  I am also open to trading   : )  

I will be adding to the list from time to time (at least once a week I'm guessing) until all these "changed my mind" things have been listed.

If there is something in particular you are looking for & you don't see it on my list, let me know what it is ... I might have it   : )

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Photos ... Phinally : )

I have finally gotten around to taking a few long overdue photos to share with you.  This will be a semi-lengthy post so you might want to grab some chocolate or chips & salsa or something   : )

This first photo is the stocking I have stitched for April in the Christmas All Year Round SAL.  The theme for April is snowflakes & there they are falling down upon Santa & his sleigh   : )   This is a Homespun Elegance pattern called Stockings 'A Plenty 1 which features 4 different motifs to stitch on these prefinished stockings.  I wish the stockings weren't so ridiculously expensive as I would love to stitch more.  This design is called, appropriately, Santa & Sleigh.

Now ... we all know how I hate to finish things, right?  Pull my hair, poke me in the eye with a stick, take away my candy cigarettes (yes, they are a bad habit of mine) ...
... but don't make me finish my cross stitched items!!!  You can understand my joy when I discovered quite by accident that Faye at Carolina Stitcher does finishing for people!  I contacted her & sent her 10 items I've stitched over the past couple months for her to perform her finishing magic   : )   I can't post photos of all of them now (some are gifts) but I will post two.  This first one is a RAK I sent to Michelle at Michelle's StitchCraft Place.  If this looks somewhat familiar to you, it's because it was the "mystery project" I posted about a few times a while back.  It is a La-D-Da pattern called Yellow Bird.  I didn't like the yellow though so changed it to WDW Navy which my husband picked out & which turned out to be one of Michelle's favorite colors!  How about that   : )
The photo came out a little blurry.  There is money to be made for someone who can come up with a series of cross stitch item photography tutorials or who would perhaps travel to give photography workshops for these sorts of things ... don't you agree?  Anyway, Faye did a great job on this pinkeep finish & she stuffed it with crushed walnut shells ... one of my favorite stuffings   : )

This next finish is also a Faye finish but I'm keeping it ... I think ... lol!  This was the Stacy Nash Christmas Goose Pinkeep pattern that I stitched half its size by mistake   : )   I just told Faye to do whatever she felt was best for it.  I'm very happy with the outcome right down to the beaded hanger   : )
Speaking of Faye, I recently participated in a Spring Thyme Swap over on Samplermakers & guess who got my name?  Yep ... Faye!  It was funny because she was working on my finishes when she found out that she got my name in the swap ... lol!  She sent me the most wonderful package of goodies which included one of her fabulous project bags (mine has a little bee zipper pull on it), a Threadwork Primitives pattern, 3 rusty jingle bells, & 2 packages of my beloved chenille trim   : )   She also included a piece of linen which just happened to be perfect for a Stacy Nash pattern I just started day before yesterday.  I love this linen, whatever it is.  Hopefully Faye knows so I can hunt some down & buy more of it   : )

Back to Michelle for a moment.  She posted on her blog a while back that she had gone to a stitching show & what did that sweetie do?  She picked up a Bent Creek chart while she was there to gift to me!  It is called God Bless You, a Bent Creek Stoneware Wishes design.  I wasn't familiar with this particular line & I'm looking forward to stitching this   : )
I received another surprise gift as well ... a lovely stitched Easter card from Paula at Cantinho do Ponto Cruz.  This is the one & only cross stitched card I have ever received   : )
I actually won something in the recent TDIPT drawings!  I won this cute chick pinkeep made by Mona at My Old Crow Primitives.  Isn't it adorable?  And she included an extra goodie in the package ... a bottle cap pincushion!  
I hope you have enjoyed the long overdue photos.  There will be more although exactly when is anyone's guess   : )