Thursday, January 31, 2013

I've Finished Stitching HE's Along for the Ride!!!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Wish I Drank

Although alcohol does not make a person's problems go away & in fact sometimes creates more, I sure do wish I had a bottle of something right now.

As I described in my last post, I had a bit of a problem with HE's Along for the Ride.  I had placed 2 stitches between the snowman's back & the reindeer's tail when there should have been only one.  This made the reindeer longer than it was supposed to be ... a rather wiener dog effect.  I had also missed dropping a stitch before I started the last row of the reindeer where his legs hang down.  This is akin to the Chinese water torture to an OCD person.  Even though no one would've really noticed these errors unless I pointed them out, I knew they were there.  As one thing so often leads to another, these stitching errors in the reindeer threw off my placement of the house & everything else underneath him so I had to fudge the smoke plume coming out of the right chimney to make it line up.  Add to all this the fact that the suggested color of floss for the reindeer & the suggested color of the linen were very similar & I was thinking that I should've stitched the reindeer in a darker shade.  (I was also thinking some thoughts about HE's designing of this ornament but I think it's best for me not to share those thoughts in polite company.)

I decided to put this project aside & work on something else for a while.  I stitched a Stacy Nash bell ornament design which I shared with you in my last post, & then I went on to stitch her SNOW stocking ornament design.  I stitched 2 of them actually since I had enough room for 2 on the piece of linen I had chosen to use.

Okay ... so I stitched the bell & I stitched the 2 stockings, but I couldn't stop thinking about Along for the Ride.  I'm not a "stitch more than one thing at a time" person & I knew I had to break down & work on Along for the Ride if I wanted to give myself any peace.  I took a look at it & considered my options which were (A) leave it as it is & continue on, (B) unstitch the reindeer & stitch him correctly but still have him & the snowman & the moon lined up one row of squares too much to the right, or (C) unstitch the reindeer, the snowman, the moon, & the plume of smoke coming out of the right chimney & make everything line up the way it should be.  It took a lot of strength on my part but I decided I could live with just unstitching the reindeer & restitching him correctly, leaving the snowman, the moon, & the plume as is.  

After unstitching the reindeer I was faced with the similarity between the color of the floss & the color of the linen.  I decided to replace the suggested floss color for the reindeer with one a shade darker.  I then began to stitch & got a few rows in before I decided the darker floss color ... even just one shade darker ... did not look good.  I unstitched again.  Once again I took the floss suggested by the designer & began stitching the reindeer.  

I worked carefully to avoid making any stitching errors.  It seemed the second skein of suggested floss was a tad darker than the first one I had used so the similarity of the reindeer's color & the background fabric was not glaring out at me.  I finished my stitching & I was pleased.  
If you take a close look at the space between the snowman's back & the reindeer's tail here, & then compare it to this area as previously stitched & shown in my last post, you will see that just the one stitch is now there, as it should be, instead of two.

I sat back in my recliner with a look on my face that I'm sure matched that of Mona Lisa.  I felt quite pleased & that all was right with the world as I started to back stitch the reindeer's antlers.  Instead of the black brown (or brown black) suggested by the designer, which seemed too stark in contrast in my opinion, I decided to use a chestnut sort of brown.  You can see it in the above photo.  I began back stitching the antlers but quickly realized that something wasn't right, but what?  I looked & looked & looked some more & there it was.  When I stitched the snowman, I missed stitching a whole line!!!!!  Because of that, the antlers are going to be way off the mark if I leave Frosty as is.  I don't believe this!!!!!  I could've gone ahead & unstitched the snowman & the reindeer & the moon & the plume coming out of the right chimney & stitched them all over again, matching them all up as they should be to the house & everything else below!!!!! Now, after having restitched the reindeer, I have to unstitch Frosty & restitch him & everything is still going to be off by one!!!!!  

Upon discovering this, I felt the urge to do two things.  The first was to grab my scissors & plunge them through the center of the design, scissoring frantically as my maniacal laughter frightened Sophie into hiding.  The second was to fling the Q-Snap, with that design cursed by the devil himself still clamped into it, across the room ... possibly then getting up & jumping up & down on it & then opening the front door & kicking it out into what is a very dark, windy, & rainy night.  It took every ounce of self control I have to not do either of these things.  Instead I just sat there in my recliner, shed a few tears, & wondered if maybe picking my nose & making snot sculptures would be a better crafting choice for me.         

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Slippery Slope

I'm on a slippery slope.  Here is a photo of my progress thus far with Along for the Ride.

My plan was to stitch all the cross stitches, then the back stitches, & then hunker down for a few days of colonial knot torture. However, I discovered something while stitching the last of my cross stitches ... the plume of smoke coming out of the chimney on the right.  I started stitching the plume from the top down, right there to the side of Dancer's nose (or Piglet's nose ... someone told me when they look at this design they do not see a reindeer, but a pig, & I must admit I see her point).  When I got to what was supposed to be the last 2 stitches, the ones connected to the chimney, they weren't connecting.  I was off by one.  ???  I looked & looked & counted & counted & finally found the problem.  I have an extra stitch right at the beginning of the reindeer, where his tail is.  There should be 1 stitch between the tail & the snowman's back, but I've got 2.  I also noticed that I didn't leave off a stitch on the bottom right of the reindeer's body where the front leg drops down.  As a result of these errors, the right plume of smoke needed to be fudged a bit, & I did that, & it looks okay, but darn it, that extra stitch behind the snowman's back means Dancer is one stitch longer than he should be & it's driving me crazy!!!  What can I tell you ... it's an OCD thing.  I decided I just need to put this project on the back burner (at this point I truly would consider putting it directly on the back burner of a gas stove, if you catch my drift) & ponder it for a while.  I don't normally do this ... not finish stitching something I start before moving on to something else.  In fact, I have never done this unless you count the baby sampler I started stitching for my son 30+ years ago & stopped after 2 lines.  Not lines of letters or words, mind you ... 2 lines of stitches making part of the border across the top.  I may need counseling to work my way through this.

Having found myself projectless, I scurried around last night looking for a replacement project & settled on something from my recently acquired Stacy Nash booklet, A Simply Early Christmas.  I chose to stitch the bell ornament.
Just imagine this in the shape of a bell.  It's pretty cool!  Unfortunately, in my rush to start stitching something, I neglected to read the directions carefully & I stitched it on 32 count linen, over 2, using 2 strands of floss. After finishing it I discovered I should have stitched over 2 using 1 strand of floss.  That's okay though ... it's a little larger than I prefer it to be so I'm going to stitch it again, this time on my beloved osnaburg.  I was astute enough to see a flaw in the chart.  All of the holly berries were left off the chart on the left side.  If I didn't think it was odd that there were berries on the right & not on the left, I never would've noticed this.  I took a look at the model photo & worked the berries from that.

I don't know if I'll start another bell tonight, or maybe stitch the stocking that prompted me to buy the booklet in the first place, or go on to something else.  I'll let you know   : )

Our bird visitors were rather plentiful this morning so I got a couple snaps.  Not real good ones but I'll share them anyway.  The first is a male cardinal who was pecking around the frosty ground to find some seeds. He wasn't disappointed   : )
Up on the feeder, a house finch & a chickadee were sharing a suet cake.
And here are a few photos of hawk taken a couple days ago.  He/she flew low over the back yard & then perched in one of the trees beyond the back fence.  The zoom on my camera allowed me to get a good look at this beautiful, majestic bird.

My surgery site is healing nicely at this stage but now I've got a big yellow lump in my eye ... lol!  I'm going to apply for a spot on that new reality show, How Many Things Can Go Wrong With A Person?  But seriously, the yellow lump is a mystery.  Guess I'll call the eye doctor tomorrow & schedule an appointment.  Maybe I'll get to add it to the other 3 I've got this week.  Tomorrow is a brain MRI, with & without contrast.  Tuesday is a followup with the rheumatologist. Thursday is a meeting with someone to discuss my options regarding the "very, very, very bad thing."  Please do keep me in your prayers regarding that last one.  Medical stuff is one thing ... the "very, very, very bad thing" is a totally different & scarier animal.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Second Thoughts

Throughout my life I have been plagued many a time by second thoughts.  Unfortunately, these second thoughts have almost always occurred after I've done something.  "I should have never bought this house & moved to Kentucky" is a prime example.

I am currently having second thoughts about Along for the Ride.  Here's a photo of the progress I made last night. 
You're probably thinking I'm having second thoughts because of all those colonial knots on the horizon, but no, that isn't it.  What it is, is this.  I am using the suggested floss brands/colors as well as the suggested linen color which is 18th Century Brown.  You can't really tell in the photo but the reindeer the snowman is riding on, the color of the floss suggested for that reindeer (GAST Maple Syrup) is almost an exact match to the color of the linen.  Not a totally exact match ... there's a wee bit of difference ... but there's just not a whole lot of contrast.  I looked at it last night & wondered if I should maybe unstitch what I had already done & go with a different/darker floss color for the reindeer.  I was fraught with indecision so decided to move on down & start stitching the house.  It's going along okay but now I'm wondering if I should maybe just scrap the whole thing ... cut my losses & stitch something else.  However, I know my OCD won't let me do that.  It would be different if I decided that I hated the design, but it's too darn cute!  Damn Sandra Sullivan & her designing talent ... lol!

Thanks to everyone who voiced their encouragement regarding my looming colonial knot situation as well as to those who have suggested leaving them off entirely or using beads in their place.  However, I'm just not a bead person.  I don't mind a few of them, but 50+ would be a bit much, not to mention that I'd have to find extremely small beads to work with this design.  Also, note OCD reference above.  I just can't ignore the colonial knots & either leave them off entirely or make cross stitches instead.  I just can't.  I will plod along & I will finish the design & I will stitch it as Sandra wants it stitched or I will die trying.  Hopefully it won't come to that.  Death by Colonial Knot. Sounds like a lost Agatha Christie mystery.

Incidentally, using French knots in place of colonial knots is likewise not an option.  I hate making French knots & have even worse luck with them than I do with colonial knots. I'm sure the 50+ colonial knots ... & I think it's probably more in the range of 60+ or 70+ ... will be made & they will look just fine   : )   Good grief ... I'm sounding like a motivational speaker!  I need some chocolate or something. Nah, what I need are some chips & salsa but I'm still unable to eat those things.  ARGH!  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

IHSW Report ... and I Really Need to Look at Charts More Closely Before I Buy Them

I had a pretty good first IHSW of 2013.  I finished my Festive Redbird.  I decided to replace the date, which I wasn't too crazy about, with another holly leaf.

For the Joyous Heart design you see there on the right side, upside down, the designer suggested 28 count sandstone linen.  Since I had an empty space left over after stitching that, I decided to stitch the Festive Redbird on there as well rather than on the suggested 28 count Vintage Examplar.  I think it turned out just as nicely.  All suggested threads were used for the stitching.

I then decided to take a break from my HE designs & try my hand at a Prairie Schooler. I remembered seeing this Partridge in a Pear Tree design in last year's JCS ornaments issue & that is what I decided to do.  I used the suggested 32 count sage Jobelan & the suggested threads.
Last night it was time to start something new & I decided to go back to my HE designs.  Someone (sorry, I don't remember who) recently posted this design on their blog ... HE's 2006 Snowman Ornament, Along For The Ride ... & I remembered having it in my stash.    I love it, so it was a no brainer choice.  Then again, it was a choice made by someone without a brain.  Here is my start.
It looks simple enough, doesn't it.  Another "fun stitch."  Well, HA!  Take a look at the model photo.
It's probably not immediately obvious to you, but there are over 50 colonial knots called for in this design!!!  Yes, you read that right. Over 50 colonial knots in this stinkin' little design!!!  Upon realizing this, I got up out my recliner & did this.
I'm not saying I can't make a colonial knot.  I can ... after maybe 3 or 4 or 5 tries.  The sad, sad thing is that you can't somehow make a bad knot & then simply pick it out & fix it.  Oh no ... you have to cut the blasted thing out & start again from scratch.  This is especially angst-producing when you have a group of these knots & you mess up the last one & then have to make the whole group all over again.  I am, however, not going to give up.  I will stitch this design & I will make those blasted 50+ colonial knots if it's the last thing I do!!!  I will give my husband instructions on how to access my blog in case he needs to alert you to the fact that I had to be admitted to some sort of rest facility while in the midst of attempting all these knots.  
Now calm down Shirlee.  There are no colonial knots here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Buttons & Surgery Update

Many years ago, I used to be a button collector.  Not a collector like most of you probably think of ... a prim or crafty person who buys a jar of old buttons at a yard sale or at the local peddlers mall.  No, I was an actual "sure I'll pay $25 for that button" button collector.  I had some real treasures in the button world.  After a while, like many things I've dabbled in, one day I woke up & thought "why in the world am I doing this" & I sold the whole shebang of a collection for about 1/4 of what it was worth ... but it was out of the house & thus made room for my next collecting venture, whatever that was ... lol!

When purchasing those collectible buttons I did come across a few types that I really loved & could not part with.  One type was the plastic novelty buttons used on children's clothing in the 30s/40s/50s.  The others were old utilitarian buttons such as underwear buttons, mother of pearl, bone, & various china buttons.  I didn't have a whole lot of either of these types but I did keep the ones I had with the thought that I would use them in future crafting projects.

Over the past year or two I have been looking for more of these old utilitarian buttons when we are somewhere they might be for sale.  I have had no luck at all finding them.  I have also been unlucky when bidding for them on eBay.  The price has always been bid up much higher than I'm willing to pay, & I can only assume that the reasonably priced "buy it nows" were snatched up the minute they were uploaded because I never saw any.  Well, recently ... maybe because it's so soon after Christmas & many people don't have a lot of extra money to spend right now ... I have been able to win a couple small lots of old utilitarian buttons.  Hooray for me   : )

Most of the small button lots I've won ... 3 or 4 ... have been quite nice, but on Friday I received one that was so bad I actually was wishing I had put on rubber gloves before I touched them.  They were grossly filthy things ... not something you could tell by the auction photo.  They were mostly china buttons with a couple MOPs.  I needed to clean them, but ugh!  Then I got a pretty good idea ... either that or I remembered this from my old collector days.  John has to use those denture soaking tablets every night for his partial.  I thought soaking these buttons in that kind of solution might work quite well so he gave me one & I did an overnight soak.  It worked wonders!  There were still quite a few buttons that I had to use an old toothbrush on ... or scrape them with a single edge razor blade or push a toothpick through the holes to get the crud out ... but most of them didn't need anything else done to them!  I then washed them all off in a soapy solution, rinsed well, & dried them with several paper towels, finally placing them on a fresh bit of paper toweling for the air to get them thoroughly dry.

Naturally I had a bit of a "moment" while going through this final button cleaning process this morning.  I had a small plastic container which I was soaking them in.  I placed it in the sink & then got my strainer to dump them into & rinse them before using the toothbrush & other tools to get them thoroughly clean.  As I placed them in the strainer, the thought occurred to me that it might be a good idea to put the drain cover over the sink drain, but then I thought "nah." I figured I would be careful & not lose any buttons.  After getting about 3/4 of the buttons done, one of them popped out of my hand & went down the drain.  I immediately thought "hmmmm ... I should put that drain cover on that drain."  I looked at the drain cover, just a few inches away, but again thought "nah."  The very next button I was working on then popped out of my hand & joined it's friend down the drain.  It struck me as a rather comic occurrence.  I just shook my head & finished cleaning the rest of the buttons without mishap.

On Friday I went back to the endodontist to have my stitches removed.  Although not a pleasant experience, it was not horrible & was over relatively quickly.  He talked with me a bit more about the surgery & I discovered that I was somewhat confused about the procedure from the start.  I often referred to it as "gum surgery," but it was much more than that.  He made his incision through the gum right above the crown where that infected root canal had occurred.  I had that much right.  However, the damage that the infection caused to that point ... the hole that it had eaten away in my bone ... that was my upper jaw bone.  I asked him how large this hole was.  He said it was the diameter of a nickel ... that's a little over 3/4" ... & slightly over half an inch deep.  Good grief!  No wonder a bone graft was involved & no wonder he was doing so much cutting & scraping & no wonder this all resulted in such pain!  To get the full impact of this, go get a nickel & place it up above your lip between your lip & the right side of your nose at the right edge of the nostril.  It boggles the mind.  We discussed what he will be doing with the other infected root canal & thankfully that will not require the same type of surgery.  He will simply address that one like a root canal ... drill up through the crown & then clean out the infection that way ... because that infection basically just began in the last year or so.  

I am doing much better now.  Yesterday was the first day I could make it through without having to use pain medication.  I still have a bit of soreness & a bit of swelling, but nothing major.  Thank you once again to everyone who gave me their good wishes & prayers.

I also want to welcome all my new followers! Welcome!  I am glad you came to visit my blog & decided to stick around   : )   

I hope everyone is having a great weekend ... & an especially productive one if you are participating in IHSW   : )   I've been doing as much stitching as I can ... not a whole lot, but some ... & I will share the photos soon.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I Opened a Gift

I didn't sleep well last night & then woke very early this morning.  While sitting in my recliner I thought I'd have a bit of Christmas & open one of the packages still under the tree.  I chose to open the gift my friend Paula sent to me.  She lives in Portugal.  She used to have a blog & I hope she will again one of these days   : )   Sadly I forgot to take a photo of the package before opening it but here is what was inside!

I love the star with the little deer motifs, & look how thoughtful she was to remember how much I enjoy tea!  Both of us do actually   : )   I will really like using this bookmark.  The item on the right is a little gift tag that was hanging on the outside of the package.  So pretty!  Thank you again Paula   : )

I have no stitching to share with you today   : (   I tried working on the Festive Redbird last night but I was having so much swelling & pain that I just couldn't concentrate. After speaking with the endodontist yesterday he contacted the pharmacy & ordered a different pain medication for me ... a heavy duty narcotic, God bless him!  Unfortunately the pharmacist was backed up & unable to fill the prescription until this morning so I had to make do with the milder one I initially had.  I've always considered myself as having a high pain threshold .  I avoid medication when I can but I couldn't wait to get this one ... lol!  

I am excited that this weekend is the first IHSW of 2013!  
Hopefully I will be feeling better & can finish my redbird & start something new, whatever that might be.  I received my Stacy Nash booklet in the mail today so maybe I'll stitch that stocking ornament I fell in love with   : ) Tomorrow I go back to the endodontist to get my stitches out & hopefully all will be well on that front.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Morphine? Anyone?

Thank you for your prayers & good wishes regarding my recovery.  It has been a rough 18 hours or so.  Once the anesthetic started wearing off last night, the pain hit with a vengeance.  The prescription pain medication barely made a dent in it. The right side of my face is quite swollen despite the postop instructions to ice it.  If this had been a regular root canal or even treatment for a slightly infected one, I would not be going through this.  However, since the infection in this root canal was so massive, the endodontist had to literally cut my gum where the root canal had been done Lord knows how many years ago to get out the infection with lots of cutting & scraping, etc. He even had to do a bone graft because of how much damage the infection had done. The procedure lasted 2 hours.  I have 8 or 9 stitches ... I lost count while he was making them ... & an appointment to have them taken out on Friday.  I called & left a message for him earlier this morning but thus far no callback. Looks like I will have to call again after lunch  : (

Despite the pain & swelling, I am hungry as a horse!  Sadly I can't have anything except soft foods & liquids for the next few days.  I am longing for chips & salsa or a good burger   : )

Last night I made an attempt on a new start ... the Festive Redbird I posted about yesterday ... but I didn't get more than a few stitches put in before I just couldn't concentrate on it anymore.

I keep forgetting to mention this but thanks to one of my followers ... Angie at Olde Homestead Gatherings ... the mystery of the Stacy Nash stocking pattern, which I posted about last Friday, has been solved!  The chart appears in Stacy's booklet titled A Simply Early Christmas.  I was able to hunt down a copy & never ordered anything so fast in my life   : )   I'm really looking forward to receiving it as it has a pretty neat pattern for a bell ornament as well!
I will now bring this post to a close as the oven timer tells me it's time to ice my face again.  I wish they made an ice pack that you could strap to your face somehow, leaving your hands free for stitching or whatever. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I'm Not Really a Heart Person

My thanks to everyone who sent me their prayers & good wishes for my surgery!  The endodontist decided to perform surgery on the worst of the two root canal infections but he believes he can take care of the other infection without surgical involvement. I hope so.  He didn't want to work on both sides today for which I am glad.  We just got home a little while ago.  Although he pumped a lot of anesthetic into me beforehand & I felt literally no pain as he was cutting & drilling & filing & pushing & scraping & stitching away, when the anesthetic started to wear off then the pain came with it. It's not real bad but bad enough that I'll be definitely taking a prescription pain reliever tonight.  He referred to the infection as "massive" & more pronounced than he originally thought but  not as damaging as it could have been.  I go back on Friday to have the stitches removed.  I'm supposed to eat soft foods until then.  Naturally right now I'm craving anything that will make a crunching noise when I eat it ... lol!        

I thought I would share my 3rd & 4th finish of the year with you.  First off, HE's All Is Calm.

I know I've mentioned it before but I really, really had fun stitching this ... even with the backstitching & the 3 colonial knots that the designer slipped in there.  All in all, I found it quite relaxing as well.  I made just a couple small changes.  The snowman is supposed to have a mouth.  I did stitch it but didn't keep it because I felt it made him look too cartoonish.  We will just say he's being very pensive as he gazes out over the fields on this cold winter's night.  The other change I made was the sheep's eyes.  The designer wants them made with 2 short backstitches using 2 strands of DMC 3045 which is somewhat yellow.  I tried it but the result looked like a movie poster for Zombie Sheep. I decided to use DMC 3371 instead which is a black brown.  If you look very, very closely you can see them.  They are more visible in person but not by much.  It just looks like she's closing her eyes, feeling safe standing by her snowman shepherd.  Yep ... great stitch   : )   The only thing that is missing at this time is the little star charm that will be attached to the top of the snowman's staff when it comes time to finish the design into an ornament.

My next project I chose not only because there was something about it that called to me but also because I felt it was time for a quick stitch.  Another HE design.  This one is from their Merry Noel Collection  & is called "Joyous Heart."  I'm not really a heart person but something about the design really called to me.  It will make a nice bit of difference displayed with the usual square or rectangle ornament shapes.  I used 32 count amber linen rather than the suggested 28 count along with the suggested CC, Sampler, Weeks, & DMC floss.    
I did leave off the stitched border.  I think it would look nice if you were going to frame the design or even if you were going to finish it into a rectangular shaped ornament, but it just seemed out of place to me on the heart shaped finish.  That's just my thoughts though.
Once again HE snuck in some colonial knots which I didn't notice when I ordered the chart.  12 of them!  It took several tries but I finally got them all stitched.  This ornament also has a little pineapple charm which will be added before making it into an ornament.

You will note that I stitched the above ornament to the side, rather than in the center, of a bigger piece of linen than necessary.  This piece of linen was cut this size in my stash & I thought I could maybe add another heart design to the other side if I planned things right which I think I did.  Yep, another heart design caught my eye.  This is not going to be a trend, believe me, but when something calls to you, you answer   : )   This design will be another from HE's Merry Noel Collection ... Festive Redbird.  I think you can see why I couldn't pass it by   : )   I don't want to stitch the date but I'll figure out something to put down there.  If you have any ideas, feel free to share   : )
That's it for now ... time to ice my face again  : )

Monday, January 14, 2013

Need Help With XS Fabric Choices

Before I say anything else, I would like to thank everyone who has left comments on my blog these past 2 weeks or so.  Sadly, with the very, very, very bad thing falling into my lap (please do continue to pray about this, by the way ... it's still overshadowing my every waking moment), the holidays, & my getting sick, I have not been able to respond to them   : (   I deeply apologize for this.  I know that some of you have asked me questions in your comments & I will eventually answer these.  Please just give me a bit more time.  Thank you   : )

Now for the fabric choice question.  This year I would really like to stitch Christmas at Hawk Run Hollow.  I will be using the recommended silk threads thanks to Santa Bear's generosity   : )   I know some of you have stitched this chart on something other than the recommended 40 count examplar linen.  I don't mind stitching on this linen.  I'm assuming I stitch over 2?  However, if someone knows of a nicer linen for this project, please let me know.

I would also like to stitch a few Prairie Schooler ornaments this year.  I have yet to stitch any even though I started buying charts during the Christmas of 2011 when Marly so brazenly posted photos of her multitudes   : )   I remember someone posting once upon a time that using the recommended 18 count Davos made the ornaments too big.  I don't want them to be too big.  Can anyone recommend a nice fabric to use for these ornaments that won't make it look like I'm hanging sofa pillows on my tree?

I've been stitching but I have no photos to share with you yet.  Maybe today   : )

Yesterday I noticed a female cardinal perched outside the back door for the longest time on top of a tree post.  She seemed to be looking for something in the yard or maybe surveying it for some reason. She was there for so long that I grabbed my camera.  She flew away soon after I took the photo.  Last year we had about a dozen pair of cardinals coming to partake of our bird seeds & cakes.  This year I'm counting 6 pair.

Now that I'm relatively healthy again I have been sorting through long overdue insurance forms to file, letters to answer, & of course looking forward (not) to my gum surgery tomorrow.  It's supposed to be a relatively simple procedure, but when the terms "incision" & "prescription pain medication" are bandied about, it always makes me a bit concerned.  

Someone suggested I save the gifts still under the tree for after my surgery since it might result in me needing a little pick-me-up.  I thought that was a good idea so the tree is still up & the gifts remain underneath it. After opening them I will have to take down the tree.  Then I will have to start getting the house ready to list with a realtor. Remember when we were growing up how many times we uttered the phrase "There's nothing to do!"  Those words are coming back to haunt me now   : ) 

Incidentally, I'm not extending Christmas on my blog ... I just can't figure out how to get a new template uploaded & make color/font changes.  Whatever happened to the design button that you'd click on to do these things? Between this & my inability to leave comments on some blogs, Blogger is trying my patience   : (  

Well, I guess that's it for this post.  Last night I slept a total of 1 hour & 45 minutes.  This has been the norm for the past few days ... ever since I started feeling better.  I know I slept a lot when I was sick but I don't think I could've banked all that rest   : (   Hopefully I will start sleeping normally again sooner rather than later.  I got out of bed this morning & tried sleeping on the couch, then on the recliner.  Then I decided to do a bit of stitching (yes, I was that awake).  Then I tried sleeping in the recliner again, then back to the couch, & finally I just gave up, made a pot of tea & got ready for the day.  

Happy beginning of a new week to everyone!  

Friday, January 11, 2013

Do You Have This Chart?

If so, may I borrow it?  I saw it somewhere in my online travels with a notation that it's a Stacy Nash design.  I was unable to find it anywhere so wrote to Stacy who said it may have been a design she did for a stitching club & therefore she is out of the picture.  I would love to stitch this.  

Thank you all for your comments about my Shirlee & Ruthie post.  I have just been reveling in those memories since the day I received that Bent Creek chart   : )   I'm glad that my story brought back memories for some of you as well!

Remember the HE 2011 ornament I was stitching earlier this week, Jingle Jingle, with the yellow spot?  There was another spot on the fabric which was away from the design so I tried a bit of spot remover on it.  It did not totally take out the yellow but it faded it enough to where I really could not see it unless I put it underneath a daylight light. Therefore I spritzed a bit of the spot remover on the yellow spot along my stitching line.  Naturally not only the spot but the fabric faded in this area so now it looks like this ...
I'm not sure why my fabric looks gray here. It's a rather rich color of tan, but can you see the faded area  there to the left of the J?  It sticks out like a sore thumb in person   : (   I figure I will spritz a bit more around the outside of the design to fade more areas & it will look like it was meant to look that way   : )   Either that or I will have myself a pretty snazzy dishcloth!

I started another HE ornament on Wednesday.  This is their 2007 ornament titled All Is Calm.  I'm using all the recommended threads this time as well as the recommended fabric.  Another really fun stitch!  I foresee lots of HE ornaments on my tree next year   : )
Health wise I'm feeling almost back to normal again although yesterday I decided to do the dishes & move everything off the counters to clean them.  That little bit of activity really knocked me out ... lol!  Then for dinner I decided to make muffin pizzas.  Not a big undertaking.  The problem was that for the past week & a half I've been eating stuff like soup & toast & once in a while splurging on a cheese sandwich.  I use hot sausage on my muffin pizzas & really load them up with it.  Not a good thing to put into your tummy after a bland diet ... lol!  

The gifts I showed you back a post or two ... the ones still under the tree ... have been added to   : )   Yesterday I received a package from my friend Paula in Portugal. She had mailed me something way before Christmas & it took this long to get here! Anyway, Sophie is fascinated by a couple of the gifts & enjoys sniffing around them & even lying next to them.  She looked so cute yesterday that I had to take her picture   : )
Regarding my stocking gifts from my friend in North Dakota, I am afraid that I may have given the wrong impression about them & that I may have appeared to be bragging or something.  The farthest thing from my mind, believe me!  The gifts Mary & I exchange are very inexpensive things like pencils or candies ... maybe some DMC or little notions of some sort  I almost opened these gifts yesterday but just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I'm not ready to let go of Christmas yet ... lol!  However, I think I will probably open them sometime this weekend.  I should be well enough to put away Christmas next week.  Of course next week I have my dental surgery so who knows!

I have been unable to comment on some blogs for several days now ... not all blogs, just some ... & I've discovered why this is.  If you have a comment box that shows up at the bottom of your post, rather than a person clicking to leave a comment & being taken to a different page or getting a comment popup box, then I can't comment : ( Hopefully Blogger will fix this soon.

I wish you all a happy day!  For me the sun is shining & our temps are supposed to be in the 60s.  BLAH!!!    

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Shirlee and Ruthie

Recently I was lucky enough to be the winner of a giveaway offered by Ranae over at Stitch by Stitch.  She had stitched Bent Creek's Photobooth Snowmen & offered the chart to one of her followers.  I was very excited to win it because I love snowman & this design just makes me smile when I look at it   : )   However, when I received it I realized that I will be needing to stitch 2 of these designs ... one for me & one for my best friend from high school, Ruthie.  Ruthie & I have a history with snowmen & whenever we give gifts to each other they are snowman related, but there's a bit more of a history here than that   : )

When we were seniors, Ruthie & I occasionally met at school in the mornings before classes began & decided to skip. Most often we skipped a couple classes, but there was a time or two when we left the school grounds & skipped the entire day. One of these days in particular stands out in my memory.  It was in the wintertime.  Both Ruthie & I loved snow.  We walked nearly 3 miles through the woods, enjoying the silence of the early morning & the snow falling down, to Fox Chapel Plaza where we caught a bus to downtown Pittsburgh & spent the day strolling through the stores & getting ourselves a cup of hot chocolate at a place called The Colonnade.  We timed things so that we were back at the Fox Chapel Plaza when the school bus for that area arrived at the nearby stop.  We then each called our mothers & told them we were at the plaza because we had mistakenly caught the wrong school bus.  We separated at that point because Ruthie lived in a totally different town than I did & our being together when our mothers came to pick us up would've raised suspicion ... lol!  Oh what a tangled web we wove   : )

On this particular day we splurged on a strip of photos from a photobooth.  I was really on the ball back then & had the smarts to write the date on the back ... December 8, 1970.  42 years ago!  Good grief! Little did we know back then what a precious gift the memory of that day would be for both of us in the future.  In the first 2 photos Ruthie is holding a note.  It's totally unreadable in the photos but it says "Come and get us Eugene!"  Eugene Bolt was the name of the assistant principal at school. He was the staff member who patrolled the halls looking for kids breaking the rules.  We gave him more than a few gray hairs, I'm sure   : )

You can see why I need to stitch 2 of these designs   : )

Thank you again Ranae ... not only for the chart but for the flood of memories it has brought back to me.  I am going to pass along Ranae's kindness & when I am finished stitching the chart I will offer it as a giveaway as well   : )

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Alive and Stitching

First off I want to thank everyone who has sent me prayers & good wishes.  Surely I have never been so sick in my life.  I feared that pneumonia was settling in (I've had it twice in the past) so last Friday I got an appointment with the doctor.  No pneumonia, thank God, but no flu either!  Turns out a virus is going around with the flu & I caught the virus.  I was told nothing could be done but get lots of rest & wait it out.  Today I am feeling a bit stronger & for the past 2 nights I have been able to go to bed without plastering my chest with Vicks VapoRub. Although death is still gripping at my ankles, I have the feeling that by the weekend I should be right as rain.  I hope so!

Now that I'm not constantly thinking "take me now, Jesus," I am thinking of rather unpleasant things like taking down the Christmas decorations, opening the last of my gifts (yes, there are still gifts under the tree) ...

... wait a minute!  Gifts aren't unpleasant. Scratch that last part   : )   Starting again, these unpleasant tasks include taking down the Christmas decorations (that string of lights at the end of the stairs was not part of the decorations, by the way ... I just tossed it up there the day after Christmas & that's where it's been ever since), filling out insurance forms, filing complaints against my dentist regarding the bad bridge episode, attending or rescheduling various appointments, & of course dealing with the very, very, very bad thing.  Please continue to pray about the very, very, very bad thing. I'm afraid it's going to be in my life for quite some time   : ( 

Regarding the gifts still under the tree, most of the ones you see are from my friend Mary in North Dakota.  She & I exchange Christmas stockings every year & we both were late in mailing our packages this year.  Her package to me arrived the day before Christmas & I set it aside to open at a later time.  After John & I opened each others gifts, I put my packages from Mary under the tree & they looked so nice under there that I just left them.  Mary had informed me that she had ordered a couple things for me that were not in the package & she would be mailing them later so I thought I'd wait until those arrived & open everything at once.  Then I got sick & didn't feel like opening my eyes let alone opening packages.  The gifts Mary ordered arrived yesterday & I placed them under the tree.  I learned that yesterday was Russian Christmas (I was never quite sure when it was) so I thought opening them yesterday would've been a great idea! However, the virus thought otherwise & I slept most of the day.  There are also a few packages under the tree from a blogging friend who wants to remain anonymous.  

To tell you the truth, I really, really don't want to open the gifts because that means Christmas will be over.  Although it was not the best of Christmases what with the very, very, very bad thing coming into my life ... & my decorations were quite minimal ... it was still a lovely & blessed time.  I hate to let that go but I know I must & I will do that maybe later this week, ever keeping my eyes on & looking forward to next Christmas   : )

I did manage to do some stitching while at death's door.  I really don't have any stitching goals this year.  I know what I want to do but I'm not going to give myself any sort of list or schedule.  I'm just going to go with the flow   : )   I do want to fill the year with stitching a lot of Christmas things & I have one finish to share with you & a WIP which is causing me a bit of grief.  First I will share the finish ... a design by Tralala Collection called Duo Noel.  I chose to do the sheep design stitched on Wichelt 32 ct antique tan linen & DMC floss.
My WIP is HE's 2011 Sampler Ornament Jingle Jingle.  I am loving stitching this!  I actually have quite a few HE ornament charts in my stash which I'm looking forward to stitching this year.  I have decided that HE's ornament designs beat LHN's ornament designs by a mile   : )   Anyway, I am using the DMC equivalents & stitching the design on the recommended 30 ct mink linen.  However, I was quite disappointed with my linen because it has a few yellow spots on it ... as though someone was using a bottle of yellow food dye near it & a few drops of the food dye landed on the linen   : (   I was very careful to make sure that any yellow spots would be covered up by my stitches. Unfortunately I was not careful enough & as you will see in the second photo, one of the spots that I thought would be covered up by the stitching is actually going to be showing a bit to the left of that line of white stitches. I apologize for the blurry photos.  I took them 3 times & this is the best of the lot.  

I wet the linen & ironed it before stitching to remove any creases so I fear that yellow spot may be permanently there   : (   However, if you have any idea how I might remove it, please let me know.

I do have a bit of a bone to pick about the DMC equivalents in Jingle Jingle.  I know the designers always say that if you use the DMC equivalents the finished design will not look exactly like the design model, but honestly ... my salmon colored Santa & houses & bell are nowhere near the color of these things on the model!  Surely HE had better equivalent choices   : (   I will need to check colors more closely in future projects & possibly break down & use the designer floss.
I wish to welcome my new followers!  I'm so glad you came to visit my blog & decided to stick around   : )   A big hug to all my regular followers as well.  I hope everyone's new year is starting out better than mine has, but then again, it could've been worse. When you think about it, no matter what happens, there's always something worse that could've happened.  Something to always keep in mind   : )

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

At Death's Door

Okay ... I'm probably not literally at death's door but I sure do feel like I am.  Lord knows I have plenty of health issues in my life but I hardly ever get colds or the flu.  In the past when these maladies have stricken me, I usually felt fine within a day.  It has been years since the last time I was sick ... so many years I can't even remember the last time!  In retrospect I probably shouldn't have gone to my endocrinologist appointment yesterday but, in my defense, I thought I was getting better. Foolish me.  Last night I begged John to return all my Christmas gifts & bring me home a gun.  I don't think there's a part of my body that doesn't hurt.  My nose is constantly running. My throat feels raw & 3 times its size.  I'm coughing & feverish.  I have chills.  I hate this!!!  In retrospect again I probably should have had the smarts to remember that the symptoms of illness are always better during the day & worse at night, & I should have asked John to stop at one of the many drug stores we passed on the way to & from my appointment so we could pick up some Thera Flu or Nyquil or something.  Instead I curled in my recliner, covered up with 2 blankets, & waited for Jesus to come get me.  I'm still here.

I did manage to do some stitching last night & I finished LHN's It's Snow Cold.

It's a nice little design but I really did not enjoy stitching with the DMC ecru floss.  It seems to be rather wimpy.  I'll have to see what the closest substitute to it might be for the next project I start that requires its use.

I now need to find a new start.  I never plan definite projects to stitch because when they come next in line I may not feel like stitching them.  I haven't yet come up with a plan, a set of stitching goals, for 2013.  I do know I am going to Etsy a LOT of charts & kits that I bought last year & now look at & wonder why.  That might be something easy to do today ... go through all my charts & decide which ones I'm never going to stitch.  While doing that I'll undoubtedly find a new start   : )

I wanted to share this next photo with you. It's a picture of a puzzle that I found in my stocking.  In addition to a few things from my Christmas list, Santa Bear always finds some unique items with which to surprise me.  He knows how much I love snowmen & he thought this little puzzle would be something that would help Christmas last longer.  Gift opening would be delayed until the puzzle was completed.  Too long a time to put the puzzle together was not foreseen.  It is very small, maybe 7" x 9", & only has 160 pieces. The joke was on us though.  Many of the pieces look remarkably alike & so closely fit together that you are sure you've got them in the right spot ... but this is not so.  I think it took us 2 hours to get this silly thing finished, but we enjoyed it & it did indeed extend Christmas a bit   : )   I apologize for the reflection of the light on the photo.  I just could not get a photo taken without it.  I took the photo before writing this post so as you can see the puzzle is still together.  I hate to break it apart but I guess I must. Can you picture the puzzle photo used for a HAED design?  AAAHHHHH!!!!!
Before writing this post I caught up on my blog reading list but encountered a problem with some blogs.  I'm sure the problem lies with my account somehow ... the same way I am unable to delete blogs from my reading list.  When I tried to comment on several blogs this morning, I received no indication that my comments were registered in any way.  No "blog comments are moderated" notation, no comment showing up on the blog, etc.  I hope that turns around soon.

Happy first day of 2013 to all of you!  Only 357 days left till next Christmas!  Woo-hoo!!!