Friday, April 29, 2011

Before I go...

Hi folks!

Just a quick dash before I go...some of my fellow companions were hung up this morning so I thought I would update you a little bit on things.

First of all...Congratulations William and Catherine!! What a beautiful wedding!! Despite the comments I've heard on the TV I think she picked a wonderful dress, that was both elegant and "looked" like "her". I loved the way they smiled and joked with one another and how relaxed they both seemed...and the first kiss? The way William left his gaze on her as they parted....*melting* I hope they have many wonderful years of happiness together!! I keep wanting to write to William...and tell him...If you treat her like a thoroughbred she won't turn into an old nag. LOL Someone imparted those words of wisdom to my husband on our wedding day, and hopefully I haven't turned into an old nag, because he sure has held up his end of the bargain!

Next, I was able to stitch a bit on my UFO yesterday. I didn't pick out my mistakes yet, I'm going to get a second opinion, and see what the ladies think at the retreat. Here's a picture of my progress...

Last, spring has sprung around the Tickled Pink household...just a few pictures of the nature that is just outside my door.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I'll see you when I get back! *Hugs*

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Traveling Stash!!

I cannot believe it's been so long since I updated my blog. Where does the time go? It's been a busy time here in the Tickled Pink household. With spring break, and my son home for over a week, there were things to do, places to see, movies to watch. My son can be such fun when he wants to be...but isn't that true of any teenager?

I first want to start by saying THANK YOU to Tricia from The Stamper's Stitches blog! I was the winner of The Traveling Stash! I have to say, I was so surprised when I received her package, it was so full of great stuff! I've gone through it a couple of times and picked a number of things!! It's a wonderful package!! Now I have to rummage and peruse my stash and find some things to replace what I've taken. If you would like to be next in line, please leave a message on this post only!! I have a busy two weeks coming up, so I will choose someone in two weeks time on May 10th. That will give me a little time to sort through my stash and decide what I want to pass on. I am so thrilled to be able to "pass on the blessing" as Tricia said! I will be willing to send it overseas, but whoever gets it there should be willing to send it wherever too. Are you game? Then please mention it a message below!

I can't say I've accomplished too much on the stitching side of things. I was finally able to finish off parts 7 and 8 of the Romantique Sampler. I must say, you can't tell by the picture, this is a BIG sampler, and hard to stitch when you've had surgery!! I'm glad to say I'm finished with this part and will have a bit of a rest from it for a while!

I have been working here and there on smaller projects, like the Tree of Stitches being offered on the Stitch Specialists yahoo group. Here is part 8 completed.

I've also been working on my Lighthouse Sampler from By the Bay Needleart. This is one of the crazy challenges...and secretly my favorite of the bunch. I can't wait to see it finished!!

Another SAL being offered on the Stitch Specialists yahoo group is this beginner hardanger piece. Again, I'm caught up on this one, and eagerly (*cough cough*) awaiting the next section which will be cutting. *knees shaking* That's the part that always scares me a bit until I've finished cutting and realize that all is well.

Last, but certainly not least, is my UFO. The next time you see this little beauty, it will have less stitching. I didn't realize until I had finished the last two groups of flowers on the left hand side, but there had been a mistake in the pattern and I had missed the correction until I was finished stitching. My bad for having laid this aside for so long. I am now two rows off and one column off. I can't decide if I should frog, or finagle. The side opposite is the reverse so I'm thinking frogging...and since this is stitched over one linen thread, I'm dreading the process. I may pick another UFO this week! LOL

Now you may be wondering, other than being preoccupied with my son being home on spring break, why I've been so quiet. Well, we decided, last minute, that we would make a little trip out of town. I have ALWAYS wanted to visit Monticello in Virginia, the home of one of our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson. I had been reading about former president's wives on a blog one day a couple of weeks ago, and it sparked that longing feeling again. When I mentioned it to DH, he promptly ordered tickets to visit the home online and made hotel reservations! We are so different, he and I, I would have planned for months in advance, but he is a spur of the moment type of guy! Either way, it was a wonderful time to be there, the flowers were in bloom, it only rained on us just a bit one day, we saw even more than we expected, and enjoyed being a family without the constant dread of illness hanging over our heads. I must say, it did tire me out, but the guys were patient with me and we took our time so I was able to keep up. Not only did we visit Monticello, but Ash-Lawn Highland as well, home of another former president, James Monroe. We learned on the way home that James Madison lived nearby as well, so I think we'll be making another trip to the area down the line somewhere. Here are a few pictures...

The first is Monticello...Home of Thomas Jefferson. Now this man was 6'2", and the statue of him next to my son is life size! As you can see, the extra bit of "Mohawk" puts DS at almost the same height as that statue. I have a hard time looking up to my 15 year old!! LOL Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man, as you can see from his architecture (he designed his home and built it TWICE!! He was a man after any woman's heart as he knew how to make use of every square inch (lots of closets, almost unheard of in those days!!) and he was most interested in plants, flowers, and how to cultivate them to their full potential. I could go on and on, I have the utmost respect for this man, but I would probably bore you to here is his house, from the front, back and side.

The fish pond on the left was used to keep fish that he had caught until he was ready to eat them, then would catch them anew and eat them fresh (told you he was brilliant!!)

I love this shot of the vineyards that DS captured!!

The second home was Ash Lawn - Highland which was James Monroe's house, 2 1/2 miles from Monticello. They were friends, but their homes were vastly different. Monroe had a much more modest home, but they were both great statesmen and forward thinkers.

Here are pictures of the house from the front and both sides. The yellow portion of the house was the original house as it was built when they moved in, and the white portion of the house were additions that were made afterward.

My son kept me in stitches while he was home. While discussing where we might go to tour while he was on spring break, he mentioned that he would like to visit Tokoyo. I told him we couldn't travel that far, and I didn't want to fly. He went to "Google Earth" and got directions to Tokoyo without flying....It was a 4 page description of highways and byways until you reached the Pacific Ocean. From there (and I'm NOT kidding) it said to kayak across to Hawaii, travel across a few highways there, then kayak to Japan, then gave more highways to reach Tokoyo. It would only take 35 days to perform this Herculean task!! If you don't believe me, pick a spot on the east coast of the US and try it yourself!! LOL

Now don't fret if you don't see me for a little while. I will be headed out this weekend to the annual St. Michael's getaway! This is an annual trip some friends of mine and I make to a little place on the Eastern Shore where we gather ourselves and stitch for an entire weekend. It's a lovely spot, so quiet and serene, until we arrive that is. We stay up late, get up early, and stitch, stitch, stitch! We also laugh until our sides hurt. We choose the date for the following year before we leave, and then anticipate it for the entire next year. If you ever want to plant a smile on my face, just mention St. Michael's!! And I'm sure it would do the same for nearly every lady who goes on our retreat. The ladies are camera shy, but hopefully I'll get some pictures to share with you when I get back. I may have time for one more post before I go, but if I don't, don't worry, I'll be back with updates galore! Till then, keep smiling! *Hugs*

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Multiple finishes!!

Hi there! I know I've been missing in action for a little while, but I have been resting and relaxing and getting quite a bit of stitching done! So...where do I begin?

Well, let's start with today, shall we? Today is UFO day on Friendly Stitchers yahoo group, so in order to avoid the wet noodle, I was an obedient friendly stitcher and worked on my long suffering but now COMPLETED UFO!! So, without further ado and with MUCH fanfare, I give you...the Rose Quaker from Stickideen von der Wiehenburg!
It is propped up on the flowers that Alice brought me today!! Alice and I discussed it today and I thought I would show it with something so you can see how small it is (stitched over one) and delicate, I hope this puts it in perspective...

I thought I would give it a little personalization and thank heavens Alice dropped by today with a meal (can you smell the stew simmering on the stove?) and some GREAT advice! We decided since there were a few motifs with some clear space inside we would use them to showcase my initials and the date. I love the idea, I love the way it came out, and I'm so thankful for everything today, Alice! So here are my additions to the piece that personalized it.

Now I know some of you will read this post and wonder...a few people called and asked how I was doing (thank you for your phone calls, it's humbling and comforting to know that so many of you care) and wanted to stop by to see me. I told them no until Alice called. This last surgery took the wind out of my sails. To be honest, the days leading up to it were some of the worst days I've had since I was diagnosed. I feel like I've had to be the strong one for a very long time and I am tired. I ran out of all the "right stuff" that was within me and I kind of lost it and fell into this pit of mourning and despair. A lot has happened to me in the past two years. I've gone plowing through stuff and tried to move on, and I didn't really deal with the loss of my Dad, nor did I deal with the diagnosis of cancer and the loss of several body parts (LOL) and I realized the other day that I feel like I've lost my femininity, some of the things that define us as women. I've put "captions" on my emotions and I feel like I can move on now, but it took quite a few days to get to this point. So for those people I said "no" to visiting, forgive me, it had NOTHING to do with you, and EVERYTHING to do with my inner healing. I'm ready to be around others now, and Alice, thank you so much for the beautiful flowers, the wonderful stew, for the walk in the fresh air, and for being such a wonderful friend.

Whew...*drying the soggy keyboard* ok...on with the other finishes...

I was able to work on two smaller pieces from the Crazy January Challenge right after surgery, they were small enough to work "in hand" without a frame so I worked until I finished them. Sonya came by on Saturday to "babysit" me while my guys went to a baseball double header. We watched "Downton Abbey" on DVD which we both LOVE!! and stitched for quite a few hours. Thank you for babysitting me, Sonya, and for dinner (a WONDERFUL salad from Atlanta Bread Company AND the muffin top! LOL) I'm SO spoiled...AND...she brought me roses!! Aren't they beautiful!!

And I was able to finish Mending by Erica Michaels. This was a kit given to me for my birthday last year from Wendy! I can't wait to get it framed...thanks again Wendy!!

The next day I finished Lucy Pryor's Pocketwatch Sampler from Samplar Works! Sonya designed this piece, and gave the kit to me for my birthday last year. She gave me a box with a frame lid to put it in and when I get my act together I'll get it together and post another picture. Just to clear up any confusion, when Sonya was here we were discussing what date I should put on it...and since it was a gift for my 50th birthday last year, I decided to put last years date on it. Thanks again, Sonya!! Thanks for the gift, for babysitting me, and for being my friend!

Then Monday rolled around, and it WAS the day I stitched along with Babs on Heart of America by Little House Needleworks. I read that she had finished stitching hers, and left me in the dust! LOL She personalized hers in a very meaningful way, and I loved what she did. I was boring and just used this years date, but I finally finished mine. I have the frame ready to go, and...(I sound like a broken record)...when I get my act together I'll get it put together.

So...that is FOUR finishes in the past week! Three of them were from the Crazy January Challenge! I don't recall how many I have left, but they are dwindling down, and if I keep this up, with at least one finish a month, I will actually complete the challenge by the end of December! Yay!

The weather was absolutely gorgeous today! And...DH bought the right kind of bird seed to entice the goldfinches to our back yard. Today as Alice and I were sitting at the dining room table, a flock of them showed up and I was able to get this terribly grainy, fuzzy picture of a few of them feasting at my bird feeder! It prompted Alice and I to head to the nearest "Wild Birds Unlimited" store nearby and buy some feeders designed specifically for Goldfinches. What fun I'm going to have now...and so will you Alice, these birds are so much fun to watch!

And with that I'll bid you a fond adieu! Hope you have a wonderful evening! And I'll be here, wondering what I'll stitch tonight...LOL *Hugs*

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What day is it?

Does anyone know what day it is? If you guessed UFO're right!! So here is the most recent picture of my UFO. There is only one motif left!

It's also the day after we celebrated one of my fellow survivor's birthday. I went to the frame shop I worked in and framed this piece that I had stitched for her...and I made her cry! This lady is very special, she volunteers her time at her church for many different things, she makes pillows to give out to patients going in for breast surgery (the pillow is a NECESSITY to protect your chest from the seat belt in the car...and you need it the day you leave the hospital), and she makes quilts. She is ALWAYS doing something for someone and in her words, she's one of my favorite people! She knows the value of a hand made item, and was speechless when we gave it to her for her birthday at the support group meeting last night. We surprised her with a cake...and we were told that it's VERY hard to surprise her. So Ms. T, if you are reading this...Happy Belated Birthday...and I hope we get to celebrate MANY more of them with you! (When or if I get her permission, I'll post her picture, too).

It's been a very exhausting day. I had a session of Reiki this morning came home to several phone calls from friends who are wishing me well for tomorrow. I was originally told I would have surgery at 11:50, but they just called to tell me I will be having surgery at 9:50 which means I have to be at the hospital at 7:50 *yawn*. Looks like I'll be getting up at 0 dark thirty tomorrow. Oh well, they won't need much anesthesia when it's time to knock me out! After almost two weeks of very little sleep, I'm so ready to have this part over with. This will be my last post until after you take care and I'll see you on the flip side! *Hugs*

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One Step Closer...

I've been rushing around like crazy, but things are beginning to wind down. I had my last physical therapy appointment today before the surgery. The therapist and I have gotten quite close, we seem to have the same thoughts about things and we've had some interesting conversations! She gave me a hug when I left today, and asked that I come back when I have clearance from the Doctor to make sure I keep on the right path.

Yesterday I was able to catch up on two other SAL's, so will post those pictures today. I want to work on my UFO and Tree of Stitches came out with a new stitch today too...I don't know what I'm going to do with myself after surgery when I won't be able to pick up a needle for a few days...*sigh*

The Star Sampler found on this website is becoming a quick stitch. I think all of the pieces are still available on her blog if you like. It is being stitched in many different colors, but I fell in love with the colors the designer is stitching her in (I'm such a copy cat!!) and chose to stitch mine in the same Anchor threads she is using. Here is my progress so far...

Friendly Stitchers yahoo group is also "hosting" a SAL of specialty stitches. The last two stitches were the lazy daisy and the french knot. Unfortunately mine are not as perfect as I would like them to be. I have to wear a pressure gauntlet on my hand these days (a lymph edema flare up is occurring...and right before surgery too...drat it!!) so it makes it difficult to work with thread and needle on those specialty stitches. Maybe after surgery and the edema calms down I'll take it out and redo it...we'll see. In the meanwhile, here's my feeble attempt! LOL

I've been thinking about my Dad a lot lately. I truly miss him. This is one of my favorite pictures of us together...his smile says it all! (I think he was thinking he would have his house to himself...I was the last one to leave the nest...LOL)

Earlier the morning this picture was taken he was in our garage cooking breakfast for a whole bunch of people who had crashed at our place to come to our wedding. He loved to cook bacon and eggs, his specialty! I wish you could see his bright blue eyes...he was a wonderful man. He loved kids, and his favorite thing to do was dress up as Santa each year and pass out gifts to the kids at the annual Christmas party for his fraternal organization. He even dressed as Santa for his co-workers children and would visit their houses on Christmas Eve and give them gifts.

I guess my sense of humor came from him... He always wanted a boy, but only had daughters. So...I learned how to work with my hands (probably why I like framing so much!) so I could spend time with him, I knew what to do when the car I had in college would "vapor lock", I can still see DH's face the first time I popped the hood, took off the carburetor lid, stuck a screwdriver in the butterfly valve, pop back in the car and start it up like nothing had happened...LOL I really think THAT is when he fell in love with me, because he knows NOTHING about cars! So you Dad even had a hand in finding me a mate!! I remember thinking my Dad was the strongest man in the world because I saw him put his oversize van in neutral one day and push it uphill by himself. I was Dad's fishing buddy...and we would ice fish together. I remember going to an ice fishing derby with him one year, and he caught a whopper, so he hopped on his ski do and went off to have it measured and weighed. He left me to tend the tip-ups, and of course one of them nearly was lost as a HUGE Northern Pike took the bait (and the hook!). I had to fight hard to bring that fish weighed over 13 pounds and was 26 inches long...and won the derby. I think Dad had a hard time losing the derby to his 12 year old daughter!! LOL Fond memories...I miss you Dad!

I will have to rush off soon and get my hair done, tonight is the breast cancer support group meeting (always a good time...really...there are a great bunch of ladies in the group!!). I'm meeting Sonya for a girls dinner out...and we'll see what mischief we can get into....tomorrow is a Reiki session and then I wait for surgery Friday. I'm looking forward to getting the rock hard expanders replaced with something a bit more flexible. I guess I should have marked it, that April First was the one year anniversary of my diagnosis. A lot has happened in the past year, but not all of it bad. You learn what is important, what relationships are worth keeping and which ones are not, that life is short no matter how many years you've got, so make the most of every moment, and above all else...take time to spend quality moments with the ones you love. Tomorrow is never a guarantee. Another thing I have learned this year is that TRULY...laughter is the best medicine! Thanks for all your encouragement over the past year, for laughing and crying with me, and for your messages that mean the world to me!! Have a great day!

Monday, April 4, 2011

It was a great day!!

Wow, two posts in one day! I can't help it many things happened today I just have to share with you!

After I posted this morning...and after my physical therapy appointment, I ran home and grabbed some lunch. By then DH had arrived home from work so we hopped in the car and picked up DS from school...a little early...we used the excuse of having a "personal reason" as we were all decked out in our Orioles gear. LOL We drove into the city, parked, and hiked about 30 minutes to the game...quite a challenge for me these days, but I made it! The game was much fun...and I'll let the pictures tell the rest of the story!!

But that wasn't the end of my great day!! I got home to find a few surprises in my mail box...but the best one was a little package from Great Britain!! Thank you, Gillie, for the beautiful pincushion!! I ADORE the colors, and it's so cute...wrapped up in a lovely handkerchief. I've been waiting since March 14th with baited breath...I knew it had been mailed but it seemed to take ages to arrive. It's safely here, and has pride of place in my curio cabinet. Thank you so much!!

Ok, off to bed...I only had two hours of sleep last night and a busy day, so I'm off to dreamland...maybe dream of my favorite baseball player...Brian Roberts, whose 3 run home run won the ballgame today.

B. make my heart throb!!

Opening Day!!

Hi fellow sports fans and stitchers out there! Just a little note that today is Opening Day for the Baltimore Orioles!! I have a very busy day planned, but first I wanted to update my blog and let you know I'm still alive and kicking.

You haven't seen to much of me as I'm getting ready for more surgery. My days are filled with lab appointments, doctors visits, and physical therapy. I try to fit in a friend now and then, but I'm finding that more difficult as I get closer to the day of surgery. Today (other than ANOTHER physical therapy appointment) I'm setting all else aside and heading to Baltimore to see the Orioles play at their home opener. This is kind of a tradition in our household, it will be our 4th opening day!! DS's teachers are aware he'll be leaving school early, and are all jealous and want to go too. He very rarely misses a day of school, so I figure once in a while can't hurt.

Ok, on to the good stuff!!

I was able to finish the Sampler Romantique portion for this month FINALLY!! I really struggled with it, but finally pulled it off. Whew!

I finished the next part of the Spring SAL offered on and was actually sent all the final parts when I explained that I would be having surgery before the final part came out. I'm not going to post any other parts until she has finished sending out the rest of the patterns to the others. I am so touched that she was so gracious to send the rest of the parts so I could finish before surgery, Thank you so much Carol!

I was able to catch up on the Oakhaven SAL with the owls. They are just too cute!! So here is the April portion!

I am caught up with the Tree of Stitches SAL being offered on The Stitch Specialists yahoo group except for the beads. They'll have to wait as I just don't have them yet.

There is also a hardanger SAL being offered on The Stitch Specialists Yahoo group and here is the second portion of that. I fear my cable stitches aren't like they should be, but I don't dislike this look, so I'm leaving it as it is.

Last but not least, is my UFO that I was able to work on last week. Nearly there!!

As promised here are the two Brenda Keyes patterns I spoke about, the Red House Sampler and the Country House Sampler. Aren't they beautiful?

DH went shopping the other day and brought home these beautiful flowers...they really spiced up my kitchen!!

Speaking of kitchens...this bad boy was found swinging on my bird feeder yesterday. Fortunately for the birds, his weight causes the openings to the food to close down so he can't steal their food. He tried very hard to get into that feeder the little rascal!! I know that squirrels need to eat too, but not at my feeders!! LOL

Hope you have a great day! I know I'll be having a blast at Opening day! It's supposed to be a beautiful day, though it's a little cloudy and rainy right now. I'll just let my smile be my umbrella!! LET'S GO O'S!!!!! *Hugs*