Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New gadgets...

Just a quick note here...I have had a lot of people ask me what colors I choose for certain projects, so I added a new gadget to my blog that tells you the name of the fabric, the count, whether I'm doing it over one or two linen threads and the fibers I'm using.  Sometimes I use what the designer suggested, so I'll just write that I use the suggested fibers.  I'm flattered when people ask, but I have to tell you my secret.  When I choose my fabrics and fibers, I usually run to my LNS and ask my buddy, Sonya.  She's a whiz with colors and fabrics.  I've gotten bolder with my choices, but she's my go to person for colors.  I encourage you to ask at your LNS, they are flattered when you ask them too!  A floss toss will usually help you make up your mind.  Thanks for asking!  

And Anonymous...the color of the thread I used for Cirque des Carreaux was what the designer suggested..."Epiphany" from Carrie's Creations silk thread (which I found online).  Have fun stitching this amazing pattern!

I've also added a gadget that will give you the link to the SAL's that are available online.   I don't always have time to post the link in the body of that particular post, so just check on the left side of my blog.

And last, but not least, and mostly for my own convenience, are some links to some freebies I like to check periodically.  I'm always amazed at the talented ladies who offer their designs for free online.  One of these days I would love to "give back" by designing a few patterns of my own.  When I get a spare minute (HA...what's that?) I'll give it a watch this space!  LOL


Monday, September 26, 2011

Lost in a fog...

Hi everyone!  It seems like ages since I've updated my blog.  I keep saying that my life is not my own...and that's for certain sure!  Each of my days from Sunday to Saturday are chock full of things to do, and since I added work to the mix, I am struggling to keep my head afloat.  I'm tired...

Now before you message and tell me to take it easy with work, I just want to say, though it really tires me to go, I leave with a smile on my face because I've interacted with people outside my own family.  Right now it's only been 8 hours a week (with a few extra hours thrown in when someone shows up late or there are things to do).  I promise I'm not overdoing it, and I've been told I'm going to feel tired for quite a while.  But I'll be honest and say, I have to take naps now, and that cuts into my computer and stitching time.  LOL

Speaking of family, I had an unexpected and lovely surprise last week.  Two of my cousins came to visit.  One lives in Baltimore and had sent cards and messages on facebook during my treatment and was one of my biggest cheerleaders.  She doesn't live that far away, but she is one busy lady!!  It's just as much my fault that we don't get together as often as we should, but hopefully we'll remedy that soon.  The other lives in Pennsylvania.  She prayed for me the entire time, and sent encouraging messages on facebook too.  She traveled down to visit the one in Baltimore and they both came to see me last Wed.  I was tickled to have family visit, and it was great to see them!!  Thanks for visiting, you guys, I hope we get to do it again soon!  They were the first of my family to visit since I was diagnosed 18 months ago.  That's why I'm grateful for my friends who supported me.  You guys know who you are, and I just want to say, I love you like family, you mean the world to me!
Ok, here are my updates on my stitching...

The Samplar Romantique is coming along.  I finished September's issue and have to report that there are only two more parts to stitch, and they will be sent out on October 10th.  It's a beautiful sampler, but I feel oddly "rushed" when such large portions come out and have a due date.  I will be happy to finish this one!!  It's also one of my crazies!
Speaking of crazies, here is another.  This is an Ink Circles design.  This is the last of them, and I keep getting stalled on this one, I'm not sure why.  I absolutely love this design, so why am I finding it so hard to stitch it?  I think because with the overdyed thread, and the fact that I like to keep the colors balanced, I have to think about this one a lot AND there is a tremendous amount of counting on this one!  I am determined to finish it before the year is out though!!
I had to give my brain a rest AND had a touch of startitis a couple of weeks ago.  This is a SAL I've mentioned in the previous post.  I am ADDICTED to this one!  I'm hoping to catch up, but I'll be honest and say I probably won't.  The pieces are coming out far too fast, they are on 37 and I am on 21, but when my brain is tired, I go to this one to relax.  
Here is the Friendly Stitchers SAL.  Each month they have given us another stitch to do.  I've been able to keep up for which I'm grateful!
This is the Star Sampler, and I was able to finish the September installment as well.  I think this is a lovely pattern, and is still available on her website if you scroll back a couple of entries, you'll find the website.
Then there's my UFO.  I finished the other one I was working on, and I've loved this other UFO from the beginning.  It was offered on Wiehenburg yahoo group and was called the mystery sampler.  I love the colors...Egyptian nights from Silk n Colors, thread gatherers.  I would have to look back and see what fabric it's being stitched on but I do remember that it is 36 count over one.  I discovered a while back that I had made a boo boo, and knowing that frogging on 36 count over one is going to be soooooooo hard, I put it aside.  I've decided I love this too much to keep it hanging around, I'm going to finish the other motifs and then decide what to do with the "problem child" motif that I made a boo boo on.  Here's my progress from the last two weeks.
This last picture may look familiar to you.  Last spring one of my fellow breast cancer warriors was celebrating her 60th birthday.  She was the first woman in her family in several generations to reach the age of 60...the others died of breast cancer.  I wanted to make something special for her, so gave her this framed, stitched piece.  It's a pattern from Glendon Place.  She loved it so much she entered it in the County Fair.  Guess what!?!?!?!  Not only did it take first place, blue ribbon, but it won Champion in it's class!  I was floored.  I have never entered anything I've stitched in a competition before, honestly I just never thought it would be good enough, but now my friend says she's going to come next year and clean out my house and take it all to the fair.  LOL  We'll see...but I have to admit, it was an honor, especially with this special piece.

Ok, that's all the news for now.  I hope all of you are enjoying the "dog days" of summer.  *Hugs*

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stitching or lack there of...

Where to begin?  When you haven't been doing much, there isn't much to say.  But I know there are people out there wondering where I've been, and what I've been up here goes.

I don't have much to show in terms of stitching.  The most recent parts have been released for a lot of the SALs I'm involved in, but so far I've only been working on Samplar Romantique.  This is one of my crazies and the last parts will be released in October...just in time to finish before my birthday!  She released parts 18, 19 and 20 this month.  So far I've finished 18 and started 20...I think...will get to 19 later.  LOL

I've had a couple of stitch dates with Astrid.  I've been working on my Cirque des Carreaux when we meet up because it's the smallest thing I'm working on and requires the least amount of stuff to haul around.  This is one of my crazies and I've finally crossed the halfway mark.  I've been working this with one strand of silk over one on 32 count and today I had to frog....yep, not a fun time!  LOL  Here is my progress so far.

I started this SAL offered on this website.  
I am way behind but found that I just loved the design that was coming out and had to start it.  It's another 32 count over one using DMC 3808.  All the parts are there so far!  I hope to catch up one day.  LOL

I almost forgot to show my new UFO.  A couple of years ago I joined a SAL through the Wiehenburg group, and then I got called away to help take care of my Dad who had just been placed in Hospice.  I had to set it aside for a few months and it's been sitting near my stitching chair calling my name all this time.  I did make a mistake, and since it's stitched over one, it will take some time to take out all that I had stitched on one motif.  I've decided to stitch the rest of the motifs and then decide what to do with the one with the mistake in it.  So...this will be my new project to work on on Thursdays.  Here's my progress so far (I worked on it last week and will work on it tomorrow too).

I joined a group that will be doing a crazy challenge in 2012.  I published my list in the group and then had second thoughts.  Then they suggested an ultimate challenge and instead of starting 15 projects the first 15 days of January, they would start 31 projects the first 31 days of January and then try to finish them during that year. I crazy enough to do that?  I would have to rethink my list because I did have quite a few that were fairly large.  I'll be like Scarlet O'Hara and think about it tomorrow.  My brain hurts today.

It's been a strange weekend around here.  So many strange things happening, so many needs to pray over, and I think I have reached my limit.  I've had a few strange symptoms too....headache, swelling in my left leg and foot, and tingling in my left hand.  Strange I know, but I think it might have to do with a medication I'm taking called Tamoxifen.  Anyone taking it and have you had similar symptoms?  I'm hoping I'll be able to get off the stuff after my next appointment in October...wish me luck!!

With all that's going on I think I'm ready to escape.  I'm thinking of hiking to a cabin in the Rockies and hibernating for the winter.  Anyone care to join me?  I'm packing all my stitching stuff...and just might finish those 31 projects before the snow melts!  LOL  I can't promise winning conversation, but I'll share my stash!  LOL  *Hugs*

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

I guess everyone remembers where they were on 9/11.  I heard one commentator say that each generation has an event that stands out in their memory and is commemorated each year, one of such worldwide importance that it cannot, nor should not, be forgotten.  For our parents it was Pearl Harbor.  For mine it is the day our country was attacked, September 11, 2001.

Some will remember what a beautiful fall morning it was.  To be honest, I don’t remember what the weather was like, I just remember the phone call to our housing in Weisbaden, Germany.  A friend of mine called in the afternoon there (there is a 6 hour time difference between the east coast of the US and Germany) and told me our country was under attack, turn on the TV.  I turned on the TV in time to watch the second tower being hit.  The first one was already in flames, and the pentagon had already been hit.  I grew up in northern New York.  I went to a state college and I knew people who worked in New York City.  One of my former roommates worked in the financial district. My husband was in the military at the time, eligible to retire in just a few months, and we knew people stationed at the Pentagon.   I felt my heart sink and all I could do was watch in horror as first one tower fell, and then another.  My 6 year old son came home from school  just as the second tower fell.  He was confused, small wonder since the adults standing around him were just as confused.  And then in a heartbeat, everything changed.

I don’t know what it was like here in the states.  I’ve talked to people, asked where they were and what they were doing, but unless you’ve lived through it yourself, you can’t imagine what it really was like.  Just like you can’t imagine how our lives changed in Germany.  For the families there, we didn’t see our service men and women for days.  They were called out to patrol housing areas and gates to bases.  Each car was searched inside and out before they were allowed to enter either a housing area or a military base.  German police rode through our housing area on horseback sometimes giving the kids rides on their beautiful mounts.  We rarely left our housing area, it took too long to go anywhere as there were long lines of cars and people being searched.  Just getting groceries would take hours.  Overnight there were fences built around the department of defense schools, the schools were closed for a week and when they opened you had to accompany your child with an identification card in order for them to be allowed on the school grounds.  There were armed guards at the fence, only one gate was opened at first, and though military children have seen full flack gear on their parents, they weren’t used to seeing them with an M-16 waiting at the gate to their school.  The first few days the guards handed out candy, just so they wouldn’t be scared.  But sadly, after a week, it became “normal” and life moved on.  Many years later, I learned that a sleeper cell had been discovered in Weisbaden…I’m glad I didn’t know it when I lived there!!

But now we’ve moved on, the fear is not as great.  We are becoming complacent again.  People don’t believe in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq.  They protest at funerals of service members who have paid the ultimate price, adding more pain and grief to the already grieving family and friends who are so proud of their loved one’s service.  So, even though it grieves me in ways I cannot communicate in words, I watch the shows and listen to their stories.  I cry for the kids who have lost a parent, who won’t be able to share the triumphs and tragedies of their lives with them.  I feel sad to the core, and I have been praying nearly continually for those closely affected by the events of 9/11.  And I fervently pray that our nation will not forget and keep vigilant as we maintain the security of our country.

Last night at church we prayed for a family whose husband/father is leaving for Afghanistan.  My husband had been deployed to a “hot spot” before and I could see fear and trepidation in her eyes.  Not only does she fear for her husband’s safety, both mentally and physically, but she knows she will have to deal with her children’s fears, and she will have to shoulder all the responsibility of running the household while he is gone.  The nights are lonely, the chores become insurmountable at times.  (I know, my husband was absent from my son’s life for about 3 years between the ages of 18 months and 7 years old).  So even though we only “remember” 9/11 one day a year, the effects ripple through people’s lives continually.  Remember to pray for the victim’s families, the first responders who lived through that horrible tragedy, the survivors who probably relive those memories and possibly suffer survivors guilt, and for the service men and women who continue to offer themselves a living sacrifice for our security and freedom.  I will be praying, I hope you’ll join me.  Where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there also.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Praying for my son's friend T...

It is with a heavy heart I write this post, but I know many of you who read my blog will help me pray for T.  This young man is only 14 and was diagnosed with Leukemia yesterday.  I've known him a long time, and he has been a friend of my son's for several years.  He's had sleep overs at my house, we've taken him to hockey games and he has co-taught Vacation Bible School with my son.  He's got a great sense of humor and a loving character and I admire him greatly. T stopped me in the hallway at church shortly after he learned I had breast cancer and asked how I was and told me he was praying for me.  He was 13 at the time.  No other teen at church did that, he is just that kind and caring.  And now he's facing 6 months in the hospital enduring treatment.  I don't know why bad things happen to good people, but I do know that God can use bad things to make good things happen.  Please join me in praying for T.  God gave me this verse this morning...
"Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance." Psalm 66:8-12 
 I speak from experience when I say that these kinds of illnesses change a person.  I've seen some become bitter, I've seen some become so depressed they can't seem to function, but I'm praying that T will learn to praise God in the dark places and that through this "fire", he'll be refined even more and brought to a place of abundance.  You aren't alone, T, God is there with you, and will help you through this fight.  And I'll be praying for you daily!  *Hugs*

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Huge Thank you!!

I have a lot to say today, but let me start with a huge thank you to Mouse's daughter!  Just before I left for points north on our vacation, I sent Mouse's daughter something in the mail.  I told her to consider it a gift, and then didn't think anything more about it, only that I hoped it arrived safely.  When the mail arrived yesterday, there was a packet of threads from her as a thank you.  I dare say, she spent WAY more for these threads than I did for what I sent her, but it was such a kind and thoughtful thing that she did, I wanted to say thank you on my blog.  Mouse, you've done a lovely job raising her, not only is she kind and thoughtful, she has brilliant taste!  Don't you just love this rainbow of colors she chose?

It's been a wild weather day here in Maryland.  I drove to Barnes and Noble bookstore to meet my buddy Astrid today (thanks for today, Astrid, it's been way too long and it was way too much fun!!), it was a little drizzly but nothing to write home about, but while we were there, the sky began to darken, and thunder began to crack and the skies opened up and it began to pour buckets!  Driving home was an experience, some drivers barely going 30, while others were going 60 or more.  The highways were like rivers!!  My brain was going off in tangents from weird jokes....

Knock, knock...Who's there?...Dwain...Dwain who?  Dwain the tub I'm dwowning...

to silly songs...

The Lord told Noah there's going to be a floody, floody...get those animals out of the muddy muddy...  Told you my brain has issues...have you ever listened to me?  Maybe now you'll  believe me!  LOL

On the way home I was thinking about my Dad.  While I was home visiting my Mom last month she gave me a few things that belonged to my Dad.  As they man's junk is another man's treasure.  She was going to throw a number of things away, pictures and newspaper clippings and things like that.  I...taking after my Dad here...collected a few things I wanted which I considered treasures.

First is a picture frame and music box that my Dad sent my Grandmother while he was on a round-the-world tour aboard the U.S.S Moale during the Korean Conflict.  These came from Japan, and I can remember sitting on her bed listening to the music box when I was a little girl.  I thought it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen and the Japanese song that plays is so lovely...the box still plays, and the memories come flooding back.  The gentleman in the picture is my great-grandfather.  The money lying in front of these is my Dad's first pay from the Navy.  There are 4 two dollar bills.  Eight dollars was his first paycheck.  When I was a  kid, I was cleaning underneath the stairway and found an old wallet containing these bills.  We don't know how they wound up there, but there was a rule in our house...finder's keepers!  My Dad had to pay me ten dollars to get his eight dollars back!  LOL  So kids, the next time someone asks you to clean somewhere where there might be spiders and ickiness, don't gripe...there might be money in them thar spaces!  LOL  I would have given it back to him, I was just teasing him, but since he offered the money...gee whiz, my Mom didn't raise no fool!  LOL  Such fond memories were wrapped up in them that when my Mom asked me if there was anything I wanted of my Dad's after he passed away, I asked for them.  Can you believe my Dad still had those same bills after all these years?

In the last few days of his life, we talked a lot about his navy days.  Then he showed me this book, a record of his time in "boot camp".  Wasn't he a handsome devil?  In the book I found some more treasures...his 7th grade report card, a certificate of penmanship that he was extremely proud of...and a letter written on writing paper from the U.S.S. Moale.  Here is what the letter said...

Wow we made the Headlines  aboard the attack carrier Lake Champlain June 25th, 1953.  U.S.S. Moale rescued 3 crewmen from a Douglas Skyraider at 3 AM this morning.  The destroyer picked up the men after being ditched while leaving the carrier, for a dawn strike.  Lt. Keown pilot of the plane was slightly shaken up but uninjured.  The other 2 crewmen were not injured.  The plane remained afloat for barely 3 minutes giving the men just time to get out.  The destroyer removed the flyers from the inky black water within minutes of their ditching.  Congratulations came by C.T.G. 77.2 who said this morning “The prompt action and superb seamanship demonstrated by you on occasion of rescuing personal from night crash landing of an aircraft is in keeping with the highest traditions of the Navy.  This makes Moale’s rescued aviators 6 during the past year.  ‘Well Done’ “  Captain George T. Murdoff sent 37 gallons of ice cream to the Moale via the same high line that returned his downed airmen.

My Dad talked about that ice cream...he loved ice cream...and back then you didn't have luxuries aboard ship like that unless you had just left from a port city.  I'm sure they did other note-worthy stuff during the war, but they weren't rewarded with ice cream every day!  LOL

The last thing I retrieved from "home"  were some photographs and documents of my family history.  It saddens me to think no one else wanted these treasures, but that made it all the easier for me to take them!  I received my Grandmother's Bible, with births, deaths and weddings recorded in it.  I have newspaper clippings of many family moments that happened through the years...confirmations, when Dad went into the navy and when he returned home, when my Grandfather celebrated 35 years of working for the Alcoa company, births, deaths and other interesting memorabilia.  I received my Grandmother's diaries and poems she had saved (I never knew she did that, I do the same thing!)  To me these are treasures...and some day, years down the road, someone may want to read about their history, I know I'll be reading them!

 I found these two photographs interesting.  The first one is of my grandparents and is their wedding photo.  The second picture is of my Grandmother and her brother.  I look at these two photos and all I can see is my sister.  I find it fascinating how much we can look like our ancestors, and that is why photos mean so much to me.

Ok, I'm done reminiscing.  I don't know if it's the weather, or the fact that there are a million and one shows on commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  It breaks my heart to listen to the stories, and yet I can't seem to pull myself away from listening to them.  All the while I'm thinking, what would my legacy be if something were to happen to me tomorrow?  Will my stuff be packed up in a box and taken to the dump like my Dad's stuff almost was?  Will anyone care about the things that were important to my stitching?  I wonder if my son (and future grandchildren...I hope...) will hear a song, or see a music box and have fond memories of me?  If nothing else, this has made me realize the importance of spending time with loved ones and making those memories.  That way we will never really fade long as someone remembers us.  Off to make some memories with my family.  I hope I wasn't too maudlin for you, but thanks for reading and listening to my thoughts, if you made it this far!  *Hugs* 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Raindrops keep falling on my head....

Is everyone having the same problem, or is it just me?  I seem to have this little black cloud following me, and dumping rain on my parade...First Irene, now Lee...come on guys, we are now turning green from mold, instead of photosynthesis.  Sheesh!  Enough already!!  Oh well, I must admit, the grass and trees sure are happy!  The Mums in the front yard are loaded with buds, so maybe it's not such a bad thing for them, but I sure miss the sunshine!

Ok, pity party over...on to the good stuff!!  Where to begin?

Let's see, I had an attack of startitis.  Yes, I'm afraid this is going to be lethal one day...but I just couldn't help myself.  I've been collecting the pieces to this SAL since January, and it's looking so lovely I just couldn't put it off any longer.  I found this website a few years back.  This can be found under SAL 2011.  She has offered SAL's before and I've followed their progression, but this one finally caught my attention.  I just LOVE it!  I saved the pieces (she is up to part 34 I think) and I've only stitched up to part 12 I think, and once I get a little more done I think you'll be able to see more of the picture.  I'm trying to stitch at least one part a day until I catch up and hopefully work and my family won't get in my way *cough cough* I mean, I hope I have time to work on this once I've taken care of my loving family and my job...*wink*  You guys know where I'm coming from right?'s a pic of my progress.  I'm stitching on 32 ct light mocha Belfast linen over one, using one strand of DMC 3808.  In case you haven't noticed, I've begun using this color a lot.  It speaks to me, so I think I'll have to invest in DMC 3808 if there's a stock option for that, and give myself back some of the money I've poured into it!  LOL  Wish me luck!

I'm afraid I have been singly focused on this piece...and have neglected other pieces I should be doing.  Anyone detecting a hint of OCD in there somewhere?  I'm blaming it on the chemo I endured...I tend to blame that a lot, but as my oncologist may or not be the cause, but until we prove otherwise, milk it for all it's worth!  LOL

Ok, since it's a dull rainy day, I'm off to curl up in my favorite stitching spot, turn on an old romantic movie, and stitch to my heart's content!  Till later...


Thursday, September 1, 2011

UFO day...

It's a great day today.   The sky is an amazing color of blue, it's peaceful and quiet and calm.  My kinda day!  I also have the day clear with nothing to do, and I'm thankful.  It's been ages since I've had a day to myself where the guys are gone and I don't have any appointments or work scheduled.  

It's also a great day because I have wonderful news...I finished another UFO.  This was called Le Marquoir de Sophie and I did change some of the letters and dates to suite myself.  The letters I searched on the internet for, and some of them I designed myself.  I have been working on this particular UFO for over 2 years.  I started it in April 2009, according to my stitch diary.  I used 32 count platinum Belfast linen over one and one strand of DMC 3808.  This pattern was originally offered on this site but the owner has since closed this blog and started another and has begun selling her designs now which you can find here When you find a picture on this site, there will be a place to click that will take you to her boutique and you can purchase her designs there. 

I said all that because someone has asked me where I found this design.  It was a free SAL two years ago, but I haven't found it anywhere since, and I'm sure if you visited one of the sites above and e-mailed historiesdelin she will be able to give you an answer.
I often have this dilemma.  What do you do with a chart you have finished stitching and you know you will never use it again?  I've taken charts to thrift stores before and have found charts there myself.  I've given some away.  I've never sold them myself, but I've seen them offered on e-bay.  I know that one designer in one of my yahoo groups doesn't want us giving them away when we are finished and I do honor her wishes.  It's a quandry, and above all else I want to do the right thing, it's just hard to know what that is.  I welcome any comments on this subject, as I truly do desire to do the right thing.  I would hate for all the wonderful designers to quit because their designs are being pirated but I also hate to see wonderful designs being wasted when others can use them.

I just want to say I belong to the Friendly Stitchers yahoo group and they encourage us to work on a UFO on Thursdays.  Thanks to them I am finishing off some long standing UFOs including the one I finished this morning that I started two years ago.  Thanks Mouse, for wielding that wet noodle so well and keeping us on the straight and narrow!  Now I have to start looking around for the next UFO I'm going to continue working on...

I hope you are all having a wonderful day!  *Hugs*