Sunday, July 22, 2018

Week In Review - July 15 - 21

Another hot, rainless week.

I so want a nice rain. Not like the storms which ripped through other parts of the country, but just a nice rain shower or two.

But I did have to break down and mow the yard this week. During which I found a family of skinks (lizards).


I caught one to show to Lady K. 

You don't know what a HUGE step this is for her to actually hold something like this. She has matured and seemingly adjusted to some of her fears and is getting bolder about holding things like this. A couple of years ago, just seeing the lizard would have sent her running and screaming.

Yesterday (Saturday), I spent part of it in the kitchen. I started off the day with a bit of French Toast to eat while watching the Tour de France. Makes sense doesn't it.


I put together a bit of tortilla soup, with my own made-up-what's-in-the-fridge-and-cabinet version. Not too bad. I added some pork I had cooked in the slow cooker with taco seasoning.



I added some walnuts to the mix and didn't wait as long as I was supposed to before putting on the caramel glaze.  Really tasty. This recipe will hang around as far as I am concerned.

Savvy was gifted with a 'care package' of soup and cake as she wasn't working on Saturday and was at home. 


I was in a needlework 'slump' this past week, having to rip out and redo most of the side portion. Not once, but twice! As of Saturday night, I am almost through this section and will be starting another corner today when the race starts.

My plan was to have the 'border' finished by the end of the Tour de France, but I don't think that's happening. Can't wait to get the outer portion finished so I can do a quick wash and put on stretcher bars to do the specialty stitches, silk work and beading.

Otherwise this past week...
  • Finished 4 books
  • Wrote 3 posts
  • 4 trips to the library with Lady K for events
  • Menu planning and grocery list making
  • Fought off 'grumps' all week 
  • Babysat all weekend while Texter worked and went out with friends

This week...


  • Get a couple of ripe tomatoes off the vine
  • Grocery shopping 
  • A couple of library events
  • Finish up the Tour de France
  • Work on Joy quilt
  • Finish up and review some of the books I've gotten to review

But in the meantime, it's more coffee and finding breakfast for Lady K.


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Postitive Focus Thursday - New Growth

Feeling a bit 'down' these days. And I'm blaming it on picking up an activity I haven't done in several years - cross stitch. 

I think I have frogged and restitched as much as I have stitched without error. Maybe more. 

Of course, some of it could be blamed on watching Tour de Force at the same time.

But basically, I'm feeling a bit bummed out. (Not to mention hot and sweaty to match the hot and humid weather.)

I miss my life back in Montana. 

Yep, I'm missing Montana. And my friends there.

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE being a couple of hours away from friends I have had for decades. The girls love being around old friends and family. 

But I am missing Montana and my life and friends there.

Tuesday I took my orchids off their shelves and sat them in the bathtub for a good soak.


As I was putting them back on the shelves I was giving them a once over and realized, despite being shoved in a basket and into the back of a car, moved to a totally different environment, something is happening...

NEW GROWTH!









Even one, which was destined for the trash, is putting out new growth.


And I have the opportunity to further watch Lady K turn into a 'big girl'. She is loving the local branch of the library here even more than she loved the library in Helena.


We find ourselves attending programs two or more times a week. This is from a puppet show at the library. At first, she wanted to sit on the chair by me and not on the floor with the other kids. But that quickly changed and she was up and singing and dancing along with them. Engaging in new situations is a really big step for her.


And she loved having a library volunteer read to her, one-on-one, while waiting for another program to start. 

We have become enough of a fixture the librarians know us.

So I need to take a page from my orchids and start sending out my roots into my new home.

But for now, I'll watch more cycling and recover from 'Karaoke Kids' and gear up for watching 'Cars 3' at the library.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Mandala Monday


It's a rest day for the Tour de France.
 Some quilting and jam - but not at the same time!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Week in Review - July 8 - 14

A full week...

Of Tour de France!

So lots of stitching on my Watergarden by Chatelaine.

After day 1

After day 2


Oops! Day 3



After day 4


After day 5


After day 6
After day 7

But the week wasn't all about sitting and stitching.

Lady K and I baked bread in a bag, which, not only was it fun for her, but it was surprisingly a nice loaf of bread. We also attended 'Seed-to-Feed' at the library and a movie (she didn't sit still for it though).

The 'biggie' was the 11 STUPID HOURS WE STOOD IN LINE AT THE MALL!

Yep, I was one of those stupid people who stood for hours for the Build A Bear event. Lady K did fine and seemed to enjoy it. Not so much me!

Saturday arrived and I had the house to myself and Savvy had the day off, so she spent the afternoon with me, eating spaghetti and accompanying me on a quick trip to the library. It was nice to sit and catch up with her (and send her home with some leftovers).

Otherwise this week...
  • Wrote 5 posts
  • Finished 6 books

The coming week...
  • Sew on the Joy Quilt (on the rest day from the Tour)
  • Possibly go to the Imagicon event on Saturday (depending on my mood)
  • See if I can get a lawn mower working
  • More Tour de France and stitching

But until then, more coffee and moving downstairs to watch today's race over the cobblestones. 

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fiber and Fabric Friday - Shoot Me Now!

I want to know what drug I ingested Thursday morning which made me stand in line for the 'Great Build A Bear Event'! I was one of the thousands who stood in line for 11 hours to pay $5 for a stupid stuffed bear...



One of us handled it much better and the other. Sigh...

Which meant I not only lost a day of stitching, but also a day of Tour de France watching. 

That will be remedied this weekend as I will have the house to myself come this afternoon until Sunday afternoon.  I have food, drink (which I needed Thursday) and all my crafty goodness!

First off, I apologize for the quality of the photos. I am taking them either about 10 p.m. or 5 a.m., neither of which lends itself to great lighting. I am taking them to see how far I get each day on a large piece like this.



As of Tuesday evening and several hours of frogging and refrogging, I finally got the corner turned and everything where it needed to be. 


Then on Wednesday, I got the 'flower urns' and the columns done. Amazing what a bit of color adds to the piece. All 4 different shades of pink! 

This lands me at almost finished with the second page of just the DMC floss.

One problem I am having with this pattern is I am going in a circle around the center. However, if you leave the pattern upright then the symbols are turned. So I have to turn the page to match the direction I am stitching. It's a bit confusing for me at times, but then that's me.

So, fingers crossed, I will have a productive few days since I will have the house to myself. 

Well, me and 176 men in spandex! (Huzzah Tour de France!)




Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Writing Wednesday - TDF and Pedicures

I haven't been writing.

Oh, a bit of journaling now and then, but no 'real' writing.

Of course, every book you read on writing and writers is all about writing through life's ups and downs, ins and outs. 

But that's just not me. 

Which makes me feel bad, which makes me not want to write, which makes me feel bad...

You get the picture.


So while Texter and Lady K were at the library for a movie, I sat down and did some planning and 're-motivating' myself.

My current goal is to toddle along until August 27.

Why August 27?

Lady K starts school!

And with Texter now working full time (huzzah!!!!), from about 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday I will have the house to myself.

My 'plan' is to get up and do my early morning computer 'stuff'. Get everyone off to school and work and then come home and write until noon. The afternoon will be devoted to fiber/fabric related activities, errands and housework. 

Oh, and probably a short nap also! 

My goal is to have a rough draft of "Bite Me" my middle age werewolf novel done by October 31. And beg some knowledgeable people I know to be readers and correct all my numerous errors (and see if they think it's any good).

But in the meantime...


it's pedicures, Tour de France and Lady K time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Tuesday Sundries - Confetti

If you have any hobbies, non-work activities, those sort of things, often they come with their own set of special words. 

There is WIP - work in progress - which covers most of my addictions.  

Frogging is another, which means 'rip it-rip it' and also covers everything from sewing and quilting to knitting, crochet and cross stitch. 

But I recently learned a new to me word in conjunction with cross stitch - CONFETTI!

It's not the annoying bits of paper people mistakenly put in cards and letters thinking it's cute to open them and get the shit stuff everywhere so that you have to pull out the vacuum cleaner and actually (finally) run it over the carpet.

With cross stitching, it's the areas of single stitches of color all sprinkled together.



My two 'gateposts' above are an example of confetti. Pretty solid confetti, but still it's a ton of different colors. 

While switching out colors makes for an interesting design, it's also very tedious as you have to stitch a few and then swap out thread. It can make for a very long day of stitching.

Of course, it's better than huge areas of only one color that can become equally boring.

But it points out something really exciting to me - 

you never stop learning!  

I took my first quilting class in the early 1980's. There were no rotary cutters, acrylic rulers and probably the biggest debate was hand stitching or machine stitching a quilt. There were some pretty hard-core, hand stitching purists back then.

You made your own templates out or cardstock and traced around them with pencil or chalk. 

Over the decades came much simpler, quicker and accurate ways of cutting out pattern pieces and most people machine stitch now (unless you are doing EPP - English Paper Piecing).

So while I may be returning to my first love - needlework - there are still things to learn, even with an interest which is centuries old. 

That's a beautiful thing about life - you should never stop learning!


Monday, July 09, 2018

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Week in Review - July 1 - 7

WOW! What a week!

I was treated to a reunion with a long time friend (she tells me I shouldn't use 'old' friend, as we are not old!). She made the drive from Raleigh to Charlotte and spent the night in the house of crazy. Then I returned the favor and spent 4th of July eve at her house. 

Needless to say, all my 'plans' for projects for the week went out the window. Especially since I came back with the haul of a lifetime. It's bittersweet, as I would give it all back if her tremors would be gone and she could stitch again.

But I did manage to 'sneak' in a couple of other things this past week.


We visited another local mall where there is a Barnes and Noble inside. I needed my book fix.

Then we also FINALLY took Lady K somewhere she has been wanting to go for ages. 


Yep, Chuck E Cheese! It is loud and crammed with kids. And she was thrilled to death. It's hard to be 'bah-humbug' when her face lit up like crazy when Chuck E came out. Plus the pizza isn't all that bad.

Otherwise this week...

  • Wrote 4 blog posts
  • Only finished 1 book
  • Sorted out several bins and totes of cross stitch patterns (I have a bit over 200 I want to stitch!)
  • Sorted through several tubs and bins of DMC floss and started 'organizing' them

I was going to keep stitching on my 'Perfect Partner' by The Silver Lining, which will ultimately look like this...


However, since the Tour de France started on Saturday, I swapped out to see how much I could get finished with my hours in front of the TV the next 3 weeks. The design is Watergarden Mandala by Chatelaine.


The design is complex and uses not only DMC embroidery floss, but silk threads and beads. I may need another binge watching program after the Tour de France! But this is practice for the 'real' prize -

photo courtesy of Chatelaine



Mine will be stitched on a cream fabric and keeping it from Savvy will be an issue.

So when I'm not 'pedal-watching' and stitching this coming week, I am going to attempt the following...

  • Find a spot to park all the boxes and bins I have
  • Get a lawn mower running (it's been sitting for several years)
  • Take Lady K to a couple of library programs
  • Update my 101 things for June/July
But for now, more coffee and go settle down for this morning's race!




Friday, July 06, 2018

Friday Fiber and Fabric - Step Away From the Stash!


No, I haven't robbed a store of DMC thread. It just looks like it.

A great thing about moving back to North Carolina is I am now only a couple of hours away from a FANTASTIC friend. 

Miss C and I met 25 years ago when I started attending the weekly 'stitch-n-bitch' at The Hen's Tooth, a needlework store in downtown Apex. 

She's watched my daughters grow up and we have gone through a lot, both good and bad, over the past two and a half decades. 

When she came to visit me in Charlotte last weekend, we sat down and started talking like it hasn't been years since we were actually together. I did an overnight at her home in Cary over the 4th of July. 

Unfortunately, while our bond was created with floss, needles, and linen, her health has left her with tremors which means she can no longer stitch. Which means she had several bins and boxes in her basement filled with patterns, floss, and fabric for cross stitch.

She so generously gifted it all to me! That wasn't fireworks on the 4th you heard. That was me celebrating!

Once I got home and started going through everything, reality hit.

After culling patterns (hers and mine and I know I still have some of my stuff in the closet), I have a little over 200 patterns to cross stitch. Some of the patterns have already been started by Miss C and I will finish them up for her. The remaining patterns I will probably ebay and share the proceeds with her. 

It also means I won't have to buy any floss for a long, long time. Except for Anchor brand (which I may convert to DMC). 

After spending several hours sorting through just the DMC thread, I realized I would have to put some of my 'organizing' on the back burner for awhile. Otherwise, I will not get any stitching done.

I still want to create a spreadsheet with the colors I have, but it will have to wait for awhile. Maybe as a break between bouts of stitching. 

This morning I realized all my visiting and bounty has put my routine on hold. And that bothers me a bit. I need that routine and structure. So for now, I need to step away from the stash.