Monday, July 23, 2007

Some Very Good News

Nick went back to Camp Lejeune last Thursday, and hence the reason for my not posting late last week. Friday night he called and said that all his paperwork authorizing his terminal leave had been completed and signed. He comes home for good on August 31st. WOO HOO!!! This officially marks the end of his 4 years in the Marines.
What will actually happen is that we will have to drive up there to get the kid on Labor Day weekend, the third time we drive up there in a year, but knowing it is the very last time makes it so much easier to cope with. I really hate driving up there, even though I've been known to stop at the Hobby Lobby in Florence, SC along the way. It's not the drive on I-95 that gets me, it's the backwoods North Carolina part of it.
Also good news, bizarre as it may sound, is that the net result of Nick being here and my cooking all his favorite foods and buying his favorite take outs is that I gained 4 lbs. That may not sound like such great news, but I have been eating horribly for two months and for the past two weeks, it feelt like I had gained A LOT of weight. I was expecting the scale to say I had gained 10 lbs. So, I'm happy it was only 4. I can drop that much in a week, if I want to crash diet. Two weeks, if I want to be sensible about it. What is not so great news, is that I've acquired cravings for foods that had been out of my life for some time. That is probably going to be the hardest to combat.
On to stitchy news: I have completed the third row of Rainbow Borders. The goal was a row a week, and I am behind a week, but I wasn't going to spend time stitching the last week Nick was here. So, here it is in its current state:

I am getting excited about the Rose Garden piece again. I can tell that the end is near. For those of you who haven't followed this blog for long, I have been stitching on this piece since the mid-90s. It was a project I started to take to my oncologist's office for treatments and once I had gone into remission, I had to put it away because of all the bad flashbacks I got when I would take it up again. Before, this piece was a reminder of some very bad and scary times in my life. Now it is a testimonial of my survival. The desert has indeed blossomed as the rose. There is a companion piece to this one. I started it a long time ago as a RR and it got lost. Don't know if I will stitch it, we'll have to see if when I hang this up on my wall, if I feel it needs its partner.
Yesterday afternoon I did stitch on the Sunshine State sampler. Yes, that dreaded over-one 8th row of hibiscus wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. I did realize that it would be easier if I had my hads free to stitch it, so the reason I don't have a picture to show is that I gave it to my friend, Tillie, so she could baste the fabric onto the stretcher bars of my Doodler Lap Stitch frame I bought over two months ago and haven't tried yet. I have sewing machine, but it's in the laundry room and I didn't want to bring it out and set it up. Since I don't plan to stitch on it until next Sunday, and Tillie is part of our Sunday group, I flaked out and gave it to her to do. LOL

I have more to say, but that is it for now. Hugs to all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Time for Pictures

I realized it had been a week since the last time I showed y'all pictures of my stitching. First up is where I am with Rose Garden. It was further along than I had thought, and I really want to finish this piece now. Today is the day I will be stitching on it, and I hope to finish the corner.

Second, and last, up is Rainbow Borders. I stitched a little last night at the SAL hosted by my LNS.
I would have liked to have been further along, but with Nick leaving tomorrow morning, it just wasn't possible. I've been trying to spend as much time with him even though he'll be back home for good maybe as soon as 6 weeks. His enlistment isn't up until October 13, but he can get 45 days of "terminal leave". So, either way, he's either home in 6 weeks, or home in 12. I have really enjoyed having him here and will miss him a lot.
One of the things I won't miss though, is his deleting my shows from my TiVo. He deleted Monday's "Next Food Network Star" show and I don't think it goes on again until next Monday. I tried finding the episode on Torrent and iTunes, but wasn't able to, so off I went to the Food Network to see what they had. They did have brief recaps and I got to watch what happened with the elimination.
I really don't know what the heck the judges were thinking. During their discussion they said that both Amy and Rory had the greatest potential as TNFNS, yet they eliminated Amy? I know that the network doesn't have a lot of spanish cooking shows - if any - but eliminating Amy because they're after the hispanic market, is not fair to her. I'm glad to see that she is now one of the finalists anyway and that she'll get the chance she was owed. As far as JAG is concerned, I really didn't think he was going to win, but his thinking that he was going to be able to make up his background and have it survive media and public "screw-tinization" is extremely arrogant of him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too Hot to Stitch

Not much to say. Yesterday was a total stitching bust. I wasn't able to stitch during lunch because I skipped lunch to go to the dentist. I didn't even take my stitching to work. What for? I was only going to have to bring it back!
Yesterday morning when I left for work, we were going to have someone come by to look at the air conditioner. The plan was to have it repaired. At 3pm the decision was made to replace it. I had nothing to do with it, but when I got home, they were still working on it and I wasn't about to cook in a hot house, so we got take out. To make a long story short, they didn't finish with the A/C until past 8pm. At that point, I was too hot and bothered to stitch. Wasn't bloody happening. So, I took a shower and watched Top Chef instead.
I don't agree with who Chef Ramsey let go. I think Bonnie should have gone over Brad. Maybe all those accusations that Chef Ramsey is biased toward the girls are right. Let's face it, Bonnie the Nanny has about as much chance of running a Las Vegas restaurant as I do of becoming an astronaut.
Speaking of Chef Ramsey, yesterday (and I don't know how because it was TiVoed) I watched an old show about how he started his first restaurant. He looked pretty young. But what struck me is that when he did this, he was also being featured on some British show about horrible bosses. Now I understand how he got noticed and ended up on TV. There are a lot of great chefs out there, so one wonders how one ends up in the limelight while others are (mostly) just known by word of mouth or by being featured in gastronomic publications/articles.
And now you know too...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Becoming Reacquainted

Wednesday night I stitched on the Rose Garden piece. I didn't stitch a whole lot for two reasons. The fiirst is because, after not stitching on it for at least 6 mos (maybe more) I had to familiarize myself again with where I was, what needed to be stitched, and what the symbols meant. The second reason is because I had not slept much the night before and I was tired. I haven't been sleeping much lately. It's becoming a problem and I have to contact my doctor and see what can be done.
Other than that, I haven't been stitching much because I've been spending as much time as I can with Nick, who will be returning to North Carolina this Thursday morning. Boo hoo. I've gotten used to the little stinker being around.

I finished week 3 at my new job, which is usually the break-or-make week for me. It pretty much takes me that long to figure out who I am working for and what kind of organization they have. The business that I work for is a locally owned franchise of a well-known national business. The company is currently doing over a million in sales per month, which makes it a nice mid-size company to work for. The management team is comprised of a husband and wife and some of his grown kids. The wife used to run a restaurant in a college town up in Montana and she's pretty much treating employees like they're all a bunch of flaky kids. When I interviewed for the position, the husband said that he would like it very much if I could get his wife to become less involved.

So, you can see I got my work cut out for me, but right now she's really not my main concern. I got a staff member that will probably have to be let go. Her productivity is ridiculous, she's always having to take off for one reason or another, and, what makes it the clincher for me, she is pretty negative and when she gets upset she can poison the atmosphere of the entire office with her continued griping.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Productive Tuesday

I took the fishing lure to work today to stitch on during lunch. Now the lure has a tail. It's official: it's my lunch piece from now on. I'm hoping to finish this no later than next week.
The rotation called for Rainbow Borders and it took me nearly two hours to stitch another motif of the third row. I'm thinking it's going to take more than this week to finish the row, as I rarely stitch more than 2 or 3 hours at a time.
I realized yestarday that the main reason I feel "pressured" about my stitching is primarily because I have so many WIPs going. I realize that 9 may not seem to be a large amount of projects to have going, compared to so many other stitchers out there. Still, I feel that it's too much for me, especially when most of them are large pieces that take a long time to stitch. It makes me feel more determined to try to finish as many as I can as quickly as possible.
The secondary, but just as important, reason I feel pressured is the size of my stash. If you've been following this blog for a while, you've probably heard me say more than once how bloated I feel about the amount of stash I have. This became even more noticeable to me this past weekend while I was purchasing three Mirabilia releases: Mermaid of Atlantis, Daisy & Lily. When am I going to find time to stitch all this and why do I feel a need to buy this up the moment it comes out??? I really don't know. All I know is that my stash keeps increasing exponentially and with it the pressure to stitch more.
I think I would feel more relaxed if my number of WIPs and the amount of my stash were significantly reduced. The difficult thing, for me, is to figure out how to accomplish this.
Tonight I will be stiching on The Rose Garden for the first time this year.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Monday's Stitch

I managed to get a little stitching in while watching last night's episode of Hell's Kitchen. It was fun to watch a bunch of amateurs beat "real" chefs last night and Melissa, whom I have found extremely annoying was sent home.

My Father's Day piece is now a little over half done now and I can see it won't take much more for it to be finished. The lure is nearly finished and all that is left after that is the alphabet around it. Alphabets always stitch up fast for me.

I was thinking about my overall goals for this year, which were to reduce the number of WIPs from 12, which was where I was at the end of last year, to 6. Looking at the sidebar, you can see I have 9 active WIPs - not counting smalls, which never make it to the sidebar WIPs listing. I'm trying to figure out which of these I might be able to finish by November - as we I get so busy in December stitching comes to a standstill. I could finish The Rose Garden and maybe Sunshine State Sampler, but if I want to make my goal, I'm going to have to get over ripping the lighthouse and finish Seaside Cottage.

So I guess we all know what I'll be doing this Saturday...

Or, I could always try to speed up those Snappers I started in 2004 and finish them before they get old enough to start school...

Today is the SAL at my LNS and I'll be bringing the Rainbow Borders sampler along. Should have another picture for you tomorrow.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Update from the Weekend

Well, so much for the rotation, at least on the weekends. When it came time to rip Seaside Cottage’s lighthouse, I just couldn’t do it. So, I didn’t stitch at all on Saturday. When Sunday came along, I was having so much fun with Nick that I didn’t feel like going to stitch with my friends in the afternoons. Nick started walking on June 29th and this weekend was the first time that he could walk without a crutch or cane. Next weekend, will be his last weekend here before he returns to Camp Lejeune, so we are planning something special. Not sure what yet, probably SeaWorld, if he can handle it, or something that requires less walking, if he can’t. It really depends on how much he is walking by then.

So, stitching-wise, the weekend was a total bust. But I did get a lot of other things done, such as decide how I am going to decorate our bedroom and what I want for the living room. I guess you can say that, creatively, the weekend was not a total waste.

On a completely different subject, this weekend I got caught up on watching a few reality shows such as Big Brother 8, Top Chef and Next Food Network Star. I was surprised at the nominations for BB8 – I was hoping it would be Jen & James. I find them extremely annoying. Who the heck cries like that over a photo?

In Top Chef, Micah was sent packing for not being able to produce a semi-decent meatloaf. Seriously. I realize she is not from the US, but how hard is it for a TOP CHEF to make meatloaf???

In Next Food Network Star, I don’t feel the right decision was made. While Paul was completely stupid while describing the “Iron Chef” episode, his food was better than JAG’s. I don’t know that I agree with basing the decision on past episodes, but even so, the main criticism JAG has received is that his food is too complicated and doesn’t translate for the home viewer. The mystery ingredient in the Iron Chef competition for JAG & Amy was chicken. How does a chef botch cooking something as ordinary as chicken??? All three of his dishes tanked. For that, and that alone, he should have been sent home. I also feel that JAG is too rough around the edges and doesn’t interact well with the camera. Right now, unless she does something really bad, I think Amy will be the next Food Network Star and I’m going to enjoy watching her. I also want that the recipe for the chicken/mushroom thing she did. Looked really delish.

This past few months that Nick has been here I have been watching A LOT of TV. I really got to stop that. I can’t remember when was the last time I worked out and I think I’ve gained at least 5 pounds. Yesterday, while at Borders, I noticed in the bargain racks a Health/Exercise diary for $3.95. Great price, so I bought it. I plan on starting using it right away and bringing the Gazelle out of the closet. Nick and I are also going to start checking out Tae Kwon Do dojos close to the house. I really want to get back to it.

Also to be placed on my future schedule, my friend Liz sent me an email yesterday saying she was coming back from Philly (she travels a lot) and wanted to know if I wanted to kayak this coming weekend. Well, as I mentioned before, it’s Nick’s last weekend, so probably not, but I definitely want to add it to my schedule. Nick wants to kayak too, so it would be something fun to do when he moves back later this year.

Today I should be stitching on the Father's Day piece, which I am thinking will be my "lunch" piece from now on. I'm getting tired of carrying big stuff to the office.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Playing with "Spell with Flickr"

Since everyone is doing it, and I enjoy being a lemming (sometimes) here is my name in random letter blocks:


On another note, I stitched on Rainbow Borders last night. Finished the second row and did about a third of the third row. If I didn't know what the finished piece looked like (see sidebar) I'd be wondering what kind of a rainbow has so much gray and brown to it?

This weekend two blogs, Focus on Finishing and Chrismas Ornament SAL are having Finish A Long for Xmas ornies. I'm going to try to find some time to finish an ornie.

Today is Saturday and next on the rotation is Seaside Cottage and a lot of the time will be spent ripping the lighthouse.... maybe I'll have enough time to stitch it back. We'll see...

Here is my name again - that site can be very addicting!!!


Friday, July 6, 2007

Paradigm Lost Update

I did manage to work about two hours on Paradigm Lost, it's not much on a project this size, but it's more progress than it sitting in my closet unfinished. Had to put the piece on the dining room table and get up on a chair to take the picture!
Last night I watched the season premiere of Big Brother 8. It was pretty bad last year but hope springs eternal. It's too early to predict anything other than "Evil Dick" is going to get booted out sooner or later. That guy has some intense issues.
Our eldest son, Rick, came over with a friend, Heather (not his gf, but a friend of all my sons) and I ended up making dinner for all of us. It's been a while since I've had these many kids in the house (sons Nick and Matt were also here as well as Matt's gf, Ashley). I know that 5 may not sound like a whole lot, but we've been used to being by ourselves for over a year now. All the noise and commotion gave me quite a headache, and they really weren't bad at all, which is what surprised me. I guess I'm getting old... lol
Catching up on old SBQs...
June 6th's SBQ was suggested by Ish and is: What has been your most challenging project and why?
My most challenging project to date is a toss up between Mystery VIII and Sunshine State Sampler.
M8 is big and has specialty stitches I've never tried. It's also is very repetitive which tends to put me off some. Just when you think you've finished, you got to stitch the same thing three more times. Then, if you flip the design you have to be careful not to change the direction of your stitches, which means half the time you're stitching opposite to how you normally stitch, which requires a lot of concentration and effort. I love Martina's designs, and I'm glad she's seen the light and has started to incorporate some changes.
Sunshine State sampler also has some specialty stitches I haven't tried, and some are a bit layered, that is to say on top of each other or need to be stitched in a certain order. It also has quite a bit of over one, which I don't particularly care for. This is probably why I am stuck on Row 8.
Today's rotation takes me back to Rainbow Borders. I don't have much to finish the second row.
See you all tomorrow.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Progress from Yesterday

I was able to squeeze in some stitching yesterday and managed to almost finish the second row of Rainbow Borders.

I know that Wednesday is supposed to now be for stitching on the Rose Garden piece, but I came up with the rotation yesterday and was not organized enough to be able to. Today I will be stitching on Paradigm Lost, though.

Catching up on past SBQs... this one from May 30th...

How many needles do you use during a project?
Have you ever loaded up a needle for every color?
Do you use a new needle for every project or recycle your favorite needle?

Usually I use no more than three needles per project. I may use just one needle if the project is small or if it is done in all one color. However, I usually have a package of needles close by.

I have never loaded up a needle for every color. I think it would be hard for me to keep track of so many needles. My good friend, Ruth, has come up with a cool way of doing so and keeping it straight which I plan to use when I stitch Silver Lining's Pink Tulips. I'll share it with y'all then.

Whether I use a new needle or recycle depends on the condition of the needle. Usually, I do recycle needles, especially the gold petite ones. They seem to last longer than the regular ones. But I wouldn't throw away a perfectly good needle just because I am finished with a project.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

What I've Been Up To...

Just to show that some work has been done - however little it might be...

This is a new start - it is Sampler Rainbow Borders by Jan Houtman

I wanted to stitch a small piece for my dad for Father's Day but I went into anaphylactic shock and it took days for the histamine to clear my system, and I spent nearly a week not feeling up to much... I do plan to finish it. Soon.
And last, but not least, I just got back from the framer the last piece I finished framed...

On a sad note, looks like my digital camara is broken. The flash won't work. Plan to buy a new one soon. Meanwhile, I used my son's and if worse comes to worse, I still have a scanner...

Specifically for July my short term stitching goals are:
1) Finish 4 Rows of the Rainbow Borders sampler
2) Finish Row 8 (over one hibiscus) Sunshine State Sampler
3) Finish my Dad's piece
4) Rip (GASP!) mistake on Seaside Cottage

Back for Good

Stitching Mojo slowly coming back.
Started a Father's Day piece to see if it would return.
That didn't work.
Started another piece - Sampler Rainbow Borders by Jan Houtman.
It's started to come back.

In the past two months:
Haven't been stitching.
Haven't been blogging.
Need to stop all that.

Have gotten very behind on my rotation for this year.
Behind by two christmas ornaments (May & June)
Haven't stitched on The Rose Garden at all.
Really behind on Sunshine State Sampler by Jeannette Douglas
Really behind on everything, really
Going to begin a daily rotation to rekindle my Stitching Mojo

This is the rotation I propose, starting this Sunday:

Sunday - Large Piece - Sunshine State Sampler - SAL with Tillie & Ellen
Monday - Small Piece - Father's Day piece - replace with CEC Xmas Ornies when finished
Tuesday - XLarge Piece - Rainbow Borders
Wednesday - Large Piece - Rose Garden
Thursday - XLarge Piece - Paradigm Lost
Friday - XLarge Piece - Rainbow Borders
Saturday - Medium Piece - Seaside Garden - replace with CEC Xmas Ornies when finished

Post progress - however small - at least 5 times a week.

Waiting in the wings:
CEC Xmas Ornies - 12 Days of Xmas - 5th to12th Day
2004 Snappers - Sept to Dec
Petal Fairy
East Brother Lighthouse
Mystery VIII

Planned New Starts:
Silver Lining's Pink Tulips
Hearts & Flowers

Three Little Maids
For the Dieter
Mermaids Singing

Mid Year Reflection on Yearly Goals

Stitching goals for this year were as follows:

1) Keep up with the Ornament SAL with StitchersTimeOut (a yahoo group)
Got kicked out of the group in May for not posting :(
2) Finish The Rose Garden -Haven't stitched on it at all
3) Finish Sunshine State Sampler
4) Finish Snappers 2004
5) Finish Mystery VIII -Haven't stitched on it at all
6) Stitch one complete Twelve Days of Xmas ornament series - stitched the first four

Updated Goals for this year:

1) Finish the Rose Garden
2) Finish Sunshine State Sampler
3) Finish 2004 Snappers
4) Finish 8 ornies from the 12 Days of Xmas series
5) Finish half Sampler Rainbow Borders

Oh, and post at least 5 times a week....