Monday, October 30, 2006

Can't Post. Must Stitch.

The New Start SAL at the HAED BB worked its magic: I am once again stitching. Having focused on the beautiful Bedtime Stories, I have created a lovely blue blob (I feel just like Nicki).

The photo was scanned at the end of the SAL. Bedtime Stories is now my take to work project--lunch hour only, but I can usually manage one or two strands per lunch hour. I have even more blue blobbie-ness now. The total stitch count is 171,150. Eeep. I can do this, right? I'm no good at tracking my stitches. What does it look like to you? 2,000? Maybe? Eeeeeep.

Over the weekend I resumed work on Japanese Garden. It felt wonderful to stitch on her again. I still have quite a-ways to go, but I thought I should do some stitching since the class ends tomorrow. I have checked that I have all my files and will keep stitching on her. With any luck, I should have her finished early next year. I'll try to post a picture of her after tomorrow night. Yesterday I finished the last zen garden. I had finished the final corner ornament the night of the fire. She was still in fine shape as I had carefully folded her and sealed the plastic bag in which I keep her. Thank goodness. The water around the tori looks a little dull, but I think my eyes are playing tricks on me in the poor lighting in this apartment.

Feels great to have needle in hand again.

Monday, October 23, 2006

And the Winner is....

Bedtime Story by Sara Butcher (trust me--the caption is incorrect). She won hands down in the poll.

So I found a clean piece of fabric--antique white monaco in 28 count. It was still in its plastic tube in the bottom of the fabric drawer so it wasn't harmed.

I took Angie to the craft store (Pat Catan's) to buy some of the DMC for the project. Thanks so much to Jeannie-Maree for sending me the usage list--I would have been completely lost without it. Angie had a great time picking out crafts for herself (she's big into the foamies right now).

I gridded part of the fabric and started stitching last night--the first time since September 4, 2006.

A few thoughts upon commencing the stitching:

1. Oh my merciful heavens. This is one huge BAP! I do not know if I can finish the first few rows this year, let alone the entire chart. This is why I stick primarily to the quick stitches.
2. Yummmmmm! I am stitching with some of my favorite DMC blues and purples. I'm just starting, and the background is huge, but I love these colors.
3. I am old. My eyes are old. Next time I should splurge and get the large print chart. Two symbols which appear side by side throughout the chart are almost identical when printed at the regular size on my little ink jet. Thank goodness I've learned how to print larger from my Chatelaines.

I've only put in a few hundred stitches both yesterday and today. Very pretty. I think that I'll focus on Bedtime Story for the next two days since I missed the first two days of the SAL. Then I'll try to stitch at least one 12 inch strand each day to see how I progress.

I'd also like to pick up JG once more before the Yahoo class ends at the beginning of November.

And of course, there will be pictures. Eventually.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I am now the proud owner of a Kenmore 15358. Now I just need to figure out how to work this crazy thing.

So we purchased a costume for Angie tonight--Uniqua from the Backyardigans. I'll still make the Orange Power Puff Girl costume (maybe this weekend), but she needs something for her class tomorrow night. She was pleased with it. She started to go for the Elmo costume so I'm glad we found Uniqua. My kid likes fiesty girl characters. I wonder from who she gets that interest. ;oD

Work has been tough, not the actual job, just dealing with some bad stuff from Administration and another higher up. I'm a little frazzled and tired so I'm just heading to bed.

Good night all. Nice dreams.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Sewing Machine is History

I tested the sewing machine tonight.

Picture on the floor, sewing machine resting on a towel on the kitchen chair which doubles as my computer chair, foot on the pedal. Yes, it was quite a sight. No, there is no photographic evidence of said attempt since the digital camera is full of fire damage photos.

I tried stitching with ecru thread. While I could figure out the controls reasonably well, and eventually reached the right settings, the ecru thread came out grey on the actual fabric. I could faintly smell the soot, but of course, I think I smell soot and smoke often. (I'm finding the misty haze from our new room humidifier--it's very dry in the apartment--a little stressful.)

So my husband has been telling me most of the night that we just toss the machine, mark it as another loss to the fire and buy a new one immediately so that I can sew the Power Puff Girl costume/jumper.

Which is fine, except that I'm vaguely sentimental. This was Grandma's sewing machine. It was one of the few things that I received after she died. I have a wide range of feelings about my grandma (but that is another post, or two, or three), but I liked having her sewing machine. And that part of me heavily influenced by how I was raised murmurs, "But I can get it cleaned at a repair shop and hold onto as a back up."

And I've already lost my mom's sewing machine (the one sitting out at all times in the laundry room/hallway/sewing area as I grew up) because it was the one too close to the de-humidifier.

He knows that I can be weirdly sentimental about things. I told him to let me deal with this in my own way (i.e. don't just toss out the sewing machine without telling me).

So, I will apparently have a new sewing machine and I'll be saying good-bye to the old ones. I hope I can figure out the new machine in time to make the costume.

And does anyone want or need a bunch of cams from a thirty to forty year old sewing machine? They were in their case in the closet upstairs.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Another Fire Casualty, a Dilemma and Another Book

I am supposed to stitch Angie's Halloween costume this year. She wants to be a Power Puff Girl. Not Blossom, Bubbles or Buttercup, but Angie the Power Puff Girl and her costume shall be orange (the current favorite color). It should be reasonably easy--black shoes, white tights and an orange and black striped jumper.

However, the good sewing machine is completely history. It was in the basement, near the dehumidifier. That should be all you need to know. I saw it today--not a pretty sight.

The other sewing machine doesn't stitch as well, but I do use it. It was in Angie's closet and the door was closed. Smoke and soot still entered the closet so I had to clean it today. Unfortunately, we can't find the manual. It was not near the sewing machine. It was not anywhere in the house. I couldn't check the garage because it has most of the debris from the basement (ewwwww). It isn't in the storage unit.

I know from experience that if I don't have the machine on the correct settings, the thread will break. I think I remember them. I think I can wing winding bobbins (had to buy new ones because my bobbins are also mia). I'd just feel better if I could find the manual. I've looked on line. No luck. It is a New Home JA 1506 so if anyone can tell me the correct settings for straight and overcast stitches I'd be grateful. If not I'll just fake it.

And did I mention that I have to have the costume ready by Thursday night? Yikes!

Now for the dilemma. I have not stitched on any of my wips since the night before the fire. I was tempted at the sight of the new Chatelaine Tiny Mandala in the Gift of Stitching this month. I was tempted when I saw Nicki's TW Round Robin. I was tempted enough to grab my JG stitching bag when I saw the finished, framed JG by Black Fabric Mistress. But I still haven't started anything yet.

The HAED BB is having a New Start SAL this coming weekend, and I'm sorely tempted to join in the fun(I am a serial starter after all). I think DH would tell me that I should actually finish something before starting something new. If I do join the SAL, I have narrowed my choices down to two charts:

Selena Fenech's Motherhood QS (which is only the mom and baby and just a hint of tail--you can see it near the bottom on page 3 of the Quick Stitches at HAED)


Bedtime Stories by Sara Butcher

I also thought about Our Angel, but I think I've ruled her out for now.

I love Bedtime Stories and would really love to start it now. But it's huge, has lots of colors and I'm not sure I have a piece of clean fabric big enough for it at the moment. I haven't really looked at my stash since the fire.

Motherhood is small (it's the smallest HAED currently in my possession which I have not yet started), has a few colors and I think I can find a piece of fabric to fit it. I'm just not sure I want to stitch it.

Additionally, I haven't seen anyone stitching Bedtime Stories while Motherhood is an extremely popular design.

I posted a poll at HAED so either leave a comment with your opinion or post one at the bb (or both if you feel strongly).

Finally, I finished The Constant Princess. It was excellent. I was surprised at how interesting it was. I have to admit that I'm a little cynical about really popular authors so I didn't have high expectations for the novel. I was pleased. If you like Tudor England, a bit of history, a bit of love (not romance mind you), and a bit of politics, I would recommend this book. It is about Katherine of Aragon's arrival in England and her eventual marriage to Henry the VIII. I'm not sure what I'll pick up next. The bookstore in the local mall closed this weekend (it's lease was purchased) and so everything was half off. Very dangerous situation for me. I purchased a few items. ;o)

Maybe next time I post I'll have a completed costume or some stitching to show.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Borrowing a Book Meme:

I had a wonderful day with Angie yesterday. Today she was unexpectedly ill and the stress just kind of mounted from there.

So instead of ranting, which may come later, I thought I would do an interesting Book Meme I read on another Blog.

1. One book that changed your life:

Errr. I don't know. The Mercy of Thin Air was great as was Love in the Driest Season. They both touched me. But I don't know that I've ever read any book and had it completely turn my life in a different direction. Maybe Equal Rites and Witches Abroad tapped into my inner feistiness.

2. One book that you've read more than once:

Many. As a kid I would read and re-read favorites. Nowadays, I like to read the LOTR trilogy every year, however, my editions are mia (and hopefully not destroyed in the basement). I've recently re-read Sorcery or Cecelia and the Enchanted Chocolate Pot.

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
It would be something like War and Peace, which I actually liked. Something a bit epic and long to keep me occupied.

4. One book that made you laugh:
Guards! Guards! Parts of it make me laugh out loud every time I read it. I think I loaned it to a friend.

5. One book that made you cry:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I had to re-read the cemetary scene several times before I actually acepted what happened. And the reaction of the family upon Harry's return. I know, I'm a nerd. To be fair, I read it perhaps a year to a year and a half after my nephew died.

6. One book you wish had been written:

I wish there were more books with female heroes. Or at least one with the popularity of Harry Potter. Beyond that, I can't think of anything else. Maybe a manual on world peace. Something so compelling it convinces everyone to just get along already.

7. One book you wish had never been written:
Anything that creates divisions between people for arbitrary reasons or intentionally denigrates a group of people. I don't generally read books with those themes so I can't think of anything off the top of my head.

8. One book you're currently reading: Well, I started Little Earthquakes tonight, read the first chapter and decided that I was not up for reading it at the moment. I think I'll switch to the Constant Princess tomorrow.

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaardner. It's the one I'm actually seeking and when I couldn't find it, I bought two other books by the same author instead.

10. Some favorite books not on this list:
Anything else by Terry Pratchett
The Great Alta Series by Jane Yolen
The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin

Too many others to name.

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Husband Really Knows Me.

We don't have a t.v. or cable yet. That will change next week.

Last night, Chas turned to me and said, "Honey if there was a Sci-Fi bar, I'd send you out to it tomorrow night."

I guess the new Season of Battlestar Galactica starts tonight.

Oh well.

We also missed a new episode of Dr. Who last week.

I'm intrigued by the notion of a sci-fi bar, but I've been to enough conventions (yes indeedy I have) to be a little frightened at the prospect.

Still he's a sweetie for thinking of me.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Blackwork Building Blocks Finally Updated

I was stalking Stich'inspiration for ages this summer waiting for the building blocks section to be updated.

I checked today: Heart Grotto
Very cute.

The same general information is there, but unfortunately no new modules. Of course I haven't played with the modules I have already saved.

I would like to stitch some blackwork before the end of the year. Maybe I should just focus on stitching the things I've already started.

Contemplating Nature

Let's sum up the year thus far:

In February/March, we had a minor earthquake that actually shook my bed and woke me up. I'm in NEOhio for heaven's sake.

In July, we had such heavy rains that a river ran through my basement.

In September, we had the small but incredibly inconvenient house fire.


The only thing left is wind. And we have these two terribly large, ill maple trees in the front yard.



Hubby, avert your eyes.

Nathan Fillion will apparently be returning to t.v. In my world, this is a good thing.

So now I'm going to need to start watching this really complicated show and try to understand it prior to Nathan Fillion's episodes. Hey Cathy! Don't you watch "Lost?" Can I bug you when I get confused? I wonder if Television Without Pity would be helpful....

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One Minor Frustration:

I have not watched a single professional football game since the season started!


I have to endure the long months and countless baseball and basketball games. Hours of ESPN. And I can't even watch a game right now.


I'm doing horribly in my Yahoo Group picks.


Fumbling towards Stability

The Great Hotel Shuffle has ended and we are now in an apartment less than a mile from the house. Unfortunately we had to sign a three month lease, but the reality is that the cost of a not so great hotel for a month was roughly the same price as the three month lease. {Sigh}

Angie is better now that we are in our "Snug, little apartment." Her appetite has improved. If we would just get cable back, I think she would feel somewhat normal.

I still have not managed to peak at the state of my stitching. We saw black soot on the inside of the cabinet where I kept the silks and fabrics and I dread what I will find. I also unfortunately did not get to drop in the shopping mart at Hershey CATS this weekend. I was actually just a few minutes away, but we had more pressing family issues (my Grandfather in Law had surgery earlier this week) so I couldn't in good conscience go. I really only wanted to hit the Dinky Dyes stall--the wall of silks is a thing of beauty. Maybe next year. It was not what I would call a relaxing weekend, but we survived and returned home mostly okay.

And since I haven't stitched during the last few weeks, we are all going to pretend that the post titled, "Stitching Summary and September Goals," actually reads, "October Goals" and move on from there.

And again, in the absence of stitching, I have been reading.

The Artemis Fowl book was great. I'll be interested to see if this series continues.

The Little Grey Men is a wonderful children's book. Incredibly detailed descriptions of nature--I'm a bit envious because I could never pack that much detail into my stories. The woodland came alive and the last gnomes in Britain had quite a nail-biting adventure. I'm not quite ready to read it to Angie (just a bit more violence than I think she should handle at the moment), but probably in a few years, she'll hear it.

Sophie's World is subtitled "A History of Philosophy" and that is no exaggeration. I wish that my professors in college had made philosophy and political theory so interesting. There is a bit of a mystery attached too. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was very heavy reading. Not a book to pick up if you just want some brain candy, but a good book to read at some point. The really amusing thing to me was that while reading it, my real life was presented with quotes and ideas, and then I would read those same quotes and ideas in Sophie's World shortly afterwards.

Love in the Driest Season is a "Family Memoir" about a couple's attempt to adopt a Zimbabwean orphan just as the country is collapsing around them. The fact that the husband is an American journalist on assignment in that country at the time complicates things. An excellent book too. The Chapter "The Girl-Child" is wholly heart-wrenching. So many children lost--I can't even imagine how the woman running the orphanage felt--devastating to read. The end will bring tears to your eyes as well. I wanted to "do something" after reading this book, but I don't know what yet. Maybe it's that restless feeling of needing a change (other than the temporary change of scenery) rearing into my life again. I could not put the book down and finished reading it around midnight yesterday.

The only other news I can think of right now is that my SIL (technically my brother's girlfriend but close enough) was diagnosed with Lymphoma.

I can't even tell you how pleased I am that September is over. Not that October in Northeastern Ohio is a ray of sunshine, but at least September is done for the year.

I hope everyone has a good October.

October is SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

From the Press Release (not that I actually qualify as "the Press" but anyway):

On this day, in communities across America, expectant moms will feel their baby’s first kick; parents will listen joyfully to their newborn’s first cry; and families will celebrate their healthy baby’s first birthday.

Also on this day, seven babies will be lost to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS); more than 70 new parents will have listened sadly to their stillborn baby’s silence; and countless lives will be lost to miscarriage and other sudden, unexpected infant deaths.

October 15 has been designated “National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. On this day, in homes across our nation, families will light candles to celebrate the lives that have been lost, and will continue to be lost, until we reach our goal of a future where all babies survive and thrive.

First Candle has established a 2006 Awareness Month Action Center on its website. Interested individuals can access information on ways they can help create awareness and/or show support for families and babies in their local community. Bilingual crisis counselors are also available 24/7 by calling, toll free, 1-800-221-7437.

{end of press release}

Additionally, I just want to highlight that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

I know that some people reading this blog are not in the U.S., but the idea is that at 7:00 p.m. "families around the United States will light candles in memory all of the precious babies that have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy." If anyone else from another country wants to participate, that would be wonderful.

My nephew died from SIDS seven years ago. My Mother had two miscarriages and her firstborn child died from undetected birth defects 47 years ago. At least one good friend suffered a miscarriage and another lost two boys one year apart, both little ones still born. And then there was my own miscarriage earlier this year. Obviously, this hits pretty close to home (my emotional home, not the sooty, smokey physical home). I may not be able to light an actual candle (have no idea where my nephew's memory candle is at this point) but I may light one here in memory of all the babies who did not have a chance to grow up.

If you are so motivated, you are welcome to light a candle for all the little ones too.