Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Final March Happy Dance!

I finished Stretch by TW today just before noon. Hooray! That is one more for the challenge! The colors are beautiful and the knotted border glows. I'm thinking of making it into a small pillow for Kian, or not. I don't know yet. There is finishing stitching and finishing. I'm okay at the first, rubbish at the second.

Then I picked up Santorini, an over one project for my Dad. Stitching over one white on 32 count white fabric made me tired so I stopped after a bit. I'm hoping to have it finished before his birthday in July, but we'll just see. I've finished the first two pages and only have the smallest two pages left, but I don't know if I can do it.

This evening I worked on Midi 1. There is still a small amount of hope that I can actually finish this before the baby arrives. A very small amount. It is coming together nicely and even if it is the only Chatelaine I focus on after Kian arrives, I still may get it done by the end of the summer.

Kian's co-sleeper arrived and it looks much better than it did on the internet. Angie wanted to climb in so we let her lay in it for a minute or two (she is still under the weight limit). She looked a little too crowded so I think she'll allow Kian to sleep there instead. I think our home is as ready as it will be for Kian's arrival.

I'm getting a bit nervous. I have so much to do at work. I'm hoping I can get it all done in time. I discovered this week that although my boss has known about my pregnancy since October, and I gave him my due date and likely length of leave in January, and I've even discussed substitute per diems with both my boss and the department secretary, they have not actually arranged for anyone to cover my docket. I may return from leave only to find that nothing actually happened on any of my cases and the warm body sitting in my chair just continued everything. I will try not to panic. I will remain reasonably calm. I'm just frustrated because I have worked so hard during the last two months, attempting to wrap up some of the more complicated matters. Oh well, what will be, will be. And if I win the lottery.....Craft Store!

I've reached the 37 week mark today. I'd like to work at least another two weeks, but it is all up to Kian at this point. I go to the doctor on Tuesday so we'll see how things are progressing.

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Monday, March 26, 2007

Busy, busy, busy...

First, here is the scan of Snow Crystal by Chatelaine Designs. I couldn't wait to take a proper picture of it. You'll need to tilt your head to the right at a 49 degree angle to see it as charted.

Very pretty isn't it? I'm so in love with this design. It is supposed to be a giftie, however, I am fighting the almost overwhelming desire to keep it for myself. I keep comforting myself with the notion that I've had lots of personalization ideas while stitching it and that I'll keep a later stitched version.

We'll see whether good Holley or bad Holley wins out in the end.

The details:

It is stitched on 28 count jazlyn Meditation by Picture this Plus. I think this is the best fabric for this design as charted. I used Hi Luster PTB in Silver (PH02) instead of regular silver because it is my favorite silver PTB--it has wonderful shine in real life. I also used Thread Gatherer Silk'n Colours # 081 in Forget Me Not for the Rhodes stitches. And I confess. I tried to use Mill Hill beads, really I did. I have oodles of them and I decided to use a lavender MH rather than the recommended mauve. I did one section of Mill Hills and hated the color and the way they laid next to each other. Then I tried Delica beads in #249 and fell in love, then promptly frogged the stitched Mill Hills. They look fantastic. I received the Delicas in one of my Bead Collector shipments from ECC so that has made that little club completely worthwhile to me. A note about the beading: I know that the PTP site lists DMC 211 as a close match to Meditation. I must say a hearty "no way" to that. DMC 211 is far to pinkish to match. I used DMC 3747 to attach the beads instead.

In other stitching news, I completed stitching two more ornaments during this month's Christmas Ornament SAL and you can see them here. I'm still a bit astounded that I, little old me, completed the star. I'm still not sure how I managed that blackwork and I am even more impressed with the people who stitch the Leon Conrad Designs. I started a third ornament but put it aside in order to pull out one of my UFO's.

I started TW's Stretch when it was released (err, yes it was six and a half years ago--my head is bowed). I'm still very fond of it and I am ashamed that it is still on my list to complete because I have a ridiculously small amount of work to do on it: add a claw and finish the backstitching. That's it. I found it while searching for some Caron Watercolours (which I didn't find) from the stash I have in the garage. I'm missing a few of the DMC needed to finish it but I'm sure if I look around what I have here at home, I'll be able to find them too. I'd hate to buy new DMC for this tiny bit of stitching.

I've also done a bit more on Midi 1, WG and tonight I may stitch a teensy bit on JG. I think I am back in love with WG at the moment--WG and I have a fickle relationship since I finished the blue silken pool in the center. However, since it is for my SIL and BIL (husband's sister), and they have been so good to us, and I have been working on it since the Fall of 2004, I would really, really, like to finish it this year. Maybe I can actually complete a few goals this month.

Why am I so motivated? I really want to be able to order Tuscany Mandala Garden when it is released.

In other non stitching news, we looked at some houses this weekend, exteriors only. Out of seven, we found two that we liked. I suppose we are too fussy. No we do not want to live a block away from the humongous chemical plant. We're funny that way. A nice one is a bit over priced at the moment, but the location is great and it has wood floors. We'll see how things go. We have much to do in the house hunting arena. I'm hoping we'll manage to move this year. Our current home is cozy and okay for the three of us. Once Kian needs to be in something other than the co-sleeper next to our bed, we will have out grown this place.

Angie is feeling better after having battled a gastro-intestinal virus last week. Her pediatrician said that it was running rampant through the area and that kids were definitely hit harder, but the adults would feel it too. Yup. Last week was a bit uncomfortable in the household. Angie has clearly lost some weight. Tonight, she devoured her dinner though. Thank Goodness.

I saw the Doctor today and everything still seems fine. The co-sleeper we ordered should be here either tomorrow or Wednesday (that has been a month long adventure as I have tried to order it from three or four different places only to discover they didn't actually have it). However, contrary to what my co-workers say, the Doctor says that my body isn't ready yet to have the baby.

My co-workers also tell me lovely things like how big my bottom is getting. I didn't really need to hear that. I wouldn't mind so much, except that the person who is saying to me seems to be trying to be mean, rather than just teasing (other people tell me that you can't tell I'm pregnant unless you actually see my giant belly). Then again, maybe there is really no good way to hear that your backside is spreading.

Kian has started exhibiting his personality. He does not like it when anything rests against my belly (unless it is Angie). He immediately kicks or push the weight away. I'm not sure what this means, except that maybe he isn't a snuggler. Also, he kicks me when I am hungry as if to say, "Hey lady, stop what you are doing and feed me!" He must be very concerned that we'll forget to feed him once he is out.

So that is life right now. Busy, busy, busy. I'm going to hop off the computer now so that Angie can play for a bit before bathtime.

Good night.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

I knew this would happen....

No sooner do I post some restrictions on my spending and stash acquisition (except that I think I'm letting myself buy the Illuminated Medieval Sampler because that would be a gift for someone else--I want those swirly bits in parts not in one big lump), then Martina posts a preview of the Tuscany Mandala Garden.

It's even more beautiful than I hoped and I'll have to join it. Italy is one of my favorite places. If she'd thrown in Venice I would have just sent her money on the spot, group or no group.

Fortunately, it's just a a designer WIP and Martina has not even created the yahoo group yet.

I know what you're thinking:

Holley, stop blogging and go stitch something!

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Yes a Happy Dance

In the wake of yesterday's yuckiness, I forgot to mention that I did complete Snow Crystal Tuesday night. It's gorgeous. I will try to take a picture this weekend if the light is good. Snow Crystal is too big for my scanner (time for a larger scanner) and when I get home in the evening, the twilight casts those terrible orange shadows on my photos. I'm just excited that I at last have a decently sized happy dance. Now I just need to do the finishing--I have some special plans in mind for it.

But still, a hearty huzzah for finishing the first project in my 25 project challenge. It isn't one of my larger mandalas, but at least it isn't an ornament!

I worked a little on Tree of Hope last night (because I needed it) and then switched to Midi 1. I don't think I will be able to finish Midi 1 by next Saturday, but I will be close to finishing it. A few cross stitches are left and then I can completely focus on the special stitches and beading. Yay! I loved beading Snow Crystal and if I get far enough on Midi 1, I just may start beading early to cheer myself up a bit.

I have to frog part of Stealing Oats, but just a small part and mostly because I'm fussy, not actually because it would ruin the design. I'll try to post a photo of that too (because I'm so excited about how it is coming together). I'm very fond of these designs because they are so simple, yet look so nice.

I am trying so hard to restrain myself from starting some new (larger) design, which I would normally do as a way of coping with the yuckiness of yesterday (or I would buy more stash). However, I don't want to fail the challenge this early, so I am trying to focus on the great feeling of another happy dance. With the Ornament SAL this weekend I can at least start something new that is small. If I can hold out for another big happy dance, maybe I'll let myself start something new.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Frustrated and emotionally drained.

Rough, rough day.

Only two cases, but one was a doozy. Think of the worst things you could imagine for a kid and the most inappropriate parents possible, then think of more horrible things just short of actual abuse, and you have the toddler girl I dealt with today.

I was okay, until I found out that the child protective agency in the area was involved with this family and did nothing. The agency was willing to let me just grant custody to one of the incredibly, unbelievably awful parents. I was furious then.

I saw the girl, because she was brought to court on my order to place her with a more stable relative. Dirty did not even begin to describe adequately the child's condition. She was wheezing and the mask for her nebulizer was saturated with smoke so that we couldn't even give her a treatment.

And she had big beautiful blue eyes and pale blonde (matted) hair.

And I knew a family to whom she should belong, with a house and horses and room for another child (at least physically, if not emotionally). A family who has had far more sorrow and loss than anyone should have in such a short time. And she would have a big brother who looks similar to her and parents who are wonderful. But I cannot wiggle my fingers and make the world better for either this child or that family.

The GAL told me today that as bad as it was, and as horrible as it could have be, yesterday we saved a child. I'm glad, but I wish I could protect her even more.

I could just cry.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Stitching Decision

Considering that we are planning to buy a house and place Angie in a private school, I've decided that I am joining a challenge at the Wagon:

No new acquisitions until I've completed 25 projects.

The only exceptions and caveats will be:

1. Bead Collectors Club at ECC-because it is only $12.00 each month and may also help with #2.
2. Supplies needed to complete a project.
3. Gifts for others.
4. No more than 12 ornaments can count toward this challenge.
5. Angie's Power Puff girl costume is included.
6. If I am halfway through the challenge (13 done), I will let myself get a limited edition design (if one is out that I really want).

I waffled about whether I wanted to just start with 10 projects, but since I am faithfully stitching ornaments each month, I would go through that very quickly without making a dent in my WIPS or stash. So I'm being bold and going for the 25.

I should have my first completion in the next week--I've nearly finished Snow Crystal. If I'm lucky, I should be able to follow that up rather quickly with a few ornaments as this coming weekend is the Ornament SAL.

I think I should be okay since Martina's classes are usually a year long. I should have some strong motivation to finish 25 projects so that I can get the Anniversary Design, the Heritage Sampler and/or the Tuscany Mandala before they end.

Wish me luck and some will power.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Latest SBQ

If you had $500 to spend on stitching-related items, what would you buy?

Hand dyed fabric and silks.

Oh, was I supposed to ponder this one for a really, really long time?


Thursday, March 15, 2007


Sorry I haven't posted in a while. One of you very kindly checked on me so I thought I should post a general statement.

I'm okay!

Everything is still fine. Last week, my in-laws told us on Tuesday that they would be here Friday. That pushed us into a flurry of unprecedented cleaning frenzy. We survived the cleaning and the visit. My mom arrives on Sunday, so we are attempting to maintain the clean. Do you have anyone in your life who wants so badly to be a help that they end up causing more stress?

Anyway, there has been a lot of drama at work lately (not related to me). I was so incredibly grateful when someone told me that it was Thursday (I was thinking it was Wednesday). March has been difficult at work: Sometimes happy, sometimes hopeful, sometimes just heartbreaking. I do love what I do, but every now and then I think of how nice it would be to win the lottery and mosey off into the sunset.

It's also suddenly hit me that I could really have a baby in just two or three weeks, although I'm still technically 5 weeks away from my due date. That spurred another bout of frenzied activity. The first part of my pregnancy seemed to drag in part due to the stress from the house fire. 2007 seems to be zipping right along though.

I have managed some stitching but not nearly what I would like to have accomplished. Most of my work was this weekend on the HAED challenge piece, but I still won't reach my goal for this month. I'll really need to work hard to reach any of my stitching goals in the next 16 days.

Angie was accepted at the private school, which is good. Now I just have to worry about tuition. I know we can manage it for this year. Part of me worries that we won't be able to afford to keep her there. It really isn't that much (it's one of the more affordable non-religious schools in the area), but sometimes I just worry that we have (at my suggestion) bitten off more than we can maintain. The good news is that we are now free to search just about anywhere for a new house because we won't be limited by the public school issue. Then I have to worry about how we can make a down payment....

I think I'm really just in late pregnancy worry mode and I'm fretting over just about everything.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Baby Info and Other Things

We have told all the family at this point. At least I'm assuming that my mom couldn't contain herself and told my brothers.

It appears that we are having a boy, unless, as I told a friend, that was the umbilical cord we saw at the ultrasound in December. The professionals seemed certain that it was a boy, and I do think the 3D ultrasound looks like a boy, so it is probably a boy. Let me tell you, it was far easier to see Angie's gender at the ultrasound than it was for this little boy. If we are all wrong, Chas and I will be in trouble as we have only selected a name for a boy.

Thanks to everyone with suggestions. I will actually post them all at the website just so that you can see how many names were proposed. In the end we have settled on:

Kian Derek

Kian is pronounced: Key-en. The emphasis is on the first syllable.I have received one positive response from a non-relative (the lady who works with me at Court), while the other mommies at Gymboree were politely underwhelmed ("Oh"). Both names actually stuck for a little more than a month, which is longer than anything else did. Both names are not in the top 100 at the SSA, which is important to us because it can be tedious to be share names with seven other kids in the same class. The names fit my syllable rule for our baby names (same number of syllables in the first two names as in the last two). I also love the meanings of the names and how they work together: Kian means "enduring" and Derek is a "wise ruler/leader." I'm a little disappointed that I won't have a great story to tell Kian about the person for whom he is named, unlike Angie. At best I will simply say, "Because Mommy didn't want to name you Zaphod." However, Chas, his Dad and Uncle Rick have all indicated they will still call this child "Zaphod" anyway. Sigh.

In other news, Angie is sick. As in woke me at 1:30 this morning with fever of roughly 104 sick. She and I were up for a while and finally returned to sleep at 4:00 a.m. only to re-awaken at 7:30 a.m. She has been napping off and on all day. She is very chipper for being sick and her temperature has been down a few degrees (102 give or take a degree depending on the time) most of the day. We're just keeping her hydrated as much as possible and watching her carefully. The Doctor's Office said this is going around. Lucky us.

I'm feeling a bit unwell myself, but since I think I forgot to take some of my asthma medication last night, it's no surprise that I'm feeling poorly.

Obviously I've switched to the new blogger, but playing with it will have to wait until we're all healthy again.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

March Goals

First let's review February's goals:

1. Finish all Cross stitching on Midi 1 and start the special stitches.
--No but I only have the rest of the lady, the greenery in the basket and the gold in the windows to finish. I've started some of the special stitches and they look wonderful.
2. Finish Snow Crystal
--No, But I only have a little bit of the metallic left, some cross stitching, then the beading and the special stitches. I can only work on the metallic crystal parts for so long and then I must put it away.
3. Finish the cross stitching in Part 2 of MX
--Started but not completed. Not even close.
4. Finish another set of bridges in JG
--Started, then I switched to stitching the existing crane section. I'm doing the crane medallions entirely over one and I've realized that will take a very long time.
5. Finish another set of grey columns on WG.
--No. I didn't even touch poor WG last month.
6. Stitch two ornaments for the Christmas Ornament SAL
--I stitched three ornaments for the SAL. You can see them here. I also stitched a bit more on an ornament WIP, but I was clearly in the mood for trees this month, not stars.
7. Finish the page of my HAED SAL design.
--No, but I'm probably finished with two-thirds of the first page.

I added Frog Prince 3 for another HAED SAL and I started Stealing Oats. I managed to stitch some of the princess in Frog Prince, but she looks a little odd since I couldn't complete her eyes. Stealing Oats looks great, but I've decided that I really don't like Weeks Dye Works.

This month I would like to:

1. Finish Midi 1
2. Finish Snow Crystal
3. Finish the cross stitching in Part 2 of MX
4. Finish another set of bridges in JG or a crane area
5. Finish another set of grey columns on WG.
6. Finish Cross stitching in Tree of Hope.
7. Stitch two ornaments for the Christmas Ornament SAL
8. Finish the page of my HAED SAL design.
9. Participate any other HAED SAL
10. Finish Stealing Oats