Jan 19, 2017


(My first selfie was the one with me holding a sleeping Stewey.)

Ugh...I absolutely positively hate my photograph.  But in this case, I wanted to grab a shot of the haircut so I could remember what it looks like.  The funny thing is that I picked up the iPad and must have hit the button as I was looking at Stewey's little box thinking "Can you believe I'm doing this, Little?", so I suppose he's kind if in this one too.


No stitching last night, unfortunately.  My grocery shopping trip was rather eventful in that I almost had a "CLEAN UP ON AISLE FOUR!" situation when I thought I was going to have to have a lie down in the canned peas.

Never fear, though.  I am nothng if not a very plucky and, as it turns out, VAIN spinster, so the very idea of losing one's consciousness in public was enough to keep me upright.

(But I must've looked pretty silly taking a big gulp of my Starbucks, tossing back my little superhero capelet, and shouting "Onward!" in my very best Winston Churchill voice).

(You have to love a grocery with a Starbucks in it, right?)

I came home, got the groceries put away, painted my nails, and all of that and Housewives was about it for the night.

Yes, yes, I know that it's all about pacing myself and learning how to be a patient patient.  I have to replace my usual "I am strong like bull" attitude with that of "May I have help with a, b, c please?" and I need to remember that all of this is only temprary.

I was trying to explain that to my Jersey boy yesterday on the phone.  When you feel lousy...I mean really really really lousy and can't get out of bed for days at a time, you start to fret that this just might be your life from now on, and your mourn all off the stuff you wanted to do with yourself.  Shifting into the mindset of "This too shall pass" can be a very hard thing to do, and if you combine it with other things happening in your life (see moi, circa 2016), you can REALLY fall down that rabbit hole.

So when I tell you all how much I appreciate you, please really really believe it, since there are absolutely days when your happy thoughts and wonderful presence in my life are the freight train that's carrying me through the muck and fog of war.


Too many metaphors there.

But you know what I mean.  

Miss Brandi is going to tame the squirrel on top of my head and then Miss Leslye is going to fix what's inside.  I'm thinking of going with a shoulder-length, sassy, fun little bob type thing, but I will put my ample heiney in the chair and let the professionals do their thing.  As long as it's easy to ignore every morning when I put on my sweatpants and can be pulled off my face...I'm good.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming soon, I promise. (My goodness...Betty must be having an absolute fit with all of this non-stitchy gabbing!)

Jan 18, 2017


Somebody must have slipped me a Mickey before bed last night, because my dreams were so strange that I had to stay in bed quite late today just to see how they ended.

I was in a musical.  Singing, dancing, and acting.  


Now, the fact that my hunka hunka burnin' love would appear in a dream might not be that odd, especially given my utter fascination with all things JDM. But singing?  Me?

(I'd like to think that I have a voice like Adele, but it's more like a schlumpy, tone-deaf, non-British Adele who can clear a room or a church pew whenever she decidesto belt out a tune.)

And then, just to really make it nuts...I was singing about...

Gosh, I think I'm even a little embarrased to tell you this because it is just so damn odd.

OK, here goes....


I don't even know what mincemeat is.  But, there I was with Jeffrey Dean Morgan on the stage singing about it.  And my solo was all about serving mincemeat in different styles...Polish, Italian, etc.

Holy crap on a cracker...it's finally happened.  I've lost what little sanity I had and now am going to wander about this big blue marble singing with Jeffrey Dean Morgan about Chinese mincemeat.

On a more normal note (Ha!  Note!):
I'm chugging along on Winter Quakers.  This is last night's progress that I made while watching Sense and Sensibility.  It was going to be Housewives, but something lead me elsewhere instead.

Well, that's the report for the day, my dears.  As soon as I get my wits about me I'm heading out fir provisions.  I've put that off long enough that I'm getting a little freaked out by the echo of emptiness in the fridge!  Time to fill 'er up!

Jan 17, 2017


It's been quite a long time since I was on an actual roller coaster, but I distinctly remember the sensation of going up that very first hill...slowly...before plummeting down the other side into oblivion.

(I never liked roller coasters much as a kid, and now that I have reached GOLD status (*) in my life, I don't think I am likely to change my mind.)

So...testing Friday, surgery on the 31st, and then appointment after appointment after appointment with the dialysis and transplant teams to figure out the next steps.  All in all, my life will be composed of lots of waiting rooms, medical equipment, and quiet time while the trained professionals figure out a way to get me back into the relative shape of a semi-healthy 50-year old spinster.

(But no way, no how am I giving up my GOLD status (*).  It was waaaayyyyy too hard to come by, and I am not going to repeat the orientation classes or extensive testing process required to get it.)

(I am, however, lobbying for 30-year old blonde triathlete rather than semi-healthy 50-year old spinster, so keep your fingers crossed for a miracle, kids.)

The surgery on the 31st will be to create what's called an AV fistula in my arm.  This basically means that the surgeon will re-route an artery and a vein and will splice them together to create a bigger "pipe" to receive the dialysis.  And yes, we've confirmed that we can do this in my left arm so that my right will be free to stitch!

(Talk about a complicated conversation...I'm actually left-handed, which means they wanted to use my right arm for the surgery.  But I explained that the only thing I use my left hand for is a fork and a pen...two things I can totally live without as long as I can still hold a needle and thread in my right hand!)

Stitching while getting dialysis might be a little more complicated, but once I get the lay of the land, I promise you (as sure as I am the Spinster Stitcher) I will figure out a way to do it.  I'm already thinking about the types and sizes of projects that I will fit into my new Vera Bradley Dialysis Activity Tote.

(You know, I'm thinking that my Gramdma Loukos might have been onto something when she nicknamed me "Little Bull Head" when I was a kid.  I get so damned determined to plow my way through something that I almost feel a little sorry for any obstacle that gets in my way.  As a kid my plowing usually involved grim determination only.   But now as an adult, that grim determination is nicely accessorized with scarves and pretty quilted tote bags.)

Many of you have emailed me with two questions in particular...

1. Hey, Spinster Stitcher!  Where is your sister in all of this, and why aren't you getting a kidney from her?

My sister is actually very much in the mix, and wants to be my donor if at all possible.  She will begin all of the testing very shortly, and even if she is not a match, she wants to donate into the "pool" for a possible piggy-back donation. (That's where she donates to somebody she matches with and I get a kidney from somebody I match with.)  There isn't enough space on the internets for me to write about how I feel about this, but I'm sure one day I will be able to explain it.

2. Hey, Spinster Stitcher!  Why haven't you gotten another dog yet?  You need another little creature to love and care for!

This one is a little more complicated, but right now I am using all of the gas in my tank just breathing in and out.  Yes, I agree that I am capable of loving another little dog (without diminishing my love for Stewey), but given my upcoming journey, methinks I better just concentrate on keeping myself fed and watered and looked after. But if it's OK, I reserve the right to miss my BabyDear.  I've learned that it' OK for me to sit in my Happy Chair and sob, provided I find a moment or two of happiness in remembering him as well.  Besides...it's only been two months since his passing, and he was pretty much my entire life!  If I'm still doing this after two years, we'll talk.  Right now, though I think I'm eventually going to be OK.

So, that's what's happening here in Hoosierville on a gloomy Tuesday.  I didn't make it to the grocery or Guild yesterday afternoon/evening, and it's not looking any better today in the productivity department, but I'm perfectly OK with that.  I am going to have my bagel, a little juice, a nice hot bath, and then a snoozy nap in the big girl sleigh bed, and then we'll see about some stitching and Housewives on the TeeVee tonight. 

Thanks for indulging me with a therapy session.  Please send me your bills and I'll have my secretary submit them to insurance!

Hope your needles are flying and that you're prancing onward!

(*) GOLD = Grumpy Old Lady Division

Jan 16, 2017


Two doctors' appointments, grocery shopping, and a Guild meeting later tonight.

Step right up to the window and place your bets, my friends.  It's three to one against me completing the above and living to tell the tale.

No stitching progress to report today, I'm afraid.  We can blame the magic blanket for that news.  I always tell myself that I'm NOT going to close my eyes...not even for a minute...and then out I go.

Like a light.

Hope your week is off to a good start!

Jan 15, 2017


Aaaahhhh, much better.

Misses Charlene, Jane, Julia, and Beth babysat me for a few hours yesterday and it seemed to do the trick.

Either that, or it was the cheeseburger that I ate that was the approximate size of a Buick.

We'll just never know.

After some time spent stitching at the library, and then again after a nice long snoozy nap, I managed to get the next moteef well under way:

My super secret project for my other guild languishes in its little bag, so I really should do something about that today.  The guilt alone is enough to push me forward...I need to get cracking on it!

Thank you, my dears, once again, for your kind and loving words of support and wisdom.  I think you know me too well...between missing Stewey, the end of the holidays, and my health issues...it's no wonder I found myself back down in that well.  I'm still in it, unfortunately, but at least now I feel like I'm sitting on the floor of it on my ample bottom looking for the stairway out, rather than lying flat on my back and hoping somebody eventually finds me down here!

Sunday is off to a good start. I've got my damn good cup of coffee, the papers, and Ina on the TeeVee!  


Jan 14, 2017


If this doesn't fix me...nothing will!

Jan 13, 2017


Where's that darn Snow White when you need her?  I am, quite unsuccessfully I might add, wrangling a couple of annoying little beasties.  All I need now is for Dopey and Doc to join the mix and we could have ourselves a real party.

(Can I just say, though, that I do get along just fine with Happy and Bashful and that they're welcome to come back and snuggle in the Happy Chair any time they want?)

But these other guys...especially Grumpy! can just go fly a kite.  They've messed up my mojo, my house, my peace and quiet, and they've turned me into a big fat lump of pitiful tears. 

OK...end of rant.  And, because I know that I probably mis-named almost all of the darn whatever they're called, I will beg forgiveness and simply ask that they do their thing elsewhere for a bit and give this poor little portly spinster a break.

Jan 12, 2017


No progress pictures to share today, my dears, because there wasn't any progress made!  I did stitch, but at the end of the evening, I realized that I had made a big counting mistake, so out it all came.


Never fear, though.  As soon as I finish my to do list for the day I will get right back at it.  I am enjoying a little mojo at the moment, so I don't want to scare it away with a case of the frogs.

I am, however, very happy to report that I managed to remove the outside Christmas decorations yesterday, so the neighbors won't have to report me to the authorities.  The inside decorations are a different story, though.  I'm really going to try to get them down this weekend, but won't be too terribly disappointed if I have to enjoy them a little longer!

Jan 9, 2017


All this time I thought I was just being lazy.

Turns out, my hemoglobin has dropped again, so my lack of motivation to do anything beyond the Happy Chair was physical and not completely mental (like it usually is).

Please don't worry, my dears.  This is part and parcel of being me, it seems, and the proper authorities are on the case.  I will be right as rain as soon as I get some tender loving care from them, a big shot of Aranesp, and maybe a little transfusion of Venofer to really put me back in the saddle!

This is what happens with my kidney disease...as I progress to the next stage things get a little interesting and we start pushing buttons and levers to keep me upright!  Many of you have asked about the particulars of my health, so...

(Betty, this is the part where you sign off because you don't want to hear my "whining and bitching" about stuff that nobody cares about.  I know you prefer the stitching stuff only, so hang in there and we'll return to it as soon as my stitchy juju corrects itself, OK dear Betty?)

I have a kidney disease called FSGS, which is focal segmented glomerular sclerosis.  This means, basically, that the tiny little filters in my kidneys are busted, and I leak both blood and protein in my urine. (I know...eeeewwwww, right?!) I was diagnosed in 2002 when my family doctor caught it after my annual checkup, and have done remarkably well, all things considered. Now, though, I am nearing the stage when I will have to start dialysis.  Next week I will meet with the surgeon to have the vein graph procedure to make a "bigger pipe" to do so, and then that will heal and I will start a new normal of sitting in a big chair several hours a week watching TeeVee, reading, and hopefully stitching.

(Wait a minute...that sounds remarkably like my day to day schedule NOW!  Who knew that all of this laying about was actually training to be a dialysis patient?)

I don't know how or why I got this, whether or not it is related to family history, my own collection of health issues like Crohn's and thyroid cancer, or the fact that I grew up a mile down wind of one of the largest petrochemical refinery areas in the world...let's just say it is what it is and now we must move ever forward.

Thanks for indulging me there, kids.  I promise to return to our regular programming just as soon as I get needle and thread back in my hands this afternoon.  I have been so inspired by all of your new projects...methinks it's just what I needed to start poking about in the old stitchy basket once again!

Here's hoping that your Monday is off to a rip roaring start!


Jan 8, 2017

Jan 7, 2017


Nothing.  Zilch.  Nada.

That's the list of stuff that I have to accomplish today.  It's 1:31 in the afternoon and I am still in my robe and slippers with no intention of changing that whatsoever.

I might stitch, I might not.

The kitchen is a hazmat zone, but we'll just kerp that between us chickens, and when I decide to go take a snoozy nap, I will also rely on you to look the other way and pretend that I did housekerping and laundry all day.


Jan 6, 2017


Who knew being a normal human person could be so completely exhausting?

I got up at a reasonable hour (in my case 10:30), took a shower, read the paper, and got myself ready for the day.  It took me an hour and a half, but I found a suitable bra, some jeans that almost fit (OK, they are way too big, but when dies THAT ever happen, I ask you?), a new pair of boots, and a scarf.

I curled my hair, sprayed my Snookie bangs to within an inch of their lives, slapped on some foundation and mascara, and then because I really was feeling fat and sassy...some shiny red lipstick!

The Dressing Downton exhibit was lovely, and I really took my time and enjoyed it.  The highlight, though, was seeing a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with stitched ornaments by my EGA guild!

Now, after all of the effort it took to actually get me out of the house (and DOWNTOWN into the booming metropolis of South Bend!) I got real jiggy with it and went to the bank, the Targets, and the grocery.

Three hours later, I am home and back in the sweats and Happy Chair and I'm pooped!  I don't know if it was the cold or the driving or the trying to appear semi-normal that did it, but I. Am. Tired.

The good news is that I am well stocked for the weekend and don't have to go anywhere at all.  I'm going to concentrate on some laundry and housecleaning and stitching, and that's about it.

Happy Friday!  Hope you're on your way to a fabulous weekend!

Jan 5, 2017


I made a little start on the PS alphabet project last night:
I'm stitching this with one strand of floss, over one, on 25 count fabric.

I decided to go ahead a try the vertical orientation and fret over the bottom row when I get to it sometime in the year 2074.

We received an extension to the deadline for our guild project (thank you, Miss Sheryl!) so now I do not have any excuse for allowing it to go unfinished.  I am still dreading it, but feel obligated to participate and do my best, since I signed up willingly for the darn thing in the first place.  I'm thinking it will be a lesson to me in dogged determination, if nothing else.

I'm not sure if it's the moon or maybe just an "off" day, but I am missing Stewey fiercely and have been in sobby tears most of the morning.  I know that this is normal and I shouldn't view my sadness as a "setback" per se, but all I want to do is bawl my eyes out and crawl in the big girl sleigh bed with his blanket.  That tiny little creature has left an enormous hole in both my life and heart.

Damn...grief is hard work.

I made the executive decision to go to the Downton exhibit tomorrow, so I am determined to set my alarm, get out of bed at a semi-decent hour, and go.  If the timing's right, I might actually treat myself to a late lunch/early dinner as well so that I head into the weekend feeling like a normal, well-adjusted, sociallly adept adult person instead of a crazy, introverted, hermit spinster who doesn't own a proper pair of pants.

That's it for today, kids.  I'm going to get a refill in my coffee cup, fire up the fireplace, and get stitching!  Hope things in your neck of the woods are moving...onward!

Jan 4, 2017


After languishing in the BAP basket for nine years, the Prairie Schooler alphabet project has come out to play.  I pondered the orientation of the linen almost all day yesterday, and thought I had decided on a vertical (rather than horizontal as pictured above) approach, but now I'm changing my mind.  If I go vertical, the bottom row will only have three blocks instead of four, and I think that will end up driving me nuts.

More pondering to ensue...

I had thought about venturing to the Dressing Downton exhibit at the history museum today, but I awoke a bit punk and don't want to push my luck.  I have an appointment tomorrow that will force me out of the house, so I suppose I could postpone a day and hang one more day in pajamas in front of the fireplace.

Maybe I'm becoming a good patient after all!

Jan 3, 2017


Kind of a quiet, gloomy/foggy Tuesday thus far here in Hoosierville, but I am cozy in the Happy Chair with my damn good cup of coffee, my magic blanket, and the newspaper for company.

I'm determined to stitch today, but I'm grappling with my basket choices.  I had visions of a new start for the new year, but January 1 came and went without a needle in my hand, and yesterday I futzed around aimlessly while Miss Charlene and Miss Jane were here for a lovely stitchy visit.

(I blathered on aimlessly like a crazy person while they secretly indulged me and froze to death, because I'm not smart enough to realize that not everybody keeps their house like a meat locker, and it's not necessary to let ALL of the voices in your head talk at once...but, bless them, these girls know me and did their penance with sympathy and good cheer.)

The internets isn't helping me any, since I seem to be spending more time oohing and aahing over all of your wonderful progress than I am actually making any of it on my own, and I am shamelessly avoiding a guild assignment that has turned out to be the very bane if my existence.  

(It's only the third day of the year for crying out loud!  I can't possibly be in a schlumpadink already, can I?  Perhaps it's just a case of the post-holiday blues or the moon and stars are out of whack or the ort jar debacle from Sunday is still mesding with my juju...)

OK...time to pull up my knickers and get on with it.  As soon as I finish the puzzles and read my horoscope, it's back to the studio.  Elton is going on the stereo, the stash is going to get pawed, and I'm going to get back in my lane and do my thing if it's the last thing I do!


Jan 2, 2017


Talk about a mishmash!  Not sure if there really is any rhyme or reason to this, but I figure I can re-visit it as necessary.  I had visions of a grey/snow related theme, but alas, my stash was not exactly full of stuff in that general theme.

No biggie...this should be more than enough to keep me occupied for a day or two!

Speaking of grey...
January nails...Essie Petal Pushers!

Jan 1, 2017


Dear Making Memories Plastic Craft Storage Jar Manufacturing Company:

You guys are killing me.

You used to make plastic craft storage jars that were sold in packs of three at the Michael's and on the Amazons.  They're about the size of a dill pickle jar, they have a simple silver metal lid, and they are the perfect size to put a year of orts in.
See?  Perfectly suited for their purpose.

OK.  I confess.  I kinda fell down on the job in 2014 and I stashed my orts in Crystal Lite containers.  I did this because I kept forgetting to go to the Michael's or onto the Amazons to get more plastic craft storage jars.

But today I decided to do just that, and I eyed the orts from 2014 , 2015, and 2016 and said "Be back in a minute, fellas!  I'm off to the Michael's to get a three pack of plastic craft storage jars to get you guys all organized and labeled and tidy!"

And off I went with a song in my heart and new batteries in my little label maker...ready for the new plastic craft storage jars that I was sure were waiting for me at the Michael's.

Wanna know what I ended up with?
Yes, it's a three pack.  And yes, these plastic craft storage jars are plastic and have silver metal lids, but can we just be honest for a minute?  As lovely as these are...they just aren't...right.  They don't match the previous five years' worth of jars (which is giving me hives as I contemplate this), they are three different sizes, and even the biggest one wasn't adequate to house 2016's orts.

I spent the better part of the day on my iPad thingie trying to find the Making Memories Plastic Craft Storage Jars, and about an hour ago I discovered that you stopped making this item some time ago and that nobody on the planet has any left.

Gentlemen, I beg you.  Could you PLEASE help a spinster out and re-consider your discontinuation of these darn jars so that I can fix the nightmare below?

Coni J. Rich, Her Very Crazy Compulsive Little Self
The Spinster Stitcher

Dec 31, 2016


It wasn't too shabby a year, stitching-wise.  These are the pieces that I completed (the Peacock Squares photo is in progress, but I promise I finished it...I just don't have a clue as to where it ended up).

This is the first time, I think, that I've reviewed my year in stitching.  I am really pleasantly surprised by the amount of fun that I had...

Laura J. Perin
Victorian Ribbons

Carolyn Manning Designs

Laura J. Perin
Valentine Wreath

The Drawn Thread
B My Valentine

Laura J. Perin
Little Box of Chocolates

Princess & Me
Hearts Afire
(you just knew I had to get a picture of Stewey in here...)

Lizzie Kate
My To Do List

Laura J. Perin
Long Spring Panel

Carolyn Manning Designs

Stickideen von der Wiehenburg
Halloween Square (in Easter colors)

Needle Delights Originals
Tidbits (in Spring colors)

DebBee's Designs
Royal Gardens

Needle Delights Originals
Copper and Turquoise

Bird in a Nest

The Spinster Stitcher (holy crap, I designed something!)
Bargello Challenge

Stickideen von der Wiehenburg
Peacock Squares

Lavender and Lace
Angel of Love

Well, kids, that's it for me this year.  I am in the Happy Chair with my magic blanket and needle in hand...ready to ring in 2017!  Stay warm and safe and dry, Happy New Year, and we'll see you on the other side!  WooHoo!

Dec 30, 2016


I thought that I would be lost in the mourning of all of the things that left me this year, but it turns out that I actually gained so much more than I ever could have imagined at this stage of my life.

I have felt love and support from friends, both old and new, and I discovered that I have the capacity to love fiercely, and to be strong and brave, even when the odds are quite stacked against me.  

I gained peace...something I thought I would never have again, and I gained a profound gratitude that the peace came when I needed it most, but least expected it.

The New Year will soon be upon us, and it is my wish that it brings us all good health, abundant prosperity, and abiding joy, and that love will still find a way to make everything better.

 (The print above is by Sam Toft...my very favorite!)

Dec 28, 2016


I'm sure that I am not alone in my level of inactivity this week.  The days seem to be spent in front of the fireplace and Christmas lights in a bit of a post holiday trance.  The gifts that I bought for myself from the Amazon arrive on the doorstep and I savor the opening of every box.

(Before you get too excited for me, I should point out that I bought things like Post It notes for my new planner and nail polish.  No diamonds or sportscars....just little fun lovelies that make me happy.)

The leftovers in the fridge might make it one more day, but I'm already looking forward to a quick trip for New Year's.  If I'm still feeling this festive, I might actually pick up one or two of the little mini bottles of proseco that I caught a glimpse of last week.  They're quite small and probably not even a proper glass, but what a nice way to toast in some new beginnings.

Stay tuned for a Spinster Stitcher Stitchy Year In Review.  If my calculations are correct, I finished a total of sixteen projects this year and am very excited to compile a list to contemplateas I start to fill up my basket for 2017!

Dec 27, 2016


Spiff up the meathooks...

And get back to a very dear old friend...

Today will be a quick run to the Targets for provisions whether I like it or not, because I seem to have run out of everything at once...napkins, dishwasher soap, dryer sheets, paper plates, etc.  When this happens, my world tilts precariously on its access and I get completely out of sorts.

(Who knew there was such comfort to be had in a box of Cascade and a few extra rolls of Bounty in the cupboard?)

Still feeling the effects of Operation Get It Together And Just Be A Normal Functioning Semi-Well Adjusted Adult For Once, but I suppose this is to be expected.  I sometimes forget that I really am a delicate little flower and not the big bull in a china shop I've always been.

(This is the part where you roll on the floor at my use of the words "delicate" and "flower" to describe myself because you know better and because somewhere Stewey is snickering into his smoking jacket.)

Happy Tuesday, kids!  Hope you are doing whatever your heart desires today!

Dec 26, 2016


Wow.  You would think that I ran several marathons over the holiday weekend.  I am totally wiped out today and contemplating a return to the big girl sleigh bed for the duration.

(Who knew that slapping a smile on your face and forcing festive could be so darn exhausting?!)

OK...if I make it out of the big girl sleigh bed today I hereby vow to get a needle and thread in my hands or the entire lot of my studio is going on eBay.  This is getting a little nutso, even for me.  I need to remember the connection between my sanity and time spent with stitching in hand!


(Which is something Winston Churchill said.  I watched "Churchill's Secret" on Masterpiece last night, and there he was, with a big banner that said "Onward!" on it.)

(Hmmmm....I'm sensing a theme for the new year.)

Dec 25, 2016


Well, we managed to survive Christmas.  There was no gun play, screaming, hair pulling, or loss of limb this year, so I suppose that's a good thing.

My menu for Christmas Eve was supposed to be simple...an antipasto, stuffed shells, Caesar salad, and garlic knots.

The hit of the evening was the "antipasto"...which turned out to be a mishmash of stuff that I picked up, but probably didn't really go together:
The black things in the middle are Mission figs.  I was trying for an Ina inspired figs and prosciuto, but alas, this is Hoosierville, and obtaining fresh figs was not possible.  The pepperocini and artichoke hearts were last minute additions, because (despite Ina's warning not to make it look like the dog's breakfast), I did just that and filled the platter.

We ate the above with multi grain pita chips (my sister's favorite).

The stuffed shells were...eh.  Next time methinks I will go with the ready-mades and a jar of sauce and be done with it.  Starting from scratch wasn't quite worth it.

Neither the Caesar salad nor the garlic knots saw the light of day, but I suppose that just means I will have both for lunch this week.

Christmas Day was supposed to be shrimp cocktail, ham, scalloped potatoes, cheddar biscuits, green beans, and fruit salad, but the ham was a total bust and we ended up face first in the appetizers again.  I also made broccoli/cheese/rice casserole and potato salad last night at the last minute (because, God forbid, I ever leave well enough alone and not cook for eighty six people), so this time the biscuits and green beans were the items to go by the wayside.

(See comment re: lunch above.)

Tomorrow I will slink into the Honey Baked Ham store and beg for a few slices to bring home for sandwiches.  The ham in the fridge will go into the freezer and we'll deal with it another day.  I guess there's a reason why ham from the Honey Baked Ham store costs what it does and ham from the bin at the grocery store does not.

Who knew I was such a ham snob?

The final verdict is still out, but I am thinking that the failure was twofold...firstly, I think the glaze that came with the ham had a very peculiar flavor. Liquid smoke?  Clove?  I just should have made my own with brown sugar, dijon, etc.  The second issue was that I burned the living crap out of it in the crock pot...like a total doofus...and then tried re-hydrating it with a splash of orange juice.

(So much for me knowing my way around a kitchen.  I'm going back to following recipes like a boss rather than pretending like I'm auditioning to be on the Food Network, and I'm chucking that damn crock pot into the bin.)

The fruit salad though, was lovely.  I put walnuts in it, which is something I've never done before.  Me likey!

I was wringing my hands over the "failure" of the food when I heard my Dad's voice say "CJ, you've had perfect food and it turned out to be the worst Christmas ever.  Maybe this year the food won't be perfect but the Christmas will be.  How's that sound, kid?"

And I stopped fretting, poured another cup of coffee, and enjoyed a perfectly lovely day with Bosco and Aunt Chrissy and all was well.

Oh, and yes, in case you were wondering...I would have made these same menus even if it would have been just me.  (You should have seen my Thanksgiving spread!)  This sad fact comes from a saying that my mom had in her kitchen..."A full cupboard bespeaketh a generous heart".  I'm pretty sure that the two really aren't related at all...wouldn't a generous person's cupboard be bare because they constantly gave their stuff away?...but I guess we never thought to ponder it.)

(After all, this is the same mom that, in the middle of a stern lecture about respecting your mother...pointed to yet another plaque in the kitchen and hollered "Read that sign and tell me what it says!!"  And we looked up at it and said "Love one another".  At which point she turned around to read it herself and muttered "Son of a &;($@!  All this time I thought the damn thing said "LOVE THY MOTHER"!)

What can I say?  I come by my sense of irony from my mother.  I think I get my reading skills from my dad.

Photographic evidence that not every single story I tell y'all on this here blog is fiction:

My needles are calling me.  A few more days of Christmasy stuff and then it's up to the studio to assemble some things for the New Year!

Here's hoping that your own feasting was...festive!  Only six more sleeps until a new year!

Merry Christmas from The Spinster Stitcher!

May the day be lovely and bright, and the upcoming year be filled with love, health, and joy!


This is Bosco, my puppy nephew.
Bosco decided to come for a Christmas visit to his Aunt Tubby's house, and he came in, gave Stewey's little box a kiss, and plopped himself in my lap to tell me all his secrets and to hear all of mine.

We've always had a very special bond, Bosco and I.  He is a perfectly lovely little fellow, and we seem to connect on a level that is both juvenile and ornery.  I encourage him to do naughty things to his mommie (my sister), and he (quite innocently) vows to always be a good boy.

So today we will sit in the Happy Chair together and eat some ham and watch Clark Griswold, and then he might spend the night before heading home with his mommie.

Best. Present. Ever.

Dec 23, 2016

Dear Friends,

This has been a year of profound loss and change for Yours Truly, but along with that loss and change came the amazing grace and comfort of a world that is beyond my imaginings.  I have been wrapped in your warm wishes, carried on your supportive shoulders, and been blessed to count you as one of the lovely gifts of my life.

My wish for you in the new year is that you will have at least one moment of knowing how much you matter in this world, and how loved you are by someone who had the good fortune to feel that way too.

With all my love,