Mar 25, 2017


Instead of stitching last night, I spent about four hours in the Happy Chair drooling over pictures of what I think might become my next rabbit hole.  I'm just in the discovery phase...looking at pictures and hunting for websites, but so far this looks like something that might be fun to try on those days when needle and thread are just not blowing my skirt up (which is almost never, but a girl likes to be prepared).'s paper and a very few simple tools.  What's not to love about THAT?!

Added later...

OK.  Now I get it.  I've been sitting here trying to figure out why I'm so enamored with it the colors?  The shapes?  Playing with paper?  What the heck is it that is drawing me to this?!

So I went to the Wikipedia and here is what I found:

During the RenaissanceFrench and Italian nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items. The paper most commonly used was strips of paper trimmed from the gilded edges of books. These gilded paper strips were then rolled to create the quilled shapes. Quilling often imitated the original ironwork of the day.[1]

In the 18th century, quilling became popular in Europe where gentle ladies of quality ("ladies of leisure") practiced the art. It was one of the few things ladies could do that was thought not too taxing for their minds or gentle dispositions. Quilling also spread to the Americas and there are a few examples from Colonial times.[2]

Many quilled art works can be found on cabinets and stands, cribbage boards, ladies' purses, a wide range of both pictures and frames, work baskets, tea caddies, coats of arms and wine coasters. Storage boxes, larger than most jewelry boxes with drawers and/or tops that opened, quilled lock boxes, and much more. Some items were specially designed for quilling with recessed surfaces. Quilling was also combined or married with other techniques such as embroidery and painting.[

Hahahahahaha!  Nuns and gentle ladies of quality!  Yep!  That's me alright!

Well, at least now we know why I like this stuff...

Mar 24, 2017


Holy what have they been doing over at the McDonald's Batman!

After the week I had (during which I manifested eleventy-nine complete and total meltdowns) I decided to go to the Michael's to see about finally getting Vaceila framed, and on the way home I decided to splurge a bit and get a milkshake.

I was prepared for a gritty, lukewarm, semi-watery and powdered milkery resemblance of a milkshake from long ago that I used to get with BigMacs.

But this, I tell ya, is...sublime!

Chocolate Shamrock McCafe.

Who knew?

Oh, and came with a cherry and whipped cream on top that didn't make it out of the parking lot.


Chalkboard Mandala
Ink Circles
28ct. Valor by Picture This Plus
GA Lagoon two over two (5+ skeins)

This was an absolute joy from start to finish.  I really wish you could see the varieagation of the thread is a delicious range of deep blues and greens.  

Next up?  I'm toying with the Shepherd's Bush Heart of my Heart piece.  I also have a few other Ink Circles charts that might make an appearance, or a Rosewood Manor, or maybe I'll go back to Patricia Printemps.

In between all of this cross stitching will be a two day class with Miss Kurdy Biggs of Threedles fame.  Kurdy is coming to teach two pieces to my Library Guild, and I am so prancypants excited about it I almost can't stand it!

Such a lovely dilemma to have on a gorgeous Friday, no?

Whirlwind appointment with my kidney doc this morning...looks like I am holding my own and can keep limping along without dialysis a bit longer.  I'm now officially Stage Five, which is End Stage Renal Failure, but until I just can't take it anymore we're going to stay status quo.  Buzzy is doing his thing and will get checkups next week and the week after, and seems to be ready to answer the call when needed, bless his little self.  Finally...will meet the transplant surgeon on Thursday to start the journey toward a new kidney.

Many of you have asked how/why I got kidney disease.  The truth of the matter is that we have no idea where it came from, but I have a theory.  I was born and raised in Lima, Ohio and lived within a few miles of one of the largest petrochemical refineries in the country.  (You can do the math on that one).  

But I am absolutely sure that 94% of my problem is that I never learned how to manage STRESS, and took worrying, fretting, and mulling to a whole new level.  The first thing to burn out was my thyroid (cancer in 1991), then my gut (Crohn's in 1995), and then finally the kidneys in 2002.  

Serious, relentless, mind-numbing, bone-crushing, soul-killing stress.

And there I was in the middle of all of it with my perky little smile, a thousand "I'm fine, thank you, how are yous?" and nothing but my wits to see me through.



But!  All of this has given me a purpose in life...which I will fulfill as soon as I can stand up and wear pants and lipstick without needing a seven hour nap.

I am going to make it my life's mission to save people from themselves, vis a vis stress.  I'm hoing to write a book or go on a lecture circuit that will show people what stress can do to a body (and mind) when it's aloud to run amok.

My Dad tried to tell me..."CJ", he said on more than one occasion. "You have GOT to learn how to only worry about the stuff you can control and let the other stuff go.  If you don't, it's going to drive you nuts or kill you."


So...with needle and thread in hand, an army of well-trained professionals at the ready, and you, my very dear and faithful friends...I march onward into happy, healthy, stress free oblivion!  

Can somebody pick up a couple of cheeseburgers for the trip?  

Mar 23, 2017

Reading: A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

Writing: this here blog and a Target list

Drinking: a cup of coffee with Truvia and a splash of cream; ice water with lemon ice cubes

Eating: a tuna sub with tons of veggies

Stitching: Chalkboard Mandala by Ink Circles

Watching: stupid Housewives...all varieties

Obsessing: paper quilling; Death by Cross Stitch; Flosstube; kidney transplants; lap frames; sleep schedule; apartments; housecleaning; sisters; Jersey boys; perimenopause; grief; bbq chicken pizza; binge-watching Netflix; tunic tops with leggings; to do lists; Michael's framing; mental health (due to obsessing)

Missing: Stewey; Mom; Dad; my sanity


Mar 22, 2017

Mar 21, 2017


Not as much progress last night as before, because I came to the final episode of West Wing.

Can we talk for a minute?

It's no secret that I am a bit nuts, but the last month or so of out of my head weeping has GOT to go.  I've watched the West Wing series at least nine times, but every time it's over I am left bereft and in a massive puddle of tears and damp hankies.

Last night, though, was a total meltdown of epic proportions.  It ended with me...sitting on my bedroom closet clutching Stewey's little robe and bawling my eyes out like a deranged two year old having a tantrum.  (I think I wandered in there to change from my sweats into my pajamas and the sight of his little robe sent me right over the edge, but I'm not exactly sure.)  All I do know is that I finally made it to the big girl sleigh bed at 4am hiccupping with eyes swollen shut and a blotchy face.

When I finally made it to the coffee pot today I decided to place a call to mental health guru to ask her just what the heck I could do about all of this. ('s my big confession for the day.  I have been talking to Melfi for about a year to try to make sense of my stupid life.)

(It was either that or a stroke from all of the stress.)

(I opted for an hour or so every few weeks instead.)

So Melfi listened carefully as I explained that I am over the proverbial edge and round the proverbial bend and then she calmly and soothingly told me to  And if that meant that I ended up on the floor of my closet watering the front of my t-shirt with snot and be it.  She also reminded me that I have quite the Bermuda Triangle of crap happening to me at the moment...some of it very real, some of it physical, some of it circumstancial, and most of it in my head...but that it was happening nonetheless and the only thing I could do was control how I reacted to it.

Ahhhh, control.  My evil, evil nemesis.

There isn't one single solitary lousy rotten stinking thing in my life that I can control right about now...except this:

So if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go wash my face and brush my hair and eat my bagel and get on with it.  I have Grocery Guild tonight, and I am so looking forward to seeing my stitchy sisters, having a laugh or two, and controlling the Bejeezus outta some linen and thread, I almost can't stand it.

Thank you for listening.  It's not often that I reveal my soft underbelly (despite the fact that it is about as big and obvious as a Buick), but I figured that, if nothing else, you would feel like a successful, well-adjusted, brilliant rock star by comparison.  No need to thank me, kids...just here to remind you that every village needs its idiot and yours is just happy to be of service!

Mar 20, 2017


Wasn't it just Monday, Monday a few minutes ago?  It seems like every time I turn around another week and weekend has flown by.

Three marathon stitching nights have produced the following progress:

I really wish I could adequately capture the color of this.  I am being a very good girl and pulling two strands and stitching with them, rather than just one and folding it in half to use the loop method.  I realize now that doing it properly really allows the varieagation of the thread to show.

Spent some time on the YouTube last night trying to learn how to begin and end threads differently.  I would like to learn how to do everything on the top of my work so that I don't have to constantly flip over to the backside...thinking ahead to diaylsis tme when I might need to really immobilize my arm and need to reduce moving it.

Today was grocery day and I am re-stocked with provisions for the next few weeks.   I still don't have any appetite at all, but I did manage to get some good stuff to at least make sure I get a little nutrition...honeycrisp apples the size of softballs, brussels sprouts to roast with shallots, and my NewYork bagels to have in the morning with crunchy peanut butter!  At the moment, I have a chicken breast cooking away in the toaster oven...I figure I'll put that on top of a little pasta tonight with a little spinach salad on the side.

Hmmmm...between all of this healthy stuff and the gallons of lemon water I'm guzzling you'd think I was some kind of health nut instead of a portly spinster in need of a cheeseburger!

Hope your week is off to a good's to another Monday!

Mar 19, 2017


Thanks for your lovely thoughts about my Stewey Little.  Yes, I am still moving his little box from room to room with me throughout the day.

Wouldn't this make a pretty stitchy design?

Mar 16, 2017


This is my first experience with an Ink Circles design, and so far I am loving it!  There is something very nice about using all one color and not having to fuss with multiple changes, and the chart is a dream to read.  When completed, this will be relatively small...about 8X8 total, so that means that I will have to find a HUGE one to do next so I can really go crazy.

Spent some time on the Heaven and Eart Designs site today.  Hmmmmm.  Wonder if I will fall down THAT particular rabbit hole?

OK...enough procrastinating.  That guest room is not going to clean itself no matter how hard I may wish it to be so.


Mar 15, 2017


The bills and paperwork are completed, I am clean and shiny after a hot scrubby shower, the dishwasher is empty and re-loaded, and I'm twitchy for a new start.

What better idea than Ink Circles Chalkboard Mandala on Valor linen with the new Lagoon Gentle Art?
The colors are much more vibrant, I promise.  Alas, me and my craptastic photographic skills...I just can't quite caprite it.  Think minty/subtle olive grey green and deep dark blues and teals...

Hope your very own Futzingday is swell amd that the Ides have passed peacefully....

P.S.  No cleaning yet...I wanted to get all of the other stuff done before jumping in Thursday through Sunday.  I'm only going to tackle three rooms, but I want to give myself plenty of time to procrastinate further before calling in the professionals­čśü

Mar 14, 2017


I have a few appointments and several errands today, so I am up and showered and ready to go.  The sun is shining, the snow is glistening, and the birds are sweetly tweeting, so I suppose life is pretty good here in Hoosierville.

Thanks to Miss Sue J for reminding me to turn my project upside down.  I had a big fat DUH moment last night when I did so and was able to stitch with ease.  I don't know why I didn't do that on has always worked in the past for me, but I must have just been having a moment.

Tomorrow will be budget, bill, and paperwork day, and then the rest of the week will be devoted to some serious Spring cleaning.  I am going to start in the guest bed and bath and will work my way out. would think that I'm almost normal with my errands and plans and to do lists.  Wonder when THAT happened?

Hope your Tuesday is swell and that if you're getting any weather you are warm and safe and dry with needles flying!

Mar 13, 2017


I've named my Spring girl piece "Patricia".

(Pronounced "pa treet see ya").

So far, Patricia is one big pain in my heiney today.  I fussed and frettered with her q-snaps last night, and even gave her some pretty fabric strips to protect her stitches, but I just couldn't get her situated comfortably to get to that left side.
I'll try again, but if she doesn't behave herself...I'm going back to Winter Quakers!

Mother Nature agrees with me:

So that's the report for today.  Fussing and frettering and stitching and drinking hot tea.  I have Church Guild tonight but am not feeling quite well enough to go, so methinks I will cocoon a bit and sit this one out.

Hope you are all well and warm and safe and dry in your little corner of the world.  Happy Monday!

Mar 12, 2017


1. I think that the designer of this painted canvas is Patty Mann:
I need to figure out a stitch and threads for the checkerboard border and then this will be finished after some loooong years!  I am leaning toward black ultrasuede squares sewn on,  but am at a complete loss for the white squares.  (Suggestions welcome!)

2. This is a painted canvas by Cooper Oaks:
I'm thinking of doing everything in tent and doing the flowers in ribbons.  But that would mean that I would have to learn to do ribbon work!

3. Poppers by Needle Delights Originals...counted canvas:

4. This is definitely one of my very oldest WIPs...Big Zipper by Bent Creek:

5. I thought I was going to re-start this next one on different linen and had selected a light grey that I thought would look better, but now that I've seen Picture This Plus's Wren, I keep thinking that it might be a lovely alternative.  This is Alphabets by The Drawn Thread:

6. Flowers Awake by Rosewood Manor on Barnwood linen:

7. And my progress on Printemps by Birds of a Feather. Getting there, surely but slowly!

I had a marathon planning/paperwork session at the dining room table today to try to get a little more organized.  If I can manage it physically, I am going to start some Spring cleaning this week.  If I stick to my plan, I will celebrate my birthday (which happens to fall on Good Friday this year) with a spotless house, purged closets, sparkly baseboards and windows, and a tidy studio!

Pray for me, kids...this is going to be rough!  I do promise, though, that if I can't handle it (which I will know tomorrow morning after about fifteen minutes), I'll call for help and get an army of trained professionals in here to do a proper job of it.

I'll leave you with a picture of sippy cup.  I received my fancy new silicone ice cube trays from the Amazon and think their big cubey-ness is swell!
One of these days I'm going to pick up a few more of these sippy cups from the Targets so I might give this one a rest.  He's in continual use, and has so far managed to hold up pretty well with nightly scrubbings, but I should probably have a back up!

So that's the report for the day, my dearies.  Only one ugly cry so far, so I might be making progress. I was fine until I opened the ziploc of turkey bacon to use on my sandwich and waited for Stewey to come around the corner for a piece.  I swear, he could be sound asleep in his little fort under the bed and still hear that bag opening to bekon him to the kitchen!

Oh, how I miss my BabyDear....

Here's hoping that your Sunday has been swell.  I am going to get back to The West Wing and stitching!

Mar 11, 2017


We had a stitch-in at the library today, and as a pleasant surprise, a trip over to LaPorte to House of Stitches and Christos for lunch.

I didn't really "need" anything, but when has "need" really had anything to do with it anyway?

Here's my little haul...all thanks to inspiration from Flosstubers like Miss Danielle, the Stitcherista:
The thread is a new color from Gentle Art called Lagoon, and it is the most lovely mixture of deep blues and greens and teals you can imagine.  I'm going to use it on the piece of 28ct Valor from Picture This Plus to stitch the Ink Circles piece.

Pretty, huh?

I couldn't resist the shepherd's Bush kit called Heart Of My Heart.  It reminded me of Stewey enough to put me right into an ugly cry in the q-snap aisle, but after a few minutes getting it together in the powder room, I was good to go.

La-D-Da's Fraktur Flowers and Blackbird Design's Spring Fever will both be stitched on Picture This Plus Wren, but alas, Miss Linda had to order it for me.

In the meantime, progress continues on Printemps.  I am working the wavy lines of her dress and hope to have that much, at least, completed soon.

More tomorrow, I promise.  I re-basketed my basket with fun stuff, so maybe to,orrow we'll have a little  What's In Your Basket episode.

Hope your Saturday is swell!

Mar 10, 2017


I really don't have anything to complain about.

I am warm and safe and dry, my fridge, freezer, and pantry are all full, my Happy Chair is still standing after twenty five years of hard use, and I managed to stitch for a few hours last night while watching more West Wing.

What could I POSSIBLY have to feel blechie about?!

I suspect that it is hormonal, seasonal, and related to my poor little kidney beans doing their level best to just keep doing their thing.  I don't know that I feel bad necessarily...I just don't feel...good.  (I think I used to refer to this as out of sorts, in sixes and sevens, or, as Stewey would say..."You've got a case of the mean reds, Mo-ther.".

So I am remedy-ing it by soaking in hot epsom tubs, eating good healthy food, drinking lots and lots of water, and reading, writing, stitching, cooking, sleeping, and blogging.  I froze lemon slices in a muffin tin to make big huge ice cubes, and the very sight of seeing them bobbing about in my sippy cup makes me a happy girl.

I finished The Tyoewriter's Tale and started The Eastern Shore by Ward Just...both very good in my humble literary fiction loving opinion.  I also discovered a trio of books...The Invisible Library, I think, that I might try when the current stack runs out.  

So that's the report for today.  I'm sorry it's not all sunshine and rainbows and unicorns today, my dearies, but I'm hoping that YOUR corner of the world is full of all three!


Mar 9, 2017


I avoided the flying timberdoodles by spending the day in bed.  I'm out of sorts, I tell ya, and just can't seem to get one foot in front of the other.  So rather than ponder it, fret about it, and bemoan it, I have decided that the best thing to do is to grab my book, a blanket, and find the big girl sleigh bed.

Alas, there was not one single stitch of stitching to report, my dearies, but don't worry...I'll hit it again soon.  Today, though, methinks I might just try to be me for a bit...with all that entails.

Mar 8, 2017


I'm not sure what, exactly, flying timberdoodles are, but now I know to watch out for them.

Flying timberdoodles.

Where's Stewey and his snarky little witicisms when you need them?

Mar 7, 2017


After two marathon days of stitching over the weekend, my Monday night progress was...less.

I was at the grocery store when my next project hit me...right there in the pasta and rice aisle.

"Printemps!", I hollered.

 (And may I just say right here and right now that I really am very truly sorry that my outburst caused a Real Housewife of Granger to drop her Louie and run for the exit like her hair was on fire.)

(I didn't mean to cause a fuss...I really didn't.  But when inspiration strikes, one must be prepared to celebrate it.  Mustn't one?)

So after groceries were put away and the kitchen was tidy and the nap and dinner dispatched with care, I hit the Happy Chair.
The sum total of what I accomplished is that wavy line at the bottom of her dress.


I did, however, manage to watch another six episodes of West Wing and paint my fingernails to match my toes.

(Coke bottle green looks much better from a distance and when it's covered by shoes and socks, so methinks there will be a re-do of said nails to something a little less...blech...this afternoon.)

So Printemps it is.  At least for the moment.  I still haven't had my studio day, and heaven only knows what treasures are to be found up there!

Here's hoping that your Tuesday is off to a lovely start!  Come tell me all about it!

Mar 6, 2017


Promise of Spring
Silver Creek Samplers
28ct Tarnish by Picture This Plus
GA Oatmeal, Pine, Summer Meadow
CC Black Coffee

Mar 5, 2017


Twelve hours.

I sat in my Happy Chair yesterday and stitched and watched West Wing for twelve hours.

It was absolute bliss, I tell ya.  Just.  Bliss

Progress on the above.  I'm stitching this on 28ct Tarnish from Picture This Plus, which is a lovely greenish grey. I'm having a little trouble with the darker color, but am determined to not let that stop me!

As soon as I finish the paper and my damn good cup of coffe (and have a nice long soak in a bubble tub), I'm goiing to get right back to it!

Happy Sunday to one and all!

Mar 4, 2017


My Heart Is Filled With Flowers
Carolyn Manning Designs
28ct Sprite cashel from Picture This Plus
DMC floss as called for on the chart

I must confess that this was an absolute delight to stitch from start to finish.  I am even more delighted that I was smart enough to abandon my idea of changing all of the colors, since the designer's colors really are very very pretty.  I did change the linen, but thanks to Miss Joy the selection was perfection!

Look at me...gettting all poety on a Saturday!

As soon as I finish my damn good cup of coffee, do the puzzles, and fold a load of laundry, I am contemplating a studio day!  Maybe even a studio weekend!  It feels like ages since I just had some fun up let the games begin!

Mar 3, 2017


I spent a wonderful few hours at the salon getting puffed and fluffed yesterday, and then I came home and finished the flowers in the it's on to the leaves!
My toes are a sparkly light green color from OPI called Visions of Georgia looks like the green of a Coca Cola bottle!  And, as soon as the mail gets here, I will have a bottle of it from Beyond to be able to matchy match my fingers!

I'd show you my haircut, but I mooshed it in my sleep and haven't fixed it yet today.  Miss Brandi is truly a genius, I tell ya!  

The sun is shining today...thank goodness.  I slept a full twelve hours last night and Stewey was there for almost all of it, and I awoke with my face in the sun.  A very good start to the day, indeed.

Mar 1, 2017



WRITING: My next column for Needlepoint Now and this here blog.


COOKING: Probably nothing today...leftovers are calling.  But goulash will be on the stove tomorrow!

SLEEPING: A bit fitfully and too long.  I had two bad dreams last night that made me wake up crankier than usual.  Phooey.

Feb 28, 2017


It's a bit dreary here today.  Overcast and a little...blech.  I am moving kind of slowly through the morning and contemplating a run to the library for another stack of books.  After that, mayne a stop at the grocery for some small provisions...bagels, fruit, salad fixings...nothing too spectacular.

(I miss my former life...I would be looking forward to Fat Tuesday dinner at my favorite restaurant...LaSalle Grill.)

Oh well.

More progress on Flowers.  Henry made it through queen number five last it's on to battles and the final go round.  I think this is the fourth or fifth time I've watched this series, but the beheading of Catherine Howard always gets me for some reason.

Even Stewey seems quiet and out of sorts today...

And that mantle is really looking bare without all of the Christmas stuff.

OK...enough moping about.  Time for a bra and some shoes and it's off to the library.  Here's hoping that your neck of the woods is considerably brighter!  Onward!

Feb 27, 2017


What I wanted was a BigMac.

Heck, I would have even settled for a MacJunior.

But what I ate was grilled chicken.

Grilled chicken.

Did you hear that IU transplant team?  I had grilled chicken instead of a BigMac because I'm a grown ass woman in need of a new kidney and I am determined to do my level best to change my ways and REALLY live like a marathon running nun on an organic kale farm.

But, God help me, those BigMacs haunt me in my dreams.

I watched the Oscars last night and had the same thought I do every year..."Gee, I really love movies and should go to the theater more often" as I simultaneously realized that the last movie I saw in a theater was Julie and Julia.

(You can do the math on how long ago that's been!)

So, maybe in addition to eating more chicken I will also start going to the movies instead of watching bad TeeVee.

Here's the progress on My Heart is Filled With Flowers:

And here's the solution to my thread issues...I threaded a needle with each color and then stuck it in the bobbin.  (The ones on the lid of the box were the last ones I played with before bed last night.)
The problem is that I love these little boxes and would love to keep using them since everything is complete...scissors and all.  But this winding business might convince me otherwise!

Hope your week is off to a good start!  Do something fun and come tell me all about it!

Feb 26, 2017


I feel like I'm really getting somewhere with this.  After a nice long snoozy nap yesterday I put in some happy stitching time with The Tudors.
A few errands, a hot soak in the tub, and I'm going to get right back to it this afternoon!

But before I go...any tips on managing multiple color changes when you're working a piece?  I am using DMC...two strands, which means I am unwinding from a bobbin, stripping off a long length to double over, re-winding the remaining strands, and then loading the needle to do just a few stitches.  Then what?  I don't want to waste that thread, but re-winding is a pain in the heiney.  So far, I've been using the arm of the chair as a clumping station, and when I need that color again I just pick it out of the pile.

Is there a better way?  Inquiring minds would love to know!

Happy Sunday to you and yours!

Feb 25, 2017


Is there anything better than getting up on a Saturday morning and having breakfast out with your stitchy sisters?  Misses Charlene and Jane and I went to the pancake house this morning, and I am home now...back in the jams with a fire in the fireplace, a little PBS for company, and laundry started in the laundry contraption machine.  As soon as I read the paper and finish the puzzles, I'm thinking of having a stitchy/snoozy/teevee marathon for the duration.