Jul 31, 2008
Edited to add: You wanna' know what's even worse than the above paragraph? Well, imagine me....ME! rolling around on the floor practically wetting myself because I crack my own self up so much. Pathetic. Just pathetic.
(Which reminds me of a day in sixth grade when Sister Catherine Noreen yelled at the top of her lungs...."Constance! I can assure you that despite whatever is going on in that stupid head of yours, you are NOT as funny as you think you are!")
(May she rest).
And now on to a topic that has been on my mind a LOT lately, especially since I have been the blushing recipient of these lovely blogging awards. I do love them so, but always feel a bit perplexed as to how I select only a few of yous to pass it along to. I mean, it's like asking me to pick a favorite food. Or stitchy project. Or puppy. So I cop out and say "Oh, I couldn't possibly" and then feel like a boob for a day and a half. So suffice it to say that I do feel that EVERY SINGLE STITCHY BLOGGER out there should get EVERY SINGLE STITCHY BLOGGER AWARD available, since you are putting it out there and contributing to the furthering of the artform. Besides, reading 400+ blogs a day keeps me off the streets and out of harm's way, so perhaps we should think of these awards as HUMANITARIAN as well.
So did ya' see that Ms. Laura J. Perin Her Very Self nominated me for one of the said awards? Did ya? Huh huh? Did ya? Laura J. Perin. You don't have to scroll back very far in this bloggy mess of mine to learn that I have had a serious stitchy crush on her from the moment I laid eyes on that very first chart. Ahhhh, I remember it well. It's called "Equilibrium" and I looked at it and looked at it and looked at it every day and promised myself that "someday when" I would stitch it and hang it on my wall and be very very proud. (I'll let you know how that works out, by the way.
This, of course, lead me to thinking about me and my celebrity crushes. Laura J. Perin is certainly one, but I have hundreds more. There's all of you (of course), and then there's SamToft, who, I am thrilled to report, sent me an email today! Me! An email from Sam Toft! Hot damn, I'm on a roll. Now if I could just get Chef Robert Irvine His Very Self to come give me a kiss on the cheek I would die a happy girl. (Note to self....must depilatorize cheek before said visit from Chef Robert Irvine. No need to scare the man with a full beard and mustache.) (Hey....I'm Greek and Italian. Let it go.)
I'm frantically reading "Brideshead Revisitied" because I am determined to go to the theater tomorrow night for the premier. I saw a preview for the flick when Chrissy and I went to see "Sex and The City" and thought it looked like the perfect movie to get lost in on a hot summer night. So I'm going to take the book outside onto the patio and not come in until it's done. Send flashlights and bug spray, please.
What's that? You want to know where "Aunt Pooh" comes from? Well, I'll tell you. I am the lousy stinking no-good Godmother to two wonderful girls named Jacqueline and Sara. They live in Lima, Ohio (our hometown, by the way....hi Lima!), and they are....hmmmm...well, I have no damn idea how old they are because of...well, see above. When the girls were little, I demanded that they give me a cute nickname so that I could prance around like the Princess I am and tell everybody what a perfect Godmother I am. I picked "Pooh" since I intended to decorate their nursery with all things Winnie. Two commemorative plates and a baby blanket later and these kids were definitely "over" the whole Pooh thing. But the name stuck. So Aunt Pooh I be, even if I haven't called, written, or seen these chicklets in over a year. (Denise, if you're reading this, I fully understand if you'd like me to return the Fairy Godmother wand and badge...it'll be in tomorrow's mail.)
One thing I DID manage as a Godmother was to teach little Sara something that completely irritated the hell out of her parents. I was living in New Jersey at the time, and when they came to visit me, I taught Sara to say "Who's betta' than you?" every time somebody did something. So the next time they went to the grocery store and the clerk handed Denise her change, this little voice piped up from the stroller below....."Who's betta' than you? (in a perfect Jersey accent to boot)" I was told that it was quite the hit at the Clyde Evans that day.
OK, I'll leave you with a wish for a Happy Thursday. I need to go downstairs to attend to poor little Stewey. He sneezed and "tooted" at the same time moments ago, and this has sent him straight under the bed in a hysterical fit. You'd think with all of the bodily functions that go on around here he wouldn't be so skittish, but this is Stewey we're talking about.
Thanks for coming! Ciao for now!
Jul 29, 2008
On Sunday I finished Part One of the Laura J. Perin blackwork mystery. I was just sitting there thinking about how excited I would be to start Part Two when I just happened to visit Laura's blog and see it for my very own self!
So after a lot of wrestling with the ^&$#% printer, I settled in to the Happy Chair for Part Two.
Now you observant fans will notice that my original plan for this piece called for DMC #8 perle cotton in 316 for the second layer. But, being the stitchy goddess that I am, I decide to get jiggy with it and see if I couldn't pick out a contrasting color all by myself without too much angst.
I did it! DMC#898, a lovely chocolaty brown that goes just swell with the pink. I felt like I had re-created the freakin' wheel, when it occurred to me that every college bound girl in America was standing in the Target picking out a pink and chocolate brown bedspread. Sigh.
Oh well, points for trying for sure. I just love this project and am tickled pink that I'm now ready for Part Three!
HA! Tickled pink! I just crack me up.
P.S. The scissor fob is actually a key fob that I bought at Borders a grillion years ago and the decorative felt under my q-snaps is a new thing I'm trying so that I can be like all of yous with your fancy-pants accessories and all.
Jul 28, 2008
The gardening gene apparently skips a generation, since all I've ever been able to grow is unsightly facial hair. I try....I really do, but all I come up with is achy knees and a pitiful mess. After my "sod removing day gone awry of 2005" I'm not allowed outside without proper supervision.
Thanks to a wonderful lady named Carol, my front gardens are starting to come into their own. They were planted three years ago and I enjoy them tremendously. Here's a pic of the front of the house.
The weekend brought a special treat in that the lilies are starting to bloom. I seem to remember them blooming in June last year, but this year they are coming in a bit late. I snuck a few pics of ones that I thought were really cool:
This is a hibiscus that I bought at Lowe's for $6. I bought two of them and stuck them in containers on either side of my garage door and they have gone nuts. On some days there are at least 20 blooms per bush. Now I just have to figure out what to do with them for the winter. Can I bring them inside?
OK, enough garden talk. I did manage to get some stitching done this weekend. On Friday and Saturday I worked on Laura J. Perin's blackwork mystery. I've completed the first part and am ready for the next!
Last night I played with CCN "Joyful Summer". I've decided that when I'm finished stitching this one, I'm going to really tart it up with tons of seed beads. I'm all about the fancy, don't you know.
I'll leave you with a pic of my dining room. The cabinet was our Mom's, and on either side of it are two pieces of her needlepoint. I look at these and treasure them every day. Mom did pre-worked canvases on penelope canvas and she stitched the backgrounds in tent stitch using the sewing method. I know....not one part of that makes any sense at all to us "modern stitchers", but everything she did is gorgeous and Chrissy and I love them all. One of these days I'll sneak over to her house so that I can show you some other pieces Mom did...they are amazing!
P.S. I sure am glad my table is clean! Stewey had the boys over for poker last night, so I wasn't sure what I would wake up to today!
We're off like a herd 'o turtles!
Jul 25, 2008
Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I am in some SERIOUS STITCHY WITHDRAWL and I need a fix. Anything will do....an odd little piece of cross stitch on Aida or a little counted canvas that I could stash into my purse.....anything. Anything at all. Just give it to me. Let me run my fingers through some Silk & Ivory, or just give me a glimpse of a new Laura J. Perin. I NEED it! I need just a little something to get me through until the weekend. I promise I'll be good...just give it to me. GIVE IT TO ME NOW!
I'm sorry for the dismal lack of stitchy progress, but the truth is that I have not stitched in 47 hours, 15 minutes, and 24 seconds. I don't know why this is, but I just looked at the clock and said "Stewey! It's after midnight and Mommie hasn't put a thread in a needle since....Stewey? Are you listening to me? Where are you?"
Stewey is safely tucked away in his little bed, peeved at my "night out" with the girls for Mexican food. (Note to self....four lemonades and a border cobb salad were probably not the best idea for a heartburn-avoidance type of meal. Oey.)
So, I will take this opportunity to share this fact with all of yous (Yes, I meant to say "yous"..it's a New Jersey thing. Leave it alone.) (P.S. DON'T write to me and gripe about that comment....I LOVE New Jersey and happily lived there six years of my life and I'd do it all over again in a New York minute.)
(Does lemonade HAVE caffeine?...hmmmmm.) (I'm suddenly feeling like the crazy-ass jazz guy from Sex and the City.)(I think his name was Ray.)
OK, what I wanted to say is that I am pretty sure y'all have lost your damn minds because a) you keep reading my ridiculous drivel, and b) you keep giving me these wonderful awards for doing it! Don't you know that nominating me for these things just encourages me to keep going? If we're not careful, people, I'm going to get cocky and NOBODY needs to be subjected to that. (At least not without cocktails and a well-qualified mental health professional on standby.)
But I can tell you this (cue the dramatic music)....I am so thrilled to be a part of this thing we call stitching. I feel as thought I have been invited to sit at the cool kids' table, and I'm not getting up. Nope. No way. So thank you for being the cool kids and thank you for not minding that I've crashed the party. Your accolades and support are genuinely appreciated and I hope that you know the feeling is very heartfelt and very mutual.
I know that I am supposed to be nominating folks in return, but I simply cannot limit myself to a few of the blogs that I read daily. I am humbled and inspired and wowed and blown back in my crappy desk chair every single time I see what you're up to. Thanks for letting me into your stitchy world.
Goodnight Cleveland! We love you!
Jul 24, 2008
Jul 23, 2008
I'll leave you with a pic of Stewey. He has been rather contemplative all morning long. I think it has to do with our discussion about "marking" and "territorial behavior". I explained that he is a big boy now and has no need to pee on everything that isn't moving. He retorted by pointing me to Martha's blog on which she showed pics of her very own French bulldog "Sharky" peeing on the sisal. This launched us into a very late-night argument over all the ways Mommie is NOT AT ALL like Martha, and, despite her very best attempts to do so, she will NOT be remembered for her parenting/homekeeping/negotiation skills."My mother thinks she's Annie Freakin' Leibowitz. Somebody call Vanity Fair."
Jul 22, 2008
Jul 21, 2008
This man was a hero. He was a kind and gentle soul. He lived in "houses with women" all his life.....first Grandma and Aunt Lou (because his own father died so young) and then Mom, me, and Chrissy. He used to joke that even the dog (Charlie) was "fixed". This probably explains why he was the way he was. I don't think I ever heard him raise his voice or say a bad thing about any one or any thing. He was funny and ornery and had twinkly eyes, especially when he was hiding cookies in his shirt pocket. You could talk to him for hours or just sit and watch a football game on a Saturday afternoon, and you'd come away feeling better about yourself and the world you lived in. You could depend on him for anything and knew that no matter how much you had royally screwed up, he was still your dad and he loved you.
He loved chocolate and Snyder's hard pretzels. He always smelled nice and he always combed his hair the same way. He didn't like guilt or mean people and he quietly went about making his little corner of the world a wonderful place. He never bragged or lectured. He never hit or grounded. He talked and explained and made you want to be a better person so that he would be proud of you. He hugged and patted your cheek and always let you know how special you were, even when you felt like the least special person on the planet.
Dad could do math in his head and Chrissy and I called him Rain Man because of his ability to do this. He went to Notre Dame and graduated as an engineer, but spent all of his working life as a management executive for Westinghouse. Chrissy and I never knew how "powerful" or "respected" Dad was until he died and his former collegues wrote to us. We found out that this man we loved wasn't just our hero....he had fans all over the world.
The men that came to the funeral told us that our dad was the smartest guy they ever met and the women told us that they all had secret crushes on him. Turns out that this guy we thought was a "nerd" was actually a very popular fellow and could be the life of the party.
Dad married the love of his life on May 23, 1964 and he held her in his arms the morning she died on November 12, 1987. Dad loved Mom more than anything in this world and he gave life to Father Hesburgh's words: "The greatest thing a man can do for his children is love their mother."
I think that the reason why Chrissy and I remain single is that we decided that we saw what perfect marriage was and we weren't going to settle for anything less.
Happy birthday, Dad. We miss you.
Jul 18, 2008
The blob of stuff in the lower middle of the pic is a pile of counting pins that I made last night. Really pretty, actually, and methinks I might make some more for the Midwest Stash Exchange.
The Midwest Stash Exchange is August 16th at House of Stitches. For $10 you can rent a table and sell, swap, or give away your stitching stash. It's like having your own little stitch shop for the day! Chrissy and I help the ladies at HOS organize it, and you'll find us at the admission table. If you just want to come shop, the admission "fee" is $5. All of the table rental fees and admissions are then donated to the American Heart Association. I'll write more about it later, but if you're in the general vicinity of LaPorte, Indiana in August, come on over and say hello!
I'm off to the Happy Chair loaded with a cold diet Coke and a basket of goodies to play with! Have a simply fabulous weekend!
Jul 17, 2008
A frame weight (thanks for asking) is usually a heavy "pillow" that you can use when needlepointing. If you're doing stitches that require two hands and you don't want to use a formal stand, you can lay the canvas (in its stretcher bars) on a table and weight it at the top with a frame weight. Then your hands are free for laying, etc. I've always wanted one and have tried a few times to make one, but methinks this design will be just perfect! I suppose, come to think of it, that you could use it for cross stitching too if you needed two hands for something like a french knot...woo hoo!
(Edited to add: I just looked at the pic and realized that my "with willing hands" is totally in the wrong damn place! Frogging to ensue....)
So I am in the studio futzing about today. I found myself "should-ing" all over the place last night and I decided to put a stop to that immediately. So today is about play. Nothing else. Just futzing and playing and letting my brain look and love the stuff around me and take a mental breath.
This is a canvas from my stash called "Bohemian Paisley". The designer is Birds of a Feather. I've pulled lots of Flair, Splendor, Silk and Ivory, and perle cotton for this one. I tend to get really "matchy" when it comes to canvases and have a propensity for trying to use all the same stuff all the time. This is me trying to flex my creative wings a bit. I had let this canvas intimidate the heck outta' me in terms of stitches to use, but I am feeling pretty calm about it now and think I will just.....play.
Another Birds of a Feather canvas called "Yellow Vase with Flowers". This one is much smaller in size, yet more complex in terms of shading and colors. I haven't pulled threads for it yet, but this one is screaming "silk" to me. I have some gorgeous Waterlillies that might be pretty cool, and I do have a ton of Splendor that might work. Again, the stitch choices boggle my mind, but I am firmly commited to just getting a needle loaded and seeing what happens.
On the cross stitch front is a kit from La-D-Da called "Daisy Daisy". Sorry for the terrible pic. This is an exclusive available from Lori and is simply smashing in real life. Her email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like more info.
So no "SHOULDS" for me today. I have declared the Spinster Stitcher Stitchy Studio a "SHOULD FREE ZONE" and I intend to keep it that way.
Have yourselves a wonderful day! Ciao and thanks for coming!
Jul 14, 2008
And then there's this:
After closer inspection, a certain"attitude" was detected. When confronted, the suspect acted as though he couldn't be bothered to answer the questions put forth:
So I proceeded to stomp about cleaning up after Little Lord Fauntleroy and told him that if he didn't shape up soon I would be looking into military academies for the fall. We seem to be having difficulty lately, and I can only assume that it's the alignment of the planets. My sweet little pup is slowly turning into a moody-ass teenager and I'm not equipped to deal with it. We've been through acne and dating dilemmas, but now methinks he's all torked-off because I refuse to let him drive and get his own apartment. Damn dog.
Nope....you're not seeing things. That really is my nine-pound bundle of joy sticking his tongue out at me. I swear I heard him say "Military academy? I've got you're military academy right here."
I've almost finished the class project and I will post pics as soon as it is completed. It is supposed to be finished into a long pin keep, but I am going to make mine into a frame weight for needlepoint. (See? Always thinkin'.) Amazing what comes to me as I lather, rinse, and repeat.
Today has me thinking about guilt. I was sitting in the office typing away when I noticed the landscaping crew weeding my flower beds. Stewey decided that he needed to go out to supervise, and I felt like a boob watching them work without "doing something". So I whipped up a big pitcher of lemonade and pranced outside like Miss Martha Friggin' Stewart Her Very Self. Although much appreciated, the girls doing the weeding thought I was nuts. "Miss Rich...you PAY us to do this. You don't need to feel like you need to give us more. Weeding your flower beds is part of your monthly HOA dues."
I still felt like a boob.
So then I had to call the mortgage company and ask why oh why my monthly payment was going up $200. Turns out it took about an hour and half to do this, and I found myself apologizing for taking up so much of the gentleman's time. (His name completely escapes me, but I'm not sure I'd get it right anyway since he was in India). So as I'm offering up the metaphorical pitcher of lemonade and apologizing for taking up so much of his time he says "Miss Rich, clearly this situation was our mistake and we should be apologizing to you for the length of time it is taking us to correct it."
Boob feeling time #2.
What the heck has me so damn guilty? I'm a nice person. Really. I am. I try to be pleasant and polite and not step on toes. I mind my manners and pay my taxes and do the best I can not to be a drain on society. I'm just a spinster who needs a little love every now and then....is that so wrong?
Well, the good news is that Chrissy is en route to talk me off the ledge and I am sure that all of this guilt will just wash away in mere moments. I'm going to adopt her reverse rotation, and I'm going to do it with impunity. Methinks we might actually start something new! WIP basket be damned! Guilt schmilt, folks! It's time for some stash-fondling, color-izing, canvas-unrolling, chart-perusing goodness! Woo Hoo!
Jul 13, 2008
We started off nice and early for gas (yipes!) and provisions. Our normal provisions need to be packed into a separate covered wagon that we drag behind the vehicle, because if we're more than fifteen minutes from home I figure we'll need supplies for the wilderness. I'm known to stock up on food, water, and emergency supplies for a short trip to Chicago, and we could probably run a Red Cross disaster relief truck from the back seat if we had to. But I was good and medicated enough that I managed to survive with only a Starbucks and a lovely little breakfast sandwich to get me through. (OK, and a bottle of water and extra socks and a little overnight bag "just in case".)
Oh, what lovely ladies! Each and every one of them was kind and nice and sweet and friendly and I wanted to just sit there and bask in their stitchy-ness all day! I feel like I made new friends and learned a lot, and I even got the chance to meet and talk to a real live designer!
Lori Markovic is just about the coolest chick on the planet, if you ask me. She really is an artist with a great sensibility. She created an exclusive project for the day's event and offered her expertise and encouragement all throughout the session. I love her....she's like bud-da.
I don't have any pics for you, because I am a) sensitive to those of you who might actually be in the witness protection program, b) not sure if it's cool to photo an exclusive project, and c) I forgot my camera. Just take my word for it.....a grand time was had by all!
P.S. Stewey got a "B" on his report card from Nanny. Apparently he was a semi-good boy but had some "attitude issues" that prevented a perfect score for the day. Damn dog.
Jul 11, 2008
Thank goodness I live alone.
So I was reading blogs this morning and was floored by a mention on Laura J. Perin's blog! For me, this is like the best kind of celebrity sighting and I am still floating around like the Goodyear Blimp over it. ME! On Laura J. Perin's blog! Woo Hoo!
That got me to thinking about what I would do if I met/saw any of you other celebrities out there in stitchy blogville. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, you are ALL fabulous in my humble opinion, and I think I would break into a full-on flop sweat and faint dead away if I were to ever meet any of yous. So if you see me in the grocery store, please be gentle and understand that I am rather in awe of/admiration of all of you and your stitching/blogging/commenting abilities. Remember....it took me a YEAR to get up the guts to come out of the lurking portion of the program, so when I tell you that I think you're all famous and intimidating, I mean business!
Chrissy and I are off tomorrow to Shereville, Indiana for a stitchy day with the NANI girls and Laurie from La-D-Da designs! Stay tuned for news at 11!
Jul 9, 2008
Sleepy sleepy sleepy day today, but not because of Stewey. Methinks I need to learn to go to bed a little earlier. I'm like a little kid, though, and find myself saying "ten more minutes" until it's 3am and I'm not one step closer to turning in for the night. I guess I should follow Stewey's lead and hit the hay at 7:30.
Jul 8, 2008
It's Bent Creek's "Spring Snapperland". I managed to finish the border and get a few rows of block four started. I'm stitching this on a gorgeous piece of linen called "Pink for the Cure". Very "springy" in real life.
I also managed to watch an interview with Sydney Pollack on TCM. I love Sydney Pollack. Forget the fact that he's from South Bend....I think he is simply fabulous. A few years ago, my friend Michele and I went to see him at a screening/discussion of "Out of Africa". We sat right there in the front row and I probably could have reached out and touched him. He talked about making the film and his career and then fielded questions from the audience. Magic. Just magic.
"It's Tuesday, so I better make sure to get my chores done. Blankets back in basket....check.""Am I done now, Mom? I want to take a wee nap before dinner time.""Whew...I'm bushed! The old lady sure knows how to make me work for a living!"
Jul 7, 2008
That's it!!!???? Some stems and a lousy leaf?!!
Man, I hate it when this happens. Three whole days lost and I didn't manage to finish any projects, solve world peace, find a cure for cancer, or settle that nagging dilemma of ten hot dogs/eight hog dog buns.
Oh well, I seem to have all of my limbs intact and I'm pretty well rested, so I suppose we'll just chalk it up to the mid-summer doldrums and call it a day.
Today is supposed to be a rotation drawing day, but I'm kind of itching to get back to "Primrose Path". Hmmmm. I think I need to think about this for a bit. Stay tuned!
Here's hoping that your weekend was a lot more.....memorable.
Jul 3, 2008
So now he's on his perch trying to catch a nap and I'm going in there every fifteen minutes to wake his little heiney up. Can you say MOMMY TIME?!
Chrissy and I went to the library for the Needle Nuts stitching group. We met Miss Bessie and Miss Pam, both lovely knitters. Miss Bessie does all hand knitting and Miss Pam does both hand and machine knitting. (Up until last night I didn't even know there was such a thing.) We managed to babble away and I got a few more petals of my sunflower completed.
The drive home was rather interesting since it decided to hail. I hate driving in hail. It feels like the windshield is going to shatter. So my brilliant sister yells (over the noise of the hail, of course) to pull into the bank and park under the drive through canopy. Four spaces there and three cars already waiting it out. Ahhhh. I must confess, I would never have thought of it, so I suppose that she gets the gold star for the day for that one.
Let's all have a Happy 4th, shall we?
Jul 2, 2008
We usually start our conversations that way....no preliminaries. Just get right to the point. Well, apparently, my sister has decided that life's just too darn short and her stash of projects is just too darn tempting.
So....every Sunday night she is going to start a NEW project. That's right. Something new that is in her stash that she has been wanting to work on forever. She'll play with it during the week and see how much she gets done, and then, on the next Sunday night.....wait for it.....she'll start something new again!
I personally think this is a wonderful rotation. It basically says "If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, at least I will have had a blast picking up projects that I've wanted to stitch forever". Chrissy said that if she gets to the end of the year and has 100 open WIP's she won't feel one bit bad about it. Brava.
As for me, I plugged away on my big red sunflower last night. Painted canvases always intimidate me a bit, because I never seem to be able to pick the "right" stitch for a particular area. So last night I just went with whatever I felt like and I really like the results! I can't believe I've let this one languish for so long....it didn't growl at me or bite my fingers or leave me with any bruises. It just sat there patiently while I added Silk 'n Ivory to a few of its petals. Ahhhhh.
I think I'm going to do all of the black parts in the actual sunflower in shiny black beads. Really glitz this up. As for the black background...I'm not sure yet, but I've got stitch books for reference and I'm not afraid to use them!
We're off to the library tonight. I saw an ad in the paper for a group that meets there every few weeks to stitch, so Chrissy and I thought we'd give it a try. The lovely lady on the phone said that most of the attendees will knit or crochet, but that stitchers of all types are welcome. Just what I needed to hear! Methinks we'll hit the Starbucks for some sustenance on the way. Woo hoo!