Dec 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM THE SPINSTER STITCHER (AND HER LITTLE DOG TOO)


This morning during our chat, Stewey asked me if I had any special traditions for New Year's Eve.

"Well", I said, happy that my little dog was finally interested in something other than the drapes, "My Mommie was very superstitious and felt that whatever you were doing on New Year's Eve reflected how the rest of the year would go for you. So she always made sure that we were all together, snug and safe and warm and that we had lots of good things to eat."

Stewey looked duly unimpressed and pushed me further, so I added: "One of your Mommie's biggest secrets is that she is madly, passionately, in love with Barry Manilow. Always has been. And every year on New Year's Eve, she would stand in front of the TeeVee with her hand over her heart listening to him sing "It's Just Another New Year's Eve" while pitiful tears fell down her fat sweaty face."

What can I say? Some traditions are well worth keeping...

So here's a little moment for you and yours today. Stewey and I hope that you will have the best year of your life in 2010 and that whatever you wish for comes true. In spades.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Dec 30, 2009

WELL THAT DIDN'T LAST VERY LONG....

My resolution not to make any resolutions lasted a full seventeen and a half minutes, so I feel I'm definitely making progress on the whole "stop being a general nut case" front. (To celebrate, Stewey and I will be having a little scoop of peppermint ice cream later on, but don't tell anybody.)

I spent the day up in the studio putzing around and I came up with what I can only hope will be a simply fabulous method to my madness for 2010.

(Before I did that, though, I put all of the Christmas stitching away with a heavy sigh and then decided that I could keep the Raymond Crawford canvas out until it's completed. I think the next to last lesson is on its way to me now and then it probably won't be but another week or two until the final one, so I'm allowing myself a little extension on the whole holiday merriment experience.)

(I also went through the big WORK IN PROGRESS PILE OF DEATH and culled it down to 10 projects. Yup. You read that right. 10. The rest I put in a big basket that shall henceforth be known as The Island of Misfit Toys.)

Seeing how it's going to be 2010 and all, I decided that it will be THE YEAR OF 10's. On the personal/home front, all of my goals are conveniently categorized and sub-categorized into multiples of 10. Nifty, wouldn't you agree? (Don't worry, I won't bore you with any of THOSE goals, but suffice it to say that if I'm not a petite blonde tri-athelete by the end of the year I'll be very disappointed.)

(Note to self...need to lose 720 pounds, figure out what the hell a triathalon is, and get hair dyed blonde.)

Back to the stitching....

After careful consideration, I have decided that my stitchy basket shall contain the following at all times:

1) a painted canvas with a stitch guide
2) a counted canvas project
3) the official Spinster Stitcher 2010 BAP: Peaceful Paradise
4) a seasonal cross stitch project
5) a big Shepherd's Bush kit
6) a few small "weekend" cross stitch projects
7) a WIP
8) a Christmas ornament

Now rather than get my colon all twisted in knots trying to figure out a rotation of said contents of said stitchy basket, I decided that I get to play with whatever the heck I want to play with, but if at all possible, I'll pick my toy from the list above. That way, I might actually have a shot of reaching the following goals:

1) stitch 5 painted canvases
2) stitch 10 counted canvas pieces
3) stitch 10 Christmas ornaments
4) finish 1 BAP
5) get 10 pieces finished/framed

(You should probably know that in the midst of all of this I also decided to be better about keeping up with my unruly eyebrows and laundry piles, so the chances of me ever mentioning this post again are very very very s.l.i.m.)

Stewey has decided that his only New Year's resolution for 2010 will be to HAVE MORE PLAY TIME WITH MOMMIE and to try not to pee on the drapes so much, so I have to admire his brevity.

As I was doing all of this organizing and heavy thinking today it occurred to me that I haven't made New Year's resolutions for almost 20 years now. Hmmmm. Wonder if this explains the current state of affairs around here?

Aunt Chrissy and I hit the grocery for provisions tonight, and methinks our handsome butcher friend has an eye out for my little sister. There she was, strolling through the store with her fancypants glasses on and her new Christmas scarf thrown jauntily over her shoulder, when he came from behind the counter to shake her hand and say hello. (I, of course, thought he was coming over to say Happy New Year, so when he went to shake my hand I grabbed the guy and kissed him full on the face.)

Um. Awkward.

Anywhoose, he is a super nice gentleman, and I would be thrilled to welcome him into our meat-loving, man-starved crazy little family. So keep your fingers crossed that he's actually smitten and that I'll be able to dish more dirt soon!

As for me, I'll just stick with my little nine-pound bundle of love and will continue to be a happy spinster. (I actually have to do this because I haven't the foggiest idea of how to change the damn heading on this here blog.)

Off to watch "When Harry Met Sally" and to cuddle the dog! Night night, kids!

Dec 29, 2009

MOVING RIGHT ALONG...

When I started the silly habit of collecting all of my orts in their little jars, a lot of you asked what I was going to do with them at the end of the year. Well, after much consideration (obsessing, actually), I came up with the perfect solution. (At least for me and my weird tendencies anyway).

Thanks to Aunt Chrissy, I am now the proud owner of the First Official Spinster Stitcher Annual Ort Collection System:
At the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, I will have the ceremonial transfer of all the year's orts into this spanky new jar (which shall be labeled "2009" as soon as I can figure out how to use the rub-on transfers that came with in the gift bag.)

Stop that whispering...I can hear you say "Man, this chick REALLY needs to get a life!" from all the way over here in Hoosierville. You knew what you were getting into when you started reading this here blog, so move along. Crazy Spinster sightings will continue with regularity, I promise!

Speaking of moving along, I finished the next lesson on the Raymond Crawford Mystery Class from Bedecked and Beadazzled: I'm not sure what I'm enjoying most about this project....the design, the stitches, the threads, or the fact that for the first time in my stitchy life I am just going with the flow and not trying to "matchy matchy" this thing to death. As you all know by now, I am very "canvas challenged", so getting this far without a major meltdown is quite an accomplishment for me. Polite golf clap, please.

What I'm even more pleased about is that this project has convinced me that I can really love painted canvases as long as I have help from a professionally written stitch guide. To that end, I am thinking that I will start the "Bohemian Paisley" canvas for which Janet Perry wrote me an excellent one. All I need to do is gather the threads and away we go!

I swore that was not going to plan my stitching for 2010, but keep thinking of things that I would like to do in the New Year. Normally, I spend the entire week between Christmas and New Year's Eve stressing out over a SYSTEM that I will perfectly execute in the coming year. This year, I really don't want to do that, so I'm taking a Valium (or two, or three, or ten), and just going with whatever strikes my fancy. If I feel like cross stitch, then cross stitch it shall be. Counted canvas...the very same. And if I feel like doing them all at once with my eyeballs crossed and toes curled, then so be it!

So I suppose that I hereby resolve that 2010 will be the YEAR OF DOING WHATEVER I DAMN WELL FEEL LIKE AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE!

(That's only for stitching, of course. My real list of resolutions could wallpaper a small country.)

Happy Tuesday to all, and to all some good stitching!

Dec 28, 2009

THE CHRISTMAS REPORT, PART DEAUX BY MASTER STEWEY ANGUS WILLOWSWAMP HIS VERY LITTLE SELF

Hello, my dear stitchy bloggy friends! (Who would ever have imagined that lil 'ol me....a nine-pound bundle of joy dressed up as a Jack Russell terrier would be able to call stitchers friends?!)

I see that my mo-ther filled you in on a few of the Christmas Day activities. Yes, I was a complete MANIAC with my Zhu Zhu, but I feel it necessary to point out that...I AM A DOG! I AM A DOG THAT WAS CREATED FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF HUNTING SMALL FURRY CREATURES! I AM A DOG THAT WAS CREATED FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF HUNTING SMALL FURRY CREATURES AND THEN KILLING THEM DEAD!

What the hell did they expect from me? That I was going to put the little $*#&% in a baby carriage and parade it around the neighborhood? For cryin' out loud...I act like an actual dog once every four years and my stupid mo-ther and aunt pee themselves with laughter. Sheesh.

Anywhoose, my Zhu Zhu has been on "hiatus" for a few days, but I am determined to figure out where the little $*#&% is hiding and have another go. I've already written a letter of complaint to the manufacturer that the "Specialty Play Dome" needs some SERIOUS work and that it needs to be a bit more challenging to break into, but I haven't heard anything back from them yet. I've also volunteered to be a product tester for any/all items that they decide to release in the future. We'll see how that goes and whether or not it is a conflict of interest with the other gigs I've got going around here. (My attorney is looking into it for me.)

Mom has been spending almost all of her time with that damn Kindle. She's even gone so far as to name it. Ellison. What the hell kind of a name is THAT? She claims that it's because the screen had a picture of Ralph Ellison on it when Aunt Chrissy gave it to her, but I think she named it that just to annoy me. All I know is that if I hear "Oh, Ellison, you're the very best think that ever happened to me" one more time I'm going to throw up.

I know that mo-ther wants you to think that ELLISON was the best present that she received, but there are two others that she has been fixated on. The first one she told you about...the book from Ina. It figures that my gd'd cousin comes up with a great gift the year I decided not to do any shopping of my own! Mom keeps looking at me saying "Stewey, Ina Garten knows my name!". Then she breaks out into the ugly snot cry and has to go lay down for an hour. If I wasn't such a big fan of Ms. Garten myself, I'd drag that damn thing out to the patio and bury it in the snow.

The other gift that has my stupid mo-ther in complete hysterics every ten minutes is a canvas that Aunt Chrissy gave her. Ever since I've been here there has been a needlepoint picture of a girl reading a book hanging in the bedroom. When I asked Mom about it, she told me that her Mommie made it for her and that it is her most prized possession. I assume that she means "most prized possession AFTER you, my Stewey Darling", but I don't want to push my luck in light of the PeePalooza that I had over the weekend.
Apparently, a lovely lady had purchased this piece and had started it, but realized that she would never finish it. So she took it to the LNS to see if anybody wanted to purchase it. Aunt Chrissy did, and I don't think Mom has stopped looking at it since. I think it's called something like trame', and it's done on Penelope canvas. From what I can tell, Mom will need to buy wool thread to use on this one, and she'll have to do all tent/continental stitches on it to fill in the guidelines. Considering the size of it, methinks she'll be at this one for quite a while, but I heard her say that she wants to put this on her Stitchy List That Will Not Become A Major Source of Angst and Guilt No Matter How Far We Stray From It for 2010.

In other stitchy news, Mom has decided to participate in the Prairie Schooler Alphabet Stitch-A-Long over at Ms. Vonna's:http://psabcbee.blogspot.com/ I'll be interested to see how she pulls this one off, especially since she's already stressing out about the thread conversion. She keeps waffling back and forth as to whether or not to do it in the DMC colors or whether or not she should convert to overdyed. Stay tuned.

Well, it's time for some serious napping. I have a new holiday blanket that I'm really enjoying, so I don't want to spend too much time away from it.I hope that you had a wonderful Christmas and that you'll stick with me through the New Year. I know that I come off like I'm a self-assured little guy and that I rule the world, but sometimes it's just nice to be sure of you.

With love from your pal,
Stewey

Dec 27, 2009

THE CHRISTMAS REPORT, PART ONE

Stewey can't come to the blog right now. He's passed out in front of the fire with all of his new toys surrounding him. Well, not ALL of his new toys exactly, but enough of them that he feels comforted.

The Zhu Zhu was an enormous hit for the full seventeen seconds he got to play with it. After breaking two fingernails and a tiny little screwdriver, I managed to get the battery installed and then put the little gizmo into its "Specialty Play Dome" and let 'er rip. The hilarity that ensued was worth a few pictures, but sadly, I was stunned senseless by the viciousness with which my little nine-pound bundle of love dispatched the "Specialty Play Dome" in hot pursuit of the animal within:

Aunt Chrissy screamed bloody murder, Bosco ran for cover, and I tried not to wet myself as Stewey barricaded himself in a corner with the Zhu Zhu firmly clenched in his little overbite while the wheels on the damn thing whirred away. It was quite a Christmas picture, let me tell you:

Poor little Bosco had a miserable day. With all of the excitement over Stewey and his Zhu Zhu, he got stuck in the "afterthought" category and had the added humiliation of having to pose for pictures sporting his new motorcycle jacket:

"You're kidding me, right? HE pees on everything that moves and gets a Zhu Zhu for Christmas and I get clothes?! Somebody is going to pay for this."


Aunt Chrissy spoiled me rotten with a bus load of marvelous presents (that I'm fairly certain I don't deserve), and she even managed to bring me to the ugly cry at least four or five times.

Bosco gets the award for the best note accompanying a gift...he gave me an autographed copy of Ina Garten's "Back to Basics" (in which she wrote MY ACTUAL NAME! INA GARTEN KNOWS MY NAME!) and in it he wrote "Aunt CJ I spent all of my allowance on long distance talking to Ms. Garten about this gift for you." I, of course, was a puddle of tears before I got to the little paw print signature.

The BIG GIFT for me this year was a Kindle, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I am now a full-blown addict. This morning I downloaded the Sunday edition of the New York Times RIGHT THERE IN MY BIG GIRL SLEIGH BED! and then read it cover to cover before I knew what hit me. This machine is a very very dangerous contraption for somebody like me....now I never need to leave the bedroom, much less the house. I've downloaded a few books to read and have promised myself that I will NOT accumulate a stash of reading material, but we'll see how long that lasts. I mean, how cool is it that you can browse a bookstore at 3am? In your underpants!

Stewey will have lots more to tell you tomorrow, I'm sure. He felt that the level of gift giving this year more than made up for my lousy decorating, so methinks the New Year will usher in a new era of love and obedience around here. In the meantime, we've got a week of precociousness to go, so I'm not going to start celebrating just yet. Damn dog.

Dec 24, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE SPINSTER STITCHER (AND HER LITTLE DOG TOO!)






may you have great JOY in the coming year!




With much love to you and yours.
Coni (and Stewey too!)


Dec 23, 2009

AND THEN....CHRISTMAS THREW UP

I, Coni J. Rich Her Very Self, do hereby swear that I will put a stitch into something tonight if it's the very last thing I do.

And! I, Coni J. Rich Her Very Self, do hereby swear that I will wrap Christmas presents in the year 2010 on September 4th.

WHAT I WISH MY MOMMIE SMELLED LIKE, BY MASTER STEWEY ANGUS WILLOWSWAMP, HIS VERY LITTLE SELF

Last night while I was snoozing next to my mo-ther dear, she decided to make these lovely round things that smell like heaven. I'm not sure where she got the idea exactly, but she told me that when she was a little girl she did this every year at Christmas time. (Well, she did it every year until the one that she decided to put one in the corner of her closet and it was not discovered until the following summer when my Grandma Sig wanted to know just what the hell was going on in there and discovered what can only be described as...a mess.)

So Mom sat there watching a movie with this blissed-out look on her face and then we headed off to bed for a good night's rest. When we woke up this morning, the whole house smelled wonderful...like Christmas and happiness, and what I imagine Santa Claus will smell like when I finally get to meet him on Friday afternoon. (What can I say? I got my reservation in early this year and we're having lunch at my club.)

I keep wandering into the kitchen (with its freshly scrubbed floor, I'm now legally required to add), and sniff delicately to catch a whiff of all of this wonderfulness.

I just hope she keeps 'em out of my closet.

Happy Day Before the Day Before the Day I Get A Zhu Zhu!
With love from you pal,
Stewey

Dec 22, 2009

IT'S A CHRISTMAS FREAKIN' MIRACLE!





Time spent to clean the house: seven hours, thirteen minutes
Number of Tylenol it will take to kill the pain: eleven
Not having to listen to a nine-pound Jack Russell Terrier bitch and moan and complain: PRICELESS

ON THIS EPISODE OF "CLEAN HOUSE"...

My mom can't come to the blog right now. I've locked her in the closet while I speak with the nice producer lady from the Clean House show. You know the one...where a crew of dedicated and very brave people go into a house that is a complete MESS and help the person get their proverbial head of of their...

(I'm sorry. I'm just a little frustrated by the lack of homekeeping skills around here lately. I've tried my best to be a force for good and gently encourage my mo-ther to pick up a Swiffer, but alas, she has not done so as of this post.)

I suppose that this calls for DRASTIC measures. Come with me, won't you, as I walk you through the HOME 'O FILTH in the attempt to SHAME my mo-ther into getting off of her big fat white hairy...

(See? I'm just so upset that I've resorted to profanity again.)

First up is the bedroom. Here's a pic of the rumpled, slept-in, messy bed that she finally hauled herself out of at 10 o'clock this morning:
I mean, come on! How hard would it have been to pull that hot crock pot full of mess up and tidy the pillows? But leaving it like this for God and everybody to see? Unacceptable.

Now I'll take you into the laundry room, where the basket full of clean clothes has been sitting. For a week. A week. For one whole week this basket has been sitting on top of the washing machine.
Do you want to know what's REALLY stupid about this? Whenever Mommie Dearest needs something from this basket, she walks all the way from our bedroom to the laundry room (across the full length of the house, I might add), and she takes what she needs from the basket! The basket that's been sitting on the washing machine for a week! She can't pick up the basket that's been sitting on the washing machine for a week and then CARRY IT BACK TO THE BEDROOM?!

Two weeks ago she finished her Christmas shopping and she carefully "staged" everything on the dining room table:
I already know that my presents are out in the garage in a big bin labeled "Santa's Workshop...Do Not Peek" because I went out there and peeked. (Oh, and I'm furious to report that there was NOT a Zhu Zhu in that bin. Did the man not get my fax? What does a puppy have to do to get some Zhu Zhu love around here? Who do I have to ---- to get a decent Christmas present?)

(Yep, I'm pretty sure that one is going to send me straight to the Naughty list...

So in preparation of wrapping all of the fabulous gifts I'm sure she bought Aunt Chrissy, she went into the guest room and fished out all of the wrapping paper and bows and such and then SHE JUST LEFT IT ALL ON THE FLOOR IN THERE!
Does she think that the gifts are all going to spontaneously jump into their wrappings? Is she waiting for the elves to come put the paper on things in the middle of the night? What seems to be the mental block that this woman has about putting things in their proper places and/or writing a list and then...wait for it....actually doing the stuff that's on the list!

I think the kitchen is the worst, though. Aunt Chrissy was here all damn weekend with that snot cousin of mine and by the time the two of them came to their senses, they had totally DESTROYED my organizational system in there:
I will confess that I just now piled all of that stuff up in front of the coffee maker so that my coffee addicted mo-ther will be forced to put this stuff away before tomorrow morning. (Knowing her, however, she'll just shove it all aside and still manage to get her morning fix.) Damn Mommie.

I got desperate enough last night that I went into my toy box and started scattering stuff all over the floor so that she would step on something in the dark and wake the hell up already and clean this place up:
I think I miscalculated, though, since most of the stuff I pulled out was stuffed animals, and all they did was squeak when she stepped on them. (This, of course, scared the beejeebies out of me in the wee hours, so I took the opportunity to water the drapes.)

I've been sitting here trying to determine where it all went wrong, but I just can't seem to put my paw on it. Could it be latent depression over the fact that she muffed the decorating this year? Does she feel bad because she didn't spend the national debt on gifts like she normally does? Is she disappointed that she's got NO shot of a kiss under the mistletoe? What could it be?

Mysteries abound, but I'm burning daylight trying to figure it out. I'm going to go open the closet door now and strap some cleaning supplies to the old lady in the hopes that she will finally get the hint. Pray for me. This is not going to be easy.

I do hope that you are all having a wonderful Tuesday wherever you are!

With love from your pal,
Stewey

Dec 21, 2009

CHRISTMAS (ALMOST) COMES TO SPINSTERS' CORNERS

Aunt Chrissy and I were whirlwinds of stitchy/bakey/Christmasy activity this weekend, so I'm stumbling around the house today wondering what day it is.

For me, it's just not Christmas until the Greek cookies are made. These damn cookies are the bain of my existence, but every year for the last 23 years I have hauled out the recipe and had a go. The official name is "koulrakia" (or something like that), but they are basically a lovely tea cookie that you're supposed to twist. It's the twisting that always kills me. For some reason, I just can't seem to get them to look right, and every year I tell myself that it's a good thing they taste so good because they sure aren't very pretty to look at:

The whole mess started when Aunt Chrissy announced that she wanted to do holiday baking, so I fretted and fretted and fretted all night Friday and finally came up with a system that was sure to make our entire baking experience perfectly perfect in every way:
I set up "zones" in the kitchen. Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, spices, freshly washed dishes, baking sheets, etc. It wasn't a very well thought out plan, though, since a full six minutes into the day I was sitting at the table with a dietCoke watching Aunt Chrissy take control while listening to her mumble something about assisted living facilities and checking to see what new med we could try to keep me out of her hair for awhile.

We ended up making biscotti, two coffee cakes, and the Greek cookies. I also wanted to make some Italian cookies that Dad loved, but alas, the time got away from us and it was time to settle in for some stitching.

On Friday night I worked on the Raymond Crawford:
And on Saturday and Sunday I played around with the Prairie Schooler Santas on canvas:
I'm not sure what I'm going to work on this week, but methinks it will still be in the canvas category. I seem to be in that frame of mind lately.

Stewey and Bosco were quite happy with the weekend snow, and when I checked on them (because it was just too darn quiet), here's what I came upon:
I confess that I was shocked to see that Stewey allowed Bosco access to his perch. Normally whenever Bosco gets within a ten foot radius of wherever Stewey happens to be at the moment there's hell to pay. I suspect that my "If you don't shape up, mister, Santa Claus will drive right by this house this year" finally hit home and he's minding his p's and q's so that he will get a ZhuZhu. Damn dog.

That's the Monday report from here in Hoosierville. I hope that y'all had a fabulous weekend and that the week ahead is fun fun fun fun fun.

Dec 18, 2009

SHAMELESS ***EDITED***

**Here I am on Saturday morning lurking around my own blog...

Y'all are sooo nice to give me encouragement about the Prairie Schooler Santas on canvas, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE blame Laura J. Perin for this fabulous idea! I may be shameless enough to steal it from her, but I just can't take credit for it! I'm a follower! A sheep! A brainless, mindless robot doing what the authorities tell her! Do yourselves a favor...go look at her blog to see that I really DON'T have any clue about what I'm doing and when I say she makes me feel like I actually do know what I'm doing, I'm not exaggerating (as I am wont to do!):

http://two-handedstitcher.blogspot.com


(Oh, and don't blame me when you just HAVE to order the MAGNOLIA collage!)

Off to build a snowman with Stewey...he's waiting impatiently on the back patio and his little mittens are getting wet....this, of course, makes him surly and most unpleasant to deal with for the rest of the day.

Damn dog.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming:


It's a well known fact that I've never had one single solitary original idea in my head. Call it a lack of confidence or even arrogance, but I figure I'm just an amateur in a world of professionals and I'm better off just doing what other people tell/inspire me to do.

So there I was....innocently reading blogs, when I saw the fabulosity that is MS. LAURA J. PERIN HER VERY SELF! Laura's got some major mojo going on, and if you check out her blog, you'll see that she stitched some Prairie Schooler Santas on canvas. Now I know that most normal people would say "Gee, that's really wonderful", but I picked up the phone and hollered at Aunt Chrissy to get her shoes on because we had to go to the LNS for canvas and threads RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE. We sped out of my driveway moments later with my hair on fire and my wallet clutched in my hand as though it were a ham sandwich. (What can I say? I love ham sandwiches.)

Which reminds me of a story....(as almost everything does). I was flying from Seattle to Chicago once when the airplane lost all of its hydraulics and we had to crash land in Phoenix. (This, of course, was pretty ironic since Dad lived in Phoenix and I figured when I called him from the airport to say "I just decided to drop in", I would have literally DROPPED in.)

But I regress...

The flight attendants cleared the cabin of everything that was unnecessary for the plummet to our certain death, but I somehow managed to keep the ham sandwich from the little lunch try firmly clasped in my paw as though it were a floatation device. That damn sandwich made it all the way to the runway (where we landed safely by the way....as though the pilot were putting a baby in a cradle), through the FAA "debriefing" session, and on to the cab ride to Dad's house.

When he opened the door, I said "Hi, Dad! I decided to drop in for a visit. Oh, and I brought lunch." Whereupon I dissolved into a puddle of quivering, sniffling, ridiculous drama-queen-ness that lasted the entire weekend.

(I did, however, manage to eat the sandwich in between the ugly cry and the hiccups.)

Anywhoose...I kitted up all of the annual PS Santas that were in my stash and decided to stitch them on one big piece of canvas:



I am using Vineyard Silks for the red, green, and white, and DMC floss for the other colors, so I hope this will be gorgeous when finally finished sometime in the year 2027.

I also kitted up PS's "December", but this time I picked out a sparkly white canvas. Aunt Chrissy pulled all of the silks, so I KNOW that it will be gorgeous when finally finished. (Hopefully before the year 2027).


Last night I worked on the Raymond Crawford and managed to get the candle block completely finished:

Speaking of shameless, Stewey is really turning on the charm this pre-Christmas gift receiving season. Here's how my morning went before I had even put toes onto carpet:

Stewey: Good morning, mo-ther dear! Oh how happy I am to see you today!

Mo-ther Dear: hmmrmppphh.

Stewey: Shall I start the coffee for you and fetch the paper?

Mo-ther: Huh? Wha? Stewey? What time is it?

Stewey: Why, it's almost 7am, Mommie Dearest, whom I love more than my Prince perch blanket!

Mo-ther: Why are we getting up so early? Who died? What's on fire?

Stewey: Oh, Mom, you are sooo silly! You just crack me up! I just thought we would get an early start today, since you casually mentioned that you wanted to finish up some Christmas shopping and wrapping, and I haven't really seem too many presents with my name on them yet, so I figured you were saving all of THAT shopping for the very end so that you could take your time and carefully select all of the items that I wish-listed on all of my favorite sites!

Mo-ther: Stewey, I've already told you. I am NOT going to buy you anything from the Neiman Marcus catalogue. You're a dog. You'll get a box of biscuits and a toy and you'll be happy about it.

Stewey: Did I mention that I think you're looking particularly FETCHING this morning, mo-ther dear?

Mo-ther: hmmmrphhhh

So in the spirit of actually being a good Mo-ther Dear, I suppose I had better get moving and wrap presents, re-decorate the house to comply with Little Lord Fauntleroy's standards, and finally get the coffee cakes baked. If I don't, there's no shot of any peace on earth, good will towards men whatsoever.

Damn dog.

Dec 17, 2009

WHY I NEED A GIRLFRIEND, BY STEWEY ANGUS WILLOWSWAMP HIS VERY LITTLE SELF

My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's on the phone with her doctor, asking about the possibility of allergy meds. Apparently, she has decided that she would be willing to go into anaphalactic shock in exchange for me having this experience:

http://www.flixxy.com/dog-loves-cat.htm

Oh, thank you Stitchy Aunt Beth for sending this to us!

Yours very va-clempidly,
Stewey

Dec 15, 2009

WHY I'LL NEVER GET A JOB DECORATING DEPARTMENT STORE WINDOWS, OR HOW I MANAGED TO SCREW IT ALL UP AGAIN THIS YEAR

My dog can't come to the blog right now. He's too busy throwing a major pout over our Christmas decorations (or lack thereof). I finally got so tired of hearing his bitching and moaning and kvetching that I broke down and threw some more stuff around the house to shut him up, but I think we're in for a loooooong winter:

"Why can't my stupid mom realize that if she doesn't get her head out of her a.. Santa Claus will miss us completely. I've already pooped on the guy. How much more can we get away with in one year?"


I've been stitching away on Rayond Crawford's Merry Christmas (the mystery class I'm taking from Bedecked and Beadazzled). I finally started to attach the bling:
Sorry for the ridiculously craptastic pic, but I've been so busy decorating the house for Christmas that I haven't had time to read the instruction manual that came with the digital camera. (Oh, I'm sorry. Was that snarky?) (She says, while smirking madly and chortling like a fiend.)

This is a new little Jim Shore that I bought myself over at the Hallmark Store. He sits next to my stitchy chair and I tell him all of my secret wishes for the holiday:

Next is my 2009 Jim Shore Santa gift from Aunt Chrissy. She got so desperate to see a little festivity around here that she gave it to me three weeks early with the hope that I would get my act together. (Note to self: Must not let Aunt Chrissy and Stewey talk privately anymore.)

Finally, here's the fabulous tableau that I put together in the wee hours of the morning. As you can see, I took the extra six minutes to fluff the garland before I threw it on the sofa table. Not bad for an amateur, eh?

I suppose that I should explain that this decorating situation is quite abnormal for me. From my student days on, I always went out of my way to tart my house up for the holidays, and I even went so far as to purchase a nine-footer one year. (What can I say? I lived in a condo with ceilings that were about eighteen stories high, and I had visions of a really really tall tree.)

Anywhoose...it seems that my mojo has been lacking for the last few years, so I suppose that I had better remedy that situation quickly, or I will be minus one very peeved little dog. For all the love and attention he gives me throughout the year, I suppose it's the least I can do for him. I mean, after all...he doesn't ask for much....just his own blog, car, room, bath, bed, TeeVee, silk smoking jacket, cigar humidor, blonde bombshell "friend", and social secretary on call 24/7. What's a few shiny ornaments thrown in for good measure?

Damn dog.

Here's hoping that you're having more luck with your own celebrations this year! I suppose a hearty Happy Chris-ma-kwan-za-ka covers most of the bases, so Happy Chrismakwanzaka!

Dec 11, 2009

MR. DEMILLE, PAGING MR. DEMILLE

My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's too busy preparing for her afternoon press conference about not getting the Notre Dame head football coaching job. I guess they felt that actual football coaching experience was important, so they let Mom down gently with an "Are you effing kidding me?!" email and that was the end of that.

Bosco and I are having difficulty selecting our holiday photos this year. If you'd like to see the results of our trip to the fancy schmancy pet boutique where I bit and then pooped on Santa Claus, please go to: http://www.candidcaninecrazy.lifepics.com and enter RICH as the event code. You'll notice that the first fours pages are all about Bosco and that he got stuck sitting on Santa's lap, while mine are more artistically focused. Mom told me that she and Aunt Chrissy wet their pants once Santa went away, because apparently I struck quite a pose and stayed that way for a full twenty minutes. I'm not sure why this surprises them, because I have always been very photogenic and remember everything I learned at the Rocco Clubbo's School of Modeling and Typewriter Maintenance.

No stitching to show you. Mom and Aunt Chrissy ran errands last night and then sat and watched "Steven Seagal, Deputy Sheriff" until the wee hours. I swear, when those two get together they act like thirteen year old boys and watch the weirdest stuff. I don't think Mom even knew who Steven Seagal even was until last night, but now she's Googling him and adding him to her secret boyfriend list. Damn Mommie.

We're off like a herd of turtles to a fabulous weekend. Mom has promised to FINALLY get the damn decorating finished, and Aunt Chrissy has threatened to come over tonight for some serious studio stitching. As for me, I think I'll go take a nap in the sunshine for a bit and then see what one square inch of furniture I haven't peed on yet.

A Stewey's work is never done....

Dec 10, 2009

OK, I'M OFFICIALLY CONFUSED

Before we begin today's drivel, I feel it absolutely necessary to reveal several interesting facts about myself.

1) Despite being only 43 years old (ahem), I am tragically UN-hip. (Good grief! Am I so out of touch that even the word "hip" is now out of fashio, and I'm revealing myself to be an even bigger dork than I think I am?!)

2) On the rare occasion that I actually leave Chez Spinster, I am safely belted into my vehicle, hands at ten and two, and not one distraction to...um...distract me from driving. This means that I usually do not turn on the radio to listen to commercial radio stations.

3) When I do listen to the radio, it is as a sleep aid, and the channel is tuned to the BBC America on our public radio station ( Helloooo WVPE!), and I normally wake up with strange questions about Climate Summits in Copenhagen, or what the latest issue is with our presence (or lack thereof) in some part of the world that probably didn't even exist when we studied Geography on that one Wednesday in eleventh grade.

And finally:

4) Aunt Chrissy and I were raised by two parents who didn't get too excited about anything as we were growing up. When some of the parents of our peers were "outraged" or "scandalized" by what was showing up on the TeeVee with its brand new MTV channel, Mom went out and bought another Glen Campbell or Barry Manilow album and we got on with it. (Which explains a LOT about me and my current state of affairs....one year I asked for "records" for Christmas and I got "The Definitive Steve and Edie Gourmet Collection" and something by Henry Mancini.) (This was in 1983.) (Sigh.)

So all of this is by way of explanation so that you will understand where I'm coming from when I tell you that I'm still a bit baffled by this Barbara Walters "Most Fascinating People of 2009" thingie I saw parts of last night. (I would have watched all of it, but I wanted waffles.) (Stewey, however, was positively riveted to the screen, and he took notes for our nightly Pre NightNight Discussion.)

The first "HUH?!" that came out of my head was when a gal named Lady GaGa was presented. (Or was it GoGo?). (Hmm. Maybe it was GiGi?). Anywhoose, all I caught were some snippets of Barbara saying "clothes off", "scandalous", and what I think was, "boobies". My very brief search for Madame GaGa this morning told me nothing other than the fact that this person does indeed like to show her boobies. Apparently, a lot.

Now please understand I'm not at all terrorized by the thought of anybody showing their boobies, and as a matter of fact, I would happily share mine with the world if I could get them out of my shoes long enough to see the light of day. (I have issues. Leave it alone.)

I listened as Barbara talked all about this woman being "blah blah blah", and I said to myself "Isn't that Madonna?". I mean, come on. Didn't Madonna show her boobies and dance around and terrorize the Queen of England too? Is this Lady Whatever really THAT original?

So as I pondered this and ate my waffles, another "entertainer" was featured. This time, a raven-haired, eyeliner-wearing, black nail polish-toting young man appeared after a clip of a performance he gave at some awards show.

Now here's where I tell you that I've never seen American Idol, and the only thing I really know about it is that there's a British guy on there who wears t-shirts that are entirely too snug for him (in my humble opinion). (Talk about boobies.)

So I guess this kid...Adam Lambert?...is being vilified for...well, I'm not exactly sure what, but I know that it involves a lot of parents upset that their children were exposed to his shenangins. So as Barbara is blathering away about this guy being banned from Good Morning America and whether or not this "scandal" will hurt his career, I again looked sideways at the Tee Vee and said (to no one in particular this time)..."For cryin' out loud! Isn't that Adam Ant?!".

So here's where the confused part of me comes in: I'm not sure I'm understanding all of the fuss about some of these "entertainers" these days. Aside from Susan Boyle, who bucked tradition with her unruly eyebrows and sensible shoes, it seems to me that most of what's out there today is just a re-hashing of everything that has gone before. Am I completely off base here? Should I just go back under my rock and forget about it all?

And if these "entertainers" are so shocking to the world, why not just say what my mom did to me when I asked her if I could get my ears pierced and go to a boy/girl party: "Yes, if you make your bed every day, and no, not until you're 30."

So that's my pondering for the day. On to some stitching....

Here's my progress on the 4 Patch Santa Sampler. I've finished the background on the first little guy. All he needs now is a pom pom for his hat and he will go on the finished list.

I think that I will switch to the Raymond Crawford this evening, since I received the next installment in the mail a few days ago. I'm also thinking that I might want to kit up Laura J. Perin's Malachite Maze with some Christmas colors, but that might involve a trip to the LNS for provisions. (How sad is it that I wouldn't consider a trip to the pharmacy for meds today because of the weather, but when I just typed "LNS" I started looking for the keys and my outside shoes?)

Aunt Chrissy will take me to the fancy eyeglass boutique tonight to pick up my glasses again. I had originally ordered them with "Transitions" lenses, because I thought it would be soooo cool to be able to walk outside and have instant sunglasses. It turns out that my stitchy lamp was activating them, so I was sitting in the Happy Chair looking like I was just too cool for the room. (Or like I was going to break out a guitar and start playing the blues.)

I hope that wherever you are is wonderful today. Stay warm and safe and dry and don't forget to tell me all about it!

Dec 9, 2009

DAMN YOU, BAROMETRIC PRESSURE, AND YOUR LITTLE MIGRAINES TOO!

I've heard that the barometric pressure can cause headaches in some people, and yesterday I apparently decided to join their ranks. We have a big weather "situation" coming in, and my head, neck, and eyeballs hurt so bad yesterday that I thought I was going to grow horns and spart spewing nasty things all about me.

Stewey must be affected by this phenomenon as well, since all he wanted to do yesterday was sit in my lap, look deeply into my eyes, and say "Mo-ther, you do realize that it is now December 8th and you've done nothing about that bare mantle. If you don't hang my stocking by the chimney with care, where in the world will Santa Claus hide my Zhu Zhu? You know that I have been very very good this year and that I am expecting to receive many fine presents, but if you don't get on the stick and get this house finished I'm going to put myself up for adoption, and then where would you be without me? Now take these little pills, go put your head on the pillow for a few minutes, and wake up refreshed and ready to GET. THIS. DECORATING. FINISHED.!!"

I did manage to start the background of the Santa, but I admit it was tricky to do with only one eye opened. The first part of the design calls for two ply of Impressions, so I am trying very hard to lay it carefully and not let the twisties get out of hand:

So here's a creepy story for ya...

Moments ago I was sitting here typing away and I heard a tremendous RACKET coming from the back yard. I can't describe the sound exactly, but let's just say it gave me pause, particularly since we are experiencing very high winds at the moment and I was pretty sure my neighbor's house had just blow over or some such mess.

I slowly crept into the living room and gasped in horror as I saw about a BAZILLION and a half big black birds feeding away at the two little bird feeders at the end of the patio. Holey Schmoley! I am not kidding you when I say that there were enough birds there to cause me to break out in a cold sweat and run for the camera.

By the time I returned, here's all that were left:

Now I realize that this doesn't look very impressive, but please keep in mind that I can hardly hear myself THINK today over all of this howling wind, yet there were enough birds in my back yard to MAKE ME GET OFF MY BUTT AND GET OUT OF THE CHAIR!

I asked Stewey what he thought if the whole experience, but all he could muster for me was:

"I wonder if there's a way I can lock her office door from the outside so that I can have a little peace and quiet during the day?"

I realize I'm the only one freaked out by nature around here, but sheesh, give a spinster a break once in a while, will ya?

Back to the salt mines. This laundry isn't going to do itself, despite my best efforts to channel Elizabeth Montgomery by twitching my nose. (How's THAT for an obscure pop culture reference on a Wednesday?)

Dec 8, 2009

A LITTLE QUICKIE FROM MASTER STEWEY ANGUS WILLOWSWAMP, HIS VERY LITTLE SELF

I sent Mom to bed with a Sudafed, but here's what she completed on the Just Libby Santa last night:

Dec 7, 2009

BACK IN THE STITCHY SADDLE! YEE HAW!

I've always known that I am a moody stitcher, but I had no idea the extent to which those moods can make or break my stitchy mojo. Sheesh.

As has been painfully chronicled on this here blog, my stitchy slump was not at all pretty. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't seem to find a project that made me sit up in the buggy and push my reading glasses up my nose.

I should have known what the problem was....I am in a very CANVAS state of mind and cross stitch was the only thing in the basket! So I hiked upstairs to the studio and pawed through my stash to see if I couldn't remedy the situation.

Here's The 4 Santa Patch Sampler by Just Libby Designs. This is a line-drawn canvas that comes with a stitch guide, so all you need to do is add threads and....viola! (Well, maybe it's not exactly THAT easy, but it sure is doing the trick of blowing my skirt up lately, so I'm not going to question it.)
I started with the Santa in the lower right since that was the easiest part to reach with my stubby arms and ridiculously bad stitchy posture. Here's how far I've progressed after the weekend:
I'd love to tell you that he looks so cool because of my stitching prowess, but the truth is that the chart pretty much tells you exactly what to do.

Aunt Chrissy and I were talking about stitching this weekend, and we decided that the reason most cross stitchers are able to easily convert to canvas work is that they know how to read a chart. And, if you've ever cross stitched a piece that involves "specialty stitches" and not just cross stitches, you're already on your way to being able to do almost anything you want.

(Or you could just be delusional like me and forget that you know absolutely nothing about anything at all and just jump in with both feet and muck about until you learn something.)

(This works really well when you're involved in learning how to do new forms of needlework. Heart surgery...not so much.)

So I'm officially out of the slump and loving my time in the Happy Chair once again! Stewey is thrilled that I'm not pacing around the house with "a puss on" (as I see he told you), so life seems to be quite swell for now.

(Well, as swell as it can be with an obsessive compulsive spinster and a little dog that insists on peeing on the drapes.)

Ciao!

Dec 4, 2009

SANTA? ARE YOU LISTENING?

My mom can't come to the blog right now. I've sent her to the laundry room until she knows how to behave. She woke up on the wrong side of the web this morning, and after a day of running errands and getting labwork done, she returned home with a scowl on her puss and an even WORSE attitude. I swear I heard her say "Stewey, I'm a compassionate Mommie, but I feel like I could kick a kitten through an electric fan" before she stomped to the bathroom for an Excedrin Migraine.

I'm having none of it, I tell ya', so I marched her fanny into the laundry room and shook my paw at her with a few stern "BAD GIRL"s thrown in for good measure. I chose the laundry room because there's no window in there and I figured a few hours of sitting in the dark might be good for her. (Also, when I was a baby she thought that was the best place to "train" me since it has linoleum floors, and I've never recovered from the trauma of it all. All I have to say on THAT subject is...paybacks are hell.)

She better shape up, or Christmas Day will find her sitting alone on a bus bench someplace. (I may not be able to reach the pedals on the car, but if I enlist my pesky cousin Bosco's help, we can usually get around pretty well with me steering and shouting "GO! STOP! BRAKE HARDER!" as we motor down the road.

Last night I put a new project into q-snaps, plopped it into mo-ther's lap, and here's what she came up with:
Ridiculously pitiful, I know. I had hoped that this would snap her out of her slump, but all she did was bitch and bitch about the color of the reindeers. Apparently, Mommie Dearest thinks she is the world's foremost leading authority on reindeer colors, and this DMC 801 isn't to her satisfaction. The chart called for DMC 898 (a fact that she pointed out about a bazillion times already), but we don't have that color and I'll be damned if I'm going to go all the way to the Michaels for a skein of floss. I can hardly wait until she gets to the DMC 951 I picked out for Santa's face (in lieu of the called-for 758). I'm sure we'll have a forty-five minute diatribe on the PROPER skin tone of a man who lives at the North Pole, and how a rosy-cheeked complexion is essential to the complete Santa experience. I swear, if she wasn't such a bag of doorknobs and so easy to push around I'd trade her in already. (I just know I could have thrived with a smarter owner.)

The mailman has just delivered the next installment of the Raymond Crawford "Merry Christmas" canvas, so I FINALLY have the perfect antidote to this foul weather that is upon us here at Chez Spinster. In a few hours, I'll let the old lady out of the laundry room and if she doesn't tork me off too too much I'll go ahead and let her have the package. One word, however, and I'll bury this thing so deep she'll need two hands and a flashlight to even THINK about finding it.
So that's all the news from Lake WoeBeSpinster today, kids. Never fear. I've got a naughty list and I'm not afraid to use it! I hope that you have a splendid weekend wherever you are and that something spectacular happens to you today!

With love from your pal,
Stewey

Dec 3, 2009

I BETTER WATCH OUT....I BETTER NOT CRY....

Day eight of the Spinster Stitcher No Stitching Slump That Just Won't Quit. My insides feel rather....um....
And every time I pull out that Christmas Stitching Basket, I get bored and feel: Never fear, though...I'm getting my stitching fixes from reading your blogs and drooling over everything you're working on. My goodness, but you're productive! I will confess that I watch your progress on each and every stitch and I do little spastic cheerleader moves by way of virtual encouragement. Isn't it wonderful to know that you've got a nutcase out here in CyberStitchyVille stalking your every move?

Stewey is sporting his Christmas collar but is not happy about it. He prefers the more dainty "Burberry" style collar that is his everyday wear. (Don't tell him, but it's actually a cat collar. Damn dog is so little that the size small dog collars are too big and bulky for him.) (See above for evidence of such.)

I was supposed to wake up to a few inches of snow today, but apparently the memo was lost in translation. I love the first snowfall of the year and anticipate it with great....uh....well....anticipation, but alas, it was not to be. Oh well, I suppose there will be plenty of time before next spring for the white stuff to fly.

Well, I guess I'll go decorate the fireplace mantle before Stewey calls in the local flower shoppe. He has had the page bookmarked for quite some time, and has threatened to tart this place up to within an inch of its life if I don't get a move on, so I suspect I had better take the hint.

Happy Thursday to all! Keep those needles flying, please! A poor little wicked spinster is depending on you!

Dec 1, 2009

OEY

You know that expression "Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink?". Well, that pretty much sums up the overall state of the Spinster Stitcher union these days. I have an embarrassing abundance of riches all kitted up in the Christmas Stitching basket, and yet all I can seem to do each night is put it on the ottoman and stare at it.

Shame on me.

I do, however, have a plan. (I can hear you saying "Uh-oh" all the way over here in Hoosierville.) I've decided that I can do anything for fifteen minutes, so tonight I'm going to pull a project and start stitching it for AT LEAST that period of time. No excuses. No bitching, whining, or complaining. I'm just going to stitch on something for fifteen minutes and then see how it goes from there. If I get bored or dissatisfied, I'll put it down and fret about it later. But! If it kicks me back into Stitchy MojoTowne, then so much the better!

I see that Stewey filled you in on all of the shenanigans around here for the BIG FEAST OF A MEAL DAY. We're still not sure what happened exactly, but the food was better than it ever has been, and most of it was delivered to the table piping hot. (That's one of my pet peeves...hot food that is presented...eh....not so much.) Ina's Sagaponak Corn Pudding was definitely worth it, so I'm pretty sure that I'll be making that one for years and years to come. Aunt Chrissy made the pies (yes, we had more than one pie for just the two of us...leave it alone), and I have to say that whatever she did to the pecan one was really really good. (She claims to have burned it, but I think it was just superb).

The Christmas tree really isn't THAT bad, and I think Stewey is finally warming up to it. He stopped complaining about it when I pointed out that last year we almost didn't have a tree at all, so he should be happy with whatever ends up in that urn. Now if I can just get the rest of the decorations up, all will be peaceful in the kingdom once again.

By now the entire world knows that Notre Dame is looking for a new head football coach, and yes, in the event that you were wondering, I've thrown my hat into the ring. Considering I know absolutely NOTHING about the game, I'm not optimistic that I'll be called in for an interview, but what I lack in experience, I figure I make up for in sincerity. (Besides, won't the uniforms look snazzy with the players' names embroidered on the back?)

We're off to a Tuesday! Laundry will be finished today or I'm hauling it all to the Goodwill. Sometimes I feel as though a little tough love is in order for myself, and I issue threats as a motivational tool for getting stuff done around here. If you see me wearing the same sweatpants and sports bra for the next several months, you can probably guess that there wasn't much laundry washing that happened after all.

Happy Day to you all! I hope that your little corner of the world is simply fabulous and that something delightful happens to you today!