Mar 31, 2011


Looks like Little Mr. FussPot is trying something new with his 'do.

After all of that organizing yesterday, not one stitch was applied.


Mar 30, 2011


Stewey has decided to implement a new grading system here at Chez Spinster. Each evening, as we tuck ourselves into the big girl sleigh bed and discuss the happenings of the day, he gives me a grade with respects to my overall behavior.

(I did, however, notice that the grade is quite specific in that it only includes my behavior with respects to HIM, but such is the life I lead with Little Lord You Know Who.)

So as we drifted off last night....

STEWEY: I give you a C- for today, Mo-ther.
MO-THER: A C- !!! What do you mean?!!! I was perfect today and never once tapped you on the heiney with a wooden spoon!
STEWEY: As I've explained to you before, physical violence is never appropriate.
MO-THER: Violence? You think getting tapped on the heiney is violence? Try getting your behind spanked so hard that you end up thinking it's Tuesday for the rest of your life. I'll show you what a real spanking is all about....
STEWEY: Three words... Power. Of. Attorney.
MO-THER: Did I say spanking? I meant to here my perfect precious little joy. Mummie wants to give you a proper night night kiss before you drift off to sleep. Have I told you I love you today? Have I told you that I think you're the most handsome, best behaved, and most lovable little dog on the planet? Oh, Stewey Dear, how I love you so. Please don't ever leave me.
STEWEY: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

(Today I am determined to get an A, if not an A+ for my mo-thering behavior. So far I've managed to make excellent toast, I've washed and fluffed all of Master Stewey's little blankets, and I've prepared a selection of fabulous little tea sandwiches for his afternoon snack.)

Since this is, after all, supposed to be a stitching blog and not the gentle ravings of a lunatic spinster, I do have some stitchy-related items to share. I spent a fair amount of time up in the studio yesterday futzing about, and I kitted up a few things to play with. Most have a decidedly Spring-y like feel to them, but there are a few that might take me into the Summer. I'm not going to put any kind of pressure on myself with these (kell soo-preese), but rather, I hope that I can just sit and enjoy them as our weather starts to straighten out here in Hoosierville.

Whenever I stalk (er, um, I mean read) Siobhan's blog, I always stop and marvel at her completed and framed seasonal girl series from Birds of a Feather. I started Le Printemps forever ago and had to put it down because I'm off by a stitch somewhere, but after a few hours of screwing around with it yesterday, I think I might be able to continue on: Spring Quakers is the piece that I've been stitching for over a month and a half now, and although I am still loving every single stitch, I don't want it all to end anytime soon. (How weird is THAT?). So I figured a few days away from it would stretch its finish out a little longer: This is the piece that Aunt Chrissy is working on presently. When she bought her chart and threads, she gifted me with a set as well. (Who's better than her, right?) It's Alphabets from The Drawn Thread: Y'all know how I've come to love me some Shepherd's Bush, and I think I've mentioned that Aunt Chrissy has loved SB for longer than she can even remember. She'll turn 40 on April 12th this year, and despite my very best plan to take her to Ogden as a present, it doesn't look like it will be this year. (Damnit, Gumby. I feel like a schmuck of the highest order about this one, and I swear as God is my witness I will get her there one day.) So I've added their Come Tarry kit to my basket as a reminder that I positively SUCK as a big sister and that the next time I even THINK about feeling like the matriarch of our stupid little family, I should remind myself that when it really came right down to it, I failed on all levels and that I should be taken out back behind the woodshed and smacked vigorously with a wooden spoon. I stitched the bunny chart from Blackbird Design's Easter Parade, so now it's time to do the flower basket: What would a Spinster Stitcher basket be without some Laura J. Perin love? Aunt Chrissy bought these very same projects recently, and because I can't seem to do anything without stealing her thunder, I decided to add them to my basket as well. I'm thinking that the Bargello Egg will be quite lovely to do this weekend, and that Daisy O'Hare will be a perfect girlfriend for the previously stitched Rusty O'Toole.

So there you have it....a basket full of goodies that should keep me occupied and off the streets for at least a little while. I intend to plant myself in the Happy Chair with one of them this afternoon while watching Any Human Heart again. I watched the entire thing last weekend, and loved it so much that I think I would like to watch it again. Could it be that I'm becoming addicted to all things writer-ly?

Happy Hump Day!

I hope you get an A+ in everything you do!

Mar 28, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's laid up in the Happy Chair with a cold compress on her head and a bottle of Tylenol standing by. She was a flurry of domestic activity over the weekend, and despite my most fervent warnings to pace herself, it would appear that she's overdone it.

Saturday dawned bright and early, and after the old lady wasted an hour and a half trying to figure out the damn Jumble, she strapped on the big girl shoes and tackled the house. She washed and waxed and tidied and polished and straightened for about four and half hours, and I heard her telling Aunt Chrissy that no matter how hard she tries, she can never seem to get the job done in less time than that.

(I, for one, would think that a quick Swiffering every now and then would preclude having to strip, wash, and then wax the damn floors, but what do I know?)

(You'll also be happy to note that there was NO laundering of drapes involved in this little marathon cleaning session, so I CANNOT be held responsible for the wreckage that is my stupid mo-ther today.)

After she clawed her way out of the laundry room, I heard the shower go on, the sweat pants being applied, and then the car zoom out of the driveway for what I assume was a late afternoon dinner with my Aunt Chrissy. All I know is that the old lady came home smelling of french fries and she had a rather glazed look on her face that suggested Famous Daves, Five Guys, or cheesesteak sandwiches.

(Turns out that it was the latter. Apparently a new sub place has gone up down the street, and Mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy were keen to give it a try. No word on whether or not they were any good, but if the stains on the front of the t-shirt are any indication, methinks we have a winner.)

On Sunday I decided to catch up on some movie watching while Mo-ther futzed around in the kitchen. Apparently she was fretting over some left-over beef ribs that just had to be dealt with, because I heard her wondering aloud if birds and deer like bar-be-que. Then I heard chopping and grunting and the slamming of the toaster oven door, and before I knew it, we had this:
Can you believe it? My mom made a cottage pie all by her very self! She shredded the bar-be-qued beef and then added a bunch of vegetables that had been sauteed in butter and a little olive oil (carrots, parsnips, peas, corn, and shallots, thank you very much). To this she added a lovely topping of creamy cheesy garlic mashed potatoes, and I have to say that the final product was really quite spectacular.

(Let's not tell her that a real cottage/shepherd's pie is only to be made with mutton and that there's not a drop of bar-be-que sauce anywhere in it, shall we? She was so darn proud of herself for not wasting all of the leftover crap that she used to assemble this thing that I can't bear the thought of humiliating her so.)

We watched quite a few movies this weekend, and I'm not sure which was my favorite. On the lighter side of things was Valentine's Day with a lovely ensemble cast that included Bradley Cooper. On Saturday evening we watched A Single Man with Colin Firth, and both Mo-ther and I commented that we felt like our hearts would just break with the sadness of it. Last night we watched Mildred Pierce with Ms. Joan Crawford Her Very Self. This last one was my selection, since I am very anxious to see the HBO miniseries with Ms. Kate Winslet. Mo-ther felt that the themes were a bit mature for me, but after slipping a little more wine into her cup she seemed to be just fine with me watching whatever I wanted.

Today we're lounging in the sun and planning the week ahead. I'd love to tell you that there will be some substantive progress made toward that big fat list of stuff to do, but I've come to understand that there's no use getting excited about anything other than food, stitching, or my Aunt Chrissy around here. The old lady just doesn't seem to have very broad horizons...know what I mean?

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend and that you're having a lovely start to the new week. Please know that I remain your devoted and loving pal.

With much love, Stewey

Mar 25, 2011


They say that curiosity killed the cat, but I'm hoping that it's not quite that lethal to a poor unsuspecting spinster living in Hoosierville.

How the heck do you stitch?

What I mean by that is....what are all of your tips and tricks that you would just love to pass along so that the rest of Stitchy Blogville will come to worship you as the God/Goddess that you are.

I ask this, of course, out of purely selfish motives. I've really been struggling with my latest project....not the actual stitching of the project, mind you, but the meachnics of it.

As you might have guessed, this is a pretty big piece. I originally had it mounted on q-snaps that were just large enough to get a decent sized stitching area, but all of that extra linen drooping over the sides drove me batshit crazy.

So last night I switched out the q-snaps for some taller ones, but I still had excess linen at the bottom. This might not seem like that big of a deal to most of you, but if you're me, it means that you will inevitably stitch the droopy part to itself on the backside because you just have to sit in some facockta position in the Happy Chair, and as you poke and stab the needle through the linen you just can't be bothered to realize that you are, in fact, going through about eighteen layers of it.

After futzing with it for about three hours, I finally rummaged around in my bathroom drawer and came up with a headband that seems to be doing the trick:

Before you have a heart attack and admonish me for using something that could be potentially dangerous to the stitching and linen...don't worry. I never used this headband, so it doesn't have any hairspray or other spinster detritus anywhere near it. (And if you must know, the reason why I never used this headband is because it wouldn't fit on my big fat head and it kept slipping on my big fat hair and I ended up looking more like an idiot than I do now.)

So for now I seem to have solved the pesky linen issue, but now I've got a thread situation:
How do you organize your threads when you're stitching something that has multiple colors and multiple color changes? Do you thread up a needle with all of the different colors, or do you use the same needle over and over again, but thread it each time you change colors?

Since this project uses thread balls and not thread skeins, I got desperate and fished out an empty box from the studio. Try as I might, I just couldn't get the balls to work in FlossAway bags, and I really didn't think it would be a good idea to unwind them and then re-wind them onto bobbins.

So here I sit, completely angst ridden with a feeling like there are millions of stitchy secrets that I don't know. I'm sure that Aunt Chrissy would never intentionally keep these types of things from me, but she tends to be a very very calm, patient, and organized stitcher, and I get up in my head enough for the both of us.

In hand? Q-snaps? On a frame/stand? With the use of various and sundry kitchen and/or bath gadgets? Spools? Bobbins? Bags? Come on, people! You've just GOT to help a girl out!

Here's hoping that your Friday is a lot more peaceful than mine and that your stitching doesn't make you want to run right out and invest millions in new plastic bins from the Target clearance aisle!

Mar 23, 2011


It was time to move the q-snaps on Spring Quakers, so I decided to give it a quick pressing with Ye Olde Iron. For almost every other stitcher on the planet, this would not involve an Act of Congress, but this is me we're talking about. Article 7, sec 4, paragraph 2 of the "Things That Thou Shalt Not Do Without Adult Supervision" includes the use of an iron and/or any other small appliance or gadget that can cause great bodily harm and/or burn the house down.

I decided to risk it.

What can I say? I never learned how to use an iron.

Stop that horrified gasping, please.

As it turns out, Aunt Chrissy happens to be a Master Ironer (level six status, don't you know), but I never had the opportunity to spend an afternoon learning the finer points of pressing something to within an inch of its life. I think this has to do with the fact that I am left handed, but only use my left hand to wield a pen or a fork. Everything else is done with my right hand. So you can imagine my confusion when I step up to an ironing board and am confronted with a "right side" and a "wrong side".

Anywhoose....I whipped out the iron and managed to press out a few of the wrinkles before snapping a crappy picture of my progress. I'm a little more than half way through with this one, but I have to confess that I'm still not one bit bored by it at all. Is it all of the color changes? The separate moteefs? Should I be thinking about this type of design more often to ward off stitching ennui?

These and other questions will rattle around in my tiny little brain as I tidy up the house today and finally get the laundry put away. Stewey's new "You're going to go sit in TIME OUT in the laundry room, Mommie" has given me the chance to get things caught up in there, but I can't seem to take that last step and get the clothes into their respective bins, cubbies, and drawers.

When will I ever just do something all the way through for once and not whimp/flake out in the middle? (Heavy, heavy sigh).

Oh steps.

We're hurtling toward the weekend, folks! I hope that you are enjoying your Wednesday and that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be!

Mar 22, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's stomping around the house muttering to herself while gathering up anything and everything with a Notre Dame logo on it. This, sadly, includes both her diploma and class ring. Methinks we have a crisis at hand.

It's no secret that my stupid mo-ther has been simply broken hearted over the realization that she attended and then graduated from a real live university that is exactly like every other real live university, and NOT some "Land of Oz/Aren't We Wonderfully Perfect" university that exists only in the clouds and in the punky little brain of a lonely old spinster.

Notre Dame was the thing that Mo-ther clung to in times of woe and uncertainty, and she felt secure knowing that it was there for her when all else failed and the big bad world kicked her in the proverbial testicles. As a matter of fact, she even uprooted her New Jersey life and moved back here to Hoosierville so that she could be in close proximity to campus and all that it represented to her, and when her beloved father died, she figured that she'd be OK because the Dome was within site of her little hovel of a house.

But alas, it has not been pretty. Reality has smacked my mo-ther straight in the forehead over and over again with respects to the place, and she's not taking it very well. I've never been witness to it, but I'm starting to think that this is what happens when a great love affair falls apart, and the brokenhearted lover is left standing in the wreckage of her life wondering what happened to the person she fell so madly in love with. I suppose that the anger and sadness and sense of betrayal only makes sense if you consider the fact that in this particular love affair, my mo-ther was invested fully in it from the moment she could speak.

So I'm keeping careful eye on her today and making sure that she doesn't do anything stupid (like burn her diploma or melt down that class ring to make a fabulous new dog tag for you-know-who). I'm letting her get it all out of her system, and I'm letting Aunt Chrissy call and commiserate with her over the sad state of affairs, and then I'll sedate her heavily and get on with my day.

(I must say, though, that Mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy sound very much like the old Muppets that sat in the upper balcony of the theatre...kvetching and complaining about the state of the sad and sorry world. If it weren't so damn funny to listen to, I'd jump in and put a halt to it. But since there's nothing on the TeeVee at the moment, I guess I'll tune in and let them spin for a little while.)

Please don't worry about Mo-ther. She'll be OK. This is all just part of growing up and realizing that she was duped for 43 of the 45 years that she's been on the planet. She'll come around eventually, and before I know it, she'll have my leash on me and she'll be parading me around the South Quad, looking for a lovely spot for a little picnic and some quite time watching the squirrels twitter away in the trees.

As for me...I'm going to hit my perch for a little nap. It's extremely gloomy here today and my morning cup 'o joe hasn't done one darn thing to clear the cobwebs.

Happy stitching today! Do something wonderful for yourself and know that I remain....

Your faithful and loving pal,

NOTE FROM DEAR MO-THER: Thank you for such sweet comments about my recent sadness. Although I would love to tell you that it's a simple matter of a sports team losing something, I'm afraid that it's actually much more than that (particularly since I haven't a clue as to what the sports teams are actually up to over there). It's a crisis of faith and hope and pride and confidence in my anchor point. It's the realization that my rosy colored glasses are cracked in half and that somebody somewhere needs to grab hold of the damn place and tell it to smarten up. (And, if at all possible, I'd like the BVM to hop down off of that Dome and start cracking heads.) Let's just say that all of this fuss here at Chez Spinster is summarized thusly....I'm losing my religion. (Cue music.)

Mar 21, 2011


And somtimes it does not....(cue the sound of crickets chirping)

Mar 18, 2011


Stewey and I have been lounging in the sun all morning. (Well, OK. Stewey has been lounging in the sun and I have been pushing my brand spanky new Swiffer around the hardwoods (Can I get a big WOO HOO from the congregation, please?).

It seems that Spring has started to creep slowly into the daily happenings here in Hoosierville, but I'm not going to be one bit surprised if/when we get another seven feet of s-n-o-w to cover up all of the mushy brown grass. I'm thinking that May is probably when we'll break out the warm weather wardrobe.

This, of course, gives me plenty of time to panic over my lack of a suitable uniform to get me through the hotter days ahead. I have issues. Clearly. I do. But would it be too much to ask the world's manufacturers of womens' clothings to come up with a cute top that doesn't involve the exposure of my upper arms? Can I GET a 3/4 length sleeve, please?

I'm thinking that I'm going to go Ina this year and get me some lovely blouses that I can wear with cute black pants and be done with it. I read that Ina has her blouses custom tailored in London, but that's not going to deter me from coming up with something similar from the local Fashion Bug. God help me.

Stewey and I have been stitching and movie viewing these last few nights. On Wednesday, we watched The Time Traveler's Wife, but I had to stop the recorder thingie about every ten minutes to ask him what the heck was going on. (Needless to say, the King was not amused). He finally got so frustrated with my total inability to follow the plot that he went into his fort, rummaged around in his library, and came out with the novel clutched in his little paws. "Mo-ther, if you don't shut up and let me finish watching this movie, I'm going to lock you in the laundry room, where I hope you will feel compelled to read the book and do a load of whites."

Appropriately chagrined, I continued watching in complete silence but never did understand it. Nor did I understand last night's movie: The Ghost Writer. For this one, I seemed to be more fixatated on the accents of Pierce Brosnan and Kim Cattral than the actual plot. Why was he trying to sound like Prince Charles? Why couldn't he have had the same accent that he did in The Thomas Crown Affair? Isn't Kim Cattral originally from the UK? Why does she sound like Samantha Jones, but not quite, and yet not quite like she is actually from the UK?

These, and other things had me totally distracted to the point that I couldn't think about anything other than the fact that everybody looked very very cold.

(Note to self before I go off on some other crazy tangent: Why is Stewey in possession of so many books if he is also in possession of a Kindle? Shouldn't the Kindle preclude any further charges on his AMEX card at the Barnes & Noble? Does he have a shopping problem? Is he secretly sneaking out of the house at night to hang out at the mall...drinking coffee and getting up to God knows what with other like-minded youth? Must check this out. If for no other reason than to get my Kindle back so that I can start reading something other than the daily Peanuts cartoon on my little desk calendar.)

Spring Quakers continues and I still love every moment that I spend with it. Based upon my very un-scientific estimates, I think I am almost half-way through this one, so there is a stunning chance that I might actually finish it before the end of the year. Besides, I have visions of finishing this and then taking it and its cousin (Quaker Diamonds) over to the Michaels for some framing.

That does it for today. As soon as I'm finished with the Swiffering I'm going to think about tackling the guest room closet. Before I do, though, I need to find a rope long enough to tie around my waist in the event that I am lost forever in the enormous pile of crap that seems to have accumulated in there. That way, Aunt Chrissy will be able to save me from myself when she comes over for her evening "I just want to make sure you haven't done anything stupid today and that you aren't draped dramatically over the edge of the bathtub whimpering "I've fallen and I can't get up" to the imaginary cameras).

(I'm sorry that I don't take my projects off of their q-snaps before photographing, but once I get those suckers on there in a semi-straight fashion, I'm not likely to move anything for fear that we'll go all cockeyed again. So please forgive me and use your imagination.)

Mar 15, 2011


OK, before we get down to the brass tacks, a few items of housekeeping:

Dear Stitchy Friend Alissa wrote to me with the sad news that a pair of her beloved Ginghers were confiscated at airport security! Yikes! I'm pretty sure that I'd make the news with the hissy fit that I'd throw, but I'm sure that Miss Alissa was far better at comporting herself. So, can we help a stitcher out? Anybody know what the pattern name is for these beauties?:

Nextly, we have Miss Kathy, who has finally joined us here in Stitchy Blogville! Go check her out, but please don't blame me when you spend all of your pin money on some fabulous new charts:

Speaking of fabulous new charts, have you seen this bee-you-tee? It's a good thing that I don't have all of the necessary threads for it in my stash, or we'd be looking at WIP number billion and sixty two:

So, where have I been, you ask? Well, it all started innocently enough. I taped a few shows that I figured I'd listen to as I stitch, and lo and behold, one of them was Inside the Actors' Studio. I love this show, especially since it makes me appreciate how interesting it is to see movie stars up close and all personal like, and I'm always curious how it is that they can get nervous in front of an audience. (Let's pause a moment while the rusty gears of my very little brain grind to a halt while contemplating that one, shall we?)

Last night, I sat bewitched by this new (to me, anyway), handsome hunk of some deliciousness named Bradley Cooper. Where the hell has this guy been all my life? I mean, come on, I feel like I've been dipping into the most fabulous box of chocolates, and right there in the very middle of your Jeffrey Dean Morgans and Robert Downey Juniors and James Gandolphinis was this perfect little morsel of goodness that is EXACLTY what this poor lonely old spinster needed on a cold winter's night.

Holey Schmoley. The guy gave me a case of the vapours!

So CHE-LOW, Mr. Cooper! Please feel free to give me a call if you're ever in these parts, and I'll be happy to whip you up a meatloaf or something. (She says, while furiously batting her Tammy Faye Bakers at him shamelessly.)

But I regress...this is, after all, supposed to be a stitching blog.

Progress continues quite nicely on Rosewood Manor's Spring Quakers. I'm really enjoying this one in all it's soft Spring-like glory:

But, try as I might, I find my eyes constantly straying to this lovely that Aunt Chrissy gifted me with a few weeks ago:

I was going to jump in and start stitching it on Friday night, but I decided to use it as ransom (or, er, um, incentive) to get my house cleaned. So, as soon as every room has been put into proper order, the furniture has been polished, and the floors have been thoroughly washed, you can expect this one to make it onto the TeeVee tray next to the Happy Chair.

I am pretty sure that I've started Fascination at least a dozen times, but this time I think I finally got the right consistency of thread. The chart calls for Watercolours and Silk & Ivory, but for some reason my stitches look really "muddy" when using these fibers. They're just too darn thick for me, I guess, so I switched them out to Wildflowers and DMC floss. Much better:

Then, just as I'm starting to think that my WIP basket can't get any bigger, I start to think about these lovely little guys. Have you ever seen such perfect harbingers of Spring?:

I'm not the only one that seems to have caught the bug. Aunt Chrissy decided that she wants to learn how to quilt, and she has the perfect selection of charts from Miss Cheryl to tempt her:

All in all, not bad for a Tuesday. Stewey tells me that until he has unfettered access to the computer, he's going to boycott the entire Chex Spinster legislative agenda, much like our Hoosierville elected officials have decided to do these last four weeks. Can somebody tell me where I can get a job that will pay me to hang out at the Comfort Inn over there in Illinois?

Imagine the stitching that I would finish.....Woo Hoo!

Mar 10, 2011


1. Movie idea: A portly, yet lovable spinster from the Midwest moves to Hollywood to pursue her dream of writing for a hit TV show. In desperation (and as a means to support herself and her little dog too), she takes a job as a personal chef for an aging bad boy actor who insists on eating breakfast at 2pm, and who then collects porn stars and controversy for the rest of the day. The spinster cooks, keeps her head down and mouth firmly shut (despite being abused regularly by the meangirl porn stars), and soon finds herself living in the posh and secluded guest house. Soon, the aging bad boy actor suffers a case of unrelenting insomnia, which causes him to rise at dawn and prop himself in the kitchen while the spinster prepares the household's meals for the day. They bond over meatloaf, he cleans himself up, and together they go on to create the most successful sitcom in television history.

2. Note to Chuck Lorre: Aunt Chrissy and I figured it all out for you last night, Mr. Lorre. The only suitable replacement for Charlie Sheen is Jud Nelson:

SCENE: Alan opens the door and discovers his ex-girlfriend's ex-husband, covered in soot, and carrying several large suitcases. "Guess what?", he mutters to Alan, "I burned the house down too". He moves into Charlie's room and hilarity ensues.
STORYLINE CONTINUITY: Jake's character is threatening to become stale, but his scenes and dialogue with Eldon (the son of Alan's ex-girlfriend's ex-husband) are some of the best writing done on the show.
CHARACTER REVENGE: Rose returns from Paris, but leaves Charlie to fend for himself in Europe. (Now here is where we'll discover just how angry you really are with him): The character either sends post cards detailing his outrageous exploits, or alternatively, you could have him rot in a Turkish prison.

3. Important safety tip (so as to avoid humiliation): The "Let's Go Out And Go Potty" song should only be sung in the confines of the big girl sleigh bed or the master bath shower. (This morning, as I stood on the back patio waiting for Little Lord Fauntleroy to make his deposit, I sung the following, using the jingle from the movie theaters that says "Let's All Go To The Lobby":

Let's go outside to go potty
Let's go outside to go potty
Let's go outside to go paaaaa-teeee
So you won't pee the drapes.

Charming, no? That's what the gas company meter reader thought as he came around the side of the house, I'm sure.

Mar 9, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. I've decided to limit her exposure to the world in an effort to get her head out of her heiney and her feet back down to the ground. She's been spinning out of control these last few weeks, so I decided to step in to restore a little order around here.

(Besides, when the alarm clock went off at o'dark hundred this morning, she rolled over in the big girl sleigh bed and said "Stewey, Mommie Dearest needs you to step in to restore a little order around here.")

So I was happy to oblige.

(Before we begin, however, I feel the need to clarify something that my stupid mo-ther mentioned about me wanting to go to Monte Carlo for Spring Break. I didn't say that I wanted to go to the COUNTRY Monte Carlo. I said that I wanted to go to the CASINO Monte Carlo for my Spring Break. I'm a rated player there, and the folks on the concierge level know that I prefer to breakfast in bed with the Times and a nice tea and toast tray at 10am. They also know that I like to have three fresh white towels laid out for me in my pool cabana, and that they better not even THINK of serving me lukewarm champagne without an apology and bucket of ice standing by at the ready. So before you get the idea that I will be one of the millions of idiots descending on the Florida beaches, I ask you to consider my particular history.)

Life here at Chez Spinster (which shall henceforth be known as Chez Stewey) is going to be conducted according to three very basic principles:

1. A clean and tidy house is a happy house.

2. A clean and tidy Mommie is a happy Mommie.

3. The only way for the day to function properly is to do what Stewey tells you to do exactly when he tells you to do it.

So in that spirit, I think that the Mommie part of the equation is in the master bath, scrubbing the tiles (and then herself) in preparation for the afternoon's activities. These will involve some napping (on my part), some tea and cookies at 4pm (again, on my part), and some quiet reflection as to how we might make this a more suitable environment for someone of my particular intellect and ability.

I'm thinking that a serious culling of all of the bad TeeVee shows will be order, as will a thorough understanding of what constitutes proper reading material. Stitching, of course, will be left alone, since I think the old lady is rather on track in that per-view.

Sometime around 7pm, you can expect to find us, properly attired and bathed (me in my silk smoking jacket and Mommie in her freshly pressed shirtwaist dress and pumps), sitting in the Happy Chair with a lovely mineral water to the left, something stimulating on the TeeVee to the front, and the stitchy things to the right. We might even forego the TeeVee to engage ourselves in some serious conversation about important events of the day, and I think we might also think about a little classical music for background.

Desperate times call for desperate measures, my friends. And, fortunately for my Mommie's sake, I am here to take control of this little goat rodeo. No more messy anythings. No more stomping about in eighteen year old sweatpants and broken down house slippers. No more ranting at the sky or at the neighbors or at the TeeVee over stuff that any normal person would know to ignore.

We're going to be genteel and dignified and productive and calm around here if I have to enlist the aid of an army to do it.

Wish me luck. As I'm sure you can imagine, this is going to be interesting.

With love from your pal,

Mar 8, 2011


Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for putting up with me and my rants. I'm not sure when it happened exactly, but my threshold for bulls*** seems to be getting lower and lower as I get older and older. I finally came up with what really bothered me so much about The Small Airplane Incident of 2011:

All this time I've been flailing about, griping over the lack of common courtesy we seem to be experiencing in these here parts. It's not just the fact that our political and social rhetoric gets so's that everybody seem to be living in these tiny little bubbles that extend just as far as the screen on their tiny little smart phones.

I kept telling Aunt Chrissy that the problem we're having getting along with everybody is that people are so glued to what technology is directly in front of their eyeballs, that they seem to forget that there is a real live breathing human being standing four feet beyond the stupid technology they're glued to.

But that's not it.

I mean, come on. How can somebody who lives her life on a blog have any integrity at all whilst bitching about the Internet?

I think what's got me in sixes and sevens is the fact that it seems like (more and more), people are making decisions for me that dramatically impact MY life, yet there is no regard for the fact that it might ultimately do so.

I'm not just talking about the idiot in the plane. I'm talking about the idiot on his cell phone, with ciggie butt in hand, wife in the passenger seat on HER cell phone, weaving down Main Street yesterday as Aunt Chrissy and I nervously followed behind. Why is it that HIS life and HIS conversation were more important than MY life or that of MY little sister? Shouldn't I get to make that decision for myself? Shouldn't I get to decide when I want to take risks or act dangerously or push the limits of what the human person can achieve?

Why is HIS conversation and total lack of attention OK? When I drive my car, I do so with the knowledge that there is an implicit agreement that I won't try to kill anybody in the process and that I'll pay attention, keep it on the road, and not endanger me, my passengers, innocent pedestrians, or anybody else that happens to be doing the very same thing at the moment. Can't I get that same commitment from my fellow least?

That guy in the plane made a decision that his fun was more important than the lives of the people below him. And that's not OK with me anymore. If all of the people had climbed on board the plane with him and said "Let's go, dude!", then so be it. But we didn't. We just stood there in our driveways wondering how the hell you control and/or avoid something larger than a Volkswagen careening around up in the sky.

To summarize....I think it sucks that we've gone beyond forgetting please and thank you and that we're now stuck with "I'm going to do whatever I damn well please and there's not one thing you or your little dog can do about it."

(End of pondering.)

One of the things I love about Aunt Chrissy is that she continually surprises me with fabulous gifts. I mean, come on. Who wouldn't love a little sister who calls you up and giggles that she "did something bad today" but that "once it gets here you're going to love it"? Here's the latest little surprise that she gave me (and she says that it's "just because"):
I've loved all things Liberty Hill from the moment I laid eyes on them, so this will be a lovely addition to my little collection. Isn't it swell?

Despite all evidence to the contrary, I have done a little stitching (while catching up on what's happening in Charlie World):

Spring Quakers
Rosewood Manor

Rainforest Crunch
Needle Delights Originals
(my own colorway)
And finally, Stewey wanted you to know that all of this navel gazing, hard thinking, and general lunatic ranting has left him exhausted. Here he is working on his tan for his upcoming Spring Break. (He's asked to go to Monte Carlo this year, but methinks he's more likely to go to the backyard instead.)

That'll do it for a Tuesday. I hope that you are off to a fabulous start to the week and that you find a really special way to celebrate "International Women's Day". (I just saw that on my little Peanuts calender and realized that I forgot to get my cards in the mail. Drat.

Mar 7, 2011


*****WARNING*****: The following post contains a level of profanity heretofore not seen on this here blog. This post has NOT been edited for children and/or people who are offended by the use of some pretty salty language. If this type of thing offends you in ANY way, please do not read further, but return to our regularly scheduled programming once I've gotten this out of my system and my blood pressure has returned to normal. I repeat: Don't go any further if you don't like bad words. There are a lot of them to come and I am not going to apologize for them tomorrow.


Dear Dickhead.

Yes, I mean you. You were the idiot who decided to climb behind the wheel of a small plane last night and then fly it over Mishawaka (specifically, our neighborhoods), to terrorize and generally scare the living beJesus out of the hundreds of people standing in their driveways wondering when they would get to experience death by plane. And not death by flying IN a plane, but rather death by a fiery crash OF a plane flown by some jackass who thought that joyriding at night over a city would be fun.

If and when they find you, please know that I will be standing in the courtroom directly behind you, hoping that you will wake the F up and decide that you will never ever do something like that again.

Was it fun for you up there swooping around in the sky? Did you laugh as you heard us screaming that you must have been having some type of medical problem or that you must have lost an engine or something? Was it a thrill to come that close to the power lines on either side of Day Road?

What about the hospital that was less than a block away from you and your stupidity? Did you wonder how many people would have died had you crashed that plane into the side of it? What about all of the people sitting in the waiting rooms or the Emergency Room wondering if their loved one would get better, or survive that surgery, or would remember them after their stroke?

Hospitals no big deal for you? How about the eleven churches that were within yards of where you were? And how about the hundreds (if not thousands of people who were sitting in those churches attending Sunday evening services?)

Did you know that Main Street and Grape Road are the most heavily concentrated areas of retail and restaurants in the entire northern half of the state of Indiana, and that your timing was just right to take out thousands of people as they left work/dinner/errands/shopping/or the grocery store for the evening?

OK. So maybe that doesn't get you. How about neighborhoods? You know, neighborhoods where people live their lives and raise their families and eat their food and watch their TeeVees and pay their taxes and dream their dreams and love their loved ones? You picked a pretty good spot if you wanted to crash into a neighborhood. I mean, after all, you had Winding Brook, Savannah Pass, and The Forest all right there to choose from. Did you wave to us as you careened over our rooftops? Was it funny? Did it give you some twisted thrill?

You think you got away with it, you son of a bitch. You think that you swooped and flew and killed the engine and then buzzed the rooftops for forty-five minutes and then just straightened your wings and flew off into the dark night toward Michigan.

But we'll find you. Somebody saw your tail number. And somebody else will be able to give a pretty good description of your plane to the people who are looking for you. And they will. I promise you that. Because I spent MY morning making sure of it. I spent MY morning calling every single police agency and government department that I could find so that when they knock on your door they will know that there is a citizenry behind them that wants to see you prosecuted and then punished to within an inch of your miserable stupid little life.

Yeah, I know. I'm nobody, and I probably looked and sounded pretty silly when I talked to the 9-1-1 dispatcher telling her what was going on. I might even have sounded a little bit nuts when I called the Department of Homeland Security to tell them what had happened, or when I wondered aloud how this area would have reacted to (God forbid) a plane flying into the Golden Dome over there at Notre Dame.

But you know what? I don't care. What I care about is that you thought you would act the fool last night and take not just YOUR life into your hands, but the lives of thousands of people below you. And for that I'm willing to look like the world's biggest jackass.

They'll find you. I know they will. In the meantime, you can go straight to Hell and burn there for being a stupid selfish prick.


Dear local media:

The reason we will always be a backwater hayseed nothing of a place is because you think that Twitter is a good way to gather news. Just so you know....not everybody in your viewing audience is in the 18-24 year old demographic. Given the fact that this plane few DIRECTLY OVER YOUR BRAND NEW STATE OF THE ART MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR TELEVISION STUDIO, I would think that you would have thought to mention it on the 11 o'clock news. A simple "This happened, but we're all OK now" would have sufficed. Soooo, until you can get your heads out of your twelve year old asses and get off the damn internet, I'm going to assume that I would be better off watching CNN and reading The New York Times.


That concludes our rant for today. Thank you for allowing me to vent all of that out. Needless to say, standing outside at 7:30 at night watching an airplane swoop over you is rather unsettling, and I don't ever want to have that feeling again. I was terrified, as were all of the neighbors gathered in the street over at Aunt Chrissy's house (which is where Stewey and I happened to be for a Sunday evening visit). I am beyond grateful that the whole thing ended without a bang or a whimper, but I'm a little weary of the fact that one selfish bastard can really screw it all up for the rest of us.

I'll be back to normal tomorrow, I promise. In the meantime, I hope YOUR Sunday night was a LOT more peaceful than ours was!

Mar 4, 2011


My mom still can't come to the blog right now. Today she's actually moved into the bedroom closet to contemplate sorting the laundry.

We're making progress.

Last night at about 11 o'clock, I discovered the perfect antidote to the whole "We watch bad TeeVee until our eyeballs hurt" problem here at Chez Spinster:

Just as I was starting to pray for death (or a cable outage), I discovered the "On Demand" feature of the flipper thingie and pressed it as though my life depended upon it.

Trust me. It did.

So Mo-ther sat with rapt attention for a full 120 minutes while we screened "Emma", starring Miss Paltrow Her Very Self. At the conclusion of the film, Mom turned to me and said "You know, Stewey, I always thought I would look good in the dresses that they wore back then, but now I see that I was totally wrong."

(She has upper arm issues, and, to my knowledge, they have not seen the light of day since circa 1987.)

So no more Charlie Sheen for a little while. Today I've queued up all of the Jane Austen I can find, and I'm expecting that I'll finally get a little peace and quiet around here once the old lady nods off in the Happy Chair with an orange pop and a threaded needle in her hand.

(What can I say? She just doesn't seem to tolerate those sedatives like she used to.

(Guess it's time to call my apothecary for an updated dosage.)

I hope that you have a simply splendid weekend, and that you get to do whatever it is that you want to do.

With love from your pal,


Mar 3, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's glued to the TeeVee, flipping through all umpteen hundred channels watching the "All Charlie, All The Time" coverage. I personally think we've entered CrazyTowne when we have news headlines like "Charlie Sheen and Mohmar Ghadafi....Are They Secretly Trying To Overtake The World?", but that's just me.

Life with Spinster has been rather nuts lately. We seem to have fallen into a routine of writing lists about Spring cleaning, purchasing products for Spring cleaning, reading how-to's about Spring cleaning, and then accomplishing a lot of napping. I've decided that there's no point in getting upset about all of it, but if things don't straighten out soon I'm moving in with my Aunt Chrissy.

On the stitching front, Mo-ther has completed another row of outlined boxes on Rainforest Crunch:
I'm rather partial to this one myself, since it seems to incorporate many of the colors on my personal color wheel. (My colorist, Sheila, thinks that the olive green color is particularly fetching when worn with my signature orange scarf, so I might have to snag this one for my fort.) I'm a little surprised that the old lady hasn't thrown herself into a nervous breakdown over this by now, but she seems perfectly happy to pull a skein of thread and just go for it without care or concern as to what's going to butt up against it or constitute the stitches inside of it. Could it be that we've turned some kind of stitchy corner?

Today's agenda includes a mani/pedi with Miss Nekka at 3:30, so I suppose I had better get started with my twa-lette. I like to look nice for the girls over there at "the spa" (which is what I call the v-e-t to get over any unnecessary anxiety), so methinks it's time for a little shave and a spritz.

Don't worry about Mommie Dearest. She'll burn out on the whole "I just want to fix him, and feed him, and take care of him, and become Martin Sheen's favorite daughter-in-law" thing. I just hope it happens soon, or we're going to have to call Comcast for a new channel flipper thingie. (This one is getting worn out with all of the flipping back and forth between stations.)

Happy Thursday, my friends! I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be!

With love from your pal,

Mar 2, 2011


When I plant myself in the chair to write this silly blog I do so without an agenda or thought or care in the world (as is evidenced by the ridiculous rambling that usually takes place here.) Every now and then I journal something vaguely related to stitching, and, if I'm really lucky, I'm able to take a digital photograph that doesn't make you want to gouge your eyes out because of its lack of proper lighting, focus, and/or composition.

This blog has always been a total escape for me. I get to let it all fly without worry that y'all will find out what a boob I really am and that you will continue to let me play in your sandbox. I would love to tell you that every single episode of my life has unfolded as I've related it to you, but all I can say is "There might be a little bit of embellishment or exaggeration here and there."

The last several days I've been thinking a lot about perception and legacy and contribution, and it occurs to me that if I read this blog I would think that it was written by a self-indulgent, air-headed, tunnel-visioned spoiled woman who hasn't a clue as to what's going on in the world. There's no mention of the troubles that are hitting this globe left and right, and subjects that are so eloquently talked about on other sites are normally left unsaid here.

I can't come close to the lovely tributes that have been posted out there in Stitchy Blogville about the loss of Judy Harper and Lisa Roswell, but I can try to echo the sentiment of sympathy for the families that are left to mourn their passing.

When our stitchy world loses someone, whether it's a designer, teacher, friend, mom, dad, sister, brother, son, daughter, or fellow stitching pal because of illness or accident or natural disaster or another tragic circumstance, this thing of ours is changed forever. I didn't know Judy or Lisa personally, but I knew and loved their work and I mourn their loss with others that also might never have known them. I tried to articulate this to Aunt Chrissy yesterday as we talked about the sadness that the families must feel today, but all I could come up with was some idiotic rambling about the profound impact that stitching has on thousands of people who might never meet. We stitch and blog and read and laugh and talk and sometimes never have the opportunity to tell someone how much of a difference they've made in our lives.

I suppose that all of this is the result of my continual astonishment by the connection that I feel to other stitchers out there who either write to me or laugh at me or encourage me or challenge me to clean up my act. I've never laid eyes on you, but somehow feel that we've known each other for a million years and that if you walked in my front door I'd know how you take your coffee. Is it strange that I stalk and follow your lives and feel like a mother hen clucking over her brood?

So today I'm thinking about the families of Judy and Lisa and I'm hoping that they know how many of us are sad for them and are sending our prayers and thoughts their way. Sometimes it's nice to know that your loved one mattered in ways that you never could have imagined, and that they will be missed by people you've never met.

Mar 1, 2011


Aunt Chrissy needed me to run a quick errand over to her homestead this morning (a full 7/10th of a mile away), so I popped myself into Dottie Van Buskirk and away I went...pajamas and all. When I opened the door to her kitchen, my little baby puppy tot nephew, Bosco was there to greet me with his wiggly little heiney and his big brown eyes, and, being the sap and tender hearted fool that I am, I bundled him into the car for a Day At Aunt CJ's.

(You'll note that I called Aunt Chrissy for proper permission and made sure that the little guy had his Starbucks Visa card in his little wallet before taking off. On went the harness (for safety in the car seat, don't you know), out went the two of us for a quick bit of adventure.

We made our usual stops...the McDonald's drive through for a Happy Meal (Bosco gets a bite of cheeseburger the approximate size of my thumb nail), and then on to Starbucks for our usual...a Venti latte with and extra shot, low foam, and one packet of Splenda, if you please.

I used to go over to Aunt Chrissy's every Wednesday to get the little guy, and he and I would make this little trip as a means to a) bond together as only nephew and auntie can, and b) to give me an hour or so away from you-know-who. We enjoyed this immensely, but one day when we were all in the car together, Bosco started to go completely batshit crazy when we passed the little shopping plaza that houses the Starbucks, so that was the end of that. After a tearful confession that I had corrupted the little guy with cheeseburgers and caffeine, I was given a stern lecture by my sister about weight control and the fact that little Mr. Bosco had "weight issues" and needed to slim down.

What can I say? I just thought that both he and I were pleasantly portly together and that this would be a source of closeness that would carry us through to the college years. (Sigh.)

(You will note, however, that Bosco is, in fact, not at all portly and I don't think a little cheeseburger ever hurt anybody):

How does he do it? Every year, he seems to magically lose his "winter weight" just in time for swimsuit season:

So this brings me to today, when I seem to have lost my damn mind and decided that the boys needed some time together and that I just wanted to be able to come into the 'puter room to blog and play around without having to stop every ten minutes to change a sentence that doesn't pass the Little Lord Fauntleroy School of Proper Grammar and Writing test. (In other words...I figured that Bosco could serve as a little occupational distraction for the day and that I might get some peace and freakin' quiet.)

So far we've managed to knock over two (TWO!) potted plants, we've peed on the ottoman (Stewey, of course), we've pooped in the dining room (that would be Bosco), there has been growling and snarling and snapping and biting (both of them), and a whole lot of ("He played with my toy!" "He won't let me stand in front of the window!" "He's taking up all of the sun!" "Mo-ther. What's HE doing here?!"

I'm ready to head for the medicine cabinet and call it a day.

I made some pretty good progress on Rainforest Crunch last night and am, quite frankly, completely amazed that the colors are looking this cool. Believe me when I tell you that I didn't agonize over the selection or think about color theory or wonder if this would go with that. I just opened up Ye' Old Thread Drawers up in the studio and pulled things that caught my eye. (Did I mention that it was a dark and dreary day and that I apparently was looking for "cheery?").

(Oh, and thanks for pointing out my big fat Freudian....the fiber is indeed Silk & IVORY and NOT Silk & Ovary. Silly, silly spinster.)

Here's hoping that your Tuesday is a LOT quieter than mine! Woo Hoo!