May 27, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's lying outside in the middle of the lawn muttering something about moving to a dee-luxe apartment in the sky-eye-eye.

We never should have gotten out of the big girl sleigh bed this morning. It all started when I was rudely disturbed from my sweet puppy dreams by the sound of semi trucks pulling up in front of the house. Mo-ther didn't budge an inch, but I immediately jumped off of the bed, ran to the front door, barked my little fool head off, and peed on the rug for good measure.

It would appear that we are getting new neighbors today and that they have a lot of furniture and things. They also have four huge dogs.

Trust me when I tell you that I am not at all amused.

I tried to get the old lady out of the bed so that I could have proper Friday breakfast, but she just kept saying "Mommie isn't finished sleeping yet, Stewey. What don't you go watch the Today Show or something."

As if.

She knows that I only watch things that are intellectually or culturally stimulating. As a matter of fact, with all of my free time this morning, I programmed the remote control to only click on those channels that I deem appropriate for viewing by someone with my discriminating taste.

We'll see how long she lasts without her New Jersey Housewives and her incessant need to re-watch the Sex And The City II movie to see if it gets any better.

It doesn't.

After I poured a few cups of coffee down her throat, she stuffed herself into sweatpants and an old Notre Dame t-shirt and went outside to plant the garden:Looks like we're going to have tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers, purple peppers, banana peppers, hot peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower. (Yes, this is the part where we all look at one another and say "There's no way all of that crap is going to grow in that little space"), but I'm going to let her figure it out as she goes along.

We'll just call it a learning experience.

Things were starting to look up for the day, but then Mo-ther came inside to discover that I had peed on almost every single thing in the house. Surprisingly, she just stood there in disbelief and then headed straight for the liquor cabinet.

I figure if she passes out, I'll call my Aunt Chrissy and then head over there for a little pizza and movie night with she and Bosco.

On the stitchy front, I know that Mommie Dearest is determined to finish Spring Quakers this weekend so that she can work on Stars on Memorial Day. It's supposed to be beautiful for two of the three days this weekend, so methinks we might even manage to do a little outside stitching for the first time this year!

I hope that y'all have a splendid time of it, wherever you may be. Please don't fret about my Mo-ther Dear. She'll be fine and back to her perky little self as soon as I draw her a hot bath and pour her a little Tylenol cocktail.

Happy Memorial Day!

With love from your pal,

May 25, 2011


My Aunt CJ can't come to the blog right now. She's locked in her "special room" with a bottle of wine and the latest issue of Needlepoint Now. Looks like she might be in there a while, since I just heard the water go on in the bathtub. All I have to say to that is....better her than me.

Hi there. My name is Bosco Oliver Willowswamp. I'm a five and a half year old Shorty Jack Russell Terrier, and I live here in Hoosierville with my Mom. (I think you all know her as Aunt Chrissy.) I'm visiting with my Aunt CJ today (the Spinster Stitcher), because she felt really sorry for me and also because it's storming outside.

Why does she feel sorry for me, you ask? Well, I peed in the house yesterday, so when Mom came home from work there was a lot of hollering and stomping around and before I knew it I was back in Potty Training Bootcamp 101 (otherwise known as being confined to my apartment during the day while Mom is at work). This seemed to make my Aunt CJ upset for some reason, so as soon as she saw Mom leave for work today, she came in and picked me up and we went out for McDonald's breakfast.

I love my Aunt CJ because she takes me for rides on Wednesdays. We usually start at McDonald's, where we order a Happy Meal, and then it's off to Starbucks for a double shot latte. All of the ladies at the McDonald's and Starbucks know me by now, so whenever they see me coming, they say "Look! It's Bosco and that crazy lady coming for their Wednesday date!"

That seems to make Aunt CJ happy, because she just grins and grins and then tells them all about our special bond and how I am so much fun to play with because I know I'm a little dog (as opposed to Stewey, who thinks he's King High Exhalted of the Universe), and I don't expect her to know too much.

She's never said it out loud, but I think that my Aunt CJ gets very very lonely for companionship. Between me and you, she's not very smart sometimes, and it seems like my mom and Stewey are always making fun of her for something silly that she's done. As for me, I like her simple-ness, because it means that I can just play and have fun and not have to discuss anything serious like the state of economic affairs in the world or the impact of global warming and its relative effect on the planet's weather.

Sometimes she comes over to visit with me just because she needs a break from Stewey. I really feel bad for her on these days, so we just play and have fun and try not to break anything important so that when my mom gets home we won't get grounded or put into time out. (My Aunt CJ and I can get in a lot of trouble together.)

I love my Mom, I really do, but she's very calm and disciplined and strict. We have a very sensible routine and I know that I am not the alpha male pack leader in our house. I have chores to do each day and rules to follow and if I don't there are consequences. If I pee on something I'm not supposed to, my mom shakes her finger at me and I feel bad. If she tells me to do something, I know that I better do it or she'll give me a stern lecture. She's a lot of fun and we cuddle a lot and play together and hang out, but she's definitely de boss and i's definitely de bossee.

My Aunt CJ and Stewey seem to have a different relationship. He has NO rules and does whatever he wants, whenever he wants. He wears this little silk smoking jacket around the house all day, and if his perch or toys get "mussed" he throws a holy hell nervous fit until my Aunt CJ runs in to fix everything and then she gives him a treat for being so sensitive. When he misbehaves, he gets therapy. When I misbehave, I get to go sit in the corner and think about what I've done.

Stewey doesn't like me very much, but that's OK. My Aunt CJ makes me feel better by making me peanut butter toast and letting me take a sip of her coffee. I love coffee. And dietCoke. And anything else that's in the cup next to the stitchy chair.

My favorite thing to do is play rocks with my best friend, Mr. Joe. Mom has these rocks in her flower beds and I like to play fetch with them. Mr. Joe is our next door neighbor, and he comes outside to have coffee sometimes, and he and I play until Mom hollers that it's time to come in. If I'm not outside playing, then Mom and I watch the birds and squirrels and bunnies and other things out in the back yard. She made a special place for me under her stitchy table, so I can go under there and look out the back door to my heart's content.

All in all, I would have to say that I've got it pretty good. Every now and then my mom will decide that she's going to lay down the law (like today when she put me in my potty training cage while she went to work), but one call to my Aunt CJ and I'm back in the saddle. If I could just get Stewey to like me a little bit, I'm sure we could have a lot of fun together, but the last time I tried to play with him he said "You're so boor-szwa" and then he went back into his fort with the newspaper. I guess we just don't have anything in common.

I hope that gives you a little more insight into life here with my aunt, and Stewey, and my mom. I'm not allowed to use the computer by myself at home, but Stewey told me if I paid him enough money, he would consider being my amanuensis (whatever that means).

Thanks for stopping by. I'm going to go check on my Aunt CJ now.


May 24, 2011


I'm limping around the house today, so the thought of getting up off of my big fat heiney to go find the camera so that I can take a craptasic picture of the three stitches I put into Spring Quakers seems just too much to bear (she says dramatically while throwing her arm across her furrowed brow).

Truth be told, I'm actually fine. Just a tab bit sore from hauling all of the vegetables out to the driveway to water them, and then after standing there for fifteen minutes fretting, hauling them all back into said garage where they will stay until I can go to the Lowe's to buy some of that pepper stuff to prevent the bunnies and raccoons and deer and whatever the heck else is out there in the back forty from eating everything before Aunt Chrissy and I can harvest it and have a farm fresh summer salad on the patio table like nice sensible people should.


So I thought I would take a moment to answer a few questions from yesterday's comment portion of the program (thank you for those by the way, they make me feel so loved and appreciated when I really should feel nothing of the sort because I am a collassal boob). So here goes:

Cindy asked several questions, so I address them forthwith:

1. Valdani threads: The chart calls for the Valdani six-ply floss. This is an overdyed cotton floss that comes in a little ball (just gotta' love the balls, don't we?), and there are several different beautiful colors in the mix. What I especially love about this is the fact that you simply pull off a length and stripping or sorting or blending or whatnot. And since I was smart enough to stick a needle in each ball all ready to go, I seem to be able to get a lot more accomplished than I normally would threading and then re-threading for each color. I know that some folks have not liked the Valdani because they feel rough and seem to tangle more than other threads, but I haven't really had too many problems with my batch.

2. What's that thingie holding my pattern? That would be a Kelmscott magnet that has a crown on it. All of the Kelmscott magnets in my collection are gifts from Aunt Chrissy, and this particular one was given to me when we were both knee-deep in the whole Tudor watching thing. I think I have four or five of them now, and I prefer to use them to hold the chart (as opposed to a needle), because they are dimensional and the needles don't lay flat on them.

3. Where to ask me questions so that I will answer them? The sad fact of the matter is that I am notoriously unreliable and almost never have enough courtesy to respond to your comments or questions. I always THINK I'm going to get to it, but somehow never seem quite able to do so. Ridiculous, I know, but let's just chalk it up to one of the delightful quirks that make me me and move on. You can, however, send me an email to and I will most certainly try to chat with you there.

4. Do I use a stand thingie? This is a rather interesting subject, since I seem to haul out my fancypants floor stand at least twice a year with hopes that I will finally figure out how to use it. I don't think that it's anything that's wrong with the stand per se, but rather the fact that I sit like an idiot in the Happy Chair when I stitch and there isn't a stand on the planet that can contort itself to adequately hold my stitchy project. I have visions of sitting like a lady and using a floor stand to make my stitches lay better, etc., but somehow I always seem to end up with my leg hitched up and the q-snaps propped up on my boobs. Wonderful tool, those boobs. I can put one end of the project I'm working on right under my chin and then put the other end on the Target teevee tray to the left of my chair and I'm ready for action. It's not exactly a posture that would be appropriate for public consumption, but I figure that as long as the girls are here, they might as well do something other than spend all of their time in my shoes.

5. I haven't tired a Chatelaine or Papillon design yet, but I can tell you that when I'm hankering for a project that calls for specialty stitches on linen, I almost always reach for a Shepherd's Bush band sampler or anything from The Drawn Thread. I do love basic cross stitch, and God knows I love doing canvas work and painted canvas needlepoint, but the juxtaposition of specialty stitches on linen somehow strikes a perfect chord every now and then. It's funny that you would ask this question, Miss Cindy, since Aunt Chrissy and I just had this very discussion not two days ago.

Miss Edy asked what I use to hold the excess fabric, and it's here that I have to confess that I'm a total spaz. (Kell soo-preese, right?) I was using elastic headbands exclusively until Aunt Chrissy and I hit the kitchen gadget aisle of the Bed Bath and Beyond a few weeks ago for chip clips. What's important to know about using the clips, though, is that you have to make sure that they will open wide enough to hold the q-snap. I bought about fifteen different kinds, but in the end I found that the very best ones are made by Oxo. They have a really nice rubber strip on the inside that protects your linen, and the length seems to be just perfect for holding long edges.

Oh, hold on...I'll go get the camera and snap a few pics.


OK. Here's the one that I bought. It's about five inches long and I think I got two of themfor about four bucks:

And since I have the damn camera out, I might as well show you the clip in action:

(No, you're not seeing things. I had this on much bigger q-snaps yesterday and was using the elastic headband thingies to hold the excess linen, but my short and stubby arms were getting tired and I needed to switch to the shorter snaps. While I was at it, I decided to go with the clip thingie too.)

(Oh, and yes, I am stitching upside down since I am finally almost at the top of the pattern.)

That concludes the Q&A portion of the program today, kids. Thank you for reading this here silly blog and for taking the time to comment. Stewey and I just love hearing from you.

I'll leave you with a pic of Stewey doing what he does best:

May 23, 2011


This was my progress on Spring Quaker all the way back there at the end of March:
And here it is after about twenty minutes of stitching this weekend:

We had a rather normal weekend here at Chez Spinster. Saturday dawned bright and early in time for Stewey to have a date with his Aunt Chrissy. I'd been kvetching about her lack of bonditude with the little guy all week long, and she finally caved and took him to PetSmart, where she spoiled him rotten with a trunkload full of toys and treats. (Thank you again, Aunt Chrissy. As soon as his stationery arrives from the printer, I'll make sure that YouKnowWho gets a card in the mail to you.)

I'm determined to get the vegetable garden planted this week, so keep me in your prayers. Outside and I don't do well together, and when you combine that fact with the 80 plus degree heat we're supposed to have, I can almost feel the heatstroke coming on. I'll wear a hat. And long sleeves. And sunscreen. And I'll drink lots of fluids. But I'm pretty sure that the seven minutes it's going to take to get these damn plants in the ground is going to kill me.

(See "The time I dug a forty-foot long trench because the mulch guys were coming" as evidence of my outside prowess.)

(I could have been the wife on Green Acres.)

Happy Monday! I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be and that your weather cooperates with whatever it is you want to do.

May 20, 2011


I've removed the previous post about me "burning my face off". Not good timing considering Oprah's show today about a woman who suffered horrifying disfiguration in a car accident.

If I offended anybody who thought I was trying to be funny (I wasn't, I swear), I'm truly very sorry.

May 19, 2011


As I was standing in the front yard at 5:30 this morning waiting for Stewey to do whatever it was that he felt compelled to do at that ungodly hour, I kept saying to myself "Hmmmm. Today is May 19th. Why is May 19th ringing a bell in my head?"

So when I awoke (a few hours later, thank you very much), it hit me that May 19th is the date that I graduated from both high school and college. I graduated from Lima Central Catholic High School on May 19, 1984, and I graduated from the University of Notre Dame on May 19, 1989.

Yes. It's true. I am old.

Progress continues on Stars. I completed the block in the lower right corner and started another block, much to my surprise. I figured that I would need a break from this one, but I just jumped right into that fourth block without even thinking about stitching anything else. That's how much fun I'm having.

I've been remiss in explaining more about this piece, so for those of you who don't have the pattern or who haven't heard the explanation of it:

Tony Minieri's Stars For a New Millennium is "a study in color, texture, stitch and thread". "Each square in this pattern is based on a traditional star quilt pattern and is named after a movie star from Hollywood's Golden Age. The stars are linked by a movie in which they both starred."

Starting at the top left, the stars are:
Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Vivian Leigh
Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Cary Grant
Deborah Kerr, Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner
Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Gary Cooper

(In case you're keeping track, I've completed Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Gary Cooper and I started Deborah Kerr last night.)

Cool beans, huh?

Here's my craptastic photographs for the day:

Gary Cooper, lower right block

Deborah Kerr, first block in the third row

My progress so far

May 17, 2011


For somebody who considers needlework to be her cardio, I have to say that I worked my fool head off yesterday. I do this...go six months without moving so much as an inch or two from the big girl sleigh bed and then suddenly have an eighteen hour day of cleaning, mulching, organizing, and whatnot.

It all started when I glanced at the clock and realized that Mr. KC, my air conditioner repair man was due to arrive at any minute. So I got dressed (properly, and NOT in eighteen year old pajama bottoms and an old man Haines t-shirt thankyouverymuch), and headed out to the garage. All I needed to do was move the swimming pool (*) out of the furnace closet and clear a path to it, but for some strange reason I decided to haul everything that I own out to the driveway, dust it off, and then put it back again.

So now my garage is all clean and shiny, and after a trip to Aunt Chrissy's storage unit, it will also be sans swimming pool (*).

I also managed to finally solve the whole "You have to make sure to water the vegetable garden or it will die a slow death" thing by adding an attachment to a sprinkler head so that it will now water the garden and not the corner of the house by the patio. OK. Well. I didn't do this exactly. But I DID manage to carry on a very pleasant conversation with the sprinkler guy while HE was doing it, so that has to count for something.

Right about the time I was considering moving a shrub in the front flower gardens, I heard somebody say "Excuse me, but what's your dog's name?" coming from the general direction of the street. I turned around to see a lovely couple out for a walk, and when I replied "His name is Stewey", the woman let out a little squeal and said "Oh my God! Are you the Spinster Stitcher?!"

Turns out that this lady lives a block or so away from me and is a quilter. Apparently, she saw this here blog mentioned in one of her magazines a while ago and is now a faithful reader (waving che-low to Miss Nancy!), and as soon as she saw Stewey lounging out there in the yard like he was The King High Exalted of the Universe His Very Self, she immediately recognized him. So we had a lovely chat about this and that while Stewey made a general pest of himself by getting all fierce and unfriendly while making me look like an idiot for not socializing her pet properly. Damn dog.

Throw a few hours of general putzing around the house, followed by an impromptu cookout, and I was in the Happy Chair at 8 and ready for some serious TeeVee watching. I was all set to view a movie or two when Aunt Chrissy called to remind me that The Real Housewives of New Jersey season premier started at 9, so needless to say I was done for.

Just when I thought I was out....they pulled me back in.

I did manage to put a few stitches into Stars during the mayhem, but not enough to warrant taking a crappy photograph. Tomorrow, I promise.

Stewey is a little under the weather today. He upchucked at 5:30 and 7:30 this morning, so I've tucked him into his little perch with some dry toast and a little peppermint tea for company. He's still rather peeved at me over the whole birthday fiasco, but methinks he'll come around quickly when he realizes that I am, in fact dee boss, and he's dee bossee.

Happy Tuesday! I will see you on Thursday, since I am determined to have a Futzingday tomorrow and am trying to make Wednesdays a computer free day.

(*) Despite the fact that I live in a "no, you cannot have a swimming pool no matter what you think you're entitled to" neighborhood, a few years ago I put my shoes on and headed over to the Targets to buy myself a swimming pool. This happened on a particularly hot Sunday afternoon after I saw one advertised in the weekly circular. "Aunt Chrissy, these people look so happy and refreshed", I whined into the phone. "I want to put a swimming pool on the back patio so that I can be happy and refreshed too."

$700 worth of water and pool chemicals later and I found myself floating in cool watery comfort as my neighbors looked on with horrified disgust. I think I went in it a total of four times before it was time to flood the back yard, disassemble the damn thing, and then figure out how the heck to get it back into the box.

But, as God is my witness, I was happy and refreshed for a full nineteen minutes that year and I've never forgotten it.

May 16, 2011


My stupid mo-ther can't come to the blog right now. She's too busy lying on the bathroom floor, clutching a tube of the BenGay in her fat man-hands while moaning that her lower back hurts.

Serves her right, the cow.

I'd like to thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes. Would you believe me if I told you that they were the ONLY ones that I received besides the ones from my Aunt Chrissy and cousin Bosco? You, my dear and faithful readers and friends gave me more joy and love and understanding than my very own mo-ther did. She gave me nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. Not even a new toy or a cookie or a snuggle or a tiny little jar of skin caviar. Nothing, I tell ya. Nothing.

Aunt Chrissy bought me a daisy, as she is wont to do this time of year, and Bosco took me for a ride on his scooter while the old lady was away, but that didn't take the sting out of the fact that the woman I live with couldnt' be bothered to put a card in an envelope or pat me on the head once or twice.

I cried myself to sleep on Friday night, and then had a whole day of peace and quiet on Saturday because Mo-ther and Aunt Chrissy decided to have a Sissy Day and run around in the rain all day. I she gets head colds from this, because when she returned from all of the "errands", all I saw in the shopping bags were vegetables for the garden and a boat load of Clinique. I'm also pretty sure that they went to McDonald's for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch, and then SoHo sushi for dinner, because the old lady said somthing about needing to "scale back" as she stuffed herself into her sweatpants that evening.

Don't cry for me, Argentina. I got even by pooping behind the big girl sleigh bed and then peeing all over the dining rooms chairs. Let's see her get THAT cleaned up! (Come to think of it, I bet that's why her back is killing her today. Ah, the satisfaction of a job well done.)

So, please know that your love and affection are what sustains me as I navigate Life With Spinster. If it weren't for you, I'm pretty sure that I would have moved to a monastery and foresworn all contact with the outside world.

With love from your pal,


Hi All!

As you can see from the above post, Little Lord Fauntleroy is rather miffed at me for completely screwing up his birthday. We did manage to go over to Aunt Chrissy's that night for a pizza/stitching/movie party, but I guess it wasn't very fun for Stewey, since all he did was sit on the couch next to me and snarl at his cousin.

Here's a progress picture of the Stars piece. And because I am incapable of figuring out how to send the thread list to those who asked for it via email, I'm including that too. (Please note, however, that this is a very very lose list and that I have substituted a LOT as I've gone along. So if you pull these threads and then wonder what the heck I was thinking, please understand that in addition to the threads on the list, I have a big box of reds, whites, blues, and golds that I paw through when one of the listed threads doesn't work.) K?

1- Vineyard Silk Polo Blue
2- Vineyard Silk Pale Blue
3- Splendor 857
4- Vineyard Silk Horizon
5- Trebizond 624
6- DMC floss 932
7- DMC floss 930
8- Panache 38
9- DMC floss 932 (yes, a repeat)
10- Splendor 914
11- Gentle Art Black Raspberry Jam
13- Gentle Art Freedom
14- Vineyard Silk Wellesley Whistle
15- Vineyard Silk Gentleman's Grey

1- Splendor 820 (this is all of the sashing)
2- Neon Rays 22
3- Gentle Art Buckeye Scarlet
4- WDW Turkish Red
5- WDW Louisianna Hot Sauce
6- Gentle Art Pomogranate
7- Trebizond 395
8- Vineyard Silk Lipstick
9- Panache 14
10- YLI ribbone floss 148-109
11- DMC floss 321 or #12 Anchor perle 47

GROUP C: White
1- Mandarin Floss 802
2- Splendor 802
3- Grandeur 802
4- Flair 502
5- Impressions 0000
6- Panache 02
7- Treasure Braid 296

1- Pebbly Perle 67
2- Splenfor 1011
3- Hilights 629
4- Treasure Braid Petite 03

May 12, 2011


I get it. I am a person who thrives on routine. I've always been this way and I probably always will be, but when routines completely hijack your life, it's time to rethink your modis operandi, no?

I read the newspaper in the mornings and then plant myself at the kitchen table for the Jumble, the Sudoku, and the Crossword puzzles while I eat breakfast. (Sesame toast with Smart Balance "margarine" and crunchy peanut butter, thank you very much). And then, after the puzzles are finished and Stewey has had the last little morsel of toast, I can start my day.

Today I stumbled down the driveway, bleary eyed and without proper clothes on (my neighbors just LOVE having me in the neighborhood, I tell ya), to discover that the newspaper....gasp....look of horrified terror.....HASN'T BEEN DELIVERED YET!

So I've been pacing around the house, completely lost and without direction all damn day long.

I reeeaaaaallllly need to get a life.

The first block of my 9/11 Stars project has been completed and a good portion of the second is also in the books:

I have to confess that I am enjoying this one much more than I thought I would. There's something about the layering and layering and layering of the stitches that gives me tremendous satisfaction. How the heck Mr. Minieri thinks of these things is beyond me, but I'm glad that he did!

Several of you have asked for my thread list for this one. I'm happy to provide it with the understanding that I'm kind of flying by the seat of my pants on this. I did put together a "master list" of the threads, but if I pull one and it doesn't seem to work, I rummage around in Ye Olde Stash until I find one that does.

If you'd like the thread list, please shoot me your email and I'll send one along.

That's it for a Thursday, folks. The forecast is for hit and miss thunderstorms today, so methinks I might go over to Aunt Chrissy's house to spend a little time with my baby nephew Bosco. He doesn't like storms any more than I do, and I find that we both seem to endure them better if we're together.

Stewey, of course, will be thrilled to have a little peace and quiet around here. Damn dog.

May 10, 2011


There won't be any photographs in this here post, my dearest stitchy friends. I made the monumental decision to do a little Homekeeping today (*), and after cleaning the kitchen to within an inch of its life, I suddenly found myself with the Swiffer wet mop in my hand.

I'm dangerous with that thing, I tell ya.

Normal people use the Swiffer to wipe up spills, shine the floor, chase the dust bunnies, or to spruce up the joint.

But this is me we're talking about.

I've now trapped myself on my office chair because I had to wash the floors in the kitchen, entranceway, and then finally in here and now I have to wait for them to dry so that I don't smudge them all up with pink fuzzy slipper prints.

Yes, I have literally mopped myself right into a corner.

Progress pictures tomorrow, and I promise that there will be no discussions of anything remotely related to my insanity.

(*) Martha calls it Homekeeping. I call it a major pain in the a**.

May 9, 2011


I'm what you might call a fixatater. I fixate. And the level of my fixatatedness has grown dramatically in the last few years, as I'm sure Aunt Chrissy would be only too happy to tell you if you took her out for a nice cool adult beverage.

Fixatatedness means that I am completely incapable of just viewing/reading/seeing/thinking something banal or simple without turning it into a "thing". Or, as Aunt Chrissy likes to call them "one of my obsessions".

We were riding in the car a few weeks ago and she said "Your obsessions just kill me." I, of course, took that to mean that she was bemused by all of my shenanigans and that if it weren't for the joy that was me, she would be a lonely and dour old spinster with a dog. (Oh wait. That's me.)

But what she REALLY meant was..."Your obsessions are causing me to lose sleep, spend money, elevate my blood pressure, and want to stab you repeatedly in the face with something sharp." I guess by "killing" she meant actual bodily demise and NOT comic enjoyment of the wonder that is me.

I'm not sure where it all went off the rails exactly, but I can tell you that fixatating is exhausting and seems to manifest itself (with me anyway) in several different areas. Let's take a walk down Crazy Lane, shall we?

1) The damn TeeVee.
I blame HBO and Showtime for this one. It all started innocently enough with The Sopranos many many moons ago. Once I saw my first episode, I was hooked and just had to watch every single moment of every single storyline of every single season over and over and over again. I became a "super fan" and could answer questions about character development and plot that even David Chase His Very Self didn't know. Once The Sopranos was over, I started with The West Wing. Then it was Sex and The City. Then it was anything by the documentary film maker Ken Burns. (What can I say? I had a little PBS in the midst of all of my smut and such.) I don't need revisit the Tudor fixatation. You got to read about THAT little period of my history in between the two days a month that I actually wrote about something other than dog pee and Johnathan Reese Myers.

Now it would seem that we're in a whole Nurse Jackie, The Borgias, and, as of 2am this morning, Game of Thrones mode. Yup. I'm a mess. Can't keep all of the story lines straight and am now waiting for Edie Falco to wave from the Pope Mobile as she conquers one of the Seven Kingdoms.

2) Stitching
I was on a roll there for a little while and was knocking out the finishes like nobody's business. Remember when I was doing that? Do you suppose we could call that "The Good Old Days In Which Our Heroine Had Half A Freeking Brain And Didn't Feel Compelled To Stitch Every Single Thing In Her Stash"? There are 14 projects all kitted up and ready to go in Ye Olde Stitchy Organizer thingie, but for the last 48 hours I've obsessed over these two:

The top piece is ready for some alphabets, and the bottom piece (which I am just LOVING, by the way) has a few more hours and we can call that block finished. (Oh, please excuse the sashing issues...I will need to go back for a little restoration once the block is completed). The fixatating here is that I want to stitch both of these projects AT THE SAME TIME, and no matter how hard I set my very little brain to it, I just cannot figure out how to do so.

3) The state of the union. I'm pretty sure that this happens to me every year, but I am feeling compelled to tear every single room of my house apart, purge the living daylights out of it, and then clean it to with an inch of its life. Fortunately, this mood passes very quickly, and I am able to climb back into the Happy Chair with the remote and the ort jar and all becomes well once again.

Fixatating is not for amateurs or the weak of heart, I tell ya. You have to be prepared to sit at the kitchen table at 4am, writing lists upon lists upon lists of everything you want to accomplish. You'll write and write and write, and your lists will soon organize themselves into categories like "Stuff that I had better do before the walls close in on me" and "Errands that I need to run or Stewey is going to run away from home". The good thing about being a fixatater with lists is that you can spend more time writing them and then re-writing them than you do on the actual stuff that you've written and then re-written on them, so although nothing gets done, you save a lot of energy and improve your penmanship all at the same time.

So that's all that's rattling around in my brain today. Throw in the fact that I also fixatate over this here blog, geopolitical affairs, thunderstorms, and learning how to make pie crust, and you've got yourself one very big episode of crazy for the next Oprah Winfrey Presents special. (9pm Eastern, 8pm Central).

Happy Monday! I hope that whatever you're fixatated on is exactly what you want it to be! Woo Hoo!

May 6, 2011


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's on the phone with my Aunt Chrissy talking about their "agenda" for the weekend. They do this every single Friday and every single Friday they end up exactly back where they started in the first place, which is nowhere.

To whit:

MO-THER: OK, so I've made a list of all of the errands that we need to run and then calculated the distance between each so that we can maximize fuel efficiency.

AUNT CHRISSY: You really need to get a life.

MO-THER: We'll start at the grocery store. I want to buy fresh vegetables and fruits and then see if they have a nice brisket or roast that I can make on Sunday so that I'll have left-overs all week.

AUNT CHRISSY: What ever happened to you cooking for me and setting me up with lunches and dinners for the week?

MO-THER: Next, we'll stop at the Targets where I have to pick up a few prescriptions and see if they have anything really cool in the bedding department. Last time I was there they had these pillows that were exactly what I was thinking of when I designed my new bedroom in my head.

AUNT CHRISSY: Did you run the color palette by Little Lord Fauntleroy?

MO-THER: Then we'lll stop at the Michaels to see if they have any wonderful open back frames on sale. I don't have anything to put in them, mind you, but at least I'll have them if I ever get the urge to actually finish stitching something and then frame it.

AUNT CHRISSY: You're not allowed to use tools by yourself, remember?

MO-THER: I think the nursery is open until 6, so we'll go there to get flowers for the outside and vegetables for the garden....oh, I just wish I knew what to plant and what would look nice out in front so that my neighbors don't start a petition to get me out of here this year.

AUNT CHRISSY: You never go outside and I'm the one that has to plant, water, tend, and harvest the garden, so why don't we plant what I want to plant this year?

MO-THER: I wonder if there's a good way to grow cucumbers so that they don't take over the whole area? And those tomatoes in the pots would probably grow better than the ones that you put in the actual dirt. Lettuce! We need lots and lots of lettuce. And peppers! Red ones!

AUNT CHRISSY: I hate peppers.

MO-THER: Stewey is out of Greenies and cookies and Chewies and treats, so we'll have to go to PetSmart. But don't let me walk in there unless I have my coupons.

AUNT CHRISSY: When do you ever remember to use your coupons? (Eye roll and heavy sigh). Are you going to stand in the toy aisle for two hours like you did last time because you weren't sure if he would prefer the red ball or the blue one? Because I swear I will beat you senseless with your Vera if you do.

MO-THER: And I should probably look for a new ball for him for his birthday.

AUNT CHRISSY: What about my birthday? I turned 40 this year and got totally ripped off. I treated you like a princess all day on yours, but I got absolutely nothing on mine. You suck as a big sister.

MO-THER: I guess I should stop at the Hallmark store to get him a special card. He mentioned that he wanted a musical one for his scrapbook, so maybe I'll see if they've got one with any of his favorite songs. Do you think they have any Jonas Brothers or Justin Beiber?

AUNT CHRISSY: Oh, yeah. That's just what we need. Something else to make Stewey even more obnoxious than he already is. Do you know that he refuses to sit with Bosco on the school bus in the mornings because he's ashamed of Bosco's "commonality"...whatever the eff that means?

MO-THER: Then I guess we'll have to stop for lunch someplace, so why not try the new Mexican place down the street?

AUNT CHRISSY: When you suggested Mexican food last weekend we both got food poisoning and you made me promise that I would run you over with my car if you ever suggested it again. Go lay down in the driveway.

MO-THER: OK. That's my list. What do you want to do?

AUNT CHRISSY: I want to come home from work tonight and put my pajamas on and stay in them until Monday morning. I want to sit on the floor in my studio and play with my stitching and I want to watch bad movies on Lifetime Television for Women. I want you to take nap or do whatever it is that you do all damn day long and not call me every fifteen minutes, and finally, I want to move far far away and not give you the forwarding address. I want to think thoughts that do not involve a) your dog peeing on everything , b) your blog, or c) whatever latest obsession you're grinding on today that will inevitably make me want to stab you in the eye with my laying tool.

MO-THER: I'll pick you up at 9.


MO-THER: Wait! I forgot to tell you about Stewey peeing on me while I wrote my blog today and how I'm thinking about buying every single Dog Whisperer video that's ever been made and then memorizing them so that I can reference the solutions without having to think about them at 4 in the morning.

AUNT CHRISSY: Bosco, go get me my laying tool.

May 5, 2011


Stewey and I have decided that Wednesday shall henceforth be known as a no computer day. And, since we had such great success with Futzingday last week, we've decided to continue it and combine its celebration with some quietude around here.

In that spirit, I hauled myself up to the studio yesterday and futzed about until I had sufficiently cleaned the place up a bit and until I was satisfied that I had fondled every single item in my ridiculously decadent stitchy stash.

I'm pretty sure that if I ever have to pack this crap up I'm gonna need a bigger boat.

Anywhoose...I put some kitted projects into my big blue basket and then decided to start a little something new:

This is A Quaker Study from Carriage House Samplings. I'm stitching mine on 28ct. Cafe Mocha (love love love that!) with Weeks Dye Werks "Basil". Yummy. The linen is the same that I used for Quaker Diamonds, and the thread is a lovely mash-up of purpley grey lavenders and olivey green.

There must be something to that color combination, since it would seem that I'm drawn to it again and again. I had originally thought that I would opt for a couple of reds for this one, but as soon as I caught sight of the Basil, I was done for.

I'm off to find a patch of sunlight. Stewey seems a little chilled today, so methinks it's time to put our faces in the sun and snuggle under a big fuzzy blanket for a while.

Happy Futzingday!

May 3, 2011


Just a quickie today. I am determined to get ALL of the laundry washed, dried, folded, and then PUT BACK WHERE IT FREAKIN' BELONGS, so help me God, and this is not going to get accomplished if I'm sitting in front of this here machine, playing Housework Hookie with y'all.

bevybyrne asked a question about the mounting method that I use as an alternative to q-snaps. If you're a canvas worker/needlepointer, please excuse the repeat, but for all of you cross stitchers out there who wonder what it is that I get myself into every now and then....

Canvas work or needlepoint is usually stitched on canvas, which is a thicker and stiffer medium than linen, Aida cloth, or evenweave fabric. Some stitchers prefer to stitch in hand, and they roll the excess up and hold it as they stitch, but we all know how well I do with excess now, don't we? For my canvas work/needlepoint projects, Miss Bevy, I use stretcher bars and tacks. Both are easily found in most LNS that carry canvas work/needlework supplies. I also tape the edges of my canvas with artists' tape that I find at an artists' supply store. I know that there are a lot of different theories with respects to working on projects in hand versus mounted on something like q-snaps or stretcher bars, but I find that a perfectly stretched and very taut canvas will give me a wonderful result in the end and I won't have to fuss with blocking or stretching, etc.

I hope that helps.

On of my stitchy heroes, Miss Donna was gracious enough to point me in a direction of some additional help with my Stars project. I've been following her progress on this one, and will confess that when I said "How hard can it be?", I was trying to be cheeky and fresh, since I'm pretty sure getting this one done will be the death of me. Stichers that are far superior to me in every way have been stitching this one before me, so I hope I didn't give you the impression that I was saying "Look at me! I'm going to breeze right through this sucker and get it done because I am Queen High Exalted of the Universe and will have no trouble whatsoever stitching eighteen hours a day on this, despite the best warnings of practically every single stitcher in the stitching community." And then the better half of my brain kicks in (too late, I fear) and says "Why oh why can't I just keep my big fat mouth shut just once in my stupid little life and not try to be cute or funny, but rather quiet, shy, reserved, and respectful like my mother raised me to be?"

In short...I'm sorry if I gave offense to anybody stitching this one. I really was trying to be a smart aleck.

(That'll teach me.)

So there you have it, folks. Sorry that there are no pics today, but the tiny bit of progress I made on Spring Quakers wasn't enough to document. I'm afraid that I got distracted by The Borgias, and then it was on to Nurse Jackie, and then Miss Oprah's interview of the President and First Lady.

Sheesh. So much for that whole "No TeeVee" policy.

May 2, 2011


I'm nursing a hangover of epic proportions today. This, of course, is quite an accomplishment in light of the fact that I don't drink alcohol. (Considering how completely crappy I feel today though, I'm thinking that I might want to revisit that decision and go put my face into a vat of martinis.)

It all started with The Tudors. If you've been reading this here blog for any length of time, you know that I watched the whole entire series last year, and then I watched the whole entire series again because apparently all of the boobies and beheadings weren't enough for me the first time around. So I decided to catch the whole entire series a THIRD time, but I reasoned that seeing things on the big ass TeeVee would really make a difference and that perhaps I might be able to follow something in the thing other than the boobies and beheadings.


This time the boobies and beheadings were just larger and in better color.

(Now before you think that I am completely fixatated on the boobies, might I just point out that I am Mommie Dearest to an impressionable young puppy tot, and every time something nekked comes on the TeeVee, I have to jump up and run over to his little perch on the back of the sofa to cover his eyes.)

Exhausting, I tell ya. Just exhausting.

Then the storms hit, and despite the fact that we are all warm and safe and dry here in Hoosierville, I wept right along with those who lost everything. I simply cannot imagine what it was like to have lived through that, and I pray that those who need it will find as much love and comfort as they can.

On Friday morning I got up at 3:45 to put the coffee on for Aunt Chrissy's arrival, and she and I sat in the dark living room watching the Royal Wedding. I will confess that I really hadn't paid too much attention to it, so when Aunt Chrissy asked me if we could watch it together, I thought "Sure? Why not? I'll probably just watch a few minutes of it and then go back to bed", but I was a weepy mess from the moment the coverage started right up until the President came on the TeeVee late last night. (More on that later). I swear, I really didn't expect to get so emotionally involved in the wedding, but for some reason I couldn't keep it together and just sat there and snotted all over my pajamas.

What was the part that got me the most, you ask? Believe it or not, it was when they sang "God Save The Queen", and there she was in her dress and her hat with her pocketbook and her sensible shoes...standing in a cathedral listening to about eight billion people sing to her. Why that got me so much, I'll never know, but I wondered what it must be like to be her at that very moment. (Stop that snickering....I told you I was a nut job a long time ago, so if you've made it this far with me, you know that I'm going to go off my nut over the wackiest thing, so don't act all surprised that I bawled my eyes out watching the Queen of England wear a yellow dress.)

Now through all of this mess that has been my life these last few days, I have been stitching my eyeballs out on a piece that has been the rock in my shoe for the last several years.

The moment I first saw Tony Minieri's Stars for the New Millennium, I knew I wanted to stitch it. And I'm pretty sure that I've pulled/bought/pawed through threads for it at least a dozen and a half times. I've even started it six or seven times, and each time I have, I swear that there's something that's "just not quite what I was thinking" and then I abandon it until it's time to colorize it again.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about the fact that it's been ten years since 9/11, and I started feeling like I might want to stitch something for it. We all know how that big flag project went during the Olympics....remember? the project that shall never been spoken of?

Well, this time I got the forehead-smacking realization that I could combine a 9/11 commemoration with Stars and that the result might be something that would finally give me what I've been looking for.

I pulled all of the red, white, and blue threads that I could find, and then I pulled few gold threads to use as the fourth "kicker" color. As luck would have it, I also had several skeins of a red, white, and blue overdyed cotton, so I go to work:

I've decided to do all of the sashing and the borders first, and then I'll go back in to do the individual blocks. They are quite intense, so I wanted to be able to just enjoy them one by one and not fret over whether or not I would run out of red for the borders.

I hesitated to blog about this project, since it seems like the minute I do, I give up on it and off it goes to the Island of Misfit Toys, but I'm determined to get this one done this time. I've got four months to finish the borders and twelve blocks. How hard can that be, right?

Today I've decided that the TeeVee is going to stay off, especially since I was riveted to the coverage of all things "Vindication -- The Killing of bin Laden" until the wee hours of the morning, and I awoke with the realization that my tiny little brain is not equipped for twenty-six hours of breaking news a day. Methinks I need to ask Stewey to turn on the parental controls again.

That's the report for a Monday. I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be today! Stewey sends his love and promises to write again soon! Woo Hoo!