Nov 30, 2016


A billion beads down, a jillion to go...

Nov 28, 2016


I can't lift my arms, and walking from the bedroom to the coffee maker took about half an hour, but here are the Official Spinster Stitcher 2016 Fun Old Fashioned Family Christmas decorations.

(Sorry for the craptastic's gloomy today).

The blob in the center under the wreath is actually a cute little sleigh that made its way into the cart during a late night Michael's expedition:

I love Jim Sore Santas:

Don't look too closely at some of those frames, kids...they're just temporary.

I told Stewey to knock on his little box if he had any objections, but so good. (Yup, that's him on his perch with his spaceship and a pumpkin.  I'm still moving him from room to room to be close to me.)

(What can I say?  I'm greiving.)

(It's a process.)

I'm going to go soak in a hot tub and hit the Tylenol bottle and then it's back to Vaceila and her beads!

Happy, Monday!

Nov 27, 2016


Christmas has come to Spinster's Hollow.  But first, we have the Thanksgiving report.

I woke up in time for the parade, a damn good cup of coffee, and a mini quiche.  I confess that I was a little bleary-eyed due to the final six episodes of Gilmore Girls that I watched the night before, but I made it through the parade, got the annual goosebumps upon the appearance of Santa, and headed to the kitchen to prepare my little feast.  

Turkey (from the Honey Baked Ham place so that it would taste like ham instead of turkey), mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, Ina's Sagaponak corn pudding, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce.  And a pumpkin praline pie that I baked the night before.  It took two hours to futz and chop and sautee and cook and exactly eleven minutes to eat.

While I ate, I watched  You've Got Mail, and then in a fit of inspiration decided to watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation while I contemplated a turkey sandwich (turkey, mayo, salt and pepper, and celery sticks on Pepperidge Farm white bread, aka a Siggie Special).

Can I just tell you that watching that movie was probably the smartest decision I've made in a very long time?

When Stewey died, I pretty much decided that I was just going to go to bed and wait for this year to be over.  I figured if I played my cards right, I could completely ignore everything about Christmas and the holidays in general and just wake up some time next April.

But as I sat there watching Clark and all of his tomfoolery, it occured to me that I love Christmas.  Always have.  And so did Stewey.  But the last four years or so have been one big fat fail in the festivity department, and I allowed myself to bah humbug my way through December because I didn't have the time or energy or money or family or spirit to decorate or shop or cook or plan or enjoy.

Pardon my French, but this year as I watched Clark grit his teeth and declare that the Griswolds were going to have a fun old fashioned family Christmas, I stood up, brushed the pie crumbs off of my eighteen year old sweatshirt and declared $@&!* on myself.  I declared $@&!* on anybody convincing me not to celebrate Christmas this year because I don't have the time or energy or money or family or spirit to decorate or shop or cook or plan or enjoy and I put my shoe and socks on and I pulled the car out of the garage and spent the next three days blaring Christmas music and decorating my house.

Outside AND inside this year, thankyouverymuch.  I haven't decorated the inside of my house for Christmas since 2012.  And you know what?  That's just $@&!*.

So tonight as I was finishing up the tree, I looked at Stewey's little box and told him that I miss him like crazy and still reserve the right to bawl my eyes out every time I think about him not being here, but that he would probably love this year's effort because it is the perfect combination of elegant and whimsical...just like he was.  The tree is sporting his top hat and white feather boa and the big white wall of nothingness has a few freashly framed pieces that I'll send off to be properly done next year.

I'm absolutle exhausted and will probably pay for all of this with bad kidney numbers next week, but for now I'm just going to sit here in the glow of the lights....happy that I was able to get started with what I hope will be a wonderful holiday this year.  I know I'm still going to have my days and I know I probably won't be able to get out of bed tomorrow, but for the first time in a long time...I almost feel like things just might work out OK after all.

Full pictures tomorrow in the daylight.  For now, though, I will leave you wil a pic of my very favorite part of it all:

Nov 24, 2016


Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends near and far.  Today I am thinking about all of the many wonderful blessings in my life, and I'm giving thanks that even in the darkest times the light and love of your friendship and compassion shines through.  I hope that you find yourself surrounded with happiness and joy and everything your heart desires!

Nov 21, 2016


It's been exactly a week today.

There are moments when I feel like it's still happening, and I'm pretty sure that my heart will actually physically break from the hurt of it, and then at other times it feels like it's been a thousand years ago.

Silly, isn't it, to be so completely gutted over the passing of...a dog?  You would think that I have lost all rational perspective and am finally, once and for all, going round the bend.  Dogs don't live forever.  They get sick and they die, just like we do.  It's the circle of life, the passage of time, etc etc etc.

But my brain has apparently lost the ability to convince my heart that things like this happen and we get through it, and I am mourning every loss (Mom, Dad, Uncle Connie, Dr. Dan...) along with missing Stewey.  

What was it that Queen Elizabeth said during a rough patch?  Something about a horrible year (I can't remember the Latin at the moment).  Well, I suppose that 2016 is going to go down in my own little history book at a horrible year indeed.  I lost my sister, the last little bits of my health (both physical and mental?), the love of my life, and every other thing that made  I'm thinking that January 1, 2017 just can't get here soon enough for Yours Truly.

But first, there are thousands of things to be thankful for.  Like the autumn light that still insists on coming in the back windows.  Or the hundreds of comments and notes and prayers and virtual hugs that have (literally) saved me.  The best gift came on Friday when I got the call that Stewey's ashes were ready to be picked up.  I had been dreading and fretting about a proper resting place for him, and when I opened the plain cardboard box, there it was.  A lovely little carved wooden box with Stewey inside and daisies carved on the top.  I don't know if the vet or the pet mortuary knew about Stewey's connection to and love of daisies, but there they are.  Right where we can both enjoy them.

I've promised myself that I will just  feel it and that I will move through this in my own time, and so far that is working.  The laundry has somehow gotten done and the dishes have somehow made it to the dishwasher, and the house is somehow still standing.  Vaceila has a few more beads and the television has been on and off as I stumble from day to day and night to night and just try to figure it out.

Thank you, dear friends, for your love and patience.  

With much love,

Nov 14, 2016

Stewey Angus Willowswamp
May 13, 2005 - November 14, 2016

Mr. Stewey Angus Willowswamp, age 11, passed away peacefully in his Mo-ther's arms at 4pm on Monday, November 14 due to complications from bone cancer.

Stewey was born on May 13, 2005 to canine parents Angus Willowswamp and Arrowhead (Headly) Willowswamp at the Willowswamp Farm in the cornfields of Ligonier, Indiana.  He was the youngest (and smallest) of three boys, two of whom are presumed to be living in Ohio.  He was nicknamed Mr. Fuzzy by the caretaker at Willowswamp due to his unusually soft and downy coat of snowy white fur.

On July 6, 2005, he was united with his adoptive human mother, Coni J. Rich.  She survives him, along with his Aunt Chrissy Rich of Goshen, Indiana and his cousin, Mr. Bosco Oliver Willowswamp, recently of Goshen, Indiana also.

Mr. Willowswamp was formally educated at the Magrane Pet Medical Center Puppy School, from which he received a Diploma of Completion and Congratulation.  He did, however, insist on continuing his education beyond the courses offered at Magrane, and was rather autodidactic in his educational enthusiasms.  He read voraciously, and was interested in world affairs, the history of his native homeland, Great Britain, and fashion.

He was well known for his charming disposition, bon vivant attitude, and quick wit.  A silk smoking jacket, cravat, and properly prepared afternoon tea were all necessary to maintain the cosmopolitan lifestyle that he rather enjoyed, despite his humble beginnings and simpleton companion.

Along with his Mo-ther, Mr. Willowswamp created The Spinster Stitcher blog.  It was here that he was able to write about his day to day life with a crazy needlework-obsessed spinster, and due to his charasmatic personality, he made very loyal and dear friends across the globe.  He cherished the notes, cards, letters, and gifts that he received, and in his last days the love and well wishes that were expressed were a lovely comfort to both he and his Mo-ther.

Private services will take place at a later date.  Mr. Willowswamp's last wishes were to share the following words with his faithful and adoring fans:

My very dear friends,
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I bid you all adieu.  As you know, I have been decidedly unwell these last many months, and alas, I was unable to win the battle against a fierce enemy.  My life has been a grand adventure, and for that I am very happy.  To have shared it with you all was an unexpectected gift that I will cherish...deeply.  I leave my Mo-ther in your capable hands.  She and I loved each other beyond our wildest imaginings.  Until we meet again, I remain your faithful and devoted pal.


Nov 12, 2016


This really is proof that I am not, in fact, a fourteen year old boy.

I suppose that in the context of Veterans' Day and the fact that our opponent today is Army, this might make a little more sense.


Would a few beads or sequins have killed them?

Nov 10, 2016


My whacky eating patterns continue.

Today I had my shot of juice (to wash down the morning meds), a damn good cup of coffee (with cream and Truvia), and a bagel with crunchy peanut butter.  For dinner, I made a lovely tossed salad with tomatoes, olives, a little blue cheese, and Olive Garden house dressing.

All in all, a fairly good day.

But as I settled in to watch a movie that I picked up at the library (Damage, with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche) I wanted...something.

Popcorn would have been good, but I'm out.

So I fished around in the pantry and came up with a box of pretzel mix that I forgot I had, and in about an hour I had big fat soft hot pretzels right out of the oven!  
Not bad for a first try, eh?

Stewey loved them (I was careful to give him the non-salty parts), and he was particularly good during his bandage change as a thank you. 

I will definitely try these again, and who knows?  Maybe I'll try my hand at something cheesy to dip them in!

No stitching tonight.  My patio/garden cleaning and running around have knocked me for a bit of a loop, so methinks we're going to watch one more Gilmore Girls and call it a night! 

(Right after I hit the Tylenol bottle!)


My newspaper was late today, so instead of hitting the Happy Chair with my coffee, I went outside and FINALLY cleaned up the patio and garden for winter.

Stewey supervised.
This is the latest that I've waited to do this chore, and the fretting and hand-wringing and complaining about it for the last month and a half was not worth the twenty minutes it took to complete.

That seems to be the general pattern around here.  I fret and moan and kvetch and pull my hair out over the prospects of doing something (like laundry or emptying the dishwasher or making the bed) and I end up wasting more energy thinking about doing the thing than the actual doing would take in the first damn place.

Oh well.  Everybody needs a hobby, right?

Speaking of is my beading progress on Vaceila.  I am still really enjoying this part of the piece, and cannot believe how much the beading adds to the look of it!  I finished adding all of the gold beads.  Now it's on to some lovely pinkish brown ones (that are, unfortunately, very hard to see in the photo below):

That's the report for the day.  I am off to a doctor's appointment, labwork, and then the library this afternoon, and then it will be time to hit the Happy Chair for more Gilmores tonight!  I am almost through season three...getting ready for Rory's graduation!

Good grief, how I love this show!

Nov 9, 2016


Today (and much of yesterday and the day before) was an exercise in frustration.  As the duly designated newsletter editor of one of my guilds, and as a columnist fir Needlepoint Now, I am, from time to time, required to put the metaphorical pen to paper and submit my drivel for review.

Now, you might be thinking to yourself "What's the hig deal, Spinster Stitcher?  You submit your drivel on this here blog for review, and it doesn't seem to give you too much angst."

Well, it's a matter of equipment, it would seem.  I am able to blog on my iPad thingie from the friendly confines of my Happy Chair.  More extensive writing requies that I go into my office and fire up the 97-year old desktop computer that I got somewhere in the Mesozoic Era.

So for three days I have been futzing and swearing and tweaking and banging the keyboard of said relic with the hopes of assembling both the newsletter and my column without bloodshed or a nervous breakdown.

I made it out of there semi-OK, but the poor little man trapped inside the damn thing with the stone tablet and chisel is never going to be the same.

Stupid technology.

If all goes according to plan, I will take myself to the Best Buy and think about an early Christmas present to myself of a contraption that will allow me to join you all in the 21st century.  Heck, while I'm there I might even consider upgrading my rotary phone and black and white console television!

The radio and horse and buggy, however stay.

Nov 7, 2016


This was at 3pm, when he decided to pop his head up from his afternoon nap...

And here he is, playing "Hide the Stewey" moments ago...

He was futzing around in his toy basket, so I decided we'd just dump the whole thing out for a little play time.  Who knew it would make such a fun and comfy pillow?!

Silly dog.  Wonder what he's planning to do next?


Somebody is disappointed that today's bandage is plain and functional and not embellished with little paw prints...

Another evening of beading and Gilmoring resulted in...

Funny thing...I discovered that my stamina for beading is much lower than for stitching.  Progress seems so meagre when there are beads involved!

We're hoping that your week is off to a good start.  Happy Monday!

Nov 6, 2016


Still snoozing....

And beading....

Our little clinic for treatment of the Stinky Toes...

Yesterday and this morning have been quite lovely, actually.  We're moving at a different pace now.  Following the sun from spot to spot, eating when we're hungry, and sleeping when we're sleepy.  In between, there's lots of beading and Gilmore watching and talking and reading.  A different pace, but a good one, to be sure.

This afternoon I will write a long list of all of the stuff I should do this week, and then we'll think about a grocery/Target run for provisions.  Turkey bacon and baby wipes make for an interesting shopping cart combo, esprcially when you add a few bags of clearanced Halloween candy and an industrial size jar of crunchy peanut butter to the mix.  What can I say?  Sometimes you just have to go with the flow...

The love and support that is flooding in is overwhelming, to say the least.  I read each and every one of your comments, cards, letters, and postcards aloud to Stewey during our afternoon tea time and his heart (and mine) fill to almost bursting.  Thank you, dear friends.

Nov 5, 2016


A little sun snoozing...

A little beading...

A little leaf peeping...

A little magazine reading...

Nov 1, 2016


Stewey and I woke up early today and enjoyed a few minutes of morning sunshine spilling across the pillows.  We're in a new normal, but one that is peaceful and lovely...just taking things moment by moment and doing whatever feels right.

He is snoozing in the sun and I am in the Happy Chair, stitching the last bit of cross stitching on Vaceila before starting her beading.  Later, we might take a nap or go outside or just sit in front of the TeeVee...but we're together and for that I am profoundly happy and thankful.

Here's hoping that your November has started well and that you, too, are doing what you love with your own Little doing it with you.

(The image, which I love, is a piece by the artist Sam very favorite!)