Mar 31, 2009


Before we begin today's blathering, I should explain something to those of you who feel silly about writing comments to a dog.

My sister carries on entire conversations with him.

Imagine a voice somewhat like Elmo's (from Sesame Street). Then, combine that with a very sophisticated vocabulary and a big 'ol dash of precocious, and you've got Stewey. He calls his Aunt Chrissy every night to regale her with the latest happenings of the day, and after a few minutes of this, Aunt Chrissy will say "Stewey? Is your Mommie there? Put her on the phone for me." And Stewey sometimes does this immediately, but once in a while will say "She's sleeping, Aunt Chrissy", or "She went the the store."

And the amazing thing is that Aunt Chrissy usually says (without missing a beat)...."Well, have her call me when she gets home, OK?", and then she promptly hangs up the phone.

This went on for about three months before Aunt Chrissy said to me one day "You know? I think I'm losing my damn mind. Do you realize that I carry on entire conversations with Stewey?" (as if I wasn't aware of what the dog was doing when I wasn't paying attention).

I, personally, think nothing of this, since I am convinced that he is indeed a tiny little man trapped in the body of a nine-pound Jack Russell and that he is a stimulating conversationalist. Just don't get him started on fashion, religion, or politics, and you'll be just fine.

Speaking of Aunt Chrissy...she totally screwed me up this weekend when she innocently asked (repeatedly, I might add)...."Did you ever pick up Strawberry Garden from the framer?". I tried and tried as best I could to evade the question, but she demanded to see it on Saturday afternoon:What she didn't know was that this was going to be a SURPRISE! for her birthday. So, SURPRISE AUNT CHRISSY! The moment I started stitching this I decided that it would make the perfect gift for her, and when she kept saying that it looked like Mom, I knew I had picked the right piece. Besides, I have never given her a piece of stitching, and since she is responsible for getting me into it in the first place, I wanted that first piece to be special. So there. It's not hanging in her house yet...she refuses to take it until her actual birthday, so I get to enjoy it a little longer.

I finished "Beyond My Heart" on Saturday afternoon. I'm really tickled with the results and think this one will stay right here at Chez Spinster:I have a crazy-ass idea of hanging it on a "Blackbird Designs" wall. The idea is to also have a "Laura J. Perin" wall, a "Shepherd's Bush" wall, etc. etc. I suppose it would be a good thing to have more than one piece finished before dedicating an entire wall, but a girl can dream now, can't she? (You'll note that I do more dreaming about what to do with finished needlework pieces than I do actual needlework, but hey, that's just me.)

I am reaaaalllllly trying to stretch the time on "Daisy Collage" since I am just loving working on it. I know that there are several other flowers in this series, but I just LOVE this one and want it to last forever!You'll have to forgive the mess of a daisy in the upper left corner....I was so busy watching "Mistresses" that I just kept adding petals until it looked like this:It's totally NOT what LJP charted, but methinks I will leave it alone for now. Those petals are done in Sparkle Rays, and it was a bit of a bit** pulling it through the canvas and getting it to lay just so. (I'm not allowed to use my laying tool without adult supervision....that sucker is an emergency room visit waiting to happen.)

So that's it for the Spinster Stitcher today. I am hoping that Aunt Chrissy and Bosco come over for some Stitching in the Studio with Sissy time. We haven't done that in quite a while and it feels like it just might be the perfect evening for it!

Mar 29, 2009


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's busy running around the house in her slippers and robe singing "Take Me Out Mr. BallGame" at the top of her lungs. This wouldn't be so bad, except the old lady could break glass with that voice. Geeze, Louise. Why couldn't she have opted for singing lessons as a kid rather than a trip to the local Dairy Mart?

I was all snuggled in for a night of watching the Sex And The City movie on HBO, but mom flipped over to some old cable station instead and started watching something called "For Love of the Game". All I know is that it had an opening montage' of this guy and a bunch of baseball players walking through an airport all decked out in Armani suits:I could have lived with that...but did they have to put it in slow motion? My mom kept hitting the reverse button on the remote thingie, so I had to watch the damn thing about a hundred times before she went to go get a cold cloth for her head. Spinsters. I swear.

As for my favorite movie montage....I used to be completely fascinated by the fashion montage in The Devil Wears Prada. You know, when Andy gets her make-over and then they play the Madonna song and show her going to work in about 20 fabulous outfits. I used to pop my little head up from under the blanket every single time that thing came on. I think I secretly lusted for the Chanel boots.

Now, Miss Carrie Bradshaw Her Very Self has me all in a tizzy. I've forsaken my Devil montage for the one in the S.A.T.C. movie where Carrie tries on the wedding dresses. That one leaves me breathless and I could watch it over and over again. (And I will, as soon as the sleeping pills that I put in Mom's cranberry juice kick in.)

We're having a cold and snowy day here in Indiana, which means I will refuse to go outside and will probably pee on the drapes instead. Oh well, a diva's gotta do what a diva's gotta do, right?

I'll make sure Mom updates you tomorrow with her stitchy progress. She's about this close to finishing up the Blackbird Designs "Beyond My Heart", so I don't want to interrupt her progress. I've decided that I'd like to hang that in my little bedroom, so the sooner she gets it finished, the sooner I can head to Michael's with my coupon.

So that's it for today, kids. Thanks for stopping by! I hope that you and yours are warm and safe and dry!


Mar 27, 2009


The title of this post is one of Meg's lines in "You've Got Mail". It's in the scene when Tom comes to visit with a bouquet of daisies and she has a cold and he wants her to forgive him for putting her out of business and she says "Don't you think daisies are the friendliest flower?". Man, I love that damn movie.

I knew I would enjoy this piece, but I completely underestimated just how much I would do so. I am just loving every single stitch and every single motif and every single minute I'm spending with this one! Woo Hoo! Now, y'all know how much I already love our girl Laura J. Perin...but I have to say that this one ROCKS!
The good news is that there are more flowers in this series to stitch! I can see it now....a black sleigh style day bed in my guest room covered in a white eyelet comforter and tons of these pillows. Wouldn't that just be lovely? I do have several pillows on the guest bed now, but they seem to be scattered about willy nilly. Methinks we need to have a THEME.

Hmmmm. Wonder how I can stop making french knots that look like little niplets?:

OK, OK, I didn't use the called-for ribbon floss on this one. I used Sparkle Rays for the petals instead:

I DID use the ribbon floss here, but realized later that it was supposed to be #5 perle cotton. For the Rhodes stitches in the middle, I used my beloved Flair:

Here I tried not to carry my thread on the back...I don't think it shows through, so I must have done something right:

So that's the progress thus far. I am truly hoping that I can finish this one up before the weekend is over so that I might jump into the Lily of the Valley Collage. I think I have all of the borders already completed on that one, so it might be a quickie!

Mar 25, 2009


Talk about a ho hum kind of day....if it weren't for all of the stitchy blog reading I have to do, I'd consider a snoozy nap.

The bunny on BD's "Easter Parade" now has a basket and a bag. He seems much happier now that he's properly accessorized:
Last night I decided to play with LJP's "Daisy Collage". I've lusted over this project for so long now, and I've sipped at it long enough. Do you ever have projects like that? You know, when you think of them like a piece of chocolate that you just don't want to finish or a book that you wish would never end? Well, I decided that I just might enjoy the stitched piece even more than the photo on the cover of the chart, so I went for it:
I know, I know. It doesn't look like much now, but putting these border lines in first is very important to the overall success of the piece. Besides, if Miss Laura J. Perin Her Very Self told me to go stand in the corner and spit wooden nickles, I'd do it in a New York minute. I'm hoping that I'll finish the outer border this afternoon so that I can play with all of the fabulous patterns in the various sections!

Stewey concurs with me that a nap might be in order:The poor little thing was traumatized last night when he went out for his night night potty. Something must have spooked him out there in the dark, because he screamed bloody murder and then came running into the house with tears in his little eyes. Oh, my heart just melted when he jumped up into my arms needing comfort. I swear I would have sung him a lullaby if I knew it wouldn't get me locked up in the "special place". Damn dog.

Mar 23, 2009


Well I suppose that I should finish "The Cable Chronicles" for y'all, especially since you indulged my half-wit ramblings. I did indeed manage to speak with a real live human being (eventually), and I scheduled an appointment for 3pm Saturday afternoon. (Please note that my only other time slot alternative was 5:30AM to 7:30 AM Sunday morning). AM! As in the AM! Who the hell fixes cablevision thingies at 5:30AM? ON A SUNDAY!

Stewey and I hit the sack after a little more fiddling with the TeeVee to see if we could fiddle it into submission. No such luck. When we awoke the next morning: WOOHOO!! The cablevision thingie had magically fixed itself during the night. AND! I received an automated message on my answering machine that said "We detected an outage in your area and have since fixed the problem. We've taken the liberty of cancelling your appointment with our technician, but if you would prefer that your appointment be maintained, please call....blah blah blah." Just as I was about to hit the delete message button, I heard the dreaded phrase: "We're sorry for your inconvenience. Thank you for your patience."

So that would explain why I had cocktails for breakfast.

Just kidding. I had cranberry juice, coffee with cream and Equal, and toast. Just like a person does.

Aunt Chrissy and I had a simply spectacular Saturday with our lovely new BSF Carol. Carol is a fellow stitcher from the great state of Pennsylvania, right here in the U.S. of A., and as it happens, she and her husband were visiting the Hoosierville area. So we made plans to meet at a LNS and then have lunch afterwards.

Oh, how can I begin to tell you what joy it is to make a new stitchy friend! The moment Chrissy and I laid eyes on her, we were smitten. Carol has been a stitcher for years and is a very experienced teacher of needlepoint. Unfortunately, she didn't reveal this fact to us until AFTER we had blathered on about this and that (which was probably all wrong), so we're pretty sure she wanted to smack us after about ten minutes for being such stitchy boobs. Methinks it was rather like talking on and on about painting to Picasso. Only our Picasso just smiled and made us so comfortable that we didn't even realize that we were in the presence of yet another stitching rock star.

What is it about stitching that binds us so? Now I know that I am still a relatively new member of the group, but I feel like I could walk right up to any stitcher on any corner of the globe and immediately have a deep and abiding connection with him/her. Shouldn't we have secret decoder rings or something?

So Carol.....THANK YOU! for a simply divine day with us! We can't wait to see you again, and we hope that you haven't moved or changed your phone number to avoid having to deal with us ever again.

Yesterday, Stewey and I did some major organizing up in the studio. I took all of the crap upstairs that had been littering the dining room table, so he was very pleased. I pawed through stash for about three hours and then put together a "Spring" basket of projects that I'd love to play with for the next several weeks. There are ten projects in the basket, so I wonder if I should have a little TEN PROJECT CHALLENGE for myself? You know what I mean....finish these TEN PROJECTS before moving on to something new?

My selection for last night was Blackbird Design's "Easter Parade". I started this while watching the season finale of Big Love. I'm sure that I would have made better progress, but I had to put it down rather frequently to pay attention to whatever the hell was going on. I have such a rock for a head. I just couldn't figure parts of it out right away, and I gave myself a headache trying to understand the finer plot points. (Don't worry, I do this with the movie "Vanilla Sky" too. I've seen that movie about a dozen times, but I end up walking around the house for days afterwards muttering to myself that I must have blacked out or something, because all I could do was sit there slack-jawed with a big HUH? in my brain.) But I regress...

What I love about this project is the linen. It's called "Carnivale" and is from Picture This Plus. I am the deliriously happy owner of several fat quarters of their linen, and this one seemed a perfect match to the lovely thread colors.
Naturally, my craptastic photographic skills don't do it justice. It's gorgeous, Trust me.

So we're off to a sunny, yet cool day here at Chez Spinster. Stewey had carefully applied his sunscreen and is working on that base tan for spring break. I've decided to re-wash the floors, since SOMEBODY made a mess of them, and now all I see are streaky parts. Never fear...this feeling of productivity will pass quickly, kids. I'll be in that Happy Chair faster than you can say q-snaps! Woo Hoo!

Mar 20, 2009


WARNING: What you are about to read is a true story. Only the names have been changed to protect the innocent and prevent the author from being sued by a huge multi-national conglomerate.

SCENE: Midnight in the state of Indiana, USA. A lonely spinster and her little dog settle in for a night of "Sex and the City" reruns and some serious stitchy time. Suddenly, the cablevision goes out for no apparent reason whatsoever.

SPINSTER: *#&$^%!!! Stewey, hand me the remote. Did you change the channel again? Stop doing that! We're going to watch these episodes on regular TeeVee and there's nothing you can do about it. I'm NOT going to get up and go find the DVDees just so you can watch all of the dirty parts unedited.

(The Spinster snatches the remote from the little dog's perfectly manicured paw and then proceeds to hit every button on the damn thing in the hopes of switching on the thingie. This, of course, is a purely technical term, and should not be used by non-professionals from outside the cablevision industry.)

After several futile minutes, the spinster decides to call the cablevision company. This seemingly easy task is complicated by the automated menu selections that tell her to "Press One for actual live girl-on-girl customer service" or "Press Two if you'd like to scream profanity at us for screwing up your evening TeeVee viewing plans."

The Spinster decides to "Press One" and in a mere eighteen minutes, she is connected with Tamika (spelling is assumed, of course, because the spinster is not at all familiar with the proper spelling of the name, and since we're burning daylight here people, she doesn't feel compelled to clarify.)

TAMIKA: Thank you for calling blah blah. This is Tamika speaking, may I have your account number please?

SPINSTER: Why yes, hello, Tamika. My name is Coni blah blah and I am calling in reference to account number blah blah.

T: Thank you, Mrs. Blah. Now can you tell me the nature of the problem?

S: Oh, please call me Coni, Tamika. I'm actually a Miss and not a MRS. For reasons that escape me at the moment, I seem to have forgotten to get married and have kids like I always wanted to. Sorry. I regress. The nature of the problem? Well, it seems that my cablevision has gone out.

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.

S: You're welcome, and thank you for your apology. Can you fix the problem?

T: One moment please.

(Six minutes of silence ensues.)

S: Tamika? Are you still there? Did I lose you?

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.

S: Whew. For a minute there I thought maybe I had been disconnected.

T: One moment please.

(Another eight minutes of silence ensues during which the spinster attempts to fix the cablevision herself by banging repeatedly on the side of the TeeVee armoire. This, it would seem, is not the proper method by which one restores one's service.)

S: Tamika? I tried to fix it myself, but it doesn't look like it's working yet. Are you having any luck on your side? Could it be an outage in my area? Is it possible that a neighbor is playing tricks on me? Has an opossum found its way into the big thingie outside and disconnected something?

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.

S: Well, it's not so much as an inconvenience as it is a (the spinster pauses here to mimic the Miranda Priestly character from The Devil Wears Prada)...disappointment. I mean, you pay your bill on time, you forego groceries and gas in the car in lieu of a movie channel or two, and it seems that when you need it most, the cablevision just isn't there for you. Do you know what I mean? Can you feel my angst?

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.

(This time, the spinster sings show tunes while waiting patiently during the eighteen minutes of silence that ensues.)

S: Tamika? It's going on 2am here and I'm afraid that I will need to think about going to bed soon. It's not that I'm tired actually, but if I don't go to bed now, I am likely to sit up all night stitching, and then I will most definitely not be worth anything tomorrow. Or the next day. Did you ever notice that as you get older you have a harder time recovering from an all-nighter, and it takes you twice as long to get back to normal than it did when you were, oh, I don't know, say eighteen and in college?

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.

S: Tamika? I swear I hear you doing a Sudoku over there. Are you even trying to fix my cablevision, or are you so entertained by my rambling that you've forsaken your task at hand and are now updating your Facebook page with a story about some crazy woman from Indiana who had the unmitigated gall to call you because the cablevision that she pays for stopped working suddenly and without reason?

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.

S: OK, this is ridiculous. You're obviously not listening to me, or you'd at least giggle a bit over my sardonic wit and ability to be cheerful at this hour of the morning. And! Based on your canned response, I am assuming that you have a big fat binder in front of you and that it says "When confronted by disgruntled spinster, repeat the phrase "I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience" until said spinster hangs up on you in disgust and pokes herself in the eye with a knitting needle repeatedly." Well, let me tell you something, missy. Not all spinsters knit! As a matter of fact, I tried knitting once and didn't like it at all! And I don't wear cardigans or sensible shoes either. I wear hoodies and clogs! I drink wine and martinis! I go on adventures and I ogle men with impunity! I am single handedly changing the face of spinsterhood everywhere, Tamika, and I won't be mocked because of it. Do you understand me?

T: I'm sorry for your inconvenience, thank you for your patience.


T: Mrs. Blah? I am a supervisor. How may I help you?

S: (astounded silence ensues)

T: Mrs. Blah?

(The connection goes dead at the precise moment the spinster hurls the telephone across the continent. The little dog sighs in disgust and puts himself to bed, making sure to close and lock his bedroom door so he won't have to listen to the four and a half hour rant that is sure to follow.)

SCENE: A darkened front yard in the state of Indiana, USA. A spinster stomps to the cablevision box clutching a screwdriver and some duct tape, while her nightgown billows about her "considerably sturdy" frame. Profanity and loose soil litter the air as the cover is wrenched from the box and the delicate wires are exposed. They are carefully considered before the spinster takes a deep breath, jams the screwdriver into the center of the mass of wire, and returns to the house. A primal scream resonates throughout the neighborhood. On the television screen is a simple, yet utterly tragic message:




Mar 18, 2009


My mom can't come to the blog right now. I've grounded her to the laundry room, since she refuses to be the GROWN UP and put her toys away. I'm putting my paw down, people. Every night before she tucks me into bed, we go about the house picking up all of my toys. Only then (!), when they are properly put away in their respective baskets (one for balls, one for stuffed toys), am I allowed to get some shut eye.

Well apparently this door doesn't swing both ways. Today, I finally had to get some photographic evidence of what can only be described as A MESS:
Mom has a 300 square foot stitching studio upstairs and she insists on spreading her stuff around like she owns the place or something. Charts and linen and threads and q-snaps everywhere. Geeze, Louise. What is a puppy to do?

So until she gets this mess cleaned up and under control, I am not allowing her to spend any time on the 'puter. I will be nice, however, and share with you a pic of what she worked on last night:This is Shepherd's Bush "Garden Gate". I know that Mom would want me to point out that the stitch that is second from the top is called Swedish Weaving and that she patted herself on the back so hard from figuring it out that she pulled a muscle. (I have no idea why she gets so proud of herself...the directions from SB were very easy to understand and I'm sure that even my stupid little cousin Bosco could have figured them out.) But I'll let her have her moment and will pass along all of your oooo's and aaaaah's.

That's the report from Chez Stewey today. I hope that you (and your loved ones with four legs) are having a splendid day!

Mar 17, 2009


Most of last evening's stitching was on the class project from the Shepherd's Bush retreat, so I don't think it would be polite of me to show it. I'm just not sure what the proper etiquette is regarding such matters, so I would rather err on the side of caution and not pee in anybody's Cheerios this morning.

I did start "Wachet Auf" from Long Dog Samplers on a piece of gorgeous "Mystic" linen from Picture This Plus. I'm afraid that I didn't make a lot of progress on this due to the fact that the linen is very dark and definitely needs the light of a bright sunny day. I've never worked on dark linen before, so this will be interesting. I'm sure this will be a looooooong term project.

Speaking of peeing....Stewey and I have just concluded a rather lengthy family meeting during which we discussed his need to mark every single thing here at Chex Dog Pee. After much "spirited" debate, we finally found a workable solution:

We made a quick trip to Target and got him his very own Brother P-Touch label maker. After a little tutorial on how to properly use it, Stewey busied himself marking things in a much more suitable manner. Damn dog.

"As my Aunt Chrissy likes to say.....I'm just so misunderstood."

Mar 16, 2009


I'm writing this post about my sister (without her knowing about it, of course), so if I have it all wrong, forgive me Aunt Chrissy. I'll make it up to you by taking Bosco for a walk.

As I'm sure many of you know by now, my sister CRYS (because that is, after all, her name) is responsible for my stitching obsession. Crys started stitching when she was about 7 or 8 years old and even did a few needlepoints with Mom. She first started to cross stitch when she picked up a few Dimensions kits from Michael's and read the directions. Knowing her, she probably had the finer points mastered within six and a half minutes (she's pretty brilliant that way). I think she stitched off and on for a few years in her early teens, and then she got a job in a doctor's office when she was 18 or so. The ladies there introduced her to many crafty things, but when her office mate put that first piece of linen in Crys's hands, it was all over.

There was a shop in Phoenix called "In Stitches". I never went there, but I've heard all about it from my little sis, and I imagine that it was a sanctuary for her during some ridiculously terrible times. You see, Crys was the one that was there when Mom got sick and suffered through chemo. She was also there when Dad had a heart attack and had double bypass surgery. She was there when her big sister called from college to ask what was going on, and she was standing quietly in the background watching us all run around like idiots when the world fell apart. Oh, and I should probably mention that she did all of this when she was also getting straight A's at Xavier Prep (a foo-foo high school that she was smart enough to attend) and negotiating life as a teenager all by herself because the adults in the room were too busy feeling sorry for themselves.

So by the time Crys walked into In Stitches she had lived a lifetime of worry and sadness and stress, and I'm sure that the weight of the world on her shoulders was almost too much to bear. I can't imagine how she ever survived it. But, thank God for me, she did, and I think that we have Shepherd's Bush to thank for it. The evening that Crys first stepped into the shop, she was immediately drawn to the display of all things SB. I guess the piece called "Shepherd's Earth" was framed and hanging prominently, and I can almost see my sister standing in front of it while just letting the peace of it wash over her. When asked when she first fell in love with SB, Crys will tell you that it was at the very moment she first laid eyes on them.

I'm sure that there are a LOT of stitchers out there who love these designs, and I'm sure that there are also hundreds and hundreds of you who have visited the store in Ogden. I know that I am always tickled to pass along a mention of a SB project to Crys during my daily blog reading, and I have decided that we will visit Ogden as soon as we can. I like SB too, but it's because I see the joy they bring to my little sister. I see that THEY were the ones that got her through and that they are the ones that she goes to for almost every stitchy fix when the world gets nuts. I also love them because they are a bond that Crys and I now share and it's one that we will enjoy forever.

So when we had the opportunity to take a class with Tina and Teri, I was a little worried that the curtain would reveal reality and Crys would leave heartbroken. Now let me explain...I didn't expect that the SB girls would be nasty or aloof or anything, I just figured that they would be busy teaching and that there would be so many people clamoring for their attention that it would be impossible to get to talk with them, let alone get to know them. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Teri and Tina (the sisters who own SB) fulfilled every wish I could have had for a first meeting for my sister. They were funny and warm and so wonderful to be near that you just want to grab their hands and say "Will you be my friend forever?". They listened to our stories, they taught us some wonderful projects, and they did so with grace and humility. They gave me such a gift this weekend...they allowed me the chance to watch my sister fulfill a life-long dream, which was to be able to meet them and tell them how important they have been in her life.

I have a lot of guilt about this blog, and there are days when I am embarrassed that I feed so much on the connection with the stitchy community. I love stitching and spend hours every day doing it, but not because I was smart enough or bold enough or curious enough to pick it up and figure it out. Instead, I was invited to play in the sandbox by someone for whom stitching is a life-long passion. I guess I just figure I'm a loud mouth who is stealing her sister's thunder, but Crys tells me that she's happy to just be herself and do what she loves best. I will never be able to thank her enough for that.

So I'm off to the studio to plan the next adventure, and we'll see what it has in store for us. I might not get us there on time, and I might stress out over the details too much, but at least I know that I will have some company with me on the trip and that it will be a hoot once we get there. I just hope that as y'all are laughing at what a boob I can be, you'll figure out that I'm just the sizzle. It's Aunt Chrissy that's the steak.

Mar 13, 2009


Well I, for one, am just exhausted. I've been to all parts of the U.S., most of the U.K., Canada (Hi, Canada!), some lovely places in Australia, and a wonderful cottage in France. I've had spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains and a fabulous stroll through San Francisco. I even made it to the beach! Who knew that Florida could be so pretty this time of the year?

Am I the only person who travels vicariously? I would rather sit in my chair and jet about the world via your stitchy blogs than any other means of transportation. I am just fascinated by the cities in which you live, the chairs in which you sit, and the projects on which you stitch. I am a stitchy voyeur extraordinaire!

I'm sorry to report that there wasn't any stitching going on last night. As Stewey reported, the needles remained idle while I contemplated life (and the exact color of the bathroom tile). Is it ecru? DMC 722?

Today the sun is shining and life is swell. Aunt Chrissy and I are geared up for a fabulous weekend, and my only goal is to sit down, shut up, and stitch my eyeballs out. I promise not to suck the oxygen out of the room, deflect all attention my way, laugh loudly, sweat profusely, or generally make a boob of myself. I am going to be seen and not heard. For once in my life I am going to be comfortable just blending in and I will not fret over a) the state of my eyebrows, b) the girth of my big butt, or c) the fact that I want to know every single person on the planet and be their best friend and do fun things together and then go away for stitchy weekends where we feel like we're in the movie "The Big Chill". I. Will. Be. Normal.

Mar 11, 2009


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's on day three of a migraine bender and methinks she should just stay put on the bathroom floor. Don't worry about her, though. I'm making sure she has lots of fluids (No, I didn't put the lid up, you sillies....I poured her a nice tall glass of diet Orange Crush), and I'm demanding that she just gets some rest.

I thought I'd take you on a little tour around the homestead. Since I figured out how to push the camera buttons with my paw, I figured I'd better snap off a few shots before the old lady regains her senses and then grounds me for touching her stuff. Man, she can get really testy about paw prints, dog hair, or puppy pee on her "stuff", so I have to indulge myself whenever I can.

First up is the lamp post out in the front yard. As you can see, the wind took the top of it right off. Mom ran out there to see if she could fix it, but all she managed to do was get the glass into the garage and Aunt Chrissy over here in a flash. They stood out there for a good hour or so before Mom finally came stomping into the house muttering something about "little sisters being the smarter ones, my ass", and then she grabbed rubber bands and headed back outside. Considering it was about a billion below out there, I just stayed put and got the phone ready to dial 9-1-1. (Mom has a habit of electrocuting herself every now and then, so I like to be prepared.) I did manage to call the Home Owner's Association here in the Forest, so the guy should be here in the next few days to fix this right up. In the meantime, the neighbors think Mom has entered her "sculptural" phase of lawn ornamentation:

Next is a pic of what I am now calling Lake St. Stewey. If I could get my little rowboat out of the attic by myself, I'd take it for a spin, but ever since Mom had to wade into the retention pond last summer to "save" me, I've been grounded from all water sports. Oh well, I guess I'll just wait for the ducks to show up and then I can run out and bark at them. I wonder where all of that water is going to go? (Nope, in case you were wondering....we don't have a lake front lot. This used to be a pasture/field of some kind where the deer threw keggers:

Here's a potted mum that both Mom and Aunt Chrissy completely overlooked during Fall Garden Cleanup. I pointed it out to them at least a dozen times, but they ignored me and let the thing sit out there all winter long. How embarrassing. Well I, for one, am not going to let the darn thing just rot away, so I think I'll give it a little watering for the spring thaw:

Oh, and I better get the grass too. Looks like it hasn't had a drink all winter long:

I'll leave you with a shot of the chipmunk subdivision that I discovered in the front garden today. Boy oh boy is Mom going to be peeved when these little suckers start running around eating all of the tulip bulbs.

Well, that's about it for now. I'm off to Mom's Happy Chair to watch "Mistresses" on the BBC. I've been secretly taping each episode and then watching them whenever Mom's not around, and I'm just dying to see what those ladies will do next. I don't understand a lot of it, but I'm getting the impression that it's really hot wherever they are because they keep taking all of their clothes off.

Mom will be back soon. I can already hear her starting to rustle around in there. Better go!


Mar 10, 2009


Holey Schmoley, it's rainy here today! We got about three inches last night and methinks we're getting about the same today. Stewey! Get the rowboat!

I am plugging along on "Beyond My Heart". I am really enjoying this one, especially since I am so tickled that the linen didn't throw me into a tizzy. And I'm also pretty happy with the colors, which are bright and fresh despite the photo evidence above.

Bills are paid, dishes are washed, floors swept. Gee, what do I do now? Well, if I HAVE to, I suppose I'll just plop my heiney in the Happy Chair and do some stitching. I know, I know. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta' do it!

Mar 9, 2009


Dear Barbie:
I can't believe that today is your 50th birthday! Seems like just yesterday we were excited about turning 6 together. What happened?! On your special day, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all of the important life lessons that you taught me. I'm not sure that I would be the woman that I am today without your influence, Barbie, so please know that I owe it all to you (and my parents, of course).
Coni Jo


Barbie taught me the finer points of interior design. At first, our home was the corner of a cardboard box, draped with a dish towel to soften the rough edges. We even had a hand-made rug underfoot, and I seem to recall a tissue box that doubled as a bed. Eventually, we moved into a spacious and quite contemporary Barbie Dream House that came with a fine selection of furnishings (backgrounds painted on walls for efficiency as well as effect). By spending hours upon hours moving the couch around, I am certain that I learned everything there was to know about feng shui and space planning. I also learned not to be afraid to mix and match colors, textures, designs, time periods, or styles. After all, one's home must reflect one's personality and sense of style, no?

Driving was something that came easily, especially after we learned not to terrorize the dog or crash into the coffee table with our little battery-powered Barbie Corvette. Although the steering wheel was rather pointless since the tires wouldn't turn, we did look pretty spiffy racing through the kitchen en route to our next adventure. Over the years we also learned to operate several other means of transportation: a plane, a boat, a camper (with pop-out tent!), a dune buggy, a Jeep, an RV, and even a motorcycle. I am proud to report that we've never been cited with a ticket, nor have we ever caused a fatality.

What can I say about fashion? In recent years, Carrie Bradshaw has gotten all of the attention in the wardrobe world, but Barbie was definitely my arbiter of good taste. I learned that it was important to have a selection of clothing for every possible situation (like rock climbing in the morning and then accepting an Academy Award in the evening), and that, when in doubt, a smart looking skirt and cute top would always look fabulous. I also learned that it was perfectly acceptable to wear four-inch pink stilettos. With everything. More important than the actual outfit, however, was the absolute necessity to ACCESSORIZE! Mom used swear words I'd never heard before whenever she had to dig through the vacuum cleaner bag to retrieve a lost Barbie shoe, but it was all worth it in the end, and the resulting awards from Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Mr. Blackwell prove it.

Hair and makeup application were important to us, but it wasn't something that we would waste an entire day on. On most occasions, I was able to configure a pony tail that looked good with both bathing suit and ball gown. And I learned that permanent makeup is a good thing (when applied correctly) and if you don't have eyelids, you can get away with blue eyeshadow most of your life. I also learned that it is NEVER a good idea to let your little sister trim your bangs, but that the damage can usually be hidden with a lovely scarf.

Barbie taught me that independence is a wonderful thing, and that learning to be completely self-sufficient will take you a long way. She taught me that it's OK to play alone, and that the often heard answer to "I'm bored" was "Go play with your Barbies".

Relationships can be hard for anybody, but Barbie taught me the wisdom of having pets (she had over 50 of them throughout the years), a long term boyfriend (43 years with Ken should have earned her a medal), and a pesky side-kick or two just to keep us on our toes (I especially liked the fact that Skipper couldn't fit into Barbie's clothes, and despite Mom grumbling that it was a marketing ploy to make us buy more outfits, I was satisfied to let Skipper wear the same damn thing day after day so that Barbie could shop for skinny pants and a new jacket at least twice a week).

Despite being a chunky kid, I never suffered from self esteem issues, because Barbie accepted me just the way I was, and I pretended not to notice the Mattel logo stamped on her heiney. Even though Barbie had perky plastic boobs that never needed a bra, she wore one in solidarity with me when it was finally time for me to be a "young lady". She bravely faced boys at school and never lamented the fact that neither her knees nor elbows had movable joints that would allow her to sit in a chair properly. She just forged ahead with whatever the day had to throw at her, and she did it with that famous smile. (And the blue eye shadow, of course).

I think that the most important thing Barbie taught me was that it was absolutely crucial to dream. I know a few girls who weren't allowed to play with Barbie because their mothers thought them sexist and a throw back to 1950's sexual politics, but Barbie taught me that you can be absolutely anything you want to be. And you can, in fact, be a lawyer in the morning, an airline pilot in the afternoon, and a Princess in the evening. There were a few costume changes required, but Barbie never allowed me to NOT do something because it looked hard, or like it would be too much work. She worked in a hospital as the Chief of Neurosurgery, as a vet, an astronaut, for the United Nations, and even as Secretary of State when I hadn't a clue what that was. Somedays she even stayed at home and made beautiful curtains for the kitchen and a wonderful beef stew for a late supper with Ken. Barbie was smart, and funny, and hard working, and she taught me that nobody would ever get in the way of my dreams or aspirations if I stood firm in my convictions.

So, happy birthday to you, Ms. Barbara Millicent Roberts. From one Spinster to another, I say BRAVA for all that you've done for us these last 50 years! My wish for you is that you will continue to spread your magic to girls (and boys) everywhere, and that you'll know how much you've meant to us. Don't ever change, Barbie!

Pass the cake, please.

Mar 4, 2009


Oh, poor Stewey. I came out of the kitchen today to see him laying in front of the patio door carrying on what I assume to be a very intense conversation with his friend. I thought his name was Steve. Turns out it's Patches. Patches the Squirrel.

Poor Patches seems to be unwell. He has some pretty nasty looking bald spots, as well as a few scabs that he tended to quite frequently. I was grossed out completely, but Stewey showed uncommon compassion and told me that he was going to organize a Squirrel a Thon for Patches so that he could go get a little wig. Stewey is very fastidious about his appearance, so he felt it important to Patches' self esteem that we get this situation rectified immediately. Damn dog.

(As yes, for all of you smart pet owners out there, I am making sure that Patches is absolutely no where in sight when I let Stewey outside, since it would seem that whatever he has would not be very nice on poor Stewey and God knows we don't need any more drama around here than is absolutely necessary.)

Cherry Cordial continues. I hope that I can finish this piece this weekend. I made the mistake of checking out the website for the designer/shop owner, and I discovered that she shows multiple color ways for most of her charts. Damn, drat, and phooey. Now I just might have to do this one over and over again in different colors. Maybe one for each season and then frame them all together? This one is rather springy, so looks like I'm ahead of the game. Woo Hoo!

I am so determined to work on Laura J. Perin's "Daisy Collage" this weekend that I have decided to do all of my chores today and tomorrow so that it's the only thing I have to think about. I have lusted over this one since I first saw it and I suppose that I have been trying to sip at it like a damn good cup of coffee to make it last longer, but I reaaaalllllly want to get it done and up on a wall. Then, of course, I have at least eighty other LJP pieces that I want to do, so I better hop to it!

Mar 3, 2009


What looks to be a scene from West Side Story is actually the ruckus that's been going on at the back door all morning. At first I played along and opened the door every five minutes so that Stewey could chase the poor thing out into the yard, but then I realized that I am a GROWN-A** WOMAN AND I DON'T NEED TO GET INVOLVED IN PLAYGROUND POLITICS ON A PERFECTLY LOVELY TUESDAY!

Stewey is not normally known for his "manliness", and I'm surprised that he hasn't turned around and said "Mo-ther. That thing quite disgusts me and I don't wish to look at it. Won't you please shoo it away for me?" So I suppose that I am a bit proud that my little boy might just have some testosterone in him after all.

I have no intention of getting anywhere near it, however, since, in the words of our girl Carrie Bradshaw: "Yeah, it's a squirrel, but aren't they just rats with cuter outfits?"

Mar 2, 2009


Looks like parts of the U.S. are getting hit with the lions today. We're enjoying the lambs...cold, but a pretty blue sky with lots of sunshine. Stewey is moving from spot to spot chasing the sun coming in through the back windows. I'm pretty sure he's working on his base tan for Spring Break. We're having disagreements at the moment about this, since he feels that a week away with "the guys" would be good for him. Me, I'm not so sure.Now before I hear you say "Oh, look at that poor dog having to sleep on the hard floor", you should be aware that there are FOUR puppy beds within a foot and a half of where he is plopped. I am stupid enough that I even make sure to move them hourly so that there are two in the sun and two in the shade so that he can lounge in comfort. Despite this, he always manages to land on the bare floor. Damn dog.

This is fun little project called "Cherry Cordial". Although it is charted for Caron Watercolors on 18 count mono canvas, I switched to Caron Wildflowers and 24 count congress cloth. I think the pink of the cloth is so pretty with the colors. I wasn't too sure about the darker brown skeins, but once it's all stitched up, I imagine that it will be cool beans:

I'm patting myself on the back for actually following the directions on this one and penciling in the lines on the congress cloth before stitching. I am usually one of the "oh, that's too much work, I think I'll just wing it" kind of stitchers, but I always regret not doing what I'm told. So I bit the bullet and drew the lines on like a good girl and now I can enjoy this without wondering if I'm off a thread or two.

My new obsession is concert videos on the TeeVee while I'm stitching. I caught Billy Joel's "The Stranger" and "Chris Botti Live in Boston" (with other artists like Sting, Yo Yo Ma, John Mayer, and Steven Tyler) on PBS, so now I'm determined to hit the library for several others. I confess that I am not very "hip" when it comes to music (I don't think I've listened to commercial radio for at least 20 years), so when I had to ask Aunt Chrissy who John Mayer was, I figured it was time to expand my horizons. I also want to check out as much Yo Yo Ma as I can, since he played the theme music from "Cinema Paridiso" and I thought I would just die from the loveliness of it.

On the reading front, I am full into John Updike mode and should finish "The Witches of Eastwick" today. I confess to not having read much Updike at all, so I'm going to enjoy as much of him as I can before getting distracted by something else.

Hope this finds you off to a fabulous week! As Paul Harvey would say (may he rest) Goood day!