Sep 28, 2010


So there I was...minding my own business reading blogs (Ms. Jeanne's in particular, don't you know)....when I came up with my new favorite hobby.


I figure if I'm not going to put any stitches in my OWN crap, I might as well stalk y'all and look over your shoulders as you stitch yours!

Stalk-stitching! This is when you maniacally follow a fellow stitcher and every waking moment of her life to see what she's working on and then you run right out and pretend like you're going to do the exact same project, so you buy all of the linen and silks and scissors and whatnot to do it, and then you get it home and organize it perfectly into your organizing system and then it sits there helplessly while you glue your eyes to the computer screen to watch everybody else stitch the same darn thing that was the only thing you wanted to work on just moments ago.

Do you suppose we could make t-shirts or something?

Sep 27, 2010


Heidie Ho! My mom can't come to the blog right now, so I thought I'd jump on the 'puter to tell you all about our eventful weekend. (Not.)

But first, let me just point out that it is a whopping 60 degrees in here and the old lady has the front door wide open for "fresh air". I'm freezing my **** off.

(Do you really think I would be caught dead in a sweatshirt otherwise?)

Before you think I exaggerate, may I just present to you, my fair minded readers....Exhibit A:

So Mom had these visions of making two spectacular Ina meals for the weekend, a few hours of stitching and creating up in the studio, and several whoops and cheers during a Notre Dame football game.

Alas, none of it was to be. Her meal on Saturday positively sucked (her words, not mine), and I suspect that had she not been so damn hungry, my Aunt Chrissy would have fed it to Bosco. Mom thought she was going to make a beautiful turkey roulade, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and pumpkin boont for dessert, but what came out of that kitchen was not remotely close to that.

The turkey roulade was problematic because there were no turkey breasts to be had at the market, so Mom's friendly neighborhood butcher hacked up a whole turkey for her. Sadly, he didn't realize that Mom wanted a perfectly carved and cleaned piece of turkey breast in which to stuff her stuffing, so she ended up with a lot of "questionable pieces" instead. But I give the old lady credit....she crammed a bunch of crap into whatever piece she could salvage from the mess and put it in the casserole dish. Yeah. I know. Yum.

I suppose that the potatoes and green beans wouldn't have been so bad if she would have just left well enough alone, but my stupid mo-ther put a stick of butter into the potatoes and then tried to make the casserole with soy milk.

Soy milk.

You wouldn't think this would make any kind of difference, but once Aunt Chrissy realized what Mom did there was a while lot of hollering coming from that kitchen table.

Dessert always saves a bad meal...right? Well, if it would have been anybody else frosting the boont other than my idiot mom everything would have been just fine. But again...she hauled out the soy milk and tried to whip up some vanilla frosting/icing concoction to drizzle over the half-burnt pumpkin bundt cake that Stitchy Aunt Paulette made on her blog without one bit of damn trouble, and I have to aske the question: Why can't SOMEBODY get a clue around here and just follow directions one damn time in her life anyways?

So the frosting/icing was a very weird color and the confectioner's sugar lumped up and kind of stuck to the cake like a bunch of little styrofoam balls. And it didn't drizzle so much as it just kind of ran all over the plate and then onto the kitchen counter, where I'm sure it will eventually dissolve the adhesive on the Formica.

But they ate it anyway.

This was the weekend that Mom was supposed to finish Quaker Diamonds, but for some strange reason, it doesn't look like she made very much progress at all:

I did sleep next to her over at Aunt Chrissy's house last night (where we had ridiculously bad spaghetti and meatballs by the way), and I thought that she was stitching right along, but when I examined her progress this morning, I see that she only completed about four stitches.

Seeing how it is now the 27th of the September and I told her this needed to be done before the beginning of October, I'm going to plant her heiney in the Happy Chair today and not let her out of it until I see the beginnings of a Happy Dance.

That's about it for a relatively boring Monday. I hope that your weekend was more eventful!

With love from your pal,


Hi, kids. Mommie Dearest here.

Well, I have to agree with Stewey about my complete and utter failure as an amateur chef this weekend. It was bad enough that even Aunt Chrissy asked where my mojo had gone, and I'm starting to think that this whole "I'll just wing it" form of cooking is most definitely not for me. And as for the soy milk....I guess I should have known better, but that's what I get for trying to have one thing in this house that I will be able to point to during the intervention that isn't a) illegal, b) should be illegal, or c) is eventually going to kill me if I don't stop putting it in my face.

(I have these recurring nightmares that Jackie Warner shows up at my front door and demands to examine the contents of my fridge and pantry. Then, just as I am furiously trying to shove the Lay's Carolina Bar-be-que potato chips under the rug, Dr. Oz. comes in the back door and shouts "A-HA!"...."THIS is why you are the size of a condominium!...and then my family doctor walks in and shakes her head to and fro while saying "This is not exactly what I would call a plant-based heart-healthy diet, Ms. Rich. Perhaps we should revisit the idea of wiring your jaws shut, hmmmmm?" And there I stand in my spandex stretch pants because I decided that this was going to be the day that I would attempt the "Sexy Abs" video that I fished out of the discount bin at Target, but not before I made a ciabatta sandwich the size of my head for lunch.

The good news is that I know exactly what I did wrong every step of the way, so I'm not likely to repeat this mess ever again. And although the food was dreadfully bad, neither Aunt Chrissy nor I starved during the last two days and I think I'll live to see another day.

So, as Stewey says, I'm off to the Happy Chair for some serious stitching today. I can really see the light at the end of the Quaker tunnel, so to speak, so I'd like to see just how far I can get today.

Happy Monday Monday!

Sep 24, 2010


If you happen to live in St. Joe County here in Hoosierville, I say get thee to the BMV immediately to watch your tax dollars in action.

I got a new car recently (her name is Ms. Dottie VanBuskirk, by the way) and today was the day that I had to go get the damn registration and tags for her. I have put off this particular chore right up to the very tippy top last minute on the scale of things that have to get done around here, so I loaded up my handbag with Ellison (my Kindle, don't you know), a bottle of water, and some snacks for sustenance.

Anywhoose....I put it off and put it off all morning and finally got the "Get in the damn car already and get this done, CJ" call at about 12:30 from Aunt Chrissy. What can I say? She knows me too well and knew that I was looking for any excuse I could to stay inside my house and avoid a) the general public, b) the pleasantries of spending the day in a government office, and c) going anywhere on a Friday before a Notre Dame home football weekend. (See two weeks ago for my big gripe about that.)

It took me four minutes to find an appropriate pair of shoes to wear, three minutes to pat Stewey on the head and tell him how much I love him and how happy I would be if he could refrain from peeing on the furniture while I was out (he did! and was rewarded accordingly), eight minutes to chase the trash can down the street, and then twenty minutes to exchange pleasantries with a neighbor about how blustery it is and how she wanted me to know that if I ever need to talk to anybody about womanly things she would be happy to provide an ear. (I suppose this last bit came because we got on the subject of said womanly things, and I immediately started bawling over the fact that Mom died when she was only 54 and the last year of her life she was a little busy trying to have colon cancer and I never got the chance to talk to her about stuff and I'm only 44 and never thought I would find myself so freakin weepy....and on and on and on until she gave me a hug, told me she hoped I would be blessed with the Holy Spirit, and that she would be happy to help.)

If you're keeping track, that's 35 minutes so far and I wasn't even out of the driveway.

Once I arrived at the mega shopping center that houses the BMV it took me nine minutes to find a parking spot, one minute to figure out how to pull into said parking spot correctly, two minutes to fret over the distance between me and the dinged up door on the car next to me, and another five minutes to find another parking spot about eight miles away from where I needed to be.

So now we're at 52 minutes and my water bottle is empty, my snacks are gone, and I'm still trying to figure out a way to procrastinate further.

The first pleasant shock I received was that the entire BMV facility had been re-decorated, and as near as I can tell, it was re-decorated with a Sherwin Williams paint card in one hand and a Pottery Barn catalogue in another. The walls were painted khaki, blue, and gorgeous green. The chairs and desks were all in a teak-looking finish, and all of the employees were snappily dressed in navy blue t-shirts and khaki pants. Yeah, it might have looked like Notre Dame threw up in the place, but it was a good kind of Notre Dame throw-up. Know what I mean?

I opened the door and was a little dismayed to see that there wasn't one single solitary person sitting the waiting area....every customer in the place was sitting in front of a BMV employee and it seemed like everybody in there was having a wonderful time. People were chatting and smiling and laughing, and had they been serving drinks I would have thought I'd stumbled into a TGIFriday's during happy hour. I'm pretty sure there was music playing, and I know I saw a few big-ass flat screen TeeVees up on the walls, but I can't swear to this because I wasn't in the place long enough to notice much more.

Six minutes and two seconds from the moment I walked in the door to the minute I left. And I need to point out that two of those minutes were taken up with me saying "Are you sure I don't have to go sit over there and wait four or five hours for somebody else to do something before you can do something else and then I get my tags and registration?"

Stephanie, my new best friend at the BMV said "Nope. You're all set. Thank you so much for coming in today and please don't hesitate to let us know how we can serve you better in the future."

I sat there gawping like a fish and promised myself that the next time I have to go to the BMV I'll take flowers and sandwiches.

So I'm off to the grocery store to pick up provisions for this weekend's menu. Tomorrow I'm going to make turkey with stuffing inside (I'm thinking a turkey breast pounded thin with the stuffing rolled up so that we have a roulade situation), and then on Sunday we're having spaghetti and meat balls. I have a recipe for an oven roasted marinara sauce from Ina that I've been wanting to try, so Sunday seemed like as good a time as any to smell up the house with garlic and basil and onions (oh my).

OH! And a very big fat THANK YOU to lovely and faithful stitchy friends...who were kind enough to help me out with the Gingher list. You just freakin' ROCK my world! Woo Hoo!

Sep 23, 2010


Julia, Bianca, Emma, Freedom, Sarah, Roberta, Criss, Elena, Mia, Charlene, Alyssa, Sonya, Ella

Aunt Chrissy gave me my first pair of Gingher scissors sometime in the year 2006. I suppose that she felt I had progressed beyond the little kindergarten safety scissors that were in my stitchy bag for several months, so she went right out and bought me a lovely pair of Julias.

As anybody knows, I am not exactly what you'd call a "moderate" person, so within the space of about six minutes I decided that collecting these scissors was going to be my "thing" (and I think I told Aunt Chrissy that it was going to be HER thing too), and I set about trying to get a comprehensive list of every single one that has ever been released.

(What is it about me that does this? If something is part of a series or collection, I am compelled to start at the start and end at the end. I do this with books, TeeVee series, music...anything that has a "chapter" or "part" or "for the year" on it means that I will drive myself nuts trying to find the very first one, and then look for the second one, and then the third, etc. etc. etc.)

(Good thing I don't do this with automobiles, or I'd be out there trying to collect the very first Pontiac, followed by the very second Pontiac....)

(I wonder if it has to do with some strange propensity that I have for order? And, furthermore, I wonder if this propensity comes from my childhood when I played in the sandbox and tried to organize all of the sand according to the overall shape, size, texture, and color of each individual grain.)

(What can I say? I was a weird child who grew up to be an even weirder adult.)

But I regress...

It took me about three years of searching on the internets, but I think I've come up with a comprehensive list of all of the Gingher Designer Series Scissors. I don't have the EXACT dates of their releases, but I think I at least have the proper year.

Now you might wonder what prompted me to write this. Aunt Chrissy and I jetted over the JoAnn's last night to pick up our latest addition to our sets...a JoAnn's exclusive called Ella. We both walked into the store with the idea that we were going to pay full price for them, since neither of us could find a coupon for the place to save our lives. But when we got up to the check-out counter, the lovely Melanie told us that we were going to get them for 40% off and I think I startled the poor woman by jumping up and down, clapping my hands, and then bawling with joy.

Needless to say, it's going to be a while before I go back to JoAnn's.

Now for those of you who think this is a ridiculous way to spend my money, may I just point out that I found a pair of Audreys on the web AND THAT THEY WERE ALMOST FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!

Nope, didn't even think about buying them, but I was totally gratified to see that a few of the scissors in my collection have already gone up into the two hundred dollar range. That means that if I paid about twenty bucks for them, they've given me about a gillionth percentage return on my investment.

(Aren't you glad I'm not your financial planner?)

So, I suppose what I'm trying to say is one very big fat THANK YOU to my perfect little sister for insisting that I run right out with her every single time these things are released to fork over my pennies for the latest design.

Now if I could only start and the start...

Here's the list that I came up with. If you are a Gingher collector, or if you happen to know someone who is and you see that my list is completely and totally wrong and out of date, would you be so kind as to let me know? I'm getting ready to laminate this sucker, and God knows the tizzy fit I'll go into if I find out that I missed anything.

1999: Audrey, Rosa
2000: Emilia, Rosemarie, Cheetah
2001: Gloriana
2002: Katelyn, Penelope
2003: Gabriella
2004: Lindsay, Olivia
2005: Amanda, Lanell, Cassandra, Sophia
2006: Julia, Alyssa(*), Jamie
2007: Ashley, Maria, Bianca, Glory
2008: Emma, Freedom, Sarah, Roberta
2009: Criss, Elena, Mia
2010: Charlene, Alyssa (*), Sonya, Ella

Sep 22, 2010


Is it possible to have a rational, adult, reasonable conversation with a five year old Jack Russell terrier?

As you all know from this here blog, my little dog Stewey has a propensity for peeing on things. Like drapes and ottomans and the errant landscaper. I believe that this is the result of severe anxiety, as well as my utter lack of parenting skills. As Aunt Chrissy pointed out a few weeks ago: "He pees on his TOYS! What dog does that?!". This, from what I can gather,is evidence that he also suffers from some form of massive territorial marking behavior and anything that is within his purview is going to get watered whether it needs it or not.

So we fast forward to a Tuesday when Mommie Dearest here was semi-lucid and decided to do something about this situation. I gathered every single toy in the house and then washed and dried them very carefully with all kinds of disinfecting soap and whatnot, and the result was wonderful. Clean, fresh smelling dog toys without so much as one drop of...well, you get the idea.

I remembered from my early Puppy Mommie classes that if you give your dog one or two toys at a time he will enjoy them more and will get a big kick out of it when you introduce a new one every now and then. So I went through the basket carefully and pulled out all of the autumnal/Halloween toys and decided that THESE would be the ones he could play with.

As I settled into the Happy Chair last night for some serious West Wing watching and stitching, I realized that I hadn't seen Stewey for quite a while. So I started calling and calling him and reached a crescendo of panic when I got down on the floor to see if he was in his fort and there was nothing there but the remnants of his last poker night. (I need to remember to speak to him about that, by the way.) I must have looked for him for a good half hour, and considering my house isn't that big, this meant that I was opening every drawer and door in the place to see if he was trapped under something heavy or if he had escaped to a "forbidden area" to hatch a plan for world domination. And (!) despite the thunderstorm that was raging outside, I ran out to the back patio to see if I had maybe let him out and then neglected to remember to let him back inside. (No, I've never done that before, but if you know me you also know it's just a matter of time before I do so.)

I had the phone in my hand and had six of the seven Aunt Chrissy digits dialed when I rounded the corner to the guest room to see my little nine pound bundle of love sprawled out in front of the baby gate...sleeping peacefully within eye range of:I suppose that his thought process was that if he couldn't play with them, at least he could lay on the floor and look at them until his mean old Mommie relented and carried all of them back to the family room where they belong.

So I'm off to Michael's to find a bigger basket. Damn dog.

In other news, here's an update of my progress on Quaker Diamonds. I made it to the tippy top last night! I've reached the summit! The end is in sight!
Finally...I'll leave you with a pic of what I did with the veg yesterday afternoon. I fished through the bins in the fridge, came up with a few things that looked like they wanted to take a swim, peeled about eighty cloves of garlic, and then tried my hand at my very own gardeneria:
I have to looked much better when I stuffed the jars. Everything was brightly colored and crisp and lovely. Now....not so much.
We're off to a Wednesday! I hope yours is wonderful!

Sep 21, 2010


*****EDITED TO ADD*****The purple thingies on the left are indeed peppers. When you cut them open they are bright lime green and they are very tasty indeed. The little red thing is a tomato (duh), and the yellow thingies are bannana peppers that I think are supposed to be mild-ish.

OK, kids. Channel your inner Martha for me and tell me what to do with the last harvest from the Spinster Stitcher Sister Garden. Should I chop it all up and make some kind of salsa? Pickle it all? Puree and freeze? What?! I was so proud of myself for actually going out there into the hinterlands and getting this stuff off of the vines that I don't want it to go to waste. Ideas, please.

I'm off to an appointment while Stewey sleeps in the sun. He and I didn't sleep very well last night, but at about 4am he put his little paw on my arm and said "Mo-ther. Turn off the damn lights already and go to bed or you'll have bags under your eyes tomorrow and you'll be crankier than usual." And then he gave me a few Valium and a martini and all was well.

(Just kidding about that last part. I don't drink and/or do Valium. I figure I have about three wits left and I'd like to keep them about me as long as I can.)

(Besides....I have a theory that we are all allotted a certain number of "stupid points" in our lifetime, and I believe that used all of mine up during that particularly frenzied summer back in the 80's.)

I'm still plugging away on Quaker Diamonds and am determined to finish it this week. I have one last big motif to complete and then it's all down hill from there. I wonder if I would be able to get it done before the expiration date of the 60% off sale? Hmmm. Motivation, thy name is SAVINGS!

Are you all having a fun and fabulous Tuesday?

Sep 20, 2010


So here we are on a Monday and I am contemplating the meaning of life and when it was exactly that we all lost our damn minds.

Oddly enough, just a few short days after I wrote about the crap in my house and how it's not worth breaking into, my neighbors were hit. At 3am they awoke to find somebody trying to come into a side window, presumably to ransack and steal everything they could carry while my neighbors slept in their bed. The police were called and responded quickly, of course, but in the words of Tony Soprano..."What are you gonna do?". There was nothing to do except note that there were footprints and that "things like this don't normally happen around here".

Here in crazypants Spinsterville, Stewey awoke at 3am and barked his little head off. I was peeved rather than alarmed and hollered at him to go back to bed already. Then I grumbled something incomprehensible and fell back to sleep.

This morning, I found footprints on my patio.

The thing that you should know about me is that if you knocked on my door and asked me for money, or a drink of water, or a ham sandwich, I would probably invite you in and then tell you to have some tea and tell me all about it. I'm stupid that way, actually. I believe that, for the most part, people are good and just want to live their lives the best way they can. And if I have something that you absolutely need, all means, please help yourself.

So the idea that somebody out there feels the need to come snooping in the wee hours of the morning makes me very sad. And yes, totally creeped out and terrified. Aunt Chrissy has already fielded eleven calls from me asking when we can go to Lowe's to get boards cut for the windows, and I've called every electrician in town to find out how fast they can light my house up like a Christmas tree. I want it bright, I tell ya. Bright enough to land a small plane on my driveway. Bright enough to see me and my tasteful landscaping from space.

I know that this economy has kicked us all in the proverbial cherries, and I know that there are a lot of people out there who are addicts, hungry, greedy, or just plain dirtballs. But why the heck can't we seem to pull together through this mess instead of have to put bars on our windows and carry pepper spray? In short...why can't we just all get along?

OK, there's my bleeding heart liberal moaning for the day. The cranky spinster in me is now ready to spring into action and lock this freakin' place down like Fort Knox, and I intend to put a huge sign on every window in my house that says...WARNING: THIS HOUSE IS PROTECTED BY A WEAPON, A DOG, AND ONE VERY PISSED OFF SPINSTER WHO ISN'T GOING TO TAKE YOUR CRAP ANYMORE. GO THE EFF AWAY ALREADY AND LET ME GET BACK TO MY NEEDLEPOINT.

Please don't cry for me Argentina. Life has already started to return to normal this morning. I see that Stewey has peed on the drapes, the people across the street are landscaping for the seventeenth time, and I'm contemplating what to have for lunch.

Weekend update! Aunt Chrissy twisted my arm (very fiercely, I might add), and somehow we ended up at Michael's with a few completed projects in tow for the framing department. Although my taste is all in my mouth when it comes to picking out frames, I think I did OK with my selections this time, but I'll let you be the judge of that when I pick it all up in a few weeks.

So there you have it...the Monday report from Chez Spinster. Aside from a few frazzled nerves and one very smug little dog, we're hurtling our way into the week as usual. Woo Hoo!

Sep 17, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She took her boobs to PetSmart.

At least I think that's where she went. I heard her talking to Aunt Chrissy about something called a mammogram, and when I looked it up on the internets, it said that you go to the doctor for that. And since Mom always tells me we're going to PetSmart whenever I have to go to the doctor, I can only assume that she told the girls the very same thing to get them in the car.

I wonder if they will have to ride in a car seat like I do?

So here we are on a Friday and I have been barking my head off at the landscaping guys because they are trimming all of the stuff growing around the house. I know that Mom likes things to look nice and tidy out in the yard, but my goodness, what a ruckus! Between the clipper thingies and the blower thingies and whatnot, I'm going to need an Excedrine for lunch. Don't these people know that I've got napping to do?

Here's a pic of the progress on Quaker Diamonds. As you might be able to tell, Mo-ther started with this one at the lower left and has been working her way to the top. I know that she finished part four last night, so this means she only has the top three parts to go! I helped her move the q-snaps before we went to bed last night, so she should be able to plant herself in the Happy Chair this weekend and finish this one right up. All I know is that she better get it done before the 25th, because Michael's is having their 60% off framing sale and I want her to get this one on the damn wall already.

Thank you for all of your nice comments on the blog. Mom really likes your input, and I am always warmed by the thought of so many potential play dates and new friends out there. I know that my stupid mo-ther and I go back and forth as to who is the more hapless between us, but I think you know what's what.

And despite her best attempts to make you believe it, I'm not really as bad as you might think. I'm much much worse!

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend!

With love from your pal,

Sep 16, 2010


My mo-ther can't come to the blog right now. I've sent her to the Targets for a few essentials to help me with my new look.

Aunt Chrissy and that little twerp Bosco were here for dinner last night, and although I was hoping they would have spent the evening watching French films and then discussing them afterwards, they turned on the TeeVee and watched "America's Got Talent" instead.

Apparently we live in a cave, because we hadn't tuned in to it this season, but last night was the big finale' and we watched with rapt attention as the last four contestants did their thing with the hopes of winning a million dollars and a Vegas act.

(As one who has intimate knowledge of headlining in Vegas, let me just say it's not all that it's cracked up to be. You can only eat at the 99 cent buffet so many times before you decide that life in Hoosierville isn't so bad after all. Know what I'm saying?)

So there I was, sitting on my Mommie's lap, when the most wonderful, magical, splendiferous, and fantastic thing happened to me...

I discovered exactly what I want to be when I grow up.

Can you believe it? FINALLY! Somebody that shares my sensibility with regards to style. And what joy de veeve! The hair! The makeup! The costumes! I haven't been this smitten with anything since I don't know when.

So if you're out there, Prince Poppycock...please know that right here in Hoosierville is a little dog that thinks you are the most amazing thing on the planet and that you should win much much more than some silly contest on television. You should be called to Geneva for the Nobel! To the White House for a Presidential Medal of Freedom! To the Vatican for whatever it is that they do at the Vatican (besides make my mo-ther feel so damn guilty about everything).

All I know is that I am going to burn up the phone lines today to see if I can get in on the ground floor of some serious Prince Poppycock marketing. Halloween is only a month and a half away, people! I've got some serious work to do....

So for now I will say POPPYCOCK FOR EVERYBODY! and get back to my sewing machine.

With love from your pal,

(Stewey has left the you're stuck with me, the boring old Spinster Stitcher.)

Hi all. I see that Stewey filled you in on his latest obsession. If I told you that he kept me up all night wanting to discuss every single detail of Prince Poppycock and how his persona relates to humankind on a larger scale, would you believe me? I finally drifted off about 3am, but not before I watched my little nine pound bundle of joy futz and futz and futz with his wig and smoking jacket to get just the right look for his debut as the President and Chief High Exalted Ruler of the Official Prince Poppycock Fan Club.

Methinks this is going to be a thing for a while and I should just go with it.

(But can I just say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching that silly show last night and that I cried like a baby when they announced the winner? Both Aunt Chrissy and I totally agree that American made the right choice. The other three acts will go on to contracts and gigs and fame pretty easily, but that kid that won would never have the opportunity to catapult to the heights quite so quickly. He's good...but how many singers out there have toiled away in obscurity for years without every getting the big break? So we're happy with the results and will watch for further news of upcoming appearances.)

So on a housekeeping front...(no, not THAT kind of housekeeping) Super Secret Service detail contacted me last night with some concern over the fact that I put pics of my house on this here blog and that from a safety and security standpoint it probably wasn't the smartest idea I've ever had. (Hey Kavanaugh!) After giving it much consideration, I have come to agree with him, so I wanted to take a moment to point out a few things.

I forget that when I write this damn thing I'm sending it out to the whole entire universe and not to the six people who happen to stitch and are patient enough to put up with me and my antics. I just always pretend like we're sitting around the kitchen table with our needles in hand...blathering on about this and that and that y'all "get" me, so I keep right on talking. I never think about the fact that there could be somebody reading this here blog that doesn't have a clue about stitching or spinsters, but has designs on breaking into my house and stealing my stuff and/or doing me grave bodily harm.

Well, let's just get a few things out of the way right now that might discourage said non-stitchy person from doing such a thing.

First of all, you should probably know that all of the crap in my house is at least a hundred and a half years old and not worth the trouble it would take you to clean it up and haul it to the pawn shop. The only antiques in this place are my television and stereo, which I'm pretty sure have been around since Fred Flintstone designed them.'re welcome to come take a look, but I guarantee you that it wouldn't be worth the gas money it would take to get here.

Secondly....although I am not armed 24/7 per se, I do pack a very mean attitude and I am not afraid to use it. Also, I'm what you might call a bit "sturdy" and am pretty sure that, when provoked, I could bench press a Buick if it meant protecting myself, my dog, my sister, my nephew, or my needlework stash. In short, please note that if you eff the bull, you'll most definitely get the horns.

And finally, you see photos of Stewey and laugh at his little overbite and his propensity for sipping his tea from a dainty china cup. Well let me tell you something that will save you a lot of trouble, pain, and embarrassment....if you piss him off and he noodges you in the solar plexis with those buck teeth of his, you will drop to the ground like a bag of hammers. I'm not kidding. He might look like some kind of deranged bunny rabbit, but this dog protects me and his stuff to the death. And if you don't believe me about that little tidbit, please allow me to show you the extra insurance coverage I have for when he bites the arm off the mailman.

So if you're out there and not a member of "this thing of ours" (that would be my Stitchy Family or one of my faithful readers that thinks I'm a total nut job and comes here to read all about my stupid little life to see that theirs is, in fact, not so bad after all)....I say mind your p's and q's and don't do anything stupid.

(Nope. Not a threat at all. Just a promise that I can be a real pill when somebody takes advantage of my good nature.)

(Oh...I also come equipped with some pretty scary looking alarm company protective options, more than a few big burly guys who carry guns, and neighbors who would be only too happy to call the po-lice department to see what the hell I'm up to now.)

So, back to us chickens...

I'm still plugging along with Quaker Diamonds and watching the West Wing. I would show you a progress pic, but everything that I stitched last night has to come out. I got distracted by Bradley Whitford and couldn't get the image of a romantic dinner with him out of my head. (This, of course, gives me great pause. He's not at all my normal type, so I am assuming that I have turned some kind of "I love men with British accents and/or grey hair and who have their very own set of professional chef's knives and/who happen to be named Anthony Bourdain, Eric Ripert, Robert Irvine, or Kevin Costner" kind of corner).

I threw Kevin Costner in there at the last minute. Sorry about that, but how can you forget about Kevin Costner? Or George Clooney? Or Gerard Butler? Oh wait! My God! I totally forgot about Gordon Ramsey! How could I forget about Gordon Ramsey?

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Now I'm going to have to spend some time today flipping through my "special book" to see who else I've forgotten. If any of my men are reading this (see above), please don't be offended by the oversight....I'll rectify it immediately and will never ever forget that you are my one and only. Truly. Completely. Forever and for always.

OK, enough of that nonsense. I better get a move on and see what the hell Stewey is doing up in the studio. I hear the sewing machine humming along and my drapes seem to be missing, so I suppose that it's time to enroll him in the Montessori Puppy Academy before he starts with the bedspread.

I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be today!

Sep 15, 2010


Shame on you.

Yeah...I'm talking to you.

All of you fabulous stitchers out there in Stitchy Blogville who lovingly take care of your home and decorate it for the seasons and make things that look splendid, should get in your car right this very minute and drive to Hoosierville to knock some freakin' sense into me.

It all started innocently enough. Aunt Chrissy did her Fall thing a few weeks ago and decorated her home with all of the things she's stiched and collected for this here autumnal season. During one of my visits with my little puppy tot Bosco (we have a date every Wednesday), I looked around and thought "Geeze, Louise, my house looks like a cell in a minimum security corrections facility compared to this", so I set about trying to festive-up Chez Spinster to within an inch of it's life.


Huge, huge failure.

Let's take a look around, shall we?

First up is the view from the Happy Chair looking south. Here you will see a little dog on his perch, looking very disgusted. He's bemoaning the fact that, once again, his idiot mo-ther has completely failed in her attempts to do one simple thing that any second grader with a limited background in Art, Art History, and Design could accomplish. It will be days before he'll speak to me again:
So then we turn slightly to the right to take a quick glance at last night's stitchy progress on Quaker Diamonds. As you can see, I got very little done, but did manage to junk up the table that holds all of my collective crapola:
Then there's the dining room. One the wall are two needlepoint pictures that Mom made, her Jasper cabinet (with enough dust in it to qualify as an EPA clean-up site), and the tea cart that I tried to hide behind once when the babysitter wanted to spank me for sassing her. (Nope...wasn't the brightest child ever....and considering my substantial girth, it's no wonder that a stupid little dainty tea cart had NO intention of protecting me from a heiney whoopin' that I still remember to this day.) You'll notice my completely pitiful attempt at autumnal decoration here...a stack of Jane Austen books and a couple of resin acorn thingies from last year's Hobby Lobby clearance bin:
You've seen it before....the big white wall of nothingness! Only this time I've artfully added a few pieces of stitching on the console table and a ceramic pumpkin that a boyfriend's mom made me over 20 years ago. How hard would it be for me to pick up a gallon of paint, I ask you:
Stewey, in addition to being thoroughly peeved at my lame-ass homekeeping skills, is also upset over my bright idea to cull his toy box and only allow him to play with those that have an "autumnal theme". I carefully selected all of the toys that were fall or Halloween related, washed and dried them, and then moved all of the other non-themed toys into the guest room. He is definitely NOT amused, and I would imagine that if you look hard enough, you'll see that he watered the toy basket a full three minutes after I carefully arranged things into a cornucopia of fun:

I just don't understand it at all. It's not that I am completely ANTI-homemaking. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. I try and try and try to achieve a certain "look", but all I seem to come up with is Early Swamp Meet circa 1982. (And yes, I meant to say "swamp" there instead of "swap".) (Because, after all..who the heck would want to "swap" me for any of this crap?)

So thanks alot, friends. You and your gorgeous stitching and gorgeous houses and gorgeous families have made me want to pull the covers over my head today. Either that, or I'm going to find out where each and every one of you live, and I'm going to show up on your doorstep with a notepad in hand...ready to learn how to do what it is that you do.

Have a Happy out there in your wonderfully decorated houses that probably smell like gingerbread and freshly laundered clothes. Try not to feel to bad that a poor little unsuspecting spinster in the Midwest is sitting in her underpants today, delicately sniffling into a Kleenex over her complete lack of domestic capability. Don't worry about me...I'll get over it. Really. I will. No need to feel bad or anything. Sometimes these things happen....

Tee heeeeeeeeeee!!!

Sep 13, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's all weepy and va-clempt over the love that y'all sent her over her ridiculous shenanigans. I tried to tell her that you probably make fun of her in secret and that she really shouldn't prance around the house with my tiara on her head, feeling like the Supreme High Exalted Princess of the Universe Because So Many Nice People Make Her Feel Special, but she didn't hear a word I said.

So please allow me to send a very heartfelt thank you out there to Stitchy Blogville for your kind boo-hoos over my mo-ther and her stupid propensity for getting herself in trouble with the most mundane things.

As for me, I thought I'd give you a little peek into my day so far. It started bright and early when I decided that Mommie Dearest needed to get out of the bed already and take me for a walk around the block. She wasn't at all happy about having to put on a b-r-a that early in the day, but she did so and hauled her fat heiney around the 1/2 mile block two times in the spirit of finally losing enough weight to stop qualifying for her own zip code. This would have been really really good had she not come into the house and decided on a tomato bagel for breakfast. She takes an everything bagel and smears chive/onion cream cheese on it and then tops that off with a thick slab of tomato. I suppose it's not the WORST thing she could eat, but would a smoothie every once in a while kill her? How about some yogurt or oatmeal? Good God...doesn't she realize that the calories and fat content are bad enough, but that the BREATH is enough to knock the hands of a clock?! Oey.

I trotted out to the back garden to do a little weeding for the old lady once she jumped into the shower. Our very back garden has been looking terrible all summer long, so I decided to get out there with my gloves, hat, and clogs on and see what I could do to remedy the situation. I think I did a pretty good job. Here's me checking out my progress after I had bagged and removed all of the detritus: I also wanted to make an official apology to Mom over her previous decision to whack the rose bush to within an inch of its life. Apparently, it's just what the damn thing needed:
Finally, I'll give you a glimpse of the progress on Quaker Diamonds. At the rate she's going, we might actually have to start thinking about a frame for this one by the end of the month! I believe that she is now almost finished with the fourth section, so that means she only has five to go. But, based upon my calculations, I think she might be a little more than half done with this one, since the top doesn't seem to have as many large moteefs.
That's the report from Lake WoeBeSpinter today, folks. We're off to a fast-paced week of eye exams and mammograms. All she needs now is a lady doctor appointment, and all of her parts have been officially checked out for the year. I had my check up last Tuesday and am happy to report that I remain, as always, perfectly perfect in every way.

I hope that you have a splendid Monday and the week brings nothing but good things to you!

With love from your pal,

Sep 10, 2010


There was a time in my life when I could make it through an entire day without too much happening to me. I managed to get up, bathe and dress myself appropriately, go to work, keep house, terrorize the neighborhood, and bat my eyelashes at every handsome boy that happened my way.

In short, I was what you might call a completely normal person.

Now, I'm lucky if I can go a week without my Jack Russell terrier ratting me out whenever he commandeers this here blog. It's like I have my very own personal paparazzo at the ready to report to my adoring public every single humiliating and dumb ass thing that I've done....all in an effort to demonstrate how much better his life would have been had he been adopted by a smarter person.

So for the record....

Yes, I did manage to de-fuzz my legs yesterday, but not without incident. Apparently, one should put in one's contact lenses before operating sharp implements, because when I went to slather on the Johnson's 24-hour Lilac and Chamomile baby lotion that is supposed to de-stress me, I discovered that I had nicked just about every important artery that one might have in one's legs, and I was now going to require a tourniquet. Or several tourniquets.

That positively sucked.

Then, as I was sitting at my appointment yesterday, I happened to glance down at my knees, and realized that I had missed shaving them completely. So there I sat in my paper gown with four boxes of band aids applied in a rather artful fashion (if I do say so myself), and at the mid point of each leg was a knobby knee covered in five o'clock shadow. If I would have had one available to me, I would have taken a Sharpie and drawn on a couple of faces just under the knee caps, and my new friends would have had little buzz cut hairdos. Sheesh.

Today I ran errands and did the grocery shopping for the next month and a half. I say this, because I don't care if I am out of everything edible within an eight mile radius of my can't make me go back there. I should have known better, really. Friday afternoons before a Notre Dame home football game are not exactly optimal for doing anything in public. Every single obnoxious alumna (note that I am only bitching about the female form of the beast here) decides to descend upon my little 'burb of Mishawaka and you would think that there was one big collective barn in which they were all raised. Not one nice manner among the lot of 'em. Daft cows.

So I bought everything in the store, successfully packed it all into the back of the car (whose name is Dottie, by the way), and drove home with the windows down and Def Leppard blaring away on the radio. (I'm dangerous with that Sirius satellite thingie, I tell ya.)

Everything was going just fine until I started hauling grocery bags into the kitchen. To get to said kitchen, you have to come in through the laundry room, turn right to go down a hallway (that I like to call the "gallery" because it sounds so damn sophisticated, don't you know), and then turn left into the kitchen.

If you're a semi-normal person and relatively steady on your feet and in overall decent physical shape, this is a complete no brainer.

But this is me we're talking about.

Allow me to re-create the scene: Masochistic bag boy who decided to make each bag weigh nine hundred pounds, sore arms from trying to clean the house as if Martha Stewart her very self were coming over, an errant dryer sheet on the floor, and a dog who has enough toys strewn around to populate a large PetSmart. Add to that my propensity for hanging too many damn pictures in too small a damn space, inadequate undergarments to house my droopy bosoms, and me drenched in sweat, and you've got the picture, even if it isn't very pretty.

I stepped into the laundry room, caught that damn dryer sheet full on, slid into a half herky jerk kind of cheerleader split configuration, watched in horror as "the girls" decided to break free from the four dollar K-mart bra that I figured would be good for wearing while doing yard work and such, and then spun around and stepped on a tennis ball that my damn dog won't play with because he decided that green is no longer on his color wheel. As I flailed about in some kind of half-assed pitiful attempt to stay upright, I swiped all of the cross stitched pieces off of one wall, smashed the grocery bag containing the eggs into another wall, and then skated into the kitchen on two wheels as though the entire episode was some kind of freakish Ice Capades finale. All that was missing was a banana peel and Wiley Coyote.

So forgive me if I forego the stitchy talk and pics today. I'm thinking that I should put myself to bed with a cold compress on my head and the telephone number of a good insurance agent programmed into the mobile. With any luck, I'll wake up and it will be Tuesday and Stewey will have stocked the fridge, made a few meals, wiped up the mess in the gallery and finished the laundry...all in the spirit of giving a girl a break.

Have a wonderful weekend, and don't do anything I would do...

Sep 9, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now because she can't lift her arms up to reach the computer keyboard. As she mentioned yesterday, she decided that there is such a thing as Fall cleaning after all, and I was subjected to about eighteen hours of grunting, cursing, and sweating. Never fear, per my instructions from Aunt Chrissy, I have her office number dialed on my cell phone and the 9 and the 1 ready to go on the house phone.

(Do you suppose that now would be a good time to tell my mom that she missed an entire portion of the dining room and that I accidentally peed on the wine cabinet, or should I save that little tidbit for another day?)

Anywhoose, we're off to a quiet Thursday here. Mom's got an appointment in about an hour, so I parked her in the tub and advised her to think about doing something with those Shrek-like legs. I know we're coming into cooler weather and this means that the peddle-pushers and crop-pants will be relegated to the back of the closet (thank God), but I'm trying to get the old lady into the habit of remaining stubble free. Based on the last few winters, though, I'm not at all optimistic.

Here's her progress on Quaker Diamonds:
I hope you have a fabulous day!

With love from your pal,

Sep 8, 2010


I've just finished cleaning the house to within an inch of its life and have come to the conclusion that I am definitely too damn old for this.

Now before you think I really AM a complete boob, I should probably tell you that once, long ago, I actually enjoyed cleaning house. I used to put some Sir Elton on the stereo thingie and I would just go to town with all sorts of mops and brooms and dusters and cleaning products that I got at my local neighborhood Targets.

Today was a little different, though, since I had a little helper who insisted on tippy toe-ing through every single room that had just been mopped. I made the last swipe in the back hallway and turned around to see nothing but tiny itty bitty little paw prints all over the damn place.

(Note to time you decide to do this, either send the damn dog to the movies or put socks on his feet.)

On Saturday, I've promised myself that I am going to wash windows, screens, and blinds, so you can look forward to a lot of cursing and Tylenol from your truly come Sunday evening.

I'm off to the Happy Chair armed with a Gatorade and the Chinese take-out menu. God knows I've earned it today.

Sep 7, 2010


Do you remember when Stewey decided that he was going to shoot photos of himself in contemplative poses and in artsy-fartsy lighting so that he would have something of significance for his portfolio? Well, moments ago I caught him in the living room with the digital camera on a tripod doing this:"I feel that the juxtaposition of light with the textural component of the wood grain on the floor lends itself to a more ascetically pleasing tableau and that it hyper-sensitizes one to my more gloriously fabulous side."

Now if I just knew what any of that meant I might be able to get on with my day without worrying that my dog is going to gas-light me into believing that he's smarter than I am. Sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if I would have just opted for the more traditional Puppy School rather than the Montessori Academy for the Supremely Gifted and Precocious.

So my next wonder comes when I realize that I have been stitching Quaker Diamonds since August 12th and I'm not one bit bored by it yet. Is this some kind of record for me, or what? I don't think that I have ever worked on one project for this length of time without going into some kind of spastic 300-pound hummingbird routine of pulling everything out of my stash and bemoaning my lack of progress with the 8,000 half-completed projects. In short....what's up with that?!
Last night was the final piece of the puzzle with respects to the mess that is The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Aunt Chrissy and I watched it from our respective Happy Chairs, which meant that we were on the phone with one another during each and every commercial break giving our color commentary. We've come to the conclusion that Jacqueline effectively ended whatever good will she had established with Caroline and that Theresa never said the words "I'm sorry" because she really didn't have anything to apologize for and that Danielle is...well....I'll just leave it at that, since Mom told us to keep our potty mouths shut firmly if we didn't have something nice to say and that it was more ladylike to say "She's just not my cup of tea" rather than "I hate her guts enough that I want to rip her face off her head and drive over it with my car."

To counterbalance all of the BAD television I've watched, I started The West Wing again and am thrilled that I am understanding more than 31% of it this time. The only downside to watching this show obsessively is that it eliminates any tolerance you might have once had for bad writing, acting, and movie-making in general. We watched My Life in Ruins on Saturday night, and had it not been for the fact that we wanted to see where our grandfather lived as a boy, we would have picked up the phone and called Nia Vardalos directly and hollered at her for making such a ridiculously bad movie. I get that national and ethnic stereotypes can be cute and funny when they are caricatures of themselves, but Aunt Chrissy and I just didn't get the disgusting portrayal of Greek men. The only Greek men that we knew were our uncles...Connie, John, and Don....and not one of them remotely resembled any of the slobs that were in that movie. Our uncles were elegant, smart, devastatingly handsome, and passionate about family and beauty. I get that we might be alone in this assessment, but don't you think that movie could have been a really cute love story set among the beautiful ruins of Greece rather than an attempt to cash in on the popularity of My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Oey...makes me wonder how freakin' hard it is to write a decent screenplay.

So we're back to a Tuesday that feels like a Monday and this means that I'm wrestling with laundry and housecleaning today. As you can tell from the length of today's drivel, I am doing everything necessary to postpone said laundry and housecleaning so that the clock will tell me that "it's just too darn late in the day to start anything that labor intensive" and I'll have a nap and then some stitchy time before dinner.

I hope that you all had a wonderful weekend and that you're off to do whatever it is you want to do today!

Sep 2, 2010


I'm all over the place today, so indulge me, won't you, as I make pithy observations about the happenings at Chez Spinster...

First up is one very peeved pooch. Last night was b-a-t-h night, and he has yet to forgive me for using "girl" shampoo on him:
"When is she going to figure out that I'm a boy?"

The offending spa product. (In my own defense, this stuff smells better than any living, breathing, or growing thing on this very planet. If I could drink it so that it would emanate from my pores, I would do so. Happily.)

I realized today that my little ort jars are more full than empty at this time of the year. Where the heck has 2010 gone? I wonder how much more coffee I would have to drink to make the picture be blurry-er?

To contribute to the whole ort jar experience, I continue to work on Quaker Diamonds:
Who's happier than me that I remembered to put last night's orts in the September jar?

The stitching goes very fast and the chart is fabulous! What you see here is all of section 7, most of section 8, and a little bit of section 9. Think I'll get this one finished before the real Autumn sets in?

As I mentioned, we're having a bit of rain here in Hoosierville today, so methinks it's time to hit the sleigh bed with a warm and fabulous smelling puppy and this:
Yes, I have a Kindle. But sometimes you need to hold a real book in your hands. Know what I mean? Besides, I bought this because I read an excerpt on the Kindle. So there.

Or I could put in my new yoga DVD and contemplate having a snack:
"Do you mind?! It's bad enough that I have that fussy little white dog staring at me all day, but can't a guy have a meal without an audience?"
"Oh, and thanks for the sunflower, by the way. I'll eat that for dessert."

Time for a nap. I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be today! I'm going to leave the laundry room door ajar in hopes that the laundry elves will come in and get busy. Do you suppose that would work for the dishwasher too?