Dec 30, 2010


Do you ever hear a song that you've been singing your entire life, and suddenly you realize that you've been singing the wrong words? This question entered my tiny little brain a few minutes ago when I saw a commercial with the "I've Got A Brand New Pair Of Rollerskates" song playing in the background. (Don't ask me what the heck the commercial is for....all I know is that there's a little kid in a seat thingie and he/she/it is flying through traffic to Grandma).

(I really need to stop drinking funny concoctions so early in the day....)

Anywhoose, I was thinking about that song and how it used to come on the radio every morning in Athens, Tennessee when I was getting my hair fixed for school, and how I used to belt out what I THOUGHT were the words..."I've got a bear with a pair of roller skates, you've got a brand new me", and Mom would stop with the brushing and tugging and general pulling of my mess of a head of hair into Buffy tails, and then she'd look at me and wonder if I would ever make it out of kindergarten. (I did, but just barely.)

(Oh, come on. You know what Buffy tails are. Think! Remember the show "Family Affair" with Brian Keith and Sebastian Cabbot as Mr. French? Remember Buffy? Well, there you go then. Buffy tails.)

(What can I say? We Rich girls were blessed with a TON of hair and to this day I don't think I've ever felt comfortable just letting it hang down in all it's fuzzy/curly/messy glory in public. Ponytails are a MUST with this particular monkey, thank you very much.)

(Oh, who am I kidding? Me wearing my hair pulled back is a direct result of a rather unfortunate incident involving a broken ponytail holder on picture day and a school picture that was labeled "Cousin It Goes to School" and then promptly stuffed back into the envelope it came in.)

But I regress.

I realized today that I almost never sing out loud. Forget the fact that my voice could spoil milk right there in the very carton....I just never seem to feel compelled to really belt out a tune. Not even in the shower.

So tomorrow night, as Aunt Chrissy and I stand up to watch the ball drop (why the hell we always stand is beyond me), I promise to just belt it right out.....OLD LAME SIGNS, MY FRIENDS. OLD LAME SIGNS.

Here's the New Year's wish from me to you....

I hope that 2011 is a year of utter joy and happiness and peace and health for every single person on the planet. That every war is ended, every wrong righted, every cupboard overflowing, and every heart filled with love. And, most importantly, that you are blessed with everything you hope for and nothing you don't. Happy New Year!

Dec 28, 2010


I see that my evil little plan to get attention and acclaim worked. Bwa ha ha ha ha (she says, as she maniacally rubs her hands together over a steaming cauldron). Thank you! I really do appreciate you comments on my stitching, but let's just call it like it is, shall we? Raymond Crawford designed a fabulous canvas, and Ruth Schmuff brought it to life with stitches and fibers.

I just followed directions.

But I'll take all of the praise I can get, especially since I am but a fragile and delicate little creature, and my ego relies on all of you for constant feeding and watering.

(Stop that snickering in the back, please.)

Who knew that my announcement that the Great Purge of 2010 had begun would garner such reaction? Before y'all think I've gone round the bend again, let me explain what I mean by "purge"...

At the end of the year, I like to go up into the studio and take all of my stitching and go through it. I start by getting everything into piles and bins in a "like with like" fashion so that I can see exactly what I've got. First, all of the fuppies get a little admiration and stroking and sorting out as to who will make the next trip to the Michael's and who will go to live in the box for finishing. (Oh, um, sorry. Fuppies are things that are stitched but not finished into their final form. I wish I could lay claim to that term, but I shamelessly lifted it from another stitcher's blog and I can't remember whose it was.) (So sorry about that, dear stitchy friend who probably hates my guts right about now.)

So once the fuppies are all settled into their respective bins, I set about going through each category of stuff: painted canvases, counted canvas charts, cross stitch, crewel, hardanger, etc. This is where I get a little ruthless, because I sit on the floor and do a very fast "yes" or "no" decision making that relies only on my gut feeling as to whether or not the item blows my skirt right up. If it doesn't, it goes into a pile.

Once I've made all of those yes and no determinations, I gather up all of the no's and put them in a storage bin and then put it away for a year. (See? I don't throw anything away, so there's no need to faint over the thought of me getting rid of piles and piles of stitchy stuff!) Then, at the end of the next year I go through that bin to see if I've changed my mind or taste and want to re-consider the no's into yes's.

It's not a perfect system, but it seems to work for me, and I'm happy to report that my cross stitch baskets are now filled with things that I might actually want to stitch and NOT crap that I've collected for the last billion years because I thought I would just die a painful death if I didn't have a particular chart, etc. right then on the very spot. It's a little crazy, but some baskets went from having a hundred or so charts to now having five or six. (What does THAT say about me and my obsessive hoarding tendencies, hmmm?)

Oh, I forgot. My baskets of cross stitch charts are pretty much separated into seasons, since I seem to be a very seasonal stitcher. (You know....spring, summer, autumn, winter, etc.) And I have a basket for stuff that isn't exactly seasonal, like samplers, geometrics, etc.

Speaking of's an oldie but goodie that I pulled out of the stash yesterday and then put a few stitches into last night. This is a painted canvas from Maggie and Co. and I think I bought it all the way back in 2004 or so:

As you can see, I've started stitching it already, but I'm kicking myself over the lack of notes for this one and the fact that I've taken a few of the threads out of the kit for other stuff over the years. So I'm a little stuck between wanting to rip out everything that's there and starting all over and trying to match up colors and threads from my stash. I'll give it a good going over this afternoon in the light of day and will probably opt for the less demanding job of it, since we all know how keen I am to do anything more strenuous than laundering dog pee out of the drapes.

Aunt Chrissy and I finalized our New Year's Eve plans yesterday. There will be dining and dancing and partying and all kinds of revelry going on. Too bad we won't be doing any of it, though. We'll be parked in front of the TeeVee in our jammies, stitching and slurping dietCoke into the wee hours, and on New Year's Day we'll watch the Tournament of Roses parade and we'll stitch some more. Hopefully Stewey and Bosco will alert us to the issuing in of 2011 by calling us on their iPhones. (They, in fact, are going to a black tie event in Vegas. Apparently, Bosco's rating at Ceasar's warrants a private plane being sent, as well as some front row tickets to see Cher and Elton John. Stewey has already cleaned and pressed his little tuxedo, so I imagine it will only be a matter of time before he demands that I make an appointment at Mr. Gordon's House of Style for a little pre-party pampering.) Damn dog.

That's the report on a December Tuesday! If you're snowed in wherever you are, I hope it's with someone you love and that you've got lots of stitching to keep you company!

Dec 27, 2010


Merry Christmas
Raymond Crawford
18 ct. painted canvas

It's finished! Woo Hoo! This project was a Mystery Class taught by Ms. Ruth Schmuff, Her Very Self, The Proprietress of Bedecked and Beadazzled. I started the class as a "distance learning" student in November of last year and put the last stitches into it in the wee hours of the morning today.

I love so many things about this, but I think the thing that tickles me most is the fact that this really stretched my abilities as a stitcher. Each time I sat down with a lesson, I wondered what new challenge would await me. The best part is that I felt like Ms. Ruth was right there on my shoulder cheering me on and providing just the perfect balance of know-how and encouragement. Yup, I frogged a bunch of stuff, and I'm still not exactly sure if I've got everything on there just "right", but the sense of satisfaction I got when I learned how to do something new was really quite nice.

(And I learned how to use my spanky little craft iron too!)

So if you're thinking about trying something new and you're stopping yourself because you're not sure if you'll be able to do it, I want you to repeat after me...."If that idiot Spinster Stitcher can learn something new and not blow up the city she lives in during the process, then I can do anything at all."

I'm off to purge the studio!

Up, up, and away!

Dec 26, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's gone face first into a ham sandwich the size of a small Buick, and there's no telling when she'll come out again. I've come to understand that the holidays around here are "all ham and potato salad, all the time", but this is ridiculous.

Aunt Chrissy came over to collect all of her gifts today and to see if there were any leftovers. She and Bosco had spent the night on Christmas Eve, but methinks she had had about enough of my mo-ther by about 7 o'clock last night when she asked to be driven home. (They do that, don't you know. Whenever one of them is going to be visiting overnight, the other one goes and picks them up so that the visiting person's car doesn't have to sit outside in the driveway.) (I told you they were weird.) Anyways, upon arrival today, Aunt Chrissy took one look at my mo-ther sitting in the Happy Chair with her eyes glazed over and the ham sandwich clutched in her fist and then high-tailed it out of here. I suspect that she thought the the house would have been tidied and the detritus of Christmas would have been swept away, but alas, it was not to be.

I'm stumped as to how all of this laziness is happening around here, especially since the old lady has enough caffeine in her to power a small township. Yesterday, after all of the festivities were concluded, Mom headed to the airport to wave a hankie at Luigi, her beloved Capresso coffee machine, as he boarded a flight to retirement. As you might recall, Luigi had not been feeling well these last few months, so my Aunt Chrissy rectified that by hiring Giovanni. He's really quite something, what with his stainless steel carafe and all, but what REALLY impressed me was his insistence that he be accompanied by his assistant, Sheila. Apparently Sheila specializes in keeping Mom's coffee creamer at a precise temperature and freshness. Aren't they a swell couple?

As for me, I am blissfully unaware of the total disaster that has befallen the state of things around here because my Aunt Chrissy spoiled me ROTTEN with new toys and such. I've never seen such abundance! And the thoughtfulness with which she selected each and every item for me....why, I just don't know how to tell you what a smart, generous, and beautiful woman my Aunt Chrissy is and how much she means to me! (Yes, Aunt Chrissy, that last bit was a desperate attempt to convince you to allow me to come live with you once and for all.)

The first thing that I opened on Christmas morning was my new sleeping friend, Nelson: Nelson is very gentle and reads a very nice bedtime story, I must say. I am especially enthralled with the fact that he, too, knows the importance of proper nightwear.

The rest of my day has been carefully calibrated to get the maximum use out of a Sunday afternoon. I plan on being in this position for the next week or so as a means of protest over my mo-ther's complete lack of concern over the messiness that surrounds us:

I'm sure Mom will give you a full Christmas report and that she'll bore you with details of what she hopes to accomplish stitchy-wise in the new year. As for me, I'll close with a fervent wish that your celebrations (whatever they might have been) have left you feeling loved and rested.

With love from your pal,

Dec 24, 2010


On behalf of my Aunt Chrissy, my little cousin Bosco, and yes, even my silly mo-ther, I'd like to send a very humble and heartfelt Christmas greeting to all of you and yours. Our wish for you is that you have nothing but joy and happiness and health and laughter, and that you delight in the love of others now and all year through....


With much love from The Spinster Stitcher (and her little dog too!)

Dec 23, 2010


So today was supposed to be the day that I just did one or two things around the house like tidy up and make some potato salad. I happen to be a connoisseur of potato salad and insist that there be ample quantities of it whenever ham is in the house, so potato salad making day it was.

I also wanted to get a few things ready for Christmas so that I wouldn't be scurrying around like some kind of hyper little squirrel tomorrow, but the best laid plans....

I was finished with the potato salad and had just started to clean the kitchen when I got the bright idea that what the Spinster Stitcher Sisters needed for Christmas morning was coffee cake! And not just any coffee cake! Mom's Jewish coffee cake that was a staple in our house from the very time I can remember being old enough to sit on the counter and dip my fat little fingers into the batter bowl.

And then I just HAD to have jello! Who has Christmas without jello? And not just any cherry jello with peaches and pears and walnuts and mini marshmallows! (It looks like a tragic accident in the bowl, but I would imagine that after a few glasses of vino it will be just what the doctor ordered.) (And no...I don't think I've ever thought of making jello with stuff in it before, so where I got the idea that peaches and pears and walnuts and mini marshmallows were needed is just beyond me.)

The last thing that I put together were pickled beets and hard boiled eggs. Now I know that most people eat these at Easter time (at least we always do), but somehow Aunt Chrissy and I got the idea that we will have our big fancy dinner on Christmas Eve this year and will then just "snack" all day on Christmas. And what could be more perfect to snack on than ham sandwiches, potato salad, jello with peaches and pears and walnuts and mini marshmallows, and pickled beets and hard boiled eggs?

We might be small in number, but we're no amateurs when it comes to our holiday feastings.

Bring it on, Christmas. Bring it on.

Dec 21, 2010


I must confess that this time of year always throws me into a philosophical fizzy tit with respects to New Year's resolutions and advance planning. And, to make matters even worse, it would appear that YOU all have your collective acts together and not only WRITE to do lists for the New Year, you actually DO the stuff on the lists. So this makes me feel completely inadequate and just forces me to write my own list, but alas, I never seem to get around to actually doing anything on it.

So this year I was thinking about all of this as I wrapped Aunt Chrissy's gifts (and little Bosco's too) and I think I have FINALLY come up with some New Year's resolutions that I might actually be able to a)live with, and b)accomplish!

I, Coni J. Rich, The Spinster Stitcher Her Very Self, do resolve to do the following in 2011:

Be happy
Laugh at something really funny
Read a book
Stitch something wonderful
Bake a cake
Sit up straight
Fondle threads
Splash in a puddle
Listen to a song and sing along
Take a walk
Eat a salad
Cook an Ina recipe
Wear pajamas all day
Take a nap with my face in the sun
Buy a coloring book
Pet the dog
Eat some chocolate
Say something nice to a stranger
Find a penny, pick it up
Watch a movie
Throw a snowball
Buy a bra that fits
Blow a bubble
Have a cup of coffee
Email a friend
Wash some underpants
Break a habit
Snuggle with Stewey
Read a trashy magazine in the tub
Pluck an errant eyebrow or two
Wish upon a star
Go to bed at 8:30
Tell a secret
Keep a secret
Make a child laugh
Chase a rainbow
Sweep a floor
Paint my toenails red
Go on a picnic
Pick a tomato
Tell a story
Smell a flower
Say a little prayer
Go bowling

How's THAT for a list? This is just a small start, mind you, but I wanted you to know that I am at least thinking about it and hope to get it finished up in time to watch the ball drop. Now if I can just resist the urge to organize and categorize and agonize and philosophise this list, we might be on to something...

What are your resolutions?


It occurs to me that, in addition to sucking at being a stern disciplinarian, I also suck at addressing all of your lovely and kind and funny and encouraging comments. Why do I do this, you might ask? Why can't I get my head out of my proverbial heiney and just stay on top of this, you ponder?

Well, the truth is that I don't have one darn clue as to the best method of talking to you. I do click on your names in the comment section, and when I get your profile, I do go immediately to your blog and read every single thing you've ever written and oogle every single thing you've ever stitched...but what to do when you don't have a blog or an email address? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear....I worry that you'll think me rude and inconsiderate sometimes. So please know that I get completely va-clempt over your kindness to me (and Stewey and Bosco and Aunt Chrissy too) and I'd like you to know how much I appreciate all of the stitchy love.

In the spirit of answering all of the mysteries of life today (like why the heck the Winter Solstice, a lunar eclipse, and a change in the zodiac are all happening today), I thought I would answer a few of your inquiries:

*Susan wants to know just how big my big a** TeeVee is. Well, Susan, you're going to laugh at me when I tell you this, but please keep in mind that all of my previous TeeVee watching was accomplished on a set the approximate size of a postage stamp. So ANYTHING would seem HUGE to me, n'est pai? It's a 32 incher. *****Woops, Aunt Chrissy just corrected me. It's a 37 incher. (What do I know?)

*Marnie wanted to know about Jeffrey Dean Morgan and his singing. Well, Marnie, I was watching the movie "P.S. I Love You" for the hundredth time and he sings in a bar in one of the scenes therein. (Oh, wait. I'm sorry. I think I'm supposed to call it a pub.)

*Paula commented on my Hoosier humor. I have to send a big fat THANK YOU for this, since I am not a natural-born Hoosier. I suppose that I would have to register as a BUCKEYE on my official paperwork, but I have embraced my Hoosierness for many years now, and have called Indiana home longer than any other place I've lived. Yup. I love it here despite the fact that I don't have a LNS close enough to visit in my jammies.

*Patti sent along the link to the JRT video in which he decorates his little dog house for Christmas. Thanks, Patti, since this happens to be one of the things that Stewey positively INSISTS on viewing every morning before he's had his first sip of coffee. He loves the way the little dog noodges the cookie plate and milk glass and then falls asleep waiting for the big guy. Love love love this!

*Alex commented that his backside was the best it's ever been, and after looking at your blog, my stitchy friend, I must concur. In spades. And, since I am a spinster and you are a married man, after all, I will only tell you that I had a suitable chaperone firmly in place prior to making my visit. Ahem.

*Kathy wanted to know if Aunt Chrissy would be willing to adopt her? Well, given my recent shenanigans, I'm pretty sure that all it would take for Aunt Chrissy to look elsewhere for a little sisterly love would be a working knowledge of power tools, the ability to plan and facilitate weekend trips to needlework shops, and the ability to live independently without having to call her every ten minutes to ask for something. (Yup. I'm fairly certain that it's way beyond the time that my little sister should have considered kicking me to the curb. What can I say? She has become the single most patient person I know of lately.)

*Jane felt that Aunt Chrissy should be President! Yes! I couldn't agree more, and am convinced that all of our problems would FINALLY be solved....and we'd have a stitcher in the White House!

*Sharon threw the gauntlet and asked for my 2011 stitchy plan. Well, Sharon, I have to tell you that I have been having a lot of angst over the whole thought of a stitchy plan for next year. Does this come as a surprise to you? Well, please allow me to refer you to the 2008 Stitchy Plan Angst, the 2009 Stitchy Plan Angst, and the 2010 Stitchy Plan Angst transcripts for evidence of the fact that every year at this time I lose my damn mind. But, if you really must know, I am planning to do a little planning later this afternoon and I promise to keep you posted. I will say, though, that it involves purging the entire studio. This could be bad.

*Coral-seas wondered if I exaggerate? Me? Miss Hyperbole 1993? Yes, Coral, I am the biggest, most outrageous, and probably the most long-winded exaggerator you will ever meet. It's my thing. I figure it will keep you wondering what's what and that you'll come back and be my friend a little longer. Please?

*Sherry asked about the Ooey Gooey Karo Krispers. Considering the fact the I just polished off the last of them for breakfast this morning, I am only too happy to share the recipe with you (if for no other reason than to scare me into not making any more of them):

1 cup light or dark Karo corn syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup crunchy or smooth peanut butter
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups corn flakes
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips (optional) (but you know you want them, right?)

Pour corn syrup, salt, and sugar into a large saucepan.
Stir over medium high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture begins to boil.
Stir in peanut butter.
Remove from heat and stir in oatmeal, corn flakes, and Rice Krispies.
Pour into greased 8-inch square pan and set aside to cool.
Melt chocolate and peanut butter chips over low heat in a small saucepan and then spread over bars.
Cut into small squares or triangles. (No, really. You want to cut these pretty small because they are incredibly RICH. If a professional eater like me can only take one of these at a time, you KNOW they're good. Trust me.)

That's it for today, ladies and gentlemen! Thanks for stopping by! Do something ridiculously fun today!

Dec 20, 2010


I would have written sooner, but I've been planted in the Happy Chair, drooling like a neanderthal and gawping like a fish while watching the TeeVee. (No disrespect to neanderthals or fish, by the way.)

Stitching, suffice it to say, is rather difficult when you're cocking your head like a Jack Russell Terrier who is trying to understand what's going on while Jeffrey Dean Morgan sings softly to you from Ireland. I had not IDEA he was actually that handsome! I mean, I knew that my poor little squishy spinster heart beat madly for him (and several other man types, don't you know), but WOWEEEEE is he some gorgeous hunk of man candy!

Jeffrey Dean, of course, prompted me to go take a few gazes at Chef Robert, and then it was on to Kevin (that would be Costner), and I think I stumbled across some very major James Gandolphini and Robert Redford action when I viewed "The Last Castle" for the eighteenth time. Throw a little Tom Cruise and John Travolta in there, and you've got a very plausible explanation for the total lack of stitching progress (or homekeeping, or baking, or puppy keeping, or awareness of absolutely anything that was going on around me) for the last several days.

Who knew that a big piece of plastic could make a girl so darn happy?

Only a few boxes left to go on the Merry Christmas canvas. I believe that there was a question as to the provenance of this one...this canvas was designed by Raymond Crawford and was taught as a mystery class by the very fabulous Ruth Schmuff of Bedecked and Beadazzled fame. (Which is to say the there is absolutely NO way I would have ever been able to come up with all of the stitches and attachments and whatnot without some very serious adult supervision.)

Today is Target day. I realized with great angst that I had not yet purchased anything for my puppy tot nephew, Bosco when Stewey asked me to help him wrap his gift to the little guy. (It was rather sweet, actually. While I was riveting myself to the TeeVee, Stewey came out of his fort pushing a little box in front of him, and once he got my attention he asked for a little help with the Scotch tape. Apparently Scotch tape and furry forearms can be a problem.) So Stewey's gift is ready to go, but alas, I am giftless at this particular moment in time. I might also have to pick up a few odds and ends for Aunt Chrissy, since Santa Claus indicated that she deserved a LOT more than my paltry offerings thus far.

Happy Monday to all! I hope that you, too get some really good TeeVee watching in today!

Dec 17, 2010


1. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

2. When I come running up to her, she laughs, pets my head, and calls me "Wiggle Butt".

3. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

4. She doesn't call the authorities whenever my mo-ther calls her on the telephone and pretends to be me in a ridiculously silly voice.

5. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

6. She has the ability to turn off her hearing whenever my mo-ther decides to be a royal PITA and pontificate about whatever it is that my mo-ther has decided to pontificate about that day.

7. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

8. She doesn't retch into a hanky whenever she comes into the filthy house and doesn't try to make my mo-ther feel guilty for keeping such a filthy house.

9. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

10. When they went to the Lowe's last night to get a shelf cut and the guy said "I can't cut that" and my mo-ther just stood there gawping like a fish, Aunt Chrissy said "Whadda you mean you can't cut it" and then glared at him until he turned on the saw and cut the board exactly the way she told him to.

11. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

12. When my mo-ther gets her feelings all in a fizzy tit about something that somebody said or did to her, Aunt Chrissy always listens patiently and then gives comfort and good advice rather than rolling her eyes and mentally calculating the distance to the nearest assisted living facility.

13. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

14. She never makes me feel bad for watering the drapes, and she never flies off into hysterics about it, but rather has a calm and patient discussion with me about why it's not appropriate for me to do such a thing and how she's going to put a clothes pin on my peenie if I don't knock it the hell off already.

15. She's smarter than my mother.

16. Despite being the favorite child between the two of them, she never makes my mo-ther feel bad for being such a colossal disappointment.

17. She's smarter than my m0-ther.

18. Last night, without any provocation whatsoever, she took my mo-ther to the Targets and got her a big ass flat screen TeeVee that I have been watching all day with rapt attention and deep and grateful thanks that my aunt knows that the only thing that keeps me semi-sane around here is my ability to disappear into "You've Got Mail" every now and then and pretend that I am a pup who owns a bookstore and finds true love at the Cafe LaLa.

19. She's smarter than my mo-ther.

I love you, Aunt Chrissy. You're the best.

With love from your little nephew,

P.S. Sorry for peeing on your garland.

Dec 16, 2010


First a little view from the Happy Chair on a gloomy Thursday morning. I'm supposed to be cleaning the house, wrapping presents, and planning our Christmas meals, I am! Stalking blogs with wonderfully indulgent impunity! Bully for me!

I think I've come to the conclusion (for the tenth or eleventh time), that I like stalking blogs and looking at and lusting over all of YOUR stitching more than I do actually stitching MINE. And considering I really really enjoy stitching my stitching, you can do the math there to determine how much I love yours.

Blog stalking has become such a part of my day that I find myself planning everything else around it. For example....this morning I wrote a big long list of all of the crap that Stewey wants me to do, but not ten seconds after it was completed, I high-tailed it into the office to see what all of you are up to today.

I think that the most interesting part of this scenario is that I am not finding one thing wrong with it, and every time I read an article about how people have become addicted to Facebook or this or that, I say "Oh, how silly...I can't imagine such a thing" as I'm bookmarking more and more stitchy blogs for the list.

Last night Stewey threw his spaceship at me and demanded that I fill it with treats. (The spaceship is this hard rubber toy that comes apart in the middle, and you fill it with treats and replace the top and then the dog has to figure out how to get it open.) He's had this toy in his toy basket from the very day he came home and he never paid too much attention to it (preferring the New York Times Sunday Crossword for problem-solving exercises), so I've been kind of surprised that he is now obsessed with the damn thing.

So this morning I sat down to blog stalk and before my fanny could even hit the chair, he was in the office throwing the spaceship at my feet. "Stewey," I said. "You've got a problem, my little friend. We're going to have to find a spaceship rehab program for you to deal with this new addiction of yours."

Then I shoved the fourth rice krispie treat into my face and turned my chair around and got back to blog stalking.

What can I say? When they finally send me to the Betty Crocker Clinic, I want to make sure that I'm caught up on everything and that I will have had enough marshmallow to spackle my veins shut.

Here's hoping that you are getting YOUR exercise today! Pace yourself, and remember that there are only so many days left know.

Dec 15, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's lounging in the office with a book and a cup of tea. TEA! AND A BOOK! ON DECEMBER 15TH!

This little tidbit wouldn't be so alarming were it not for the fact that not one present has been wrapped, not one gift for Stewey has been purchased, and not one Italian cookie has been baked. I swear, this woman takes procrastination to a whole other level.

As I type this, I reflect on the "goals" that she set for herself this year. Let's review, shall we?

1. Lose 10 pounds a month and exercise at least 10 minutes a day.
Well, I'm pretty sure that she didn't come anywhere near that particular goal, since she seems to be fitting very nicely into her hugely butted sweatpants, and the last time she did any kind of exercise for more than thirty seconds, she had to go take a four hour nap.

2. Open a Christmas account and deposit $100 per month. Open a stitching account and deposit $100 per month.
She opened an account all right, but near as I can tell every single penny went to stitching and not one thin dime to anything remotely Christmasy related. (See lack of gifts for yours truly above.)

3. Finish 10 projects in the house, like caulking in front of the tub, fixing the water cooler, replacing the kitchen faucet, and getting a better system for storing crap in the bathroom.
Nope, nope, and nope.

4. Get 10 finished stitchy pieces framed, finish stitching 10 WIP's, make 10 Christmas ornaments, and do 5 LJP flower collages. Make 1 BAP, 5 painted canvases, 10 counted canvases, and finally organize the studio in a way that doesn't involve a GPS system and a very complicated road map.
Are you kidding? Yes, I guess the old lady did a fair amount of stitching this year, and yes, I guess she reached a few milestones and became a little less "uptight" about how she goes about stuff, but I don't think she even LOOKED at this list, let alone tried to achieve anything on it.

I have to say, I am thoroughly disgusted. Every year, it's the same damn thing. "Stewey", she says, "This is the year that Mommie Dearest is going to ....." and then we get the pad of paper out and lists are made and promises promised and goals set until I leave the room in sheer disbelief. Who the heck does she think she's kidding with all of this? You? Me? Certainly not that even possible at this late stage in the game?

As for me, I am perfectly content to use the same list from year to year:

1. Look adorable.
2. Water the drapes regularly.
3. Exasperate my Aunt Chrissy.
4. Growl at my pesky cousin whenever he comes within eight feet of me.
5. Eat turkey bacon with impunity.

See? THAT'S how you write a list. Five things that I can do standing on my head, and five things matter how many times I do them, never get old.

So it would seem that we are headed into these last few weeks of the year armed with the same things we had coming in....apathy, incompetence, ennui, and a complete lack of urgency that would prompt the old lady to get off of her considerable heiney and empty the damn dishwasher already.

(Sigh) I could have thrived with a smarter owner.

I hope that you are enjoying your Wednesday, 12/15, and that YOUR lists are as long or short as you would like them.

With love from your pal,

Dec 14, 2010


You say you want a revolution?

Well, here I am on a particularly snowy Tuesday launching a revolution in the stitchy bloggy community. Join me, won't you?

From the moment I entered "this thing of ours", I have obsessively obsessed about my backsides. Each and every time I start a new piece, I wonder if I will achieve the perfection of a properly laid, properly tied, properly couched, and properly finished backside. I flip my piece over at least a thousand times a day to see what's going on back there, and I usually fret myself right into paralysis over the fact that no matter how hard I backside is always a mess.

At retreats, I noticed that one of the very first things I did when viewing another stitcher's work was to flip it over to see THEIR backside. I did this rather blatantly until Aunt Chrissy pointed out to me that it's just not very polite to gape at a backside of someone you barely know, and that fellow stitchers might think me judgemental and a needlework snob.

Truth is, I was just trying to see how other people handled their very own backsides. I wanted to learn all of the little secret tips for getting a smooth, perfect, proper look and I made every mental note I could as to how I might also achieve backside perfection.

And so it was with Frank that I started to fret and fret and fret over his backside. I flipped him over so many times that I'm pretty sure I paid more attention to the back than I did the front. I was really bothered by the fact that no matter what I did...I just couldn't get every single solitary fiber to lay perfectly still and flat to achieve the look that I thought befitted my new found painted canvas expertise.

On the second day of stitching Frank, a lightening bolt hit me square in the forehead. "Eeee-jit! Nobody ever SEES your backside! You sit in your Happy Chair and stitch this stuff and then you haul it to the Michaels for framing, and not one single person has ever come into your house and picked a picture off of the wall and flipped it over to see the backside! You can't have a perfect backside! Your backside is meant to be a hot mess! Stop fussing over it and just concentrate on the front!"

And so I did. I decided to just have as much fun as I could without wondering what was happening back there and I am pretty sure that it was this decision that broke me free from my backside hell.

Today I awoke with the brilliant idea that it was time to share this freedom with the world! Time to throw off the cloak of oppression and just let it all hang out there! Time to show everybody that I'm not afraid to reveal my imperfection...or my knots...or my lumps and bumps and mistakes! I'm freeeeee! I'm finally freeeee!

So in that spirit, may I present THE BACKSIDE ITS VERY SELF OF FRANK, THE SANTA:
(It's here that I have to share a legal disclaimer: Please note that if you are stitching something for entry in a contest or juried exhibit, or any other such place that will be looked at by actual real live needlework professionals for simply MUST...MUST I say, pay careful attention to your backside. AND, if you are stitching things that you want to last into perpetuity for your loved ones to enjoy for years and years to come, then you should probably also take care with what goes on back there. But if you're like me and are stitching for your own pleasure and don't HAVE any loved ones that will want to see this stuff for years and years to come, then I say....let it all hang out, baby and join the revolution!)

Oh, and in case you were wondering....Here's what Frank looks like from the front side:
Now that my stitchy soul feels all klensy, I'm going to go upstairs to look at each and every backside I've ever done to revel in the messiness of it all! Stay tuned...I just might have to share a few more confessional pics with you eventually. In the meantime, though, I hope that you will have a little fun with your backside today and that you'll think of me when you do!

Dec 13, 2010


Miss Marcy at! I was kvetching over Frank's moutachio, and she suggested that I fill it in with french knots in a lovely comment she left a few days ago. Thank you, Marcy, from the bottom of my silly little heart. I think the french knots are exactly what the doctor ordered, don't you?

Only the hat brim and coat skirt to go....

Oh, and going to the Michael's or the Hobby Lobby to find itty bitty little red flat crystals for that tree he's holding in his hand!

Off like a herd of turtles...woo hoo!

Dec 12, 2010


"Why can't you bake something I can eat, Mo-ther?"

My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's sitting in the Happy Chair with a cool cloth on her head muttering something about hell and good intentions.

Yesterday dawned bright and early and Mom and Aunt Chrissy decided to have some festive holiday cookie baking activity over here in the kitchen. Well, there was baking, and I'm pretty sure they ended up with a few cookies, but not one bit of festivity was to be found.

It's the same thing every year. Mom hauls out the recipe basket and pulls about a dozen or so different recipes for treats that she thinks will make the holiday better, and she writes lists upon lists upon lists of the stuff that she needs and then she heads to the grocery store. (She does this, mind you, after unsuccessfully trying to guilt my Aunt Chrissy into doing all of the shopping for her.)

The bags come home and sit on the kitchen table for two days while my stupid mo-ther checks and re-checks the lists, only to discover that she now has nine bottles of Karo corn syrup and not one ounce of flour. (Now I know that I'm just a simple pup, but methinks flour is a rather important item in the baking of things.)

They start out well enough...they clear off all of the counter tops and then set up these very sophisticated "zones". I hear my mo-ther bossing Aunt Chrissy around with the "put the sugar in the dry ingredient zone" and then "I think our spice zone should be categorized alphabetically" and then I hear Aunt Chrissy saying something under her breath about not being a freakin' Keebler elf and how next year she's going to hide the damn recipe basket after Mom passes out from eating too much Thanksgiving.

They started with fudge and white chocolate bark and then progressed to chocolate peanut butter cup cookies and fat girl crispie treats. These last little items are officially called "Oooey Gooey Karo Krispies", but Mom re-named them once she realized that if you turned her loose on improving rice krispie treats, this is what she would have come up with. (I can't eat them, of course because of the chocolate, but I can tell you that they must be pretty good. When Mom and Aunt Chrissy decided to taste test them there wasn't any talking or swearing or noise coming out of that kitchen for a full fifteen minutes. I think they might have lapsed into some kind of sugar rapture or something.)

The last things that came out of the oven were butterscotch oatmeal raisin cookies, but I don't think Mom was very happy with them. I saw her frowning a lot as she was trying to mix the dough, and I have to say that once the things were baked they looked a LOT like something I would have up-chucked on the living room rug.

They stopped all of the banging around to have dinner and clean up the kitchen, but Mom wouldn't shut up about wanting to make the Italian cookies that her dad liked so much. If she said "those Italian cookies that Dad liked so much" one more time, I think Aunt Chrissy would have smashed her in the face with a cookie sheet. I myself would have liked to see this, especially since I think my mom gets rather obnoxious and incredibly bossy when it comes time for the two of them to do stuff together. (I'm starting to think that Aunt Chrissy might actually medicate herself heavily before she and my little twerp cousin Bosco come over, because she never loses her cool and almost always does whatever my mom tells her to do.) (Silly Aunt Chrissy.)

As for me, I peed on the ottoman about twelve times and got worried when Bosco decided to snarf down an apricot that had dropped on the floor. Neither Mom nor Aunt Chrissy knew if apricots were poisonous to little dogs, so I kept a good watch on him to make sure he was OK, and then caught some shut-eye on my perch.

That's the report for today. The brisket is almost done, the snow is flying, and Mom looks like she's ready to pick up Frank for a little Sunday afternoon stitching. As for me, I'm going to go tuck into my new book....I decided to read along with Oprah and enjoy some Dickens.

I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be, and that if you're here in the mid-western U.S. you stay warm and safe and dry.

With love from your pal,


Dec 10, 2010


You know the scene in The Birdcage when Nathan Lane walks into the bedroom wearing a man's suit? And when he crosses his legs, it turns out he has pink socks on? And he looks at Val and Armand and says..."Too much?"

That's what I wondered at about 2am when I pulled the stitchy glasses off my face, took a deep breath, and stood back and looked at Frank.

I'm not too sure about the Kreinik squiggles, but for now they're staying right where they are. Getting those suckers on that canvas took me all the way through BOTH Barbara Walters specials and an episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. (My God, do you want to just SMACK Camille Grammer, or what?)

The one thing I DO like is the furry effect that I managed to get on the cuffs. This was accomplished by using Rainbow Gallery's Whisper and then brushing it all vigorously with a brush. I think that his hat band and coat bottom should be furry as well, n'est pai?

Believe it or not, the moustache is the thing that's giving me the biggest fits, and it's the thing that I thought would be the easiest. I tried about four different kinds of fuzzy threads for it last night but didn't like any of them. And if you've ever tried frogging fuzzy threads then you know that I'm not at all interested in doing THAT again. So I'm thinking that I'll stitch the outlines with the grey velvet and then a thinner thread for the squiggles and then fill in the moustache with a random long/short kind of thing with the same Watercolours that I used for the beard.

Here's a close-up of his hand on the right. I guess it doesn't look too bad when you consider it up close and all personal like:

Have I lost you yet? I would imagine that there's nothing more boring than being inside my head as I try to figger my way out of the corners of this canvas. I'm sorry to be blathering on and on about this, but it's my very first time at the rodeo and I'm trying to map out my thought process so that I'll have something to refer back to when I pick up the next painted canvas.

I looked back at my little stitchy journals the other day and realized that I seem to get myself in canvas moods in the winter and linen moods in the summer. I wonder if it's the feel of something heavier in my hand when it's cold outside? Or if it's just that I seem to have more Christmas stuff on canvas than I do on linen. Hmmmm. A question for the ages.

I'm happy to report that I baked off about four dozen of the Greek cookies last night after dinner. I didn't even make a dent in the Big Pile 'O Dough, so methinks I'll end up with about twelve or thirteen dozen. These cookies are indeed called "koulourakia" (good eye, Ms. Stitch Bitch), and I thought I'd share our dear departed mother's recipe for them. (I'm doing this so that you will understand that Sig had a wicked sense of humor and was ridiculously smart in addition to being very very ornery. I could hear her laughing at me all day yesterday as I read this darn recipe and then looked at her picture on the kitchen counter and said "????!!!!!!!" over and over again.) I finally went to the internets to see if I couldn't get a better clue and found a recipe that had actual real live instructions, so I'll share that with you at the bottom of Mom's recipe.

Koulourakia cookies a 'al Vacelia Helen Loukos Rich (also known as Siggy):
12 egg yolks
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups sugar
1 pound of unsalted butter (sweet)
1 tsp. baking soda
5 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla or whiskey
1 full box of Swans Down Cake Flour

Get dough so it isn't sticky. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Roll like pencils - twist - cut off- bake.

Do you see how I might have been a little confused? So after rummaging through the recipe tin further, I found some additional instructions in Mom's handwriting, but since there wasn't any ingredient list or name at the top I had to assume it was for these cookies:

Beat butter in mixer until it's light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar together.
Fold this into the whipped butter.
Stir 1 tsp. baking soda into the orange juice - it will foam up- pour into the mixer and put other flavoring in.
Mix well.
Sift 5 tsp. baking powder into about 2 cups of the Swans Down flour - put in mixer - gradually add rest of flour and keep mixing until mixed well.
Make pencil thin when rolling out as they puff up. Should be a golden light brown when baked.

Here's where I should probably tell you that we did, in fact, have these cookies every year at Christmas and Easter time, and they were wonderful. They taste of almost nothing, but when you dunk them into your morning coffee, all seems to be right with the world. My confusion comes when I try to figure out just how the heck anybody ever managed to make these damn things with these silly recipes!

So, to spare you all of the angst and hair pulling that has been going on over here in Hoosierville, may present a real live recipe from that was written by Lynn Livanos Athan:

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes

1 lb. unsalted butter
1-1/2 c. sugar
6 eggs (reserve two for brushing)
6 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 oz. Ouzo
Sesame seeds (optional)


Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

Using the mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and ouzo and mix well. While the mixer is running, add eggs one by one and mix until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder and soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture little by little. The dough will be soft and malleable, but it should not be sticky. You should be able to pinch off a ball of dough and roll it into a cord or thin tube.

If the dough is too sticky, add a little bit more flour. Allow the dough to rest a bit before rolling into shapes.

To shape the cookies, pinch off a piece of dough about the size of a walnut. Roll out a cord or thin tube of dough about the length of a dinner knife. Fold in half then twist two times. You can also make a coiled circle or an "s" shape.

Beat the remaining two eggs in a bowl and add a splash of water to the egg. Brush the cookies lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired.

Bake cookies on parchment paper or a lightly greased cookie sheet for approximately 20 minutes or until they are nicely golden brown.

Dec 9, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's in her closet with a plastic tiara perched atop her head, dancing about hollering "They LIKE me! They really really LIKE me!" I fear that extreme measures will need to be taken, or not one damn thing will be done around here, because Her Royal Highness won't be able to fit that massive ego of hers through any existing doorways. Do you people see what I have to contend with when you write such lovely things about my whacky nutjob of a mo-ther? Do you know how hard it is for me to bring her back down to earth after she's read comments that tell her she's funny and wonderful and responsible for the earth turning on its axis every other day?

I'm begging you. the name of all that is holy....DON'T ENCOURAGE HER!

Believe me when I tell you that she gets all the validation she needs around here and that telling her that she's responsible for any part of your day going well is not a good idea. This only makes her want to please you further and we all know that nothing good can come of that. So next time she ruminates on the meaning of life or questions her pitiful little place in the world...just let it go. You must trust me about this. We will all be much better off in the long run if the woman I live with doesn't get too cocky.

Onward. Shall we?

The honeymoon is nearing an end with Frank. I'm assuming that the squiggles around his moustache and beard are the source of the problem, since Mom sat in the Happy Chair for about four hours last night trying to figger it out. She did manage to stitch Frank's hands and face in a way that I think looks pretty good, but those squiggles has her in sixes and sevens. The last thing she did before tucking me in to bed for the night was to go upstairs to get a #32 braid that she remembered she had from another project. I think she's going to try to squiggle that back and forth around the grey velvet and call it a day. Then, all that's left is the fur and we'll have ourselves one very funky Frank Santa.

That's the Thursday report from Chex Spinster. On behalf of my silly mo-ther, please allow me to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your swell comments on the last post, but icks-nay on the comments-ay, right?

Don't do anything I would do today. (This, of course, will mean that your draperies will remain clean and pressed, and that you won't feel compelled to torture a poor unsuspecting spinster into giving you as many cookies as your little tummy can hold.)

With much love from your pal,


Dec 8, 2010


Well, Frank is finally dressed and almost ready for the big day. I'm not sure what any of you will think of the pattern that I chose for his coat (especially since it's the exact same pattern that I used for the background, but with minor changes), (I guess that would mean that it's not the EXACT same pattern now, wouldn't it?), but I like it and I suppose that's all that matters when it comes to my silly stitching. As for his hat....I like the woven effect, but I'm fretting over what to do with that jingle bell. Should I try to find a real jingle bell to affix, or should I use a metallic thread and some careful stitching to do the trick?

I'm stumped by his hands and how to achieve the outlines of his fingers. I futzed around with that for about two hours last night as I was watching a movie on the TeeVee, but I finally put the needle down and called it a day.

I think outlining this sucker is also going to be interesting, especially since I have never been a big fan of outlining/backstitching, so we'll see how this goes.

So I've been thinking a lot about blogging. About the reasons why I blog and whether or not this is just one big huge ego boost for me, or whether or not it might be my stupid little way of putting something out there in the world.

Turns out, it's both.

It's no secret that I am a spinster recluse who has never been very happy and/or popular in polite society. It's not that I don't like people or places or things,'s just that I am at a loss as to why I need to be out in it to participate. Is it shyness? Lack of self esteem? Or just a really good case of agoraphobia that makes me want to stay inside my little hovel wearing pajamas and drinking dietCoke. Either way....I know for a fact that I am much better when taken in small doses and that if I'm ever elected Prom Queen you'll need smelling salts and a cold rag for my forehead , toot sweet.

So writing the blog has become an enormous exercise in vanity for me. I get to jump up and down, waving my arms, hollering "Look at me! Look at me!". And then I get to assault you with whatever crazyass idea or event or thing that's presently occupying my stupid little life. And, because I went to school (and somewhat paid attention), I know that I do this in a style that is at once both offensive to the English language, as well as filled with the most bombastically fantastic hyperbole that can wear on your very last nerve.

But it's my blog, isn't it? Isn't this supposed to be a place for me to blather on aimlessly, without thought or care as to whether or not I'm educational or entertaining?

I know that there are about a million different kinds of peoples on the big blue marble, and I know that most (if not all) of them are going to find me "a bit too much to take sometimes". But I'm not trying to gain membership at the cool kid's table...I just want to be able to listen in on a conversation or two to know that this "thing of ours" might just be the one place where I can let the proverbial chin hair down and have some fun.

Stitching is more than a hobby for me, thanks to my little sister Aunt Chrissy. It has evolved into a passion and obsession that makes me want to suck the marrow from the very bone of its existence. I love to read and learn and see and talk about and lust after and marvel at every stitch that every stitcher out there is kind enough to show me. I like to know what makes them they sit in their chair or wind their floss or dye their linen. I cheer them on when they are nearing the finish line and I empathize with their stitchy slumps as though they were my very own. In short...I think that any person who puts a threaded needle in their hand and attempts to push it through a piece of linen or canvas or Aida cloth or sheep's skin should be applauded and patted on the head for trying...never vilified or criticised that their work is "not executed properly" or that it won't win any awards when judged by "certified professionals".

I'm NOT a professional. Duh. I'm an idiot spinster stitcher who could just pee her pants over the sheer joy that is brought to her each day by the people she has been fortunate enough to "meet" through this here blog. I'm gobsmacked on a daily basis that there could be so many smart, funny, decent, and wonderful people who stitch. I'm thrilled that I get to peek over your shoulders and sit next to you on your Happy Chair as you do what it is that we do.

So from the very bottom of my very whacky heart, I say thank you for allowing me the pleasure of goofing off and for balancing the voices that tell me to just knock it the heck off already.

Stewey, however, would like to remind you that for every "You're so brilliantly funny, Spinster Stitcher!"...he has to find yet another way to bring me back down to earth, and that there are only so many hours in a day that he can complain about my eighteen year old sweatpants or my propensity for failing to scale Mt. Laundry. Damn dog.

Thank you for your time. That will conclude the "I just want to be loved and understood" portion of the program. We will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow. Woo Hoo!

Oh, and a big fat P.S....not one cookie has yet to emerge from the kitchen here at Chez Spinster. I HAVE, however, discovered that Archway Peppermint Chip cookies make an excellent addition to daily tea time. Bone appiteet!

Dec 7, 2010


My mom can't come to the blog right now. She's in the kitchen trying to channel her Greek and Italian heritage with enough gusto to make some freakin' Christmas cookies. I swear, if I hear one more damn thing about these freakin' Christmas cookies, I'm going to start watering the dining room chairs again.

Apparently, Grandma Sig was Greek, and every year she made about a ga-zillion Jewish coffee cakes (don't even TRY to figure that one out) and these Greek cookies that are really nice for dunking. And since Grandpa Bob was Italian, his favorite treat was some pastry thing that was sent to him by a lady named Minnie Vicario, and they were filled cookies with figs and chocolate and whatnot and he hid them in a tin on top of the refrigerator because my mo-ther was rotund, even as a child.

Just explaining it makes me want to go take a nap.

Anywhoose...for a normal person, baking up all of this crap would be a festive and lovely tradition that would fill the house with nice smells and the freezer with the promise of future rewards for doing the laundry (or some other homekeeping skill that she apparently decided to just give the hell up on already). But this is my mo-ther we're talking about.

When I bake or cook or clean, I make sure that I am properly attired. That means that I wear an apron or a chef's coat or a handkerchief tied around my head to keep my hair out of my eyes. Then, when I commence doing whatever it is that I am supposed to be doing, I'm not picking at or re-adjusting anything when I should be concentrating on not burning the house down or asphixitating the neighborhood with bleach and ammonia fumes.

My stupid mo-ther, on the other hand, is so darn distracted by life that she decided to head to the kitchen dressed in THIS ridiculous ensemble... hair tied in a pony tail on the exact top center of her pointy head (so that she looks like one of the characters in a Dr. Seuss book), a white tee-shirt that I am pretty sure she fished out of the clearance bin in the men's section of the Sam's Club when she was all of nine years old, and capri yoga pants that have absolutely NOTHING to do with yoga, other than the fact that she seems to THINK alot about doing yoga when she wears them (this despite the sad fact that we would have to call in the paramedics and a forklift if she ever decided to actually get down onto the floor).

Did I mention that we've also entered the "winter legs" portion of the program and that she insists on wearing a pair of old fuzzy leopard print slippers that suffered a blow out on the sides of them circa 1994 so that her pinky toes stick out like some kind of stabilizing mechanism to prevent the whole big crock pot full of hot mess from tumbling down upon itself?

She's been in that kitchen for five hours now and I have yet to hear the oven door open. I've heard the mixer mixing and the water watering and the dishwasher washing, but not one cookie or cake or pastry or piece of anything has been placed in the Ziploc plastic storage containers with little snowmen on them.

As for me, I've planted myself in her Happy Chair with the remote and a few movies that make me want to move to Ireland. The first is the previously adored and ever-mentioned on this here blog, P.S. I LOVE YOU, and the second is a cutey cute flick that I saw for the first time last night...LEAP YEAR. Neither of these are exactly Oscar material, I know, but at least the scenery is gorgeous, the people are lovely, and there's not one damn Greek cookie or Italian biscuit to be found.

If only we were so lucky here in Hoosierville.

Mom is making good progress on her Funky Santa, which she has re-named Frank. She futzed and futzed and futzed with the pattern on the coat last night, but I think she might have found something that will work. I'll share pics as soon as the coast is clear and I can make it into the office without the old lady catching me and dragooning me to help roll dough or mix nuts or do whatever the heck it is she's doing in there.

In the meantime, I'll just sit here with my iPad and watch the movies and finish my Christmas shopping. I've finished purchasing things for my Aunt Chrissy, so now it's on to finding something for that pesky little cousin of mine. Do you suppose I could just tell him to go play in traffic this year, or would that land me on the naughty list? Aw, crap. I'll opt for a sweater.

****OK, Mommie Dearest here. I've just talked to Aunt Chrissy and she tells me that little Bosco was very hurt by the ridiculously hateful comment that was here previously regarding putting a plastic bag over his head. When she pointed this out to me, I immediately felt ashamed that I could even imagine that something like that would have been funny. It wasn't, and I'm sorry that it was posted at all. So please allow me to sincerely apologize to Bosco, his Mommie, and any of you who were offended. And as for me thinking that a little nine-pound dog talking about hurting another little dog could be funny....I suppose that this is when I tell you that if I had any brains at all I'd be dangerous. I am sorry and it won't happen again. Stewey will still bitch and moan and complain about me, the state of affairs around here, and his pesky little cousin, but we're going to leave the stupid at home for now. Thanks.****

Here's hoping that your kitchens are filled with everything you need them to be filled with and not filled with anything you don't.

With love from your pal,

Dec 6, 2010


Saturday morning dawned bright and clear and I ha-rumphed my way around the house in anticipation of an all day TeeVee session over at Aunt Chrissy's. Just as the day was about to go sideways on me, a gift arrived from a dear stitchy friend (thanks again, Mr. E!) and I was off and running.

That big-a** TeeVee is EXACTLY what they said it would be, and I sat in Aunt Chrissy's living room for a full nine hours and seventeen minutes with my mouth hanging open and the drool a-flowing as we watched movies and such and I gawped my way into a full-blown headache. We both laughed as we suddenly noticed things in movies that we had never seen faces! and colors! and actual real live scenery!

Who knew that our old TeeVees were so bad?

Now I just need to exercise some serious pocketbook restraint and not run right out to the Best Buys and get one for my very self. (I've decided to try a little patient financial planning this time rather than the "Oh, go buy it now and think about it later" philosophy that's gotten me through life thus far.) We'll see how long THIS lasts, especially since Stewey has decided to spend the morning on the telephone with his little cousin, demanding that every detail of the wardrobe choices of the ladies of The View be explained to him in exquisite detail. So far, there's been a lot of disappointment on this end, since all Bosco seems to be able to come up with is "shirt" and "shoes" and not one bit of other fashionista detail.

I finished the background on the Funky Santa. Before I forget...I had a question as to the designer. The canvas comes from Maggie and Co. and the actual designer is Mr. Frank Bielec His Very Self. Don't know who he is? Well, he's the lovely gentleman on that home designing show where neighbors trade places with one another and then wreck all kinds of havoc on one another's domiciles. (He's the one with the glasses). And yup, he is a needlework designer too! Don't you just love that?!

So here's how the background looks from a close-up perspective:
I really struggled with those circular areas, but Aunt Chrissy assures me that my choices look fine. At first I thought about affixing crystals (thanks for the kind offer to loan me your thingie, Miss Jane), but somehow I came up with a Fyre Werks/DMC memory thread concoction that I think looks kind of cool. What say you?

As for last evening's stitching, I started on the beard and immediately thought bargello:
Why bargello, I have absolutely no idea, but I'm thinking that the moustache will be stitched in Fuzzy Stuff or Whisper so that it stands apart from the beard. How the heck I'm going to capture that squiggly outline is beyond me, but I've got some grey Very Velvet and I'm not afraid to use it.

We're still under a heavy snow advisory here, so that means that Stewey and I will tuck into the blankets early this afternoon and I'll have to think about clearing him a little path on the back patio for him to consider before stepping out for a potty visit. I think we were supposed to get several feet of snow, but so far, only a few inches have fallen. Oh well. There's always tomorrow.

I hope that your week is off to a roaring start!

Dec 3, 2010


As many of you already know, I am a stitchy slut.

Oh wait.

Let me re-phrase that in a more lady-likely fashion.

I have rather, um, eclectic tastes when it comes to stitching and I enjoy a plethora of various needlework styles and formats. I appreciate the artform for what it is and am most definitely a process stitcher as opposed to a progress/goal stitcher.

Oh, hells bells. Who am I kidding? I'm just one big fat hot mess when it comes to anything remotely related to "this thing of ours" and I flit from thingie to thingie like the 300-pound hummingbird that I am. (If you're having trouble with the visual on that one, imagine John Belushi in the bee costume and you're just about there. Now change it to a hummingbird, add red sparkly tights and purple high heels, a little more facial hair, and....voila! The Spinster Stitcher in all her whack-a-do glory!)

So last night I sat and pondered and pondered my stitchy mood and I've come to the conclusion that my moodiness as a person (go ahead, Aunt Chrissy....speak right up about this little fact) is tame in comparison to my moodiness as a stitcher. And yes, I swing from mood to mood to mood on a daily (if not hourly) basis.

The present mood I'm in has me fixatated on canvas work. Specifically, needlepoint. And even more specifically....needlepoint on a painted canvas. Miss Jane over there in Chilly Hollow is presently writing a series of posts about how one goes about selecting threads and stitches and whatnot for painted canvases. She asked readers to submit a "problem" canvas, and then other readers can write in with suggestions. I'm riveted by this discussion and have learned so many new ideas that I've had to empty my little brain of all of my pin numbers and important dates so that there would be adequate room in there for new information.

So I pulled out my Maggie Santa Claus canvas last night and started playing around with it, and decided to start with the background. I'm not sure if you can see what I did, but suffice it to say that I'm pretty happy with the results thus far and it's given me the courage to plow ahead to see what else I might come up with as I progress further.

All of this stitching and thinking and learning got me to realize that I've finally passed the paralysis phase of my needlepoint addiction. As I've moaned about before, I have dozens of gorgeous painted canvases, and they hang in my studio mocking me with muttered dares and taunts to see how I might muff them up by trying to stitch them without a guide. I spend hours and hours and hours up there trying to "see" what will look cool or what will go where, and then I write a list and make a mental note that I can't do one darn thing until I call in the professionals (like Jane at Chilly Hollow, or Ms. Janet Perry, or Ms. Ruth Schmuff, et al) to help me with thread and stitch selection.

But last night was different. I sat down and pulled a threaded needle and just started stitching. No angst. No moaning or whining that I don't know what I'm doing or whether or not my stitching is "correct"...I just put the needle through the canvas and pulled the thread and then did it again and again until I found something that I thought was swell. I don't have one darn clue as to what the next thread or stitch will be, but I'm starting to realize that these decisions don't necessarily have to mean life and death all the time. Sometimes you just have to freakin' DO something before you can get over that hump of not knowing HOW to do it. Know what I mean?

Never fear, though...the day is young and as sure as I'm sitting here in my eighteen year old sweatpants, I'll be in a fizzy tit by the time the tea is brewed and Stewey has made his selection for the afternoon movie. That's what makes me who I am...calm and determined one minute and up the chimney with anxiety and frustration the next.

Aunt Chrissy and I are looking forward to a stitchy/movie marathon over at her house tomorrow. She just got herself a big brand new fancy TeeVee that I am fairly certain is going to blow us both back in our respective I am going to slap on the comfy clothes and head over there at first light. We're supposed to get some nasty snowy weather, so I just can't imagine a better place to park my fanny on a winter Saturday.

Happy Weekend to all! I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be!

Dec 2, 2010


Before we start talking about all of the crap that I didn't do in 2010, let's start thinking about all of the crap that I most certainly will do in 2011.

1. I will sleep with impunity. And if that means that the only reason I leave the confines of my warm and comfy sleighbed is to re-stock the provisions or to use the powder room, then so be it.

2. I will eat with impunity. This means that if hotdogs and lime jello sounds good to me at 8:30 in the morning, then hot dogs and lime jello it shall be.

3. I will watch bad TeeVee with impunity. (I had to put this one in there as a shameless justification for sitting in the Happy Chair until 3am riveted to Celebrity Rehab.)

4. I will wallow in slumps with impunity. Stitchy slumps, exercise slumps, bed-making, laundry folding, dishwasher emptying slumps...anything that slumps will be allowed to grow and fester and morph into a complete way of life without one single bit of guilt, shame, or despair.

5. I will waste time on the internets with impunity...reading anything and everything I want to and writing and not writing anything I don't. I'll catch up on celebrity gossip, will learn all about some whacky and obscure factoid that will only be relevant to me for seven minutes, and I will drool over, ogle, and lust after anything and everything I see on stitchy blogs until my eyeballs bleed with the sheer loveliness of it all.

OK. So that's a good start.

For more of an idea of what's rattling around in my skull with very little brain, go to: to see if you might want to join up. I'm seriously thinking about it. But do you suppose that I could decide that 11 would be the magic number instead of 15? (You know...11 for 2011.) (Oh, and that way you get to start 11 new projects and then have one whole month in which you panic over the fact that your started projects now outnumber your non-started projects.) (By a factor of fifteen.)

So give it some thought, won't you? Why don't we all make it the Year of Impunity together?

That way, I won't feel so guilty about never leaving the sleigh bed and eating all of that lime jello.

Dec 1, 2010


Well, it's not exactly the tundra just yet, but we did awake the dawning day to a bit of snow on the ground. Enough that Stewey insisted on wearing his little mink coat and woollen mittens for his morning constitutional, so that meant that I had to make an early morning run to the dry cleaners to pick them up. If I don't get all of his seasonal wardrobe cleaned and in place prior to his wanting it, there is h-e-l-l to pay around here, and today was no exception. Damn dog.

As you can see from the photo above, I've made a little progress on Box of Ornaments. It's a very relaxing stitch and I'm enjoying it immensely. Aunt Chrissy and I were talking the other day about our "go to" designers for those periods of time when we get ourselves in stitchy funkety funk funks. For her, it's always Shepherd's Bush that pulls her through. My saviour, as is evidenced by this here blog, is Ms. Laura J. Perin Her Very Self. Who gets you out of a slump? Do you have a favorite designer that you always turn to when you're just not sure what to stitch next? Or, more importantly, do you have a super secret ritual that you're willing to share with this hapless stitcher for those times when you find yourself staring at the walls instead of plying a needle and thread? What blows your skirt (or shirt tails) up?

Today will be grocery and Target day, but thanks to a very accommodating sister, I can wait until she comes home from work for company. Isn't it so much nicer to go in pairs to these things? I find that my grocery cart makes a lot more sense when Aunt Chrissy is along for supervision and is likely to remove things from my cart that shouldn't ever gain entry to Chez Spinster in the first darn place. Like a seventeen-pound ham and chocolate marshmallow cookies.

That's the Hump Day report! I hope that yours is the humpiest!