Jan 30, 2013


Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity for yours truly, but I think that the best part of it all was realizing that I am capable of going out for dinner with a friend without too much adult supervision.  Normally, I am accompanied by Aunt Chrissy, who does her level best to make sure that I don't make a complete boob of myself (at least not too terribly often), but last night I was on my own.

If you asked me when I became incapable of adult human interaction, I couldn't say exactly, but I do know that there was a time in my life when I was able to act somewhat normal, use a proper dining utensil without having a nervous breakdown, and remember my manners for more than four consecutive minutes without having to run to the ladies room to talk to myself in the mirror.

Sheesh...when did it get so damn difficult to just be me?

(Already I can hear the Peanut Gallery piping up, so to that I will say "Settle down, kids.  I may have BEEN a complete social misfit my entire life, I just didn't KNOW it until now.")

So what's new with you on this fine Wednesday morning?  Are you chanting "Gloom, gloom, go away" like we are here in Hoosierville?  58 today....14 tomorrow!

Woo Hoo!

Jan 28, 2013


Doesn't it look like Heathcliff could come bounding across the moors at any moment?  On days like this, when the fog rolls over the meadow, I expect to see my friend Kavanaugh standing out there with his bagpipes a'blasting.

(And, no, I'm not really sure that the patch of land behind my house is a meadow, exactly, but meadow sounds nicer than "unincorporated county property".  Or...field.)

I'm knee-deep into watching the entire Sopranos series again.  I think this is the ninth or tenth time I've watched it, so by now I can pretty much quote the dialogue in my sleep.  I just hope that I don't do what I normally do when in the midst of all things Tony and Carmella -- which is swear my fool head off and walk around pretending that I actually know what a good "gab-a-gool" is. 

(This, of course, is in direct contrast to what I really am -- which is an idiot spinster who eats her spaghetti sauce from a jar.)

Here's the progress on the canvas.  I am loving that red background stitch, even if it is a bee-yatch to compensate.

See?  Sopranos.

Jan 25, 2013


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  A few moments ago she lumbered out of the big girl sleigh bed (after dramatically throwing her arm across her forehead while bemoaning how "bereft of energy" she was, by the way) to head toward the kitchen for her morning coffee. 

I decided to remain quietly under the covers so that whatever craziness the old lady has cooked up for the day might pass me by.  Alas, it was not to be.

"MEATLOAF!"  I heard her bellow.  "WE NEED MEATLOAF!"

From what I gather, my stupid mo-ther has been more distracted than usual lately, so she figured that the only way to get one's bull by one's horns is to make a baked slab of ground meat the approximate size of a mini bus.  My cousin Bosco thinks this is hilarious, especially since his nickname happens to BE meatloaf, but I find the entire exercise exhausting.

After a long confab with my Aunt Chrissy, I've come to accept the fact that whatever brain cells were in my mother's head have probably headed south for the winter.  Apparently, I'm not the only one left to wonder what the hell this woman is thinking half the time, but fortunately for me, I know First Aid and am capable of caring for myself in a sufficient fashion.

So rather than doing laundry or cleaning the house or taking down the inside Christmas decorations (I know, horrified silence, right?), or heading up to the studio to once and for all put together a "Winter" stitching basket....we're making meatloaf.

I do hope that this finds your own little corner of the world a little less....disorganized, and that you're headed into the weekend armed with only that which is completely fabulous in every way.  Until we meet again....I remain your loyal and devoted friend.

With love from your pal,

Jan 23, 2013


About three and a half minutes into my whole "just go with the flow" needlework plan, I think I've come up with a new one.  The only problem I have is that it involves going upstairs to the studio, and this is not something that is remotely possible when one is canoodled under three blankets with a fuzzy puppy. 

I'm toasty, kids, and I don't feel like changing that at the moment.

So stay tuned to see what nutball configuration emerges from this afternoon's activity.  I don't think it's going to be anything Earth shattering, but maybe it will get me out of the one-at-a-time mode I've been in for the last several months.  Methinks it's time to get some counted canvas work, cross stitch, Christmas ornaments, and WIP's back into rotation.

Woo Hoo!

Jan 22, 2013


Stewey is all snuggled into his perch for a long snoozy, and I'm in the Happy Chair with a damn good cup of coffee and the Sunday New York Times for company.  I love to read it all week, and as I do so, I like to pretend that I'm witty and erudite enough to understand everything that's in it.  By Friday, I get cocky enough to try my hand at the crossword puzzle, and then it's back to Humbleville and the South Bend Tribune and the Jumble, which is apparently more my speed.

Today is a day for stitching, and I'm excited to continue the background work on the Rishfeld canvas:
I've either fallen down and smacked my little head on the pavement, or I've matured as a stitcher, since I have yet to get bored/frustrated/disappointed/or all up in my head over this one.  Every stitch is as enjoyable as the first one, and I'm happy to report that ideas for the flower mo-teefs are flooding my brain.

Every now and then I flip back to the starting entries of this here blog, and the one thing that strickes me is that I really am nuts when it comes to this thing of ours.  There were times when I played with forty-two different things at once, and then there were times when I got into a good rotation that allowed me the opportunity to finish a lot of the open projects in my stash.  The last year or so, though, it seems that I am totally about "the process" and not as much fretting over the silliness that normally occupies space in my tiny little head.  I think I've finally come to the place where I realize that anything having to do with threaded needles poking themselves through something is fabulous.  In other words.....it's all good in the needlehood.

Wisdom?  Naaaah.  I'm probably just tired.

What's up with you?  Are you warm and safe and dry and doing something you love? 

Jan 17, 2013


Now I know that this is going to come as a complete shock to all of you, but there are two things that you should know about your whack-a-doodle Spinster Stitcher.

1) She has a propensity to knee jerk.

2) Because she is a person who knows no middle ground, she swings violently between everything being perfectly perfect in every way/oh what a beautiful morning to...oey/we're all going to hell in a handbasket.

Given these delightful quirks, I have made an executive decision to take a little news fast.  Not sure what this is?  Well, Dr. Andrew Weil suggests that every now and then we need to unplug ourselves from the 24/7 stream of news that comes our way via television, radio, computer, smart phone, beeper, iPad, carrier pigeon, town crier, and whatever other method one uses to get one's news these days.  He says that a news fast is one of the 8 Steps to Optimal Health, and when you consider the fact that this is also the guy that said the best thing you can do for yourself is eat a piece of dark chocolate every day, I believe it to be so.

So I'm unplugging.

I don't know if it's the moon, or my mood, or my present predicament of standing in the vestibule to menopausal hell, but I seem to be losing the plot.  Yes, dearies, I've become even more unhinged than is normal for a person of my temperament, so methinks it's time to grab the needlework and You've Got Mail and hit the happy chair for a little soul soothing meditation.

I don't know if Manti Te'o is a hero, a victim, or a villain.  I don't know what (if anything) will come of this whole mess, and I certainly don't want to even think about the fact that it's possible that this level of cruelty could exist in a human person to do such a thing, whether it was perpetrated on him or perpetrated by him.

What I do know is that this is one crazyass big blue marble we're living on, and while I do like knowing things as much as the next guy, I think that sometimes I'm a little better off hearing about it once the circus has pulled out of town and there's nothing left to do but sweep up the elephant poop.  So, forgive me if you were hoping for pithy insight or a well-formed opinion regarding the overall state of affairs, but the truth is....

I got 'nuthin.

P.S.  Do you think Lance Armstrong sent him a muffin basket?

Jan 16, 2013


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's slumped on her closet floor, clutching all of her Notre Dame sweatshirts, sobbing, ranting, shaking her fist at the sky, and breathing into a paper bag.  At first I figured that this was just another Wednesday and tried to avoid her entire mess of a self, but once she got on the telephone and started hollering at Aunt Chrissy, I couldn't help but overhear.

God only knows what's got the old lady on a roll THIS time, but I think it has something to do with a news story regarding a Notre Dame football player.  And from the limited amount I could decipher in between rants, I think something must have happened to this particular football player that has caused my Mo-ther to feel it necessary to holler (while very red faced and spitting slightly, I might add)...."YOU $#*($& WITH THE BULL, YOU GET THE HORNS!!!!  MEET THE HORNS!!!! RISE UP, NOTRE DAME NATION, AND CALL UPON OUR BELOVED BVM TO RALLY BEHIND OUR FAVORED SON AND SHAKE DOWN THE THUNDER UNTIL THERE IS NOTHING LEFT BUT FEAR AND TREMBLING AND RETRIBUTION".

At least that's how I think it went, anyway.  I was too busy trying to make sure that my crazyass mo-ther didn't knock over the Christmas tree as she was flailing about while trying to tell Aunt Chrissy all about the fierceness with which the Notre Dame family protects its own, and how she hopes that the resulting exposure of all of this mess will finally convince people that Facebook and Twitter are the devil and how nobody in their right freakin mind would ever use a computer -- ever -- and then I think this is when my Aunt Chrissy pointed out the fact that if it weren't for the computer, Mo-ther would be holed up in a cave somewhere with nothing to do but wring her hands while painting to do lists on the walls.

I'm as sensitive as the next pup, but somebody needs to intervene here and explain to my mom that she simply does not have enough time in her day to right the wrongs of the entire world.  And she most certainly cannot right the wrongs of the entire world while simultaneously trying to care for me in the manner to which I've become accustomed.

OK.  Enough about that.  Lots of new stuff to report here from Chez Outraged Spinster.  Mom got two (!) new pairs of glasses today and from what I gather they have some kind of fancypants lenses in them called "progressive high definition".  All I know is that Mo-ther is now able to see clearly both far away and up close, so we should be able archive the several hundred pairs of plastic magnifiers that she's hoarded from the Walgreens.

She also came home with a lovely new painting for the bedroom, so methinks that post-Christmas decorating will be much easier this year.  You see, when the Christmas decorations go up, Mom has to find someplace to put her big ass pear picture that normally hangs over the fireplace.  And this place is usually the bedroom wall, just next to the big ass sleigh bed.  When that picture comes down and goes back into the living room, we have months and months and months of kvetching over the lack of "pretty" in the bedroom, and Aunt Chrissy and I are subjected to endless hours of decorating and then re-decorating and then un-decorating until Mo-ther finally gives up and just falls on the floor in a heap.

But I think she might be on the right track.  Finally.

I'm envisioning all white bedding and some lovely drapes.  Maybe sheer, with a little hint of whimsy?  Whatever she does in there will definitely be an improvement, and I'm promising myself that I won't point out that it took her ten full years of living in this house to get to this point.

That's the report for now, dear friends.  If you're inclined to do so, please pray that things calm down around here soon.  I'm not sure how much more of the hysterics I can take, and God knows if I pack up my little valise and hit the bricks, the old lady will be left to her own devices.

Until we meet again, I remain your loyal and devoted friends.

With much love from your pal,

Jan 15, 2013


We managed to return home safely, so now the recovery begins.

Most people that go on a medical trip use the word "recovery" to refer to the time it will take to get their personal selves back into the grind of daily living, or the process of allowing the body to heal from whatever thing it was that you went on the medical trip for in the first place.

Recovery for Aunt Chrissy, though, means time to get the heck away from her idiot sister and all of the crazypants stupid incompetent nut ball crap that I do in the course of a day.

I did all of the driving, which was a good idea when you consider the fact that I am a freakishly freaky control freak and do not "do" passenger very well.  I especially don't "do" passenger very well in Aunt Chrissy's fancypants sports car that she drives while wearing her fancypants glasses that make her look like somebody famous, but you just can't figure out who.

(That actually happened to her, by the way.  More on that later.)

So I drove and drove and drove the fancypants sports car and somehow avoided colliding with anything, despite the fact that I kept forgetting that I was driving and was looking around at all of the pretty buildings and whatnot instead.

Aunt Chrissy's list of stupid crap that I did while on this trip would be eighteen pages long, but the only thing that I will really own and confess is paying $57 for four bottles of water.

What can I say?  I was thirsty and figured that the nice people from room service could bring us a few bottles of water to stick in the little fridge, but when it came time to sign the bill, I didn't realize that there was already a gratuity and service charge on there.  So I did math in my head and the waiter walked away wondering why the large sweaty woman from Indiana wearing her polar fleece pajama bottoms was giving him a $50 tip for $7 worth of water.

I'm pretty sure that it will be a while before we stop talking about that one.

I really would like to thank you for the shop recommendations.  They were positively spot on, kids, and we had the opportunity to visit two of them.

After we checked into the hotel, we ventured out for a short trip to The Crafty Ewe.  Holey Schmoley, what a fun time we had there!  The shop was lovely and very well-stocked with everything a stitcher could want in way of cross stitch and other supplies, thus we left there with a nice big fat bag stuffed with new treasures.  The shop owner, Carol, talked to Aunt Chrissy about the Clinic, and I'm not sure if she realized at the time how much that impacted us.  We were both very nervous about things, so Carol's calm and positive and reassuring advice were just the ticket for a great night's sleep.  What a lovely gift that was.  I cannot wait to go back, especially since the bakery next door looked like a place that I could spend some very serious time in after getting my stitchy groove on with the ewes and all of their craftiness.

The plan for Thursday was going to be that I would end up going solo to Wool and Willow, but as it turns out, Aunt Chrissy was able to join me.  This time, the drive was even shorter, and we were treated to some of the most beautiful scenery....street after street of gorgeous homes and tree-lined boulevards.  (This was where I had to remember that I was driving, and I did so right after Aunt Chrissy hollered at me for about ten minutes for not knowing how to turn left through an intersection that was bigger than Lima, Ohio.)  (I'm not kidding.....there had to be at least ninety seven lanes of traffic converging, and when you consider that I was pointing and ooing and aahing and everybody in the ninety seven lanes was honking at me and shaking their fists at the stupid Hoosier in the fancypants sports car that doesn't know how to drive, I think it all turned out rather nicely, thank you very much.)

So we parked and started to approach the front door and I went into a full-on panic attack.  What if there was a dress code?  What if I made an ass of myself and knocked something to the floor?  What if I couldn't get my words to come out right and Aunt Chrissy had to smack me on the back of my head to re-boot my brain?  Needless to say, by the time we had made it through the door I was in a flop sweat and couldn't stop chattering like a circus monkey.

I don't know how long we were at Wool and Willow, but I know that at one point Aunt Chrissy had to point out that we couldn't (much to my sadness) spend the night there.  I was all set to tuck in with a pillow and blanket and make a real bash of it, but alas, I was sans toothbrush and I'm not sure the next day customers would have welcomed the sight of a portly, snoring, sweaty, and jabbering spinster under their big stitching table.

We were honored to meet The Lunch Bunch...a group of ladies that gathers for stitching every Thursday, and has been doing so for many many years.  What a group!  I wish I could tell you how in awe I was of every single one of them, but suffice it to say, I left there truly humbled that my stitchy universe has just expanded to now include them as "stitchy friends".

So thank you, Crafty Ewe and Wool and Willow!  You made a very difficult trip positively perfect in every way.  (We do promise, however, to give you ample warning the next time we come for a visit, and we'll hit the Sam's Club for a vat of Tylenol to help ease the pain that is The Rich Sisters.)

I won't bore you with all of the stash acquisition that happened over there in Cleveland, but will instead show you  the progress I've made on a new painted canvas.  I have been itching to do a little more needlepoint, so this fit the bill perfectly.  The designer is Rishfeld designs, and I'm stitching it entirely in Vineyard silks.  Thanks to the inspiration of The Lunch Bunch and the help of the fabulous, amazing, gorgeous, and talented staff of the shop itself, I am going to do this predominately in tent/continental stitch.  I had to, though, get a little jiggy with that red background.

Thanks again for steering us in the right direction, my very dear stitchy friends.  It's good to be home and back in the proverbial saddle, so hopefully it won't be long before we meet again!

Stewey and Bosco send their love, and thank you for your concern that they were left to their own devices.  Both boys loved their time at Chez Magrane, but we can't get any more than that out of them since Bosco keeps saying "Sorry, Aunt CJ...what happens at Magrane stays at Magrane!"  (I'm Aunt CJ, by the way.  Just like Aunt Chrissy is Aunt Chrissy to Stewey.  Confused yet?)

Happy, happy Monday to you and yours!  I'm off to find a patch of sunshine and a few lengths of that gorgeous Vineyard Silk to play with!

Woo Hoo!

Jan 8, 2013


Oey.  The one game that I decide to play nice and cheer cheer for old Notre Dame and we get our heineys handed to us on a crimson platter.  Man.  Broo-tal.

I'm afraid that I don't have any stitching to report since I was too busy watching the carnage, as well as writing lists and such for our upcoming trip to Cleveland.  I do want to thank you all for your concern that I am ailing, but please don't cry for me Argentina....it's Aunt Chrissy's party this time.  Never fear, dears.  She will be good as new as soon as the people over there in Buckeyeville fix her up, but happy thoughts and prayers are always welcome and appreciated.

Full report upon our return.  And in the event that any bad guys are reading this and are thinking about breaking into Chez Spinster while I'm gone, please feel free to push the Swiffer around on your way out.  I'll leave front door unlocked for ya'.

(I'm just kidding, of course.  In addition to a dear stitchy friend on standby, I have several nosy neighbors and a few ex-Marine special forces in unmarked vehicles keeping their eyes on the joint.  So enter at your own risk.  There could be major booby traps, I'm just sayin'.)

Have a happy week and a good weekend and we'll see you on the other side!

Jan 7, 2013


My mom can't come to the blog right now.  She's on some crazypants organizational kick, so moments ago I watched her head out the door armed with a list of errands to run and a stack of library books.  I suspect that her newly formed impetus for finally getting something done around here is the result of the new year, but more than likely it's just a phase that will burn itself out in a few days.

I have to give the old lady credit, though, since she managed to actually tidy the place up a bit before taking a shower and then dressing herself in proper clothings for the day.  I had hoped that she might have sported one of her new Aunt Chrissy Christmas sweaters, but she opted for a Notre Dame sweatshirt instead. 

(Apparently, there is some sort of sporting contest this evening, and Mo-ther felt that it was her alumnal duty to show some form of support, even if it involves a twenty seven year old sweatshirt.  I did notice, though, that she put her class ring back on, so can the proverbial leprechaun tattoo be too far behind?)

On the stitching front, progress is being made rather nicely on Shepherd's Bush Come Tarry.  Methinks that this was the perfect project to have started, since it seems to be holding Mo-ther's attention for more than a few minutes at a time.  I'm still waiting for the all-day organizing session that needs to take place up in the studio, but for now I'm satisfied that we're back in the Happy Chair with needle and thread once again.

I do hope that this finds you well and off to your own good start for 2013.  Thank you for visiting with me today.  I'm off to find a patch of sunshine for a little snooze, so I'll close for now with the promise that I remain your loyal and devoted friend.

With much love from your pal,

Jan 5, 2013


So I decided that it was time to grab the proverbial bull by the proverbial horns and take a look at my stitching.  Or should I say lack thereof?

I only had 18 finishes last year, and the worst part of that sad fact is that the last finish of the year was on October 28th.  After that I only played with two projects, and neither of them were remotely Christmas related.  What the heck happened?

The good news is that I'm in the Happy Chair, armed with Shepherd's Bush "Come Tarry", and I'm determined to put more than one stitch into it before I call it quits.

I've also been a terrible blogger, a lazy Mommie, and a lousy keeper of the homestead.  Sheesh....we're off to a bumpy start.

I am, however, quite determined to turn this leaky little boat around, so stay tuned, kids, and we'll see what kind of adventures we can cook up!

Woo Hoo!