Jan 30, 2014


Chello, dear friends!

As I write this, the sun is peeking out from behind some rather ominous looking snow clouds.  I hear that we're supposed to get a few more inches of the white stuff this afternoon, followed by yet another several inches this weekend.

(How happy am I that I have a personality that remains perfectly content to stay inside Chez Spinster with nothing but chicken stew and stitching for company?)

(Oh, and maybe You Know Who Too).

So I've been thinking a lot about this whole "Life of the Mind" crap that Stewey has been trying to get me to embrace.  How the hell I ended up with such a fussy little fusspot intellectual companion is beyond me, especially when you consider the fact that I've never really been smart enough to get out of my own way.

I was never one of the smart kids in school.  I was just kind of...there.  Yes, I tried really hard and I did my homework and sweated out the results of every single test, but I was never one of the ones to achieve academic glory time and time again.  I struggled with stuff and I got mad that I couldn't "get" most of what was being taught, but somehow I made it through and managed to get a diploma and a hearty handshake from Mr. Rupert on graduation day.

Notre Dame damn near killed me.  Let's face it, kids.  I had absolutely NO business going to college, and I certainly had NO business going to college and selecting a major that included thirty-eight brainiacs...and me. While my classmates were reading Heidegger and Erasmus, I was reading Glamour and Jackie Collins.  My friend Michelle Martin read War and Peace in Russian.  I barely made it through the Cliff Notes.

So now I'm a grown-ass adult in a world that knows things, and I'm just happy when I can make it through the day without making a complete a total ass of myself.

But I have to ask.....

Is that so WRONG?

I mean, if the world needs ditch-diggers too, doesn't it also need "simple" people?  Shouldn't it be OK for me to sit in the Happy Chair and poke my needle in and out of something and think about....nothing?  When did it become incumbent upon me to solve all of the mysteries of the universe?  When did it become necessary for me to have all of the answers?  Why do I need to have a working knowledge of physics, or economics, or the inner workings of my washing machine?

Can't I just BE?

Yeah, yeah, I know.  You're going to tell me that knowledge for knowledge's sake is what makes life worth living and that being the smartest person at a cocktail party can do wonders for one's self esteem.  Well, I don't need any help in that department, thankyouverymuch. I am perfectly content to keep my trap shut and learn from somebody else for a while.  Remember that year of being quiet?  That was a good year, kids. Maybe I need to think about that as more of a permanent mantra rather than as a temporary slump.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm still going to watch PBS and read books and try to do the damn Sudoku every day, but if it's OK with all of you, I'm NOT going to try to be something I'm not....which is a nine-pound Jack Russell terrier dressed up in a silk smoking jacket with the smug self-satisfaction of knowing that you're smarter of every other living person in your household.  I'm just going to be content to be the dopey Mo-ther, and Little Lord Know It All can satisfy his need for stimulation like nature and God intended....in a chat room for precocious little snobs that could have thrived with a smarter owner.

So the good news is that I now know what I'm doing this weekend.  What's on YOUR agenda?

Jan 28, 2014


My mom can't come to the blog right now...she's pouting in the big girl sleigh bed because I won the coin toss and we watched intelligent TeeVee programming these last few days rather than zone out in front of a Mob Wives marathon.

The first thing we watched was a documentary on HBO about the political cartoonist Herblock.  It was riveting, and I so enjoyed learning more about that part of American political journalism.  Mo-ther didn't understand most of what was presented, but it did give her pause and stimulated a bit more than her normal drool-inducing fare.

Then we caught an episode of Charlie Rose on which he discussed a new documentary called "Tim's Vermeer".   Oh, how I wish we lived in The City or Los Angeles so that we could attend the limited release premier.  Instead, I will have to add it to my Netflix queue and hope that Mo-the doesn't ground me from my ipad before I can catch it.

Today we watched a lengthy documentary on J.D. Salinger.  I believe it was part of the PBS series Ameican Experience, and I can tell you that I was completely riveted from the moment it started.  I have yet to read much Salinger, but am now determined to do so.

All of this intellectual stimulation has not been for naught, I think.  I heard Mo-ther on the phone with Aunt Chrissy earlier, and I think they had a relatively normal conversation that did not involve the normal banalities.

Stitching tonight will be on Shepherd's Bush "Snow Hill".  As soon as more progress is made, I'll be sure to share some photos with you.

Until then, my friends, I do hope that you are doing whatever it is you want to do.  I am going to retire early tonight with Donna Tartt's Goldfinch...a novel that I am enjoying immensely.  Do you suppose Mo-ther can be persuaded to allow me a small sip of sherry whilst I read away the evening?

Take care, dear friends.  I remain your layal and devoted pal.

Jan 27, 2014


Is anybody else tired of talking about how freakin' cold it is?  Stewey and I are hunkered down with dietCoke and pot roast for sustenance, and I'm pretty sure we've entered the hibernation phase of the festivities.  Wake me when it's Spring.....OK?

Last night I put the final stitch into Plum Street Samplers "Hare's Winter".   (I changed the colors of their little outfits in anticipation of Sochi.)  I also used one ply of light blue and one ply of dark blue to come up with the look for the border stitches.  

It's too cold to get out of the Happy Chair, so I will probably pick up Come Tarry for a few hours tonight.  Tomorrow I will head to the studio for a few new things for the basket.  I'm percolating ideas for Olympic stitching, so stay tuned!  (Aunt Chrissy and I had to postpone our get-together, but are determined to do so this weekend.)  I know it will be a canvas work piece, and I know it will be red, white, and blue, but that's about as far as I've gotten.

Jan 24, 2014


Does anybody have a six year old that they can loan me for a few days?  Apparently, that's what it's going to take for me to figure out how to use this contraption.

If you've sent me an email in the last several months and I have not responded to you, please do write again.  My spinsterstitcher@aol.com account went bye bye for a while and for the life of me I can't find stuff from August 2013 until now.

Stewey thinks it's time to allow his personal secretary, Nigel, to give it a go, but methinks I'd be wise not to open THAT particular can of worms.  I mean, after all, the poor fellow is having a hard enough time catering to the whims of You Know Who and his propensity for pointing out that finding a classically trained British butler was hard enough without me messing about with it all.

Damn dog.

Jan 22, 2014


Believe it or not....I am often asked questions about my particular habits when it comes to this thing of ours.  One of the questions that I'm asked most frequently is "Hey, Spinster Stitcher!  Why the heck do you start all of your projects in the lower left corner?"

I've pondered and pondered and pondered how to answer this in a way that will convince you that I am NOT, in fact, a nutball of the highest orders, but alas,  I am unable to do so.

So with that in mind....

I start all of my projects in the lower left corner because I have the compulsive need to create a piece from the ground up.  When you combine that with the fact that I also have some sort of warped and twisted fear that the stitches I've put in will somehow slide off the bottom of the piece unless there's a border there to stop them, you can see how my epitaph rings so very true.

(Remember....tombstone?...."It wasn't easy being me")

So there you have it.   I start my projects at the lower left corner because of a pathological need to control everything around me (except, apparently, what I stuff into my gaping maw each day), and the pathological fear I have that if we stray too far we might just fall off of the edge of something like a needlework project, or the Earth, depending upon your perspective.

See?  Told ya.

Nut.  Ball.

Jan 20, 2014


Oh, what fun we're having here at Chez Spinster!  I'm not sure why, but I have been stitching my eyeballs out these last few days and have been enjoying every moment of it.

This is Shepherd's Bush "Come Tarry".  It's one of my very favorite pieces, and I hope that I'm smart enough to get this framed and on the wall, rather than let it languish in the FUPPY box once I get it done.

I am pretty sure that what gets me about this one is the saying...."Wisdom tells me I am nothing.  Love tells me I am everything."    It's The Drawn Thread, by the way.

Aunt Chrissy and I are going to get together on Wednesday night to start planning our Olympic stitching.  Since I'm a four-year old and can't wait that long, I thought I would play with this in the meantime.  See the little bunnies?  I'm going to make their little outfits look like US oufits (but without the normal American Airlines meets Ralph Lauren's crazy sister element).

(Stewey wants to know why they haven't approached him to serve on the committee yet.  I keep telling him that an entire delegation of athletes prancing about in silk smoking jackets and cravats would not be good for anybody, but he just mutters something about me being a Philistine and goes back to doing whatever it is that he does to pass the time with his idiot mo-ther.)

Apparently, this is what he does to get away from his idiot mo-ther.

That's it for now, kids.  I hope you're warm and safe and dry and that your very own tummy is toasty!

Jan 14, 2014


Well, first let me express my very best and most heartfelt THANK YOU for all of your concern about my recent....um...what's it called?....oh yeah, that's right....calamity.

I took your good advice and called my doctor, and she suggested a crash helmet and assisted living.  (Seriously...I had a CT scan this morning and think all must be well since nobody hollered anything about cutting my head open STAT!)  I did quite a number on myself, though, so it looks like I will be taking lots of epsom salt baths, popping a few muscle relaxers, and just generally taking it easy for a bit.  But can I just say that when one tumbles to the ground like a sack of hammers, it is so good to know that there are wonderful people out there who will gently tell you to get yourself to the doctor and stop screwing around.

Life goes on, my friends.  Stewey and I are tucked into the Happy Chair with the latest stitchy fun:

I hope that wherever you are is exactly where you want to be and that you will stay warm and safe and dry (and UPRIGHT) !

Jan 12, 2014


Several years ago, I told Aunt Chrissy that I wanted my tombstone to have five simple words on it.  I'm not sure if she paid any attention to me at the time, but after the events of yesterday morning I'm pretty sure that she's called the undertaker and gotten a jump on the whole sorry mess.  (*)

I awoke at the crack of Farmer Stewey needing to go outside to potty at the ridiculous hour of 4am and then finally decided to haul myself out of the big girl sleigh bed at 7.  Aunt Chrissy and I had plans to run errands, so I threw on a fleece and some slippers and headed out to grab the paper for a quick run-through with my first Starbucks.

When I caught sight of the trash and recycling bins, I realized that I had forgotten to drag them to the curb, so I grabbed the big ass blue recycling bin and started down the driveway with my pajamas flapping in the breeze.  I turned and started back up the driveway to gather the trash bin, when WHOOSH!! my legs decided to go right, while the rest of me decided to go left.  

Down I went into the cold four and half inches of ice water, slush and driveway salt.  

Fortunately I am extremely well-padded so after a quick look around, I bounced back up, brushed myself off, and breathed a sigh of relief that nobody seemed to be the wiser that I had just landed slightly to the left of my big fat fanny in a puddle of muck.

A normal person would have immediately gone back inside to hide in shame (and change out of her soaking wet and frozen pajams), but this is me we're talking about.

I headed back into the garage to grab the trash can and was doing well enough getting it to the curb when my entire lower body catapulted itself eighteen feet up into the air in front of me and I landed. Hard  On.  The.  Top.  Of.  My.  Pointy.  Little.  Head.

It knocked me out cold, I'm sorry to report, because when I came to, I was flat on my back in the middle of the fours and a half inches of ice water, horrified that I had just broken my neck because I was too damn lazy to drag the freakin garbage can to the curb the night before.

This time I didn't look around to see if anybody saw me -- probably because my glasses had flown off my face and I couldn't see anything more than six inches in front of my face.  So I stumbled inside, collapsed onto the laundry room floor and had a good long cry.

(Stewey, of course, was soundly asleep in the big girl sleigh bed the entire time this was happening.)

Once I calmed myself down enough to stand, I called Aunt Chrissy, who gently walked me through an emergency triage of questions..."Are you bleeding?...Is anything broken?...Is your vision blurred or are you in any pain?...etc etc etc."   We decided that a call to 9-1-1 wasn't warranted, so I took a deep breath, pulled on my eighteen year old sweatpants, and got on with it.

Today is...interesting.  The lemon-sized lump that had been on my head is now a perky little golf ball, and as long as I don't have to move, I'm feeling pretty good.  A few Tylenol and a vat of dietCoke later, and I'm sure I'll be back to normal (or as close to normal as this particular spinster can get) soon.

(*)  What's the five words, you ask?  In a lovely font, I'd like my tombstone to say:  IT WASN'T EASY BEING ME.

Jan 9, 2014


My stupid Mo-ther cannot seem to leave well enough alone, but I'm giving her a pass this time because she started a lovely piece called "Love and Wisdom" from The Drawn Thread that I hope to hang in my pee edd a tare once it's finished and suitably framed.

Jan 7, 2014


So there I was, putting the final button on my first Fee Nee of 2014, when Stewey poked his little head out of his blanket cocoon and said "Oh, Mo-ther.  You tickle me so.  How charming that you would stitch something that says "Chill Out" on a night when the temperature has yet to reach minus ten degrees Celcius."

And then he snuggled back under the blankets and I pondered the fact that I just spent the better part of seven days stitching something and never realized what it said.

Here it is kids.  The first official Spinster Stitcher completed project in I just don't know how long.  Can I get a Woo Hoo from the congregation?

Jan 5, 2014


So here we are....in the midst of a blizzard and sub-zero temperatures ( like, it would seem, is the entire freakin' universe at the moment).  Stewey and I are hoping that wherever you are, you are warm and safe and dry and occupied with something stitchily wonderful, like the Purple Snowman.

Woo Hoo!

Jan 2, 2014


When I sat down to stitch last night, Stewey and I got into a heated discussion about what constitutes a proper stitchy basket.  It is his contention that one must spend hours and hours and hours of careful contemplation of exactly which projects will fit the mood, ability, and season of the particular stitcher in question.

Me?  Not so much.

I started Shepherd's Bush "Purple Snowman" last night because it was already on the q-snap thingies and I think the color of the linen is lovely.

Sometimes you just have to go with whatever blows your skirt up, right?

Stay tuned for what I'm sure will be a different opinion from You Know Who-sits.

Jan 1, 2014


So here we are, happily arrived in the year 2014.  I wish I could tell you why I feel this way, but I am simply convinced that it is going to be a very very good year.  I can feel it in my bones.

Aunt Chrissy and Bosco and Stewey and I have concluded our holiday extravaganza, and I am happy to report that not one person was injured, not one puppy misbehaved, and not one piece of furniture was damaged in the raucous celebrations.

Oh wait.  I forgot.  You all KNOW me by now and are pretty sure that our holiday extravaganza involved nothing more than a ham the size of a Buick, some hard core TeeVee viewing, and a whole lot of stitching.

Aunt Chrissy definitely gets the prize for stitching prowess these last several months.  She has diligently been plugging away each evening on multiple things in her stitchy basket, while I have been prone to sleeping and drooling all over the front of my eighteen year old sweatshirt by 7pm each evening. 

I'm determined, though, and I promise that after I take a nice long hot soak in the tub and eat my way through yet another tray of manicotti, I'm headed to the Happy Chair with SOMETHING involving a needle and thread.  What'll it be?  Who knows, but I do promise to share pictures as soon as Stewey tells me what he's done with the camera again.

Life is swell, kids.  From our little corner of the world to yours, we send you our very best for a healthy, happy, and stitchy New Year!