Mar 31, 2009

Stitching retreat report

I had a blast this past weekend! The stitching retreat was loads of fun!
It was held at a Baptist camp west of San Antonio on the Frio River. It was a beautiful place and the weather was nice. We stitched in a large conference room, and our motel-style sleeping rooms (with hotel-hard beds) were off of the conference room. The food was camp food, but I didn't have to cook it, and I'm not a picky eater anyway. Those that went hungry from meals could make up for it at our snack table. It was literally covered in food.
There were around 40-some-odd ladies in attendance, many of whom had been coming to this retreat for years. Everyone was friendly and ready to show others what they were stitching on.
We had two VERY nice projects to stitch on. One was an eyeglass case that I actually managed to finish at the retreat. I don't have a picture yet as I paid five bucks to have the retreat organizer, Jackie, finish it for me. I don't yet have my sewing machine accessible and I hate doing linings. I'll post a picture when I get it back in the mail. The other project was a Redbird Designs exclusive. Lorraine had done three previous seasonal designs and she had agreed to do the last one "Summer Sun" for this retreat before she stopped designing(!) and moved from Texas to New York(!!). I didn't start that one, but I will do it. The projects included floss, fabric, needle, pattern, and embellishments and they came in one of those zippered vinyl pouches - high class!
We also received some fun gifts which included a Shepherd's Bush kit - mine was a Halloween design - and a great tote bag with a few stitchy goodies inside. We also had door prizes - Sandi won a real nice scissor fob and Mary and I got chocolate. There was also a goofy bag that you reached in a grabbed something. I grabbed Silly Putty. There were things in there like water pistols, Gak - basically silly kids toys, but lots of fun. (I LOVED Silly Putty as a kid and drove my mom nuts with it.)
Stitches From the Heart, a cross stitch shop in San Antonio, had a sales table set up, and I bought a couple of the vinyl zippered bags. I did that before I received my retreat projects. So now I have several nice bags to stick WIPs in; they are much nicer than ZipLocs!
There was a raffle for three items (which were all very nice, but nothing I needed) that were donated. The items included a crocheted afghan, a knitted shawl, and a quilted tote. The auction on Saturday night (the auction $$ are used to help fund the next retreat to keep costs down for the participants) was a hoot. I didn't bid on anything, but a lot of the ladies really got into it. Some of the bidding was pretty competitive. My DH's three floss sticks (pictured below) brought in $76.00!
And of course, there was an orphan table with lots of unwanted patterns, kits, and other stitchy stuff. I managed to find a leaflet with deer patterns. DH has already picked out the one he wants me to stitch.
On Sunday, after we left the camp, we drove to San Antonio and stopped at Stitches From the Heart and spent money. I found several more Redbird Designs that I wanted to add to my collection, and I picked up some Caron Wildflower floss to try.
And I also met Cindy in person! We’ve been reading each other’s blogs and it was nice to put a face to a name. *waving!*
All in all, it was a great weekend (although I missed DH), and I'm planning to go to the next retreat in September.

Mar 26, 2009

Ramblings and a retreat

I've been battling my sinuses all week. They've been a pain. Literally. Oh well.
I haven't stitched a lick.
This weekend, I am going on a stitching retreat with a couple of my IH35 Stitchtogether buddies, Mary and Sandi. I am SOOOOOOOO looking forward to it. Of course, I have to get up before dawn cracks tomorrow so I can get to Austin "ninish" to finish the journey to the retreat as Mary is driving us from Austin to Leakey. So I will get some stitching in this weekend. And I'll post a report of the frivolities next week.
They're having a gadget auction at the retreat, and every attendee is asked to donate something. So my wonderful DH made some floss sticks for me to donate. He made three. Two are out of walnut, and the other is of oak. I'll take a picture of them and post it next week.
I had to go to town today to stock up on man-food for DH to consume this weekend. He likes kielbasa sausage, mustard tater salad, tortilla chips, and Oreos. This will get him through the weekend. Men. I would have made do on just the Oreos alone.
Emma gets a haircut twice a year. She is a rough-coat Jack Russell terrier so her hair is longer and fluffier than the smooth-coat ones. We trim her at the beginning of spring and late summer as it makes it easier to bathe her. She's a pig pen and doesn't mind being dirty, but she gets whiffy when she is dirty. Ladylike she is not. Anyway, here she is freshly washed and shorn.

Mar 23, 2009

The UBSU is done!

Rachel asked how loud my CPAP machine is. Actually, it's very quiet (31db). My DH is a light sleeper and it doesn't bother him at all. Which makes sense if you think about it. If a machine is being designed to be used while sleeping, it has to be quiet enough so that the person CAN sleep! I can hardly hear it myself: being hard-of-hearing is occasionally advantageous.
I didn't stitch a lick this weekend. And DH and I didn't get started on the new bathroom, but we DID get the UBSU finished! Yippee skippy!
Here's my side of the UBSU with my blueprint flat file that stores my cross stitching fabric.
Here's DH's side with the drawers for all his bow hunting accouterments.
And here's the end with more storage!

Mar 20, 2009

Stitching and sleeping

A note from my stitching chair: well, I finished "Love's Journey," got out my "Wild Things" WIP and resorted its 54 bobbins of floss into my project floss box, and then haven't stitched a lick. I've been more inclined to read books in my spare moments as of late. Hopefully I will pick up a needle this weekend.
On the treating my sleep apnea front, I've been a hosehead since Monday. It's slow going, which is a normal experience. Luckily, after having spent days reading on sleep apnea message boards, I knew not to expect miracles right off the bat. I also knew about the most common problems and how to correct them. So when I encounter problems, I'm mildly vexed instead of seriously annoyed. I'm having to get used to sleeping in a new way (wearing a weird-feeling mask and having it blow air up my nose).
I now have a pile of equipment next to my bed and I've added to it over the week. I started off with my CPAP machine and humidifier. Then DH insisted that I have a surge protector plug strip. Next, after wrestling with my air hose for several nights, I bought a HoZer Levitation System - a goofy looking contraption the keeps the hose off you and your bed and hangs it up over near your face instead. It looks like a wimpy and limp fishing pole. But it works (and I stopped dreaming about hunting snakes). Here's what it looks like from the company's advertisement:
Due to the unpleasant experience of "rainout" where moisture condenses in your hose and runs down into your nose, I purchased a "Snugglehose" - a fleece cover for my hose. It helped minimally. I could turn down my humidifier, but I am not comfortable with a lower setting; the air is too dry. Living in a valley with high humidity doesn't help either as it increases condensation. So, I placed an order for a special heated hose that will eliminate this. It is made and shipped from Australia, hence its nickname of "the Aussie heated hose." People swear by them and I hope to, too. The sensation of being asleep and then suddenly inhaling water is not fun.
I have a new routine in the morning. I get up and clean my mask, put away my equipment and attempt to get the inside of my hose dry. Then I pull the data card out of my CPAP machine and stick it in the card reader hooked to my computer to get a readout of my sleeping statistics (cool, eh?). It tells me things like what pressure I averaged during the night, how well my apnea was controlled, and if my mask was leaking too much. My machine is data capable (many are not). It allows me to make educated decisions about my own treatment. Empowerment!

Mar 17, 2009

Blog Anniversary and Happy St. Pat's Day

Today is my blog anniversary. Whee-ee-o! I have blogged for one year and averaged a post every 1.825 days, or 200 posts out of 365 days. Hopefully, I can maintain or surpass that average this year.
DH is over his disease. He came home from work last night and actually had enough energy to think about doing some things out in his shop. That is, until we were both overcome by DQ Blizzard cravings. So we drove to town and enjoyed Blizzards. DH had a French Silk Pie Blizzard and I had a Reeses' Blizzard. We had been enjoying leftover-from-the-holidays Yule Flip Peppermint Chip Blizzards until our DQ finally ran out of that flavor last week. Bummer. Oh well. There's no such thing as a bad Blizzard.
My computer monitor is wonking out. I get this fuzzy, distorted band at the top of the screen when I first turn it on. After a bit of time (which grows longer each day), it resolves itself. My sortof computer geek Bro-the-bean-counter says it is either the monitor dying or my video card. He told me to plug my monitor into a different computer to figure out which problem it is. So I'll have to lug my monitor up to DH's work this week to plug it in to a computer there. So I'll either be in the market for a new monitor or a new video card sometime soon. Yippee.

Mar 16, 2009


Yippee-skippy! I finished "Love's Journey!" Now I just have to find a frame and frame it. Here it is unwashed but slightly ironed for picture taking.
DH was ailing on the couch all weekend (he's feeling much better today), and I was able to get a lot of stitching time in. Next, I'll get going on my MIL's "Wild Things" HBP and work on it until I get it finished. I've done two out of 15 pages on it already.

Mar 14, 2009

Best laid plans...

DH had great plans for the weekend. He was gonna put the finishing touches on the UBSU and then start on our new bathroom. Unfortunately, he is feeling poorly.
There's a sinusy/flu-ish thing going around. DH works with several folks who have children. It is rampant in the schools. DH's technician, Billy, has seven kids and three of them have this. One of the other technician's son has it, too. Apparently, they are carriers of this disease. The boss went home early on Friday because he has it. DH came home from work with it.
He will spend the weekend resting and getting better. Emma is "helping."
All I can say is he better not give it to me!

Mar 13, 2009

Another hosehead post

Yeah, I know this is supposed to be a stitching blog, but I'm indulging in my right to run amok on another topic. And who knows? Maybe someone out there in blogdom is reading who is being a dummy like I was and ignoring their sleep apnea and my posts will encourage them to do something about it.
The weather here has been south Texas spring funky. On Monday, we had 80s and sunshine. It was a great night for softball and we resoundingly lost our two games. Our record is two wins out of seven. Oh well.
On Wednesday, the weather changed. The temperatures dropped about 40 degrees, it clouded over and started to rain. It's been like that ever since. I know we need the rain, but I still dislike a lot of cloudy and rainy weather. I'm part plant; I need the sun!
I have a new blog to read. Lynn is a fellow cross-stitcher and hosehead! *waving to Lynn*
I now have another message board to obsess over. I joined the CPAP Talk forum. I have learned tons and really appreciate finding it as a resource. However, I found myself laughing. No matter what the subject, there are always nice folks, trolls, trouble-makers, helpful people, kind people, know-it-alls, and goof balls on any message forum. CPAP Talk is no exception.
UPS is delivering all my CPAP stuff to DH's work today. I never get home delivery anymore because our driveway would strike terror in the heart of even the most bravest of drivers - especially when it's raining. So this weekend, I'll be trying all the stuff out and hopefully sleeping successfully with it.
I'll have to add a gadget to my blog sidebar with all my hosehead information. That's the first thing people want to know when they find out you're a hosehead, too.
At the "sleep" center, they used a full-face CPAP mask on me. I woke up with major TMJ pain and a horrendous tension headache, not to mention really dry and red eyes. These problems were all caused by the headgear on the mask putting tension and pressure on my jaw and neck. So the first thing I looked at was available masks.
I will be trying this one first: the CPAP Pro from It has no headgear or straps.
Most of the time (95%), I don't notice I have TMJ. Once you have it, you always have it. Now I'll only have symptoms if I have a prolonged dental work session or I play too many innings of softball behind the plate with my catcher's mask on. :-) And I'd like to keep it that way - minimal or no TMJ symptoms are good. The CPAP Pro looks like it will fit the bill. If I need to, I can get my dentist to make me a custom bite-plate for it. He's a hosehead, too. Apparently, they are everywhere!
Yes, I've been stitching. If I can get a lot done, I'll try to post a picture this weekend.

Mar 12, 2009

Where I've been...

Here it is Thursday already and I haven't posted since Sunday. So where have I been? Right here in front of my computer exploring a strange new world.
As I posted previously, I was recently diagnosed with sleep apnea. Actually, DH had been noticing that I stopped breathing in my sleep for several years; I just didn't want to deal with it. Dumb, very dumb. Moronic. Irresponsible. Just plain stupid.
I had a wake up call and decided that dealing with it was a good idea when I started having some intermittent heart arrhythmias (irregular beats). I went to my doctor. She sent me for a "sleep" study and some heart function tests. Yep, I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (the most common type), or OSA, and my heart is fine. Sleep apnea can cause heart arrhythmias as well as other things like strokes, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetic complications to name just a few.
So my doctor gave me a prescription for a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Basically, you wear a special mask on your face while you sleep and the machine blows enough air into your airway to keep it open so you keep breathing. With OSA, when you sleep, your airway relaxes and/or collapses and it closes off and you stop breathing. The brain notices this and you wake up enough to start breathing again. All this waking up doesn't let you get a good night's sleep so you're sleep deprived among other things.
My doctor couldn't answer a lot of my questions. She referred my to an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor to have my deviated nasal septum and wonky sinuses checked out. Since the ENT I was sent to also advertises that he is a sleep medicine doctor, I thought I'd at least get my questions answered. Although he did explain my "sleep" test results to me somewhat, he did not answer any of my questions regarding CPAP therapy to my satisfaction. I had gathered some information from the Internet on sleep apnea and CPAP machines. His answers to my questions gave me less knowledge that what I had already gotten from the Internet.
I also contacted my insurance company to find out about coverage. As usual, their answers were nebulous. I would have to go through a contracted DME (durable medical equipment) place to get one in order for it to be covered after my deductible.
So being the anal research fiend that I am, I got back on the Internet. I found sleep apnea message boards and researched products. I learned to read my "sleep" test results in its entirety. I learned which machine would be best for me (there are a lot of them out there). I learned DMEs aren't necessarily the way to go. I learned that there are machines that record your sleep data (like an in-home sleep center) and that you can use the results to keep track and be proactive about your own therapy. Finding message boards with real, live CPAP users who have been there, done that was wonderful; ALL of my questions were answered.
So after being glued to my computer for three days and winnowing through all the data, I ordered my equipment from an online store in Houston yesterday, and it should be here very soon. Once I get it, I will begin my journey as a "hosehead" - a person who uses CPAP therapy to combat OSA. Expect reports on my journey in the future.
A note from my stitching chair: yes, I have been stitching and am posting a picture. I have just a little of the white floss on the lady's hand left to do before I start stitching all the shading around the bottoms of the two hands and the man's sleeve.

Mar 9, 2009

IH35 Stitchtogether information

Cindy asked for information on the IH35 Stitchtogether. Here it is:
Anyone is welcome to come at anytime. We meet the first Saturday of each month in Austin, Texas at the Terrazas Branch Library located at 1105 East César Chávez Street from 10:30 AM until 3:00 PM. This is the exit at the river one block off IH35. On the map it is listed as E. 1st Street; it is E. 1st Street to the west of IH35, and East César Chávez Street to the east of IH35. The meeting room is in the back of the library.
Bring your stitching, finished projects to show off, stash you want to give away, sell, or trade, finger foods for lunch or snacking (we tend to graze all the time) and a friend. You may also want to bring a stitching light and extension cord.

Mar 8, 2009

Weekend workings

Well, DH and I were on a roll with house projects and didn't want to interrupt our momentum, so I didn't make it to the IH35 Stitchtogether yesterday. I'll post the information about it later this week; anyone is invited to come.
I got all the painting done on the UBSU. Hopefully, DH can install the doors and drawers today and I'll post a picture once it's done. DH is giving my overhead desk cabinets their final sanding as I post, so they're done, too! I'll be painting them this week.
DH also decided that we might as well replace our front screen door as it was in really bad shape. He couldn't repair it enough for it to work correctly - as in keep out all the wonderful Texas insects. So he replaced it. The temperatures have been up in the low 80s this week and we've enjoyed having doors and windows open. And there's nothing that says home to me like the sound of a screen door slapping closed! (That's the first of the two overhead cabinets to the left of the new door there - it's waiting for paint!)
And I got some stitching time in while I waited for paint to dry. I'll post a picture of my WIP sometime this week also.
Happy Return Day of Daylight Savings Time!

Mar 5, 2009

WIP information

Linda asked me for more information on my WIP. I bought it as a kit from a The Stitchery catalog several years ago. It was called "Loves Journey" in their catalog and is no longer sold by them.
Don't panic. I found it again at Sew and So in the UK. This same kit on their site is called "Wedding Happiness". I have ordered from them a couple of times. They are fast and efficient.
Yesterday, I spent the day in town doing errands which included a trip to both Hobby Lobby and Michaels to try and find a frame for my nephew's birth announcement. I didn't see a thing I liked, so I will finish it as a cube. I hope to get this done before the weekend so's I can show it off at the IH35 Stitchtogether on Saturday before I mail it to my Bro and Sis-in-law.
This afternoon - as the weather is finally warm and NOT WINDY - I will prime UBSU doors and drawer fronts. Hopefully, I'll have time to either stitch or work on the cube, too.
Oh, while driving around yesterday, I noticed that the BLUEBONNETS ARE OUT!! In case you don't know, these are the state flower of Texas and are wildflowers. They are my absolute favorite flower! (No, this isn't my picture, a friend took it last spring.)

Mar 3, 2009

WIP, a win, and a whine

We won our softball game last night; we are now two out of five. We're having a blast even if we're not that good.
As promised, here is a picture of my WIP as of this morning.
We got into town a little early last night before our game, so we stopped by Academy Sports to get DH a new pair of wind pants. He's been wearing his snow skiing wind pants. I told him he needed to get a ten-dollar pair of sports wind pants before he tore or damaged his fifty-dollar snow skiing wind pants. He was able to find a nice pair for $9.99.
As usual, I noticed a major difference between women's and men's wind pants or any type of sports-related pants or shorts; POCKETS! Men's pants have lots of pockets and women's pants have little or none! DH was able to put his keys in one of the two front pockets and his wallet in the nice zippered back pocket.
Where are women supposed to put their keys? Where can they stash a driver's license? How about some change for the concession stand? Oh wait, we're supposed to put them in our purses.
But what if you don't carry a purse? I don't. I haven't for years. At most, I'll carry a very small fanny pack, but 99% of the time I make do with a little wallet that carries my driver's license, my insurance card, and one credit card along with a bit of cash. The wallet is 3.5" x 4" in size; it fits neatly in a pocket IF I HAVE ONE.
And I know that women don't like pockets because they supposedly make us all look fat. Get over it. Who cares?! I just want a place to stick my keys and license! I demand equal pocketing!

Mar 2, 2009

Screened in

With the onset of spring (yeah, it comes early here in south central Texas), DH and I decided that we really couldn't live without a screen door on our side door. The old one fell apart when DH replaced the old door with a new one last fall. In order to get a nice cooling cross breeze through the house, we need to open both the front and the side door. And we live in Texas where bugs thrive year 'round, so we need screen doors on both of them.
So DH spent part of the weekend installing one. (That's Emma's dog door and ramp into the house there to the left of our grill.)
A note from my stitching chair: I stitched quite a bit this weekend as it was too cold and windy to paint UBSU doors and drawer fronts. I will post a picture of my WIP progress tomorrow.