Aug 31, 2009

Weekend wanderings

Saturday I went to Austin for the monthly IH35 Stitchtogether. We had a great time and most of us were there.
Gloria brought her "wild child" from Oklahoma to visit us all. We were regaled with stories like "Adventures When Traveling With Mom." We also heard "Tales From a 911 Operator" - she has a badge; don't mess with her. Seriously, it was great to finally meet Lori in person.
Several of us are going to a stitching retreat in a couple of weeks. This retreat usually features an auction. Money raised is used to help fund the next retreat. Mary grabbed a corner of the floor and in a very short time made a no-sew fleece throw that featured frogs. She is donating it to the auction. Dorothy showed us a picture of the afghan she crocheted for the retreat's raffle and it was gorgeous.
Sunday afternoon, I got to stitch a lot. I finished all the cross stitching on "The Alamo" as I finally finished the leaves on the big tree on the right side. Now I just have the rest of the backstitching left to do. The end is near!

Aug 27, 2009

August is winding down

Man! I can't believe August is nearly gone. Although I must say that I am looking forward to the moderation in temperatures that usually comes after Labor Day.
Tuesday, when I did my weekly grocery and Wal-Mart run, I left one of my bags of groceries at the store. I was bagging my own groceries and I guess I didn't get one bag back into the basket. I didn't realize it until I got home. Argh! It had most of the stuff I needed to make dinner that night, so I had to execute Plan B dinner plans.
Our town has experienced its yearly influx of young, bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed college students. One thing about Texas A&M University is that they try to instill politeness in the students. And in fact, most of the students are very polite. That may be due to ingrained southern manners, too.
While at Wal-Mart, I was trying to get down the cleaning supplies aisle but couldn't due to a huge gaggle of Aggie Corp of Cadets members armed with shopping carts and lists. I waited for a moment until one of the young men noticed that I was waiting. He immediately sprang into action. "Guys! We're blocking the aisle! Move it! Sorry, ma'am; we apologize!" I thanked them and went down the aisle. After organizing themselves, their lists, and their carts, they followed me. I had to get several top shelf items and didn't have to strain for any of them. The young men gladly reached them down for me, usually without me asking. I was also consulted as to whether Comet or Soft Scrub worked better for cleaning bathtubs. ☺
It was funny to listen to them shop. "It says here that we need a broom." "Yeah, but it also says that we need a green one because we're freshmen. Blue is for sophomores so put that back." "How do you clean a toilet anyway?" "That's what this brush is for." "Oh good, I was worried I'd have to stick my hand down in there."
I've been wanting to stitch all week, but life has prevented me from doing so. At least I'll be able to stitch this Saturday at the IH35 Stitchtogether.
Emma thinks it's too hot to sleep upright. So she's going for the full-belly blow from the air conditioner. Graceful and ladylike she is not.

Aug 24, 2009

Our weekend

DH took Friday off and we had a productive weekend.
On Friday, we went to town and price-shopped for a gate, gate opener and fencing supplies. We want to put a lockable gate at the end of our driveway at the road. We'd also like to have a gate opener so that we don't have to get in and out of the car/truck to open and close it.
Our driveway is about 1000 feet long and the land on either side of it is not ours. One of the landowners hunts his land and allows friends to hunt it also. Last year, some poachers came up our driveway, accessed his land and hunted without his permission.
A locked gate would prevent this from happening again. We'll get this done sometime before hunting season starts. We have to arrange with a different neighbor for use of his post hole auger (he's already offered to let us use it when we need it).
DH also got a lot of piddly things done like unclog a slow draining sink and several minor carpentry projects for me (which I had to paint). I'll post pictures of those when they're done.
I spent Saturday making DH shoe shelves on his side of the closet. He was using canvas shoe bags, but they were saggy and big and not very neat looking. The new shoe shelves are things of beauty!
Sunday afternoon, DH moved the propane tank from one side of the house to the other.
Occasionally he called me outside to help. Mostly I did a bit of stitching (pictures later). All in all, it was a productive weekend.

Aug 21, 2009

All the way from the UK

I saw a cute finish on the 123 Message Board a bit ago and decided to look for the chart. It's a Margaret Sherry pattern and it's in a 2004 calendar called "Country Friends" from CrossStitcher magazine (UK).
I found it on eBay and ordered it. It came from the UK by airmail and arrived in less than a week. It was not folded, spindled or mutilated and I was amazed!
Here is the calendar cover.
And here is the pattern I mostly bought it for, even though they are all darn cute. I'll be stitching one for a Christmas ornament, but the kitty I'll be stitching for me!

Aug 20, 2009

Frog fleece

While perusing in Jo-Ann Fabrics the other day, I came across this fleece pattern (and the fleece was on sale, too!). It was cute, it was blue, it had frogs. What in the world could I do with it?
Then I remembered how several stitching friends had gotten a bad case of MFCSB (Metal Folding Chair Stitching Butt) at a recent all-day stitch in. So I bought a two-inch thick foam pad and I'll cover it with the frog fleece. And I'll tote it along with me on stitching adventures when I am unsure of the seating accomodations. MFCSB can cause the frog himself to come and visit a stitcher afflicted with it. And what stitcher could pass up the chance to sit on a frog?
Emma's blood tests came back normal except for having low protein levels. The vet said to supplement her diet for awhile with chicken, cheese, and eggs. As she loves all of these things, at least I haven't had a hard time getting her to eat them. ☺

Aug 19, 2009

Dog days of summer ramblings

Tomorrow, I'm going to town to buy tile for the new bathroom. I'm buying white tile. White tile for the tub surround and white tile for the floor. We're painting the walls white. I know. We're boring. But we like white walls. Everything goes with white. Even white goes with white.
White makes everything light and airy-looking. I like light and airy. We will have a thin accent border of colored tile about a foot from the ceiling in the tub surround. Probably a light blue if I can find tile that color. If not, then a tan color.
And you wonder about people. I was checking out in the grocery store today and had to wait in line. I was standing behind a woman and her four daughters. They were (as we say here in Texas) "burly women." They had a full basket of food. Frozen pizzas, TV dinners, Lunchables, packaged chips, Pop Tarts, eight cases of sodas, probably 40 pounds of beef, juice boxes, candy, Hamburger Helper, bags and bags of cookies, white bread, ice cream. There was not one single fruit or vegetable in the basket. I can't help but think that their "burliness" was a direct result of their lack of nutritious food.
And I almost applauded a mother in Wal-Mart today. She was shopping for school supplies with her young daughter and toddler son who was sitting in the basket. He was a jolly and clearly happy kid. He looked around and bellowed, "HI PEOPLE HI PEOPLE HI PEOPLE!!!" at the top of his lungs. His mom placed her hand firmly over his mouth, leaned in close and said, "James, you know you may not scream in a store. If you scream again, we will leave now and go straight home and you will not get to pick out an apple to eat for in the car on the way home." Land sakes! A parent that disciplines and doesn't let her child scream in public! AND she bribed her kid with something nutritious instead of candy! I had to give her a thumbs up and she grinned back.
Then Emma liked to have scared the daylights out of me. She had some type of - for lack of a better word - seizure this afternoon. She fell off her bed and started thrashing around as she couldn't stand up. Her right side was affected. It lasted about three minutes. I picked her right up and phoned the vet and took her right in for a check up. She was fine by the time we got there. But the vet checked her over and is running blood tests anyway. Hopefully it is nothing. If it is something, then we'll deal with it. She is fine now and insisted on playing with her tennis ball when we got back from the vet's. She's dropped it at my feet and is waiting for me to throw it again.
I haven't stitched a lick since last week; I'm still reading through all the Harry Potter books again as they caught my attention. I think I've got a case of the dog days of August stitching blahs. And I haven't seen any new patterns lately that interest me. (Although I did buy an older Margaret Sherry calendar off eBay last week because I liked an old pattern in it.)

Aug 18, 2009

New sneakers - finally!

After several months of looking in vain, I finally found me a new pair of "out in public" sneakers. And - as I've started walking a couple of miles most mornings - I got a pair of walking shoes, too.
After spending a fruitless afternoon at the mall and visiting several stand-alone shoe stores, I found exactly nothing for my very wide and weirdly-shaped feet. So I resorted to my old standby. I bought my new sneakers online. Yep. Actually, a lot of the shoes in my closet I've bought online. (And I pay top price for most of them, too. You do that when you wear a weird size.)
I've known for years that New Balance shoes come in widths from 2A-4E for women. Unfortunately, shoe stores usually don't carry the full range of sizes. So, I had never found a New Balance shoe that fit.
Well, I found the New Balance online store. They have a page that shows how all the lasts of their shoes fit - heel width, instep height, toe box width, etc. Once you know the lasts, you can look at all the shoes with your preferred last and width. Over a certain purchase amount, you get free shipping. Returns are free, too.
I ordered nine different pairs of shoes and tried them all, keeping the two that fit best. Unfortunately, my walking shoes have hot pink trim on them. They DID have the same pair in two shades of brown, but it didn't come in my width. I may die of shame. Fortunately, I'll only be wearing these on my early morning daily walks. ☺
These will last me for five or six years. I'm not hard on shoes and I don't wear them out quickly. I have a couple of pairs of shoes in my closet that are close to ten years old and I still wear them. Lucky for me as I hate shoe shopping so much.

Aug 17, 2009

Book attack

Well, I didn't do any stitching this weekend, in spite of my grand plans. I was attacked by a book and didn't get away from it and its friends until this morning. Sometimes, I just have to read and read and read...
But I should pick up my needle again tonight. I do want to get "The Alamo" finished sometime. I've decided that if my backstitching is off then so be it. The Alamo is built of stone. Stone isn't absolutely straight and my backstitching won't be either. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
And I have a few Christmas ornaments I need to stitch. I'm sure the IH35 Stitchers will do another ornament swap this year. And I've got an off-road truck to stitch for my oldest nephew. My "One Nighter" patterns came in the mail so I now have lots of cars, trucks, trains, and planes to choose from to stitch for him.
DH was off at a continuing education seminar on Friday and Saturday in Austin. He has to have so many continuing education credits a year to keep his credentials up to date. There were four guys from work that went. Of course, on Friday night, they all went to Cabela's to shop for hunting stuff. Then on Sunday, a couple of them went to a lease and went bowhunting for pigs.
DH saw lots of deer (but it isn't deer season yet) but no pigs that he could shoot. So he didn't bring home the bacon.
I've been getting a lot of invites to join Facebook and MySpace. I went and looked over both sites. I decided that as I have a hard enough time keeping up with my own blog, I didn't need the added distraction of Facebook or MySpace. (And I frankly don't see the point of Twitter.) Call me an old fogey, but I won't be joining or doing any of those things.

Aug 13, 2009

"The Alamo" WIP

I hope to get a lot of stitching time in on "The Alamo" this weekend. I've gotten about half the backstitching done - mostly on the left side of the piece. And I've still got the leaves to do on the big tree on the right.
The backstitching is still driving me loony as I can't get some of the stitches to come out straight, despite stitching and restitching some of them repeatedly. And it doesn't seem to matter whether I use the back stitch or double running stitch. So I'll get the darn thing finished and framed and hope no one notices. Who am I kidding? Most of the people who would actually see this in my home wouldn't know cross stitching if it danced naked in front of them.
DH got all the sheetrocking done on the new bathroom this past weekend. Billy will be coming out next week to tape and bed. DH has the under-house plumbing to finish, and then he can get started on tiling the tub surround and floor. I need to go buy some tile next week, along with some bathroom paint. We're both getting excited as the end is getting nearer!

Aug 9, 2009

Reflecting on football

The Hall of Fame game is on tonight. DH and I will enjoy watching it. It will be interesting to see how Terrell Owens - now of the Buffalo Bills, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys - plays.
We never really cared for TO when he played with the Cowboys. Oh yes, he is talented, but he has such an insufferable attitude and a rather sharp tongue. Of course, a lot of players these days have such an attitude.
DH has some very happy childhood memories of a couple of Dallas Cowboys as he was growing up in the Dallas area in a middle-class neighborhood.
Bob Lily and Lee Roy Jordan of the Dallas Cowboys lived in DH's neighborhood, and they often played football in their front yards with the neighborhood boys, DH among them. Bob Lily kept an old mailbox full of press photos near his door to sign for people who came knocking on his door asking for his autograph. Once, Walt Garrison came by to visit Bob Lily and he sat around and talked with the neighborhood kids for a bit.
Would this happen today? Unlikely as the times are a lot different. But DH still gets a kick out of telling people that he used to "play football" with Bob Lily and Lee Roy Jordan.
Emma doesn't find football very exciting.

Aug 8, 2009

Another working weekend

DH took Friday off and is working on the new bathroom this weekend. He is making good progress. The bathtub is now set, plumbed, and surrounded by Hardi-backer.
DH is now installing Hardi-backer on the floor before he finishes up the the plumbing. After that, his goal for the rest of the weekend is to finish insulating the outside wall and to put up the rest of the sheetrock.
I haven't stitched a lick. I spent yesterday mowing as we had a bit of rain last week that greened up the grass and caused it to grow again. I haven't needed to mow since mid-June.
And tomorrow night is the start of football season! Yippee! I love football. I will miss John Madden on Sunday Night Football as the silly man decided to retire. But his replacement, Cris Collinsworth, is a good color man and I enjoy him. I was extremely glad that Phil Sims didn't get the job - I would have seriously considered not watching as I can't stand him and his blatant and uninformed opinionating.

Aug 6, 2009

A puppy!

No, not a real puppy, but a stitched one.
I've decided that I can commit to stitching each of my two nephews one ornament every Christmas. I could probably stitch one for each of my two nieces, too, but I don't think they are into that kind of thing - I could be wrong. They are grown women now; one is in college and the other is a college graduate and working woman.
Anyway, the IH35 Stitchers asked me to do another demonstration and ornament finishing was of interest. Of course, I need a couple of ornaments to demonstrate with, hence the new commitment.
My youngest nephew just turned one year old in July, so he is not up to expressing a preference for ornament themes. So I stitched him a puppy.
My older nephew is six years old and likes anything having to do with cars. Or trucks. Or large work vehicles. Planes, trains, and automobiles. Basically anything with wheels. So I will stitch him a car. I only have a couple of car leaflets, so I enabled myself and got a few more "One Nighter" transportation leaflets in anticipation of upcoming years. And they were on sale, too!
And "The Alamo" is still driving me crazy. One minute I want to finish it, and the next minute I want to chuck the whole thing. Being a perfectionist can be such a burden. ☺

Aug 3, 2009

Stitching fun

Well, as usual, the IH35 Stitchtogether was a lot of fun. We had great food (Lynn brought Round Rock Doughnuts!) and great fellowship. Jennifer brought a TW piece she stitched "way back when" on aida before she learned to stitch on evenweave. She did over-one stitching on part of the piece on aida! It was gorgeous!
DH liked his "Deer Nut" no-sew cube and took up to work with him this morning to put on his desk. Here it is all finished. No, there are no ribbons, bows, or cutesy embellishments on it as this is a man decoration.
He spent the weekend on the bathroom - progress is being made! On Sunday afternoon, I had to help stab a pipe under the house. I laid on the bathroom floor and stuck my arm down through one of the holes to do it while DH guided it from under the house. I only did this after DH cleaned out the cobwebs. I HATE the feel of cobwebs on my skin - it makes me wonder where the spider is. ☺
The backstitching on "The Alamo" is driving me nuts. I am anal about straight backstitching and it is very difficult on this piece. At one point last night, I was about to chuck the whole thing in the trash. But luckily, it looked better to me this morning. I use a sharp needle and pierce the previous thread, but it's just not all coming out as straight as I'd like. I've undone and redone until I've about driven myself crazier. Poop.