Jan 29, 2009

Photo fatigue

Back when DH and I first got married, we both had film cameras and used them. Very quickly, we used them less and less until they grew obsolete. We had this huge Rubbermaid box full of photos from our high school days, dating era, and early marriage. We NEVER looked at them. They were not in nice albums with labels. They were still in the envelopes they came in from the film developers.
After moving into this smaller house and needing to use every inch of storage space, I decided to go through the box and ruthlessly cull. It was fairly easy as 1) I am not a photo sentimentalist in general, and 2) the photos hadn't seen the light of day in more than 20 years, so we obviously weren't missing them. So, with DH's blessing, I chucked more than 75% of them. I know, some of you are gasping in horror. Get over it. That's the now-empty box with Emma.
Of the ones I did keep, I decided to put into one album all the wedding and honeymoon related photos. I grouped them by event - bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc. I stuck each photo (three to a page) on the page with two mounting squares. I did not label them. I know who everyone is and I know where and when these events took place (I was there, remember?). In the event I get old and can't remember anymore, well so be it. I FINALLY got finished with all those photos yesterday. WHEE-E-O!
Now I just have some old family pictures (that I AM sentimental about) to mount into another photo album. We had all these photos framed and on the walls, but we don't have a lot of blank wall space in this house and I prefer to fill up what there is with my stitching. So we deframed them and I will put them neatly into an album. After getting that done, I am calling it quits. The few remaining photos we decided to keep will go into a much, much smaller box and get stuck in the back or bottom of a cabinet somewhere. For now.
A note from my stitching chair: I haven't been stitching. I've been photoing. I did fondle my new pirate pattern quite a bit, but of course I haven't started on it because I am not done with the pattern for my parents.

Jan 28, 2009

Something else to argue about

It never ceases to amaze me what a bunch of women will argue about. The latest discussion in the stitching world is over buying or not buying charts with a "real" picture on them. Geesh.
For the record, I buy charts if I like the pattern regardless of whether or not the image of the pattern is a "real" photograph or a computer-generated image. I have some freebies and small kits that didn't have any picture but the chart itself, and they stitched up fine.
Some people apparently will only buy a chart if the picture on the cover is of the real stitched item. I'm at peace with that. Some will only buy a chart if they can first see a stitched model in their local needlework shop. Okay, I'm at peace with that, too. Some, like me, don't care; we're at peace with that. But it's the arguing and snipping at designers that gets me.
There were folks on a message board I read who were actually telling designers that they won't buy their charts because the picture on the cover is computer-generated. Well, my mama raised me better. If I felt this way, I certainly would keep it to myself. There are alot of designs I like but would never stitch, but I haven't fired off an e-mail to the designer to tell him or her that. Whatever happened to manners and only saying something if it's nice and polite? Fer cryin' out loud.
Emma says, "Get a life. Nap on your male human's legs and get over it."

Jan 27, 2009

Stash and UBSU progress

I got stash in the mail yesterday - all the way from the UK - and it got here in less than a week! Wow! I ordered Bothy Threads "Cut Thru' Pirate Ship" from Sew and So. I couldn't find it here in the US, so I ended up ordering it from the source, so to speak.
The UBSU is coming along nicely. I anticipate that it will be mostly finished sometime this coming weekend. Whee-e-o! I'll be able to properly store some of the unhomed stuff!

Jan 22, 2009

Couch destroyer

Our dog, Emma, loves to sleep on our couch. She loves to sleep on all parts of the couch. On top of the back cushions. On the seat portion. All over. We keep a pet throw on it to protect it from dirt and dog hair. It looks nice and neat about once a day right after we straighten it and the couch cushions. Most other times, it looks like this (with small dog included).

Jan 21, 2009

House update

Several have asked how the house is coming along. In a word, SLOWLY. Winter - even in south central Texas - slows you down a lot. So does hunting season, but I digress...
DH is currently in the process of working on the UBSU and on some cabinets to go over my desk. I got all the coats of paint on the outer parts of the UBSU over the past weekend, and DH should be able to assemble it this coming weekend. I have to slap some polyurethane on a few pieces once it is assembled, and then it will be finished!
While waiting on me (and for the weather to cooperate) to get the paint on the UBSU, DH built me some cabinets to go on the wall over my desk with the leftover UBSU lumber. He's got the frames made, and hopes to get the face frames made and attached by the weekend. Then I'll have to paint them. He'll make the doors later.
In the house, I am waiting for these WIP storage units to be completed so I can move mountains of waiting-for-a-home stuff that is in assorted piles in corners about my house to their new homes. And yes, the piles of stuff are driving me crazy.

Jan 20, 2009

Last stitchbook page

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments about my stitchbooking pages and my bellpull finish! I appreciate it!
I finished my last stitchbook page yesterday. I'm out of small unfinished projects to put in it. This page came out the best, in my opinion. And I also spent about three bucks on it. I had to give my tightwad-self CPR.
Michael's had scrapbooking papers on sale 7/$1.00 last week. So I took the finished piece with me because I wanted to find a solid brown color that would make the colors in it really pop. Well, of course the solid colors were not on sale. But I did find the "perfect" brown, so I paid full price for it. Then I made the mistake of wandering down the sticker alphabet aisle and saw the "perfect" alphabet stickers. They were not on sale either, and I paid full price for them, too.
What do you do with the unused portions of sticker packs? They sit around like long orts in my opinion.
Anyway, here is the page. This is "Purr-turbed" by Margaret Sherry (Heritage Stitchcraft pattern). And yes, I took the picture wonky; everything on the page is straight.

Jan 19, 2009

Last finish of 2008

I finished my bellpull on the last day of 2008. I stitched the four seasonal patterns from Prairie Schooler #123 "Country Seasons" on a 16 count aida band. The banding had a very open weave - someone told me it was tapestry banding - so I had to fill in all the unstitched spaces with ecru DMC to make it look right.
This was one of the few pieces I've had to stretch and block as it hung wonky even after I washed and ironed it. But I finally got it all finished and here are pictures of the whole thing and of each panel individually.
A note from my stitching chair: I am now stitching on the 50th anniversary piece for my parents. I didn't stitch a lick on Sunday as I OD'd on football. I wish I had a mute button for Phil Sims as I had to put up with him commentating on the Steelers/Ravens game. He seems to blurt whatever comes to his mind regardless of the facts. At least I got my wish for a Cardinals and Steelers Superbowl!

Jan 16, 2009

First finish of 2009!

I finished my nephew's birth announcement last night. Now I just have to find out from my SisIL how she'd like me to finish it. Framed? Cube? Mounted and ready to go in a scrapbook? (I promise to take the backing off the WonderUnder this time.) Here's a picture of it unwashed and not ironed.
I'm plodding along through the photo album redo. Bleagh. What a bore. It doesn't help that some of the pictures are out of sequence as to timeline. I have to look several pages ahead before starting another page to make sure something isn't out of order.
I started the project for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary today. It should be a fairly quick stitch. Well, quick for me anyway as I'm a very slow stitcher. But I'm not entering any stitching races, so who cares? But I do need to have it finished by around the first part of May so I'll have time to frame it. It will be fussy to frame.

Jan 15, 2009

More Stitchbooking

I finished two more pages for my stitchbook. Note to self: WonderUnder will not stick your piece to the scrapbook paper if you don't take the paper backing off. I have two more pieces to mount, and then I'll have a whopping 2 1/2 pages in my stitchbook. Oh well. (Aren't my little star brads cute?)
Right after DH and I got married, my mom took the time to make me a photo album of photos from my childhood and teen years. She used the dreaded sticky pages with plastic overlay. That's all there was back then when she did it. Anyway, I've known for years that I needed to change everything over to an archival album. So while buying stuff for the stitchbook, I bought an archival album and began transferring the photos. I'm not doing anything fancy, just sticking them on white pages with sticky corners or photo mounting squares. Then I write down whatever Mom had written under them.
ACK! It is absolutely no fun at all! But I must persevere and get it done. If I transfer two or three pages a day, I'll have it done in a week or so. I'll never be a scrapbooker. Stitchbooking is my limit.
A note from my stitching chair: I finished all the backstitching on the birth announcement last night. Then I charted my nephew's name and birthdate. I should get that stitched today sometime. Hopefully, I'll have a finish to post soon.

Jan 14, 2009

Stitchbooking and "only in Texas"

I recently read about stitchbooking on Monique's blog. Instead of making fobs, cubes, ornaments, stand-ups, or framing small projects, you mount them in a scrapbook.
As I have several small projects that fit that category, I decided to try it. I am not a scrapbooker as it has never really interested me. But I figured I could do some really simple pages and get the job done.
I went to lunch last week with Shannon, a local stitching buddy. She IS into scrapbooking, so we went to Hobby Lobby and she corrupted me. I bought fancy printed pages, a package of page protectors, and some stickers.
Later in the week, I went by Hobby Lobby and Michael's to further peruse the scrapbooking aisles. I was amazed at all the cool gadgets and gizmos! I was appalled at how much money one could sink into all the available stuff for this hobby! I vowed to only get the barest of bare necessities and to do it only when they are on sale. Cross stitching is a cheap hobby compared to scrapbooking.
So here is my first attempt. I want to keep things very simple. I used a page I picked up on a whim along with a finish I'm not at all attached to as I wanted to "practice" on something I didn't care about if I messed up. And I'm glad I did. I definitely learned a lot. I may gussy this up a bit with some stickers later (when I find them on sale), but for now, it is what it is. Yeah, the paper doesn't really do much for the stitched piece, and you can't read the label in this picture. Oh well, I'll get better at it.
And now for a news article my hunter DH sent me. "Sally Edwards is a highly esteemed third grade teacher at Jacksboro Elementary. In an effort to prepare her students for the all-important TAKS test, she compiled an exam consisting of 20 questions, which she administered to her class. The exam purposely covered a broad array of topics. For one question, which asked the students to list the four seasons, sixty-seven percent of the students gave the following answer: dove season, deer season, quail season, and turkey season." Ya gotta love those rural kids in Texas!

Jan 13, 2009

UBSU progress and DH shocked me!

DH got all of the pieces for the UBSU (underbed storage unit) cut out. Now, I must paint the three outer sides. DH would like the entire thing painted. He says he worries about what water would do to it if our waterbed ever leaked. I say that if our waterbed ever leaked enough to get the UBSU wet, then we would have more water problems than just on the UBSU. If he wants the whole thing painted, then he can do it himself. He hates painting. So, as planned, I'll be painting the three sides...
The pieces look weird right now, eh? I got one primer coat on, but the shellac-based primer I'm using really raised the wood grain on the plywood, so I'll have to lightly sand it and put on another primer coat before I put on two paint coats.
The other night, I was surfing the Personalized Samplers on Stephanie's website, Nouveau Encore. She custom-designs samplers to the stitcher ordering it. I'm not a huge sampler fan, but I have always been drawn to these personalized ones, and enjoy looking at them. (She has a lot of other neat designs on her website, so go have a look!)
So there I was, looking at them when I noticed DH looming over my shoulder looking at them, too. He says, "Those are all custom-designed, right?" I nod my head. He then says, "You should order one to stitch for us. I think those are really cool. We could hang it over our bed." I nearly fell off my chair in shock! So I guess I will be ordering one!
A note from my stitching chair: I got all the stitching done on the birth announcement, and am finishing up the backstitching. Then I have to chart the name and birthdate and backstitch that. I'll post a picture after I get all that done.

Jan 10, 2009


DH and I met each other playing church league recreational coed slow pitch softball; he was pitcher, I was catcher. He noticed my blue eyes behind my catcher's mask and asked me out. The rest is history. He proposed, we got married. And we still love playing softball. We used to play every spring/summer. But for the last nine years, we haven't played due to one reason or another.
A gal at DH's work is organizing a softball team. (The boss is sponsoring it so we'll get T-shirts!). DH agreed to "coach." This is recreational slowpitch so coaching consists of mainly telling people where to play and deciding the batting order for that game. We're so excited that we get to play again!
DH dug out our old equipment bag to check and see if all our stuff was still usable. Other than needing to oil our gloves, everything was fine, even our old cleats! DH's glove is over 35 years old. Mine I inherited from my brother; it is at least 25 years old. We would have hated to break in new gloves!
When we first started playing, DH routinely hit home runs. As we've gotten older, he's noticed that although the ball still goes as far, he can't run as well or as fast. Now his home runs are only doubles. *sigh* And as for me? I've never hit a double in my life! But I can still run fast for a short woman. Although I have to stretch out for a REALLY long time before I start a game.
Ohboyohboyohboy! Softball! The smell of a freshly-oiled glove, the smell of diamond dirt, the sound of balls pinging off of bats, the sound of cleats grinding in the batter's box, the happy sound of the ump calling, "Strike!" on DH's pitches! Ohboyohboyohboy! The league starts up at the end of February and I can't wait!

Jan 8, 2009

Knicker Knotter #8 - Some of y'all don't have a clue...

...as to how to properly spell the word y'all.
I've been inundated with misspellings of y'all a lot recently. And as a Texan, I know how to use the word properly in a sentence, and know how to spell it. And yes, it is a southern word.
Y'all is a contraction, people. It is as contraction of the words "you" and "all." It is not spelled ya'll. That would be a contraction of something unknown and it is not in the dictionary. It is not recognized by any SpellCheck program.
It is also not spelled yawl. This is a different word entirely and means "a type of sailing ship or small ship's boat."
Y'all is in the dictionary and in SpellCheck. It means "a group of people." It can be used singularly, but is usually used to mean a group.
Now, fer cryin' out loud, y'all learn to spell the durn word correctly; y'all give me a brain pain when you don't.

Jan 7, 2009

The "no home for it" blues

WHEE-E-O!! The sun is out today!
Work on the house is progressing slowly, just as we expected would happen in the winter. The days are shorter and colder, and Daylight Savings Time is gone. We were hoping to get a lot done over the holidays, but didn't due to a variety of reasons.
I am usually calm about all the chaos in my house, but today I have a bad case of the "no home for it" blues. You get this when you have ALL your boxes unpacked, but you are forced to pile/stack stuff in corners because the home for said stuff hasn't been built yet.
DH, bless his heart, is trying to help, but there aren't enough hours in the days for him to get all the wanted storage built AND work on the house. He delayed starting work on the new bathroom so he could build us an underbed storage unit (which is about 1/3 done). The "UBSU" as we call it, will get this pile of stuff out of this corner. It will all disappear under the bed! Yippee! (BTW, that's our unfinished new bathroom on the left there.)
This morning, I was kitting up my next project - the one for my parents' 50th anniversary - and was reduced to frustrated wailing while digging through my patterns. No, I'm not starting on it as I'm not done with the birth announcement yet. Don't get me wrong, I'm very glad to have all my stash accessible and not stuck out in the P.O.D.S. in a box somewhere. However, I wish my stash was HORIZONTAL instead of VERTICAL. I keep my patterns in UniKeep binders (the shorter stack). We also keep all our home files in them, too (the taller stack).
All those UniKeeps are supposed to go in cabinets (which I don't yet have) on this wall over a custom-designed built-in desk (which I don't have yet either). Everything is cramped and crowded and not user-friendly. AUUUGGGHHH!!! I try to keep my grumping to myself as it makes DH want to run out to his shop and build things out of sequence.
After a bit of housework, I shall hie myself off to my stitching chair and stitch. Life will be good (especially if I'm not looking directly at all the piles of stuff with no home!).

A WIP and a prize

Reposting as Blogger completely unformatted the post when I corrected a typing error.
Yippee! t.u. beat Ohio State! Way to go Texas! (I will root for t.u. when they play a non-Texas team, especially if that team is of yankee persuasion.)
In my post yesterday, I forgot to recount the story of the "rigged" doorprize at Saturday's IH35 Stitchtogether. Occasionally, one of us will bring a doorprize and we'll draw a name to see who gets it. This month, Marilyn brought one; a nice fleece throw with a manger scene that she machine embroidered on it.
Mel carefully wrote all our names down, folded up the papers into tiny pieces, and mixed them vigorously. Then she asked a supposed impartial bystander, my DH - who had come in to graze the food table after his strenuous morning at Cabela's and Academy Sports - to draw a name. DH mixed up the names again and then promptly drew mine. I had to put up with a lot of ribbing, but the fleece throw is very nice!
Here is a picture (taken in the dark, gloomy, rainy light with a flash) of my birth announcement WIP. You can't tell much. Margaret Sherry patterns always look like nebulous blobs until you get all the backstitching done.

Jan 5, 2009

Stitchy weekend

On Saturday, DH and I drove to Austin for the monthly IH35 Stitchtogether. (Well, I went to the stitchtogether, DH went to Cabela's and Academy Sports.) We had a good group at the meeting as there were eight of us there. No pictures as no one brought a camera.
We had a great stash exchange as several ladies had cleaned up and tidied their stash, and Mary brought three boxes of vintage cross stitch magazines. It was like a feeding frenzy, I tell ya! Yes, I picked up a couple of new treasures myself. I got the '02 JCS Christmas Ornaments issue and a magazine with a fishing pattern that I could stitch for my dad sometime.
We had a great time catching up with each other, eating, stitching, venting, eating, stitching, solving the problems of the world, eating, stitching, and did I mention eating? Mel reported that she had received a set of pink cookware for Christmas. ACK! She is next looking to get a pink kitchen appliance like a mixer or blender. ACK!! Everyone had a mostly peaceful Christmas; no relatives were maimed, killed, or disposed of (although some should be).
It was a good day! I got another motif finished on my stitchtogether WIP. It's a mystery Quaker sampler that I got off a danish website a couple of years ago. I started the pattern because I was interested in trying a Quaker sampler, and it was free. It has been a fun stitch, but I think I will modify it somewhat. The last part of the sampler is an alphabet at the top. I don't think it looks good with all the motifs, so I will probably modify it. When I finish it, I'll frame it and DH is going to hang it up at work, probably in a patient area. Here it is before I worked on it this weekend:
Yesterday, we vegged out by watching NFL Wildcard games. We had to put up with Phil Sims as a commentator for the Miami/Ravens game. That man drives me nuts. I think he had too many concussions when he was a quarterback. I'll be sad when football is over. I really enjoy watching it. At this point, I think I'm rooting for the Cardinals to win the Super Bowl.
I did get to stitch a lot on the newest nephew's birth announcement. I'll post a picture on a day THAT IT ISN'T DARK, GLOOMY, AND RAINING so that I can get a good one.
Well, I'm off to go to the dentist this morning for my usual six month cleaning and check up. I'm thinking that I will be making another trip to the endodontist as one tooth is escalating in its peskiness. I'm not a dental coward and I'm not one of those people that hate and fear going to the dentist. I'm just not in the mood to spend more money on this one tooth! Oh well. I've learned from seeing elderly relatives have nutrition issues later in life due to bad teeth that you should do whatever you have to when you are younger to save and keep your teeth for when you are older.

Jan 2, 2009

A book review

Those that know me well know that I love to read Star Wars books.
I saw "Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope" on the day it came out in Dallas (the first time, not the re-release) while in high school and was hooked. Han Solo to this day remains my favorite rogue. I remember coming out of the movie in a complete daze - the special effects, the story line, the aliens - it all blew me away and intrigued me at the same time. George Lucas is a genius!
I have almost every Star Wars (SW) book in print. One of the reasons I like the SW books is that they are meticulous as to timeline and character sameness (with very few exceptions). One book will rarely contradict another. Everything flows together well. In fact, if you read the author's notes (yeah, I'm weird, I do this), you'll find out that they often read or research previous SW novels to get all the facts straight. This becomes more difficult when you have a lot of writers for the same genre. But SW has done a great job with this.
I recently finished "Star Wars Death Star," a novel set just slightly before and during "Star Wars - Episode IV: A New Hope." It answered the question we all have, "How can thinking, civilized, sentient beings blow up an entire planet of other thinking, civilized, sentient beings?" And it gives you a different look at the galaxy's favorite bad boy, Darth Vader. It was a tight, well-written book that drew me in and kept me interested. The characters (most of them new) were believable and developed with the storyline. I give it five stars out of five.
On a stitching note, I did get to stitch today, but no pictures. It's cloudy, dark, glummy, and grismal out; not a good day for taking pictures. I haven't finish-finished my bellpull either as my sinuses are not happy at all. This usually affects my ability to think well, so I don't want to risk doing something stupid to the bellpull that I spent all that time stitching.
Tomorrow, I go to Austin for the IH35 Stitchtogether. Whee-e-o!!!!

Jan 1, 2009

Happy New Year and all that rot

Happy New Year! Whoopdedoodle! No, I don't do resolutions. No, we didn't go out and "celebrate." We were in bed early, but were awakened by the sounds of gunfire and fireworks going off around midnight. We were not amused. We never are. Yeah, we're sticks in the mud. We haven't been up intentionally at midnight on New Year's Eve in probably a decade.
I've noticed that several of the blogs I follow are posting stitching resolutions or stitching goals. Goals for a hobby seem counterproductive to me - too much like work. However, I am not above posting about hopes.
I usually finish twelve to fifteen projects per year. This past year, what with all the work on the new house, I only finished nine. I finished my bellpull last night. I'll post a picture after I get it washed, pressed, backed, and "hardwared up." Maybe I'll be able to do that tomorrow. BUT!! A finish is still a finish, so I'm happy.
For 2009, I have several "have to" projects to get done before I can go back to being a selfish stitcher. I started my new nephew's birth announcement today ("Baby Boy"). I hope to get it done quickly. Then I have a special project to stitch for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary which is in late May. After that, I'm dragging my MIL's HBP WIP out and will stitch on it until it's finished; I've done two out of 15 pages so far. I figure 2009 will be a three-project year if I'm lucky.
I hate having WIPs. I have three and don't like it. I'm a one-project-at-a-time gal. I have the birth announcement, my MIL's WIP, and my take-to-the-stitching-group-meeting WIP. I could handle having a regular WIP and the stitching group WIP, but more WIPs that that is too many. I know, I'm pitiful, aren't I? Those of you with multiple WIPs in double and triple digits are laughing. Oh well.