Oct 31, 2009

Out and agrout

DH got the bathroom floor grouted today. Tomorrow afternoon, he should be able to seal all the grout with the first coat of sealer. I hope to be painting sometime next week.

Oct 30, 2009

Texas weather and a good book

Yesterday had to be one of the weirdest weather experiences I've had in years. (At least it was weird for Texas; I've still not forgotten the day in Wichita, Kansas that began with sun and temperatures in the 70's and three hours later it was 30 degrees and snowing.)
The day started off in the 70's with clouds and intermittent torrential rain showers. So I opened the doors and windows to get the nice breeze and rainy air smell in the house.
Then the rain stopped and the temperatures climbed up into the low 80's. So I closed the doors and windows and turned on the air conditioners.
Then the sun came out and it got hotter; mid 80's. Next, it clouded up again and sprinkled. Then the sun came out and the temperatures started dropping. By the time DH got home, it was in the upper 60's. So we opened the doors and windows.
By the time it got dark, it was rapidly approaching the low 50's, so we shut the doors and windows and turned on the heater. Then it started to rain again. Fall in Texas - an adventure!
I stitched about 15 stitches yesterday before life called me away. I also read a great book this week. Y'all may remember the pilot that landed his crippled airplane in the Hudson River last year; everyone aboard survived. He recently published an autobiography with his account of the event. It was a very good read.

Oct 29, 2009

Dining in

When DH and I got married, I had an ancient kitchen table and two chairs that my Grandpa had trash-picked and fixed up for me. DH had an oriental-styled kitchen table and four chairs that he inherited from his parents. We kept DH's set as it had more chairs, and I gave my set to a newly-graduated cousin who had just rented her first apartment.
DH's set had upholstered chair seats with truly hideous covers (think '70's style harvest gold and avocado green *shudders*). We bought some cheap but sturdy upholstery fabric remnants and recovered them. We bought a staple gun to do it (our first tool purchase as newlyweds). Neither one of us cared much for the style of the table and chairs, but they were sturdy and functional.
We had that set for seven years and then we sold it to a newlywed couple and bought a heavy oak farmhouse-style table and six chairs along with a matching china hutch. The table would seat eight comfortably; 10 if you got real cozy with each other.
When we bought our current house, we knew that we needed a much, much smaller table and had no room at all for the hutch. So in May of 2008, we sold the set and hutch to a previously-owned furniture store and used a plastic folding table and a couple of folding chairs "temporarily." Well you know how that goes.
Nearly a year and a half later, we finally found something we liked on clearance and bought it. We honestly hadn't been looking too hard and just kind of happened on the sale (I love it when that happens!).
So I've been putting the table and chairs together for most of the afternoon instead of stitching, and I still have the other two chairs to do. The table is 42" in diameter, nice and small so that it doesn't overwhelm the dining area. And 42" is a nice size for playing Forty-two. :-) It'll seat four, maybe five if the fifth person is a small nephew on a stool.
If we have more than four adults over, no big deal. We're more of the "make yourself at home, have a seat on the sofa and prop your feet up on the coffee table" kind of people anyway.

Oct 28, 2009

Recipe redo

Why is there blue tape all over our new bathtub? Well, after trying to explain/nag/remind/scold/cajole/whine/fuss to DH about how proper prepping can save time cleaning up after a job, he actually remembered to prep the bathtub to prevent chips and dings and make clean up easier. He lined it with cardboard and taped it with blue tape as it's easier to remove than duct tape (don't ask).
I haven't stitched much the last couple of days as I've been working on getting my recipes reorganized and recopied. My old 3x5 recipe box was bursting at the seams. I decided to go with 4x6 index cards in two little index card binders that I found at Office Depot. I tried typing the recipes in MS Word and printing them out neatly using my laser printer on special index card paper, but it smeared too easily. So...I'm recopying all my recipes in my lousy handwriting with a lot of my weird abbreviations. I'm just about done (FINALLY).
My abbreviations will make it hard for anyone to read my recipe cards unless they know medical abbreviations and are a member of my family. For instance, when my Papaw wrote letters to people he always wrote "N2" for "into." Don't ask me why. I use it when writing recipes to save space as I like to get all of the recipe on the front of the card.
I also had a bunch of recipes jotted down on scrap paper or printed out off the Internet that I needed to get on index cards. They were stuffed willy-nilly inside my recipe books. I've been working all week and have a major case of writer's cramp. And I think I've used a gallon of Liquid Paper.
After I get the recipes finished, I'll get out my sewing machine for a bit as I have a couple of things to make for my nephews. LoriRay rehomed some fabric when she graced us with her presence at a recent IH35 Stitchtogether. I got some fabric with cars all over it and a fabric panel to make soccer ball pillows. I have enough of the car fabric to make my oldest nephew a topper for his bedroom window.

Oct 26, 2009

Somebody throw me an oar...

Landsakes it is soggy here! We had about three inches of rain last week and the ground is very saturated. And it's been raining all day today. We are literally sitting in water here. And our septic system is overwhelmed. Low-flow toilets don't flush too well when that happens. I know, TMI.
This is looking out a back window. Yeah, DH left his shovel outside in the rain. And that's a big stick, not a snake, so don't panic.
This is looking out a side bedroom window into our neighbor's pasture, which is about 10 feet from the side of our house.
On a pleasant note, DH did get the bathroom floor tiled, but not in time for the Cowboy game as he ran out of mortar with one and a half rows of tile to go. So we had to make an emergency Lowe's run into town. After buying the mortar, we made it home in time for the start of the game's second quarter.
DH had to decide between finishing the floor and hunting (and missing the Cowboy game), or finishing the floor and watching the Cowboy game (and foregoing hunting for the evening. The Cowboy game won out, and they did, too! They appear to be playing better!
Here's the finished floor with the little white tile spacers still in place.
It still needs grout, but at least it is down. Once it and the tub surround are grouted and sealed, I'll have to get my paint roller out and paint. Progress is slow, but sure.

Oct 25, 2009

A bathroom update

DH got the tub surround grouted yesterday. Now he just has to let it dry a day or two before giving it a final cleaning and applying grout sealer.
After finishing the grouting, DH laid out the floor tiles to make sure everything would fit correctly. Next, he pre-cut all the tiles and then went hunting for the evening. He saw deer, but nothing he could legally shoot.
This afternoon, he is actually laying the floor tile; it's going ALOT faster than the tub surround! He hopes to get finished before the Cowboy game starts.

Oct 23, 2009

The crab is in!

I finished the backstitching on "The Crab is In," so I started stitching on "The Boys Are Back in Town" yesterday after a prolonged floss-toss. I'm doing it mostly in DMC, with a bit of GAST thrown in. I don't know if my chosen colors are what the designer had in mind, but I don't care. If you don't provide a DMC conversion, then too bad. Anyway, I like my chosen colors.
After wailing over the state of our driveway after yesterday's durn young'un incident, I went to town today and stopped at Hobby Lobby during my many errands. I found some 6mm round plastic black beads for my crab's eyes.
After stitching them on, I finished "The Crab is In!" into the crab tuck pillow I bought recently. I use Pellon Wonder Under to hold the stitched piece in place when doing tuck pillows. He's done on 32 count white Lugana with DMC (the designer kindly provided conversions). Isn't he cute?
DH is going hunting tonight and hopefully he will get another deer. He's gotten one so far. Last weekend he got nothing and was mopey all week. A mopey hunter is a sad thing.

Oct 22, 2009

Don't do this in the country

If you are a college-aged male from the city, don't get in your crew cab truck with three friends and drive out into the country if you don't know where you are going. Keep the windows of the truck open so the testosterone levels in the cab don't initiate "pack mentality" and cause you to think and do stupid things.
Know that if it has been raining for 24 hours straight, that in this part of Texas, all the dirt roads will become become slick as snot and you should exercise caution when driving on them. Some of them should be avoided. The locals know this. Learn from them.
If after getting "sorta lost," one of you dimly remembers that an old buddy used to rent a cabin back in the woods from a guy named Lance, verify that the buddy still lives there; you can't have forgotten how to use your cell phone.
If you make a lame decision and decide to visit the buddy anyway, if you start down his dirt driveway and there is a truck and a car parked ON the driveway blocking your access, do not drive around them as you will get stuck in the mud up to your axles. In your attempts to extract yourself, you will further tear up the driveway and you will still be stuck.
At this point, do not make an additional dumb decision. It is not very bright to troop up the driveway to the house and then stand outside the yard fence and holler, "Is anybody home? Yoohoo!" It is especially stupid to do this at 6:30 in the morning when it is raining and pitch black outside. You are lucky the home owner answered the door with a conversation instead of a 12-gauge. If you had waited until it was light outside, the home owner might have been slightly less grumpy and pugnacious. Maybe.
The home owner thinks you are all idiots. He cannot pull you out of his driveway. He doesn't yet own a tractor and he has had to call a tow truck to get pulled out of the bad part of the driveway himself. That is why he does not park cars up the driveway in the rain. He wonders why anyone would drive off a driveway into a ditch area when access is clearly blocked by PARKED CARS. He wonders how you will pay for the damage you have done. He wonders what you all were thinking. Then he realizes that you weren't.
After having a pointed conversation with you, he notes that you are all respectfully penitent and remorseful as you troop back down the driveway to call the tow truck with one of the two cell phones you are using as flashlights and wait for extraction. He still thinks you are all idiots, but you all seem to be coming out from the effects of testosterone fog and realize you have made dumb decisions.
Twenty minutes later, upon walking down the driveway to leave for work, the home owner stops to lecture you further. He notes that you have come to your senses and only want to get out of the ditch and hightail it out of there.
An hour later (and still raining!), the home owner's wife notes (through judicious use of binoculars normally used for spotting deer) that the tow truck has arrived to pull you out. She notes that you are all wet and muddy. She laughs. (Of course, once she sees the state of the driveway, she probably won't laugh anymore.)
Yep, it was quite the morning 'round here. Dumb young 'uns.

Oct 21, 2009

Crabby update

I'm almost done with "The Crab is In" as I just have the rest of the backstitching to do. Then I have to go to Hobby Lobby and find some little beads or buttons for the eyes. Right now, the poor crab is blind. After he gets his eyes, I'll finish him into the tuck pillow.
After making repeated trips to Lowe's for the promised floor tile, it finally came in today and all 40 square feet sit on the porch (along with the new toilet) awaiting installation.
You can't just call Lowe's and ask them if something is in. They only consult the computer, they won't actually go to the shelves and look for the product. And we all know how computers never lie...

Oct 19, 2009

A long but fun Saturday

I got up at 5:15 a.m. on Saturday and left the house at 6:15 a.m. I got home around 10:15 p.m. It was a long day, but I had a blast. And no, I did not go over to the "dark side" and become a quilter.
I went to the quilt show with Georgia, Ellen, Carla, and Terry. Georgia and Ellen work with DH (and have to endure all the guys and their deer hunting talk day in and day out). Georgia is an avid quilter. Carla and Terry are avid quilting friends of Georgia. Ellen has never quilted before and the other gals had her buying quilting patterns and fabric before the day was out; they turned her to the dark side.
Although I was sorely tempted by some beautiful reproduction flour sack fabric, I resisted the temptation to take up quilting.
The quilt show was phenomenal. There were tons of fabrics, gadgets, sewing machine vendors, and on and on and on - all for quilters. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at all the display quilts and fabrics. And I learned that cross stitchers and quilters are a lot alike; we're all sisters in needlework.
Did you know quilters are into variegated threads like stitchers? When we dropped her off at her house, Terry showed us a lovely wall quilt she had quilted with variegated thread.
I was drawn to quilts and fabrics from the 1930's. Terry taught me about flour sacks, both authentic and reproduction. I really like them. I also like the older traditional quilting patterns.
Some of the longarm quilting machines are beyond belief. Terry has one that is fourteen feet long! Some of them cost upwards of thirty- to forty-thousand dollars! And the computer programs that go with many of them are very cool. There is even one (like cross stitching) where you can import a photo and have it make up a quilt pattern for you!
I picked up a couple of skeins of floss - one was a new silk company originating out of South Africa. They were on The Online Needlework show last week. I also looked in the Sulky booth for the Sulky Blendables thread all the stitchers are raving about over on the 123MB, but they didn't have any 12 weight, only 30 and 40 weight. The colors were very pretty though.
I also bought a very sturdy portable sewing machine table (I'll post pictures once it's delivered). Right now, when I want to sew, I have to use the kitchen table. It's a flimsy plastic one that starts bouncing up and down rapidly if I sew fast at all. DH had planned to build me in a sewing table when he finishes the office area of the bedroom sometime in the distant future. However, this table really caught my eye because I can set it up and then fold it down and stick it under the bed when I don't need it; it won't take up space I don't have.
All in all, it was a fun day of looking at colorful fabrics and all things quilting. And I'll probably go again next year!
DH spent the day hunting with no luck. He did get the last bit of tiling done, but no grouting. Here he is setting the LAST tile!

Oct 16, 2009

Before dawn cracks...

...tomorrow, I am getting up and heading to Houston with some quilting friends for the Houston Quilt Show.
No. I do not quilt. I quilted a little at one point and learned that I do not want to quilt. However, I love to look at and and drool over other people's quilts. If I were rich and foolish, I'd have a different quilt for our bed for each day of the year and use quilts as wallpaper. (But I am neither.)
Occasionally, a little voice inside of me will say, "C'mon! Look at all the pretty fabrics. Look at the quilts. You can sew. You should start quilting!" Then the sensible and wise side of me pounds the little voice flat.
Yes, I can sew. I don't really enjoy it. I don't enjoy cutting out or piecing quilts. I don't enjoy hand quilting. I don't enjoy blind stitching, so sewing on a binding would be torture. So I enjoy quilts by looking at them instead.
And besides, have you ever seen how much room quilting stash takes up?! And quilters collect different sewing machines with reckless abandon. I don't have room in our little house to be a quilter.
Oh, and the show will have a few needlework (cross stitch) vendors in attendance. :-)

Oct 15, 2009

It stopped!

Whee-e-o! The rain stopped! The sun is coming out! It should be out all weekend!
I spent a lot of yesterday driving around trying to find floor tile for the bathroom. I know I said we had already bought some. Actually, we bought what was left of some clearance tile and the tile place said they could order more. We need forty square feet and they only had twenty square feet. It turns out they couldn't get it as it is out of production. Poop.
So instead of hexagonal floor tile, I went to buy plain ol' white floor tile in two-inch squares. Everybody in town was out of it. The poor guy at Home Depot spent at least twenty minutes looking vainly for the 10 boxes that the computer said they had. No joy; the computer lied.
The Lowe's guy said he had just ordered some and should get it in in 3-5 days. Uh huh. We've had experience with Lowe's time estimates.
DH called several tile stores that "don't have it in stock but would be happy to order it" for three times what Lowe's sells it for. *sigh* Sometimes it's a pain to be a tightwad when you're impatient.
I stitched last night and spent a bunch of time counting, muttering, and ultimately frogging. This design has some idiosyncrasies in it that are either mistakes or designer weirdness. But hopefully, I am back on track and the frog will not visit me again for awhile.
Last night, Emma went racing around outside barking at the world and galloped through the puddle that is our entire yard. She got soaked to the skin and DH had to dry her off. Silly dog.

Oct 13, 2009

Even though we need it, I'm sick of rain.

Too much rain and clouds, not enough sun. I'm wilting.
DH is wilting, too. While he is proficient at tiling, at some point during a tiling job, he begins to hate it and wants to be done. He has reached that point. Luckily, all he has left to do is the bull-nose border and all the tiles will be up. He hopes to grout this weekend.
A note from my stitching chair: I've made a good start on "The Crab is In." Yes, I changed the wording and the font a little. I'm leaving off the crab buttons called for, so I shifted the words and added an exclamation point. I'm also doing the whole thing in DMC.

Oct 9, 2009

Soggy, soggy, soggy

Rachel, I got my JABC buttons (and the free pattern) for "The Boys Are Back in Town" from the LNS that sponsored the stitching retreat. Most shops should have them or be able to get them.
Drema at Needlecraft Corner has a kit deal (buttons, fabric, and floss) on the whole thing for a very good price: click here. I've ordered from her several times, always with great and prompt service.
DH's alarm went off at its usual time this morning and it began to rain about a minute afterwards. It's been raining ever since. Cloudy, gloomy, grismal, and raining. We need the rain, but I miss the sun. I think I'll make my chili for supper and have DH make his skillet cornbread.
I should get finished with my second little Christmas ornament tonight as I just have the backstitching to finish. Sorry, no picture until after December 5th! Next, I am going to stitch "The Crab is In" by Waxing Moon Designs.
I'm planning to put it in this cute tuck pillow I bought at the recent stitching retreat. See the little crabs in the side borders? I'll add a hanger to it so I can hang it near my computer desk.

Oct 8, 2009

Quick! Before it rains again...

It was supposed to be mostly cloudy today and maybe rain. Instead, the sun came out (mostly) this morning. As the grass is up to my armpits, I jumped on the riding mower and hit the lawn.
I only got the mower stuck in one of the hidden ruts by the driveway once. Our driveway has tons of ruts by it and when the grass gets real high I can't see them and drive right in them and get stuck. The mower is too heavy for me to push out of a rut. I usually get DH, but he is at work.
And to top it off, DH has the truck today, so I had to use the Jetta to unstick the mower. Apparently, German engineers see no reason to have a towing hook under the back or front of their cars. So I tied the rope around the window frame and pulled the mower out that way.
Then I went to mow the front inside-the-fence lawn with the push mower. It wouldn't start so DH will have to work on it this weekend. And it's supposed to rain two inches tomorrow. We may have to put a GPS transponder on the dog as we're losing her in the high grass in the yard.
On a stitching note, I usually don't buy things that require buttons. I'm just not a big button fan. However, while at the stitching retreat a few weekends ago, I saw this really cute shop model of "The Boys Are Back in Town" which is a pattern put out by JABC that is free if you buy the buttons for it. And the buttons just make this pattern! Here's a picture of it:
This picture is kind of small; you can see a bigger one here.
Well, I thought the pattern was just too darned cool to pass up, even though I'm not normally a big Halloween fan. So I bought the button pack and was given the free chart. When I looked at the chart, I realized it called for Weeks Dye Works fabric in 30 count. I'm not a big Weeks fan (although they have great colors in their fabric and floss) as they are not colorfast and I wash everything I stitch.
It also calls for GAST, Crescent, and Weeks floss with no DMC conversion, and a Kreinik ribbon that is hard to find. Not a problem as I can make my own color choices based on the picture. And I've got some silk floss that will substitute nicely for the ribbon.
But if I go with 28 or 32 count fabric, the perspective of the buttons will be off enough to bug me. So I bought a piece of the called-for fabric. Next time, I'll ask to look at the chart before I am sucked into buying the buttons.

Oct 7, 2009

A Christmas finish

Well I finished a little tuck ornament for the IH35 Stitchtogether ornament exchange in December. And I can't post a picture of it until after December 5th so y'all are gonna have to wait to see it.
It's darn cute. Really. It's adorable.
Here's a picture of the miniature rose plant that DH gave me for our 22nd anniversary this past weekend. He surprised me! I love flowers but I'm always sad that they die so quickly. So DH gave me a live plant. Hopefully I can keep it alive until next spring when I can plant it in our yard somewhere.
And yes, that's a still unfinished window in our bedroom. DH screwed a board onto the bottom plate as this is a nice sunny south-facing window. The sun is fading all those bright pink 2 x 4s - now they're just faintly pink. Hopefully the rose will like its new home.

Oct 5, 2009


The Cowboys are certainly looking lackluster lately. 'Nuff said.
On Saturday, Mary finished her "Kokopelli Border Sampler" by J.M. Keeling (on 14 ct. Aida with DMC). We all happy danced with her. Actually, we celebrated with a trip to the snack table!
Even though I spent most of Saturday frogging letters I'd just stitched, I finally finished stitching "A Texas Garden" by Redbird Designs yesterday. Today I finish-finished it in a tuck pillow. It's stitched on 32 ct. linen with GAST and DMC.

Oct 4, 2009

A great Saturday

Yesterday was a great day. I went to Austin for the IH35 Stitchtogether and had a great time! We were missing a few folks, but hope to see them next month.
We had a great time talking and stitching (and frogging). We were having so much fun that I forgot to do my ornament finishing demonstration! Oh well. I can do it next month.
DH was already sitting in the woods in his tree stand when I left, having gone out at about 4:45 a.m. As dawn broke, he reported seeing many deer near his feeder. He was about to draw back and take a shot when something spooked the deer and they all jumped and ran off. So no meat for the freezer during the morning hunt.
As I left Austin, I called DH and he was already in the tree stand for an evening hunt and it was starting to rain. I reported that there was no rain in Austin. However, as I neared Bastrop, it began raining like crazy and for the rest of the drive home, my wipers were on full blast. But I made it safely home (and saw three wrecks on the way). DH gave up on hunting after I spoke to him as it began raining too much for him to see to shoot. So no meat for the freezer during the evening hunt. Maybe next weekend.
I had some leftover cake from the Stitchtogether and gave DH a piece. Emma thought she should have some, too. (Here's another Emma picture for you, Gloria!)

Oct 2, 2009


Emma has to get in a bit of hurling at least twice a day. She loves to chase her tennis ball (and has the teeth to show it, according to the vet).
"Hurry up and throw it!"
"Here it is; throw it again!"
I'm off to Austin tomorrow for the IH35 Stitchtogether. I'm looking forward to it. I'm taking "A Texas Garden" and hope to get it finished. It should be a fun day of fellowship and stitching!
DH is scurrying around getting ready to go hunting tomorrow as it's the opening day of bowhunting season. He is getting up at 4:30 a.m. so he can get out to his tree stand before the sun comes up. I am NOT getting up at 4:30 a.m.; I have better sense. But hopefully, when I get back from Austin, there will be new meat for my freezer!