Dec 30, 2010

After Christmas mayhem

DH and I had a very nice Christmas visiting with our relatives up in the Dallas area. 

Once we got back home, we were both plagued with sinus problems.  Apparently, our sinuses did not like Dallas and they spent several days letting us know their displeasure.  Sinus drugs are wonderful, even if they turn you into major couch potatoes.

I've been stitching like a fiend on the beagle dog as I need to get it finished by late January.  He only has one eye right now, but I've started on the other one.  ;-)

During our Christmas in Dallas, my usually non-romantic dad surprised us all, especially my mother!  I'll share that story this weekend.


Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Luke 2: 11, 14

Dec 23, 2010

WIPping along

I got a lot of stitching done on the beagle dog yesterday.  Here he is.  I think I need to stitch his eyes next.


Dec 22, 2010

Beagle WIP

I'm really enjoying stitching this beagle dog.  There aren't a lot of confetti stitches, just big blocks of color.  No quarter stitches or backstitching either.  I started it on Monday and here's what it looked like this morning.  (It's the dog's nose if you can't tell.)


Dec 20, 2010

A challenge for 2011

I tried to post several times this weekend, but Blogger wouldn't play nice with my photos. 

Many stitchers are planning on participating in a new stitching challenge for 2011.  The challenge is called something along the lines of "The Crazy 15 Challenge for 2011."  Each participant is to choose 15 brand-new projects and start one of the 15 on each of the first 15 days of January, thus giving her 15 WIPs which she is to work on and finish during 2011.

I am NOT participating in this challenge.  Having 15 WIPs would send me over the proverbial edge.  I can barely tolerate having two or three WIPs, much less 15.  And I recently acquired a UFO which is vexing me sorely.

As many of you know, I have a BAP that I am supposed to be stitching for a family member.  It recently became a UFO as it was driving me nuts.  As I am generally a one-at-a-time stitcher, I had planned to work on this BAP until I finished it.  Instead, I only managed to make myself thoroughly and completely sick of it and ended up chucking it into a corner.  I may work on it some in the future, but if I don't, I'm not gonna stress over it.  My hobby is supposed to bring me happiness and joy.  The BAP was causing me to avoid stitching, so clearly, a change was needed.  I highly recommend corner chucking for relieving stitching stress.  ;-)

I finished my oldest nephew's Christmas ornament.  I finally settled on making him a biscornu.  I found a small car motif in a Donna Kooler book and stitched it in four different colors on the front.  I stitched the word "zoom" on the back. 

Next I am stitching a beagle dog for a quilt.  The I35 Stitchers are making a quilt for a friend who is battling cancer.  Our buddy Georgia will be taking our stitched squares and making them into a real, live quilt. 


Dec 14, 2010

An ornament finish

I'm having a bad time with ornaments here lately.  I was about three-quarters done with my oldest nephew's Christmas ornament and just couldn't get it finished.  I didn't like anything about it.  I didn't like the fabric, or the stitching due to the fabric, or the design, or the finishing technique I was using.  So I chucked it in the trash and picked a new design to stitch.  

I found a train pattern for my youngest nephew that I liked better than the one I originally chose and it stitched up quickly.  I tried a new finishing technique (and I will not be using it again).  But in spite of that, I think it came out okay.  It will be handled by a two-and-a-half-year-old, and if anything, it is well glued.  ;-)

Next year, I am just going to stitch each boy an ornament of my choosing.  I'll pick Christmas designs that I like and stitch them.  I've learned that stitching something I don't like - even for someone I really like - is a real chore.  It isn't fun.  When your hobby becomes laborious, then it's time to make a change.


Dec 12, 2010

If you ask Emma...

...if there are any SQUIRRELS in the yard, she runs to the window to check. 

And Dunkin' Donuts Mocha Mint coffee is out of this world.  I'm just sayin'!


Dec 10, 2010

An ornament finish

The weather today is in the 70's.  I sincerely doubt that we will burn all the firewood DH cut, split, and stacked for this winter as winter seems slow in arriving.  Last year, we had an unusually cold winter and burned a cord and a half of wood.  This year, I've yet to stop wearing shorts!  Although I have started wearing shoes - bummer.

I stitched and ornified this recently, and as the recipient should have received it in the mail by now, I can finally post a picture.

This is a Chrismon ornament.  Chrismon stands for "Christ Monogram" and Chrismons are symbols of Christ and Christianity.  The ornament above symbolizes baptism (shell) and the Trinity (three crystals) - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  They are typically displayed on Christmas trees at Christmas.  They can be crafted from any medium, but must be done in the colors of precious metals and gems.  For example, gold or silver, and diamonds or emeralds.

I stitched this one from the pattern book "Fifty-Five Christian Symbols, Unlimited" (Book Number 54) by Designing Women Unlimited.  This book is OOP, but I was able to find a copy on eBay.  Another Chrismon pattern book, "Christian Monograms," by Country Crafts is still available at 1-2-3 Stitch!.

If you'd like to read up on them, here is a link to a great website that explains what each symbol means.  The website actually uses stitched pictures from the first pattern book mentioned above.

I was motivated to acquire the patterns and stitch a Chrismon when I helped a friend with the logistics in helping the women's group at her church stitch new Chrismons for their church Christmas tree.  (The old ones met an untimely end in the unairconditioned attic of the church during hot Texas summers).  The ladies ended up stitching the new ones over two on 14 count Aida in order for them to be seen well from a distance.   


Dec 9, 2010

Here she is, Gloria!

Gloria was lamenting that fact that I haven't posted any pictures of Emma lately, so here she is!  It was cold one morning and she was laying on the floor in front of the wood stove giving me the stink eye - "HEY! This floor is cold!"  So, being the obliging human that I am, I brought her bed over for her to lay on instead of the floor. 


I35 Stitchtogether report

I had a great time at our stitchtogether last weekend.  I'd missed in November due to going to the Houston Quilt Show, so I was really looking forward to getting together with all the gals.

We had nearly everyone there and had lots of great food.  Lynn brought a big crockpot of homemade soup that smelled heavenly and tasted even better as many went back for seconds.  I'm surprised that folks didn't wander into our stitching room because they were following their noses!

And I had to take our gorgeous quilt to show off to everyone.  And I had to fend off "sneaky" attempts to appropriate it.  There were lots of show-n-tell projects to see also.

We had a gift swap which was a lot of fun.  Georgia and I had traveled to Austin together and we each knew what the other was bringing.  However, neither of us thought to show the other the bag she had her gift in.  After randomly picking bagged gifts, we ended up getting the gift the other had brought and I like to have died laughing over that.  I was fine with it as I ended up with a great set of handmade quilted pot holders!

I managed to get some stitching done on my "Tribal Seahorse" and it's coming along.

As far as stitching on the home front, I've been reading a lot instead.  But I need to get to stitching as I still have two Christmas ornaments I need to stitch and finish.  Hey!  I've got a few days left until Christmas, don't I?


Dec 6, 2010

Lumberjacking - Part Two

DH took Friday off and brought home the log splitter he rented.  He then proceeded to split all the logs that he had collected a couple of weekends ago into suitable firewood.  

Then he had to stack the split firewood on the log racks.

And as he was a bit zealous in collecting logs, he had lots of extra firewood which he had to stack at one end of our horse shed (no, we don't have any horses, but a prior owner of our property apparently did).  I think we are good to go with firewood.  ;-)

I spent Saturday in Austin at the I35 Stitchtogether - more about that tomorrow.


Nov 29, 2010

How was your Turkey Day?

DH and I spent Thanksgiving in down in Rockport, Texas.  We had the traditional family meal at DH's Aunt's and Uncle's house in Corpus Christi which is about 45 minutes from Rockport.  Everybody was there - all of DH's cousins and their grown and nearly-grown children.  One of "the kids" brought her new fiance' with her.  The food was very good - Aunt Sue made a new Paula Deen casserole which was out of this world.  Everyone pitched in in the kitchen which is always fun.  Uncle Jerry persuaded me, the official cooker of the rolls, to keep them in the oven until they were "very nearly almost burnt" which is how he likes them.  ;-)

It was too cold and rainy on Friday for DH and his dad to go fishing as is their tradition.  So we played 42 (dominos) in the morning and then went out for an early supper in Corpus Christi.  On the way home, FIL decided to take the scenic route down to Mustang Island along the beach, and we took the ferry across to Port Aransas and then drove home up through Aransas Pass.  There was a school of fish in the water as we crossed it on the ferry and we saw several dolphins feeding - pretty cool!

I'm always interested in "coastal people."  They have a love for the coast and the water.  One of the ferry workers was a woman around my age with a weathered face.  You could tell she loved the water and the Gulf and the wildlife.  She got a big ol' grin on her face when she spotted the dolphins.  

When we were driving down the beach on Mustang Island, the surf was very rough and there were lots of folks getting out of their cars with wetsuits on and carrying boogie boards with plans to hit the waves as the sun was just coming out from the clouds.  There were lots of folks camping on the beach or just sitting in beach chairs watching the surf.  They looked pretty funny all bundled up in coats!

We got back home on Saturday evening and we ended up having our first fire of the season in our wood stove as it was in the 30's that night.  Sunday, we spent most of the afternoon watching football until our backsides became as one with the couch.  Today, it's business as usual.


Nov 22, 2010

A lumberjack weekend

I fully intended to post several times this past weekend, but I was too busy.  

DH took Friday off from work and spent the whole weekend getting our winter wood supply for the wood stove mostly in order.  We have several downed trees on our property, so DH spent all of Friday and a great deal of of Saturday cutting logs and branches to the proper size and using the tractor to transport them to our wood rack area.  

We currently have one half-cord wood rack with two more on order.  Last year we burned through a cord and a half of wood so we figure we need three racks.  And last year, every time we ran low on wood, DH had to go out and cut it and I stacked it on the log rack.  This ended up taking more time than DH wanted.  So this year, he figured on cutting all of the wood in one weekend.  As a lot of the logs are very large and our wood stove uses smaller logs, he planned to rent a log splitter.

Apparently, as the weather was forecast to be very balmy and nice all weekend, every other logging man in our county had the same idea.  DH could not find a log splitter as every place he called had them all rented out.  So he reserved a log splitter for the first weekend in December and will do all the splitting then with me stacking.  And we'll hope it doesn't rain that weekend.

I got all the logs that did not need splitting stacked onto the one rack we have.  DH also trimmed some trees and I stacked that green wood on our seasoning rack as it must dry for about a year before we can burn it.  You can burn green wood but it creates a lot of creosote and it is a pain to clean it out of the chimney pipe.

As far as stitching goes, I haven't touched a needle in a week.  Poop.

The Cowboys won their game and the Aggies and Texas Tech also won this weekend so all is right in the football world.


Nov 18, 2010

Ornified ornaments

This afternoon, I ornified two ornaments that have been languishing in my blueprint flat file.  The first one is "By the Full Moon" on page 27 of the JCS Halloween issue (Sept./Oct. '10).  Yeah, I know.  Halloween is over for the year and I'm late.

The second one is "Nickademus" on page 90 of the the JCS Christmas Ornament issue for 2010.  

The mornings have been colder here.  I know because our dog is now getting up on my lap while I enjoy my morning coffee and read the Internet for news.  It's not that she loves me so much; I'm a nice heat source with an Emma-sized lap and she knows it.  And so I can anticipate an Emma-filled lap on cold mornings.  At least until it starts staying cold throughout the day and we fire up the woodburning stove.  Once the stove is started, she'll go back to perching on the back of the couch.  But it's nice for now.


Nov 17, 2010

Wonderful Wednesday

As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I have cautiously removed the paper bag from over my head.  I'll be keeping it close as the season ain't over yet.

DH and I had a busy weekend whereby we got a lot of piddly things done but not everything done that we wanted to do.  Make sense?  Ever have weekends like that?

The sun is out today and it will be in the 70's, although it's windy and it appears to be raining leaves.  Yep, we still have leaves on the trees down here in south central Texas, although they are beginning to fall and the trees that have leaves that actually turn pretty colors are doing so.

DH and I have never been big coffee drinkers.  However we seemed to have been infected with the coffee bug here lately.  DH was in the habit of drinking "choffee" every morning at work - an envelope of hot chocolate mixed with coffee.  And on the weekends, I had been drinking "choffee" along with him.  We actually bought a little four-cup coffee maker so we could indulge in this habit.

We've been making changes to our diet and discovered Stevia sweetener at our local natural foods store.  One brand, Sweet Leaf, has flavored drops, one of which is chocolate.  So we started having coffee sweetened with the chocolate-flavored drops.  We liked it so much that we've started having a cup of coffee after dinner (decaffeinated, of course).  And, much to my surprise, I am learning to tell the difference in flavors in the different brands of coffee.  (We like Maxwell House Breakfast Blend the best.)  And this week, I purchased some flavored coffee, Hazelnut Creme, and liked it.  What's next, K-cup coffee makers and grinding our own beans?!  Ack!  

On the stitching front, I'm ornifying DN1's ornament.  After I get that finished, I'll go back to "Liberty Lane" until my "Fifty-Five Trains" leaflet arrives in the mail so that I can stitch DN2 his ornament.  And I've also got a bunch of things that need finishing before Christmas.  I wish I enjoyed finishing.  I can do it and do it well, but I don't enjoy it.


Nov 10, 2010

Our Lone Star quilt

Here is a picture of the beautiful Lone Star quilt that our friend, Georgia, made for us.  The picture does not do it proper justice but it's the best I could do.  I was going to take a picture with DH holding it up, but alas! even at six-feet tall and with his arms extended while standing on our porch steps, DH wasn't tall enough for the quilt (it's king-sized for our bed).  So I took a picture of it on our bed.

All the fabrics are bluebonnet themed - my favorite Texas wildflower.  After admiring it on our bed, I flipped it to the back side to admire the different quilting patterns Georgia had used.  Feathers and stars and curly-ques, oh my!

It looks lovely on our bed and we anticipate enjoying it for many, many years.  Thanks, Georgia!


Nov 9, 2010


I got all the stitching done on DN1's "F-18" Christmas ornament; now all I have to do is the backstitching and ornifying.  I'm stitching it on a piece of 28 count Meran I acquired from Mary's stash purge a couple of months ago.  The color reminds me of blue sky - perfect for a flying airplane.

And I was completely floored today and rendered practically speechless (very rare for me) by a friend!  I was given an incredible gift!  I'll post a picture of it tomorrow as I need DH to get a picture of it and I have to wait until he gets home tonight.

Well, apparently Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, felt it was time to stick his oar in, so he fired Coach Wade Phillips.  Jason Garrett is Acting Head Coach and I have no problem with him as he certainly can't do any worse.  We'll see.  My paper bag is still handy...


Nov 8, 2010

Still wearing that paper bag over my head...

Oh dear.  The Dallas Cowboys...what can you say?  Happily Texas A&M and Texas Tech both won their games and t.u. got beat.  It was mostly a good football weekend unless you were watching the NFL.

I got up at o'dark-thirty on Saturday and went to the Houston International Quilt Show, reportedly the largest quilt show in the world.  My day started out with me standing in the ticket line waiting to buy a ticket to get into the show when a lady walked up to me and gave me an extra ticket she had!  How cool is that!

The show itself was a lot of fun.  I was with Georgia and Terri who are are real, live quilters.  It was fun seeing all the vendors and watching some live demonstrations.  One device that wowed me was the AccuQuilt GO!  It cuts fabric for you very easily and precisely.  It has a lot of different dies that cut different shapes and sizes for piecing and applique.  If I ever have the urge to quilt, I'd definitely get one of these.

Georgia and Terri both have long-arm quilting machines.  There are several manufacturers - think Chevy to Porsche - and it was interesting to see all the different long-arm machines available.  Georgia bought hers used and wants to upgrade to a machine with more features.  She talked to the dealer at the show.  Apparently, you can buy, sell, and trade long-arms just like a car as used ones have a trade-in value.  

The new thing this year was fabric paints, glitter, and foil effects.  We watched a couple of demonstrations on this and I found it pretty interesting.  I was amazed that sprinkle-on glitter stayed exactly where you put it on the fabric with none sneaking off.  

Another demonstration had me backing away from the table muttering frantically, "I don't need another hobby!  I don't need another hobby!"  There were several vendors selling hot-fix Swarovski crystals that you could iron on in patterns on fabric or clothing.  It looked really cool and I was tempted to take it up as a hobby.  But then I calculated how much I would have to spend to get started and after figuring how much cross stitch stash that would buy, I managed to restrain myself.

Today I plan to get a bit more fall cleaning done and then put away "Liberty Lane" while I get my nephews' Christmas ornaments stitched.  DN1 is getting an F-18 airplane this year instead of a car.   DN2 is getting a reindeer with ornaments hanging off his antlers unless his parents request something else.


Nov 5, 2010

Is it just me?

Or didn't there used to be a holiday between Halloween and Christmas?  Um, I believe it was called Thanksgiving.  It was a definite, defined and celebrated holiday and it was distinctly retailed.  Now, it just kind of blends in with Halloween or "Fall" and then the retailers go immediately into Christmas.  The only way you can tell it is upcoming is that the grocers start selling turkeys real cheap and marshmallows start showing up near the sweet taters.

I hate that.  Bah humbug.

There ought to be a law against it.  Retailers (other than craft and fabric stores) shouldn't put out Christmas stuff OR PLAY CHRISTMAS MUSIC until the Friday right after Thanksgiving.  Nowadays, by the time Christmas actually gets here I am so sick of "the season" that I could run screaming down the street.  And that's unfortunate.  The retailing gets in the way of the true meaning of the season.  And it's hard to avoid all the retailing and hoopla unless you live in a cave from November 1st until December 25th.  Which I don't.  Bah humbug.

Okay, off my soapbox.  I'm going to the Houston International Quilt Show tomorrow with a couple of ladies who are actual real, live quilters.  I'm just a quilting wannabe.  I've quilted a little and didn't enjoy it at all.  However, I LOOOOOVE to look at quilts and fabrics.  I went last year and had a blast.  There are a couple of stitching designers/shops there like The Silver Needle (shop) and Blackbird Designs (designer), but then Blackbird Designs also designs quilts and quilting fabric lines in addition to designing cross stitch patterns.  

The only bad thing about the trip is that I have to get up at o'dark-thirty and I don't get home until pretty late.  I'll be leaving the house about the time my DH will go out to hunt.  Oh well.


Nov 2, 2010

Thanks, Susan.

Did you vote today?  I did.  Less than 100 years ago, women were not allowed to vote in the USA; in some countries they still can't vote.  Susan B. Anthony was the matriarch of getting women the right to vote in this country.  Voting is a privilege and everyone should exercise their voting rights.

My weekend was wonderful.  The drive out to my stitching retreat was fun as I spent a lot of time driving through the Texas hill country - beautiful!  The retreat was great.  We go to this place every fall.  I like the food, I like the accommodations, but the chairs in the stitching room stink - conference chairs!  I won a doorprize (Pine Mountain Pillow kit).  

I made the mistake of looking at the hand-dyed fabric on the sales table and ended up coming home with some.  The colors probably won't show up adequately, but here they are:  Zweigart Lime Green and Renaissance Red by Lakeside Linens.  I have no idea what to stitch on the red fabric, but I couldn't pass it up.  I'll stitch something "halloweeny" on the green fabric.

I got a decent amount of stitching done on "Liberty Lane" in between talking with my tablemates and looking at the work of other stitchers.

In regards to weekend sporting events, as a Cowboys fan, I am now wearing a paper bag over my head, my Aggies beat DH's Red Raiders, and the Texas Rangers did their best in their first appearance ever at the World Series.  

Oct 27, 2010

Doors and more

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth.  I've been doing a lot of fall cleaning around the house.  Whoopee.

Our friend Billy was finally able to get the doors for the bathroom cabinets painted for us.  DH was able to get three of them installed.  The fourth door has glass panels in it and we thought we'd be able to get clips to hold them in the frame from Lowe's or Home Depot.  No such luck; we had to order them online and they aren't here yet.  Here are the doors he installed "before" and "after."


I got my new stitching lamp yesterday and am very pleased with it.  It has several new features that are way better than the ones on the old lamp.  All of the lamp joints are keyless - you don't have to turn a wingnut to adjust the angle; you just move it to the desired position and it stays!  The lens has a plastic cover instead of a cloth one.  Other than that, it's still the same great high quality Daylight magnification lamp I love.

I've made progress on "Liberty Lane."  If you are familiar with this pattern, you might notice that the colors don't match the pattern.  That's because I'm stitching it with colors a friend used when she stitched it.  I like her version a lot better.  When I get it finished, I'll post RitaD's conversions.

On Friday, I'm off to west Texas for a stitching retreat, and boy! am I ever looking forward to it!  Somebody else will cook and clean for me for the whole weekend, and I get to sit and stitch ALL WEEKEND LONG!  


Oct 17, 2010

A stitching disaster and a buck

DH has been very successful in hunting this year.  He's harvested two does and a wild pig, and Saturday, he got a six-point buck.  Our freezer will be well stocked for winter.  He's really hoping to harvest his one more allowed buck during the remainder of bowhunting season.  Of course, he'll still have rifle season to get it, but if he gets it sooner, then he'll be done with hunting for the year and won't be as distracted on the weekends.  ;-)

Late last week, I sat down to begin "It's Mine," the Hallowe'en cat and pumpkin pattern on 36 count linen.  Things were going fairly well when my stitching lamp died.  ACK!!  DH was unable to resurrect it.  He determined that the circuit board needing replacing.  So he called the Daylight Company.  We knew that they don't do repairs on lamps, but they will sell you replacement parts if you are able to fix it yourself.  At least, they will sell you replacement parts on current lamps, not discontinued ones like I apparently have.  

So I'm using my stitchtogether/retreat lamp which is smaller with a lesser quality lens.  It's fine for travel, but not for all the time use when I need superior magnification.  Because of this, I ended up starting a different project with a lower fabric count.  I'm now working on "Liberty Lane" by Country Cottage Needleworks on 28 count Monaco.

And I spent a couple of days scouring the internet for a new lamp.  I found the best price on the next generation lamp - the Daylight Ultra Slim XR Fluorescent Magnifier Lamp - on a massage/salon supply website of all places!  Now I just have to wait for it to arrive in the mail and then all will be well in my world.


Oct 15, 2010

PIF Winner and windows

Thanks to all of you that entered my PIF - the winner is RitaD.

See this pile of painted lumber leaning on my bookcases?  Hopefully it will begin to cover up the ugly pink 2x4s in my bedroom windows.

DH will begin installing the trim molding for the windows this weekend.  He took today off (and was of course out hunting this morning - no joy getting a buck) and is happily in the mood to do woodworking.  The molding for around the windows is out on the porch on my sawhorses awaiting paint.  Yes, I'm still painting stuff.  Such is my lot in life.  ;-)

I hope to finish-finish a few stitchy things and watch the Dallas Cowboys win (*crossing fingers*) this weekend.  And of course, I hope to get in some stitching time.


Oct 13, 2010

A finish and a PIF

I finished "Spring Flowers" by Redbird Designs today.  I stitched it on a piece of mint green Jubilee that was hiding in my stash.  The pattern calls for 28 count "Thyme" over-dyed Jobelan and  DMC, Weeks, Crescent Colors, and GAST floss.  I converted the over-dyed floss to DMC.  

As my friend Mary was kind enough to pass this pattern on to me, I will pass it on to another stitcher.  If you would like this pattern, please leave your name and e-mail address on a comment on this blog post.  No e-mail, no entry.  I will choose a winner on Friday afternoon, October 15th.

This is an exclusive pattern by Lorraine Koester of Redbird Designs.  It is one of five seasonal patterns she did, two of which were exclusive to stitching retreats and were not released publicly.  This pattern is one of those two.  

I will include my DMC conversions with the pattern just for grins.  Mint green Jubilee is no longer in production, but you can find Lugana in a similar color.  


Oct 11, 2010

How was your weekend?

We'll not talk about the Dallas Cowboys or the Texas Aggies.  Happily, Texas Tech beat Baylor this weekend (sorry Gloria!) so not all was lost in football.

DH took off a bit early on Friday afternoon so he could get an evening hunt in.  He came home, camo-ed up and was heading off out the door to his tree stand by four o'clock.  I settled down to stitch, figuring I wouldn't see him again until it got dark.  Fifteen minutes later, he was back; he'd shot a wild pig!  So now we'll have fresh sausage for the freezer and a couple of small hams!

Wild pigs are a nuisance in much of the south.  In Texas, there is an open season on wild pigs which means they may be hunted at any time of the year for any reason.  They have no natural predators and sows often have 8-12 piglets per litter, with several litters a year.  They breed like rabbits.   One wild pig can tear up a couple of acres of good pasture or cropland in one night, usually more as they most often travel in herds.  They are very aggressive towards humans, too.  But they make good eating if you can get a small male or a small to medium female.  Larger pigs are not good to eat as the meat takes on a nasty flavor.

Saturday, DH got our stove hooked up and it is so nice to be cooking on gas again!  I've always loathed cooking on electric stoves.  The hot plate is now stored up in the attic of DH's shop and I don't miss it a bit.

Sunday afternoon, DH and I vegged out on the sofa watching football.  We did have a bit of excitement when we heard Emma barking outside the house like a fiend at something out of the ordinary.  DH went to investigate, looking out the kitchen window.  "GAH!" he hollered and then began yelling for Emma to come into the house.  Emma was after a snake (again) and DH thought it was a rattler!

With Emma safely in the house and with me keeping an eye on the snake from the window, DH ran for his shotgun.  The snake was quickly dispatched.  A knot of dead wood on the ground from one of our backyard trees was also dispatched as DH thought it looked like a second coiled up snake and in all the excitement, he shot it, too.  ;-)

I managed to stitch a lot this weekend and am close to finishing "Spring Flowers."  


Oct 8, 2010

Riding weather

The weather here in my part of Texas has been absolutely gorgeous this week.  Upper 40's at night and up to the mid-eighties in the daytime with perfectly cloudless blue skies.  This kind of weather at this time of year makes me nostalgic for hitting the road.

Years ago, when my DBro was 14 years old, he got a motorcycle.  In Texas at that time, a 14 year-old could get a motorcycle license; car driver's learner's permits weren't available until a person was 15 years old.  My DBro was so desperate for wheels, that he talked my parents into letting him get a motorcycle and license at 14.  He was kind enough to teach his big sister how to ride it, and I also got my motorcycle license.  (Actually, I'm his older but much shorter sister.)  

Well, my brother had a nice Kawasaki bike.  Then my dad decided that it would be a good learning experience for my DBro to buy a Honda in a box - some guy had taken it apart and never got it back together.  So DBro bought the boxed-up Honda and he and Dad put it back together.   He didn't like it as much as his Kawasaki, so it became "my" bike as it fit me more comfortably than the Kawasaki.

I was in college at the time and having a very difficult semester.  We were having extraordinarily beautiful weather that fall.  I would come home on the weekends, put five dollars in my pocket for a tank or two of gas, and ride the Honda out in the country until I had just enough gas to get back home.  It kept me sane.  (My Mom, however, says she got all of her gray hairs while my DBro and I were riding motorcycles - neither of us ride anymore.)

But when the days are clear and fall is just around the corner, I get a hankering to pull on my jeans, boots, leather gloves, and wrap-a-round helmet to go riding in the country on a little Honda bike with five dollars in my pocket.  ;-)

I am enjoying stitching on "Spring Flowers," a stitching retreat exclusive by Redbird Designs.  Mary says she doesn't want the pattern back, so I will PIF it once I finish it.  Here is what I've stitched so far:

I am still without my stove.  The propane guy came out and filled the tank.  Then when DH got home, he discovered that the tank had a leak.  So the propane guy had to come out and fix it.  The leaks are gone, and DH will have time on Saturday to finish the last little bit of hook-up in the house.  So I should be cooking on the stove by Saturday night.  Should be.  Yeah.


Oct 5, 2010

Monday post on Tuesday

Blogger was a bear yesterday.  They have a new picture uploading tool that stinks.  It either doesn't like my Mac or doesn't like my slow internet speed.  After trying for 20 minutes to upload one picture and getting continual "Error; try again" messages, I gave up.  Hopefully, today will be better.

On Saturday, Georgia and I went to Austin for the I35 Stitchtogether.  We had a great time with everybody and together we solved all of the world's problems.  I got a goodly amount of stitching done on "Tribal Seahorse" which is now my stitchtogether piece; it will go with me to and only be stitched on at the stitchtogether until it is finished.   

I left DH at home in his tree stand as Saturday was the opening day of bowhunting season.  He got nothing on his morning hunt, but was ultimately successful over the weekend as he harvested two doe.  He was the subject of much envy on Monday morning at work as his hunting crazy coworkers did not go hunting over the weekend.  

This year, he is allowed two doe and two bucks.  So now he has the rest of bowhunting season and rifle season to harvest two bucks.  My freezer will be full of fresh venison!

On Sunday I started an unplanned new project.  Mary was kind enough to loan me a spring pattern exclusive to a stitching retreat that she had just finished.  As I hate to keep borrowed patterns for too long, I'm stitching it right now.  It should be a fast stitch (fun, too!).  I'll post as picture when I'm finished.  

I had planned to next stitch "It's Mine" by A Mon Ami Pierre.  The only US store that I found that carries this is ABC Stitch Therapy.  It's a European pattern and ABC Stitch can get it, although it usually takes about two or three weeks for it to come in the mail as they have to order it from overseas. 

I finished painting the propane tank and the propane delivery guy will be here tomorrow morning; I'll be cooking on my gas stovetop tomorrow!  Yippee!  I can retire the two-burner hot plate!

And today I begin painting yet again.  Our next project is getting all the trim molding put in the windows of our bedroom.  I'm tired of looking at pink studs, sealant foam, and bare sheetrock edges.  It "should" be a quick project for DH, and then he will start on the HVAC.


Sep 30, 2010

Oh deer.

For those of you who are not married or acquainted with a hunter, bowhunting season starts on Saturday.  DH is chomping at the bit.  He spends a lot of time with his binoculars watching the deer on our property. 

I have always felt that the deer know when hunting season starts and enjoy taunting humans when they know they cannot be hunted.  Case in point:  three deer were foraging out by the truck and the woodpile this morning, not more than 20 feet from my window.  They could see me and often paused to give me, "Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah!" stares.  

I do enjoy watching them, too.  I spent about half an hour enjoying them before Emma noticed that I was staring at something out the window and and went outside to investigate.  Her ensuing barking caused all the deer to spook and run off, showing the white tails from which they get their name.  But I hope to have several of them in my freezer as food before the hunting season ends.


Sep 28, 2010

Monkey business

The Aggies and the Raiders had bye weeks, and the Cowboys finally put it mostly together and won a game.  So it was a good weekend for football.

I got "Nickademus" about 99% finished on Sunday.  I decided to use Mill Hill beads for the French-knots on the light-colored stars because I think they would look neater than knots and because I hate doing French-knots.  I had the right color in regular seed beads, but needed petite sized which I didn't have on hand and had to order from 1-2-3 Stitch!So "Nickademus" is hot off the hoop awaiting beads and ornification.  And no, I will not be adding the JABC mitten buttons as I like the monkey without them.

Since my "Tribal Seahorse" fabric hadn't yet arrived in the mail and I was itching to stitch, I started "Christmas Robin," another ornament from the JCS 2010 Ornament issue.  It's by Designs by Cathy Jean of The Victoria Sampler and is on page 14 of the magazine.

A small gripe regarding "DMC equivalents" in said magazine.  "Christmas Robin" was designed using a lot of GAST, Weeks, Kreinik and SJ Designs beads (which I've never even heard of), very few of which I had in my stash.  So I decided to go with good ol' DMC as I have all of the colors and a color card with real floss.  I pulled all the recommended DMC floss colors, then I did a floss toss on the fabric.  ACK!  I think the designer must have just used a conversion chart for all those flosses without actually looking at the colors.  No big deal, I fixed it.  I got burned by iffy conversions several years ago and always double-check, but oh my land!  What weird conversion colors! 

My "Tribal Seahorse" fabric came in yesterday's mail, but I will finish the robin ornament before starting on it again.  Yeah, I'm one of those kind of stitchers.  


Sep 25, 2010

What am I really stitching on?!

I happily started Tribal Seahorse on Monday.  I stitched seven of the "blobs" before I realized I had left out a two-stitch row on the first blob and the lack of those stitches had thrown off all the other blobs.  So I frogged all the blobs and started over.  I was five blobs in when I realized that I wasn't really enjoying stitching on my chosen fabric at all.  So I frogged all the blobs, cleaned off the fuzzies, stuck the fabric back in my blueprint flat file, and got on the internet and ordered different fabric.  It'll be here next week.

So, in the meantime, I'm stitching "Nickademus," the sock monkey design by Raise the Roof Designs (page 90), in this year's JCS Christmas Ornament issue.  Here he is after one night of stitching.

And I dabbled with the dark side last week.  I was surfing around on the internet looking at places that sell OOP or HTF or old cross stitch patterns when I came across a brand-new pair of Freedom Gingher scissors.  I thought they were kind of pretty and patriotic.  They appealed to me because they weren't all flowery and girly like so many of the other limited-edition Ginghers.  And they were priced...well they were priced low enough that a tightwad would buy a pair of scissors that she'll never use, but will enjoy looking at.  May the Force be with you.


Sep 20, 2010

Weekend doings

We won't talk about the Dallas Cowboys.

Nor will we talk about the Texas Tech Red Raiders.

The Texas Aggies won their game, the only saving grace to a weekend of football.

Saturday morning, DH and I went to Houston to a gun show.  It was interesting.  I think I got high on testosterone.  I did enjoy seeing all the guns and the people who love them.  And there seemed to be a freakishly high number of very tall and burly men there.  It seemed pretty crowded.  Men, as I have noted previously, shop different than women.  They aren't as pushy or talkative.  If a bunch of men are waiting to look at one item, they are patient and wait quietly.  

I was appalled to see a number of firearms that were PINK.  Get real.  Women have been shooting and bearing arms for centuries.  Making them pink will not entice new women to use guns.  Well, maybe a fashion-conscious gun-using woman might want a pink gun just for the novelty, but c'mon! get real! 

I have lots of tools.  They are a woman's tools because a woman uses them.  None of them are pink.  They don't have to be pink for me to use them.  You don't see tools made in baby blue, do you?!!  I rest my case.

My favorite seller wasn't selling guns at all.  An older gentleman was selling water color and pen and ink drawings of airplanes.  I was very impressed and spent several minutes talking to him about him and his art.  He flew planes in WWII and calls himself a pilot artist.  I always enjoy unexpected encounters such as these.

I finished "Hootzi Humbug" by Just Nan this weekend.  It was a bit fiddly to stitch together, but it came out nice.  I made the mistake of doing the outline assembly backstitching in the same color floss as the linen fabric.  When stitching it together, it was REALLY HARD to tell the floss from the linen.  Note to self: don't do that again.  I am now stitching on "Tribal Seahorse" by White Willow Stitching.


Sep 17, 2010

Before and after

Every now and then, usually about twice a year, we get Emma a haircut.  Today was the day.  Here she is before she went to the groomer - hairy, scruffy, and dirty from spelunking under the house and rolling in the dirt (why can't she roll in the grass?!).

Here she is after her bath and trim, and after I "touched up" her nose and chin area.  Most groomers don't seem to know how to properly trim the face of a Jack Russell; I've given up.  So I just tell them to cut it like a fox terrier and then I finish the job.  

I'm still working on "Hootzi Humbug."  I've just got the beading and some of the backstitching left to do. 


Sep 16, 2010

Getting plastered

My DH is a Certified Prosthetist - he makes custom-made artificial limbs for people.  As part of the fabrication process, a mold is taken of the patient's remaining limb and a plaster model is made from it using No. 1 Molding Plaster.

There is no local company that stocks this plaster.  The closest company that carries it is in Houston and they won't ship it up here.  So every time the company gets low on plaster (it comes in 100-pound bags), someone from the company drives down to Houston in their truck to fetch it.  It's about a four to five hour round trip, depending on traffic.  

I didn't think this was the best use of company time.  And, sensing a stash opportunity, I told DH's boss that I would be happy to fetch the plaster for them in my truck if he would pay my mileage and buy me lunch on the road.  Oh, and the mileage would include a trip to 3 Stitches, my not-so-local LNS.  The boss thought this was a great deal, so yesterday, I fetched 12 bags of plaster up from Houston. 

And I got some stash at 3 Stitches.  I indulged in some NPI silk floss for "Tribal Seahorse" and got several cards of Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid.  I also found some needles I'd never tried out before.  And I found the pre-made pillow for the Homespun Elegance ornament in this year's JCS Christmas Ornament issue (picture on page 50, pattern on page 52).  Actually, Pam, the owner of 3 Stitches, dug the pillow out of a pile for me.  A nice little haul; I had to refrain from fondling the silk on the drive home.  ;-)


Sep 13, 2010

Warning - long post!

It was a short work week last week, but it seemed to last forever.  And my computer connection has been painfully slow.  I don't know what is going on with that - I need to get my GSM doohickey checked out I guess.

DH got the propane installation for the stove finished.  Then this weekend he wire brushed and treated the outside of the propane tank with a rust arrester.  I bought primer and paint this morning and will paint the tank this week.  Then all it needs is to have a broken/rusted-beyond-use gauge replaced and it will be ready to be filled with propane!  Yippee!

I finished "By the Full Moon" but didn't get it ornified in time for the I35 Stitchtogether.  This month's meeting was fun.  Mary brought a huge tub of unwanted stash and we had a stash-enhancing frenzy.  We were missing a few folks but fun was had by all.  The library we meet at is near several homeless shelters and there are usually a few interesting characters on the street and in the library.  We meet in the back Meeting Room which has one wall that is all window.  We were "treated" to the sight of a scruffy dude urinating right outside by our window.  Thank goodness his back was turned to us!  Egad!

DH and I bought a Sonicare toothbrush about eight years ago upon the insistent recommendation of our dentist.  We loved it and could definitely tell that it kept our teeth cleaner and gums healthier.  When we moved into our house, our old bathroom had no place to plug it in so we couldn't use it.  When the new bathroom was finished, we eagerly plugged in the Sonicare toothbrush only to discover that the internal battery wouldn't take a charge.  So we had to buy a new one and have been waiting for it to come in the mail.  It finally arrived on Friday afternoon and boy are we happy!  Normally I won't rave about a product, but this thing gets our teeth probably 50% cleaner than normal.  Here is the model we bought: Sonicare FlexCare Plus.  Yeah, it's a little pricey, but we figure it will save us in future dental bills.

I finally got a copy of the 2010 JCS Christmas Ornament issue.  As usual, there are a lot of things I like but wouldn't stitch, and several things I like and plan to stitch.  I think it's a great issue.

I got some stash in the mail this week.  Jamie Larson and her daughter, Skyler, over at White Willow Stitching have been designing a series of tribal-style animals.  She recently released two new designs and I decided I wanted to stitch "Tribal Seahorse" for our new bathroom.  I ended up also getting "Tribal Fish" and will stitch it for the bathroom, too.  Since our towels and accessory colors are mostly darker blues and we have white walls and white tile, I thought the monochromatic designs would work well stitched in a shade of blue.

And I'm currently stitching on Just Nan's "Hootzi Humbug."  It's been a fun stitch and has stitched up pretty fast.  I've got pumpkin leaves to stitch and then backstitching to do, then I'll assemble it.  After Hootzi is finished, I'm starting "Tribal Seahorse."

Hopefully, this week will be calmer, my internet connection will be faster, and I'll be able to post a bit more.