Mar 30, 2010

Sunny days

We've had gorgeous weather here lately.  And no rain!  I've been enjoying sitting out on the front porch steps while doing some reading.  Emma loves the warmer weather, too.  She'll go out and sit in the sun until she gets hot enough to pant, then she'll come in the house to cool off.  Once she's cool, she's back outside again.

DH is coming home this evening with a rented DitchWitch and a new weedeater.  The old weedeater is dead and DH could not resurrect it, and it has been in the shop twice within two months for the cost of half a new weedeater.  The push mower is in the shop right now.  I think there is a lawn tool demon on our property that kills lawn tools. 
Tomorrow, DH will dig all the trenches for the bathroom piping with the DitchWitch.  He will also run the pipe for our propane tank and hopefully, I'll be able to use my gas stovetop soon instead of the two-burner hot plate I've used since we moved here. 
Today, while running my usual errands, I had to stop in Jo-Ann Fabrics for some felt for a sewing project that I'll describe at a later date.  I had a 40%-off coupon and treated myself to the February edition of the UK CrosStitcher magazine.  (It had Margaret Sherry cats on the cover!)  I don't subscribe to any stitching magazines, but I do enjoy buying one occasionally, especially the UK ones.
And...the cows were back yesterday.  I am on a first-name basis with all the livestock deputies.  I also got a lesson in open range law yesterday as our county has it.  It is not a good law if you are a land owner, but NOT a cow owner.  Anyway, as I think most of our part of the county and all the livestock sheriffs are fed up with this neighbor, something will finally be done.  Those poor cows deserve a better owner.  And our yard deserves to be cowpat free. ☺

Mar 28, 2010

Plumbing continued

DH got the sewer lines all figured out and then we made a trip to Lowe's for the piping and supplies.  After we got home, he laid the pipes where they will go.  He plans to take a few days off this week and rent a DitchWitch to dig all the trenches.  I'm so glad he'll be able to do this!  It's finally been dry enough to work on it, and there's no rain in the forecast until next weekend, and then it's only a slight chance of rain.  (The weird little grey thing by the house is our septic system aerator.)
I think I got in about 20 stitches yesterday; it's been a dry week for me as far as stitching goes.
Today, DH is out putting up a new mailbox at the end of our driveway.  The road leading to our driveway is about five miles long.  Everybody on the road gets driveway mailbox delivery except those of us along the last 3/4 mile.  We've been getting our mail up by the highway at a "clump" of mailboxes.  A lady down the road took it upon herself to petition the post office for driveway delivery.  It took her nearly two years to get it approved.  But delivery will finally start in the second week of April!  Yay! 

Mar 27, 2010

And the winner is...

...Ree!  My DH drew your name and I've notified you by e-mail to send me your snail-mail address.  To all of you that entered, thanks for stopping by!

Well, DH isn't having a good day.  He was planning on starting the last bit of plumbing for the new bathroom; he has to run the sewer line to the septic system and tie in the water lines at the main.  This morning he was planning to measure everything out and make a take-off list, in addition to digging up the septic tie in. 

But first, he wanted to mow the area where he plans to dig (weeds are growing like weeds in our yard).  He couldn't get the push lawn mower to start; it needs a new spark plug.  So he decided to use his weedeater instead.  It wouldn't start either despite having recently been in the shop for repairs.  So in the end, he fired up the riding lawn mower and did his mowing.  I fear that we will be looking to buy a new weedeater as this one is less than a year old and has been in the shop twice.  I looked it up online and this particular model is rated as unreliable.  Duh.

On another subject, DH and I watched the movie "The Blind Side" last night on DVD.  It was easily one of the best movies we've seen in a while; Sandra Bullock deserved her Oscar.  I had read the book recently and was impressed with how well the movie did in regards to following the book.  No, it wasn't perfect, but it did a fairly good job. 

The book is very good.  Although it is somewhat like "The Grapes of Wrath"  in that chapters will switch back and forth between the main character, Michael Oher, and the evolution of the left tackle position in the NFL.  If you're not into reading about football, you can skip those parts.  I love football, so I enjoyed reading the whole book.

Mar 24, 2010

Blog Anniversary Giveaway

The second anniversary of my blog was last week.  So in celebration, I'm giving away a goodie bag of stitchy stuff.  Anyone can enter and I'll mail it anywhere in the world.  The goodie bag will include a piece of Lakeside linen, some skeins of GAST limited-edition floss, a few bead/needle tubes, a ceramic Debbie Mumm button, a skein of silk Dinky Dyes floss, an ornament tuck, and a few other things. 

So enter by leaving a comment on this blog post (one entry per person) and include your e-mail address.  No e-mail, no entry.  I'll have DH draw a name and I'll post the winner after noon on Saturday, March 27th USA CDT.

Mar 23, 2010

A blast from the past

The other day - for no known reason - I started thinking about books I had read as a kid.  I remembered one book that I used to check out of our church library just about once a month.  At least I checked it out if Ralph didn't have it; he was a friend of my brother and liked the book as much as I did.
So on a whim, I checked on Amazon for the book.  It has been out of print for years (1968!), but I found a seller with an old library copy in good condition and bought it.  It came yesterday, and this morning I sat down and read it.  It was just as much fun as I'd remembered.  I'd forgotten that the book was illustrated with great drawings and they were a lot of fun, too.
The book is "Today I Am a Ham" and is about a boy learning to be a ham radio operator and all he goes through in getting his license.  Back when this book was written (1961), a ham had to first pass a test to be a novice and could then only send messages via Morse Code.  Then he had to take another exam (within a year of getting his novice license) before he could send messages via voice.  The main character, Eric, is the son of a high school football coach with three sisters.  He worries that he disappoints his dad because he "isn't athletic."  But he surprises both himself and his dad in the end. 

My brother's buddy Ralph liked the book because his dad really is a ham radio operator. 
No stitching today.  No stitching yesterday.  I'm going through withdrawal.  DH is planning to putter in his shop tonight, so I may try to stitch while he does.

Mar 22, 2010

A stitchy weekend

I spent the weekend at a stitching retreat.  I got up Friday morning at o'dark-thirty and drove to Austin where I met up with Mary.  The two of us drove on to Kerrville to the YO Ranch Resort where the retreat was held.  We met up with Cindy and Dorothy there.  Cindy's husband googled the directions for her.  Unfortunately, he googled the YO Ranch instead of the YO Ranch Resort and Cindy ended up at the ranch, about 40 minutes west!  But she made it to the right place - eventually.

I nabbed a few new-to-me patterns off the trade table right off the bat.  Then I enjoyed looking at the shop models of newer designs brought by Stitches From the Heart, our retreat hosts.  Next, I settled in to stitch on the never-ending border on my BAP.  I managed to stitch a lot of it, but not nearly as much as I wanted to.  Oh well.
We had silent and live auctions on Saturday.  I didn't see anything I couldn't live without, so I just enjoyed watching the frenzy of last-minute bidding for the silent auction and had fun seeing who ended up with what at the live auction.  We all enjoyed winning stitchy door prizes during the weekend.
DH made a couple of floss sticks for the live auction.  I designed them and he made them.  One is a leg and the other is an arm - as in stitching can cost you an arm and a leg if you have a lot of stash. ☺

The weather was weird.  It was nice and warm and sunny on Friday.  Saturday morning it was raining and the temperature dropped quickly; there was a bit of snow/sleet late in the morning for about twenty minutes.  On Saturday night, the temperatures got down to 25 degrees!  Back home, DH reported torrential rains on Saturday and below freezing weather also.

Today it's back to normal.  I can't wait until the next retreat in June!

Mar 18, 2010

An anniversary, cows, pattern snobs, and a stitching retreat

Yesterday was my second blog anniversary.  To celebrate, next week I'll be giving away a few things - stay tuned.

Emma ran outside and began barking her head off right after breakfast.  Upon investigation, I discovered the cows were in our yard yet again.  Whee.  When they saw me, they took off down the driveway toward the road.  The sheriff has been notified, but who knows where they'll be by the time he arrives.

This morning, while perusing cross stitch message boards, I discovered just how far pattern snobbishness can go.  You've all heard of pattern snobs (or you may be one yourself).  They say things like, "I won't buy a pattern unless it has a real photo of the stitched piece on the cover."  Or, "I won't buy a pattern unless it is in black and white print."  Or how about, "I won't buy a pattern unless it is in leaflet form - no silly chart packs in plastic for me!"  Fine.  Whatever melts your butter.
I ran across the post of a woman complaining about the paper the chart was printed on.  It wasn't heavy enough for her as it "...appeared to be only the thickness of copy paper."  And the photo of the chart wasn't of good quality as it was computer generated and printed on paper and was not a real photo.  And the floss key was printed on a separate piece of paper from the chart which was printed on two sheets of paper.  The lady was miffed that she'd have to tape the two chart pages together.  And with the key on a separate page, she'd have TWO pages in her lap while stitching unless she copied the key onto the pattern by hand.  
Okay, all these problems can be valid depending on your stitching set up.  Frankly, for me, if I like the pattern then I'll find a way to stitch it.  I have a printer/copier here at the house that I can copy or enlarge patterns as I need to for a working copy to stitch from .  And I have been known to tape a key on the bottom of a chart I've cut and taped together as needed. 
If I like the pattern, I'll buy it and stitch it no matter how it is printed or its price (within reason).  I'm stubborn this way.  While I don't particularly care for colored patterns, I have stitched from them.  The only thing that ruffles my feathers is a chart with a lot of errors.
Tomorrow, I'm getting up at o'dark-thirty to drive to Austin to meet up with Mary; we're heading off on a stitching retreat!  We'll meet up with Cindy and Dorothy at the retreat.  Whee-e-o!!  A whole weekend of nothing but stitching!  I'll post all about it on Monday.

Mar 16, 2010

My one year hosehead anniversary

One year ago today, I became a hosehead.  I was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and require a CPAP machine to keep my airway open while I sleep thereby making sure oxygen gets to my brain and body.
It was a hard first couple of weeks until I got used to everything and learned how to adjust all the equipment.  I couldn't have done it without the folks over at the CPAP Talk forum.  They taught me everything I know and are infinitely patient with new people. 
I've been continuing in my spring cleaning frenzy; yesterday and today I tackled our family room.  Thankfully this urge to clean everything (and I do mean everything) only comes once or twice a year. 
I am so looking forward to the stitching retreat I'm going on this coming weekend - three days of nothing but stitching!  I plan to stitch on the never ending border on my BAP and hope to get it finished (the border, not the BAP).  It may be the only stitching I am able to do this week due to my cleaning frenzy.

Mar 15, 2010

Whew! What a weekend!

DH and I worked our backsides off this weekend, but we got a lot done.  And because of this, I got absolutely no stitching done at all.  Zip.  Zilch.  Nada.  Oh well.

Saturday, we readied the woodstove for its summer hibernation.  First, DH went up on the roof to clean out the stovepipe with the pipe brush.  Then he cleaned out all the ashes and vacuumed the stove itself while I cleaned all the creosote off the glass door.  Oh, and while he was up on the roof, he spotted our neighbor's cows wandering around on our land.  Poop.  Literally.

So DH called the county sheriff (they have a livestock animal control department) and reported it.  We shut our gate, but they found a way out of our land and ended up on a nearby paved farm road.  Poor cows.  You can't keep cows if you live in Houston (two hours away) as this man does!  They are NOT pets!  One of the cows had a fairly new calf at heel.  We found out from another neighbor that the new calf was "courtesy" of his bull as the cow had gotten out into his pasture and his bull impregnated her. 

Anyway, our neighbor came up Sunday afternoon and retrieved his cows from yet another pasture they had wandered into.  He spent up until dark "fixing" his fence.   And a deputy sheriff came out to discuss the situation with him (as in the deputy read him the riot act and he got an official warning).  Still, we are not hopeful for a cow-free existence. 

The rest of the weekend was devoted to getting all the underfloor plumbing done for the new bathroom (DH) and spring cleaning our bedroom (me).

DH spent a lot of time under the house.  He got pipe glue all over himself as he was in a tight space with no room to hardly move.  I was called on to help occasionally; at one point I stood on the toilet flange inside the bathroom while DH wrestled the pipe up into it from below.  Whee.  Now DH just has to run the sewer line to the septic tank and run the water suppy lines.  Progress!

Mar 13, 2010

The last shoe dropped

Not that I believe in the superstitious clap-trap regarding "bad luck comes in threes," but there does seem to be some validity (or maybe coincidence) in those old wives' tales.

My FoodSaver died last week so we got a new one (and it's a vast improvement over the old one).  Then my cell phone wonked out.  DH found a place to repair it, but then we found a brand-new one just like my old one on eBay for about the same cost as the repair job. 

Yesterday, I sat down at my sewing machine to do some minor sewing.  I couldn't get the thread tension to work properly.  I spent about an hour taking things apart, cleaning them, rethreading everything, etc., etc.  Still no joy.  So my sewing machine is off to the repair shop.  Yippee.  At least we have a very good repair shop in town.

And here it sits by the front door, sad, alone, unusable - waiting to be taken to Sew Vac City for surgery.  Stupid machine.

Mar 12, 2010

A fine Friday indeed

Spring is definitely in the air (although the first official day of spring isn't until March 20th).  We've had lovely sunny weather in the upper 60's and low 70's for the past couple of days, with more to come.  We've not had to use our woodstove for over a week.  I think it's time to let it go into hibernation until next winter - a good thing since we only have enough firewood for one more night's fire.  ☺

And all the lovely weather (and VERY wet winter) has induced all the grass and weeds to begin growing like, well, weeds.  DH and I will need to spend some time on the inside-the-fence yard this weekend.  Maybe it will finally dry out enough for us to use the tractor to mow the outside-the-fence yard. 

I also feel a spring cleaning frenzy coming on.  Scary.

No stitching yesterday, maybe a bit this afternoon.  More confetti stitches.  Any progress is progress - at least, that's what I keep telling myself. 

Emma knows the weather is warmer, too.  She is sleeping more on her bed on the floor instead of up on the back of the couch; the floor is warmer now.  But you always need to bring a friend with you when you nap.

Mar 10, 2010


I might have to learn html editing as my formatting doesn't seem to "take" with the new post editor.  My careful spacing of pictures and text may be a thing of the past.  I guess most folks won't notice, but it bugs me BECAUSE I CAN'T GET IT TO LOOK THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO LOOK!

Upgrading - not for the faint of heart.

A WIP update

Here is my BAP WIP as of last night.  Confetti stitching stinks.  Get used to me grumping about it; this pattern has a lot of it.  I stitched some on the never-ending border Saturday at our Stitchtogether; I got nearly a page widths worth done.  DMC 3770 has to be the most boring color ever, a kind of light flesh tone.  On and on and on and on and on...

I've been playing with Blogger's new post editor (which has NO spell-checker button - what were they thinking?!!) and I'm trying to get the hang of it.  Posting photos is a challenge - they upload weird.  Oh well...onward and upward and upgraded and all that rot.

Mar 9, 2010


Windows 7 has not been playing well with Blogger mainly in the area of formatting posts.  So I am in the process of figuring out why so don't be alarmed if posts appear and then disappear over the next couple of days as I try different things.  I also upgraded to Blogger's new Post Editor to really muddle things up.

Mar 4, 2010

It's always something

Well, my computer upgrade was not without a few software problems. Running down fixes for them is time consuming and annoying. And the jury is still out on the IE8 upgrade; I think I had less problems with IE7. The next time I'm in the market for a new computer, I'm seriously thinking about going to a Mac.
Blogger has been acting up. It wouldn't let me move pictures within a post on Tuesday, and then it ate my post before I could post it. Yesterday, I didn't have time to post because things were going kaput on me left and right.
I usually go to the grocery store on Wednesday. I got this great deal on "this-will-expire-tomorrow-so-it's-a-deal-for-you-today" meat at Kroger. I found three-pound packages of ground turkey for $2.97 (less than a dollar a pound!). I bought all they had which was five packages. Power tightwadding!
When I got home, I dragged out my trusty FoodSaver vacuum sealer to repackage the meat so I could freeze it in portions. The FoodSaver was dead. It would not work. It would not make a bag and it would not vacuum and seal. It did, however, make a great deal of noise as if it was working, but it was not. I made an emergency call to DH and he went by Wal-Mart on the way home to buy a new FoodSaver. Poop.
After I hung up with DH, my cell phone made its "be-doop" noise to let me know it needed charging. I noticed that the screen was blank. The phone still works, but the screen does not. AUGH! I don't want a new phone. I like this one. DH found a place that will fix it; apparently, it is a loose wire. Now I just have to take it in to get it fixed.
I haven't stitched in two days, but hope to this afternoon. I am SOOOO looking forward to the I35 Stitchtogether on Saturday - I need to immerse myself in stitching and gathering with other stitching ladies.

Mar 1, 2010

Loaded and running

Well, the computer is still on my computer desk; I didn't chuck it out the window. It took Windows 7 over eight hours to load itself on my computer. I didn't have to sit and baby it, I just came in occasionally, looked at the monitor and noted how far along it had gotten with the loading. At one point it restarted the computer about half a dozen times which was pretty weird. So far, Windows 7 seems fine and there is less of a learning curve for it than there was in going from WindowsXP to Windows Vista. Nothing has crashed and all my files seem intact.
DH was going to work on plumbing yesterday afternoon, but he had a massive allergy attack that included copious sneezing and a nose running like a faucet. The runny nose was exacerbated by bending over - which he would have had to do a lot while working on plumbing - so he ended up puttering in his shop. He worked on a project for his boss at work.
I spent a bunch of time stitching a bunch of confetti stitches, so it doesn't look like a lot of progress. Oh well.