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.