Oct 12, 2013

PIllows, big and small

Here are the pictures of my recent pillow finishes.  The witch pillow is currently on display on a bookshelf along with all my other Halloween finishes (and it looks less bumpy and lumpy in "real life.")  The bluebonnet pillow is very small and I have it hanging over my computer.  The pictures aren't the greatest, but you get the idea.  ;-)

"Be a Witch" by Angel Stitchin'
"Bluebonnet Blooms" by Redbird Designs
Bandana fabric used for back.

DH got up way too early to go hunting this morning.  Normally, I would go back to sleep, but my sinuses are driving me crazy so I got up, too.  Annie is always happy to get up and greet her humans before taking care of her morning chore of running around the yard for two to three hours on rabbit, deer, and squirrel patrol.  

She comes in the house on occasion to check on her humans (thus tracking dirt/mud into the house) before resuming patrol.  She also checks to see if her humans have set out her breakfast.  If one of us has, she pauses to scarf it down and then goes back out on patrol.   Around mid-morning, she ceases her labors and comes in for a long nap.

Speaking of dog food, DH and I have been feeding Annie a raw dog food diet that we make ourselves.  Our previous dog, Emma, had health problems for the last several years of her life.  She was on an expensive prescription diet dog food, but still experienced problems.  The dog we had before her, a pit bull named Bailey, was plagued with severe skin problems his whole life.  He, too, was on a special diet, took prescription medication for itching, and was bathed frequently in special shampoos to help his skin, all to no avail.

When we rescued Annie, I began researching healthy dog food on the internet.  I spent several weeks researching and finally settled on a specific recipe I found here.  If your dog is itchy, scratchy, and/or licks his paws, here is information on why and what to do about it by using this raw food recipe.

This recipe takes DH and I about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.  We mix it in my turkey roasting pan and use a kitchen scale to form the recipe into half-cup meat balls for freezing.  (We measured out a half-cup on the scale and took note of how much it weighed.)  One recipe lasts us about 45 days.  For her weight, Annie eats one cup a day, one-half in the morning, and one-half at dinner.

The LickOchops and Dinovite for Dogs can be ordered online directly from Dinovite.   

Annie is thriving on this diet.  Her coat is healthier, she has toned up (although that may be partially due to her dedicated yard patrolling), and her teeth are healthy.  Your mileage may vary.  If you do use the diet, follow the recipe EXACTLY and make no substitutions.  Also, follow the guidelines for introducing this new food to your dog EXACTLY to prevent digestive issues. 

I am firmly convinced that if I had known of this diet when we had Bailey, that he would have been spared a lifetime of itchy, scratchy, bumpy, irritated skin.  He wouldn't have been plagued with lick granulomas.  He wouldn't have licked and chewed his feet constantly.  He wouldn't have endured endless vet visits and medication along with frequent baths in special shampoos.  I wouldn't have felt like I was beating my head on a wall in frustration as nothing we did seemed to really help in the long run.

In my research, I found the history of commercial dog food in the USA to be very interesting.  Most of what comprises commercial dog food is food waste not deemed fit for human consumption and food manufacturers were looking for a way to get rid of it, and the dog food industry was born.  

As I learned more about a dog's digestive system, I realized that store-bought dog food was not "natural" or in my dog's best interest.  It's kind of like how so many of the foods Americans eat today are not in our best interest - it's no coincidence that the acronym for the Standard American Diet is SAD.  But I'll not get on my eating healthy soapbox as I could spend days there.  ;-)

My Halloween cat and pumpkin are coming along.  I need some sunshine to come out today so I can get a WIP picture.  I hope to get it finished before Halloween so I can finish it into the pillow the design calls for.  

And I really hope DH gets another deer this morning on his hunt.  It's supposed to rain the rest of the weekend, so no more hunting.  A deer this morning would greatly curtail the "it's raining/grumpy hunter" syndrome that would otherwise afflict DH.


Oct 9, 2013

Finish finishing

I was spelunking around in my cross stitching fabric looking for a particular color for an upcoming project when I realized just how many stitched-but-unfinished projects I had languishing in drawers, so I've spent the last few days finish-finishing most of them.

I started out by finishing some some hanging ornaments.  For the round ones, I used metal Finishing Forms I ordered from 123 Stitch.  The forms come with instructions for use that are very easy to follow.  The "Joy Y'all" ornament I sewed myself.

The Halloween ornament is currently hanging on a bookshelf for October.  The Santa, oil derrick, and harp will be going to a friend.  The harp is actually a Chrismon, or Christ Monogram.  These symbols of the Christian faith are used as ornaments on Christmas trees.  For more information on them, click here: Chrismons.  Most of the patterns I use for these are OOP by Designing Women Unlimited and can be found on eBay.  The pattern booklet numbers are 9, 19, 54, and 57.

Mr. Scary Pumpkin Face, a blog freebie
"Joy Y'all" by Redbird Designs
From "A Cowboy Christmas" by FTL Designs (OOP)

From "Fifty-Five Christian Symbols" (Book 54) by Designing Women Unltd.

I sewed two other finishes into pillows (pictures tomorrow) and stuffed them.  I'd probably make more pillows except that I loathe blind stitching them closed.  I've never been very good at blind stitching despite great effort to improve, so I avoid having to blind stitch if at all possible.  DH thinks my blind stitching looks fine, and that I'm suffering from my usual perfectionist tendencies.  He's probably right.  ;-)

And last but not least, I still have several projects to frame.  I dislike framing as much as I do finishing stuff.  If I were filthy rich, I'd have someone else do framing and finishing for me, but as I'm not, I do it myself.  DH needs to make me frames for two projects, and then I need to purchase a wooden box with a lid for another project.  DH could easily make me the box, but he doesn't have a lot of spare time right now with all our other projects.

I'll post pictures as I get the projects framed and hung on the wall.


Oct 8, 2013

I'm a hunting widow again

Bowhunting season opened on September 28th.  It was a rainy weekend and the deer were not moving so I had a grumpy bowhunter in my house.  Luckily, this past weekend was better as DH was able to harvest a doe.  

He is allowed two doe, a spike buck, and an antlered buck this season.  One down, three to go.  The freezer was looking kind of bare, so fresh venison is welcome.

On weekends when DH hunts, he gets up when his alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. so that he can get out to his tree stand before dawn.  Whee.  He lets Annie out of her crate and she gets on the bed with me and we both go back to sleep for an hour or two before getting up ourselves.  Annie and I feel that 5:00 a.m. is just too early on weekends for sensible beings to get up.  DH also hunts in the evenings, too, but at least there are no alarm clocks involved in evening hunts.  ;-)
DH camouflaged and ready for an evening hunt.
By the end of the weekend, I have a pile of camouflage clothing sitting by the washer waiting to be washed in the special soap they require.  You can't wash hunting clothing in regular detergent as the chemical brighteners used in them can be seen by deer.  The soap also "de-scents" the clothing so that the deer can't smell you coming.  I don't mind running them through the washer and dryer, but I make DH put all of it away after it's clean.

I've stitched some on my Halloween cat and pumpkin, but not much.  I'll post a picture soon.


Oct 4, 2013

She brings us presents

We finally got the "wonderful" Jetta back yesterday.  The mechanic did a good job and it's good to go until the next needed repair.  Our pocketbook is a lot lighter.  Stupid Jetta.

Annie has started showing us a rather unusual (to us) personality quirk; she loves to bring us presents.  

Soon after she was allowed unregulated usage of the dog door and the backyard, I began noticing acorns and sticks on the mat near her dog door.  I just figured she was bringing them in tangled in her hair as she enjoys a good roll in the grass.  That is until I caught her bringing them in the house in her mouth and depositing the proudly on the mat.  She looks so sad when I throw her "gifts" in the trash.  Goofy dog.

Then she began to bring us more "interesting" gifts such as a dead, dried up lizard and a mostly dead frog.  These presents she delivered personally to us by dropping them right beside us on evenings we were sitting on the couch while watching television.  Oh yay!  At least the presents were (mostly) dead.

I sincerely hope that she never brings me a bug or spider, dead or alive.  

DH has caught her trying to pick up toads in her mouth twice.  Did you know that if your dog picks up a toad in her mouth that she will froth and foam at the mouth like a rabid dog?  Yeah.  Toads secrete a poison on their skin (I assume it's a defense mechanism) and besides causing foaming at the mouth, it will cause your dog to barf at least twice.  Oh yay!

And in spite of her quirks, we love her to pieces and enjoy her company.  She still "oozes" when she sleeps.




Oct 2, 2013

Throttled and an unfortunate event

No, I didn't decide to take another blog hiatus, I got throttled.  I went over the bandwidth usage limit with my internet service provider and my internet speed was throttled.  As in slowed down so much that a passing turtle gave me wind burns.  As in slowed down to the point that Blogger timed out each time I tried to post.

I was finally unthrottled on Monday and will keep a closer eye on my "Usage Meter" to avoid being throttled again.  Lesson learned.

DH and I went up to Dallas on September 22nd for a quick day trip.  The family was celebrating my dad's 80th birthday with friends, most of whom have known him for over 50 years.  It was a fun time.

On the drive home, we had an unfortunate event occur that reinforced our resolve to never buy/own another Volkswagen product as long as we live.  We were driving along going south on I-45.  We went over a bridge and there was a very slight bump on both sides of it where the concrete bridge meets the asphalt interstate.  

As we hit the bump on the south side of the bridge we heard a bit of a thump and then the Jetta immediately started sounding like it was flying to pieces.  There were growls and groans and shuddery vibrations.  But the engine didn't seem to be losing power, the oil temperature remained steady, and we weren't leaking any fluids.  So we gingerly drove it on home (another hour), being nearly vibrated into next week the whole way.

Monday morning we took it in to DH's mechanic.  Turns out the bracket holding the alternator had broken and fallen off, thus ruining the alternator itself.  When the bracket flew off, it sheared off two of the engine mount brackets (thus the vibrations).  It dented the timing chain cover.  And it may have caused other damage that can't be seen until the mechanic begins repairs.  (Stupid Jetta.)  

The Jetta was supposed to be fixed last week by Thursday at the earliest, or Friday at the latest.  The mechanic had ordered parts that were coming in on Wednesday by truck.  Wednesday morning, the truck got into an accident about two miles from the repair shop.  While the driver was okay, all the parts he was carrying were not.  So the mechanic had to reorder the parts.  Hopefully, it will be fixed before the weekend.  

The Jetta has been a sad disappointment to us.  It has nickled and dimed us to death, needing to go in for one pricey repair or another at least twice a year.  And then there are the cosmetic problems like the headliner completely coming unglued and falling down the third year we had it.  Volkswagen doesn't seem to care.

It does have comfortable seats and gets good gas mileage, but that's about all the good I can find.  It has not been comfortable for our pocketbooks.  Your own Volkswagen mileage may vary.  ;-)

With the Jetta in the shop, DH has been driving my truck to work since then and I have been stuck at the house.  Not a big deal, but it did make DH have to do the grocery shopping last week.  He had to go after work on a Friday.  I could have taken him to work one day and had the truck to myself for grocery shopping, but then I would have had to go back into town to pick him up, thus making two round-trips in one day which goes against the grain of tightwaddery and conserving gas.

I've been stitching and will post a progress picture soon.  My cat finally has a face as I like to backstitch as I go.  I don't hate backstitching like some stitchers, but I don't enjoy it as I'm too much of a perfectionist.  My backstitching never looks good to me even though other stitchers who have seen my work disagree.  Oh well.


Sep 17, 2013

WIP - "Cats, Bats & Pumpkins"

The weekend got away from me.  DH was laid low by sinus problems so we spent most of the weekend watching football.  The Aggies and the Cowboys were a disappointment to us.

I was able to stitch on my WIP "Cats, Bats & Pumpkins" from the JCS 2013 Halloween issue, page 64.  It's stitched on Charles Craft white Monaco with Sullivans floss.  I find it a very fun stitch and look forward to Annie-free-lap stitching sessions whenever I can get them.

I'm stitching the top pillow with the bats.

Design 1 as of 9-17-13

The pattern called for Sullivans metallic floss.  After using DMC metallic floss and loathing the experience, I discovered Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid.  Once I found RGPTB, I never looked back and I refuse to use anything else when a pattern calls for metallics.  

As my LNS is 2.5 hours away, I had to buy a couple of colors online.  My favorite online cross stitch store 123 Stitch doesn't yet carry RGPTB, so I used Needle in a Haystack instead as they carry the full line and have pictures of the colors on their website in addition to giving excellent service.


Sep 12, 2013

Improper supervision

This past weekend, DH decided to continue doing electrical work in our den.  He pulled a few wires and wired up a few switches and plugs.  He installed the overhead light fixtures we bought five years ago.  ;-) 

Annie was interested in what he was doing, but her interest quickly faded.  She is not a good supervisor as she often grows bored or distracted.  But she likes to be near DH and this proved to be a problem as she decided to play with a toy right at his feet.  DH is having to learn to look behind him before he moves when doing inside DIY tasks.  Goofy dog.

Wiring a switch
Playing with her Duckie behind DH.


Sep 10, 2013

A bluebonnet finish

I managed to have some uninterrupted stitching time on Saturday afternoon with an Annie-free lap, so I finished "Bluebonnet Blooms" by Redbird Designs.  It is stitched on 32 count raw natural linen with DMC.  I'll probably make it into a little pillow.

"Bluebonnet Blooms" by Redbird Designs

I've started stitching on another Halloween design, one from the 2013 JCS Halloween issue. Unfortunately, I haven't had an Annie-free lap much since Saturday, so I haven't made much progress on it.

The design (on page 64 of the magazine) uses Sullivans floss which I've never used.  I decided to stitch the project with Sullivans to give it a try instead of converting it to DMC.  My local Hobby Lobby has started carrying some of it and I was able to buy about half of the colors I needed there, the rest I ordered from 123Stitch.com.  The floss seems to have less of a sheen to it than DMC, but what of it I have used has been fine to stitch with - no excessive knotting or tangling.  The colors are bright and crisp. 

I wind my floss on bobbins and while doing so I noticed that a few of the labels were stuck to the floss as the glue used on them had leaked.  Not a huge problem, but I did have to take the time to get the glue off the floss.  Also, some of the labels were glued sloppily and the color numbers were partially covered.  Again, not a huge problem, but it shows a lack of attention to production detail.

I will stitch this project with the Sullivans, but I have no plans to acquire and collect the whole set of colors at this point.


Sep 7, 2013

What are you really saying?

DH and I were raised in homes where swear words or profanity were rarely - if ever - heard.  

However in today's society, if you watch television, listen to music, participate in a conversation, or read a book, you run across them constantly.  I've observed that most swear words are substitutes for a more formal or scientific word.  Would swear words sound as shocking or startling if the speaker used the formal word?

Take the F-bomb for instance.  How effective would it be to have a television actor shout, "Sexual intercourse you!" at an antagonist?  Or how about, "You're an absolute mothercoitusing idiot!"  Sounds pretty stupid, eh?

Then there's the word "sh*t" which can be a verb or a noun.  I can't remember having heard someone say, "I've got to go defecate."  And I've never heard a person say, "Holy bowel movement! Would you look at that!"  (Actually, if I heard someone say that, I'd die laughing.)

If you're really trying to shock or startle, then you shouldn't use a swear word all the time as it loses its effectiveness.  It becomes boring to the ear or eye.  I don't know how many free books I've deleted off my Kindle after reading a few pages because nearly every word out of a character's mouth is profanity.  Maybe the writer thinks that is defining for the character.  I think it's boring and shows a lack of imagination.

And I'm not saying that there are not times where the use of a swear word is justified.  I was recently describing a person and his despicable actions to my parents and the only word I could think of to accurately characterize him was to call him an a**hole.

Yeah, I have a weird brain and think about weird things.  Oh well.


Sep 6, 2013

Friday WIP

I managed to frog all the wayward stitches on my WIP.  I finished stitching all the white swirls in the design and started on the bluebonnets.  I'm enjoying stitching this one (at least when I can keep Annie out of my lap long enough to stitch).

"Bluebonnet Blooms" 9-6-13


Sep 3, 2013

How was your Labor Day weekend?

DH and I traveled up to Dallas for part of the weekend to visit our relatives.  We greatly enjoyed visiting with my Mom and Dad.  We also visited with my DBro and DSisIL and our two ever-growing nephews.

The rest of the weekend was spent on finishing up the patch on the inside wall where the old air conditioner leaked.  Instead of cheap, thin paneling painted a gross khaki color, we now have a couple of scrounged pieces of OSB in that area.  It's temporary until we can renovate the entire wall sometime in the future.  

I actually like the OSB better than the khaki-colored paneling.  I really dislike the khaki paint and the corresponding avocado green trim paint around the window trim that makes up the front and back walls of our den.  I have to remind myself that it is temporary, although with DIY projects, temporary can last a long time.  ;-)

DH did another thing that made him nearer and dearer to my heart this weekend.  While he was in the process of patching the wall, he decided to go up in the attic and pull wire for a couple of plugs for that wall as it had none.  My stitching lamp was powered by an extension cord that ran into the bedroom, and the window AC was powered by a heavy-duty extension cord that ran across the entire width of the den floor; we were constantly tripping over it.  Thanks to my handy-dandy DH, the extension cords are gone!

Annie weathered the trip to Dallas well and was glad to get home to sun herself in the yard.  For the first several weeks that we had her, we did not allow her to roam in the yard by herself as we took her out on a leash.  We wanted her to get attached to us and the house before we allowed her full freedom of the yard via the dog door.  She has now earned the privilege of full yard freedom and can come and go out the dog door as she wishes.

I didn't stitch much on "Bluebonnet Blooms" this weekend, and what I stitching I did manage, I had to frog, so no progress pictures, but one should be forthcoming soon.


Aug 27, 2013

The doughnut bone

Annie has several toys and she likes to play with all of them.  We find her unusual because she entertains herself with her toys.  All our previous dogs wouldn't play with a toy unless we played with it with them (with the exception of chew toys).

Annie likes to get one of her toys and gallop back and forth through the house with it tossing it around as she runs.  When she slides onto her target - a throw rug - she stops and gives the toy a hearty shaking while growling at it.  This never ceases to amuse her humans.  Well it mostly amuses me; I'm getting tired of putting the throw rugs back in their proper place.

Her funnest toy is the Intellibone.  Annie likes to grab one end of the bone and gallop around, shaking the whole thing.  Usually when she does this, one of the rings or doughnuts will fly off and she'll get distracted by it and play with it for awhile.  You have to keep an eye on where she is when she plays with this toy as I've gotten hit by a flying doughnut on occasion.  ;-)

When all the rings are off the bone, she'll stand at our feet wagging her tail furiously as we put the doughnuts back on it.  And then she's off again!


Aug 26, 2013

A weekend project

We seem to be cursed when it comes to appliances that use or generate water.  We have two window unit air conditioners. One is old and the other is very old.  We've been hoping that they would last until we get our central HVAC installed, but no such luck.

Recently, the very old one died and could not be repaired.  Well, it could have been repaired, but the cost of the repair would have been more than the unit was worth and more than the cost of a new one.  As it will remain summer here in south central Texas for several more months, we had to buy a new one or risk melting.  The new one is much quieter and more efficient than the old one.

As a by-product of its demise, the very old window unit leaked condensation down into the wall unseen by us for an unknown period of time until the water reached Niagara proportions and flooded the floor.  Water in walls equals potential mold, so DH had to tear out any of the wall below the window that looked or felt wet and replace it.  This wall in our den will be completely replaced and updated sometime in the future, so this was a patch repair.

DH tore out the inside wall with a little supervision from Annie.

Then he tore out the outside wall with a little supervision from Annie.

Here, let me lick that sweat off your face.

Next, he reframed under the window and patched the hole from the outside while Annie supervised.  (DH did not poop his pants, he sat on a muddy patch on the ground.)

The next afternoon, DH and I covered the outside patch with tar paper and shingles to seal it.

It looks a bit wonky, but then our whole house is a bit wonky-looking at this point.

It was a very hot afternoon, so DH came into the house for a cool drink and Annie took advantage of his lap, not minding that he was sweaty and dirty.  She is very relaxed when she sleeps.

Speaking of Annie, we sure wish we could get her to talk and tell us of her history.  She has a weirdness with DH wearing gloves where sometimes it will scare her and she runs from him.  Other times she doesn't mind the gloves and will play with DH or let him pet her while wearing them.  We wonder if she was traumatized by someone wearing gloves in her checkered past.  Goofy dog.

Playing with the "glove monster."


Aug 21, 2013

Canine manicures and new floss colors

While our previous dog, Emma, didn't particularly like getting her toenails trimmed, she submitted to it, uh, ungracefully.

"NO! Don't trim my nails!"

The owner of these hairy feet and legs, however, is proving to be a problem.

Annie's nails - sharper than a kitten's claw!

Annie has yet to let us trim her very long and talon-like toenails.  Her toenails are wreaking havoc on my legs as it is summer and I'm always wearing shorts.  She is learning not to jump up on a standing human, but still has her moments where she jumps up and scratches my legs.  When she is happily sitting on my lap and spots a rabbit/deer/cow out a window, she launches herself off my lap and scratches my legs.  My thighs look like I fell into a bob-wahr fence.

DH was able to stealthily trim a few of her back paw nails during the first few days we had her home, but now she runs whenever she sees him with the clippers in his hand.  She does the same when I pick them up.

We've tried holding her firmly and speaking to her calmly while trying to trim the nails, but she reacts with fear, snarling and putting her teeth on us in warning (no, she doesn't bite us).  Either she was traumatized earlier in her life or she just REALLY doesn't like having her nails clipped.

I guess we could let the vet clip them (and have to pay for it), but we really don't want her to associate going to the vet as being unpleasant.  We could cart her off to Petsmart or Petco (and have to pay for it) to let the groomers tackle it, but that doesn't seem right to us either.

So for now, we're trying to daily hold/pet/stroke her feet while brandishing the nail clippers without actually trying to trim a nail to desensitize her.  We'll see how that goes.  Hopefully it will work with consistency and time as I may need a blood transfusion here pretty soon if we can't keep her from scratching me and drawing blood all the time.  Multitudinous Band-Aids aren't exactly a fashion statement.

I started stitching "Bluebonnet Blooms" by Redbird Designs.  You can see it here at 3 Stitches or Stitches From the Heart, both are local needlework shops here in Texas.  I have done online business with both and they are quick and reliable.

I read on the internet that DMC is releasing 16 new colors in October.  Here is a link to see them: DMC Blog.  I will be adding these colors to my collection as soon as they are available for purchase.  These will be the first new colors released since 2001. 

I have two complete sets of DMC, my working set and my back-up set.  As I live a half-hour from town and the nearest store with DMC, I keep the back-up set for when I run out of a color in the middle of a project, thereby saving myself from angst.  When I pull a skein from my back-up set, I make note of the color and pick another skein up the next time I am in town and near Hobby Lobby or Jo-Ann Fabrics.

I picked up 85% of my back-up floss several years ago when Wal-Mart sold off all their stock of DMC for 10 cents a skein.  They have since decided to restock DMC, but don't carry the whole line of colors.  Retailers - go figure.


Aug 19, 2013

Monday muddlings

DH took the day off to finish gathering up scrap metal and hauling it to the scrap metal buyer in town.  He had quite a load.  He left a few minutes ago and I decided to write a blog post in his absence.  Hopefully, he'll come home with a decent amount of cash for his fun money budget.


Loaded and ready to roll

I finished my Halloween ornament.  I found it on the Cross Me Not blog.  It's called "Pumpkin Time."  I stitched it on an ornament-sized piece of unknown linen I had in my stash with DMC.  I was drawn to the bright orange colors in this design.

Mister Scary Pumpkin Face

Annie is a total lap muffin.  If you sit down anywhere in the house - on the couch, in a chair, on the floor, anywhere - she gets in your lap and makes herself at home.  DH decided to read a bit after lunch yesterday and soon found himself with a lap of Annie.

Humans make the best nap laps.


Aug 18, 2013

No broom lending here

Here is my latest finish, "Be a Witch" by Angel Stitchin'.  I stitched it on 28 ct. lime hand-dyed linen by Zweigart with the indicated threads (DMC and WDW).
"Be a Witch"
And I have a complaint - don't you hate it when the designer doesn't tell you on the floss key that you will need TWO skeins of a particular color of floss?  Especially if the floss is hand-dyed and will typically have a dye lot number?!  Yeah.  If you stitch this design, you will need TWO skeins of WDW Mascara.

I made some changes to this pattern.  All the checkerboard and lines above and below the witch hat are stitched with orange and purple.  The purple would have been black if the designer had let me know that I would need TWO skeins of it.  

I think it looks fine, but how hard is it for the model stitcher to let the designer know that TWO skeins of a certain color are needed?  Maybe the model stitcher did let the designer know and she was too lazy? inattentive? rushed? brain-dead? to make note of it in the floss key.  Geesh.

I am now stitching on a small Halloween ornament I found on a blog.  Actually, I saw a picture of it stitched somewhere on a blog or message board and the stitcher included a link to the blog with the free design.  I'm close to finishing it and will include information on how to find it when I post a picture of my finish.

And thanks to everyone who has welcomed me back to blogging and posted kind comments.  I do appreciate them!


Aug 15, 2013

Noodle versus tank

When you have more than one pet throughout your lifetime, you can't help but notice the similarities and differences between them.  While our previous dog, Emma, and our present dog, Annie, are both Jack Russell terriers and possess the common traits of the breed, there are definitely some differences between them.

Emma was built like a fullback (yeah, a sports analogy) as she was compact and muscular.  She was fearless and bulled her way through life (and into snakes and skunks).  Annie is built like a dancer, slimmer and graceful.  She is taller than Emma was and has a narrower chest.  She is wary and cautious, but ready to meet a challenge.  And although Emma could jump up pretty high, Annie bounces up like a spring or Tigger; she can jump completely over the couch without touching it.

When you picked Emma up, you picked up a little tank.  When you pick Annie up, it's like picking up a wet noodle as she's kind of floppy and loosey goosey.  If you're not careful, she'll ooze right out of your arms.  And although she likes to sleep on her new bed, she oozes off of it, too.

When you snooze you ooze!


Aug 14, 2013

Junk = $$

I was going to post a picture of my WIP, but I'm so close to finishing it that I'll just wait until it's finished before I post.  I was hoping to finish it up this past weekend, but as I often had a lap filled with a happily sleeping Annie while in my stitching chair, I didn't stitch much.

DH spent a day this weekend loading up the truck with junk and then hauling it to a local scrap metal dealer.  It was one of those niggling things that he's been wanting to do since we moved here nearly five years ago.

Included with our house was a nice loafing shed with a small corral.  DH uses the shed to house our tractor and other lawn equipment.  Also included was a small ramshackle storage shed that leans precariously - we call it the Shrieking Shack - and a small tumble-down barn that is dank and half-rotted.  We plan to tear both of these eyesores down at some point as we really don't use them.  And we'd like to tear them down before they fall down.  ;-)

The Shrieking Shack

The Shrieking Shack and old barn

Both of these structures had piles of old metal in them and around them.  There were things like old pieces of drill pipe from the fence project, old rolls of fence wire, an old washtub, old rusty tools, etc.  DH had no use for these things and as the local scrap metal place pays for old metal, DH wanted to load it up and sell it.  He had 1560 pounds of metal and 45 pounds of copper wire (at nearly a dollar a pound) which netted him just over $175.00.  And he has another pile ready to take this coming weekend, although it probably won't fetch as much money as the metal isn't as heavy.  But it's a nice bit of "found" money for his fun money savings and will probably go for things that are hunting related.

Personally, I'd spend the money on stitching stash, but that's just me.


Aug 11, 2013

The gate

Here is our new gate made with recycled components.  The only thing we had to pay for was the welder's time and DH had to buy a couple of nuts for the gate hinges.  I took the picture standing across the road from our driveway.  You can't really see it too well, but there is hog panel welded to the iron pipe frames on either side of the gate.

DH and I played with Annie a lot in the yard this morning, so she will probably spend the afternoon sleeping.  Hopefully I can get some stitching time in without her trying to sleep in my lap.  I'm nearing the end of my current WIP.  I guess I should get a picture of it tomorrow and post it.  


Aug 10, 2013

Another post-slump finish

I was digging through my fabric drawer yesterday and came upon another finish in my "stitched but not finish-finished" pile.  This is "Summer" by Redbird Designs.  It was a stitching retreat project WIP that I got in 2008, and as far as I know, the pattern was never published for sale.  I finished this after "that durn flag" but before the "August" Crabby square.  It was a very fun and enjoyable stitch.

"Summer" by Redbird Designs

It is stitched on light blue Jubilee with DMC and GAST.  The pattern came with WDW floss, but as that was before Weeks was colorfast and I wash everything after I stitch it, I chose not to use the included floss and substituted GAST.  Now that WDW is colorfast "based on industry standards," I've been using their floss and like it.

We're having a cold front today.  The high will only be 98 degrees instead of the 100+ temperatures we've had most of the week, so DH and I will be doing a little work on the property.

We recently had a gate installed at the entrance to our driveway.  You'll remember that we have a long dirt driveway - the length of a football field - and that we own the land that comprises our driveway.   Our driveway is not "public land."  If you look at a satellite photo of our land, it kind of looks like a trapezoidal lollipop (our acreage) on a crooked stick (our driveway).

Anyway, the locals know our driveway is a driveway.  Once every month or so, we get non-local looky-loos or lost people mistaking our driveway for an actual road and driving up it to our house.  There is a dirt road up the way from us that is an actual road, but as the local kids pull the sign off it a lot, it is usually not marked as such.

I'm a friendly person.  If I'm expecting you or I know you when you drive up to my house, I'll greet you happily.  However, as I live back in the woods off the main road, if I don't know you and I'm not expecting you and you drive up my driveway to my house, I'll come out on my porch with my shotgun cradled nonchalantly in my arms to inquire as to your purpose for being there.  That's just the way it is.

A while back, a gal drove up to the house, got out, and seeing me out on the porch with my shotgun, asked if this was [name of road up the way].  I wanted to say, "No, you brainless airhead, roads don't end at a person's house.  You've come up my driveway!"  But I didn't, I was polite and gave her explicit directions to the road in question.  She thanked me and got happily back into her Cadillac SUV.  

Anyway, DH and I wanted to keep the looky-loos and the lost off the driveway so we had a gate and short fence installed across it at the road.  We recycled and used bits and pieces of drill pipe and a gate we inherited when we bought the place.  We only had to pay the welder for his time and one length of pipe.  DH and I need to clear the pile of brush he cut to give the welder room to work off the side of the driveway.  I'll get a picture of our new gate and post it soon.


Aug 8, 2013

A Crabby finish and a PSA

When my stitching slump ended, I plodded through "that durn flag" and finished it.  Then I tackled the next monthly block in "Crabby All Year."  Here is the "August" block.  I found it a very boring stitch with mostly dull colors.  But then again, I guess weeds are pretty boring (and annoying).

And as a public service announcement for dog owners, I want to tell you about a product that DH and I bought after we had lived with Annie for awhile.  Our previous dog, Emma, made small, dainty poops that "composted" and disappeared from the yard rapidly.  We never picked up her poop.

Not so with Annie.  She poops in much larger piles and likes to poop in the front part of our yard right near the front walk.  (Emma was an equal opportunity pooper and used the whole yard.)  So, after stepping in some fairly fresh poop bare-footed, I decided that it might be wise to pick up Annie's poop on a regular basis.

But what should we do with it?  Dog poop in the trash can is very stinky, especially in the the south central Texas heat.  I guess I could chuck it over the fence into the neighbor's pasture, but flinging poop is not very lady-like, especially if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.  ;-)  

I remembered seeing a dog poop septic tank called the Doggie Dooley Waste System in a pet product catalog and researched it.  Unfortunately, it does not work in soil with a lot of clay in it, which is what we have.  So I researched some more and found this product:  Doggie Doo Drain Dog Waste Sewer Line Attachment on Amazon.  We bought it and I have to say it works well.

You screw it in to your sewer pipe cleanout and dump the poop in it, following it with water (either a pitcherful or from your hose) and it goes into the city sewer line if you live in the city or into your septic tank if you have one.  We have a septic tank.  In the second picture, you unscrew the handled cap to dump in the dog doo, replacing it after you've dumped.  ;-)

Septic clean-out cap before.

Doggie Doo Drain attachment after.


Aug 7, 2013

Changes: Annie has a "fur-ever" home now!

One of the biggest recent changes in our lives was the loss of our dog, Emma.  In June, she suffered a massive, severely debilitating stroke and we had to euthanize her.  It was a very sad day at the vet's office.

We took our time in grieving over our little friend of 12+ years and we will always miss her.  As the days passed, our grief grew less sharp and we realized that the house was a bit empty.  We talked it over and decided we wanted another Jack Russell terrier (JRT).  DH was leaning toward getting a puppy.  However, due to the influence of my stitching friends Lynn and Jennifer who have both adopted several adult dogs, I went to the Texas Russell Rescue website "just to look."  I was both amazed and appalled at how many JRTs there were out there needing homes.

Long story short, we recently adopted Annie.  She is a young (1-2 years old) JRT.  She was found wandering the streets of Wichita Falls, Texas, last December by animal control.  Very emaciated at nine pounds, she was taken to the animal shelter and was slated for euthanasia due to her growling and snapping at everyone.  Besides being underweight and bad-tempered, Annie also had a missing right eye.  The shelter vet was unable to determine it if was from a birth defect or an injury.

A wonderful lady named Sue came in to the shelter to pick up a couple of chihuahuas.  Sue is involved with Little Dogs Big Hearts rescue and specializes in chihuahuas.  She saw Annie sitting sadly in her cage and she sat down beside it.  Annie soon calmed and came over to Sue for some petting.  Sue decided to rescue Annie and took her home with her and two chihuahuas, even though she had no experience with JRTs.

Annie's JRT personality was a bit much for Sue and her chihuahuas, but she persevered and Annie was very well cared for until we adopted her.   (Sue had named her "Sassy," but DH thought that "Sassy" sounded like a stripper name, and I didn't think she looked like a "Sassy" so we changed her name to Annie.)

She is a joy and all JRT and we are happy that we could give her a "fur-ever" home.  (As I type this, she is galloping back in forth in the house, tossing a toy repeatedly over her head - she entertains herself well.)  I am finding it hard to stitch as Annie wants to sleep in my lap every time I sit down in my stitching chair.  Oh well.  We must all make sacrifices!  ;-)

Sitting with my male human.

I see you!

Playing with my purple ball.

Aug 6, 2013

I breached the space-time continuum...

I really had no intention of neglecting my blog this long.  Yeah, a whole year.  Life happened.  I lost my stitching mojo for many months.  Other things happened.  Changes happened. 

At any rate, I am back and will be once again posting of my stitching projects and our DIY projects around the house as they occur.  

I finally finished "that durn flag" or "One Nation" by ByGone stitches as it is properly named.  I hated each and every stitch of this project.  I dislike stitching long lines of one color, repetitive motifs, and alphabets.  This project had all three.  But my DH really liked it and asked me to stitch it, so what's a gal to do?  

This gal gritted her teeth and stitched the durn thing.  And yes, I complained about it the whole time I was stitching it.  Here it is stitched on Charles Craft tea-dyed Monaco with DMC floss.

"That Durn Flag" 

The picture is small and kind of wonky, but you get the idea.  It's a big project (400 x 210) stitches, so it was hard to get a good picture.