31 August 2005
what's in a name?
"that which we call a rose
by any other name would smell as sweet"

I'm afraid I have to disagree with the Bard on this one. A name, especially a name one chooses for herself, is an extension of the person herself. A name may be simply a label, but it is a label carefully selected to evoke certain images, ideas, or actions.

My name, Mainely stitching, was chosen after a lot of thoughtful deliberation. I was trying to be a little bit witty, and I'm a total sucker for puns. I wanted to create a bond with my name choice - something that would unite the home of my heart (Maine) with my enthusiasm for cross stitching while leaving room for the other issues that matter so much to me (my kids, charitable endeavors, my occassional soapbox rant). I double checked to make sure this name choice wasn't stepping on anyone else's toes. I read other blogs and followed rings and did a little bit of homework before making the final name choice for this virtual home of mine. And then I set about making this a truly unique place that reflects me and my interests. I've registered my blog name in various places (Google me) and had a professional make-over and gone about trying to get my name out so people would read me and I'd meet new people and make new friends.

So it's really driving me crazy that another blogger out there who just started up has simply ignored all the basic courtesies and has usurped my name (sticking a hypen in it because Blogger won't allow two blogs with exactly the same name. Now I'm seeing Maine-ly Stitching followed by Mainely Stitching in some people's blogrolls. Or in an attempt to tell the two blogs apart, mine is now being called "Mainely Stitching Netherlands." It's just not right! (The three year old inside me is drumming her heels on the floor and yelling that it's not fair!) The owner of the Maine-ly Stitching blog has ignored my attempts to contact her to try to sort this out, which I find as appallingly rude as swiping my blog name in the first place.

But I didn't start this post as a platform from which to rant. Instead, I would like to request from people who are blogrolling both Mainely Stitching and Maine-ly Stitching to please refer to the newer of the two blog, Maine-ly Stitching, by her URL, which is mexstitch or by her name, which is Patti, such as Ash has done. Please do not refer to my blog as "Mainely Stitching Netherlands" or something like that because I really did put a lot of effort into the naming game and I did my best to make sure I did it without infringing on anyone else.

I would really, really appreciate your understanding on this matter.

Credit for the lovely rose goes to Don Albert.
august revisited

Amazingly enough, it appears that the last day of August is upon us. Which means it's time to take a look back at those August personal challenges and see what's been done and what remains undone. (How has everyone else been doing with personal To Do lists this month?)

1. Resolve some open health issues.
Nicky's surgery has been a resounding success. Little fella has enough energy to supply one of the townships back home in Maine with electricity for the whole dark month of December. I have also been to the doc and we've politely agreed to disagree. I'm on an herbal regimen that includes St. John's Wort, black cohosh and a few other exotic sounding supplements.

2. Finish 2 small projects for Silkweaver competition.

3. Complete (at least) 2 more panels on my Mom's garden sampler.
I've done 1 1/3.

4. Buy another folder ...and get charts organized (again!).

5. Begin gift for Niek.
Done, but I'm worried my progress is too slow.

6. Begin to chart out "Edrie Says" - a sampler I want to create based on a saying my Grandmother used to repeat to my dad and his siblings when they were the age of my kids.
Not done. :-(

7. Get some ideas going for the Sylka Mailart Challenge.
I have to graph it out, but I do have a pretty solid idea for one envelope in the category for designs that are not your own. I would still like to come up with a totally original work to also submit.

8. Finalize the plans for the stitchers' get-together.
Done as much as possible since some people are still iffy about coming or haven't responded at all to my request for a yes-no.

In addition:
I've done 3 additional squares for OECS and really got the word out about this very worthwhile charity that supplies lap quilts for nursing home residents. Naomi reports a good surge in the number of new volunteers. Thanks to all who have joined!!

I have joined two new charities: Angel Quilt Project and Borduren Voor Gezondheid. The Angel Quilt Project also has a branch in the US. They take quilt squares - no deadlines! - to make quilts for hospitalized children. Do check out their site. Borduren voor Gezondheid is a Dutch-based charity that collects small hand crafted items to sell, donating all the proceeds to (health-related) charity. Today's picture, Swirly Sheep, is going to this charity as are a few other small items I've made.

I have survived a 2 week bout of miserable sinusitis.

I've rejoined yoga/Pilates and have gone once or twice a week faithfully.

I met all my deadlines at work. :-)
posted by mainely stitching at 11:29 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
netiquette and names
I sure would appreciate your input on this one. I've just discovered that a brand new blog is using the same name as my blog, though with a dash inserted. I've put a lot of thought into my blog name, have been using it for nearly 4 months, and even had this great redesign by Design A Blog. It's really my little home-away-from-home, my little touch of Maine way off here in Europe.

It's like coming home and finding some other woman playing with my kids or cooking in my kitchen, to be honest. It's quite unpleasant. Would anyone else feel this way, or am I total freak?

And where do I go from here? It's obviously important to me that my "space" here is unique - hardly possible when two blogs have the same name. Is it permissible to ask her to change her name (she's only got like 5 blog entries!) or what?
posted by mainely stitching at 12:02 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 2 comments
30 August 2005
Today I made a start on the winter garden in Mom's piece:

Tonight I'm thinking about friends, female friends in particular, and how much they mean to me. I'm a person who makes friends slowly, so the ones I have are valued beyond my ability to express. There are long-standing friends, who've seen me through my more embarassing stages as well as the times I'm rolling along well; new friends who may not know me 'for the distance' but who've managed to make room for me in their busy lives; acquaintances from work who've managed to make the leap to friendship; and friends from hobbies & school.

Recently we had dinner at my friend Anja's house - it was our annual reunion of ex-Exacters. We all worked together at the same company and we come together every summer at Anja's large, inviting home. Anja first taught me a lot about how to do my job better, and then she took me under her wing after my divorce. She's a good person and I'm lucky to call her friend.

Another workplace friend is Michelle, a Canadian who moved home to Nova Scotia more than 6 years ago but who recently contacted me out of the blue to say she's coming back here for a visit.

And there's Terra, who started off as a workplace friend, then became an invaluable ally in my blossoming romance with Niek (who is now my better half). Terra is also a good friend to my oldest son. And despite the fact that she also moved home to Canada, our friendship continues to evolve - she's now becoming a cross stitch buddy!

For long-standing friends, Sara pretty much steals the show. She's seen me through it all from the age of 18 on. She taught me to cross stitch, how to taste & drink wine, how to enjoy food... she introduced me new kinds of music, to a new kind of family life ... she showed me first-hand how to jump right in and enjoy life.

And you know, friendship and family aren't mutually exclusive! My mom has become an incredible friend and supportive influence. Our moms are so critical to our own self image - to have a healthy & happy relationship just makes life so much better on all levels. Mom and I have seen each other through some phases we'd probably like to both forget, but we've also managed to come out the other end and still like each other! Not many relationships can claim that!

I have a whole lot of new cyberfriends from cross stitching, and soon several of us will have our first face-to-face meeting. I'm terribly excited and really looking forward to meeting. Annemarie, in particular, gave me the courage to come online with my little projects in the first place. I really didn't think my work was good/interesting/unique enough for anyone else to be interested. Ash has explained things to me that I thought were way beyond my abilities. Everyone has shared and been supportive. There are also cyberfriends I probably never will meet, but whose online support has really helped me out (hi Mady & Maria & Jennifer!).

There are friends I may never see again but who live on in my heart. I miss them and I wish I could tell them the enormous impact they've had on my life. Donna, Stacy, Anna: I know you're out there somewhere, but you're in here, too.

And there are friends I really will never see again, which is sad. But they'll live on in me as long as I'm on the green side of the grass. My grandmothers and Mrs. Spooner: I wish I had one more chance to say I love you. And to say thank you.

I guess one of the reasons I'm drawn to stitching is because of the sense of community with other women. I like feeling part of your projects and I like your input into what I'm doing. I would love to indulge in some sort of old-fashioned quilting bee (but on a cross stitching basis) with a bunch of women. Stitch and chat and just soak up the atmosphere of a day spent together doing something that makes us happy. It sounds so wonderful, don't you agree?
posted by mainely stitching at 10:38 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
29 August 2005
autumn is here

Nah, I don't mean the actual season of autumn. Actually, for the past two days we've had really fine weather. I have finished the autumn panel of my mom's French garden project. This panel, for whatever reason, had me pulling out my hair. After tearing it out for the third time, I set the whole thing aside. Cross stitching is, for me, relaxation and enjoyment. When it becomes frustrating and I lose the fun of doing it, it's time to move on. Well, after all those kitties, I was truly ready for something else and silken gardens seemed a pretty big change.

Yes, the panel still contains an error, which because of the symmetry of the design carried through and now this square is assymetrical. I knew if I had to tear it out again, this would become a UFO and that was just too sad. So my answer to the error? "Art, like nature itself, can fall short of perfection." That doesn't make it any less lovely in its own right.

Guess who can let go of perfection? It's only taken me 36 years to LTFU! (Pardon my language!!).
posted by mainely stitching at 10:49 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
kids know how

My kids are amazing. I'm home from fitness tonight, due to the most annoying headache I've had since I-don't-know-when. And it's some sort of Elvis Costello celebration on the radio - I remember really liking him when I was in college, but I'm not enjoying a full day of him on the radio. Anyway, in spite of the teeth-grinding headache and music, I have enjoyed a great evening with my kids. Here they are, in their utter all-ness. Kids know how to make the moment count!

28 August 2005
back to basics
My good (if far-off) friend Terra has asked me how she should go about learning to cross stitch and I thought it might be useful to write a blog topic on how to get started with cross stitching. It's fun, easy, and doesn't have to be expensive (wicked grin). It also keeps me sane. LOL.

I'd like to dedicate this topic to Sara, who taught me to cross stitch many years ago as a way to de-stress.

It's easiest to begin on aida cloth, which has very clear holes, doesn't fray as badly as linen, and just provides and easier background for beginning. Once you've mastered the basics, you will probably want to move on to the other fabrics available. The most complete online explanation I've found of fabrics is at the Craftsman's Studio.

You will need to ensure that your chosen pattern and fabric are the right size for each other. Lots of conversion tables are available for this, but I use the one from the Yarn Tree. Your fabric will have a specific number of holes per inch (you can count this directly from the fabric if you don't know) and your pattern will specify how many stitches it is. Use these numbers to determine the finished size of your design on the conversion table. Next, and this is important, add a 2 to 3 inch margin all the way around for finishing!

Now find the center of the fabric by folding the fabric lengthwise and crosswise. The spot in the middle is ... well, the middle. (This really isn't rocket science!) Your chart will mark the middle of your design. To begin, it's easier to stitch from the middle out. You can do this row-by-row, color group by color group, or whatever system is fun for you and allows you to keep track of where you are.

I have always stitched using a hoop. It's how I was taught. (I have ordered a Q-Snap, but it's late in arriving.) When you put your embroidery hoop onto your cloth, do it so the center is showing. The smaller inner hoop goes on the back side of the cloth, and the larger hoop with the screw goes on the front side. Loosen the screw before placing it on the fabric. Be especially careful when putting a hoop on previously stitched areas. Always loosen the screw before removing it from your fabric. Always remove it when you are finished stitching (and move the position of the hoop every few hours when stitching for longer periods to avoid impossible-to-remove wrinkles from the fabric).

Use a shorter length of thread to begin, about 12 inches long. Choose a needle that's not too wide to fit comfortably through your fabric, but that is big enough to allow you to thread it. For regular stitching, I use a blunt tipped needle. I only use a sharp tip for back stitching and adding embellishments.

To start your thread and anchor it, there are lots of possibilities. Avoid making a knot as it can show through, can catch your floss, and can cause other problems. If you have a couple of isolated stitches, however, a knot may be necessary. If you are working on a row or section of the same color, I think the easiest way to do this is to , leave a length dangling on the FRONT side of your fabric (you don't need to tie a knot in the end but I do; it helps hold the tension), carry you needle several holes away and come up, and begin your cross stitching. As you stitch, the excess thread will be covered by your new stitches and will anchor it in place. Snip off the knot or excess thread on the front when you reach it.

There are two ways you can make the X in a cross stitch. You can make a series of half stiches ///// and then come back over them with the other half \\\\\. This is nice for large areas of the same color, like The Black Cat I recently did. Or you can make an indivicual X each time. This is most useful if you are changing colors a lot or if you are working with overdyed or varigated threads. What is critical is that the top thread of your X (whether it crosses \ or /) always goes in the same direction. Otherwise your work will have an uneven appearance. And relax! That will keep your stitches of an equal tension. Don't pull hard enough to distort the fabric, but do pull firmly enough to keep the thread flat. (This will come naturally very quickly!)

Backstitching and half stitching aren't really beginner-level topics but they aren't that bad either. Back stitching is just 'drawing' around the design as shown in your chart with a different piece of thread. Usually you use only one thread for backstitching, and it's usually a darker color. Half stitches are just half the cross stitch in the direction shown in your chart, either / or \.

To end a thread, pass it under several threads of the same color on the back side of your fabric and snip it off close to where it comes out from under the other stitches. Those little tails of thread tend to pop out on the right side if you aren't careful, but they're easy enough to push back through with your needle.

When your piece is finished, it needs to be ironed. Be certain your iron is on the right setting – what’s sadder than scorching or even melting your work because you forgot to check the setting? Be careful with steam settings as well, as many overdyed threads and cloths will run if they’re wet. Always iron your piece upside-down on a thick towel to prevent flattening your stitches. This will also protect any embellishments (buttons, charms, beads, etc.) you’ve used. If you have a particularly stubborn hoop mark, after you’ve ironed upside-down, turn your project over and carefully iron over the stubborn creases right-side-up. Watch out for those stitches! Iron-flattened cross stitches are not nearly as pretty!

I keep my stitching projects in big Ziploc bags – threads, fabric, even a working copy of my design – to keep them together for easy access and to keep them clean & dry. Especially helpful if you have children or pets!

For best storage of finished projects, UFO’s or WIPs, you should roll the fabric over an acid-free tube of some sort with acid-free tissue paper or cloth around it. However, small projects will fit, flat, in big Ziploc bags and remain clean & safe there for reasonably long periods. This is how I store mine.

The cheapest and easiest way to finish your project is, in my opinion, to make a pillow or ornament. Framing is great if you have the money and access to a reputable framer. Do make sure your framer is using acid-free materials and if you use glass, make sure there are spacers between the glass and the stitched project to avoid moisture build up.

There are other very lovely finishing techniques once you’ve comfortably mastered the basics – pinkeeps and needlerolls, scissor fobs, needle cases, stand-ups and flat-folds, and so much more. There are many online references and classes, books you can purchase, or other blogs you can view. Ash has included wonderfully clear instructions with some of her projects.

Two beginner's charts (these are internet freebies, and sharing them does not violate any copyright law):

posted by mainely stitching at 11:25 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
27 August 2005
where do you belong?
Biking back from yoga this morning, I was struck by how new my surroundings felt and looked. That’s what you get after an hour & a half of twisting your body into unnatural positions and trying to “breathe through your flanks.” LOL. Oxygen deprivation! But as new as everything looked, after four years of living here it also all looked very familiar. It was rather like experiencing my existence from a third point of view: I knew that this part of my route wound along the canal, this section cut through a busier section of town, here is the railroad underpass, etc; but it was also all seen with a fresh gaze. I stopped at my favorite health food store and went through the process of selecting and purchasing a few items, but at the same time I was deeply remembering selecting and purchasing items in a health food store many years ago in Ellsworth, and of shopping in a ‘hippie’ store in Machias, and so on. Layers of experience laying on top and under my current experience, each transparent to the other.

It was cool, and I wasn’t on drugs.

So anyway, this got me thinking “Where do I belong?” I sometimes wonder where my life veered off the main path and became what it is today – I suspect I’m not the only one who’s had this feeling (am I?) and sometimes I wonder if I’m really where I’m supposed to be. An American (and I think of my nationality the way a Catholic who never goes to church might view her religion) living permanently in Europe, going through my ‘outside’ life using a different language, working in a technical field even though I was considered quite the tree-hugger in my youth … well, I’m beginning to ramble and you probably get the idea. I don’t seem to fit. Yet I have friends and interests and what I consider a pretty rich life.

So what’s my position in my community? I don’t honestly feel I have a niche here in Gouda even though I’ve lived here longer than anywhere else. I don’t “do” politics, I don’t have very many friends who live here in the vicinity, I don’t attend a church. Well, what is community, anyway? Curious, I looked it up and Wikipedia defines it as “an amalgamation of living things that share an environment. What characterizes a community is sharing and interaction in any number of ways. In human communities, intent, belief, resources, preferences, needs and a multitude of other conditions may be present and common … but the definitive driver of community is that all individual subjects in the mix have something in common.”

The Merriam-Webster definition also includes geographical location as a part of community “the people with common interests living in a particular area”.

So I feel I’ve struck out on finding my place in a physical community, based on the going definition. Why my general sense of well-being, then?

It must have to do with a sense of belonging, a sense that exceeds my physical limitation. I belong to groups of stitchers, hand crafters, mothers, Mainers, sinus sufferers, pet owners, home owners, failed gardeners, and much more. We may never meet face-to-face but we’re here and we can connect. We can transcend the physical limitations placed on us. We can be “here” and “there” at the same time. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

I’ll close for now with a related quote by Phyllis George I turned up in a Google search on belonging:
"Crafts make us feel rooted, give us a sense of belonging and connect us with our history. Our ancestors used to create these crafts out of necessity, and now we do them for fun, to make money and to express ourselves."
Phyllis George

PS: I promise some stitchy stuff in the next posting! LOL
26 August 2005
meow, or boo?
Here is kitty number four, hot off the iron. This little Bent Creek cutie was quick to stitch, even for slowpoke like me (though the black did get a bit monotonous by the end) and I think it came out looking rather nice.

And now I really do think I will take a short break from kitties. There's no shortage of other projects in the wings.

On a bit of a rant, my neighbors' teenage son is having a party tonight, and will you all please remind me (when my own darlings are teens) NEVER TO ALLOW THIS. The annoyance factor I'm experiencing now is extreme enough to make my eyelid twitch and the only thing that keeps me from storming over there is the fact that I really do like my neighbors very much. Boarding school, now that might not be such a bad idea.
posted by mainely stitching at 11:03 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 4 comments
attack of the sinusitis
... or "Bring in the tissues" ...

I can't seem to shake it this time, folks. And I've been good, that's the really annoying part. No diary products (which means no ice cream!). Regular exercise. Reasonable sleeping hours. To no avail. I'll spare you the gory details, so you can uncover your eyes and bravely read on.

I am finishing Bent Creek's "Black Cat" as square number four for the OECS charity quilt. It's a cute design and quite simple, but I'm bored. Of the squares done so far, I think I liked "C - Cats" by Kathy Barrick-Dieter best. Her designs have never bored me, and you change colors often enough to keep it interesting (though not so often that it becomes a pain in ... nose). After this one is done, I think I will take a brief hiatus from felines for a bit and work on another project, probably for my mailart exchange. I have collected such a wonderful array of Halloween charts that I fear my biggest challenge will be to pick just one!

I've also committed to do a Christmas Ornament for Kelsey's Needlecrafts Ornament Tree. I'm pretty sure I'll do the PS stag freebie, but I bet they'll get dozens of those, so perhaps I should do something else. Thanks Ash and Annemarie for clearing up how to do the cording, by the way. I don't want to turn in a shoddy-looking ornament!This year, the proceeds are going to the Early Childhood Counseling Center. If you'd also like to donate one of your Christmas cuties, contact me for more information. They don't have a website, but I do have the contact details.

If you're interested in perhaps doing some charity stitching, Anita at Cyberstitchers has assembled a very handy list at Calling All Stitchers. Thanks Anita! (She's the one who got me started on this very pleasant madness.)

Looping back to Kathy Barrick-Dieter's designs (Carriage House Samplings and Barrick Designs), does anyone know where I can get the N in her alphabet series? I'm trying to assemble the whole alphabet, and currently this one is eluding me. Last night as I lay in bed, in between bouts of blowing my nose, I was trying to envision what project I would do with the whole series. They're not all the same size, which adds a challenge. I thought if I used them as a border they would look really great - some sort of large rectangular form - but what to put in the middle? Maybe a sort of collage of other desings she's done? I also have a few books of the antique patterns that she takes her inspiration from and could pick & choose from those.

I'm feeling so ready to tackle something BIG! Too many little quilt squares? Visions of grandeur brought on by oxygen deprivation? I am working on a "bigger" project for a gift, but I want to go whole hog!

25 August 2005
now where did THAT come from?
The mail fairy just brought me a bagful of goodies from eBay that my alter ego obviously bought when my attention was diverted.

Thank heavens she has good taste!

(What you're viewing: Kingsland "Stag's Leap", asst'd neutral Kreinik silk mori mini-skeins, GAST fibers (fragrant cloves, Lexington green, geranium, liberty, bayberry, freedom), Flax 'N Colors 'very black' linen, Glissen Gloss handpainted silk 'pumpkin patch').
look at Rowen growin'
We're just back from the consultatiebureau (for non-Dutch speakers, that's the community pediatric service) for Rowen's regular check-up. Her last visit was in April and during the past four months our little girl has gained 1.3 kilos (2.8 US pounds) and has grown 6 centimeters (2.4 inches). She now tops out at the considerable size of 32 inches and 26 pounds! (For those who are interested, I use the conversion tool found at measurement conversions.) By Dutch standards and by US growth standards she's on the smallest side of normal. Being tall is overrated anyway!

Now this begs comparison to her brothers, even if it is terribly boring for everyone else. Nicky at this age weighed 32 1/2 pounds and was 34 inches tall. Max's record book has magicked itself into one of those domestic black holes, but it probably didn't contain a length measurement anyway as he'd have screaming fits whenever they tried. Ahhh, those were the days. Not.

So Rowen has grown alot, but she's still the runt of the litter. Takes after her mama.

Here's a picture of my smallest beastie enjoying a good belly laugh.

As far as the development tests go, Rowen wasn't much of a star. At this age the doctor or nurse gives verbal instructions on what the child must do. "Use these blocks to build a tower." "Throw this ball to me." Etc. Well, our Rowen doesn't take instruction very well. She gets this glint in her eye and she will do it HER way, thank you very much. Unfortunately the evaluation doesn't allow for nuances such as 'can but won't' and she simply got negative marks because she didn't do what she was told. I fear she has inherited more from me than my short stature.... As my manager at work will quickly and heartily confirm, just go ask him.

While at the pediatrican's, I unexpectedly ran across a friend I haven't seen in a long while. It has been so long that I assumed she (like all my non-Dutch female friends) had returned to her native country. It was like seeing a ghost, but in a positive sense. It turned out she had been home in South Africa all this while, but sadly because her father had died in an auto accident that also wounded her mother. I was struck dumb. What on earth can a person say that isn't utter drivel? And damn my standoffishness - I really wanted to just give her a hug (which is all I could think that might give me comfort if, heavens forbid, the situation were reversed) but standing there with all these people staring (we were speaking English, which does cause people to goggle) and my own staggering lack of spontaneity, I could only manage to lamely pat her arm while she brushed away her tears. I wish I could just crawl out of my own head & skin sometimes and be the person I want to be! Does anyone else have this? We have agreed to get together, and maybe at that time I will succeed in being the kind of friend I'd like to be.
24 August 2005
stash fondling is not a vice

I did get a good start on my next kitty square - The Black Cat by Bent Creek (I am feeling Halloweenish and thought this would still do well for an all-purpose cat square) - but tonight after the kids were in bed, instead of whipping out my stitching and trying for two finishes in one day (right, dream on!) I instead whipped out the charts I recently inherited from an online friend who was done with them. Oh what a windfall! Yes, there are a lot of snowmen (you can only do so many cute snowmen before they become numbingly repetitious) but there's also a couple BoaF, a few Bent Creekies, and other very appealing additions to my stash. So I've been re-organizing everything and thinking about future projects.

Not like I don't have enough stitching to keep me busy without drifting off into daydreams! I have 5 more cat squares and a couple of Christmas ornaments to do for charities. My anniversary is upcoming ('nuff said). I'm doing a Halloween mailart exchange. I've promised my poor Mom so many times I'll finish her garden piece that she must have numb ears. Several dear friends have birthdays coming up. Oh, and there's Christmas. ha ha. What a luxurious "problem" to have - too many wonderful projects to do!

It was a good day on the homefront, too. Max is fully back in the swing of school and constantly refers to it as being fun. Nicky ate more than a wounded birdie today for the first time since his operation (one week ago today!), and Rowen's demands didn't manage to put a crimp in my decent mood. I took all the kids out for ice cream after school because - sit down, this is shocking - the sun was out! Afterwards, everyone played happily (well, almost) until dinnertime! So even if today won't go down in the recordbooks as my first-ever two-finishes-in-one-day, it will linger long in the memory as a very fine day full of sunshine and laughter.

The picture is an old Prairie Schooler freebie I made for a coworker. I thought it reflected today's positivity.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:10 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
The Zandy-Cat Teapot by Mosey 'N Me

Here is number three in the continuing quilt-squares-for-charity series. A nursing home resident in the UK requested a lap quilt featuring cats, and I'm doing my best to give her a nice variety! :-)

I nearly finished it last night, but it just got too late.

Once again, if anyone out there has a bit of extra time and thread, I hope you'll consider stitching for charity. It's a chance to do something you love while making someone very, very happy. For a short list of charities, have a look at Anita's list.

(I am now stepping off my soapbox.)
posted by mainely stitching at 10:08 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 2 comments
Up too late, but I am up to good
I had intended to post my third cat cross stitch piece tonight, but our Nicky is still a long way from being his normal (i.e. easy) self and I have run up & down the stairs enough times tonight to wear a groove in them. So my current cutie will have to wait before you can see it.

Actually, I contacted Naomi at OECS and told her I'd just do the whole darn quilt. They only need "about 8" squares so I'll do all eight. The request has been sitting since January, and I'd just feel better about it if I knew it was done. (No, I am not a control freak!) Just now my cyberpal Annemarie let me know she might be able to work one in around her other deadlines. So Ms Twigg, somewhere in the UK, will get her quilt before Christmas!

My new design has been in place for most of today, and I'd really like to thank everyone for their kind comments. Thanks for looking! I would also like to thank Jane for saving the sentimental value of the background shot. This is not just a pretty picture, folks; this is where my mom and her sisters grew up, where my grandmother's family goes back for generations. That's a little piece of my history! The view is of Otter Cliffs, in Acadia National Park. My mom's family hails from Otter Creek, within a stone's throw of this beautiful scene. Makes my little virtual home here ever so much more personal.

Now if I were a wise person, I would go to bed. Ask me tomorrow if I did or not....
posted by mainely stitching at 12:23 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
23 August 2005
Wow...check me out!

Wow, check me out.

This is like finding a pair of size 8 jeans that not only fits, but makes me look thin, too! The amazing, stupendous, talented ... and supremely patient ... design crew at Design A Blog has made my little corner of virtual reality really mine. Aaaah. This feels great. Not only cozy, but tidy too - if only reality would come into line with virtual living :-).

I've thought about taking this step literally since I started my blog. See, I saw Kiwi Jo's site and just fell in love. But I thought, "Ah, I'm only doing this for fun, no one reads it anyway. Real design is for serious bloggers." And other thoughts that all ran along the vein of I'm not worthy. But then Ash got her blog redesigned, and by then I'd acknowledged how much time I was spending in here, and (still amazing to me) other people were actually spending time here, too. So I took a deep breath and fired off a request. The fruits of that action are here to see (and to revel in!). Good golly, I feel like a kid with a brand new bike. Only better. Lots better. Grown up toys are ever so much more fun.

On the stitching front, since that is my excuse for playing here, I'm working on my first-ever SAL, a celtic knot bookmark designed by the talented and generous Kris of Dragonfly Stitches, a free-to-join Yahoo group that I can happily recommend. Kris provides free charts including some lovely blackwork ones, and the group is a nice place to meet other stitchers. You don't have to be an expert, either. Here is my progress to date. I'm using "Raspberry Sherbert" Caron Wildflowers on 28 ct "Antique Sage" linen. (I had this terribly weird sized scrap in my stash, and voila, it's perfect! Who says stash is naughty?) This will be a Christmas gift for one of my aunts (yes, another one - I have many) who is the other book freak in the family. She can't peek 'cause she's still not online. Can you believe it? People who actually exist without the Internet. It boggles the mind.

I'm also making another kitty square for the charity that provides lap quilts for nursing home residents. I'm on a kitty craze. A virtual friend from Canada sent me some charts she was done with and there were some remarkably cheery little felines in the batch, so I just had to do another one. If you find yourself with an extra couple of hours on your hands, Naomi at OECS could really use your help in keeping this very worthwhile charity going. The squares are teeny. Even a slowpoke like me can get them done quickly. Quilters are desperately needed. Even knitters can help out!

On the health front, our Nicky is recuperating remarkably well from his surgery, though he's having sleep troubles. Bad dreams. Not a surprise, but hard to deal with night after night (after night!). And my sinusitis is waging a losing battle at this point (knock wood). I missed the hour and a half yoga workout on Saturday, when I was more corpse than not, but did make my Pilates training last night. I'm not even too sore today. There may be hope. Max is still totally tuckered out from school and the change of the season. This year I am buying full-spectrum lights for our house and sparing Max & I another dreary winter of battling SAD.

Well, folks, I'm going to find out from Jane the Miracle Worker how I play with my side bar now. Please let me know what you think of my new digs. I'm really & truly at home now, and it feels great!

21 August 2005

Now that I'm reasonably fit again (though I am seriously considering buying stock in Kleenex), I spent most of Saturday finishing off two projects - and I got them done! Hooray!

Pictured is Kathy Barrick-Dieters' design "C - Cats" from her alphabet card series. These little designs are adorable. The new ones are just out, and I'm itching to get ahold of them. My favorite is probably "U - Upstream". This is the second charity square for OECS, and I've used colors that coordinate with the "Cat With Fish"(shown in an earlier entry) design because they'll be used in the same quilt.

I have to keep my other finish secret because it is a gift for my mom. It kills me to keep it secret because it was a lot of work and half the fun is showing them off when they're done! It came out well, although I certainly had my doubts while working on it. Just two words sum up the difficulty: quarter stitches. Need I say more? Ugh!

Anyone else out there suffer from sinuses? I didn't even know what they were until I hit the big 3-0 and boy I wish I could turn back the clock! I had a FESS operation a few years ago that was supposed to correct the problem (deviated septum on top of other design faults), but it didn't do the trick. A strictly dairy free diet makes a world of difference, but a life without ice cream is almost too sad to contemplate. I'll just keep blaming the weather, which sucks anyway.

Today will be one of my last entries with this layout. The wiz designers at Design A Blog are now on the case and it is only a matter of time before my little niche here reflects me. It's a comforting thought. I wonder if they do sticks & stones interiors, too? My living room is just hopeless...
posted by mainely stitching at 10:21 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 3 comments
19 August 2005
sick, sicker, sickly, sickening...

Ugh, I've been sick the past couple of days. It started not long after my last blog entry - I was up in the night with Nicky and suddenly began to feel very queasy. That got worse, and then got worse yet. I haven't stitched a thing - stunning headache! - and have actually done little but sleep. Anyway, today I decided I would probably survive.

This afternoon, to coincide with my will to live, a fat envelope arrived from Jennifer full of Prairie Schooler-related goodies to give me extra incentive to get my current WIPs done so I can begin something new. Thanks Jennifer!
17 August 2005
Thanks everyone for your supportive comments about Nicky. So far, so good. And I have all my kiddies home again - hip, hip, hooray!

My brain is kinda fried and I have to wake Nicky at 4 hour intervals for pain reliever and liquids, so recharging will have to wait for another day. I've tried to lay down a few stitches, but I'm hopeless. Niek's been in bed for over an hour. So I've turned to my never-failed-me-yet friend, The Internet. I'm poking around and taking goofy quizzes. Wanna join in?

Silly quiz one: What kind of yarn are you?
You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
(Who reveres me? Where's that wide circle of respectful admirers? They sure are a quiet bunch.)

Silly quiz two: What animal totem suits you?
You are the Dragon. You store a lot of knowledge about everything. You are generally one who is good with personal growth and can regenerate yourself after a bad experience.
(This talk of regeneration makes me think of tonsils. Do you know it is actually possible for one's tonsils to grow back? Heaven forbid...)

Silly quiz three: What awful book are you?

take the WHAT BAD BOOK ARE YOU test.

and go to mewing.net. not as good as reading a good book, but way better than a bad one.
(For the record, I really liked Beowulf. I've read it in the original Old English, and I've read several author's interpretations.)

And finally, my big ol' slice of humble pie (it was the damn math questions!), silly quiz four, The Ultimate Waste of Time:

Above Average Congratulations! You scored 63!
Nice. You've answered more than half correct. There's hope for you yet. However, you can still do better if you study a little more.
(Where are those old text books? Damnit!)
posted by mainely stitching at 10:01 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments

Boy am I glad this is over!

This morning, Nicky went in the hospital to have his tonsils & adenoids removed and to have drainage tubes inserted into his ears. He's home now, and resting, but the past hours have been anything but fun.

Niek took Rowen to his parents' house last night so we could focus on Nicky today; Max went to his best friend's house after school (and is now at the beach!). We'll pick them both up before dinner so we'll all be home this evening. I definately do not like the experience of having my children scattered around!

Nicky was a real trooper after the operation, and was up & playing with the exciting new toys in the recovery ward before we left. He was by far the youngest of the kids in his ward, and by far the bravest. He really seems to understand that crying and yelling only make the pain worse, and he's (mostly) very good about taking his drink every quarter to half an hour.

I woke him this morning around 5 so he could get a last drink before the "no intake" rule went into effect, and he decided that was an excellent time to get up. I'd assumed he'd go back to sleep, and so would I, for another hour or so ....

Everyone tells me that once he recovers he will not only stay healther, but also have a lot more energy. If that really turns out to be the case, I may need some jet-propelled rollerblades.

16 August 2005
along the lines of my resuming yoga, here's a Friday Funny (on Tuesday ... a Tuesday tee-hee?):

Why don't Buddhists vacuum in the corners?

Because they don't have attachments.

(Can you just tell how much I loved elephant jokes as a kid?)
posted by mainely stitching at 12:45 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
15 August 2005

School's Open!
Today was Max’s first day back in school. We got to school early – before they’d opened the doors – so we could say hello to his teacher and find a good place to sit that was neither too close nor too far from his teacher. And of course, the spot beside him had to be saved for his best friend! Although he was still the teensiest bit nervous when we arrived at school, by the time I left 10 minutes later he was laughing and having a grand time.

This year Max is in group 4, which roughly translates to second grade. He’s in a Jenaplan school, and among other things this means he has the same homeroom teacher for 3 years running. His teacher has grades 1 through 3, and the kids work on different levels of the same sorts of assignments. I think it’s a bit like the old fashioned one-room school house. It gives the kids a real sense of security to have the same teacher year in & year out, and older kids get a great sense of responsibility by helping their younger classmates. Max told me he was ready to help the “little kids” in his group, but “they were pretty smart” and didn’t need much help.

Before Max left this morning, dressed to kill, he kindly allowed me to take some pictures - at the end, he insisted I get in the picture too, so we set the timer and I ran for it! Nicky & Rowen found it all so much fun they just couldn’t hold still, as you can see.

In the stitching news, which really can't compare to the thrill of a new school year, I'm thinking envelopes. I've signed up for this Halloween envelope mailart exchange with one of my online groups, but I also have two good friends with autumn birthdays and I'd like to stitch something for them. There's this one chart I've been dying to try ... :-)
And on the health front, tonight was my first night back in my old Pilates/Power Yoga group. Tonight was Pilates, and although I used to find that a fairly easy hour-long workout, my thigh muscles are decidedly wobbly feeling tonight, and I suspect my abdominal muscles will protest tomorrow. I'll follow an hour & a half long yoga session on Saturday mornings. It's not only an excellent toning & conditioning program, it also fosters a very intense awareness that's been lacking in my life recently. It is so easy to fall into the rushing routine of one day tumbling on the heels of the day before it ... to miss the subtleties and nuances that make each moment a unique experience. And I'm of such a terribly impatient nature that I really require someone or something to make me stop and just simply live in the moment. Kids seem to do that so instinctively, so naturally. When, and why, do we lose the knack of it as we grow up and grow older?
posted by mainely stitching at 11:18 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
14 August 2005

Oops. I guess maybe I hadn't included this in an earlier posting. This is my interpretation of "Better A Small Fish" from the All You Can Eat leaflet by Prairie Schooler.

posted by mainely stitching at 11:33 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments

It's been a charity-minded weekend, stitching-wise. This cute critter is from the Barn Cats leaflet put out by Prairie Schooler in 1984. How is it possible that 1984, the middle of my (horrible) high school years, has already fallen 21 years into the past? (Picture Barbara shaking her head in mild confusion and disbelief.) Anyway, I'll leave the 'how can so much time have passed so quickly' rambling for another day and spare you that bit of boredom. Suffice it to say that I did goof on the border again - I obviously have a mental block on borders! - but the design came out quite well and I certainly hope the lady in England who receives it will enjoy it. I certainly had a good time stitching it (until the end stitches, when I attempted to close up the border).

I'm wondering what it is about Prairie Schooler designs that makes them so enjoyable. When you simply look at the chart, it's really not very interesting. I splurged on this leaflet (as anyone who's tried to hunt it down knows) and when I got it, I thought "oops - that was a mistake!" but I had this charity project to do and I figured I'd do the smallest cat first and just see how it turned out. The experience was similiar to stitching "Better A Small Fish" (also shown in an earlier entry) - it's sort of therapeutic, and the stitching seems to take on an existence of its own. The finished product is so much more than it looked like it would be based on the chart.

Anyway, I seem to remember making some vague promise to spare you boredom, so I'll wrap this up for tonight. I've become quite a fan of Praire Schooler designs lately (since stitching "Better A Small Fish", actually) and bought a few of the promo cards and all the stitching fairies recently, as well as my eBay guilty indulgences, so I guess you can expect to see them popping up here. My next piece, which I started tonight, is "Cats" from the Barrick Samplers alphabet card series. (Thanks to Maria for pointing these delightful cards out!) I'm doing it in colors to coordinate with our hungry kitty above because it will go into the same quilt.

But tomorrow is a long day at the office, so I don't expect I'll finish it before Tuesday night. And then I really will try to return to my August Goals list. Really.

posted by mainely stitching at 11:11 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 2 comments
13 August 2005

Hooray! I got the paying work done and even though my eyeballs feel like they are trying to escape from my skull, I am going to lay down a few more stitches in my kitty. I had so hoped to finish it today but that is NOT going to happen.

I signed up for a Halloween mailart exchange today and I'm pretty excited about that. I laid out all my Halloween designs and let Max choose which ones I'd do - he picked the same one I wanted for the big design and a little Jack-o-lantern for the small design. I can't decide if I should stitch on some Jobelan lambswool (super-easy stuff to stitch on) or go for a funkier look with one of the linens.

I've measured the envelope that Annemarie sent me (left picture) which is my only tangible example of this art form, to make sure I don't run out of fabric. I stitched one for Annemarie (right picture) but it wasn't functional. he he. Um, I kind of neglected to make it so you could actually put something in the envelope. Rather embarassing, really. But Annemarie was a sport about it and liked it anyway. Hey, it was my first time ... (But I will start this one early, just in case I make another blunder!)

I also explained to another stitcher what a SAL (stitch-a-long) is. Not a big deal, but a few months ago I wouldn't know a SAL from an RR. Which leads me to mention that I start my first SAL on Monday and I'm hoping to get an RR going with cyberspace stitching pal Annemarie.

If it weren't for cross stitch and my cyberfriends, I don't think I would have a social life at all. We sort of got disconnected while pregnant with Rowen and it's surprisingly hard work to get back into the swing of things. Tomorrow we're lunching with Eric and Ingrid - Eric is a coworker/carpooler/all-around-nice-guy and Ingrid is his 8-months-pregnant wife. I think they want to see our little hellions in their house to get an idea of what might be in store for them once baby makes three. Anyway, it's our first social thing as a family in months.

Later this month we will also get together at Anja's in Delft as our annual ex-Exacters/M&T reunion. Anja, Rik, Jos, and I were the core of the manuals & translations department at Exact for awhile. Niek is also an ex-Exacter, too. Poor Judith and Marina will have to listen to more boring Exact stories. Hopefully all the kids will have as much fun playing this year as they did last year.
12 August 2005
It's been decided. I've set up the necessary stuff in advance, made contact, and a date has been set to re-do this little corner of my universe. Don't get impatient - the designer is off on holidays and will only be able to take up the commission around the end of the month. But good things come to those who wait, as we all know.

Got a crusher deadline at work today. First time I've seen the project, but all my work has to be turned in by EOD Monday. So guess who is working this weekend? I've already contacted the charity quilt square agency to let them know I'll be running a couple of days later, but it wasn't a problem. Well, it's a problem for me - I really want to get that design done! I'll cheat, I know I will, and sneak in a few hours of stitching when I really should be working. On the bright side, the money will certainly help out with purchasing Niek's birthday gift!
11 August 2005
No real news to share or report tonight. It's been a fairly quiet day, or as quiet as a day can be when you've got three kids who're trapped inside due to the weather. Actually, we did get in a walk this afternoon, armed with umbrellas for "just in case." We all needed some fresh air and a chance to stretch our legs. Rowen's discovered that when she waves at people, they wave back, so now she waves at everything just in case someone is looking. She's such a little ham. Once anyone notices her, she hangs back and puts her head to one side and acts terribly shy and sweet. Even though I've seen her run through this act dozens of times, it even manages to fool me. She charmed everyone within the radius of our walk, and even tried her charms on the cows in a pasture we walk along. I didn't get the impression that the cows were terribly impressed.

Tomorrow I've got to dash into the office for a meeing. Thanks to the ex failing to keep any of his summer visitation hours, I have been unable to get into the office for 6 weeks. Can you believe it? I'm just amazed they don't fire me. Anyway, Max will go in armed with a bag of arts & crafts supplies and I can only hope the meeting won't go on much longer than an hour.

Today I started the charity piece for OECS, a group that organizes lap quilts for nursing home inhabitants. I'm doing "Cat and Fish" from the golden oldie Prairie Schooler leaflet "Barn Cats". This is a design I will definately do again. Probably many times. For my first time out, I'm following the color code pretty faithfully and I'll even follow the chart itself without adding my usual extra bits. These OECS squares are small - 6" x 6" total fabric size, so my design is only about 4"x 3". I'm going to try to squeeze in two squares because they are about half the size I normally do for the kids' quilts. I hope to post the finished "Cat and Fish" tomorrow if I can squeeze in a bit of stitching time after work and before my haircut.

I think I am going to go ahead and have my blog professionally done, regarding the layout & graphics. Ashleigh just had hers done, and I really like the others I've seen, such as Kiwi Jo's. I'd like to go with a Maine/birds/stitching theme - maybe a loon or a chickidee. I'm just not yet 100% sure of how I want it laid out. I definately want a links section down the side for blogs and other websites I really like, and I'd like some sort of link to WIPs/stash/special projects. A little place to talk about what I'm reading now. A little place for a special topic per blog entry, like a new word or a concept that's rattling around in my head. And...?
posted by mainely stitching at 11:29 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
09 August 2005

Tuesday night special

Starting tonight, every Tuesday evening I'll be working on Niek's anniversary present. Tonight I selected the fabric - a surprisingly hard choice - after skipping downtown this afternoon with the kiddoes to pick up the required DMC flosses. Yep, I'm actually going to follow the rules this time. Will wonders never cease?

This is a pretty big project for me: 230 stitches long by 100 stitches wide. I'm doing it on a 32 count Silkweaver opalescent lugana I got in my "Celebrations" packet (three stitcher's half yards of hand-dyed fabric). It's called Jubilation, which seems very appropriate for a 5 year anniversary gift. I've only laid down the first stitches in the upper left corner (I am being smart this time and doing the border first, no matter how dull it is!) so the photo is pretty dull. The first page of my working copy of the design is also shown. The chart is "Good Things" - an oldie but goodie from Birds of a Feather.

Niek plays chess every Tuesday from about 8 pm to 1 pm, so if I am reasonably disciplined about this, the progress should be pretty good. The trick will be to keep the WIP package secret from him - not exactly an easy task as it's a big bundle and we don't really have any good hidey-holes around here. I am curious how this rotating system will work out.

August Goals, Revisited

I wondered how long I would be able to stick to my goal list, LOL. This cutie is the "Stick it here" freebie by Prairie Schooler. I've stitched it on 28 ct. "Potato" Lugana using DMC floss. It's going to be a Christmas gift for an aunt who sews - I'll finish it off as either a pincushion or a needle case, depending on how confident I'm feeling.

When I made my August list, I overlooked the fact that it is high time to do another charity piece. This time I'm doing a piece for elderly folks. After doing two kids' quilt squares, it seemed time to pay my respects to our seniors. OECS is a wonderful charity group that collects quilt squares and makes them into cheery, personal lap quilts for older people who are in nursing homes. I'm doing a cat, as there are two ladies on the list who are quite keen on the kitties. I'm starting with a tiger cat, and if time permits I will do a second piece featuring a black cat. If you're interested in also stitching for charity, feel free to contact me for addresses and contacts. It's fun and it will make someone happy. We all need to try to bring a bit of beauty to the world, however we can.

So I've deviated from my list, only a week into the month. Figures!
07 August 2005

Forest Song

So, here it is, finally finished. The picture is a disappointment - our camera went wonky on us during our vacation in July and now I can't use the close-up mode to get a sharp picture of the stitching and the colors also come out kind of weird. This is stitched on a lovely "chestnut" color linen that really deserves its name (it isn't the putty color of the photo). I'll post another picture after we've had our poor Nikon CoolPix serviced. It's been a great camera for several years now, so I hope they can fix it up for us.

I've learned a lot about stitching (again!) with this project. I gathered together different design elements I've seen or thought about and very roughly boxed them out on a piece of graph paper to make sure they wouldn't run into each other. I didn't do any color coding, just took the colors I wanted when I wanted. Now that it's finished, I can see where a more thoughtful approach to color and how it is assigned to design elements would've improved this piece a lot. I may stitch it again, but differently. Next time I do my own design, I will chart it out properly on paper with the colors assigned in advance so I can see if the overall effect is harmonious. More lead-in time, and I am fiercely impatient, but it would've taken this from a so-so piece to something really graceful and lovely. Still, not a bad attempt and it will go into the birthday calendar I will make when I get enough bird pieces. (Making that will be a learning experience of another sort, as I am truly awful at finishing...)

On another note, we are getting used to my dad being gone, though we miss him still. It is the busy pre-school season, which is actually not much busier than the summer holiday season but the focus is different. We are also readying ourselves for Nicky's upcoming surgery. Okay, I am trying to ready myself. Basically, I despise hospitals and don't trust doctors. So putting my little boy into a germy, impersonal, inefficiently run establishment where he'll be knocked unconscious and have bits of his body sliced off or punctured by someone I am not sure I'd even trust to babysit ... well, it has me silently screaming from time to time. Still and all, most people hasten to assure me that they do "hundreds of these a week" and I'm not to worry. Of course, the assembly-line mental images I get of them doing hundreds of operations a week doesn't exactly calm my nerves, but I'm not letting on. Really. I'm cool as ice. Sure I am.
04 August 2005

Today's been a slow day for stitching (which is to say, I didn't do any) but I have been able to check a few items off my goals list for August.

Nicky went in with Niek for the pre-op/info meeting at the hospital. The docs all assured them that this is a walk in the park, a piece of cake, like taking candy from a baby. Yeah, well, it's not their kid! But I am doing a fine job of keeping my panicky feelings to myself. And really, it will be so much better for him when winter rolls around again.

I also made my way into the bastions of medical mayhem for a brief appointment and after a rather embarassing meeting with the receptionist, who assumed that if the door was open to the gynecologist's office, there surely wouldn't be anyone in there .... Well fortunately you cannot actually die from embarassment; we'll just leave it at that. So tick off the items of medical maintenance that needs to be done.

I also re-organized my printed charts after purchasing another binder. This time I think I really might stand a chance of finding something I am looking for. In addition to that rather daunting task (which had Niek muttering about installing filing cupboards in our living room), I also alphabetized my charts that are in leaflet/booklet format and updated my list of those titles. So tick off the items related to organization.

To celebrate my unusual tidiness, I decided to kick back tonight and read a few pages in the newest Rowling's offering, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The books keep getting darker and more menacing, but they are irresistable. As I waited for the microwave popcorn to finish making noises (greasy hands - no stitching!) I had a great time trying to make out the titles of the books in the bookshelf behind Ms Rowlings in her author's photograph. heh heh. Now are those staged or are they truly hers? And if they are truly hers, what on EARTH does she use as a system for shelving them? I mean, Freud next to Christie, and Nabokov by Jane Austen? Where is the logic? What is the plan? How does the woman find anything??

Oh, today's picture is a little piece I did for charity that I call Bluebirds for Alison. It is a combination of 4 My Sons (My Garden Wild) and Bent Creek (Bluebird Zippie). Plus some of my own stuff to blend it together.
posted by mainely stitching at 11:55 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 4 comments
03 August 2005

Dad's gone.

It is amazing how fast 11 days will go by when you want it to just s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. Now 11 days of working will last approximately a month in subjective time, but 11 days of enjoying someone you only get to see once a year goes by in approximately 4 hours of subjective time. It doesn't seem fair.

The kids and I took Daddy to Schiphol this morning. After some minor (but time-consuming) trouble getting his printed ticket, we had a quick cuppa and then waved him off at the passport gate. Nicky cried for him nearly all the way home. "Grampie.... I want my Grampie!" The dog is also depressed. Max says he loved all the card games and we had a nice time talking about what Grampie was like when I was Max's age. The house seems pretty empty this afternoon.

Tomorrow we will take Nicky in for his pre-op informational meeting. Actually, Niek will take him and I will stay home with Rowen. Hopefully it will put our worries to rest. The big day is Wednesday the 17th.

No stitching news to report today.
02 August 2005

August Goals:
  1. Resolve some open health issues.
    This isn't a cross-stitching project, but health obviously comes first. Our Nicky will undergo a triple operation on the 17th to remove his adenoids & tonsils and to insert drainage tubes in his ears. I'm also overdue on some medical maintenance.
  2. Finish 2 small projects for Silkweaver competition.
  3. Complete (at least) 2 more panels on my Mom's garden sampler.
  4. Buy another folder for 'working copies' and freebie charts and get those organized (again!).
  5. Begin anniversary gift for Niek (this is one I'm really looking forward to!).
  6. Begin to chart out "Edrie Says" - a sampler I want to create based on a saying my Grandmother used to repeat to my dad and his siblings when they were the age of my kids.
  7. Get some ideas going for the Sylka Mailart Challenge.
  8. Finalize the plans for the stitchers' get-together that will take place here in September.
    If you are interested in coming, please contact me - there's always room for one more!

Today's photo is "Better A Small Fish" by Prairie Schooler. I stitched this on 32 ct Tumbleweed using assorted GAST and Stranded by the Sea fibers.

01 August 2005

I couldn't resist posting the work I did tonight on "Forest Song" - I'm pretty pleased so far....

posted by mainely stitching at 12:24 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments