30 September 2005
meditating on the prairie
My great Aunt Hattie, last of my grandma's sisters, will receive this project for Christmas. It's the wee beginings of "Garden Sampler" from the Band Samplers leaflet released by Prairie Schooler. I'm stitching it on a 28 count mystery linen from a Willow Fabrics grab bag. It's a kind of weird linen, with some sort of treatment that makes the back side of the linen all streaky. First time I've encountered a fabric that truly has a "wrong" side. Anyway, my wonderful husband picked the pattern and fabric because I simply couldn't make my mind up. I wanted to make them ALL for Aunt Hattie! (Actually, Niek couldn't decide between this sampler and the ""Rabbit Sampler" from Garden Verses - I chose this one because my mom and Aunt Hattie have a vegetable garden together, and there's a veggie garden in this sampler.)

This afternoon I went to Utrecht by train with Max, at his request. He had a free day of school and the deal was, I would work the morning and in the afternoon we'd do what he wanted. He loves the trains! On the trip home we got caught up in the commuter crush and couldn't sit together. We all hear the stories of how rude people are now, especially on trains & subways, so it's my pleasure to tell a story from the other side. Two total strangers gave up their seats so my son could sit beside the window and I could sit beside him! Thanks, folks, for reminding me (and showing my son) that the human animal can be full of goodness & generosity!

Another very bright note: Just before midnight, our friends Eric and Ingrid had a healthy baby boy named Sven! Everyone is doing well and we can't wait to meet the new Earthling. LOL. But I better get his "Sweet Dreams" gift framed!
29 September 2005
hoping to catch up on some rest
Tonight Niek and I are trying to get to bed before midnight for a change. Getting that "Rocky in the 8th round" feeling after a kind of grueling week.

Last night I started a new Prairie Schooler project (which I will post a picture of tomorrow night) for my great Aunt Hattie. I've managed to miscount almost every row so far, so it's off to rather a slow start. Maybe after a decent night's sleep it'll pick up speed.

My mom is back home in Maine after enjoying a great time with my 'baby' brother and his family down in Arizona. My father is awaiting new RV parts Needles (his clever email title was "Sewed up in Needles" LOL). Haven't heard from my dad yet, but he's still on the road.

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments in my last couple of postings. Nicky's birth sampler was a learning process because I didn't really know what I was doing when I started it. But it was done with love and fun, and I have happy memories of the stitching hours every time I look at it. The "Hearts & Flowers" chart is great - lots of fun to stitch! I can happily recommend it to anyone who's wondering about buying it. I'll post another picture soon.

And if Jessica, or any other long-lost family or friends is reading this, please contact me! It's so wonderful to become reconnected after so many years apart. Isn't the Internet great?!
posted by mainely stitching at 10:50 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
28 September 2005
where is the time going?
I feel like I'm in one of those dreams, where you're running as fast as you can but you don't get any closer to (or further from) the reason for running. The worst thing is, I can't for the life of me say what is taking up all my time. The kids have been ill with this and that for about 3 weeks now. Nicky was up until 1 am this morning, for example. I know that being tired makes everything else disorganized, but it's not like you have much choice when the kiddies keep you up.

What I am doing is slowly making progress on "Hearts and Flowers" (pictured in an earlier post). I'm using my own color scheme and made a mistake with one color which now needs to be picked out. Fortunately I didn't get too far before I realized it just didn't look that good stitched.

I've organized all my charts, reacquainting myself with a few I hadn't looked at in ahwile and enjoying the new ones. Annemarie gave me three when she came over, I've traded with BeckySC, and Dianne has sent me some amazing PS. Joke also introduced me to the beauty and complexity of Jan Houtman designs, and I am going to (gulp) undertake "Patchwork Sampler" in 2006. Thank you all for your wonderful generosity! I love them all!

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I've promised myself that in 2006 I will do more stitching for "us" and less as gifts. There are some really great things I've been holding on to for the kids - an amazing one-of-a-kind sea dragon I bought from a student/artist, "Heaven and Hell" by der Feine Faden for the nursery, "The New World Sampler" by PS for our entry hall. And I'm going to try a big project for a friend who is close to my heart but far from my home (can't say who, it's a reader!) for which I've been collecting some incredible Shepherd's Bush charts. I'm giving myself the whole year for that one - it'll be a Christmas gift for 2006. I'm also going to ask my ever-patient DH to please give me the 4 parts of Martina Weber's "Celtic Quilt Mystery", which I am going to do for our daughter, also incorporating a couple of Kathy Barrick Dieter's designs that coordinate well.

Speaking of making quilts for my 1 1/2 year old daughter, does anyone else remember Hope Chests? Gosh I wanted one worse than anything when I was 12 or so. My best friend Kelli had one, and actually had linens and silver ware and such in it. I'm a total goof, I know that the time for things like that has long passed, but I have this foolish and irresistable desire to create one for Rowen. No doubt she'll grow up thinking it's corny and embarassing ... but knowing me, I will go right ahead and do it, one special item at a time over the years. Being a rather "old" mother, I'm sometimes uncomfortably aware of the fact that I might not be on the right side of the grass by the time she has her own family and it's comforting to think of something from me lingering on. (No, I am not morbid!)

The sun is trying to shine today, with very limited success. I await news that my mother and her sisters have returned safely to Maine after visiting my brother, sister-in-law, and incredible nephew in Arizona. My dad and Mary are touring the last of the agricultural fairs of the season and I wish I were with them. My father and Gaby are making a tour of the Oregon coast, something I want to do with Niek someday. I am washing toys to send to the very practical and personal initiative spearheaded by Zoanna. Hopefully I will get them out in Saturday's mail, Zoanna! The boys are playing and Rowen is sleeping the sleep of the just.

I hope this finds you all feeling happy and healthy.

Today's picture is a detail from Nicky's birth sampler, a project from which I learned a lot!
25 September 2005
whistle while you work
My stash has become so terribly disorganized that I have had to spend quite a few stitching hours getting it straightened out. My housework may not be up to par, but it really bugs me when my patterns, fabrics & fibers are a jumble. One must set priorities in life! LOL

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But in between the tidying up (you should see my harddrive - not an electronic dustbunny to be found!) we've been having fun. Max decided that today was the day to really put on the dog and he's dressed himself so he's ready for any Paris runway. This meant that I could finally get him to pose for a picture, which he insisted Gilbert (the bird) and my Halloween project be in. Little brother Nicky had to sneak in at the last moment, too! While the boys were hamming it up for the camera, Rowen was enjoying some fun & games with her Daddy and for once I got a decent picture. (Rowen is very hard to photograph because of her pale-pale coloring.)

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Now that my patterns are once again decently organized, it's time to finish that wonderful BoaF Halloween project. For once, I will be done well ahead of a deadline! I hope that anyone reading this is enjoying a wonderful Sunday full of family, fun, and love.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:52 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
22 September 2005
hearts & flowers

I don't know if Kathy Barrick-Dieter would still recognize it, but this is "Hearts & Flowers" by Carriage House Samplings. I've been using my own selection of Silk N' Colors, primarily in an autumn palette. I had this amazing Silkweaver Solo (April FOTM) that was exactly what I wanted. The colors are a little more hectic here than in reality, but my camera is having a nervous breakdown.

The kids are still sick. Argh. My mom called today from Arizona. Hooray! She's gone to visit my brother and his family, taking along two of her sisters. How cool is that, a tour of the American southwest with your siblings?

The RR that Annemarie proposed is shaping up really fast. We've already got 8 stitchers with a possibly 9th. Then we're full up. We'll start stitching in January and this is going to be a very cool project. More details to follow.

Now it is midnight and I have a full day at the office tommorrow, so I am going to be sensible and get myself in bed.
posted by mainely stitching at 11:58 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
21 September 2005
secrets & surprises
First off, a huge thanks to everyone who left such nice comments regarding "Sweet Dreams" - it really makes my day to check in and see someone has said something. Of course, constructive criticism is also welcome - I'm always learning how to do something better or something new.

Right now I'm doing two projects at the same time that I can't let you see, lest the recipient also sneaks a peek. Though I may be able to give a little peek without giving away the whole surprise.

It is already mid-September. The days are noticably a lot shorter, and the sunlight has the mellow quality of autumn. Thank heavens we are enjoying a very fine Indian Summer here, which helps make up for a very wet & cold summer. On the less cheery side, however, our kids are already into the winter cycle of illness. We're now having our 2nd round of a very nasty stomach bug that has me nearly at wit's end. I keep thinking about the months & months yet to come: the colds, flus, mystery ailments, ear infections, and so on. Last winter was a nightmare. I was hoping this winter would be different, since Nicky has had his tonsils & adenoids out and his ears drained, but now I am unsure. Even Max, who is normally pretty resiliant in spite of how thin he is, has already been ill. I know, everyone keeps telling me they'll outgrow it, that time goes fast, etc. but .... I have to admit to feeling a little overwhelmed nonetheless. Any home remedies that you know of to give a serious boost to a child's immune system?

At least my stitching is going well, and I've gotten a lot of enjoyment so far from these two secret projets I'm doing. I have also curtailed my 'outside' stitching commitments which has given me a wonderful feeling of energy and productivity. I didn't realize how draining those real and imagined commitments were!

And I've decided that I can't post this without giving you a little peek at this cutie!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:42 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
18 September 2005
finally a finish

It took longer than it should've due to real life occassionally getting in the way of my stitching, but the finished product is worth the wait. Now to get it framed ... do it myself again, or shell out the big bucks for a pro? The thing is, I'm not totally convinced the professional does much better than I do. (No, I am not bragging, I'm saying he really doesn't knock my socks off with his skills.)

I stitched this 2-over-2 on 32 ct antique ivory Belfast linen using most of the GAST fibers called for. Ran short on dried thyme, however, and substituted WDW butter bean (which was probably to light). Too bad the LNS around here only stocks DMC!

This will hang in the nusery of some friends, Eric & Ingrid, who are expecting their first child any day now! Eric has seen the design, so this was a sort of pre-arranged gift.
posted by mainely stitching at 11:51 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 2 comments
17 September 2005
a good time was had by all
This afternoon some beautiful stitching was shown & admired - here in my living room! After many weeks of planning and waiting, a small group of Dutch-based stitchers gathered for our first face-to-face meeting. Everyone brought some WIPs and/or finished pieces, and boy were they gorgeous! I was more than a little shy to show my much smaller, less challenging work, but everyone enjoyed seeing each other's different styles and designs. Joke had some of the most incredible Chatelaine projects with her. Ina brought Celtic Christmas (wow!!) and a stunning design of two dancers featuring a lot of white on white. Novia brought a painstakingly detailed over-one project that I have got to ask the name of the designer. Annemarie brought "Where the wind blows", which I've been dying to see, the French perpetual calendar freebie well as two Prairie Schoolers and a couple of other WIPs. Marlies left before the show & tell started, but she lives very closeby so I will get to see her work soon I hope. I'd like to thank everyone for coming - especially Annemarie and Ina who made very long trips to get here - and to thank you for a very fun afternoon. I hope we'll do it again soon!

The biggest thanks of the day goes to Niek, who began to feel ill at 11:00 but still managed to take care of the kids and help out in general. Thanks, Niek - you're the best!!
16 September 2005
protecting the things we cherish
I’m a huge blues fan – have been since a university professor played Muddy Waters during a lecture. I was hooked! I spent my 25th birthday in New Orleans listening to blues so real you could feel it coming up through the soles of your feet. I ate alligator for the first time. I watched one of those spontaneous music parades. I drank chickory coffee. That summer, we enjoyed an incredibly cool, extremely low-budget north-to-south tour: we rambled from Maine down to Atlantic City (I spent only $10!) then wound down the coast having many adventures that I’ll spare you the details of. When we hit Florida, finishing up the last of the Georgia peaches that had been ripening in the back window of my big ol’ Oldsmobile, we went all the way around the coast and came out the Panhandle. I got a sunburn that I think I’m still peeling from! We suddenly popped out in Baton Rouge, where I actually parked my car for something like 2 weeks while I went down to Mexico and no one broke into it! But one of the biggest highlights of this amazing journey was the week or so we spent in and around New Orleans.

So I’ve been having a really hard time accepting that it’s all gone, or changed beyond recognition. Besides donating to the Red Cross, which I hope everyone has done if they can, I have really wanted to do something constructive – but that’s hard when you’re on the wrong side of the Atlantic. So today I joined the Katrina Quilts ez board. If you don’t have an ez board membership, it’s fast and free to get set up. They are collecting quilt squares which will be made into show quilts for the affected states. There are strict regulations, though, so do look at their guidelines. To further help out this effort, 123 Stitch is selling the fabric squares for only $2 each which includes postage anywhere in the world!

There are a lot of cross stitch enthusiasts who are helping in various ways. M Designs has released a free Pray Tree chart that is lovely as well as thoughtful.(The finished design is shown here, as borrowed from the M Designs website.) Other designers have released charts from which the sale proceeds are donated to relief/rescue efforts, including Martina Webber, Martina Dey, and Sampler Cove. There are also a number of businesses that are contributing time, finances, or other resources, including Silkweaver, Stitching Bits and Bobs, and the aforementioned 123 Stitch. The wonderful people at Stitcher’s Hideaway have assembled a very complete list if you would take a moment to look at it. Supporting these businesses and designers is more than acquiring great stash – it’s a small step toward cherishing & protecting our global community.
14 September 2005
sometimes life can suprise you
I have just enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and evening with 'long lost friends' that I first met here in Holland (soon after I arrived here) but who departed for Canada soon thereafter. We haven't seen each other in about 7 years, and even our email exhange had dwindled away over the years. But this year they managed to come back to visit family still here, and even fit little ol' me into their schedule! What a really wonderfully enjoyable time we've had together! I had forgotten how fun Michelle is, and had no idea that Cor was also a very fun guy. And what a treat to sink back into English as it's spoken 'back home'. Although Michelle is Canadian, she's from the part of Canada just above the part of Maine I'm from (we are now talking American distances - to the Dutch, the two areas would seem very far apart!) so the accents and cultural contexts and such are quite similiar. The kids loved them, and they were great with the kids. Niek was pretty surprised to come home and find 'strangers' at the dinner table, but handled it with his usual good nature and friendliness.

I'd given up on ever seeing Michelle again, let along indulging in a nearly a whole day of pleasant conversation and great company. So it just goes to show that indeed, sometimes life can surprise you.

Here are pictures of my recent acquisitions. That stunning blue is my Silkweaver FOTM, a 28 ct Lugana Solo that is really gorgeous (and I don't even like blue!). The other goodies are from an eBay win, and although I promised not to buy anything this month, I won these items for under $30 including international shipping. I'd be an idiot to regret that! Pictured are an 18x13 inch cut of 40 ct Dark Chino fabric by R&R Reproductions, 6 skeins of assorted pastel/neutral Needle Necessities, and 6 skeins of Needlepoint Silk in assorted colors. These are from an excellent seller on eBay that I've bought from before, if you are looking for a safe place to buy similiar items. (Contact me for her eBay name.)
13 September 2005
autumn is herfst in Dutch

Wow, has someone set the clocks on fast-forward? Last night I had my hour of Pilates and when I stepped outside, it was pitch black! Last Monday I could still bike home without using my bike light, so that seems awfully sudden. And when we got up this morning and I looked out the bedroom window, it still wasn't fully light out. I don't think I'm ready for this!

This year we are buying a full spectrum light for the living room. Both Max and I suffer from SAD to a certain degree, and the Dutch winter is terribly dark and wet. Back home, in Maine, it seemed so much lighter during the winter. The sunlight would reflect off the snow covering and some days were absolutely brilliant. Here, it rains (and rains!) through the winter and that soggy landscape seems to just absorb what little daylight there is. After 8+ years here, I am still not really used to the winter. I remind myself what a luxury it has been to not shovel snow even once in those 8 years, but some days even that trick doesn't work.

We are fortunate in that we have a lane of large trees planted just beyond the perimeter of our property - they give us shade in the sun, shelter from the wind, and the whisper of the wind through the leaves is a wonderful sound. But around the first of September, our back yard is suddenly full of leaves. No colorworks display, just lots & lots of leaves. They smell great, though! I just love the smell of autumn.

On the stitching front, there are a number of Christmas gifts I want to make for family members, and several I've already completed (but not framed or otherwise finished) and one charity I've promised to make an ornament for. But my thoughts are already drifting to the long winter evenings of comfortably stitching on the sofa while DH plays chess or table tennis or goofs around with his new XBox. I went through my old WIPs (I refuse to give up and call them UFOs!) and guess what? I really want to finish them! They are great projects, and no where near as 'hopeless' as I'd feared when I set them aside. There are also a number of smaller projects I want to do for the kids' rooms. And I have almost made up my mind to ask Niek to buy me the 4-part Celtic Quilt series from Martina Weber for Christmas. I've never asked him to buy me a pre-arranged gift, but I would so love to do this quilt and am put off a bit by the cost of buying all four sets of patterns at once. But if it were a gift, that would be okay, right? LOL!!

Before I go, I want to thank everyone who has had such supportive and helpful suggestions regarding giving handicrafts as gifts. It's been a bit of shock to realize that not everyone values hand-made gifts as much as I do, but I guess I've had my head in the sand. Ha ha. In fact, almost all the gifts I have given have been recieved with appreciation and delight - so I know I am very fortunate in my circle of friends and family. In the future, I'll demonstrate more caution when giving gifts to people for the first time but I certainly won't cease making and giving gifts from the heart.

Today's lovely photo has been lifted from here.
11 September 2005
giving gifts
So yesterday was the party for Marissa (recipient of my first stuffed block), and instead of 'no one' coming, as her frantic mother told me on the phone on Thursday, there were 4 other couples, the grandparents, parents, and 6 other children. I felt more than a little bit annoyed that we cancelled our other Saturday plans to attend. But what I want to talk about today is giving cross stitch projects as gifts. Do many of you out there do it? I would really appreciate your comments.

We've recently seen a spate of birthdays and births and I've been stitching lots of gifts for the little people. However, I've discovered that I seem to have a hard time "letting go." LOL. I try to make the gifts as perfect as my imperfect talents allow, and to make them very personal. So it tends to bother me when the recipients appear to shrug the gift off. At yesterday's party for example, no one even acknowledged that it was a handmade gift. The grandparents kept asking what she was supposed to do with a stuffed block, like I'd given her a pet armadillo or something equally bizarre. The birthday girl promptly threw it into the wet grass and no one made any attempt to rescue the poor thing from the spilled drinks and debris. Another recent gift was "stripped down" and the parts used for other purposes.

I understand that when you give a gift, that's it. It's theirs. But I'm wondering if anyone else has had the feeling that maybe they should've just blown 20 bucks at Toy-R-Us instead. Or if you give the gift with some sort of introduction that makes it a little clearer that this was a labor of love and you hope it will be received in the spirit in which it's been given.

Like I mentioned, I would really appreciate any & all comments you have. Thanks, and happy stitching to everyone for the remainder of this weekend. I'm going to be working on "Sweet Dreams" again, which is also a birth gift.

Today's picture is Four Fat Friends, a freebie from The Drawn Thread. If mine looks radically different than other versions you've seen of this chart, it's because I didn't follow the directions for colors and I mixed in one-over-one and two-over-two stitches for variety and I used different types of fibers for texture. It was a fun stitch!
09 September 2005
my first toy!

After work today, I scribbled out how I thought a stuffed block would go together and cut the fabric pieces accordingly. After laying our wild beasties down to bed, after a very necessary bath, I started sewing. A whopping 2 1/2 hours (and one broken gold-plated needle!) later, here's the result.

Even though I measured carefully, twice, and cut as if it were surgery, my corners didn't meet up exactly right. Why's that? I also see that this would've benefitted greatly from some interface to stiffen it up, but I didn't have any at home and didn't realize what a big help it would've been. Next time! I suspect there might also be better stuffing than the cotton batting I used, but what?

In any case, I suspect that Marissa will have fun with it. It's soft and cute and in sweetly girlish colors. If she's a got a wild streak like our Rowen, it also throws quite nicely. LOL!!

Anyone out there who could/would provide constructive criticism, please do! I would like to do this again, for our nursery. Although the block is flawed, I like the idea enough to want to do it again ... but better!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:15 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, Aunt Hattie!

Today is the birthday of my great Aunt Hattie, who is 86 years young. This amazing lady flew all the way from northern Maine to the Netherlands 2 years ago for my wedding. She's incredible!

Can you imagine watching the world change around you, but still keep pace with it? Aunt Hattie gets email, flies and drives (around the world!), keeps contact with her far-flung friends and family, gardens, watches birds, and does the daily crossword puzzles! To give you an idea of how much the world has changed during her lifetime, consider the major news events of 1919 (the year of her birth):

* The League of Nations was founded.
* The Treaty of Versailles was signed.
* The 18th Amendment (prohibition!) took effect.
* The Nazi party began, formed as the German Farmer's Party.
* The Fascist Party forms in Italy under Mussolini.
* Women are given the right to vote in the Netherlands.
* The first non-stop air crossing of the Atlantic Ocean occurs.
* America's first passenger flight took place.
* An 8-hour workday was demanded by and awarded to French and Dutch workers.
* The pop-up toaster is patented.

There were no computers or TVs; cars, telephones, indoor plumbing were rare luxuries in most parts of the US. Values, expectations, ethics were different. It really was a different world.

Aunt Hattie deserves much more than a hearty Hip Hip Hooray! on her birthday, but since I'm too far away to do more, hopefully lots of people nearby are treating this very modest woman like the celebrity she is!

(Aunt Hattie, between you & me, I love remembering the summers that Rich and I stayed with you and Uncle Don, the Scrabble and UNO games we played in the screenhouse, the endless supply of popsicles you always had in the freezer, the blackboard you hung in the kitchen where I could write down all that I was too shy to actually say aloud. I remember watching parades on TV with you, exploring in the barn, watching Uncle Don make baseball bats & boxes out of hunks of wood. You were the first to give me a camera and start off my life-long love of photography. You laughed and played when other adults were quiet or serious or too busy to notice me. And best yet, my own kids adore you every bit as much as I did as a child. You have a rare and special gift, and you are a most remarkable person. I love you.)
08 September 2005
prairie schooler pull toy

Here is my first-ever same-day finish. As recently mentioned, I am a s-l-o-w stitcher, in spite of my efforts to whiz right along. But today, another Dutch transplant, from Canada, called me out of the blue to ask me to her daughter's 2nd birthday party. Begged, is more like it. She hasn't made many friends here and when her Dutch in-laws made other plans during her daughter's birthday, she was suddenly in the odd position of having a party with no one to invite. Of course I said yes, even though we already have about 100 things to do on Saturday, and furthermore I felt compelled to make something special. So I whipped out my needle and this nice little piece of 'light mocha' 28 ct cashel linen I had stashed and managed to get this little charmer done in between nosebleeds, luncheon guests, tumbles off the tricyle, and the usual chaos & mayhem.

I would really like to finish it off as a stuffed pulltoy (albeit a tiny one). Anyone out there have any brilliant ideas? My imagination far outstrips my talents, sadly, and I will probably wind up finishing this as a rather boring little pillow or sachet.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:52 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 3 comments
07 September 2005
doggy update
Thanks to everyone for your very supportive comments regarding our Doggy Saga. Nicky is healing up well (as you can see in the picture) and doesn't seem to be scared of dogs when he encounters one. He's asked where Xavier is a few times, too.

We've kept in contact with the shelter, where Xavier is quickly becoming one of the favorites, and the lady who runs things assured me he's doing great and will no doubt find a home quickly due to his sociable nature.
my sbq of the week
Everyone seems to be asking the same question, so I'll ask a stitching bloggers' question of my own this week:

What is the most important thing you get from stitching?

For me, I would have to say it's the great feeling I have at the end of a project. I can look at it and know "Hey, I did this!". But tied up in that feeling is the daily relaxation I get out of the stitching itself. I rarely display my projects, so for me it's all about the stitching culminating in a completed project.

The friendships I've made as a result of stitching can't be overlooked, either!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:51 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 4 comments
06 September 2005
aren't they yummy?
My envelope from Silkweaver arrived today: three one-of-a-kind Solos, all 13x18" linens and three 9x12" assorted linens plus a couple of the Stranded by the Sea limited editions and GAST limited editions and a little packet of Mill Hill beads. Oh boy, I have got so many ideas! I really want to use the beads on the next dragon I do for Max, my oldest son. The gorgeous raspberry linen is intended for Rowen, our daughter who demands strong colors to match her strong personality! The two greeny stuff is for me ... green's my fave. The grays were on sale at a price I could not ignore and I like gray anyway. I'm so excited. I wish I could stitch faster! There are so very many things I want to do and learn! I recently joined a Smalls group and have been introduced to some incredibly talented people who've really got me inspired to branch out.

In addition to Smalls, the hot topic lately seems to be accessories. What can you absolutely not do without? Me, I'm really hung up on my teeny little #28 petite needles. I can stitch with something else, but I feel very clumsy when I do. On the other hand, I have a nasty habit of snapping the little things in half. I also love my new Q-Snap. I don't know how I survived so long without it! As for scissors, I have to admit that I own only one pair. Can you believe it? But what a pair! I blush to admit I bought them 15 years ago. (How can it have been so long ago?) I was living in Germany and bought the best pair possible. In all that time, I've only sharpened them once, and really they didn't need it. In addition to being an excellent tool, they have a lot of memories tied up in that ice-tempered steel!

But what about you? I'm really curious. There are dedicated hands-free stitchers. Others who swear by their lamps and lighting. Laying tools? I've never even seen one in real life. Those cool little clover-cutters? I've been tempted but never indulged.

Now, time to get back to stitching while the DH is out playing chess. He won 100% of his club's external games this season! Hip-hip-hooray!
i'm not stitching yet
this would actually explain rather a lot...

In a Past Life...

You Were: An Evil Poet.

Where You Lived: Central Africa.

How You Died: Buried alive.
Who Were You In a Past Life?

And these are all true!

You've had arguments over the comparative quality of Fried Dough.

You call four inches of snow "a dusting."

You don't understand why there aren't fried clam shacks elsewhere in the county.

You know what an Irving is and the location of 15 of them.

You knew all the flavors at Perry's Nut House.

Your car is covered in yellow-green dust in May.

You can drive the Augusta traffic circle without slowing down.

You've hung out at a gravel pit.
(Ah, those were the days...)

You think a mosquito could be a species of bird.

You once skipped school and went to Bar Harbor, Old Orchard Beach or Reid State Park.

Even your school cafeteria made good chowder.

You've almost fallen asleep driving between Houlton and Presque Isle.

You know how to pronounce Calais.

You've made a meal out of a Jordan's red dye hot-dog, a bag of Humpty Dumpty potato chips and a can of soda.

You've gone to a Grange bean supper.

In high school, you (or a friend) packed Deering Ice Cream cones.

At least once in your life, a seagull pooped on your head.

At least once in your life you've said, "It smells like the mill in here."

There's a fruit and vegetable stand within 10 minutes of your house.

You crave Italian sandwiches at least weekly.
(And you know it's pronounced EYE-talian.)

Your house converts to a B&B every July and August for people from away that you happen to know.

All year long you're tracking sand in the house-from the beach in the summer and the roads and sidewalks in the winter.

You have to have the sand cleaned out of your brake system every spring.

You do the majority of your shopping out of Uncle Henry's.

You've ditched the car on the side of the road somewhere because you thought you saw some good fiddleheads!

You know a lobster pot is a trap, not a kettle.

You know not to plant tender crops until the last full moon in May.

You go to the dump and bring back more than you brought.

You've watched "Murder she Wrote" and snickered at the stupid fake accents.

You know how to find the rope swing at the quarry.

You take the New Hampshire toll personally.

You always wave when you see a Maine license plate in another state.

When you're supposed to dress up, you wear flannel with a tie.

There's too much "stuff" in your 2 "cah" garage to get either of your cars into it.

You know what a frappe is.

L.L. Bean's not just a store, it's a way of life.

"The City" means exclusively Portland.

"Salt damage" is a viable insurance claim.

All of the traffic lights blink yellow at 10 o'clock at night.
(All? We only have one, and that's "new.")

It's not a storm - it's a Nor'eastah.

"Open 24/7" might as well be Greek.

More stores have "Bienvenue" flags than "Welcome" flags.

You eat ice cream with flavors like 'Moose Tracks" and "Maine Black Bear".

You know that a chocolate doughnut is not a white doughnut with chocolate frosting.

You wouldn't eat beans in tomato sauce or Manhattan clam chowder if you were starving!

As a child, you played outside in a snow storm without hat, mittens, scarf and with your jacket open because it was just a little cool.

The area around your back door is referred to as "the dooryard".

You eat potato chips with flavors such as "clam dip", "ketchup" and "dill pickle".
(Clam dip is my personal favorite.)

You call the basement "downcellah."

There is only one shopping plaza in town.

You use "wicked" as a multipurpose part of speech

Your pickup has more mud on it then the ground around it for a 15 foot radius.

More than 1/2 the meat in your freezer is moose.

You enjoy a hot chocolate more than a margarita.

If your "luxury vehicle" is a twelve-year-old rustbucket on wheels.

If your dog eats better than you do, and more often too.

If you never say what you paid for an item but how much you "give" for it.

You actually get these jokes and pass them on to other friends from Maine.
05 September 2005
i'm still here!
It's been a few crazy days. If you can believe it, I haven't set needle to thread in TWO WHOLE DAYS. I feel very unsettled and restless about this. Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of my DH, though today was the real day. Anyway, a houseful of inlaws ... naturally I had to go through the house cleaning it to a microscopic level. I did cheat this year, though, and bought the cake from the bakery. And the quiche, too. Basically, I only made the chicken soup and salad from scratch. And you know what? Life went on! No implosion of the universe, no thunder crashing from the heavens above. And I didn't spend hours slaving over a hot stove and more hours cleaning it all up. I think I may be on to something here (wicked grin).

And we've all been making the uncomfortable adjustment to our dogless state. It's like he's died and we are all too shy with the change to even mention his name. At dog-walking times, my husband looks around him like he heard something but there's nothing there. The kids are taking it in stride. Probably Nicky is relieved. I will be curious to see how he reacts next time he encounters a dog. Will he be scared? Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments. They are very much appreciated.

We do have a new member of our house, however. I got crazy and bought Niek an XBox for his birthday and a couple of games. So far, he's been good. He *only* played for about 3 hours yesterday, before and after the party. He claims not to have played at all tonight while I was at fitness, but I didn't feel the TV for warmth to double check. LOL!

I am going to stitch tomorrow no matter what! Tomorrow is Tuesday - time for Good Things, which really needs some speed stitching done on it!
posted by mainely stitching at 10:46 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
04 September 2005
Although it's my husband's birthday, it's a bit somber in our house today. Yesterday we had to take our French bulldog, Xavier, to the animal shelter after he again bit one of the children. This time he went for Nicky's face and got ahold of him just above the eye. Thank heavens he wasn't 1/4 of an inch lower. We've had Xavier for 3 1/2 years. Sadly, although French bulls are supposed to be outstanding with kids (which is why we chose that breed), Xavier grew more unhappy as our family expanded. After Rowen's birth he began snapping at the boys and broke the skin a few times. Then about 3 months ago he gave Nicky a very nasty bite on the hand and we agreed that this was "the last time." We had long talks with our vet and an animal trainer, but the problem seemed to be simply that Xavier is a very atypical Frenchie. We'd hoped that the problem had resolved itself, but yesterday as I was petting him on the floor he lunged at Nicky for no reason and bit him in the face. Fortunatly, other than a very nasty gash, black eye, and swelling, Nicky is fine. I explained the situation to the lady at the shelter and she assured me they would be able to find Xavier the kind of home he'd be happy in, and that they would not give him to a family with children. We miss him, in spite of everything. I've looked for him in his favorite snoozing spots countless times already and out kitty, Spin, has been mewling around the house trying to turn up his play buddy.

We miss you, Xavier, and wish you well.
03 September 2005
secret's out - I'm a slow stitcher!

Here's my progress so far on "Sweet Dreams" by La-D-Da. I just love this design. It came in the mail yesterday and I started it last night. I'm making it for friends of ours who are expecting their first baby this month. I wanted to make a birth gift, but not something cutesy. I think this is going to strike just the right note with them.

But now you know just how slow I am ...
posted by mainely stitching at 12:10 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 3 comments
02 September 2005
maine's newest daughter does the state proud
To those who've been following the naming conflict in which fellow blogger Patti (unwittingly) chose the same blog name "Mainely Stitching", I'm very relieved to announce that a resolution has been reached and Patti has graciously changed the name of her blog. Please check out Patti's newly-named blog and her lovely cross stitch projects at Stitching in Lobster Land. And Patti, thanks again!

PS: Those who've blogrolled Patti, please update your Blogroll to reflect her new name. And those who've altered Mainely Stitching, to tell the two blogs apart, please use this blog's correct name. Thanks again, everyone!
01 September 2005
september's top ten
1. Get a lot more done on “Good Things”.
2. Complete my Halloween mailart exchange project.
3. Get the names stitched on the twin’s birth samplers and mail those out.
4. Stitch a birth gift for a friend’s baby (due end of this month).
5. Complete the house section of Mom’s French garden sampler.
6. Complete the other squares required to complete the lap quilt for OECS.
7. Compose an original envelope for Sylkamode competition.
8. Make a start graphing out a sampler based on Grandma Davis’ sayings.
9. Enter one competition stitching piece.
10. Don’t buy any new stash/supplies unless they are truly needed for a project.

today the mail fairy did not make me happy

My order from Stitching Bits and Bobs finally arrived, but oh what a state it arrived in! I’d ordered three charts, some of my favorite #28 petite needles, and my first-ever Q-Snap. Well, you can’t just shove all these in an envelope and hope it arrives several thousand miles away in good shape. The charts were quite badly damaged. Not actually ruined – you can still read them – but they look like they’ve been lining my couch cushions and getting trampoline tryouts from all three of my kids. So I sent an email off with a complaint and a caution that a simple piece of corrugated cardboard would’ve prevented this from happening without inflating postage costs. I didn’t expect to hear anything more about it and thought I’d “lost” yet another online source of supplies due to slipshod mailing practices.

Wrong! Bobbie emailed me promptly from Stitching Bits & Bobs and offered me a credit to offset the damaged merchandise. And voila! My slightly tattered faith in human nature was largely restored. Thanks, Bobbie!

So here’s a fairy tale that has a happy ending after all!

Tonight I started one of my new charts ("Sweet Dreams", pictured) using my new Q-Snaps. I like them! I got the 11" square ones and I'm hooked!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:38 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments