31 October 2006
exchanges exchanged!
My pink Quaker exchange finally made it to my partner, Susan, in the US. It had me pretty worried! I can share some pictures now - yay! I liked this so much that it was hard to part with. I hope to make something similiar for myself sometime in the future.

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Inside with threads and needles:

We don't celebrate Halloween here, sadly, but I've received some great e-cards from friends and happy wishes. To everyone in a Halloween-celebrating area, ENJOY!! It was always one of my favorite holidays and I dressed up (though didn't trick-or-treat) halfway through high school. LOL!
29 October 2006
this & that
Thank you all for your anniversary wishes - Niek and I enjoyed a wonderful evening, thanks to him. I was in school all day and we couldn't get a babysitter for the evening, so he prepared a five-course meal for me when I got home! Can you believe that? My mom asked me if I could clone him, and age the clone.... LOL! He's amazing! This anniversary is actually that of our first date - our wedding anniversary isn't till May, but for me, this is the big one. Niek changed my life the first night we met, though more than a year passed (nearly two!) before we actually went out on a date. Neither one of us can remember much of the meal from our first date - just the annoying man at the next table who kept puffing away on his cigar all through the meal. We remember talking ... and talking ... and talking! There must've been a cosmic clicking noise that night, because two people who really belong together finally found each other.

Ahem, on to stitching matters! I finally received my woodland MA exchange. This is my last one, at least with this group. I do love mailart envelopes, but they are very time consuming and the exchanges can be terribly lopsided, so I'll go back to doing them just for fun for special occassions. I received this very pretty envelope from Cici. She also enclosed two skeins of silk from The Thread Gatherer. She hand-dyed this fabric herself, and I just love the color. I didn't photograph the other side of the envelope because there is no stitching there.

I'm worried about my pink Quaker exchange, which was mailed almost two weeks ago and still hasn't reached its recipient in the US. I've not experienced this kind of delay for a small envelope packet. I was so pleased with this project - it will be a huge disappointment if it's gone missing.

School yesterday was an eye-opening experience. I need to really invest a lot more time in studying. It's just so hard to give up any of my stitching time! Especially with the holidays approaching. Sigh.

The sun is out and it is a gorgeous autumn day here. I hope you're enjoying a beautiful day, too!!
posted by mainely stitching at 10:15 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
26 October 2006
i'm it - confessions of a procrastinating tag-ee
Both Annemarie and Margaret have tagged me, so really I must respond. But my responses require a little bit in the way of introduction.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingI'm a procrastinator. I've tried to conceal this, but those who know me best know that it is woefully true. I don't mean to be. I've meant to do something about it. But ... well ... other stuff keeps coming up.

I can't seem to do anything in moderation. You'll notice that my responses to Margaret's book tag are, as often as not, series instead of single books. And for Annemarie's seven-songs tag, I had to supply seven artists. And even that was hard to do - I wanted to supply seven decades of music, or seven genres of musical style ... seven single songs was simply impossible.

So here are a few bookish tidbits from me to you, and seven musical talents who have enriched my life. But there are more and it feels incomplete to supply only part of the picture. But if I were to respond in full, it would require even more thought and time and ... procrastination. So here is a partial picture that's only a little bit late in coming.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting1)One book that changed your life:
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint- Exupery
2) One book that you’d read more than once:
I have read most of my books more than once. I love re-reading Edith Wharton.
3) One book you’d want on a deserted island:
Something huge and complex, educational and entertaining … Any suggestions??
4) One book series that made you laugh:
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
5) One book series that made you cry:
The Ender series by Orson Scott Card
6) One book you wish you’d written:
Skinny Legs And All by Tom Robbins
7) One book you wish had never been written:
It is tempting to cite a few books that have been misused … but it’s the people who’ve misused the books, not the books themselves that are wrong.
8) One book you’re currently reading:
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
9) One Two books you’ve been meaning to read:
Oh my … there are many. The Soul’s Code by James Hillman and of course The Foundations of Chinese Medicine by Maciocia (my course book!)
10) Tag five people:
I would be very interested to hear from Ash, Cathy, Carol, Joanna, and Karen but I’m not officially tagging anyone.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSeven songs artists I’m listening to at the moment much of the time:
Madeleine Peyroux
KD Lang
Ilse de Lange
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Katie Melua
Ella Fitzgerald
24 October 2006
Today just rocks. It's amazing. Okay, I did not study. Fifty lashes. But ... I did finish this!

Our anniversary is Saturday, though we'll celebrate Friday. All I have to do is frame it. Yippee!

And then Ash came with her boys. It is always great fun to get together. I'm amazed at how well our combined five kids play together - even on a rainy, autumn day! While the kids played upstairs, Ash taught me the basics of knitting downstairs, and look what I made!

Eventually this will be a scarf for Max. A huge, huge thanks to Ash for getting me started - I was convinced I was unteachable. And another huge thanks to Sara, who outfitted me with this yarn, the needles, and a beginners book. I couldn't do it without you!!

And while Ash was here, the mailman came with my SBEBB smalls exchange from Rava. Wow, this was really a treat! Rava made me the LHN Watermelon design and finished it as a pinkeep. Did you know how much I love crows? Niek said it looked like something I'd stitch for myself. It's displayed on my needlework chest for everyone to admire. Rava, you did a FABULOUS job stitching and finishing this! And as if that weren't fabulous enough, she also sent the Lucy Fairchild chart from the LHN Dear Diary series with four skeins of Vikki Clayton silks. And she sent a beautiful postcard of Perth and two small (but functional!) boomerangs! Wow!!

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And tonight (when I should've been studying), I finished up this lovely little stag from the Prairie Schooler Winter Wind leaflet! Wowsee!!

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What a day, what a day! And now, it's time to give Rigby his last walk before bed. My eyelids feel like they weigh about 15 pounds each....
posted by mainely stitching at 11:15 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 2 comments
22 October 2006
family and fur
Whew, time flies when you're having fun! I didn't intend to disappear for a few days - I just ran out of hours.

Everything is going great here at Chaos Central. Rigby is a wonderdog. He was top of the class during Thursday's training class and on Friday I taught him to run alongside my bike so I can combine two of my favorite things. He was so good at it that I dared bike Rowen downtown yesterday with Rigby trotting alongside. I also took him to work on Friday, which caused quite a bit of amusement. At the end of the day, a coworker said he'd much rather I bring the dog to work than my kids! LOL. Rigby spent most of the workday snoozing under my desk.

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Spin is slowly getting used to Rigby - or should I say he's coming closer to admitting that Rigby is okay. This morning during our walk, Spin again trailed behind us (far enough away to look nonchalent if Rigby noticed him, but close enough to keep an eye on us). Spin didn't realize that he, in turn, was also being trailed by a cat even larger than he was. Suddenly, Spin found himself boxed in - either back up and have to fight the bigger cat, or walk forward and pass by Rigby. Rigby had noticed Spin by now and was staring at him very intently. Spin looked from the cat to the dog and back again, then visibily straightened out, sashayed over to Rigby to touch noses, glanced back at the other cat, and swaggered off. I was laughing so hard I nearly fell over!

Yesterday my boys went off for haircuts so they'd look extra-presentable for Niek's grandmother, who spent the day with us today. I managed to get some good shots of everyone, including Niek's brother Frank with the kids on the couch. Niek's grandma, by the way, is 86 and totally self-suffient despite a recently broken hip!
18 October 2006
furbaby fun

Everyone, please welcome Rigby! This morning at 10 am, I picked him up from the shelter and took him to the dog trainer - he loved the car ride! The dog trainer looked us over for a long time, watching how the kids played with each other and with Rigby, how I reacted, and so on. Then we went for a walk so she could see how he reacted to traffic, other dogs, pedestrians, and so on. In the end, she was quite impressed with his calmness and intelligence and we will start a course tomorrow evening. We've missed the first class, but because he catches on so fast, she thinks we can make up the missed material before class.

The kids are really delighted to have him, but not as much as their mom is. He's just great! Looking over his medical records, I see that we just missed his birthday, which was the 10th of this month. That'll be an easy one to remember!

Spin was a little less sure of our newest family member, but he's already calmed down a lot. He couldn't get any response out of Rigby with his Halloween-cat antics, and actually fell asleep a couple of feet away from him.

So far I haven't done any stitching today but there's always this evening!
17 October 2006
a very interesting day
Today was my first day of biking everywhere, as if I didn't have a car ... and oddly enough, it's my calves & shins that feel it tonight. That bike car I have for the kids is on the heavy side, not to mention the 60 pounds or so of child that is also being hauled around... But the weather was gorgeous and we all enjoyed the wonderful autumn scenery. Hands down, this is the finest autumn of all the 9+ years that I've lived here!

One of our biking trips was over to the animal shelter so Nicky and Rowen could meet the mis-named Rebel (a.k.a. Powderpuff). That meeting was a tremendous success, so I called Niek at work and asked him to come home early so he and Max could also meet the cuddlesome canine. And that meeting was also a great success. Niek and Rebel looked quite the pair, walking through the autumn woods. Too bad I didn't have my camera. I'll bring Rebel home tomorrow morning to meet with a professional dog trainer. I want to start off as I plan to continue, and although I've learned a lot about dogs during the past 2 months I've volunteered at the shelter, I am not an expert. I'm pretty excited about it all! But I really must find another name! Does anyone have any suggestions? Though he is a Rottweiler mix, he's as sweet as a bunny rabbit.

Another high point today was finding my Quaker Pink exchange on my doormat when I came home! Paula sent me this needlebook, scissor fob/jewelry, card, silk floss, and finishing twine. Thank you Paula!

16 October 2006
it's been a great day!
I survived Saturday's class and managed, against all odds and self-imposed obstacles, to get all my reading done. We did have a quiz - as I suspected we would - and I only got 2 of 3 right. But no one got the third question right because the teacher had accidently asked us to describe a theory we haven't had yet. No idea how that one will be graded, but I'm just glad that the first quiz is over with. I haven't had a quiz in ... a very long time. LOL.

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On Sunday I immediately finished up Gaby's gift. You may remember that I stitched Dearest Friend, by Brightneedle, for her before we went to the US. I intended to purchase the lavender there and finish it off. But I couldn't find real lavender anywhere until the day before we left! For anyone enjoying a vacation Downeast, I strongly recommend a visit to the Machias Hardware store on Maine Street - they have everything, literally, and they are incredibly friendly! Anyway, I brought the lavender and the unfinished stitching home, set it in a safe place ... and got busy with everything else. It came out very nicely - I mitered my corners this time, and what a difference that makes! Thanks for showing me how to do that, Sara! I also finished the nun stiching on my Quaker exchange, which was supposed to go out on Saturday, but went out first thing this morning instead. I'll show you that once it's been received, but I'm pretty excited about it. By then I was totally in a nun-stitching groove and started nun stitching some linen scraps to make into bookmarks for Cathy's upcoming adult literacy event. I'm not unhappy with the results.

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Today I went to work and had a positive exchange with my manager. After work, I walked the dogs at the local dog pound and met Rebel, a Rottweiler/Lab mix that I'm going to introduce to Nicky and Rowen tomorrow to see if there is a good chemistry there. Rebel is misnamed - he should've been called Pussycat because he's just a great big baby. His owner gave him up when she had twin babies herself and no longer had time enough for a big, energetic dog.

Then, when I finally got home, feeling pretty fine about life, I found envelopes from Jenna and Leah - real treat because we usually don't even get mail on Monday! I found the delightfully quirky BoaF Halloween kitty in Leah's envelope - thanks, Leah, I was hoping to make a BoaF for the holiday; it's going to become a tradition! And Jenna totally surprised me with these great little scissors! She said that as a Mainer-at-heart, I'd probably enjoy some red, white & blue - which I do, Jenna! And if anyone around me thinks I'm clinging too much to things American, I can fake them out and say I'm being Dutch-patriotic, because those are also the colors of the Dutch flag! Ha ha! Thank you so much for being so generous and sweet!!

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Another good friend who has helped improve my mood a lot is Becky. Thanks so much for thinking of, and setting up, a birthday and Christmas gift blog! I will stop tying myself up in knots over all the gifts I don't have time to make, and concentrate on enjoying those that I can make!

Tonight Max has volleyball and we'll eat later as a result. I'm making falafel, which the kids love because they have no idea it's made of veggies. LOL! I plan to stitch a little bit and I hope to study a little bit, too. But mostly, I plan to go to bed at a decent hour!

I hope you are enjoying a fabulous fall (or spring for those of you in the "other" hemisphere) day!!
13 October 2006
ssshhhh ... I'm studying!
Wow, we had a perfect autumn afternoon today! I finally got my 'sidecar' fixed up so I can once again cart both Nicky & Rowen around on my bike. It's not just an urge to do right by Mother Nature, I also want some extra activity to offset my missed fitness classes (which I had to give up) - if we bike everywhere, I just have to maintain some level of fitness, right? LOL. Anyway, Rowen is in love with the little cart and refused to get out of it after we got home - she sat there till dinnertime!

Stitching time has been nearly non-existent, but here's where I am with my anniversary gift. I love this little project and can't wait to see it framed and hung!

Now if I can just make it through my class tomorrow. I haven't studied enough to pass a quiz unless I get very lucky and he asks us to draw the Chinese symbols for the Five Elements. I also know the diagrams for the various sequences of the Five ELements. But, ahem, that's about it.

Meanwhile, I have not been able to do any stitching for upcoming birthdays. Friends, I am so sorry! Everyone has been so kind and generous and thoughtful with me, and I feel very badly about not returning that same level of friendship. I'd like to comfort myself with thoughts of making it all good for Christmas, but the truth is, I have such a backlog of commitments that I'm really not sure what the final outcome will be.
12 October 2006
a day of SALing and sunning
Yesterday was fun!!

Knowing that I'd meet Ash at the apple orchard in the afternoon and not being sure how late I would return home, I started the day with the Red Desert Scissors Pocket SAL. I love the colors in this project, but I went with a different linen choice. Quite some time ago, Anne sent me a gorgeous piece of coffee bean linen that I've been selfishly saving for a project that I'd keep. I adore deep, rich browns. I was so happy to finally have the right project for this fabric! Here are my supplies before I started stitching.

Stunning, don't you think?

To show the beautiful silks off to their best advantage on the dark linen, I reversed the color scheme, using the lighter color for the design and the darker color for the eyelets. This is as far as I got yesterday. (I didn't have much stitching time.) I'm pleased with how it's coming out!

After picking Max up from school, the kids enjoyed a picnic in the car (LOL) as we drove to the orchard. It was, as always, great to see Ash. And our kids play very well together, which is another big bonus! It was a gorgeous, sunny, warm Indian summer sort of day - perfect for apple picking and fun. Here's a picture of the kids in the orchard. It was a challenge to get them to pose!

As I type this, Rowen is eating one of the apples we picked yesterday and Gilbert, who loves apples and is flying free, is trying to steal it from her. I've tried to take several pictures, but Gil is too fast for me. She's scolding him very strenuously and the whole thing is absolutely hilarious.

Outside, the leaves have begun to fall in earnest. When Nicky stepped out the door, he was overjoyed - "Look, Mama, it's autumn!" he yelled. You'd have thought it was the first snowfall of the season, he was so excited. It was great. It will make the actual leaf cleanup much less of a chore.

And speaking of chores, I was busy earlier this week mucking out our so-called library - which had become nothing more than a depository for all the junk that drifted in - and yesterday morning the kids and I enjoyed using the now-tidy room. While the kids played in there, I did my little bit of stitching on the scissor pocket. It was very cozy and I think we'll really enjoy the room during the upcoming winter months.

Thank you all very much for your kind comments regarding Aniza's needleworker's pocket. It was a lot of fun to do, and I love Ellen's design. I'm a total pushover for any designs with birds, and lately I've really enjoyed doing the monochromatic designs.

I'll leave you all with this priceless picture of Rowen talking to her grammie on the phone. Can you tell that she's going to need a phone of her own once puberty hits? LOL!

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posted by mainely stitching at 10:07 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 4 comments
10 October 2006
a needleworker's pocket
Aha, I've just seen over on the SBEBB that Aniza has received the exchange that I made for her - so I can finally show you a picture!

This is a design by Ellen Chester. I stitched it on 32 ct ivory linen using DMC flower thread. This was my first pocket, and I loved doing it. Someday, I hope to make one for myself!

09 October 2006
a little h.d.
My woodland creatures MA is finished-finished and ready to go in the post tomorrow (a few days early!). I don't think the recipient reads my blog, but just in case, I'll hold off on showing a picture of the whole envelope and just tease you with this cute little bunny with his fluffy tail. He's done over one on 32 count water lily jobelan, so the tail (which is wool) is tent-stitched. The designer, btw, is Charley Harper.

Now I have to nun stitch around my other exchange, which is otherwise totally finished. And study. Oh yeah.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:14 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
08 October 2006
froggy fun
It's been a busy but fun weekend. We took the kids and Max's best friend to the circus yesterday. Niek surprised me by springing for ringside seats - what a treat! We could literally touch the animals as they went by. It was incredible! And today we paid a birthday visit to Sven, who is one year old. I always saw that as such a milestone with my own kids.

Tonight I was finally able to pick up my mailart exchange and I think I've finished the stitching on it. I say "think" because I have a terrible tendency to stitch more, but I need to have this in the mail on Friday so I really should stop stitching and start finishing. The theme for this one was woodland creatures and although I can't show the whole thing, I just have to share this little frog.

Otherwise, not much stitching or studying has been done, which is kind of a problem because I have class on Saturday and two exchanges that have to be out on Friday. We will have a very fun mid-week break though, when we go apple-picking with Ash and her boys. Yay!

Oh, for those who have asked, the stash that I showed in my last post was ordered before my 50 Project Challenge. It was a SB&B order and took ages to arrive. I have had so much fun drooling over the patterns!
posted by mainely stitching at 10:50 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 3 comments
05 October 2006
My Stitching Bits and Bobs order arrived today! Hooray!! In addition to the pictured items, there are also a few fibers and a couple of gifties that I didn't include. And, most importantly, the 2006 JCS ornaments issue! Max and I had a great time pouring over that tonight.

I've been poking along with my woodland MA exchange but it's slow-going and I'm not ready to share a progress picture yet. But I did start a little surprise for Niek for our upcoming anniversary that I'll share. This is stitched on 32 ct. Silkweaver Sterling Silver. That is a gorgeous fabric! The pattern is from an old book by Gertie Wandel.

03 October 2006
Here I am, breathing a huge sigh of relief. Not only did you wonderful friends let me off the hook regarding my second-hand book purchases (oh thank you so much!), but I have finally finished Sam's Harley quilt square. This deceptively simple design took me forever to stitch! Thank you to Battybat for supplying free charts!

On the subject of free charts that are generously supplied online, I'd again like to thank Meri for her wonderful scissor designs! I've tried several times to email her, but our email servers (or something) are incompatible.

Today I visited a couple of friends - my stitching friend Conny lost her mom this past weekend, so that was rather a sad visit. Right afterward I went to Anja's house and met her newborn son, Daniel, which was a very joyous occassion. One of those strange mornings that incorporates both extremes of the human cycle.

Nicky is well, thank you for asking. He's not only well, but seems to have stored up energy during his illness and is now on hyperspeed. The other kids seem to be in good health, knock wood. And Spin is staying out of trouble, too. LOL

Now on to the next stitching deadline!
02 October 2006
it doesn't count!!

After a double birthday party yesterday, I biked downtown with Nicky to the open-air bookfair. I just LOVE poking around old books, and if it's outside, so much the better. I found an inexpensive copy of Gulliver's Travels, which I am embarassed to admit I've never read. There were lots of old children's books in Dutch, but given the many spelling changes over the years, I was afraid that none of us would ever make real use of them. They were tempting, though!! And then I saw them ... I had looked at the Dutch-themed booklet some time ago, but was put off by the high price. The elderly couple running this bookstand wanted only 4 euro for the booklet and patterns, and they also had a cool Peruvian designs book for another 4 euro. And I had to buy them! Now can I just count these as 2nd hand book purchases? Or do I need to start my count to 50 anew?

Last night we bathed all the kids and put them to bed, with everyone in good health. Then around 11 pm, Nicky began crying. Around midnight it came out that his tummy hurt - Nicky never complains about feeling poorly unless he really feels awful, so we took it seriously. Still, what do you do with a tummy ache at midnight? Then around 1 am, he ... got the owie out, as I explained it. Ahem. While Niek helped Nicky, I started scrubbing his room down and changing the bedding. Thankfully he missed the sheep rug, but I think that's all he missed. It was after 2 before we got back to bed, and that 7 am alarm was a very unwelcome noise. So today, Nicky and I are holding down the fort and I have my fingers and toes crossed that no one else will come down with it!
posted by mainely stitching at 10:36 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments