29 November 2006
my cup runneth over
Good thing I'm used to spills. LOL!

Today's post is about batteries, cats & dogs, kids, birds, early nightfall, Sinterklaas, friends, and ... oh yeah ... stitching!

This afternoon I had the crazy idea of taking the kids out for the afternoon. When Max was younger, he was thrilled by lunches at the Hema (for those of you who aren't Dutch, this is sort of like a lunch counter at a department store, with tables instead of a counter) and I haven't tried it with Nicky and Rowen for a long time. The last time was a disaster and it took awhile to recover.

So we all set off at 12:15 when Max got out of school. Rigby in the back of the car, the kids in the backseat, and foolish me up front. The stores were jam-packed for some reason, and trying to steer Rowen and Nicky through the throng without loosing them or having them shoplift anything was a challenge. (Rigby was waiting patiently in the car. Max is old enough to do his own shopping.) Finally, the purchases were made and we could enter the dining area, which was also packed. I settled the kids at a table with strict instructions not to get up, and went to wait in line. And wait. And wait! By the time I could check out, our warm items were cold and our cold items were warm and I was thoroughly out of patience after chasing Nicky down two or three times. We sat down to eat and that wasn't too much of a drama, but then Nicky wanted to play at the play table. It seemed like a good idea, until I saw the balloons around the stage (where Sinterklaas would later appear, which explained the crowds) bobbing up and down in a rather vigorous fashion. A quick scan of the play table confirmed my fears - the child tearing the Sinterklaas background apart was mine. Without thinking, I bellowed, "NICKY!" and received a whole roomful of hostile stares. It wasn't bad enough that my kid was wild, but I reacted like one of those mothers. Groan. Once the kids found out that Sinterklaas was coming, leaving was out of the question. By now, I was envisioning Rigby with his legs crossed and his cheeks turning red ... but I was also seduced by the idea of finally getting a picture of my kids with a Christmas figure. A half an hour later, we were finally done, but Rowen had lost her 'little Rigby' - a stuffed puppy about the size of my thumb. So of course I had to push through the crowds of people still waiting and search the floors and tables for this tiny toy ... to no avail. Rowen was in tears and Nicky was 'asserting his independence' by flatly refusing to leave the store. There was no joy in Mudville as I confirmed everyone's fears of what an unfit parent I was and dragged my screaming children from the store. I may never go back there again.

Once home, everyone was confined to bed for an hour while Mommy got it back under control, and since then things have gone well. I remembered not only to get batteries, but to get rechargable ones and a recharger (on sale!). So here come a lot of pictures to hopefully make up for my verbosity. (Blogger flat out refuses to load even a single picture, so these are all from my Photobucket account.)

Max walked Rigby by himself for the first time. Rigby doesn't really have demon eyes, but nightfall comes very early now and his eyes and reflective collar/leash really picked up on the flash.

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Nicky and Rowen insisted they were not tired and didn't need to go to bed, but Rowen fell asleep and both of them are obviously more asleep than awake even now. LOL. They look so innocent, don't they? Little cubs.

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Spin is still giving us the hairy eyeball when it comes to Rigby, but it's going better. Slowly.

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And Gilbert has decided that he's going to eat till he pops. He was, once upon a time, an undernourished little packet of feathers from the infamous Vogelmarkt in Antwerp. You would never know that to look at him now. His gusto for eating has become rather hazardous and I recieved yet another nip today for my efforts.

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And, as promised, a peek at my Christmas project. I've just finished page two and have only one page to do. This is only part of the project, not the entire part that I've stitched.

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A few dear friends are going through really difficult periods. Others are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Wherever you are, whoever you are, take a moment to smile at the person next to you. Heaven only knows how badly he/she might need it. Hugs to you all!!!
28 November 2006
slow stitching
Maybe I should rename my blog to Slow Stitching. It sure applies to what I've done (or not done) lately! I continue to work on the Christmas project, and I really enjoy it, but my stitching hours can be counted in minutes and not hit three digits. It's sad. Tonight I thought about making some new cushion covers for a few of our sofa cushions (which look like we've let the dog play with them outdoors, though I assure you that is not the case!). But I lost my nerve. The zippers scare me.

So instead of pulling out my Christmas project, I sat down and started goofing off at the computer. Shame on me! But I did take this quiz and I'm mulling over the result. I've lived all over the US and have picked up a bit of an accent from here, there and everywhere, but during the past 9 years that I've lived here in Holland I've really tried to "lose" my American accent. I've run into an astonishing amount of prejudice, for one thing, but a strong accent just makes it harder for people to understand me and that defeats the whole point of communicating. Most people assume I'm Canadian or British. But according to this, I'm from one of the very few parts of the US that I have never lived in!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

North Central
The Northeast
The South
The Midland
The West
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

I will try to remember to buy batteries for my camera next time I get to the store. Today I at least managed to send out a number of envelopes that have been gathering dust here at home.
26 November 2006
i should've bought batteries!
Okay, I actually picked up batteries at the store the other day, but I set them back down! My camera batteries are dead, so I can't show the progress on my Christmas project. I'm working my way across page two of three pages and by now even Niek says he likes it. His original reaction was something like, "Is it supposed to look like that?" LOL!

We are all recovered from Rowen's virus with the exception of Nicky - but a case of the belly bug has not slowed that boy down one iota! He is unstoppable! Thank you for your well wishes!

Our little family get-together over at Niek's brother's house was really fun. I loved seeing all the cousins playing together. And I really do enjoy family gatherings.

Wishing you all a great week!!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:41 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
25 November 2006
friday the thirteenth

No, I haven't lost all track of time again (like thinking it's October!), but it's just been a day. You know, one of those days when you wake up at the wrong time and think "Why did I bother getting out of bed?" Yesterday I was sick all day, compliments of Rowen sharing her virus with me, and today I dragged myself off to school only to find that the class has been rescheduled to next week. So I decided I should make my 1 hour drive worthwhile by stopping at Ikea on the way home to pick up some bedding we really needed for the kids. Then I thought that perhaps spending 80 odd euro on bedding wasn't really the wisest thing to do (we won't even discuss the state of my credit card - it'll give you nightmares!). Then I decided to begin our new program of doing one thing each day that we've procrastinated about (both Niek and I are notorious procrastinators). My thing was to finally make the cushions for the dining chairs - something I've put off for over six months. Well, they're done - to the best of my limited ability - and the first thing my dearly beloved said was, "They've got funny floopy things at the back." Yes, well, I haven't figured out how to do zippers but I wanted the covers to come off so they could be washed (our kids think the chairs are actually large napkins), so I made neat seams on the back. But they are indeed rather floopy. Sigh. I should've just done some cross stitching.

Tomorrow is BIL Frank's birthday party. It should be fun to see everyone again, and especially fun to see the cousins all playing together.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
posted by mainely stitching at 10:25 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
22 November 2006
first exchange of this round done

Here's my Blackbird Designs ornament - I tried a no-sew finishing method that I'm not entirely satisfied with. It looks too lumpy, I think. Hopefully the recipient won't mind. And of course, I'll include some nice gifties to make up for the bit of lumpiness.

Today has been cold and wet and we've spent most of the day indoors. I let the kids have sort of an afternoon party, since we won't be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. I went out of my way the first couple of years that we lived here trying to create a memorable Thanksgiving for the kids, but it felt so artificial and created so much stress that I've stopped trying. I really want to spend Thanksgiving with my extended family (parents, siblings, etc.) and trying to create something new with friends just doesn't fill that need. Maybe we'll win the lottery and can fly home for Thanksgiving in the future. LOL

In addition to wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, I want to send get well wishes to Annemarie, Ash, Mollie, and a few other friends who have been ill. You guys take care of yourselves!!
21 November 2006
stitching the night away ... well, not really
My eyeballs feel like it is much later than it is. I've started on one of my exchanges, and since I'm about 99.99% sure that the recipient does not read my blog I think it's safe to post a 'halfway' progress picture. This is an older Blackbird Designs chart that I've wanted to do for some time. And it's the first time that I've actually had all the GAST fibers called for in a project! LOL - that FOTM club from Stitching Bits and Bobs is really paying off!

I had my first night back at my old gym last night. I've been wondering ever since why I ever left - it felt great to be back! Of course I do know the reason why I left (it's bloody expensive!) but it sure is great to be back. Today I've only got some muscle pain in my upper abdomen. Not too bad.

Tonight we were surprised by a home inspection from the Animal Protection League to make sure that Rigby's being well cared for. You could've knocked me over with a leaf, I was so surprised. Other than our French bull, Xavier, I've gotten all my animals from animal shelters and I have never had a surprise home inspection! Luckily, they were not freaked out by the chaotic craziness that descends on our house after the kids are carbed-up and haven't yet been hit by a tranquilizer dart. LOL! They were well pleased with how Rigby looks and acts and how obviously comfortable he is in our family. As for me, I'm really relieved that I cleaned the house before dinner tonight instead of after the kids went to bed (like usual)! And of course I'm very happy that we get to keep Rigby - he's become such a part of our family that I can't imagine not having him.

I'm trying to get serious about Christmas shopping ... and my poor head is a whirl. I think I've got it down, though. Cross your fingers!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:32 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
18 November 2006
everybody loves a parade

Sinterklaas arrived in Gouda today! Hooray! Though we were later going to the festivities than in years past (due to Max's volleyball match), it actually worked out much better. We had a front row seat (so to speak) to watch the good man pass by. Nicky and Rowen were beside themselves with excitement.

After the parade through town, there is a speech given from atop city hall, shown in this picture. This is where Niek and I were married - it's a gorgeous Gothic building from the 15th century. Rigby was becoming hard to handle at this point, so we all biked home again.

Once home, I finally broke my new sewing machine (70 euros!!) out of the box and completed two charity Christmas items that I hope to get in Monday's mail. It works so much better than the ancient thing I had been using, and actually does thing like button holes and specialty stitches, and it has a zipper foot so perhaps I can finally get around to making some decent pillows for the living room.

Tonight I hope to get a bit more stitching done. Wish me luck!
16 November 2006
all will be revealed
With all the top-secret stitching going on - birthdays, exchanges, Christmas, etc. - it's great to finally be able to post a couple of pictures of projects that I finished at the beginning of the month.

First off is Su's belated birthday gift. I'm going for the "better late than never" approach, and Su has a good sense of humor about it all. I know Su likes sheep, so I found her a great handmade sheepie pot holder (that she tells me Mark has already stolen LOL) and I made her a funny little primitive sheep (freebie templates available here) stuffed with lavender. I included some thread keepers and patterns that were on her wishlist as well. Instead of saying happy birthday again, I'm going to say "Get well soon, Su!" I hope you get your voice back soon!

And Dianne's gift, mailed the same day, also arrived - before her birthday! Wow, the postal service actually working in my favor. That's a Big Event! When I saw this pindoll alphabet by Meridel Abrams, I knew that was what I had to make for Dianne. It just seemed so right for her. I've stitched it on 32 ct. Sterling Silver linen from Silkweaver using VC silks. The design on the back is partly from an issue of au fil des aigille and party from my own imagination. I included some stitchy goodies - finishing fabrics, stitching fabric, and a British xs magazine just for a change of pace. Happy early birthday, Dianne!!

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I'm plugging right along on my Christmas project for an unnamed person. Out of the three pages, I'm nearly halfway through page two. It's a simple design and is coming together quickly. A blessing, given my time shortage. Tonight, Max and I will both accompany Rigby to doggie school and by the time I return home, I'll be ready for bed.

Wishing you all the very best today!!
my one-woman war against time
Buy that girl a calendar and teach her how to use it! The 11th month is November, not October! And losing track of the current month isn’t something I’m allowed to use as an excuse for missed birthday until I pass retirement age. And then there’s the problem with the clocks in this house. They don’t work! I make a lot of jokes about my days only having 16 hours instead of the standard 24, but the truth is that my clocks just stop without any rhyme or reason. I put new batteries in all the battery-operated ones about 2 weeks ago (the last time they all stopped). One worked for about 15 minutes. The other one stopped working this morning. Only the one that is in Max’s room (safely out of my reach) still works. So, new batteries again and now two of the three are working.

Of course, when it comes to time and the necessary attempts to manage it, I am my own worst enemy. With friends like me, I don’t need enemies. On Monday night I didn’t really do any stitching, but Monday is a crazy day (even by my standards), so I gave myself permission to laze around. Last night, however, was a very laid-back Tuesday and instead of finishing off a bookmark while watching CSI Miami, I goofed around behind the computer doing absolutely nothing! Shame on me! And here I have this impossibly long list of things I’d like to stitch. And books I have to study. Or I could’ve even been sensible and simply gone to bed early. Instead, I frittered away the hours till Niek returned from his chess competition and accomplished nothing. Shame on me!

Wednesday is always a half day of school here, unless there’s no school at all, so it’s pretty difficult to get anything done. But there is this evening. Hope springs eternal. Oops, I nearly forgot - I have an appointment at my new gym! So much for evening stitching!

This is the only Christmas gift I stand any chance of finishing, at my current rate. I can’t say who it’s for, but I will say that I like it enormously much. Niek carefully said it’s “different” which is usually a code word for “weird”.

Thank you so much for continuing to visit here and read my ramblings. (((smiles)))
posted by mainely stitching at 12:29 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
14 November 2006
marking time
Thank you all so much for the compliments on my humble little bookmarks! Anyone who'd like to contribute can contact Cathy for more information. Her guild is making and collecting the bookmarks for an adult literacy drive.

Today I tried for something a little more gender-neutral with a cute little gecko designed by Jenny Rasmussen. I love reptiles, but Niek doesn't ... so we stick to the pets with fur or feathers. LOL. And on the other end of the spectrum, I started a very girly-pink bookmark using Stranded by the Sea overdyed floss. The pattern is One Dozen by Bent Creek. I've pulled one or two other patterns to make bookmarks, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to. Other commitments begin to press in - including some wonderful upcoming SALs, round robins, and more exchange stitching. Yay!

The other really good news today resulted from our conference with Max's teacher. Max is repeating group 4 this year (I guess this would correlate to third grade) and the school year started off rather poorly. Niek and I were more than a little nervous about going in this afternoon. Fortunately, Max has begun to knuckle down and is showing progress in mathematics and penmanship. His reading is still pretty far behind, but he's enjoying it more and tensing up less, so hopefully that will begin to improve. And he's been more outgoing in large group settings, which was great to hear. Basically, it was a half an hour of good news. Phew! While we met with the teacher, Max and the wee beasties played on the playground. When Niek and I went out, we found Rowen running around in her bare feet and without a coat. Nicky couldn't get his coat off, but had managed to free himself of his boots. In October!! They went straight into a warm bath the moment we got home!

Many people are ill with colds, flus, and the like. I hope you're reading this in good health!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:57 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
12 November 2006
rainy days are best for ...
stitching bookmarks? Well, a few years ago I would've said rainy days are best for reading but obviously my priorities have changed! LOL!

Today I finally made a start on the bookmarks that I want to send to Cathy to go toward her guild's adult literacy drive. I hope to do more, but at least I've managed to complete two. First up we have an older Heart In Hand freebie, "Be Ever Kind". I used my own colors to match the band (a piece I dug out of my stash).

And now for a very funny one from Bizzi Creations - this is also a freebie, "Pigs in a Row". I used some blinding pink silk overdyed floss for the pigs, and a VC for the grass. I hope someone finds it as humorous as I do!

My latest strategy to keep up with my schoolwork is to study a minimum of one hour per day, but it's already bedtime and I've been stitching all day. Think I can get two hours in tomorrow??

Happy birthday, Pepper. We love you.
posted by mainely stitching at 11:13 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 2 comments
08 November 2006
go, girl, go!
Can you believe it? Two finishes in one day, and the bulk of my charity stitching is done on time! I'm tempted to be impressed with myself. This little butterfly passed the Rowen Test, so if Hanneke is a tough but very girly girl I can rest assured she'll love it. Rowen kept coming over to check my progress on it this evening and to tell me how pretty it was. :)

Barb mentioned that I'd been rocking through my 50 Challenges (ticker at the bottom of this page), and it does sort of look that way, but ... ahem ... it isn't the whole story. I've set up a temporary blog called Mainely Stashing that gives the naked truth.

Now I can study for the rest of the week, right? LOL!!

Till the next crunch time comes up, color me: My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)
posted by mainely stitching at 11:25 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
they're warm
My needles are warm, though not smoking. I don't know if anyone will ever be able to honestly say that I stitch fast, but I did okay on the latest charity square. One more to finish and post before Friday....

Here is Mary's, first of all, made for SOLAK. I tried a new aida (in white instead of ivory) but I neglected to measure the holes to find out how large (or small!) the final project would be. So I selected a chart that was the right number of stitches (for my ivory aida) and started stitching. I was late starting, and rather stressful about it. Well, I got the first cherub done and realized that the new aida is quite a high count. Silly me, I never thought of that. So instead of winding up with a 4 inch design, I had a 2 inch design. I added a double border to make it look bigger. All design elements were taken from De fil en aiguille (one of my mix & match pieces).

And here is what I started last night after finishing Mary's square. I finished it before lunch today. I went back to my usual ivory to make sure the design would come out the right size this time! This is "Happy as a Lark" by Birds of a Feather, but adapted to meet the size and langauge requirements. It says, roughly translated, "I'm as happy as a bird" but it's also a play on words using the Dutch phrase "vogel vrij" which means 'free as a bird'. I thought it was cheerful and fun and I hope it will make Anneke smile when she receives it. Both are done using the color variations DMC floss, which really adds a lot of fun to washable stitching!

And now on to the next one!

Thank you all for your kindness regarding my recent headaches. I fear I'm allergic not only to Spin and Nachtegaal, but also to Rigby. It's not a really serious red-eyes-can't-breathe kind of allergy, but a headachy, sneezy sort of thing.

Today I hope to get a new (cheap!) sewing machine. Cross your fingers - the old one is on its last ... bobbins. LOL!

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods) Feeling a little out of it today, probably because I'm tired.
06 November 2006
you've been warned
So far, only Dianne has signed on for the pay-it-forward fun - if no one else signs up, you better watch out because I might just send you something anyway! You've been warned!!

Today was mostly a lovely day. Great weather - cool and damp in a satisfyingly autumn-ish way. Work went well and then I had fun walking the dogs at the local shelter. Of course Rigby got his walksies, too, and also a couple of bike rides. After upsetting the neighbors yesterday, I didn't dare leave him home alone even for the hour I do dog-walking at the shelter. We biked over to the daycare after dark to pick up Nicky and Rowen, which was just really fun. The Dutch have this great word, gezellig, for situations that are cozy and comforting and all sort of fleecy-feel-good - all of which perfectly captures the mood of biking in the dark with your two favorite babies and your best dog-pal with the smell of woodsmoke and leaves and dampness in the air.

I say the day was mostly lovely because I have a rotten old headache tonight that's keeping me from stitching, which makes me feel stressful because I have three charity deadlines looming over me. Of course feelings stressful makes my headache worse so it's a nasty cycle. One which I plan to end very shortly by taking a pain killer and going to bed, like a sensible person would've done at least an hour ago.

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods) Today, I'm feeling: sore!
posted by mainely stitching at 11:38 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 1 comments
05 November 2006
and now for something completely different
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Today I tried my first waste canvas stitching project. We were scheduled to go to my MILs birthday celebration at 5 p.m. and I thought how cute it would be if I finally stitched that cute doll pattern on the denim dress my mom bought Rowen. I've meant to do this for an embarassingly long time. So I sat down with the pattern, the dress, and Rowen's choice of floss (DMC color variations 4110), and started stitching. Stitching through denim hurts! And this kind of stitching is even slower than my usual snail's pace. But I finished about half an hour before we had to leave ... only to discover that plucking the waste canvas out of the design takes nearly as long as the stitching! Okay, a slight exaggeration, but it is time consuming, and I had a hard time plucking the canvas threads without pulling the actual stitching. I think Rowen will like it, though. I'll have to think seriously before trying this again, though.

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The birthday party was wonderful. My mother in law is a lovely woman who enjoys seeing people have fun - but she's not a lady who's tied to her kitchen. So she came up with the brilliant plan of holding the party at a local restaurant that had room enough for the kids to run around a bit and had a menu sure to please even the picky eaters among us (that would be me with my meat-free thing). Everyone had fun, except Rigby. He had to stay home and the neighbors met us at the door when we came home to kindly inform us that our dog had not stopped whining and barking for the entire 3+ hours we were gone. Oops.

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While at dinner, Max's tooth fell out. Last time Max lost a tooth, the tooth fairy actually forgot to come. There, now you all know what a terrible mom I am sometimes. Tonight we were extra careful to make sure that the tooth fairy left him his favorite: two fifty cent pieces. Euro fifty cent pieces are large, heavy coins that look like gold to an 8 year old. He loves them. And I have one more tooth to add to my macabre little collection.

Finally, Judith Romijn started the truly wonderful idea of paying it forward here on our blogs. The way it works is, the first five people who say they want to participate will receive a handmade gift from me (not before Christmas, I fear!). In return, they will post the same action on their blogs and pledge gifts (the gifts obviously don't have to be cross stitch, if you aren't a cross stitcher - for example, I know of a very talented photographer out there who could send photos she's taken herself), to the first five to respond, and so on. I saw it too late on Judith's blog, but managed to sign up when I saw it on Carol's blog. If you are interested, please email me with your snail-mail address where I can send the giftie. I just love this idea, and I'm quite excited to be part of it. I loved the movie and secretly go around trying to do this IRL with mixed success.

Oh, before I forget, there's some more information about Sinterklaas available here. It's a bit of a hodge-podge, but it gives the idea. I'll be glad to take pictures, Cory. We don't set out gifts for the kids every night, like some of Max's classmates do - it's just too expensive with three kids, especially as we do the full Santa treatment, too. We probably set the shoes out 4 times or so for a very humble treat. And then on 'pakjesavond' on December 5th, the kids all get some small treats and one slightly bigger gift. Personally, I like the stockings much better, but it's important that the kids experience both sides of their culture.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:47 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
04 November 2006
a star is born!
Today was Max's first volleyball competition - wow! This is a kid that until six months ago would pitch a fit if we even asked him to think about joining a sport. Since joining the volleyball team about 5 weeks ago, he's gone from actively avoiding contact with the ball to being able to hit it and to stay where the action is. We're really proud of him! We thought the 3+ hour game sequence might be too much for Rowen, so she and I took Rigby biking and shopping while the boys went to the game. Niek managed to capture a wonderful action shot of Max hitting the ball.

I'd hoped to post a progress picture of the angel I'm stitching for Mary, Jenna's friend, but I haven't had enough time to make any noticeable progress.

I have, however, made decent preparation toward Sinterklaas this year. The good Saint will appear in the Netherlands in a few weeks and the kids will be able to put their shoes out for gifts. It's a great Dutch custom, though with three kids it does get rather expensive. On December 5th, the Saint delivers gifts to all the kids (not unlike Santa Claus on Christmas Eve). That's always a lot of fun. Anyway, every year I am unprepared but this year I'm all set for the 'shoe nights' leading up to the fifth. Hooray!

Well, back to stitching .... I have some great projects coming up for exchanges. I'm really excited about my partners for the blue Quaker and Christmas ornie exchanges!
02 November 2006
the gift that arrived on time
Happy birthday, Annemarie! Wow, has it really been a year already? Last year I made Annemarie a teensy little octopus ornie/fob to keep her mermaids in line.

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This year, somehow, the sea theme continued. It wasn't really intentional, but I saw these great fish scissors and had to buy them. Of course I couldn't keep them (though I did take them out and admire them with some regularity) because they were specifically purchased to be a gift. But what should I do to go with them? I don't know if Annemarie actually eats fish, so a culinary gift could backfire. And scissors don't have much to do with edible fish, do they? Obviously I had to stitch something, but I didn't want to do another fob/ornie. Then, inspiration struck! I love the funky alphabet series (which are freebies!) being done by Atelier Fil en Scene and I loved making the Needleworker's Pocket (designed by Ellen Chester) for Aniza in an earlier exchange ... so I made a small scissors' pocket for Annemarie with her initial and stitching implements (taken from various charts in the Tout Rouge issue of De fil en aiguille)on one side and the super-fun fishy mini-sampler on the other side. That gorgeous thread is the other one Isabelle sent me for my birthday. I used what was left to make the cord.

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I still get so nervous about stitching gifts for friends. I love doing it! But everyone else's stitching is so lovely and perfect. And their finishing! Wow, I can't imagine how they make it come out so beautifully! My attempts seem so ... awkward... in comparison. But Annemarie has assured me that she really does like this year's gift. And I am still so thrilled that it arrived on time!

Rigby had his second dog course tonight and did very well. We have had him for 15 days now, and I can't imagine life without him. We've managed to overcome the 'dark stranger' problem he had with dark-haired men (at least we've licked it for about 90%). He still gets incredibly nervous and insecure if we leave him for over an hour, so I continue to sneak him into work. Thankfully, I have very laid-back office mates! Now we're trying to help him overcome his insecurity, but the dog trainer says that the only thing truly required is time. And patience, of course, but that's a given.

Nicky and Rowen have transformed our living room into an obstacle course during the past rainy days. It keeps them busy and ensures that I clean behind and under the furniture, which winds up being moved all about the room. Max has his first volleyball game on Saturday and it's hard to say who is more excited: him or me. I am actually so excited and nervous about it that I may not go for fear of embarassing him.

On this rainy autumn evening, with moon getting full and the air full of the scent of fallen leaves, my thoughts go out to a few dear people who've been ill and/or in pain lately. I wish I could do something more than say "I'm thinking of you!" but I don't know what it is. Know that I'm sending hugs and support.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:34 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 4 comments
01 November 2006
happy happy joy joy

Oh goodie, I succeeded! Hooray!! Can you feel all the good vibes? Yep, I got those birthday presents mailed in time to arrive for the actual b-day, instead of a month late. Okay, one of them is about a month late, but the thought was there. I've been doing speed stitching and finishing today, and it all paid off!

Thank you all for your incredibly kind comments regarding the pink Quaker exchange. I forgot to give details of the design. The front cover is an older pattern from Thistle Threads. The backside uses the alphabet from Little by Little's "Strawberry Quaker" pattern but the quote is from First Lady Abigail Adams - I thought it very pertinent to the theme of the exchange (breast cancer awareness). It wasn't a pattern in and of itself, just elements I borrowed from here and there. I had no idea how to assemble it, and would lay awake at night doing imaginary finishing in my mind till I came up with a solution. LOL.

Autumn arrived yesterday in the form of our first official autumn windstorm. The trees seemed to be bending nearly double - it was amazing. Rigby has been nervous for much of the day and I suspect it's due to the weather. Our walks have become especially fun with the great piles of leaves to shuffle through.

Tonight, Niek has arranged to take me out for dinner as a belated anniversary celebration. I don't know where, only that I need to dress up a bit more than usual. No jeans, in other words. The kids will get a very kid-friendly dinner (pancakes) in exchange for going to bed a little earlier than usual.

And now, I'm going to gloat a bit more about getting my parcels out!