30 December 2006
as New Year's Eve approaches ... this & that
Last night I was gearing up to take a picture of the quilt square I'm doing for the Hurricane Katrina Quilt Project. It wasn't done, but there was enough to make a decent progress photo. But the piece looked, well, weird. I couldn't tell if I was looking at it upside-down or right-side-up. When suddenly it dawned on me - I'd stithed about half of it one way, and the other half upside-down. It sounds impossible, I know, but someone I actually did not notice what I was doing. So instead of taking a picture, I did a fair bit of frogging. Once that was done, I set it aside. Grrr!

On a happier note, the acupuncture/herbal therapy/massage treatments I've been having have made a difference that Mr. Sceptic, aka my DH, had to reluctantly admit to noticing. I've noticed an improvement since the second treatment but I haven't said a thing to anyone (except my mom) about it. I wanted to wait till someone volunteered some comment like, "Wow, you're looking healthier lately!" or, "Have you lost weight?" or something to that effect. Last night, after five treatments, Niek mumbled something about how I seemed to feel better and look better the past week or two and "does that have to do with the Chinese stuff you've been doing?" LOL. It's also interesting to go through the process from the client's perspective.

We'll be celebrating a pleasant New Year's Eve at home with the kids. I'm looking forward to it - we always have a great time. Everyone - knock wood - is healthy. And I didn't get sick!

I hope that everyone will enjoy a great change of the year - safe, and full of joy!

Saw this over at Jenna's blog and it seemed the perfect sort of fiddly thing to do this morning.

The ABC's of me
A - Available or single?:
Happily married.
B - Best Friend?:
C - Cake or pie?:
I’m not crazy about either. Can I choose brownies?
D - Drink of choice?:
Either hot herbal tea or very cold water.
E - Essential item I use every day:
My computer.
F - Favorite color?:
G - Gummy Bears or Gummy Worms?:
Gummy worms, especially the sour kind!
H - Hometown?:
I’d call Downeast Maine my hometown, I guess.
I - Indulgence?:
Quietly stitching in the evening after the kids are in bed.
J - January or February?:
February, when two of my kids celebrate their birthday.
K - Kids and names?:
Max, Nick and Rowen.
M - Marriage date?:
19 May 2003.
N - Number of siblings?:
One brother, two step-sisters and one step-brother.
O - Oranges or apples:
Oranges during cold weather, apples when it’s warm out.
P - Phobias or fears?:
Hospitals. Ugh.
Q - Favorite quote:
Pretty much any of ee cummings poetry.
R - Reasons to smile:
Gosh, there are lots of reasons … the way the trees look against the sky or how my kids look when they aren’t aware of my observation or figuring out something that was puzzling me or ….
S - Season:
T - Tag 3 or 4 people:
Anyone who reads this and wants to try it.
U - Unknown fact about me:
Well if I told, it would hardly be unknown. LOL!
V - Vegetable you don’t like:
Canned veggies. If they’re fresh, I like all vegetables, even tomatoes.
W - Worst habit:
Being impatient. Not seeing the bright side. (It’s a tie, folks.)
X - X-Rays?:
They creep me out, but I’ve had to have some; most recently for my foot.
Y - Your favorite food?:
Shellfish and/or fish.
Z - Zodiac sign?:
Gemini. And how … sigh.
posted by mainely stitching at 10:52 AM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
27 December 2006
holiday beauty … and germs … abound
I have to show off the beautiful cards I’ve received this holiday season. We actually ran out of room to display them all in the windows, but here are nearly all of them. Lots from stitching friends the world over – thank you!!!

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Photobucket - Video and Image HostingAs for the germy part of this posting, it seems like everyone in the family other than yours truly has succumbed to some middle-of-the-night mystery virus. Max woke up with a pretty high fever, Rowen with a milder one, Niek with a general feeling of being unwell, and even tough little Nicky says he doesn’t feel well. As I type this, Max and Rowen are sleeping upstairs, hopefully getting better. Niek insisted on going to work, and trying to get Nicky to lay down during daylight hours is akin to trying to kiss your own elbow. Ever tried? It’s not possible – I know from experience. But that’s another story.

The list of stitching goodies under the tree is limited, by design. My SIL and baby brother (who towers over me) sent me a unique chart-a-day cross stitch calendar with some fun designs that I’ll enjoy, my father and new step-mother sent me a nice assortment of DMC and some 14 count Aida that I think I’ll use for a surprise gift, and my great Aunt Hattie sent me the Camden Harbor kit that I’d posted on my wish list. I’m really itching to start that one, but there are a few projects with deadlines that must be tended to first. And here's a tiny finish.

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I was just looking over my blog entry on this day last year. I can only laugh at the fact that I didn’t do a single thing on my short list for 2006 projects. But that’s not to say I didn’t do a fair amount of stitching – as far as I can figure, I finished about 52 projects this year. Many of these were small projects that broadened my finishing skills (if my humble attempts can be called skill – that’s a bit of a stretch), which was something I really did want to get into this year. From only knowing how to do basic framing, I’ve slowly worked my way up to stitcher’s pockets, needle books, and assorted ornament finishes. Even bought a new sewing machine to help with the projects that aren’t entirely hand done. I’ve also mastered the dreaded French knots and can do a decent job with beading. Hooray! Best of all, though, has been continued contact with my earliest online stitching friends, a deepening of friendships, and making new friends. It’s hard to remember how lonely my stitching hobby used to be, back when I had no one to share it with. I’ve gained so much from you – thank you so very much for your support, ideas, friendship, and laughter.

Who knows what 2007 may bring us? The older I get, the more futile list-making seems to be. Life really is what happens when we’re busy making other plans. So no lists this year, not even a short one! I will give a sneak peek at the two projects I started during the past day or two, though.

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May your days be merry and bright!

(Sorry none of the pictures are clickable - no matter how small I reduced them, Blogger refused to accept even one. Bah humbug!)
23 December 2006
in spite of myself, a holiday happy dance
Okay, I decided at the last possible minute to stitch Niek a surprise gift, ignoring the fact that I had pretty much no time to stitch it, let alone finish it. But I just HAD to make this for him. I knew how I wanted it to look when finished and, well, I just had to make it. This morning when he left to run the last pre-Christmas errands and I saw how much more there was to do, I had to admit that it was going to be impossible to finish it today ... unless I abridged the design. So, my apologies to Annemiek for hacking off part of her gorgeous design, but in the end I was able to finish-finish this today and I'm happy with it.

Christmas Reindeer Sampler by The Needle's Content

I tried all sorts of new finishing techniques on this one, and had quite a time with that velvet ribbon. I wanted to ruche it, but I didn't like how it looked when I did this by running a thread through the ribbon and then pulling it tight so I did it by stitching it down and putting the puckers in it as I went along. Took awhile to find the "right" method for doing this, but next time I will be able to do it faster and easier. And hopefully without breaking any more needles! The tassle is purchased, but it went so perfectly with the velvet ribbon that it seemed silly to go home and make one that might not match as well.

I am really happy with how it came out, and the verse (I will honor Christmas in my heart and share my joy with you) is absolutely perfect for what I wanted to say to Niek. Annemiek, thanks for a great design!

The kids are all tucked up for the night, perhaps with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads. Our pets are even quiet tonight. It's very dark out and the tree is lit and the kitchen is clean ... all elements of a wonderfully peaceful night. Tomorrow evening, we'll open our gifts, in the tradition of my Gram and Gramps, who opened gifts on Christmas Eve. I would love to be back in their warm, snug living room, each of them in their own special chair, with the babble of my aunts' voices and the anticipation of my cousins and myself .... I miss them most days, but every Christmas Eve, a little part of me gets to go home to them.

Wishing everyone peace through the holidays and the New Year.
21 December 2006
longest night of the year

Another solstice - and from tomorrow on, the days will lengthen. Even if it's impercetible, I'll know it's happening.

Thank you all so much for your well-wishes regarding my foot. I went back to the doctor today because the pain is worse, but she said there was nothing to be done about it. Actually, when I left I said, 'So you want me to continue doing what I've been doing, even though it's not working?' and she said 'Yes.' Can you believe it? But anyway, on to happier things.

I've been stitching a surprise gift for Niek - a truly wonderful design from Annemiek of The Needle's Content. I don't know if I'll have it done in time, but I'm having fun doing it. I love her designs!

Wishing you all the best!

16 December 2006
twinkle toes ... not
Those who've known me for a long time (affectionate wave to Sara in particular) know that I am not a graceful person. I've tried. I've made concerted efforts over the years to at least give the impression that I am not the reluctant owner of two defective left feet. The last attempt was dance lessons. The other people in the class laughed at me. It's just too sad. Anyway, on my way to pick Max up at school Thursday afternoon, my bike, the dog, and myself all attempted to go in different directions. The result may have been comical to onlookers, but was very painful for me. I limped around on Thursday, pretending it didn't really hurt that badly. On Friday I gave in, went to the doctor who thought the foot was probably broken and sent me on to the hospital for X-rays. The two X-rays didn't turn up a break, though they couldn't say what was wrong. The usual advice was given - keep off it, keep it elevated. Which I'm doing with a tremendous amount of grumbling. I did have loads of stitching time in the waiting rooms, however, and have finished off two Christmas ornaments for next year. That's right - I'm too late to make ones for everyone I want to make them for (and I'm just thinking of family - friends require yet another 3 page list!) so I'm getting a leg up on next year (can't resist the pun!). Thanks to Nicki for setting up the monthly ornie SAL, which has me very motivated!

Without further ado, here is Ruth Sparrow's "Be Joyful" (quite changed about from the chart) and Hands to Work's "Christmas Stocking Ornament". Be Joyful is stitched over one and over two using DMC linen threads for a homespun look. Hopefully it doesn't just look like one of the kids did it. LOL. Merry Christmas is stitched over one on 28 ct. wheaten linen using my choice of NPS silks. The green background fabric is also what the stocking has on the flip side.

13 December 2006
pretty post from abroad
Thank you, thank you Veronica! I received this beautiful ornament and a lovely card from Veronica in the mail. It's even prettier IRL. I'm displaying all our handmade gifties together - but when I tried to take a picture of them, they fell down (good thing I'm not a carpenter) and I need to re-attach the line. I'm too impatient to do that right now.

I've also packaged up my blue Quaker exchange to go out in tomorrow's mail. It was my intent to have it done well before the deadline (hopefully in time for Christmas) because my partner is someone I've just been waiting for a chance to spoil. ;> This would've been done earlier, but as I was finishing it up, I admitted to myself that I didn't really like it and I started over.

I'm so in the mood to do Christmas ornaments! It's very hard to get focused on the few charity items I need to do.

Remember to leave yourself time during the hectic holidays to relax and enjoy!

And goofin' around....
Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.
What Kind of Intelligence Do You Have?

You Belong in 1963

If you scored...

1950 - 1959: You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 - 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule - oh, and drugs too.

1970 - 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you're partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 - 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You're colorful at night - and successful during the day.

1990 - 1999: With you anything goes! You're grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It's all good!
What Year Do You Belong In?

Your New Year's Resolutions

1) Get a pet iguana

2) Eat more chocolate syrup

3) Travel to Mexico

4) Study urban anthropology

5) Get in shape with naked yoga
What Should Your New Year's Resoluton Be?

(You would be amazed at which of these actually really suit me and which don't!)
posted by mainely stitching at 10:24 PM ¤ Permalink ¤ | 0 comments
10 December 2006
productive weekend - yay!
I enjoyed a great class yesterday (only got one wrong on my quiz!) and today we enjoyed a wonderful time decorating our tree. In between, I finished my big Christmas gift project. I can't show the whole thing because the recipient is a reader, but I can show a little snippet. This is a pattern from Der Feine Faden, and for once I actually used the fibers that were called for (except the sheep - I used GAST for the white ones).

Here's the sneak peek. I finished the linen banding to end in points and sewed some of the lovely Kelmscott thread rings to the top to hang it by. I'm pretty pleased with the results. :)

And now for the really fun pictures: the tree trimming! I love this part of Christmas - it may even be my favorite part of the whole celebration. I think back to childhood years of decorating the tree with my parents and brother, of Christmas trees and family times that I enjoyed years ago. I hope that my kids will remember happy nights like tonight when they're older and at that age where kids seem only to remember the things parents did wrong .... After we finished decorating, we sat around the tree and drank big mugs of homemade cocoa. It was one of those moments where it suddenly all clicks into place and you can simply feel happy in the moment. What a gift - the best holiday gift I could hope for.

07 December 2006
You must think I've gone shutterbug crazy with all the pictures I've put in lately. These are all stitchy pics.

First off, a decent shot of the very lovely ornament that Judith sent for the SBEBB ornament exchange. Yesterday's picture didn't do it justice.

And the ornament that I made for the same ornie exchange safely arrived in Elisabeth's home in France. One of her favorite designers is Blackbird Designs, so it wasn't hard for me to find a design I really liked. (It was a bit harder to narrow the choice to only one design.) This is the no-sew finishing method using fusible interfacing.

I finished the last bookmark that I'll be able to do for Cathy's EGA chapter - I wish I could do more but I hit a few days in which needle and thread didn't meet and you know how that slows everything down. This is One Dozen by Bent Creek. My remnant of 32 ct Silkweaver Princess Pink wasn't long enough, so I call it the Lucky Seven Bookmark. LOL

And here is Twinkle The Fairy, a little freebie from Cross Stitch Kits that I will finish as some sort of cute ornament for our neighbor who watches Spin the Cat when we're away. She is an angel in my book!

Guess who bought a Christmas tree and wreath today? wink, wink Hopefully I won't hurt any feelings by doing it without Niek, but otherwise we'd have to wait till Tuesday and I just can't wait that long! Sunday evening, we'll all decorate and drink hot cocoa and listen to carols. I can hardly wait!
06 December 2006
seasonal delights
Yesterday we celebrated Sinterklaas a.k.a. pakjesavond - the evening that Sinterklaas and/or his helpers deliver the kids' gifts, usually with a great deal of noise and excitement, but seldom ever being seen. (Our neighbors are just wonderful at this!) The kids had a lot of fun, and here are a few pictures of everyone except Gilbert and Nachtegaal enjoying their gifts (those two got gifts, too, but I forgot to take pictures of them.)(These first pictures are clickable.)

And now that Sinterklaas is officially over, I can begin putting up Christmas decorations. I'm usually not very good at this, but my Mom really motivated me this year. I made a bunch of miniature stockings to hang around the fireplace, and hung the handmade stockings from Sara above them. (There are also stockings for Niek and I that she made, but I didn't hang them.) So now I can think of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas every time I look at the fireplace. LOL! (These pics aren't clickable - Blogger's not in the mood!)

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I also hung the few cards that have arrived - thanks Anne! - and some purchased and handmade ornaments (thanks again, Sara!) in the front window. Also hanging in the front window is my SBEBB exchange ornament from Judith. Thanks, Judi, it's beautiful and exactly to my taste. What floss did you use??

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Finally, a funny little picture of the "surprises" I made for the kids. They look a little limp in the picture because they were filled with candy for last night's celebration, but I'll stuff them with cotton and stitch their little 'stuffing holes' shut (Rowen's -the pink bunny - is already done as she insisted on sleeping with it!).

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The holidays can be stressful and even depressing for a lot of us. Let's not forget that hugs and smiles are free. ;>