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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

2003 is almost history

It's incredible... how fast this year has gone. Tomorrow begins 2004. Wow.

I have a new progress pic of Guardian Angel. Have I said lately how glad I am that I restarted it? I really am, every time I see it and work on it. It's really chugging along well, and I don't think I've been so satisfied to just sit and stitch on one project in a long time. I worked on her again last night while watching the first 6 or 7 episodes of season three of Sex and the City, which I borrowed from Taneya. We had Game Night last night instead of tonight because of the holiday.

C told me that because I have to work every day this week except tomorrow (and he's off all week), that tomorrow is MY day. We'll do whatever I want to do, watch whatever movies I want to watch, and he'll fix me lunch and dinner - he's such a sweetheart! I'm already thinking of watching X2, T3, and maybe Legally Blonde 2, or Charlie's Angels 2. And spending the whole day STITCHING!!! Well, maybe we'll play some video games too - I got him Castlevania: Lament of Innocence for Christmas, and we play together - he manages the controls and I tell him where to go and what to do (he calls me his "knowledge"). I really hope this one is as good as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night for the PSOne.

Please, everyone, if you do go out tonight - be careful and drive safe!!! And have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Hmmm... maybe I should dig out Rudolph's Shiny New Year and watch it too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Finally got to see Return of the King!

And I made it all the way through without having to get up and go to the Ladies' Room - a feat, let me tell you!! It was as awesome as I had been hearing. I'm already looking forward to seeing it again. And I can't wait for the extended version DVD.

I finished Tannenbaum! Woohoo, my final happy dance for 2003.


So I've actually fulfilled my goal for 2003 - to finish at least one cross stitch project every month.

My counseling and giving advice days are over. My "reality checks" are unwelcome, and have been for some time. I have been known to tell people things they do not want to hear, and have been punished for it in the past. I have always believed it is better to be honest with those you care about, but if they do not like the message, then they WILL shoot the messenger. Therefore, in the future, do not ask me why I did not warn you when you were about to rush into something without thinking and it turned out all wrong. You would have done the same had I warned you, AND you would have shot me. I just have to realize that you have to make your own mistakes and live with the consequences. /END

Don't worry - everything is fine with me and mine. I just had to rant a moment. I'm over it now.

Monday, December 29, 2003

Back to work ;)


I scored an 83 - not bad, and I had to groan when I saw some of the ones I missed. Yes, I'm a child of the 80's. Yes, part of my brain was left there too.

I had a fabulous day yesterday - we made a big pot of chili, and I worked on the ships quilt, my cottage garden quilt, Tannenbaum, and Guardian Angel. I've almost finished Tannenbaum - all that's left is a few beads. Was going to use a silver/grey bead, as it called for, but silver/grey on a silver/grey background just doesn't pop, you know? It's almost invisible. So I'll have to dig through my stash for something else. I want to see if I have some Delicas first that will work - otherwise, it's just some Mill Hills.

Sunday, December 28, 2003

I just love a nice, quiet Sunday morning

True, I've got a load of clothes going as usual on a Sunday, but I'm about to go play in my craft room. I picked up 10 yards of the muslin I needed (that matched what I'm already using in Scott's ships quilt) at Joann's Friday after work - had my 50% off coupon, so I got a great deal!

We finally watched the first two Lord of the Rings movies in preparation for going to see Return of the King tomorrow after work. Dreamed about orcs and hobbits for 2 nights in a row....

Hope everyone is everyone is having a fabulous weekend! It's back-to-work for me tomorrow, but I'm still hopeful that a lot of folks will have taken the week off between Christmas and New Year's. I'd really like an easy week so I can get everything prepared for 2004.

Friday, December 26, 2003

All quiet on the western front

There are a few of us who had to be at work today for one reason or another - I happen to be one of those people. It's not so bad, it's just that being off would have been so much better.

We had a great Christmas, other than the [getting to be] usual family squabbles. I think we all exchanged terrific gifts, and everyone seemed to be happy with what they received. We gave my oldest niece, Allison, a very small beginner's cross stitch kit and a game for her Gameboy Advance. She immediately came over and asked me to help her start it. She even remembered the way I had shown her back in the summer to make the X's, and I was so impressed! I have another kit stashed away - in case she finishes this one and wants to start another. She's 9 now, and her attention span is a little longer.

I still haven't finished Tannenbaum yet - I got back to working on Guardian Angel when we got home last night - but I stlil hope to have it finished in the next couple of days. I only have a couple more rows to go, a few beads to add, and it will be done!

I've almost finished the trellis, garland, border... (any suggestions on what I should be calling it? --the pattern doesn't give it a name) on Guardian Angel.

My plan is to work on one or both of these over the weekend, and on the quilts. I have to go to Joann's today to get some more muslin for the Ships squares tonight, so that I can continue piecing them.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

The theme for today is don't count your chickens before they hatch. Hopefully they will, but don't count 'em before they do, because you might end up short and plenty let-down... 'Nuff said.

I didn't get any stitching done last night. We went to a Japanese restaurant with some friends, and then spent time afterwards in the bar area talking. We didn't make it home until 10-ish.

I'm so glad tomorrow is a holiday for both of us, and we don't have to turn on the alarm clock for a couple of days. I'm still hoping to get some good stitching and quilting in around visiting with relatives. I have GOT to remember to get some batteries for my camera tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2003

What a wonderful weekend!

We pretty much finished up the Christmas shopping, woohoo! Now just a couple more things to grab on my way home tonight after work, and a little more wrapping to do, and we should have a very relaxing Christmas holiday.

I ended up spending a lot of my time this weekend either stitching or working on a quilt. Got a little more done on the angel's wings, and started (and I'm close to finishing) Tannenbaum.

I now have about 36 squares pieced on my Cottage Garden Bullseye quilt, and I started working some more on the sails for Scott's Ships quilt. I've come up with a layout that I think will work best for that quilt, and I've posted a mock-up on that quilt's page.

I'm REALLY looking forward to our holiday time off - we haven't had time to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy yet, and I keep hearing how wonderful the third movie is. Plus, I really want to get back in my craft room and play with quilts - my quilting bug is back!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Friday once again

And it's about time too!

We had our party at the Stitchin Post last night. We had a great time visiting with each other, and some of us actually got some stitching, knitting, or crochet in too!

I also bought a new chart - a John Clayton panorama - Stonehenge. I just love Stonehenge - and this looked too good to pass up (I really like his stuff anyway).

I'm hoping we can get our Christmas shopping finished up this weekend and just kick back and relax for the rest of the holidays. I've got some stitching, quilting, and recording I want to do, as well as see LotR: RotK at the theater sometime after Christmas. We want to watch the first and second ones again, and then go see the third.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Now I remember why I go to bed so early

Because going to bed late tends to make for a cranky, sleepy Doodle-head.

Okay, more sleepy than cranky.

I spent most of last night playing around with recording from a tape to an MP3 file. I had already figured out how to record from an album or 45rpm record to MP3 (very good for those things not available on CD, and difficult to find even on vinyl, such as Wuf Ticket's Ya Mama). So, last night, I made the jump to cassette tapes. Once I figured it out and had the levels right, it was just a matter of starting the cassette rolling while I had the computer recording. Then I had to crop out each song and save it. It doesn't take much - just a couple of pieces of software and time. The really nice thing is that I don't have to go out and buy new CDs of the cassettes I already own, I can just make my own - and some of the cassettes I have are getting very worn, so this is really good timing. I can feel some great compilation CDs coming on.

While I was waiting for each side to record, I worked on Guardian Angel a bit - I've been working on her wings, and they're not as difficult or boring as I thought they would be. I think doing them on this jobelan fabric helps.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I feel really bad about it, but I definitely no longer love the Christmas Mystery. It's the first project I've had in a very long time that I've thought about putting into the UFO pile. I don't know why - it's pretty enough. It just doesn't sing to me like my other cross stitch projects do.

One of the threads on the TWBB is Goals for 2004. I had 17 cross stitch finishes in 2003 (so far - but I doubt I'll finish anything else this year, and that's okay), which is really great. My personal goal for this year was to finish one project per month, regardless of size. I did that, except for December (and some months had more than one finish). Some were small, some were large, and some had been UFO's for over a year or more.

In 2004, I would like to finish Guardian Angel (Christmas 2004 gift). I would also like to start and finish the Dimensions Gold Petite kit Voyage at Sea (also Christmas 2004 gift). But my main goal is to just thoroughly enjoy whatever I am working on. So, my Christmas Mystery will go in my UFO pile for as long as it needs to, and I will not feel guilty. Some other WIPs may do the same, and again, I will not feel guilty. Other than that, I am not planning any goals for 2004.

I am still working on the Guardian Angel - her wings are a little more defined now. I'll probably post another progress pic tomorrow, depending on how much I get stitched tonight.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Ahhhh...

Well, they got the heat fixed finally, so I didn't freeze to death this morning at work.

I understand why my parents yelled when, as kids, we would come in and go out of the house a lot (and when we left the door open, which did not happen very often). My two girls did that to me this morning. Our bathroom door is near the head of our bed, so the light from the bathroom spills onto the pillows. And while I get up at 6 a.m., C doesn't have to get up until 6:30, so I try to keep the door shut (or open just a crack so they don't sit outside it and howl at me to let them in). The girls kept running in and out of the bathroom, and they would leave the door wide open every time they'd run in or out.

I worked on Guardian Angel a bit last night, did a load of laundry, and will probably do the same tonight. We are in the middle of Season 5 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. DVDs are really nice when networks are in rerun mode.

Monday, December 15, 2003

BRRRR!

It was almost colder in my office this morning than it was outside - thank goodness for little space heaters, coats, and gloves. For some reason, the vents were blowing a massive amount of cold air on top of our heads. It started last week, and must have gotten really revved up over the weekend.

On a completely different note, here's to good food, great gab, and the best of friends! Instead of our usual dinner, we had lunch at Captain D's, and just caught up on things going on in each other's lives, both work and play.

I have more progress on Guardian Angel!

I also worked on my bullseye quilt yesterday, and counted up how many initial blocks I've pieced so far - 31! I'm supposed to do 48 - for a 6 x 8 layout, which would be approx. 48" x 64" without a border. I'm thinking of doing 7 x 9 instead (56" x 72"), which would be 63 blocks, so I'm about halfway through with Part 1. I'm thinking it's about time for a progress photo...

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Where is the snow we were supposed to have?

Okay, I know we had a tiny little bit this morning (good thing I was up early or I'd have missed it). With all the baking I had planned, I was really in the mood for some snow too. Oh well, at least I got most of the baking done.

The candy cane cookies were first, and they took the biggest chunk of time to make. I had to color half the dough, then roll out pieces and twist them together. My mom used to make these when we were kids. I like them - C prefers the chewy chocolate white chocolate chip cookies I just finished up. In between, I did manage to make the java jive mocha snaps and some coffee cookies (from a recipe I had copied down quite a while back but hadn't tried yet - they were eh, just okay). I'm also trying the Death Bars recipe that Amy Beth sent to me this week. It's in the oven right now, and that will be the end of my baking today. So I'll have to save the english spice, mexican wedding, vanilla wafers, and chocolate mint cookies for another day. I'm pooped.

I do think though, that I've got just enough energy to sit down and stitch for a bit, so I'm going to go dig out Starry Night and work on it as I promised Melanie I would. Then I'll probably get Guardian Angel back out again.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Finally Friday

Too many late nights for me this week, or maybe it's just that I've been fighting some bug. I am just so sleepy. Thank goodness it's Friday.

Anyone want to discuss the Battlestar Galactica mini-series? We finished watching it last night, and I have to say - parts were good, and parts were okay, but [rant on] ???? about the ending???? Please don't tell me that that was all. It just left us hanging. If they aren't going to follow-up with a new series, then someone please tell me what the whole point of that exercise was??? Somehow I'm left feeling I've wasted about 3.5 hours (we ff through commercials) of my life... [rant off]

I'm so ready to be home stitching and baking some cookies. I'm in the mood to bake some cookies this year - a few nestle toll house, some almond-flavored candy cane, some mexican wedding, and some java jive mocha snap cookies for example. I like a variety. Ooh, and a couple of years ago I made some chocolate mint cookies that were pretty good, as well as some vanilla wafers. I also printed out a recipe this year for some spiced tea cookies (of some sort) that sounded good to try. I think they had some cinnamon and cloves in them. And I can't forget the oatmeal scotchies! I'd never had them until a few years ago when our then-children's librarian made them for Christmas, and they are delicious. I've been stockpiling ingredients the last couple of times we went to the store for groceries, so I'll only need to get a couple more items, and I'll be ready to go. And just about everyone loves little cookie gift assortments for Christmas...

Thursday, December 11, 2003

The Christmas CDs finally come out!

I have finally gotten in the mood to listen to my Christmas music, so I brought a couple of CDs with me to work today. Most of what I like to listen to is what I would characterize as classic - Bing Crosby, Andrews Sisters, Andy Williams, Perry Como, with a little Charlie Brown Christmas thrown in for good measure.

I finally did make the white bean chili last night, and I like it. It's really different. CC thought it was pretty good, but not necessarily what he was expecting. He had some - years ago - from Ruby Tuesday's, and it was apparently very different from the recipe I made - but he couldn't tell me how it was different. I think next time I make it, I'll include a little more chicken and another can of great northern beans. It was just a tad too soupy this time. It was fun to get my food processor out and use it to chop up the chicken and onions. Sometimes I forget about using the wonderful appliances I have that make it so much easier (and less stress on wrists and arms!). I whipped right through chopping one thing, rinsed out and chopped the next, and whiz! I was ready to cook.

I worked on Guardian Angel a bit last night while we watched the first part of Battlestar Galactica. I think we'll probably finish it up tonight (and it's all YOUR fault, Louise - I told C that you were dying to discuss it, and he said, "Well we should start watching it tonight then!")

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Playing with CSS

So, I've been playing around a little with CSS.

I've learned a few things, and have just about re-created my Cross Stitch index page without tables, using CSS position. Why would anyone even care to try, you ask? Well, because it's all about separating design and content. If your content is separate from your design, you can apply a new look to a page just by changing the style sheet. But this is just one of the benefits - another is that your content is more readable by text-readers and other types of web browsers (such as on phones). Yet another, is that you can specify that only the content of an article prints, without all of the navigation and banner ads, if you so choose. I really like that feature, and I've already implemented it with our intranet - we have one of those typical banner-on-the-top, navigation-on-the-left, content-on-the-right designs, and when someone wanted to print out the phone list, it would cut off the right side of the numbers (how often have I gotten aggravated with Yahoo mail because of a smiliar situation?). Now it only prints the phone list, though the screen continues to display the entire web page. I think this is FABULOUS, and it didn't take a lot of coding to implement. And yet another thing is that html tables take up more bandwidth than using CSS and DIV tags does. I like efficiency!!!

I always knew it!


Which Peanuts Character Are You?


Off to play with CSS some more today - I finished reading a short story last night, and thus have no stitching to report.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

I have a new necklace!

A friend of Amy Beth's had a jewelry show tonight, and I was invited to peruse her wares. She has crafted some really fabulous beaded necklaces, and it was tough to choose just one. But I did, and here is my new necklace, made by Shannan Neese.


The beads are leopard jasper, and they are hung on a silver chain.

Okay, I'm going to head to the bedroom to read for a few minutes before I drop off to sleep - I'm such a silly girl - one drink and I'm ready for some serious snoozing, LOL!!!

Wow, about 2 more weeks...

... and Christmas will be here. I just happened to look at my calendar this morning, and *POP* it's staring me in the face. I must be a very visually motivated person. You can say "it's December 9th, and there are only a couple of weeks until Christmas" and it doesn't faze me a bit. But looking at the calendar kind of smacks me up side the head. I'm that way with clocks too - digital numbers don't mean much to me - but seeing the hands in place tell me exactly what I need to know. Anyone care to analyze that for me?

My latest progress on Fancy Pansy has all of the stitching done on the middle pansy, and some of the backstitching. I also started working on some of the leaves around it.

I'm still trying to get used to the idea that I don't need to account for my time when I'm stitching. I guess the habit got pretty well ingrained in me, which is one reason why it was more difficult to just pick up and stitch for a few minutes on something (oh no - I haven't clocked in - I've got to remember that I've worked on this - what time did I start? what time did I stop? oh, the pressure...) I have to keep telling myself - "There is no pressure any more. You have permission to stitch on whatever you want, whenever you want, because it's your hobby, and you do it to relax and enjoy yourself."

And I've been completely avoiding getting back to the Christmas Mystery - what's up with that? It's a pretty enough design. It's not difficult, even if I did choose to stitch it on black. Maybe it's just not "my colors" or something. But it's definitely not screaming at me at the moment.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Ah, heat, wonderful heat...

They are finished! And we now have heat once again. I have finished up The White Dragon, am still stitching on Fancy Pansy, and only have to make a trip out this afternoon to mail off a chart to a fellow stitcher in Chilliwack. I like that name. And I still have my 45 rpm single of the group Chilliwack's "My Girl (Gone, Gone, Gone)".

I'm off to enjoy the remainder of my 3-day weekend - back to the old grind tomorrow.

Brrr...

The guys are here, installing the new air handler (as I've discovered it's called from the work order). So of course, the heat is not on right now... ;)

I'm working on Fancy Pansy, have the kitties holed up in my bedroom, and I'm listening to the last tape of The White Dragon. Of course, while they're doing some of the work with the blow torch, my smoke alarm (which just happens to be on the wall opposite the hvac closet) keeps going off. I know for certain we would be awake in a second if it ever went off for real.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Great weekend so far!

I got to pick up Spice (my Sunfire) Friday night, and she's in tip-top shape once again. New slave cylinder for the clutch, and new front brakes, and she just purred all the way home.

Saturday, I worked on the cottage garden bullseye quilt a little (about 5 more initial blocks sewn), a little on Guardian Angel, and Fancy Pansy (because it started screaming at me). I'm working on Fancy Pansy today also.

I'll be off tomorrow while they are installing my new heat pump (inside unit). I plan to work on the bullseye quilt a bit, fancy pansy a bit, and try a new recipe for white bean chili (wish me luck!).

Friday, December 05, 2003

Happy Friday!!!

I'm still working on Guardian Angel - and I'll probably put up a new scan after this weekend. I started working on the wings a little last night.

I am so ready for the weekend - what with web server crashes and tons of updates, I'm just pooped. That being said, I've been doing some browsing around the web for more CSS examples, tips, and tricks. I have found a few things that I want to try, so I'm hoping to get time to play in the sandbox. It would be really nice if December is slow. I don't have much vacation time left, so I will have to come in to work every day except for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, and the time I'm taking off for the new heat pump installation this coming Monday.

As much as I love that Smokey's started playing a lot again, I'm going to have to start putting the toys up right before bedtime. He woke us up playing with his little green fuzzy toy with a jingle-bell in the middle of the night. He started playing at 2 a.m., and was still playing at 5 this morning, when we had to put him in the craft room. I hate having to do that, and I know cats are nocturnal, but we HAVE to get some decent sleep. He has just re-discovered this toy - actually went over to the basket where we keep the toys and found it and dragged it out. He loves to get it in his mouth, make it jingle, and just walk around with it meowing, like he's got a mouse or something. It really is cute. Most of the time. At 7:00 p.m. But not at 2:00 a.m.

Did I mention it's Friday? YAY!!!! And it happens to be payday too. And that's always good!

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Lines on a neighborhood street

As I made my morning trek in to work, I knew what would start my blog this morning. Yesterday, they painted lines on the pavement for one of the residential streets (Billingsgate) I use to get out of my neighborhood to the interstate. It is a fairly wide road, and one where a lot of people park their cars on the road, in front of their houses. The lines actually give plenty of room for parking on the road and define the driving lanes. I'm so happy that they did this because this happens to be one of those winding roads with plenty of ups and downs (and blind spots). The best thing about this is that they carried the lines down to where Billingsgate ends. This pretty much forces all of those people who want to make a left turn from Billingsgate to Frankenstein Rd (okay, that's not really the name, but that's what we call it) to keep their cars STRAIGHT before turning. I don't know how many times I've seen people anticipate the left turn and pull way over into the other traffic's lane - because there was no line to prevent them (well, it must be okay then!). People just don't think about the car coming down Frankenstein Rd. wanting to turn left on to Billingsgate, and not being able to do it because there's another car in the way. And when I would pull down straight and stop, then make my left turn, people behind me were always getting angry because I obviously didn't know how to drive (they would be pulling to my left). I'm SO happy they have painted the lines - and I wish they would do it on my street too. I don't know how many times I've wanted to turn on to my street, but hmmm... there's another car in my way, wanting to make a left turn from the unmarked "left" lane.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Stalled on my Christmas Mystery wip

And I'm not sure why, except that I'm REALLY into Guardian Angel right at the moment. Why, oh why have I never used the Petite Treasure Braid before now????? Oh my - it is pure delight to work with, considering that it is a metallic. Even nicer than the Kreinik #4 braid, which is my favorite of all the Kreinik metallics.

We had a really nice dinner at a new restaurant just up the street - Lizzie's Grille. I had a yummy French dip and C had one of his favorites - chopped steak. I hope they do well, so we'll have another nice restaurant in the area to visit (and not have to go near the mall - especially on the weekends or near Christmas).

Once we were home, we settled in to watch some dvds - we plan on picking up Pirates of the Caribbean this weekend, when MediaPlay has their triple points days (and Season 7 of Deep Space Nine - will LOVE the points I get for THAT purchase). We're waiting for Farscape 4.1 (an online pre-order - Customer Service said it's about to ship). And EXCELLENT! news - MGM has announced the 6th season of Stargate on DVD is going to be released in MARCH!!!

I'm ready to be home stitching.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Happy Birthday to DH!!

Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday to you!
Happy birthday my DH!!!!
Happy birthday to you!
....And many more....

So his best friend gets to call him "old man" for about 6 months until he has a birthday and catches back up with C.

The coffee hasn't kicked in yet this morning. Or maybe my brain is so sluggish, it's not going to kick in? I was so tired last night. Neck muscles were sore all day, so I'm sure I didn't sleep very well, even though C tried to massage them a bit - I probably need another chiro adjustment.

Smokey was really cute last night in play-mode. He picked up a fuzzy-covered styrofoam ball toy in his mouth and was tossing it around and pouncing on it. It's amazing what he can do, given his very limited sight. I just love it when he gets in a playful mood. Of course, he likes to attack our feet a lot when we walk by him. Shoes or slippers are a very good thing for unsuspecting feet.

I worked on Guardian Angel a little bit more, used some Petite Treasure Braid (as recommended) instead of the DMC gold that the pattern called for. I think it's going to be quite pretty - and the PTB is really nice to work with (I've never used it before). I got two cards of it at the Stitchin Post on my way home last night, and of course I had to try it.

Monday, December 01, 2003

For the record...

this email is a hoax:

Read & Heed!

A police officer working with the DARE program has issued this warning: If you are driving after dark and see an on-coming car with no headlights on, DO NOT FLASH YOUR LIGHTS AT THEM! This is a common gang member "initiation game" that goes like this:

The new gang member under initiation drives along with no headlights, and the first car to flash their headlights at him is now his "target". He is now required to turn around and chase that car, and shoot at or into the car in order to complete his initiation requirements. Make sure you share this information with all the drivers in your family!

I get questions about these emails all the time, being the webmaster for our police department. If you ever have a question about whether something is a hoax or not, go to Snopes.com and do a search - for this one, all I typed in was "headlights off" (without the quotes), and it was the first result returned. I've used Snopes as a reference for years - they've got great information about hoaxes like these.

Back to work

...and catching up on my blog-reading. I've wrapped up everything here at work that was pressing this morning, so I get a break to read a little bit and post.


Here is the first new scan of Guardian Angel. I haven't started any of the gold yet, because I'm not sure if I'm going to use the 282Z that it calls for. And I'm already loving working on the new fabric. I know it's going to take twice as long to finish now, but it will be well worth it in the end. This photo shows the other reason why I decided to chuck the original (DMC 504's color change - different dye lots):

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Re-started Guardian Angel

Yes, I know - if you go take a look at how much I originally had done on this project, you will wonder what in the world was I thinking, having gotten so close to finishing it. Read the previous blog to find out why. I'm now stitching it (over 2) on a 28 count jobelan in a blush color, and I believe the wings will show up a lot better (now that I've decided to include them), and the jobelan is just so yummy to stitch on.

I've just put the ham in to bake, the green bean casserole is ready and waiting for its turn in the oven, and I'm off to do a little bit of piecing on my cottage garden bullseye quilt (that is if I can get into the chair before daughter-cat Rudy).

Poor Spice (my 98 Pontiac Sunfire) has to go to the mechanic, so I'm going to arrange for her towing tomorrow. There is something wrong with the clutch losing fluid, and the dealer didn't fix it (whilst charging me $77 to bleed the line and tell me everything was fine - grrr - and then telling me that I do have an oil leak that I need to fix, and charging me a LOT more than $77 to replace a couple of seals). So I'm entrusting the repairs to a very reputable mechanic about 35 miles away. Unless I have another recall service on my car, I don't expect to ever take it back to the dealership again. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

My Steelers lost again... sigh. We just can't get it together. It's very frustrating this year - and our fickle fans don't help matters, IMHO. Plaxico did a better job of catching the ball (and Hines and Jerome were great), but in the end it just wasn't enough. Looking forward to some more good sci-fi tv tonight too. I'll try to remember to post a scan of Guardian Angel tomorrow. Ugh, back to work...

Saturday, November 29, 2003

De-kitted a project

Yesterday, I made the decision to de-kit Enchanted Kingdom. This is the biggest BAP I had kitted, and with everything else that I am doing or want to do, I decided I'm not going to get to it for at least 10 years or more, if ever. So, rather than leave it kitted up, I put everything back away, so that if I need to use the floss for something else, I've got it available.

I also worked on my quilt a bit, making some more of the initial blocks. My progress was impeded, however, when Rudy Poo decided that my sewing chair would make a fabulous napping spot. So, I went in and worked a bit on Guardian Angel - every time I work on her, I remember why I hate working on her - the 22ct. hardanger fabric is a real pain to stitch on, with 2 strands of floss, over 1 thread. It gets very tight and the needle is hard to pull through the fabric. I'll eventually get it done, though, because I want to give it to my sister-in-law. I am tempted, however, to start it over. I noticed that one of the flosses I used in the middle of the design changes from more of a grey-green 503 to a blue-green 503. Sigh. I know I've gotten so much done already. But this is one of those things that I want done right. It wouldn't be difficult to do on 28 ct. over 2. And it's not like I haven't re-started projects before to get them right.

Then I worked on the Christmas Mystery a bit while watching "What Not To Wear" - a post-Thanksgiving marathon on TLC. I love this show - almost as much as Clean House. Will someone please submit my name? I'll go around wearing paint-stained sweats with holes in them if I have to! Who wouldn't love a $5000 shopping spree in New York City - I'll buy whatever they tell me to!

It will be a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine marathon tonight. I love having these shows on DVD! Back-to-back episodes commercial-free. Who could ask for better tv entertainment? And I'll either work on the Christmas Mystery... or maybe I'll pull out a new piece of fabric... hmmmm......

Oh, and before I forget. Amy Beth and I went and had lunch today, after I came over to take a photo of the quilt on her bed. I also gave her the pillow (look close - it's got your chickens fabric on it too!), and here they all are:


We had a fabulous lunch at Demos', and I'm looking forward to getting together again in the near future.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Happy Dancing!

I finished Dragon's Lair today, so I actually reached my goal of completing it in November!!!


I think I'm going to work on the quilt a little more now, then back to either the Christmas Mystery or Celestial Dragon a bit. They've had a marathon of Clean Sweep on this morning, and I stuck a tape in the VCR, so I'll probably watch a little of it or listen to Dragondrums while I stitch/sew.

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving - I know I am!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, so I'm a little early. That's okay, since I've already had Thanksgiving dinner at my mom's this past Saturday (which was yummy, as always - looking forward to eating the leftovers we got to bring home with us too!).

I got up, fixed a pot of coffee, put in my book on tape, and proceeded not to think too much about the events of yesterday. I did just a little cleaning, not as much as I'd originally planned (okay, call me lazy). Then I finished up a pillow to go with Amy Beth's quilt.
pic of the pillow

Then I got Dragon's Lair out and worked a little on it. And I talked to a few friends on the phone - poor Mel's got the flu. I am wondering if C's got it too. And then Phyl asked me what I was going to work on, the quilt maybe? And I hadn't even thought of it, but what a perfect idea! So I'm in the craft room on the sewing machine now (well, in another minute), working on my bullseye blocks, listening to another book on tape (Dragondrums, because I finished Dragonsinger this afternoon). I'm so glad we've got 4 more days off!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

What IS it with family?

I just don't get it. Why do the holidays bring out the bickering, hostile, easy-to-take-offense side?

I'm so mad I could spit. Thanksgiving dinner is off, thanks to C's brother (the one who came up with the idea that we were doing it at our house in the first place). We've gone to all the trouble, done shopping, borrowed extra dining room chairs, and started preparing the house, and because of a conversation that his brother and I had this morning, dinner is off.

It went a little like this: he came into my office (we work in the same building), and brought some white bean chili for us to try that Sherry had made but she didn't like. After some back-and-forth teasing about that, he said that he thought this (Thanksgiving dinner at our house) sounded like the start of a good tradition. I said that perhaps he could bring the ham or turkey next year, and he said something like, "Well, we're bringing something, Mom's bringing something. And, Mom always made everything at her Thanksgiving dinners." And I said, "Well, I ain't your mom." He asked what did I mean by that, and I said, "I'm not your mama." Plain and simple - that's what I meant - his mom may have done something one way, but I'm not his mom, what more needs to be said?

He abruptly walked out, and I should have seen it coming - I was on the phone with C, suggesting that maybe we start a "tradition" of doing it at our house one year, their house the next, etc., (I mean, let's share the love and responsibility here...) when he had another phone call come in - and it was his brother, of course. Dinner's off because he thought I was complaining about this and that. He likes to dish it out but he certainly can't take it, and so he gets mad and calls off Thanksgiving, and most likely Christmas, and I'd be surprised if he speaks to me again for a year. Whatever. His loss, not mine. I just hate it for C, because it puts him in the middle, and he just wants everyone to get along. It's not the first time his brother's gotten mad at me for no reason, just imagined slight. I'm sure it won't be the last.

I'm still taking tomorrow off, and I'm still cleaning those things which need to be cleaned, but I'm also going to take some time and relax and not worry about Thanksgiving or Christmas or anything. I refuse to let my holidays be ruined by my silly brother-in-law.

Actually had restraint

I had to go to Hobby Lobby to pick up a kit for a friend in Canada, and they are having their ½ off all needlework kits sale this week. I glanced through their kits, and only saw one on my Wish List (Black and White Cat by John Stubbs), so I went ahead and got it.

That was it - just the one kit for me. No extra floss, no other kits, no other leaflets, no fabric. And THAT was amazing. I actually had a little restraint. I'm getting better about not having to buy more stuff "just because it's on sale." I'm not cured yet, but it's a start!

Monday, November 24, 2003

2-day work-week

Hooray for holidays! I just wish we had more paid ones off. And since we're having the holiday dinner at our house on Thursday, I'm taking Wednesday off to finish preparing the house. It's a good thing that Mom insisted I take both the 5th and 6th matching chairs instead of just the 5th when I asked to borrow it/them - last night I found out that a 6th person is joining us for dinner.

I started and finished a project over the weekend - a really quick Mill Hill ornament. We've decided we won't be putting the tree up this year, but I made an ornament anyway.

Mill Hill Icy Snowflake Ornament 2003

I worked on the Christmas Mystery last night and got a little into Part 3. We finished watching the season 7 episodes of Stargate SG-1 that we have on tape (all but the summer half finale/cliffhanger). I've really missed that show. Now I want to go back and start watching them from the beginning again. I've already pre-ordered Season 5 on DVD (January). And there's Babylon 5 to watch (season 4 is pre-ordered also), and Farscape (the first of the Season 4's dvds should be about ready to be shipped). Speaking of which, I've heard the rumor that they are actually planning to come back and do about 6 episodes to wrap up the storyline (which ended so abruptly in Season 4 when they cancelled it!). I REALLY hope this is true. Please, please, please!!!

And brrrrrrr! What happened to autumn? Yesterday we had the windows and doors open - the sun was shining, wind was blowing, it was really nice. This morning I wake up and have to turn the heat on, and while I'm getting ready for work, C tells me IT'S SNOWING outside! In November!!!

Friday, November 21, 2003

Okay, I take it back

I just realized tonight that I can put CDs in the little places where I thought I could only put audio cassette tapes - so it's not wasted space at all, because I ALSO just realized tonight that the little enclosed cabinet I've been keeping all of my CDs in - is more of a perfect shelf height for DVDs. Go figure. So maybe I won't have to buy the new shelving unit after all.

Friday AND Payday!

I'm in a really good mood today, just because it's Friday, and payday! I played my car radio very loud this morning on the way to work, singing very robustly (yes, I'm one of those people you see on the road).

While I cleaned up the dishes last night, C took down the cat tree. We're going to hang on to it for a bit in the closet, and if we can use it again, we'll probably get it out again and put it up in another room - it was one of Smokey's favorite toys/perches before his blindness, which is probably why the girls didn't use it much. They might use it if it's been put away for a while and then put up somewhere else.

I've got to bake a cake tonight - my contribution to my family's pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. I've been slowly decluttering my kitchen (haven't gotten very far, but I'm working on it), and it's starting to show - I'm able to see countertops, which should make it easier and more pleasant to actually get in there and DO something. It's amazing the difference, even when everything is clean, a clear vs. cluttered countertop can make. If it's cluttered, then I know I'm going to have to move things around to cook just about anything - and that makes it hard to get motivated. But seeing some space last night, I started getting excited about making the cake, and baking some muffins for a brunch at work next Tuesday morning. I've even bought a couple of things I know I'm going to need if I'm going to make cookies closer to Christmas.

If I could find a cooking class - it wouldn't have to be anything fancy, just something to show me different techniques - that met once a week, I think I'd like to take one. Sure, I know some of the basics. But there are all sorts of things I don't know. And spices I don't know. I have a few "staple" spices in my cabinet, but only about 5 or 6, and I don't use them very often except for when cooking things like spaghetti sauce, garlic mashed potatoes - really easy stuff. I'd love to learn how to make different sauces and different cooking techniques (I've got baking and broiling down okay, as well as browning ground meat - I'm sure there are others ).

A friend told me I'm "nesting" or something because of all this decluttering and reorganizing I've got going on. I prefer to see it as simplifying, and my new motivating mantra is "effective utilization of space". Yes, I'm planning to get rid of one storage case I've been using for DVDs and replace it with another, which may seem like a waste of money. However, the original case has shelves which are not adjustable, a lot of which only fit audio cassette tapes. I don't have many of those, and I can't fit anything else in there. I only use the case for my DVDs and VCR tapes (and that part is full now), and so I am going to purchase a new shelving unit with adjustable shelves. Even though it's probably about the same dimensions, it will have more usable space. Then again, maybe I'm just weird.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

A Happy Dance for me!

Pansies, finished November 19, 2003

I started the little Pansies kit this month, and have finished it! It took a little longer than I originally thought it would because of all the decluttering and cleaning I'm doing in the house, but I'm pleased by how it turned out and that it's done!

I had a list of things to do yesterday, and I'm proud to say I accomplished all but one of them - I moved the "deep clean the bathrooms" to this weekend, because it would have been hard to do with all the guys over for game night. I did manage to get the leaf into the table. Noel helped me pull the table apart and sprayed some lubricant in the rails for me (okay, I haven't had it apart since I bought it in a yard sale about 6 years ago...). The good news is it works. The bad news is that I picked up the wrong shape of tablecloth at Target (oblong, oval - sounds very similar to me), so I get to go exchange that tonight after work.

I haven't gotten to bed before 11 any night this week, and it's beginning to show. I had planned on going to bed a little earlier last night, but this medicine that I'm taking for a sinus/tonsil infection  has some weird requirements, so I end up going to bed late, and I'm blaming it. I can't take it with a meal or milk, so I have to wait about an hour and a half after I finish eating - which has been late in itself. And then I can't lay down for 30 minutes after I take it. But the good news is I don't have any sinus/tonsil swelling now.

And because I had to stay up 30 minutes after the guys left for the evening, we decided to watch last night's episode of The West Wing. Hope may not be lost after all. It was actually a pretty good episode, almost as if the first part of this season never happened. Ever since the writer from ER took over, it has been a dismal season: all the bickering and back-stabbing that has been going on, and weird character changes, just to name a couple of things! I've read the episode summaries over at Television Without Pity and laughed and cried that we are so much in agreement. If you watch Enterprise, you should read some of those summaries too - they are hilarious and pretty much spot on! Speaking of which, I need to go read about last week's episode...

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

A bit of Panic Mode

C called me yesterday to tell me that we're having Thanksgiving dinner with his family at our house this year. At least there's a week's heads-up. I told him there was no way, no how, that we were going to cook our first-ever turkey as an experiment on his relatives. We'll be having baked ham, thank you very much. Of course, when he first told me, I went into a tailspin - the house is a MESS!!! Yes, I've been decluttering, but I haven't really made it into the dining room and kitchen yet. Fortunately, Mom's gonna let me borrow the other chairs that match my 4 for the dining room table (there will be 5 of us), and NO we can NOT just all eat in the living room in front of the tv (not that we'd even have room for that)!

C asked me why I thought it was dirty today and not yesterday. I said that is was dirty yesterday, I just don't like to point it out. So I've bought some more rubber gloves (the old cleaning ones had gotten worn out), and I'll be spending the rest of this week and next trying to get my house in shape. It's something that I've needed to do anyway, so I'm trying to take it in a positive manner. I just hope I can get it all done before THE day. And I hope that I can get the leaf in the dining room table - I don't think I've ever attempted to put it in, but it's a have-to now...

In stitching notes, I worked on the pansies last night (while we watched the first two eps of Season 7 of Stargate, yay!), and am close to finishing them. I'll probably work on them if we sit down to watch tv again this week. I'd like to go ahead and get them finished up. I'm really in more of a quilting mood at the moment. I'd also like to get back and do a little on Celestial Dragon, and I have the Christmas Mystery part 3 to start. With everything else going on, who has time for work?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Good morning, campers!

I really miss Col. O'Neill (Stargate SG-1) - haven't seen any episodes for this season (7) yet, because we tape them. And because we tape them, and because I've got a memory the size of a pea lately I have missed several episodes, which we've been trying to get as they rerun them so that we can watch them in order.

I finished going through my magazines last night - at least the cross stitch ones. I have not yet even thought about tackling the quilting ones. Here is a pic of them before

Now that they are decluttered they only take up the first shelf (and don't fully fill the last magazine holder).

I have updated pics of my newest tiny kit - Pansies. I should have it finished in another couple of days, I think. I haven't started Part 3 of the Christmas Mystery yet, but I've got 2 weeks before Part 4 comes out, so I should have plenty of time.

Oh, and 1 more pair of pants with pleats has gone into the Goodwill pile, as has a sweater that is really too short - there is just such a fine line between "too short" and "too long" when it comes to sweaters, at least on my body, LOL!!!

Monday, November 17, 2003

Whoops - time flies!

Are we having fun yet? And the weekend just flew by.

Some things I accomplished this weekend:
  • I completely cleared my master bedroom closet of EVERYTHING but clothes and shoes. The difference is AMAZING. I even moved all of my clothes into the closet from my chest of drawers, so now I can see everything at a glance. Left in the chest of drawers are my jammies, and now bed sheets and bathroom towels.
  • I did some more decluttering in my computer/guest room. And I finally put all my photographs that hadn't been filed (2+ years' worth) into albums. I had bought the albums probably 6 months ago, but just hadn't made the time to do it.
  • I finished Christmas Mystery, Part 2. Just in time for Part 3...
  • I decluttered under all of my sinks - kitchen and 2 bathrooms. I found out that I am a cleaning products collector. Hilarious when you consider how not clean my house is. I consolidated like products, and got rid of some that were old or had only a tiny bit in the bottom of the bottle. Now I just have to remember to USE them...
  • I started decluttering my cross stitch magazines . Okay, so I have over 200 of these things! And how many projects am I going to want to stitch out of them even if I do live to be 400? I decided to go through them with a bit of honesty. If there is truly nothing in the magazine that I like or think there's the remote possibility that I'm going to stitch one day, it's getting put into the sell/trade/toss pile (been watching Clean Sweep on TLC and I've become addicted to that show!). I've gotten through June 2001 of Just Cross Stitch, going in alphabetical order. I should have a list up on my cross stitch page later today of what I'm willing to part with.
I also started a new tiny project - Pansies (one that I got at the Autumn 2003 Market Night), and am about halfway through with it. Big news about it - I'm not timing myself. In fact, I've made the decision that I'm no longer going to time myself on anything. It's too much work, and it makes it seem too much like work. I'll still take progress pics/scans, because they are so motivational. But I'm not going to keep time anymore. I'll still keep track of start/finish dates, and I'll still keep a sheet that tells me the last date I worked on a project, but no more timing. It's all about enjoying the hobby, the process, and not putting pressure on myself to do, do, do, more, more, more.

I've been reading a book called The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living by Janet Luhrs. It is helping me to adjust my thinking and lifestyle to slow down and enjoy life, rather than doing so much multitasking that nothing gets done well, and just skimming the surface. It's, along with several other books and web sites, helping me take a step back and re-evaluate what is really important, and it's helping me to realize that "down-time" when nothing gets done (including cross stitch!) can be and IS a good thing - to help me recharge, refocus. I'm starting to take more advantage of forced down-times, such as standing in lines, sitting in traffic, having to walk to the car instead of ride the shuttle after work. This is, of course, a work in progress, so I'm certain that as with everthing else, it will take a while to adjust, but I believe I will be better off, and even healthier, in the long run.

Wow, did that run on or what? I'll try to get a scan up tomorrow of my progress on the Christmas Mystery and the Pansies.