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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.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Countdown is on

It's almost time to go home, yay! I still haven't decided what I'm going to be working on tonight. Right at this very moment I'm in a "I want to declutter some more" mood. Hope it will last through the afternoon and evening - I'd really like to get rid of some more stuff.

I've been reading a book about clothing - In the Dressing Room with Brenda by Brenda Kinsel, and one of the suggestions she has is to empty your closet (in my case I have a walk-in closet in my bedroom) of EVERYTHING but clothing (and shoes, of course). This way, you have no distractions when you walk in, and can easily see all of your clothes, and pull together an outfit very quickly. I actually like this idea. Don't know why I didn't think of it before. I'm just used to having lots of other "stuff" shoved into the closet, have done it for years. I think I'm going to take some more photos of the house, for personal reference, just so I can really visualize what needs to be done. I still have a LONG way to go, I know. But the more I think about it, the more I know I need to declutter, to simplify, and that will bring me the peace in my surroundings that I seek. Once I declutter, I will be better able to organize those things that are left. And once that is done, it will be MUCH easier to keep things organized and clean. Baby steps. I've got to keep reminding myself that this is the same as Financial Peace - it didn't get this way overnight, and it won't get cleaned up overnight either.

Okay, I'm packing it up to head to my chiropractor, then home for decluttering and stitching (or quilting!).

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

My new quilt kidnapped me

As I was all ready to sit down and stitch on Christmas Mystery again tonight, I was kidnapped by the urge to work on my new quilt, Cottage Garden Bullseye. I finished cutting out all of the squares, and actually started piecing together 3 blocks.

I have to admit, the fact that the circles are cut freehand (fold into fourths and cut a quarter circle, then unfold) is a real struggle for me. Not that it's hard cutting them, but dealing with the fact that they are not perfect (and they are not supposed to be either) is a little unnerving. It's just different, I keep telling myself. And I'm trying my best to let go of my desire to make it perfect. I'm really excited to see it start to form.

So, Christmas Mystery will have to wait for another day - part 2 is over halfway done, and I may work on it tomorrow - if I'm not kidnapped again!!!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Christmas Mystery Part 2 just came!!!

So I know what I'll be stitching on tonite. Had planned on another Celestial Dragon night (worked on it a bit last night), if I hadn't gotten the new chart, but now I'll be working on CM2003 until part 2 is done. Now I'm hoping that C doesn't want to go grocery shopping until tomorrow... heh, heh, heh

Just a test

I've noticed other people put titles on their blog entries, but I'm using blogger, and I don't really see a place to put a title, so I'm just doing it with html coding. I'm a newbie, so I'm sure there's a lot to learn. wink, wink

Update: I figured it out... had to change some settings...

First Post

Well, it just seems the thing to do, because "everyone else is doing it." Here's my first blog entry!

I am still basking in the glow of finishing Amy Beth's Drunkard's Path quilt. I got to present it to her Saturday, after we had lunch, and I could tell she was thrilled to be able to take it home with her. Of course, never one to rest on my laurels, I started cutting out fabric for a new quilt (this one for me!). I haven't gotten everything cut out yet, but I'm about halfway through, and then I have to cut most of the square pieces I've already done into circles.

Why oh why do I have to work? Oh wait - there's that whole idea of having a roof over the head and food to eat... I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving - a 4 day weekend, some of which I know I'll be able to dedicate to stitching and quilting!