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Thursday, October 28, 2004

In Honor of Casey

This blog is going silent for a couple of days in honor of my friend's cat Casey, who passed away in the middle of the night.

My thoughts are with you Phyllis and Bryan and Casey's little brother Nic.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Closer... closer...

Spice's decal for passing inspection

Today, I'll reinstate some of Spice's insurance (at this point, collision is no longer worth the premiums), and tomorrow I should be able to get her vehicle emissions inspected and apply for Title and Registration!

Of course, there's this small part of me scared to death someone's going to hit me again, but I'm determined to get over that. I've been overly cautious since the wreck, and I'm sure I'll be even more overly cautious when I drive her for the first time. But, as C says, cautious is good.

I worked on Lucien a bit more last night. I was only able to get in about an hour of stitching though, after the workout, cooking dinner, and cleaning up the kitchen after frying tuna patties.

Tonight will be busy, but I still hope to get a few stitches into Lucien or Scott's quilt. There's just so much I need / want to do, and so little time some days!

Monday, October 25, 2004

A little more progress


I have been bewitched by this wizard! :) All I want to do right now is work on Lucien.

Oh, and I finally got a semi-decent photo of Dragon Heart


Waiting, waiting, waiting... my dad delivered my baby Spice to me Sunday afternoon, and she looks so sparkling new. Now I just have to wait for the paperwork to arrive from the state before I can get her re-registered and finally get in and drive her!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Found an old picture

Well, it's not THAT old, but it was probably taken about 14 years ago - my friend Allison and I, sitting on the steps at my parents' house (the first one my dad built himself). Wow - I had some long hair back then!

Friday, October 22, 2004

A double-dose of good stuff

Because it's Friday and payday! :)

Yesterday was just busy. Actually, this whole week has been busy, both at work and afterwards. It's partly because I was off Monday with the whole Charlotte-vacation-weekend thing, but it's also just because there are several things that need to be done which have come up at the same time.

I got a chance to work on Lucien again last night while we watched Lost and The West Wing, and I ran out of one of my bead colors. I knew I was going to, but hoped that it wouldn't happen so quickly. So I'll have to run by the LNS to pick up another package. I'm beading as I go along on Lucien now, and working my way from top to bottom, as I did with In the Arms of an Angel. Top down seems to be working better for me than center out now (both for seeing progress and for keeping the frogs away, rippit, rippit).

I'm just so glad it's almost the weekend! Sure, it'll be a busy weekend, but at least I'll get to sleep a little later than during the week. :D

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Paperwork, part deux

Well, I've managed to now get all of the paperwork (forms, photos, receipts, and notarized forms and affidavits) filed with the State for Step 2 (processing an application for motor vehicle identification certification). They said I should look to receive the paperwork for Step 3 in the mail in a couple of weeks. Sigh, I was hoping it would be more like a week (as it was with Step 1). Waiting, waiting, waiting...

Here's an updated scan of Lucien. I've completely finished the top portion of the design now. My working copies, 6 pages' worth, are down to 4 pages now. I have to admit - the top probably seems like it's going extremely fast because a lot of it is half-stitches. I don't really expect the bottom part of the design to go quite so quickly, but I still don't feel like putting him down yet. Maybe when I get a little into the meat of the cross stitches....


Oh, and if anyone is watching Jack and Bobby - I just found out they're switching nights on us! Yes, once again, they just can't leave a show alone (whether it's doing well or not). Generally when this happens, I don't know about it for a week or two and miss several shows, sometimes more. And if others don't get the word, this can pretty much doom the show. This means that we're now going to have 3 shows to tape on Wednesday nights (starting next week) - J&B, Lost, and The West Wing. Fortunately they won't all be on at the same time (just two at the same time - thank goodness for multiple VCRs). But it's still aggravating. Here's the story on TV Tome.

Speaking of television, we've watched the first half of the Farscape mini-series. It was just too late by the time we got all of our running around and dinner last night to watch the entire thing. I can't wait to watch the rest of it tonight. They've announced the DVD for January release, so I'll have to put that on my list.

I'm having a debate with myself. Alias is such a good show. We've now watched the entire first season and the first disc of the second season, and I am blown away by it. I already want to watch the first season again. A part of me wants to buy the series. Another part of me thinks that, okay, we already have enough shows on DVD, we don't NEED to invest in yet another series. The good thing is that we buy very few movies on DVD, but we do love our [especially sci-fi] television series. I've already lost the battle on The West Wing's DVDs. Maybe I'll just wait until we get through the 3rd season of Alias before making the decision.

Okay, I've rambled on long enough about tv!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Lookit!

Spice is all fixed up
And she's freshly washed, going to the detailers

A couple of different things today...

Good news on Spice - she's all fixed, and she's heading to the detailer's so that the rest of her looks as good as the newly repaired fender. Now it's up to me to get the paperwork to the State so that I can re-register her and get her insurance reinstated.

I got my framing back from Midtown Gallery and Framers, and it's all PERFECT!!! Anita is DA BOMB. I'll have to take some photos when I get home. Dragon Heart is jaw-droppingly beautiful, in my not-so-humble opinion. I just hope I can halfway capture it in a photo.

We watched 11 episodes of Alias yesterday - yes, we're obsessed. I managed to get all of the laundry done (and put away), and the DVDs are on their way back to Netflix while we await the next three. I recently read that they're dropping their rates to compete with Amazon, which is always good news for the pocketbook.

I didn't get much cross stitching done while we were in Charlotte, but I did get a little crocheting done - here are squares 28 (boxed shell stitch), 29 (alternate spike single crochet), and 30 (eyelet lace):




Yes, we froze our tushies off at both races Friday and Saturday night. I think Friday was worse because there weren't as many people around us to block the seriously bone-chilling wind. I was disappointed to get back and find out that Casey's (Atwood) been booted from his #14 Navy ride, but I hope he's able to take advantage of this time out to secure a good ride for 2005.

Tonight we'll get to watch Farscape (we taped it so we could watch it all at once) finally. I'm still stitching on Lucien - I've almost completely finished the top part of the design. He's completely got me entranced for now. I may try for another scan tomorrow.

Oh, and in case I haven't said it already, I'm SO glad to be home, not on the go-go-go like we were this weekend. I'm really looking forward to the next vacation, because I'm planning on really taking it easy then. Of course, I have no idea when that will be. We're already halfway through this month!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Quickly

I'm back from our trip to Charlotte, doing a bunch of laundry today, making sure to update the checkbook with all our check card debits, and about to sit and watch a little Alias while I stitch on Lucien - it was a VERY busy time this weekend, on the go, go, go, and I'm really glad to be able to sit down in front of the television with my hubby and kitties for a little bit today before heading back into work tomorrow.

Ta!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The more I stare at them...

the more I want to kit up and start either the Gardener's Cottage, Black Sheep Sampler, or October Sky Sampler (all by Elizabeth's Designs), or even the Sheep or Rabbit samplers. This is the bad thing about having 40 things already kitted and WAY more than that many leaflets just waiting in the binders.

I think the reason why I want to do one of them RIGHT NOW is because they're pretty different from just about everything else I have going. Plus, they're just too darn cute!

It's probably a good thing I'm going on a short trip as soon as I get home today, and I have absolutely no time to try to kit one up before leaving... I'll be taking Lucien and Trellis Sampler with me, as well as the 63 squares afghan...

Oh, and it's not just the Elizabeth's Designs charts - there's also Queene Besse's Chesse Boarde (I just read someone picked this up for a dollar at a white elephant sale - can't remember who, but you GO, girl! What a steal!), several Hillside Samplings, Just Nan's, not to mention Sweetheart Trees, and Lesa Steele's...

A progress pic on Lucien

I'm not through with working on Lucien yet, but I wanted to go ahead and make a new progress scan, just to show where I've been working so far. Here are before and after pictures:

September 20, 2003
October 13, 2004

Unfortunately, the scans just don't do him justice. The beads and metallics are SO sparkly! Maybe next time, I'll try a photo and see if that helps.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Grumble, grumble...

I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7. I must not start a new project until Rotation Round 7.

Think that'll work?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Bad girl

Major S.E.X. yesterday...
  • Elizabeth's Designs - Black Sheep Sampler
  • Elizabeth's Designs - Gardeners Cottage
  • Elizabeth's Designs - Sheep & Rabbit
  • Patricia Ann - Silver Frost
  • Something in Common - Coloration
  • Sweetheart Tree - North Star Sampler
  • Dragon Dreams - Of Woods and Wilderness

These are the charts I got at the new Hobby Lobby in Hermitage. I didn't see any kits I just couldn't live without (even with their 50% off sale), but I loved finding all of these charts on sale.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Weekend Wrap-up

Here is Fantasy Sampler's progress through this round of my rotation. I'm really pleased with how it's coming along, even though I've still got a very long way to go.

Saturday I went to Castle Heights' Homecoming. As expected, there were only 3 of us there from my graduating class. We had a nice lunch, then listened to some "last cadet" stories (nothing that exciting seemed to happen to us when we were there). For those who don't know - I went to a military academy in high school, which they closed my senior year. I can't believe we're closing in on our 20 year reunion.

Afterwards, I went over to visit my mom and dad and check on my car. Dad was putting the front bumper on it. He said he's hoping to have it detailed by a friend of his so that the rest of it will look as good as the freshly painted parts (which look excellent by the way - the paint matches very nicely - which is good because he said there were 6 different reds to choose from for that year's Sunfire!).

I spent some time yesterday separating Lucien's and Merrick's floss. I previously had them combined in one floss box that was overflowing (and with quite a few skeins just laid on top because they hadn't been wound on bobbins). Once I finally got that done, it was much easier to work on Lucien. I had forgotten how much I enjoy working on him and how brilliant the colors are. I haven't yet decided what my goal is for Lucien this rotation round... it may be until he stops screaming at me to work on him...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Exercise routines

Jenni asked what type of stuff I do when I go to the gym. When I started out in April, I did treadmill walking, for about 15-30 minutes at about 3.0-3.5 mph speed. I worked up to walking with a random incline, walking for about 30 minutes, at an average of 3.5-3.7 mph. For a couple of weeks, I also went and rode the bike for about 10 minutes. That was really hard, even at a low level and speed. About 50% of the time, I also did sit-ups (started out slow on these, only about 20-40 to start) and then I finished up by doing various leg lifts from a mat on the floor (both on my sides and on my back).

After a while, I only walked for 30 minutes at a higher level random incline, and we started adding some of the weight training machines - outer and inner thighs (and still doing the leg lifts) and some more stomach crunches.

I've altered my routine just recently, and at least one day a week I walk for 30 minutes as before, but other days I try to walk for 15 minutes at a higher random incline and speed of 3.7-3.8 mph (I still haven't gotten up to the 4.0 level yet). Then I generally go do somewhere around 100 crunches, and then I'll either work out upper or lower body on the machines - I try to do 3 sets of 12 reps on each machine at a weight that almost - but not quite - exhausts me. I generally try to work 5-7 machines, depending on how much time I have and how tired I'm feeling by that point.

Thanks for asking! If anyone wants to know more, I'll be happy to go more in depth, either here or through email.

I'm still flying high, and C was really pleased with the modeling I did this afternoon. ;)

I can't believe it...

This has absolutely nothing to do with stitching. But I'm so excited, I just can't help myself. Yesterday, after a well-intended comment, I realized just how baggy some of my pants and jeans have gotten - so I made the decision to at least go get a new pair of jeans at lunch. Got in and tried the next size down on, and they were a bit baggy too. So I went and pulled the next-next size down, and oh my gosh, they fit!!! I was screaming so loud in the car on the way back (fortunately no one else was with me). I never thought I'd be able to do that again. It just makes it all worth it.

Tonight I plan to work on Fantasy Sampler, but it's game night (and payday, so the budgeting / bill paying needs to be done again), so we'll see how much I actually get to do. I'm going to try to put out that Hot Spot in the dining room (otherwise known as the table at which we rarely eat) too. I'm SO glad tomorrow is Friday!

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Good car news - getting closer!

I saw my dad today, and he told me that he thought my car might be ready this weekend. Of course, with all the re-titling hoops that I have to jump through with the State, it will still be a little bit longer before I can legally drive it again, but hopefully not too much longer!

I worked on Fantasy Sampler last night while we watched the Season 1 - Disc 1 of Alias (yep, signed up again for Netflix - we go through phases where we want to watch a lot of dvd's rather than what's on television). I am currently working on the upper left portion of the border. I decided that my goal for this round would be to finish the upper left section, including the diagonal greenery in the inner border. For me personally, I've discovered that I should not put anything off until the very end. So that means I should work the border, the design, the backstitching, and any beadwork that can be done as I go. Obviously there will be exceptions, but for most large projects, this is what I should do to make sure I have plenty of variety when working on a project.

And now to catch up on the Question of the Week (for the past two weeks, oops!)
Would you or have you designed your own cross stitch design? If you have can we see it?
I've done a few - mostly what I call nameplates for my nieces and nephew. I also took a photograph of my parents' house and enlarged it on a photocopier, then used a light table to graph it out.

Allison
Christopher
Delaney
Victoria (I even designed the little eyelet butterflies myself... :D )
Mom & Dad's house

Oh yeah - and Casey's #7 Sirius Dodge

Thread organization: plastic bobbins, yes or no? How do you organize your threads?
Plastic bobbins, paper bobbins, plastic baggies, stitchbows, you name it - I've tried it, and unfortunately, have not been able to consolidate them. I really like stitchbows because I don't have to wind them. However, because it is much easier for me to pre-blend floss for designs that use a lot of blends (i.e., TW's, some Dimensions...), stitchbows don't work. For those I absolutely do use bobbins - and generally paper bobbins because I put the symbol on them. I see these as "throwaway" bobbins, and after I'm finished with them, I'll wind the leftover floss back on a "permanent" bobbin or stitchbow. Specialty threads generally go into the floss-away plastic bags (or something similar). I currently have two huge rings full of bags containing various overdyes, caron fibers, silks, et cetera. If someone comes up with a new idea, I'm bound to try it, LOL!!!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Finally an update on Nova

I know, I know - last time I completely forgot to take a new progress pic. But here is the new one:


It's really starting to look big in the progress photos I take. Nova is now 59% finished, through Row M (for ME!).

Tonight after the gym and dinner, I plan to get out Fantasy Sampler and try to determine which part I'm going to complete this rotation round. Love those blues, so it will probably have something to do with the outer / upper blue border.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Nice, low-key weekend

We watched a few movies, I finished Trick or Treat, I went to visit Anita (my framer) and dropped off Trick or Treat without scanning the finished piece (duh!), and I started working on Nova again. This time I'm working my way across row M, and I have about 5 ½ squares left to do.

I need to schedule in some time to take Castles by the Sea apart and re-stretch it. Anita also told me I also shouldn't have any problems repositioning the spacer.

I did manage to finish another square for my 63 Squares afghan. This is the block and offset shell stitch:

Friday, October 01, 2004

September and October goals

Trick or Treat: After starting out stitching a few of the mosaic stitches with the very light mocha brown (same as the innermost border), I decided I really didn't like the way those stitches looked in that color. I had been all prepared to frog out the innermost border and re-stitch it in the medium khaki green. But I decided that I would leave it as is, and basically just switch the two. It's hard to see in the scan, but the effect is really nice. I'm really glad I goofed! :) I almost have the vine tendrils done, then all that is left is the center motif, 4 specialty stitch bands, and the orange backstitched outermost border.

Closeup of border
Trick or treat so far...

So, how did I do in September?

September goals:
  •  Crochet 3 more squares on the 63 squares afghan I only crocheted two
  •  Work on Scott's Ships quilt YES!
  •  Start Yorkie Yep, and it's finished!!!
  •  Finish Dragon Heart Yes, and WOOHOO, this is one of my proudest achievements this year
  •  Make it through another round in the rotation Yep, yay!
  •  Crochet another doily well, I'm about 85% through with it, but not finished yet...
  •  NO new stash purchases! Okay, how about no new cross stitch stash purchases... we won't talk about the flannel quilting fabrics I bought at the Labor Day sale...
  •  However, I am allowed find some bellpull hardware and finish the Mini Mystery E finishing! Once again - this did NOT get done

And what would I like to achieve in October (with just 3 months left in 2004 now)?

October goals:
  •  Crochet 3 more squares on the 63 squares afghan
  •  Finish piecing all of the sashing strips and squares on Scott's Ships quilt
  •  Make it through another round in the rotation
  •  Finish the blue Sweet Dreams doily
  •  Stitch at least one Christmas ornament
  •  Frame Dragon Heart
  •  Frame Yorkie
  •  Still have only 28 WIPs at the end of the month

Other thoughts completely off the subject

I baked a cake last night. I actually spent quite a bit of time in my kitchen. I got rid of some old things (like the box of remaining graham crackers, remaining croutons, and some out of date things we just haven't used up), and moved some things around, so that I have more free counter space.

A confession - I tend to live in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome - flylady.net has some really great acronyms and ideas). It's not that I enjoy living this way, it's just that I tend to let things go until I get overwhelmed, and then it takes FOREVER to organize and get rid of the clutter. I know I've blogged about it before, and I've done a little decluttering in the past, but I've never gotten my house "perfect". Of course, I work a full-time job, and occasionally I find myself thinking that if I didn't have to work, I could do all of the cross stitch, crochet, and quilting that I would ever want AND keep a nice clean, organized, clutter-free house. Okay, it's not as bad as some houses I've seen, but it can be quite embarrassing.

As I'm sure I've said before - I love watching those shows like "Clean Sweep". Of course, the problem I'd have is that I don't have a crew to come in my house, completely dismantle two rooms and help me declutter, redecorate, and put whatever is left back in two days.

So I've joined Flylady.net. I really, really hate to admit it, because it sounded so dorky to me - "shine your sink". But I have to admit I think her ideas are sound, even if they are geared more toward stay-at-home people. The basic idea is BABY steps. I'm finding that phrase applies to more and more aspects of life changes and getting things accomplished.

Dave Ramsey - Financial Peace.
He outlines the BABY STEPS that help people get control over their debt and money. I thought I could do it "my way" and succeed just as easily. I finally decided to try it his way, with the BABY STEPS in order, and have found that they really do work. I'm still working through them, but I'm so much better off today than I was several years ago, and my attitude toward money and debt has changed dramatically as a result.

Exercise - weight loss
I don't know if there is any one person or site I could mention which advocates this, but I've heard doctors talk about slow, controlled weight loss, and I've learned that if I take BABY STEPS, doing a little exercise first (not trying to go all out at the beginning and becoming discouraged by the pain or possible injury) and gradually increasing the intensity, I can achieve more and actually stick to it better.

Flylady.net - declutter, get organized
She really promotes using BABY STEPS to getting your house (and life) under control. It most likely did not get this way overnight, and it won't change overnight either. It's all about starting small and building routines. I've been reading her site as well as some others off and on over the past couple of years, and tried haphazardly following some of it, but I never shined my sink until earlier this week. I've tended to let things pile up on the countertop (or in the sink) before doing something about them. So, I'm going to try to do the BABY STEPS as she proposes, and see how it goes. I'm going to try not to be overwhelmed (in her emails, which are so frequent that they can initially seem overwhelming, she always says, "You are not behind! I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are. O.K.?" I have to keep reminding myself of this and just continue to baby-step my way to a better organized life. I'll probably blog about it occasionally, just to hold myself accountable.

Okay, it's FRIDAY!!!! Happy Weekend Ahead, Y'all!