Sunday, December 18, 2016

Almost Christmas

Wow, I did not realize how long it had been since I posted. After my last post I had declared that I was going to spend the month of December working on my Friendly Felines. After finishing my last small...

that is what I have been doing. But the holiday preparation has really been taking it's toll on me. I am happy to say that I am much closer to being ready for the holiday than I've been in previous years. All the shopping is done, just have to wrap. But the time available for stitching has been lacking and I have not gotten much done.

Additionally, my year is ending the way it began. We had to put our cat to sleep last weekend. We adopted her 4 years ago. She had been abused and was about 8 years old. She started failing at the beginning of this year, and last weekend she just really took a turn for the worst. We gave her the best home we could and as much love as possible for the 4 years we had her. She went from a scared and timid cat, to a relaxed animal who knew she was safe in her human's home. So although I am very sad she is gone, I feel we gave her the best years of her life.

Not everything keeping me from stitching has been sad or unfun. We went to a friend's 50th birthday party.

Amature MMA Fighting.

Then to my cousin's 40th birthday party.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Quiet Thanksgiving Week

Going back to work after a week off is always a challenge. Being my second week out of the office in one month made it especially challenging. And with the day off for Thanksgiving, it was a very busy week indeed! I found myself just too exhausted at the end of the day to do much of anything.

I have to admit, with the holidays, I'm also missing my mother a lot and I know that is adding to my sense of not wanting to do anything. A little bit depressed.

So yesterday we decided to go for a walk on Fire Island to hopefully see the deer, something that always cheers me up. We always see a few deer, but this time we really lucked out and found a group feeding. They have set up feeding bins impregnated with tick repellant in an attempt to lower the concentration of ticks on the deer and limit the spread of lyme disease.

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take the 1 mile walk to the lighthouse.

In the past, every time we took the drive, and then the walk, we said we would go to the top the 'next' time. This time, we finally did it. In addition to the beautiful views...

... the climb to the top made me feel great. I've lost 70 pounds over the last year, and the improvement to my health and stamina is incredible. I got to the top without needing to stop along the way to catch my breath. In fact, when we got to the top, my husband was the one out of breath!

To end the day we watched a movie and I forced myself to finish off the "B" cupcake.

That motivated me to immediately start a new small flower motif. You can start to make out the shape of the vase...

I am working to continue to build my collection of smalls to use for cards. I feel by the end of next year I will probably have enough different smalls that in 2018 I can give only handmade cards for almost every occasion.

I'm starting to make goals for my 2017 stitching and the above is one of my goals. I will share another next week.

Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


What a great staycation! We made a plan and stuck to it! First day off we went to JoAnn's to get fabric for my 12 Days of Christmas piece. Also did some shopping in Target since they were both in the same basic location.

Sunday we straightened up the kitchen and dining room.

Monday was tons of fun. We had driven to the eastern most point on the south fork of Long Island, but never the north fork, so off we went! It was a beautiful day so the drive was wonderful, we saw deer and lovely scenery. Stopped in a winery for a tasting and a glass of wine on the patio. So relaxing and pleasant. Then off to a moonshine distillery for a tasting. Finally, an amazing dinner in a lovely, quaint restaurant/bed and breakfast -- delicious. We were totally unrushed, and for the first time I can remember, we really took our time eating... It was wonderful!

Tuesday we decided to start the Christmas decorating. Yes... I feel strongly that the Christmas season should not begin until Thanksgiving is over... but looking at the hubby's work schedule, if we didn't do this now, it would not happen until the week before Christmas... and that is too late. So we bought the lights and strung them up outside, and just won't turn them on till after Thanksgiving. Brought the indoor decorations down from the attic. And moved the furniture for the set-up of the tree once they start selling them, most likely the day after Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, the hubby wanted a men's only day. Which gave me a day to work on the 12 Days pillow. First I practiced sewing. Then I unthreaded the sewing maching... watched the YouTube videos again...wound a new bobbin with red thread... threaded the machine with red thread... and made the pillow.

I hope you didn't look too closely, cause it is far from perfect. But in the scheme of things (being the first piece I have ever finished as a pillow) I think it came out pretty well. It is a Christmas present for the hubby's sister and brother in law. Good thing is they will never look closely. They are the type of people who will appreciate a hand made gift no matter how bad it looks. So, I am pretty sure they will appreciate it for all the love that was put in.

Thursday we did some more shopping, and had a fire in the house (in the fireplace). Friday was mostly relaxation. And Saturday we went for a lovely walk around a nearby lake. Then to a brewery for a tasting, and the hubby took me to do a little clothing shopping. I've recently discovered LuLaRoe. I feel like I've joined a cult. But I need new clothes after my weight loss, so, I guess it's not the worst thing in the world.

As you might guess, other than the pillow making day, I haven't had that much time for crafts, but I did finish the bunny for the card.

And got a good start on my next small birthday card cupcake.

Back to work tomorrow, so I am currently in mourning, but we have a vacation to Florida including a few days at Disney scheduled for March, so I have something to look forward to!

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Week Off

Last week I seem to have taken a week off from stitching. It was not the plan, but each day of the week, I got into the train, or sat in front of the TV, and had no interest in stitching. I decided not to force it. When I was ready to stitch again, I would stitch.

Saturday, started our week off from work, and ended my week off from stitching. As soon as I sat down in front of the TV, I was ready to work on my new small project. It's a little card kit that came as a freebie with my latest edition of The World of Cross Stitch.

For two days of stitching I've made some pretty good progress. I'm pleased. And I am sure I will get a lot more stitching done this week when we are home relaxing. We have a bunch of small chores scheduled to get done. The plan is to spend a few hours a day on something for the house (like shopping, straightening out the kitchen and dining room, winterizing the backyard) and then spending the rest of the day relaxing and doing things we enjoy.

Hopefully, I will be able to post a few pictures next week of finished smalls.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Getting Too Old to Party Like I Used To!

Didn't have a chance to blog last week as I was at our national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. If you know me you know I hate to fly, especially alone, but the flights were great! Going down there was absolutely no turbulence, so between take-off and landing I was able to relax. Even got some stitching done on the way down! On the way back, I was too exhausted.

I remember my first convention 15 years ago... I was out till midnight every night, and up for the 8am meetings the next morning. This year I knew those days were past. One night my girlfriend and I were at a party that was supposed to run from 5:30-8:30. We agreed we would leave at 7 or 7:30 the latest. But the music was so wonderful, we agreed to stay to the end, leading my girlfriend to say, "Oh let's live dangerously and stay till 8:30!"

The last night, the party was so good, I stayed till 11:30 (party ended at 2:00am). I could not move the next day! My whole body felt like I had been through a war! I don't know how I used to do that every night in years gone by. Thank goodness I took Friday off to recover!

So, as you might imagine, I did not get much stitching done this past week, but I have been making some nice progress on my Friendly Felines! Going to work on some smalls for cards for a week or two and then I'll come back to this one.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mom's Birthday

I'm having a pretty hard weekend. Tomorrow my mom would have been 84. This is her first birthday not on earth, and I feel so alone and lost. I still miss her so much. We took the day off tomorrow so we can go to the cemetery. The last few years, on my mom's birthday, we took her to the casino. She really enjoyed it, and I'm so glad we did it so I have those memories. I'm thinking of stopping there after the cemetery, just to play a machine or two in her memory.

Other than that, I've been stitching on my Friendly Felines pretty steadily on the train home from work, and while watching TV at night when there is time. I'm pleased with my progress. 

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

International Hermit & Stitch Weekend

This was the perfect weekend for me to join the International Hermit & Stitch Weekend. My DH had to work on Saturday, so he went to sleep a little early Friday night. I stayed up and stitched. Then Saturday I did some shopping, some cleaning, some cooking, and then hermitted myself away and stitched. Sunday, DH wanted to hang for a few hours with one of his friends, which was fine with me, cause I got to do some more IHSW time.

Friday morning this area of the piece was completely empty. This is the progress I made this weekend.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

What a Difference the Fabric Makes

When I decided to make the Faces of Joan Elliott SAL, I had only worked on 14 ct Aida. At the time, I had very little faith in my abilities, and never thought I could work over 2, so I bought a piece of  pink and purple 14 ct Aida from Silkweaver Fabrics. At some point I decided to throw caution to the wind and try stitching over 2 on 28 ct fabric, and I totally fell in love.

I think this is part of the reason I am not enjoying the SAL as much as I should be. It's a beautiful design, but I enjoy stitching over 2 much more. Plus, I realize now, the Aida is SO STIFF! I spent almost all September and about half of August working on the Faces of Joan Elliott SAL. When I picked up my Friendly Felines it was like I had died and gone to heaven. The stitching seemed so much smoother and the fabric so soft and pliable.

I did get a little more done on the Faces. I did all the backstitching on the upper left fairy and most of the metallic stitching and backstitching on the dragon.

But mostly I worked on my Felines. Below you can see how far I got by the end of Thursday evening -- before the International Hermit & Stitch Weekend. I've decided I'm going to keep working on this for as long as I continue to enjoy it. And definitely all weekend. After I took this picture, I moved my frame back to the top row of cats.

If I feel like working on the Faces one evening -- great. If not, that is okay too. Right now I feel at piece with my stitching. Please check back after Monday to see how far I got over the IHSW.

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Still in Small Making Mode

I don't have much to report this week, but I am happy to report that I have completed another small piece that I will ultimately turn into some sort of greeting card. I think it will be nice for someone with a birthday in the spring.

I have decided I am going to work on my Friendly Felines while traveling to and from work this coming week. I haven't worked on it since our cruise in April. This is as far as I had gotten, let's see what I can get done by the end of the week.

If I have time to stitch in the evening and on the weekend, I am going back to my Faces of Joan Elliott SAL. I just want to get it done, but I am not having fun working on it anymore. My goal is to get all the backstitching, and all metallic thread stitching done by the end of October. But, honestly, I will be happy with any progress at all!

Thanks for your visit!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

TUSAL and Unsuccessful Solo September

I am proud to announce that I actually took this picture of my ORTs on the New Moon! This is for Daffycat's TUSAL. I have been getting a good amount of stitching done this month, so my little boot is full, full, full! I decided to empty it after taking this picture so we will see how far I get filling it up again by the next new moon. My baggie has been added to as well, but it doesn't show as much. Not yet... it will. I have confidence! Ha!

Unfortunately, I do not have much confidence that I will finish my Faces of Joan Elliott SAL before the end of the year. :-( My original goal was to have this done and finished as a pillow for my cousin's November 4th birthday. Well, that is clearly not going to happen. I worked on this project for the first 25 days of the month as my Solo September project. I'm happy that the basic cross-stitch is done. But once I took it out of the Q snaps to move and start the backstitching... well, I just couldn't convince myself to finish off the month with it.

Instead I decided to make a little cupcake letter for a future birthday card. I think these designs are so cute, and making this small project just made me happy. That is what my stitching is supposed to do -- make me happy. Hopefully, the card I make with this will also make someone else happy. Planning to send it to my sister-in-law.

I thought about going back to the Faces...
another small for a card was in order. Got this adorable card kit with my subscription to World of Cross Stitch and decided I would make this into a birthday card for my cousin so I wouldn't feel so bad about not finishing the Faces. Maybe she will get the pillow for Christmas... more likely Valentine's Day. Oh well, I'm not going to beat myself up too badly over this. I use my cross stitch as a sedative, and it doesn't work as well if I'm not fully enjoying the project.

Thanks for visiting. Please post a comment if you'd like. I love your feedback!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Moving and Grooving through my Solo September

Once again a positive mixed with a negative. The negative is that my hubby had to spend the whole day helping a friend move. It was the right thing to do, but the weather was spectacular, and we weren't able to go anywhere or do anything fun. The positive is that I had a lot of time to stitch yesterday (and I did spend most of the day in the backyard stitching while watching the birds) so I've really been moving and grooving through my Solo September project.

I decided I would go through this face one color at a time, and I even tried to take a picture as each color was finished. Making it a little more fun to see the design develop.

As you can see, I haven't been totally successful getting a picture after each color...

...but here is a sampling of the progress I've been making this week.

I'm feeling good that I will have this face finished, or at least really close to being finished by this time next week.

With this getting somewhat close to being done, I've started thinking about the next project I'm going to begin working on. As much as I would like to go back to my Friendly Felines, I really think I need to start the wedding announcement for my friend who is planning a wedding for next summer. I gave him this card (I did add a little silver ribbon bow after taking this picture) and he started crying because I took the time to make him a card. Since I'm such a slow stitcher, if I don't start working on this now, it will not be ready in time. And based on his reaction to this silly little card, I think he will appreciate the wedding announcement.

Well, thank you so much for visiting. Please leave a comment or two. Love to read them!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 Years

Hard to believe the 9/11 attack was 15 years ago. It still feels so fresh and raw. This is always a hard day for my husband, Michael. He was at the WTC when the planes hit the towers, and saw things no one should ever have to see. Every year we go to one of the memorials, and just spend some quiet time. It helps in the healing, but I'm not sure he will ever fully heal.

We started at Eisenhower Park, on Long Island, NY. Not good for healing. In spite of there being a memorial there, with two pieces of steel from the WTC, there was no sign of any type of ceremony being conducted. Not even a plastic wreath. Michael was very upset.

So we went to Point Lookout, where they always have a ceremony, and they did not disappoint. Michael felt better, especially when we saw some people there whom we saw at Eisenhower. They too were upset about the lack of a sign of remembrance at Eisenhower. We spoke for a few minutes and it felt better that there are still people who care and will travel for an opportunity to show their continued love and support for those lost, and who lost loved ones.

A not so pleasant day to end the weekend with, but a pleasant weekend. Michael and I both took Friday off. It was very hot, so we did a bunch of shopping, and then spent the day watching TV (and stitching).

Yesterday we decided to go for a walk in spite of the incredible heat. It was in the 90s with high humidity, but we found a park with shady trails and did a 3.7 mile hike. From the hike we went to a local brewery, Moustache Brewing Co., for a tasty flight, and then to a local restaurant, Senior Taco, for a tasty dinner. Finally, back home for TV and more stitching.

Took this picture this morning, but now, I am happy to report I have finished this square. This means I am only one square away from being done with the cross-stitching part of this project. Then I just need to wash, do the cross-stitching with the metallic thread, do all the back-stitching, and add the beads. OMG, when I list it out like that, I feel like I will NEVER finish!

Thank you for visiting! I love to read your comments!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Solo September and TUSAL

I am excited to take part in Justine's Solo September SAL. I have been working on the Faces of Joan Elliott SAL for almost a year, and while I think it is very pretty, I am not enjoying it right now. In fact, I know if I stop working on it I may never finish it. Fairies are not my thing. I decided to make it for my cousin, so I was enjoying it for a while, but now that I am so upset with her, I am finding it less and less fun. So, if I commit to working on this project as my Solo September piece, I think I have a good chance of finishing it and not throwing it away.

I don't think I have ever worked on any project for a whole month so even though I am not loving this project, I am excited to see how far I get. This is where I am today. Just this square and two more to go. Then the all the backstitching and all the beading.

I thought I would finish this square today, but happily that is not the case. Happily? Well, I thought we would be trapped in our house because of Tropical Storm Hermine, but the weather was actually beautiful today. I hope this means that fewer people will suffer flooding, etc. For us, it meant we were able to enjoy a nice walk in the park. About to start watching a movie, so I still might get the x-stitching done before bed.

And here are my two ORTs for Daffycat's TUSAL.

The glass boot is what I use when I'm sitting in the living room watching TV. The little plastic bag is what I use everywhere else; on the train, in the backyard, during lunch at work, in the car. I hope one day it will be totally full. Wouldn't that be something?

Thank you for your visit. Please leave a comment. I love to read them.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

And the Heartache Continues

I thought I was starting to come to terms with my mom's passing. I know I will never get over it. I miss her constantly. But this week something happened that made it worse. We found out that my cousin needs surgery to correct a cerebrospinal fluid leak. The surgery sounds rather non-invasive and from what I can tell the worst possible complication is that it doesn't actually fix the leak and a different approach will be needed. 

Now female in my family has anxiety issues. Two of us treat our issues. We seek therapy and take mild sedatives as needed. My mother never wanted to take a sedative, but I thought I had convinced her it was in her best interest not to let little things like a washing machine not working properly get her to a point that her hands were shaking and she couldn't move the laundry from the broken machine to the working machine. I had begged and pleaded with her to take one pill each morning so when something upset her it didn't result in a full blown panic attack. She told me she would do it because she loved me. Each time she would call and seem a little flustered I would ask, "did you take your pill?" She swore she did. Regularly. 

So my cousin who needs the surgery was given a slightly stronger sedative because her anxiety is not being well controlled. She won't take it and her husband asked me to talk to her. So I did. I only want what is best, and I don't feel allowing your heart to race and your blood pressure to rise against the direction of the doctor is a good idea. Especially while you are preparing for surgery. So my cousin tells me, "Well, you know your mother never took her pill. She flushed them down the drain."

This has upset me on multiple levels. 

One - my cousin should have told me while my mother was alive. My mother was complaining about being tired, which her doctor and I partially attributed to the sedative. If we knew she wasn't taking it... So the thought keeps running through my mind, would she still be alive?

Two - I guess she didn't really love me. She said she would take it because she loved me, but she didn't take it. And she found it easy to lie to my face every day about it. And I can't ever get closure to this cause she is gone. 

Three - She told my cousin the truth. So I feel like she loved my cousin and trusted her more than me.

Four - Why would my cousin tell me this, now? You kept the secret while my mother was alive. Telling me might have kept her alive longer. But now you tell me why? So I know that she loved you more than me?

I'm sorry to have used this entry as a therapy session, But if anyone has any words that you think might help, please share. If anything, writing this down makes me realize I definitely need to go back to my therapist. And maybe get back on my anti-depressants. I guess the reason I wrote this is that I am working on The Faces of Joan Elliott SAL. I've been working on this for about a year as a gift for my cousin! Part of me wants to just throw it away. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Time Still Moving Too Fast for Me

Still not sure where the time is going! One thing I do know is I have lost some time this week with the Olympics. I guess I am still a child of the cold war, and the Olympics mean everything to me. I've been thinking a lot about watching them with my parents back in the '70s rooting for the USA and rooting against the USSR. It's actually been bringing back a lot of great memories of time spent with my father. He was the one who gave me my love of sports, and we spent the most time together either reading, talking about books, or watching sports.

When I have not been sitting glued to the TV I've been getting in a little work in on my Faces of Joan Elliott SAL. I really need to get this done. Was hoping to get this finished and made into a pillow for my cousin's birthday in November.I think if I stick with it for a few weeks in a row I might actually pull it off. If not, hopefully it will be ready for Christmas... maybe Valentine's Day.

I've also used another of my aperture cards for a birthday card for my 12-year old cousin. Thanks to Annie and Jo for the card making suggestions! I will definitely be looking at the sites suggested for future cards. This one is pretty basic and simple, but since my family knows my lack of creativity, I think they will be very impressed (ha, ha).

We were not scheduled to attend her birthday party, so I didn't have a card. We were supposed to go away for the weekend, but my husband threw his back out earlier this week. He wanted to go away anyway, but our plans were to go hiking, which would have been impossible. I'm actually glad we didn't go away since the heat and humidity has been so high this weekend, even if he was fine we would have been sitting in the hotel room. No way I could spend time outside in this weather. So we saved some money and went to a local museum instead... And watched the Olympics!

Well, thank you for visiting. Please leave a comment. Love reading them!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Where is the time going?

Wow, time has just been flying by. I feel like I blinked on July 1st and its almost August. Apparently, I totally missed last week :-( What the heck!

Anyway, I can happily report that I have finished my 12 Days of Christmas.

I am really happy with how it came out. And I'm looking forward to the temperatures going down, and my being able to start practicing with the sewing machine. Right as I finished, our temperatures (and humidity) skyrocketed. The sewing machine is in a non-airconditioned room, so it will have to cool off before I can start on that in earnest.

I finished mid-week and I decided to make a birthday card.

I really enjoyed making the Happy New Home card I made a few weeks ago, and now I am just obsessed with making cards! So, I decided to spend a week working on two more.

Also spent a bunch of time trying to find a good place to get aperture cards for finishing the cards off. So far I have only found Craft Creations with a nice selection. Would love someplace in the US, just to save on shipping, but it seems the US does not do crafts. Sad... Looked around Michael's yesterday considering the option of actually making the cards out of card stock... But I'm not sure I'm crafty, nor creative, enough for that. But hey, last year at this time I never would have been planning on sewing a pillow.

If you have any ideas for card making, or good online tutorials, please pass them along.

Thanks for visiting, and please consider leaving a comment or two. Love to read them all.