Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I am so glad to be done with this small yet frustrating design! It is "As Brother and Sister" by Marie Barber from JCS. I have only 14 blocks left before this blanket is done, and I cannot wait. Each design is stitched on 18ct Anne Cloth afghan fabric over 1. That isn't so bad until you have a design with a ton of fractional stitches - like this one. Also a lot of unnecessary color changes if you ask me. I changed the design a bit by making the pants on the little boy all one shade of red, as well as his stockings, hair, and shoes all one shade. I was just too annoyed with it to do four shades within such a small area. The overall appearance maybe would have been better as designed, but I'm happy with it as it is and you know what? It's done! Now onto Alhambra Garden for a few days until the Chatelaine Sampler Mystery II starts up on Jan. 1.

In other news, I have another interview tomorrow at a different staffing agency. At least I know what I'm going into this time - I'm not really interviewing for a specific job, just hoping they like me and my resume enough to get me a placement somewhere. In the meantime I've also sent out about 5 more resumes over Christmas. It's so frustrating to just sit and listen to the phone not ring all day. UGH.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Emma's Garden

Hope everyone had a great Christmas. :) I sure did. My family got together on Christmas Eve and surprisingly there was no drama just harmony and good food and the kids being happy with everything they got, etc. It was like all the stars aligned and the angels sang. Even the traditional pic of all the grandkids turned out. (Well Alex is a little squinty-eyed, but this is still a really good pic compared to some!)

For Christmas I decided to reward myself a bit by starting a new project - Emma's Garden by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum. I tried to dye the linen per the instructions but it didn't really work - it just lightened the color a bit. I was using Twilght Blue linen though instead of the Amsterdam recommended, so I suppose that is why. I decided to just change the dress to yellow shades so that the blue dress wouldn't blend into the linen color to much. This is what I got done on the 23rd and then on Christmas day. Today it is back to the grind on Katie's blanket. Once I finish one square there I can get onto more fun stuff.

I'm doing a stitch-a-long for Alhambra Garden Dec. 28, 29, 30 &31. Then on Jan1st I'm going to be stitching on my first Chatelaine mystery - Chatelaine's Sampler Mystery II for which I even have the silks! Yippee. Once I finish that the first Mirabilia Round Robin piece should have arrived and I can get going on that. Still have to pick out what to stitch next to Autumn's Forest Goddess, but maybe I'll wait til it arrives to decide. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Contract work

Well, my interview is over, and it went okay. Except that I found out the position for which I applied has already been filled. I knew the company I was interviewing at was just filling the contract position and wasn't the actual company for which I'd be working, but I didn't realize that I wasn't interviewing for a specific job. I'm kinda dissapointed about that because I thought I had a real chance of getting a real job after today's interview, but obviously that didn't happen. The interview did go well though, and the recruiter did say they have writing jobs come up all the time and she thought I had a good chance of getting some sort of placement. Anything would be good at this point just to get some more current work experience on my resume. In the meantime, the job search continues. *sigh*

Stitching wise I finished my section on Deanna's flower-themed Round Robin last night. The Band Sampler RR piece should be arriving soon, but what to work on in the meantime? If I go back to my regular rotation I should do another square on Katie's blanket, but I really don't feel like it. I might also work on the Hardanger Table Runner. Guess it just depends on how disciplined I feel like being today. I also need to get busy and start wrapping some presents, so maybe I'll just do that and not worry about stitching today.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Cross Your Fingers for Me

I have another interview tomorrow morning. I'm very nervous about it because I really need this job, and the last few interviews I've been on have obviously not landed me a job. I spent the last few days panicing about it because they asked me to bring writing samples. I said , "Sure, no problem." thinking I had several saved on a 3 1/2 floppy from my last job. I've turned the house upside down and cannot find this disk. I did find one stray writing sample from about 5 years ago on another disk, but I had to recreate several more. I have four to take - so I'm hoping that is enough. The job is just a contract position for 6 -8 weeks. I wrote each sample for a different type of writing since it sounds like the job is for a proposal writer, but if they ask the person to stay on permanent they will need to do other types of writing too.

I'm also having trouble reaching all my references. I've gotten ahold of two out of three who have graciously agreed to speak for me. The other though isn't returning my emails/calls. Now, it is the week before Christmas so I know this could be the reason - but he is also the person I know the least out of my references, so I guess I'm paranoid that he doesn't really want to be a reference. I know him only on a professional level, and I always thought he respected my work, but now I'm having doubts. I called his voicemail after office hours today just to see if the recording would say he is on vacation for the holidays, but it doesn't - he should have been in the office the last few days. So is he ignoring me?

I guess if I don't get the job it isn't the end of the world as it is only a contract position for a short amount of time. BUT it would really help my resume to have some more current work experience so that employers know I'm serious about getting back into the workforce. So say a prayer or cross your fingers for me okay? Seriously - I need it.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

More ornaments!

Here are some pics of the ornaments I have completed over the last week or ten days. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. :)

The first ornament is "Shepard's Watch" by Shepard's Bush. It was designed for GAST threads, but I used the DMC conversion for the most part. I changed one or two colors to different DMC numbers cause I didn't think they looked good with some of the others. I also stitched the sheep twice - there is a sheep charm that is supposed to be where the center sheep is instead.

The second ornament is by Elizabeth Designs and is called "Christmas Cottage". This was designed to be stitched in Kreinik silks, but I just used DMC sort of going by the picture in the magazine and what colors looked good together and with the cord I was using to finish it.

The next ornament is "A-mazing Hearts" by The Nutmeg Needle. I really enjoyed this one and had orginally planned to do a second one with lavendar hearts, but it took much more time than the other ornaments and I ended up not having the patience to do two. I'll definitely think about doing it again some other year. I stitched it with Dinky Dyes silks that I had left over from my Oops pack and backstitched with some Soie de Alger I had left over from "My Son". I really liked finishing the ornament off this way - it was easier than it sounded and no sewing machine or fussing around with trying to close your
seam evenly or invisibly. You just chain stitch around each side, then join the chain stitches together.

The last ornament is by Elizabeth Designs - I forget the title off hand and I'm too lazy to go drag out my magazine to check. I've stitched this design several times before though - I did it on three hand towels several Christmases ago for my grandmothers and SIL. It is a really easy, quick design and I still had enough of the thread and beads from the other times I did it to make the ornament.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Peace Ornament

This is what I worked on yesterday. It is Peace Ornament by Catherine Strickler of Indigo Rose and appears in one of the Just Cross Stitch Ornament issues. It was really quick and fun to stitch. I'm giving it to Alex's Christian Formation teacher for Christmas this year. His last class until after Christmas break is tomorrow, so I just finished it in the nick of time! I wanted to use a darker color cording, but this is what I had on hand, the back is finished with some green velvet my mom gave me that she had left over from a dress she made. I may finish most of the ornaments I do with that velvet - it makes it look rich. :)

I have several other ornaments I want to stitch too - working on a Shepard's Bush one and another designed by The Nutmeg Needle. I'll probably wait til they are all done and take one pic of them together and post, but since this one is going out to the recipient tomorrow I had to take the pic now.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Gingerbread Snowmen

Instead of our standard cutout cookies, this year I decided to make gingerbread men. After searching Walmart and the grocery for a gingerbread cookie cutter and finding none, I just decided to go with the snowman cutter I already had. I had such visions of cute little gingerbread men (now snowmen) all decked out in multi-colors of frosting. I saw on the food network how to outline in thick frosting and "flood the inside with a thinner frosting to make it look professional. I learned from the Betty Crocker cookbook that you can cut off one tip of an envelope or plastic ziploc bag for a makeshift frosting bag that you can write/draw with. I'd actually used that tip before to write on birthday cakes.

Of course nothing came out like planned, as you can see in the pic. First, I forgot to put in the baking soda when I mixed the dough - which was very thick by the way. I didn't notice this til I was already cutting out cookies. So my cookies, taste pretty good, but they are hard as rocks. When I went to frost them this morning I tried my trusty plastic bag trick to outline the snowmen and ended up with a very sticky hand because the top did not seal properly. Also that was going to take forever. I made it through outlining 2 1/2 cookies before I scraped that idea and decided to just frost them all white with my butterknife and add decorations. This also scraped the idea of making some blue, red, green frostings and 'drawing' on the decorations cause I wasn't messing with that plastic bag anymore. I did manage a few sort of cute cookies with jimmies, choc chips and red hots, but that got real tedious too - so I ended up doing a lot of the above as just frosted with a few decorations thrown on. (If you click on the picture above, you can see some of the cuter ones on the top better.) I got through the 2 dozen I plan on taking to my sis's house on Christmas Eve before I gave up. There are probably another 3 - 4 dozen left. The batch said it made 2 1/2 dozen cookies, but I got way more than twice that.

I think I will just frost the rest and skip the decorating part. You need the frosting to eat them though cause otherwise you can't get past how hard they are! Probably my whole family will just make fun of my hard cookies anyway. Live and learn, I guess - next year I won't forget the baking soda!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mira RR ready to go

Here are two pics of my Mirabilia Round Robin piece now ready to be mailed out. One more thing off my to-do list before the holidays. :) The pattern is Mirabilia's "Mother's Arms". I left off the background which is solid shades of blue stitching in the original pattern. I also added some backstitch lines to the hands because they looked too weird to me without defined fingers. (Actually they still look a little weird to me, but this is better than it was and I'm not a designer.) The original pattern also calls for petite beads because the recommended fabric is 32ct. I used the regular mill hill beads cause I was using a 28ct fabric. They fit just fine that way - the petites would have been way too small.

Deanna's flower themed round robin came in the mail today, so I guess I'll be working on that for the next few days. I found a nice Marie Barber rose design to do in one of my Just Cross Stitch issues. Hope it stitches up easily. :)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Weight Loss :)

Surprisingly my weight loss is continuing to go well. :) Since mid October I haven't really been able to do my 30-40 min walk that I had been doing nearly everyday since April. I credit those walks with jump starting my metabolism and helping me to lose the 14 or so lbs I lost between April and October. Wisconsin is not conducive to long walks in the winter. Especially this week when the highs have only been in the teens. I'd probably tough it out if it were just me, but I cannot take Katie out in the stroller on cold days - even in October I'd bundle her up and when we got home she'd have the coldest hands and cheeks - and the temp was probably in the 40s then.

So all that said, my goal was to just maintain until spring when I can start up my exercise program again. I figured I'd have to really be careful not to gain the weight back without exercising, not to mention all the temptation of the holidays. But I've lost two more lbs since I stopped exercising! At one point I had even lost 4 and broke into the 160s (which I haven't seen since right after Alex was born!) but my body did its usual bounce back when I lose weight. I tend to suddenly lose like four lbs, then gain back two the next day and stay there - for a net loss of two lbs. I cannot say I've been all that good - I had more Halloween candy than I should have and I had desert a few days in a row at Thanksgiving - ummm yummy pumpkin cheesecake. I do try to still eat in moderation and watch portion size. I also don't eat at night anymore and I don't finish my plate just because anymore either. When I feel I've had enough I stop, I don't just keep plowing through cause there is still stuff on my plate. Anyway, whatever the reason I'll take it, even the small amount that it is!

The really weird thing is that the only person besides my DH who has noticed it is my dad. He commented both in August when I saw him for my sis's baby shower and then at Thanksgiving that he could tell I was losing weight. My dad never notices anything - when I got glasses it was two YEARS later that he finally said, "When did you start wearing glasses?" You would think my mom and sisters would notice - but they haven't said a word. I guess part of the problem is that although I've dropped a size (almost two) I'm still wearing the old (big) size clothing because I cannot afford to go out and buy new right now. The waist of my jeans ride at the thickest part of my hips now. So I look the same cause I'm wearing the same clothes. Both times I saw my dad I was wearing a smaller size that had been in my closet since I gained the weight and now I can finally wear that pair of pants again. Course the sisters and mom were there too those days - I dunno.

I should also mention that I'm keeping a ticker of my weight at the bottom of my blog now. I have been for quite a while now, but I don't think I mentioned it before and probably people wouldn't scroll all the way down if they don't know it is there.

I guess that is enough patting myself on the back for one day huh?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I Won, I Won!

I won the Dinky Dyes "Yellow Knockered Fairy" thread contest! :) :) You can see and read about my entry here. The prize is my choice of 20 skeins of Dinky Dyes silk thread. I'm just bouncing off the ceiling cause I really didn't have the money to splurge for the cottons for the Chatelaine Sampler Mystery starting in Jan. let alone the silks. Now I can do it in silks. You can see all the competition entries here. There were some really nice entries, in fact, I didn't really think I had much of a chance after seeing some of the other great entries.

In other news, I finished my mom's Christmas present for this year. After the bullion knot debacle I decided to do a hardanger pillow for her. I like hardanger for quick yet impressive gifts - if you pick a simple design it will work up quickly yet still cover a large enough area to look like a large project. I finished this in just one weekend, if I wanted to do a cross stitch this size it would probably take a few whole weeks. I used all stuff from my stash too, so it was essentially free for me to do - very important these days. The pattern is from Hardanger burda special magazine issue E-579. If there is a designer and pattern name listed I couldn't find it. I still might add some cord around the edges, but I think it also looks good without. This was the first time I did an envelope back on a pillow and I'm totally converted to that way of finishing pillows now. That way you can wash the covering if you ever need to, and you don't have to fiddle with trying to close the hole you left to be able to turn the pillow right side out after sewing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bullion Knots - Yuck!

Today I discovered that I hate Bullion knots. I had never tried them before, and I had a pattern for a beautiful box cover in an old issue of Cross Stitch and Needlework that I had always wanted to do. Thought I would finally get around to it and do it for my mom for Christmas. I got the center motif done except for the bullion knot rose yesterday. Now as you can see in the pic, I can do a reasonably good bullion knot if I work at it really hard. I even managed to do a whole rose plus the one bud off to the side. BUT, it took almost an hour of cursing and redoing and knoted mess of thread and frustration to accomplish this. By the time I finished it I knew there was no way I could do the whole boxtop, which has an oval border of these hellish things.

Not willing to just scrap what I'd already done I turned it into an ornament. I'm not really happy with the finishing - so I think I'll just keep it for my own tree rather than giving it away. I did think I might use it as a teacher gift or something, but it doesn't look professional enough for me to do that.

So now back to the drawing board for finding something to do for mom for Christmas. I may do a hardanger doily - I dunno....

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Peony Eyeglasses Case

I just finished this for my grandmother for Christmas. The design is "Peony Eyeglasses Case" by Marie Barber and it appears in the Feb 2004 issue of Just Cross Stitch. The model in the mag was done on black fabric and was very stunning. Since I didn't have any 32ct black in my stash I used this blue color instead. It was just a remanent in my stash that I picked up from my old LNS when she closed. (She let me take a bunch of remanents for a crazy low price.) So I don't really know what kind of linen or color this fabric really is. The cording is just two shades of pink DMC from the design attached with quilting invisible thread. The backing fabric isn't visible in the photo but is a blue satin that I had scraps left over from other projects.

I'm pretty please with how it came out - I think my Grandma Hamm will like it. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Nothing much

Nothing much new really going on. I've been stitching diligently on my grandmother's Christmas present for this year and it is coming along, although slowly. I should have a happy dance for that within a few days. I am making her a glasses case called "Peonies" designed by Marie Barber from JCS mag. After that I need to do something for my mom. Since funds are low I'm doing homemade gifts for everyone that I can this year. I haven't decided for sure yet what to do for my mom, but I'm thinking I might attempt an oval box top that has bullion knot roses on it. I've never done bullion knots before, but it is a small piece, so even if it becomes frustrating it shouldn't be too bad.

I've decided to give my dad my Lady of the Flag. She doesn't really go with my decor and he really liked her when he was here for Thanksgiving. My dad really needs some pictures for his house too - there is almost nothing on his walls at all. Besides all that he is really hard to buy for and probably wouldn't use the dumb $20 shirt or whatever that I usually buy him. He always comments on my needlework, so as long as I don't start giving him something I made for every occasion I think he will appreciate it. I've never done a large piece before for him and everyone else in the family has one - so I guess he should too.

Sean has finally, FINALLY, come to the realization that he cannot stay at the job he is working now. Although he loves the actual work, the boss is more than a little crocked and Sean isn't making near enough money to support us. He got his 3rd paycheck today in more that 5 months and the grand total for all that time is only $2300. Not enough to pay a mortgage and feed two kids anyway. I reminded him that it is about what he made as a part-time bagger at a grocery store when we met 12 yrs ago and this job requires a Master's degree and experience - something ain't right there. So he has gotten busy sending out the resumes, etc.

I am also continuing to look for work. No real response since the last interview I went on, but I have applied to several more places this weekend that looked promising. I've sent off my resumes/applications, so now I'm just crossing my fingers that somebody calls and wants me to interview. I'm also broading my search to include any general office type work rather than just technical writing jobs, since there just aren't that many tech writing jobs out there right now.

Guess that is about it for now - Katie is refusing to nap and is upstairs screaming her head off from her room, so I guess I need to go see if I can't get her to sleep a little so she won't be a holy terror later today.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Cottage Garden Fairy HD!

Put the last bead on her this afternoon! Thank you so much Jill for sending me the Delica beads and conversion - I think she turned out great using the Delicas, they really did fit so well. :)

Thanksgiving went really well too, the whole family came and there was no drama, though I could feel my mother pouting a bit and trying to start something. Luckily no one took the bait!

Hope everyone else had a nice holiday and enjoys the rest of the holiday weekend. :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving readiness

I'm probably between 1/2 and 2/3 of the way finished with the beading on Cottage Garden Fairy. If today wasn't the day before Thanksgiving, I'd probably finish today. I have lots of cleaning to do and I need to run Alex to the music store to fix a broken string on his viola. Also I need to finish making the deserts for tomorrow. I will probably still get in a bit of stitching time today - but I'm not counting on it being enough to finish. So my happy dance will have to wait til Thursday after all the guests leave or Friday in between putting up the Christmas tree.

Just so I have a list for myself for next year I'm going to list everything we're making for Thanksgiving this year.

Adults: 8 Teens: 2 Kids: 5

Turkey - 12lbs
Stuffing - out of the box on the stovetop
Potatos - boiled then mashed
Gravy - out of a jar, but may try to fix the gravy packet that came with the turkey too
Squash - 2 large acorn squash baked and removed from shells
Corn - just a bag of frozen corn heated in the microwave
Banana bread - homemade one loaf
Rolls - Brown and serve - 2 pkgs of 12
Cranberry Jello Salad - brought by sis
Green Jello Salad - brought by mom
Black Olives - one can whole olives placed in center of green jello mold
Pumpkin Cheesecake - made from scratch for the very first time!
Apple Crisp - also made from scratch, but looks very easy
Ice cream and whipped topping for with deserts
4 12pks soda
2 10 pks Hi-C for kids
1 gallon milk
1/2 gallon egg nog

I think that is everything. I made the Banana bread, cheesecake, and the squash yesterday since those things need to be baked and the oven will be busy baking turkey on Thanksgiving morning. I will also bake the apple crisp today. I *think* I'm all set, but I usually forget something.

I've already had my one baking mishap, so hopefully everything else will go smoothly. While baking the banana bread, Katie at some point turned the oven dial all the way up - so I had burnt top on my banana bread before I checked it and realized the temp was turned up too high. :( I sliced off the top where it was burnt and I think the rest is fine, so at least I have a funny story to tell when everyone asks why the bread is missing its top.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Good Weekend

I had a really productive weekend. Sean and I finally got around to cleaning the gutters on the house. It really needed to be done. I should say that Sean cleaned the gutters - I just held the ladder steady and said words of encouragement as he climbed onto the roof. I'm too chicken to climb up there myself, and Sean is to chicken to do it without me standing there encouraging him - so we do it as a team every year even though I don't really do any of the work.

I also cleaned the carpet in the living room - which was also sorely needed. We are having everyone from my family over to the house on Thursday for Thanksgiving so I wanted to get that job out of the way this weekend. The carpet still doesn't look brand new or anything, but I got up all the stains and it looks much improved.

Stitching wise I had been stitching on my grandmother's Christmas present from Wed - Fri. I had intended to just work on that until it was finished - sort of a break from my rotation. I am stitching a design called "Peonies" by Marie Barber that appears in one of the JCS issues. It just seemed to be going so slowly and Autumn's Round Robin for the Band Sampler RR showed up at my house on Friday. I couldn't resist starting it and just ended up stitching on that all weekend. I did finish my section on her round robin, so that is one more stitching goal done. :) Below is a pic of what I added to her RR - it is beach themed piece. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Yellow Knockered Fairy

As some of you know, Dinky Dyes is having a competition to use some neon colored yellow thread that came in their Ooopps packs. This is my contest entry. The prize is 20 skeins of Dinky Dyes silk - so how could I not enter.

The fairy is from "Delight in the Little Things" designed by Diane Arthurs and published in the July/Aug 2000 issue of Cross Stitch and Needlework. I changed all the threads though to something more interesting. The dress and part of the stockings are stitched with the famous "Yellow Knockered Fairy" thread. The wand and the letters are also stitched with the contest thread along with 091 blending filament. In real life the design sparkles a bit better. The bottom of the dress is done with a Glissen Gloss thread, the stripes in the stockings are a random varigated silk I had in my stash. The wings have rainbow confetti blending filament stitched in, but you can't see that as well in the pic. The shoes are done with 071 #8 braid. Her hair is Rainbow Gallery whisper. I changed the flower she was holding in the original design to a wand, and changed the facial expression a bit to make her look more "knockered".

It was a lot of fun to do this. I had a lot of fun picking the threads and stitching the design.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


I finished all the cross-stitching on CGF! Yippee! Jill has been so kind as to offer to send my some Delica beads which will fit better than the Mill Hills I already have - so I'm going to wait to do the beading til they get here. In the meantime I think I'll start the Christmas gifts I have planned this year. An eyeglass case for my grandmother and a boxtop for my mother. :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I finished ths small design on Katie's blanket this morning. It is called "Tulips" and is part of a small series called Pockets full of Love published in Cross Stitch Quick & Easy, March/April 1991. It was designed by Bette Ashley.

Not much else going on around here. I applied for another position at the company I interviewed with last spring. I had a second interview there and they seemed to indicate I was close to getting that position and were encouraging that I should apply again should another position open. So we'll see.

Thanks to all of you who were supportive about my family's weekend drama. I've heard from my mom that apologies have been made all around, so hopefully we'll get through the holidays okay. Of course mom was really calling to tell me sis apologized but to also complain some more about the whole incident and try to get me to be on 'her' side which I tried hard not to do without ofending her. Like walking a minefield, which is really part of the original problem in the first place. She can be really easy to offend, and I often wonder if she isn't trying to start things just to get attention. Ah, but I digress. I ended up agreeing with her more than I really wanted to - just to keep the peace.

In some good news - I'm going to be finishing up Cottage Garden Fairy! :) I just have a bit of blue on the bottom left to cross stitch and then all the beading. It'll probably take more than the three days I ususally spend on each project in my rotation, but I'll definitely be into the beading by day 3, and once I start the beading, I just keep going til it is done. So watch this space for a happy dance. :)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Family Drama

Today was my niece's baptism. A day that should have been joyous and fun. The entire family should have been glad to be there together celebrating this new person brought into our family and her being dedicated to the Lord. Instead a lot of drama happened, and I just feel really sad for my family right now.

The details of the argument are not really so important as the feelings behind the argument. Basically my mother feels left out and ostricized by my sister and her husband and the husband's family. Quite honestly after the behavior I witnessed today I cannot say I blame her. On the other hand, my mother is a drama queen, and totally over-reacted and created a scene in front of our entire family and sis's husband's entire family.

Unfortunately it ruined the day for me - not that it is about me - I just felt so bad/sad/mad at both sis and mom. And there is nothing I can do about it. And Thanksgiving, which is supposed to be held at my house, is in less than 2 weeks, and this is likely to boil over into that holiday. Christmas is to be held at this sis's house and will also likely be colored by today's events. Drama always has a long life in my family. :( :(

Saturday, November 12, 2005

I finished the wings!

I finally got in a solid rotation on this piece. :) And I finished her wings! I added blending filament to all the white and that got really tedious, but of course once you start, you can't stop. Unfortunately you can't really tell in this photo, but the wings are pretty sparkly. She did seem to go much more easily once I finished the wings. I did a bit on the bodice and it was just starting to be fun when the night was over and it was time for bed. Ah well, at least when she comes up again I won't be dreading her!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Paa dee, Mama!

Just now I was futzing away on the wings for my Angel of Summer when I noticed Katie was being sort of fussy. She had a full sippy cup and a few goldfish that I had given her as a snack to hold her off til dinner, so I knew she wasn't hungry. She was acting like she wanted me to come with her though, like she usually does when she wants me to go into the kitchen and fill her cup or something. Since I knew she was taken care of in that area I kept asking her what's wrong and giving her a book or toy to play with. Finally she goes.... "paa dee Mama". I got up immediately wondering if I'd heard her right, and sure enough she headed straight for the bathroom. Once we got in there I discovered that she had already done a #2 in her diaper (not sure if she was trying to prevent that or not). I put her on the potty anyway, where she finished her #2 and also went pee.

Now, I don't know if she just is getting to the point where she wants to be changed right away when she does a #2 and wasn't really telling me she had to go - but that she wanted to be changed? I always change her in the bathroom now and have her sit on the potty after I take off the old diaper. But even that is progress! At least she can say it now. I'm so excited. My luck though it'll be 6 months or a year before she does it again - but I made sure to give her lots of praise so she knows she made Mama happy anyway. :)

DH isn't home from work yet, and DS is at an after-school religion program so I needed to tell someone.

Draggie HD

Last night I finished stitching this dragon on Kari's RR. It is "Majesty" from Legends of the Dragons and is designed by Karen Weaver of Black Swan. I changed the tail a bit and the back part of the larger wing so that it wouldn't look so 'cut off' as the orignial design fits into a backstitched square. Since the next RR piece has not arrived yet, and really isn't scheduled to until next week guess I have to work on Angel of Summer today. :( I will, will, will make some good progress on her - after all that is probably the only thing that is going to get me feeling good about her again.

In other news, my phone interview went pretty well yesterday, but it was just a standard set of questions that the HR person asks you and then forwards your answers to the hiring manager. So I'm not really getting my hopes up there. If the hiring manager likes what I had to say I'll get another call for a face-to-face interview. I also talked to a friend who previously worked at the company where I had the in-person interview two weeks ago, and she said not to give up on them yet. They always take a really long time to get back to people and hire them. It took a month from her interview til she had the job there. I guess that is encouraging, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up too much, cause I really felt depressed when they didn't call within a week. I don't want to do that all over again if they still don't call. I think I will send them a Thank-you card for the interview though. Want to keep a favorable impression fresh in their minds for when they do make a decision.

Otherwise, not too much going on around here. I've been raking and raking leaves lately instead of my morning walks for exercise. I must be using different muscles or something or not really getting exercise raking leaves cause when I went for my regular walk this morning - boy did I feel it. The same 30 min walk I usually take that is about 50 percent uphill felt like I was trying to kill myself. I guess the last week or so raking leaves instead of walking put me out of shape for the walk. At least I haven't gained back any weight though. Big victory for me considering how much Halloween candy there was in the house between the two kids. It was really hard not to sneak into their baskets while Alex was at school. I managed to only eat a few pieces and now it is all gone! Yay! Now I just need to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas and the New Year, and Valentines... and... well back to spring when I can be more active.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Stitcher's Lane RR

Just finished another house for my Stitcher's Lane RR. This is from a design called "Words to Live By" by Jorja Hernandez in one of my older magazines. It's one of those designs I always thought was sorta cute, but probably never would have otherwise done. That's one of the reasons I like Round Robins. I finished this up last night and today I've been working on Kari's piece for the open RR. Her theme is dragons and I'm stitching "Majesty" by Karen Weaver from the leaflet "Legends of the Dragons". So far it is coming out well, but it will probably be a few more days before I post a happy dance for that one.

I put Angel of Summer aside to do these RRs, and I have to admit hoping that the next RR (the any designer sampler RR) comes in the mail before I finish on Kari's. Then I won't have to go back to it just yet! I think once I finish the wings on her I'll have more fun working on her, but with those hanging over my head - UGH. I will, will, will knock out three days on her once all my RRs are done. I promise myself. That will likely take care of the wings, so then maybe the pain will be over!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Another Interview

Still haven't heard from the company I interviewed with more than a week ago now, but I did get a call yesterday about doing a phone interview with a different company. I had a phone interview with this same company a few years back when I was contemplating leaving my old job, but never got past the phone interview. If I do well on the phone interview, I guess there will be a face-to-face interview too. I'm less optomistic about this company than the last because I know they want someone who has experience working with several different Adobe software packages. One of which I know well, two that I've had minimal experience with, and one that I haven't used at all. If I remember correctly that is why I didn't really make it beyond the phone interview last time. The thing is though, they ask you all that on the form you have to fill out online to send in your resume, and I answered honestly, so they should already know that. Why call me if they already know I don't have all the experience they want? I also applied to another strong possibility on Thursday. It isn't a Tech Writer position, it is a Business Analyst position, but the job duties are primarily writing and revising customer specifications and they want someone with a writing background that knows the securities industry (My last company was a securities company.).

Thursday, November 03, 2005

WIP Kill Mode

I've decided to stay strong and not start anything new for now. I started looking through the projects I have going now and thinking about what all I HAVE to stitch and started feeling a little stressed. No need to add more to the mix I guess, especially since I'm trying to go back to work. They sure are tempting though! The next piece in my stitcher's lane RR arrived yesterday, so I started that. I have another RR piece that will arrive shortly for the open-themed RR too, so then I'll have another start there. Sort of the best of both worlds, getting to start something and work on something I need to finish at the same time. I also need to stitch a small piece for my Grandma before Christmas. I do it for her every year and I know she really looks forward to it. This year I think I'm going to do a case for her glasses.

Right now I have sort of a four project rotation. First slot is CGF, second slot is for my RRs, third slot is for Katie's blanket, and the fourth slot I rotate my remaining WIPs. When I finish CGF, that slot will go to either Alhambra Garden or the Table runner. I just can't get excited about Angel of Summer, so stitching on her a few days a month is probably all she is gonna see for awhile (at least until those wings are done).

On a different note, I haven't heard anything back from the company that I interviewed for last week. I guess that doesn't necessarily mean anything, they could just be taking thier time making a decision. I guess I sort of feel in my gut that they would have called by now if they wanted me. I'm feeling pretty depressed about not getting it because it was pretty much the identical job to what I did before and I can't think of anything for which I'm more qualifed. If I can't get that job, what job can I get? Also I'd been feeling sort of depressed for awhile about our financial situation and having to go back to work, but I thought getting the job would help lift that because it would solve the financial worry and give me something new to focus on. Now, I feel like I can't even get a job if I want to. I know it is only one company, but I've applied to lots of others and haven't even gotten a response from anyone else. I'm just worrying now that what I thought was the answer isn't going to work either. :(

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Cottage Garden Fairy

She is getting very close to being done. :) Just one more section of blue stitching and then the beading. This one was pretty fast in comparison to "The Kiss" or "Fairy Idyll". The ironic thing is that she still took 2+ years to do! So now I have to decide on whether to start something new when I finish her, or continue on in my WIP kill mode? And if I do start something new, what?

I really shouldn't start something new as I have Alhambra Garden, Angel of Summer, and my Hardanger Table Runner already on the go. I want to finish both Alhambra Garden and the runner before next summer so that I can enter them in the fair. I also have 3 Round Robins in progress and another that will start in January (so I'm really already stitching for it.) I'm also going to be stitching the Chatelaine Sampler Mystery when the group starts in January.

I think I just talked myself out of starting something new, but I'll go ahead and list the things I'm thinking of starting anyway.

  • "Silkwood Manor" by Just Nan. The chart was just to big a purchase not to do it! Plus I really do love the piece. Kari is working on this one and has some really inspiring pics of it in her blog.
  • "Emma's Garden" by MLI. This would make a great 1yr birthday present for my niece who was just born at the end of Sept. It is a small piece too, so I could probably finish it in one year.
  • "St. Basil's Cathedral" by Dimples. I've been meaning to start this forever and I have a great piece of opalescent fabric to stitch it on. It is also on the smaller side which would be nice.
  • "Stone Roses" Mirabilia. A piece I've loved for ages and wanted to start since about 1999 and it just keeps getting pushed back for one reason or another. I even hoarded a bunch of the old 451,452,453 DMC threads so the shading will be more like Nora intened.
  • "Mother's Tree" MLI. I did "My Son" for Alex and would really like to do a nice heirloom-type piece for Katie too. I got into geneology a few years back and was able to trace about 7 generations back on this line.

Okay, now I've talked myself back into starting something cause there are so many!! So now which one will it be? Maybe if I start it after one of my Round Robins ends? ARGH, I'm so indecisive.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

This year Alex was a Ninja (again!) and Katie was a princess. I made her costume myself which explains the lack of sophistication, but it did just fine, I think. It is just a simple skirt made out of sparkly fabric and an elastic waste and a cardboard crown. Everyone immediately knew she was a princess though, so I think it was a success. Alex made his usual rounds of trick-or-treating and is actually still out there with dad gathering candy.

We only took Katie to a few houses so she could get a few pieces of candy and feel like a big girl trick-or-treating with her brother. Unfortunately at one of the few houses we went to they had a ceramic pumpkin with a battery-operated light in it that she touched before I could pull her back. She burned her hand a bit, and cried and I could tell the poor woman at the door felt so bad. It didn't even leave a mark though and I think she was more scared than really hurt. The lady at the door gave us some ice for her hand and I decided to take her home - we were about ready anyway as she is too little to be eating very much candy anyway.

We haven't had too many trick-or-treaters here yet tonight. Maybe we missed most of them while we were out. We bought a bag of Peppermint patties and I've passed out a few to about 10 kids. Hopefully I'll use up a few more before the night is out so I don't end up eating too many of them. At least the are low in fat! (I know, not low in sugar.) I think I'll go upstairs stitch and eat some roasted pumpkins seeds. YUM.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The Interview

Today was my interview for the "Documentation Analyst" position that was very similar to my last job. I think it went pretty well. I felt pretty good about the answers I gave to all the questions even though some were pretty tough. Several were geared toward figuring out whether I worked well with others, had a professional attitude, could resolve conflict, etc. I was a little surprised by that, but I think I answered okay. They asked things like, "Describe a time at work when you were angry, and how you handled the situation." and "Describe a good co-worker." "Describe a good boss." "Describe a bad co-worker, and a bad boss." They also asked a lot of questions about how things were done at my previous job which made me a little nervous. Not so much because I felt my answers would be inadequate, but more because I felt like it was a fishing expedition for information on my previous company. My previous company and this company often compete for employees. It isn't as though I feel an immense sense of loyalty to my old company (on the contrary!), it just didn't feel right.

I did also have to take a writing test as I expected. No biggee though. I had a list of topics to choose from and just had to write a procedure on one of them. Some of the topics were, How to attach a button, How to hang a picture, How to buy a can of soda from the vending machine, and a bunch of others I can't remember. I chose How to hang a picture. I'm sure I did fine with that, I've written procedures a bazillion times at my old job so I have the format and lingo down.

I did get the sense though that they were interviewing several people for one position. That is what they said, and there was a form left in the room I took the writing test that was the same as the one they had given me to take the test. It was obviously from someone else who had taken the same test before me. I guess I feel I did well, but it will really come down to whether someone else did better. The earliest I'll hear anything is Monday as the HR person handling this position is out tomorrow.

On an entirely different note, I've been working on my Mira RR again today. I have the hair and the face almost done for my section. I think I mentioned before that I'm stitching "Mother's Arms" (or part of her anyway). I was originally going to do the background around her too, but now I'm thinking I'll leave that off as it is mostly just filled in with a few shades of blue. I think she'll look just as nice on the hand-dyed fabric without all the fill-in. Also I think it likely that most of the other ladies that are eventually stitched on the piece will not have background and I don't want it to look too different from the others.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Well, I finished correcting my mistake in the Hardanger Table runner - thanks for all your encouragement and commesiration. :) So now it looks pretty much like it did in the picture - but it is all fixed and lines up perfectly. Now I can come back to it next time and make real progress. Yesterday and today I'm working on a small Lori Birmingham design on Katie's blanket.

I'm stressing today because tomorrow is my interview. I talked with a friend from my last job who also worked at the place I'm interviewing. She seems to think I have it in the bag - no worries. I'm not so sure, and I plan to spend part of today brushing up on my technical writing/grammar standards. Nothing was said about a writing test, but I had to do one for my last job and for the last interviews I was on for other writing positions, so I think it is fair that I expect one. I just don't want to study - so I'm blogging instead. Very bad girl of me, huh?

I called a daycare this morning too to check rates and policies and whether they would even have space for Katie. This daycare would be ideal as it is right next door to the place I'm interviewing. It is expensive though - $252/ week for full time care until she is 2, then it drops to $208/week. I was expecting it to be high, but yikes. I better get a good offer from the new company to be able to afford that! I think I'll check a few other places too, but convenience wise it would be an ideal location as it would also be on DH's way home from the office. It seems like a high quality place too, I have a tour scheduled for Monday and they are more than willing to let me do a few trial runs only leaving her an hour or two at first before she starts there full time. Hopefully that will let her get to know them and make a few friends before I just leave her there.

I guess I'm resigned to the fact that I must go back to work and that she must go to daycare. So now I just hope I get this job so that we will have some good income coming in and I can relax a bit. Cross your fingers for me tomorrow morning about 10a CST okay?

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I was so excited to be finally nearing the completion of the Kloster blocks in the border for my table runner only to find that they did not meet up! I was two, yes two threads off. After much angst and counting and cursing I found that there were two separate places where I had made a kloster block incorrectly. In one instance it was one thread too large, in the other one thread too small. Now normall that would equal itself out except that they were made in opposite directions making me two threads off instead. I toyed with the idea of fudging it, but since everything on the inside is based on the outside border, and threads have to be withdrawn, there would really be no way to make the inside look right without ripping a bunch out.

If you look real close at the photo you can see a grid line I basted in (after I realized there was a mistake - duh, should have done that in the beginning to prevent mistakes!) about 1/3 of the way in from the right hand side. Everything to the right has to be ripped and restitched in order to correct both mistakes. I am so mad right now, but I'm determined to fix it and have the border done before I put it away cause I know if I don't I'll never want to pull it out again. I'm using all my angry energy to rip, rip, rip. I have ripped and redone one set of white and rose colored hearts, and basted a line to make sure they match up, so this pic is a little outdated. I'm hoping I'll be able to rip and restitch everything by tomorrow or sometime Tuesday. We'll see though, it took 3+ hours to rip and redo two sets of white and rose (one set on each side). So it'll likely take 3 more hours to do another set, plus all the rose on the end. I guess it depends on how much stitching time I get in the next few days.

Sorry for the rant - just had to tell some people who would understand and commiserate. DH tried to be supportive but he just kept saying, "Leave it, no one will notice, it looks good to me." That would work, and I would do it for cross stitch, but if you have to remove threads - there is just no way to fudge it and still have it look like it is supposed to.

Anyway, I still think it will be a beautiful runner when completed. I'm using plain DMC perle cotton for the white and Dusty Rose silk perle from Vikki Clayton for the rose color. It is charted for all white, so I'm having fun deciding which portions to accent in the rose color.

Friday, October 21, 2005

I have an interview.

And I have very mixed feelings about it. The job will be okay I think, and I also think I have a pretty decent shot at getting it since it is an almost identical job to what I was doing before just for a different company. If I get it, it will be such a relief to have health insurance again and a set amount of money we can rely on to pay the bills without racking up any more debt. So why do I feel like crying whenever I think about it? I know why, really, I just am having a hard time thinking about finding a day care and then just leaving Katie there all day. :(

After all, she isn't going to understand. All she has ever known is mommy all day every day. She's only had a sitter twice and both times it was my sister for a few hours in the evening. I'm so worried she is just going to think I'm abandoning her there with some strangers. It will be good for her to play with some other kids her own age and socialize a bit - I just wish I was independently wealthy and could take her to the Y and library and community classes for her age group to get her socialized instead.

Sean is being supportive and feels really bad about it too, mostly because he doesn't want me to have to work if I don't want to - I don't think he is really worried about Katie as much as I am. He seems to think she'll adjust well, and I really hope he is right. Don't get me wrong he loves her too and everything - I just feel like he doesn't really 'get it' about leaving her with strangers.

I know some people are able to work from home or babysit for others to make extra money, but I don't really feel that is an option for me. First, I really need an income not something to supplement DH's income (at least for right now - there is potential for that to change - but nothing is certain right now). Second, I just don't feel I'm cut out to watch other people's children. I was an education major early in my college career and changed majors mostly because I recognized I just didn't have the patience for other people's kids. I do fine with my own, but I think I would grow to resent someone else's kid in my house taking up my time and energy. That would end up not being good for those kids or for me. Possibly I could do it for one of my sisters' children, but they all live to far away.

Anyway, the job interview isn't til next Thursday morning, so I have plenty of time to think about it, or torture myself about it.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Looking for a Job

*Big sigh* I really don't want to, but it is becoming clear that I have to go back to work. It has been a full year since I quit my job to be a SAHM, and while I can't say its been all sunshine and roses, I've really enjoyed being at home with Katie. I also have to be honest and say that for me it really is a lot less stressful and I do have way more free time working in the home at being a mom than I did when I worked a full time job. I know for a lot of moms working as a SAHM is more work because they have more kids, or just hold themselves to a higher standard and do more. For me though it has mostly been watching Alex and Katie play, playing with them, and light housework. So of course I don't want to give it up.

Sean is just not making enough money on his own though to support the family. It isn't because he isn't working hard or doesn't want to - it just isn't happening. His old job didn't pay enough, but we got by on first our savings and then our tax return all the while cutting corners on luxuries and even some needs. Sean changed jobs in the hopes that he would make more money and I wouldn't have to go back to work. Because he is a therapist working for an agency, he has to wait for the insurance to pay claims on his patients before he gets any money, so we went 3 months without any paycheck at all. Now that some money is coming in, it isn't even as much as what he was making at the old job. He has been working his but off to get enough clients to support us, but people keep canceling or worse not showing up at all. He seems to be gone all the time trying to be around the office more to get more clients but it is just not happening. It is really taking a toll on him and I want to be supportive, but I'm so anxious about there not being any money. We are currently making ends meet by borrowing on our home equity loan, but obviously that cannot be a long term solution.

Soooo I've been hunting through the want ads applying for at least one good possibility every day. I just can't get motivated to do more - I don't want to go back to work, but at least there would be enough money and it would take a lot of pressure off DH, who is so stressed right now. I'm also terrified that having been out of work for a year, no one will want to hire me. I could always work in retail or food service, or what have you and I would if Katie was already in school. I can't now cause it would cost as much to send her to a reputable day care as I would be making. My field (technical writing) just doesn't happen to be hopping in the greater Milwaukee area right now.

Anyway, keep your fingers crossed for me that I find something soon.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mirabilia RR sections

I managed to finish framing out my sections for my latest Round Robin today. I have to admit being a bit obsessed with this piece/round. The idea of having 7 partial Miras all on one piece and getting to stitch 7 Miras (6 for other people) without having to do the whole pattern for each is really exciting. (No - I don't get out much!)

I designed this layout and the shape of the sections myself, although the three in the center were inspired by Chatelaine's Alhambra Garden. The center of that design is the same shape, only much smaller, so I had to rechart the whole thing to get it to be the dimensions I was looking for. I needed something longer and thinner for the four on the sides and came up with what you see. The three in the middle are 80 x 80 at their thickest points, and 70 x 70 across the corners of the box. The four along the sides are 100 stitches high by 60 wide (only 90 stitches high along the edges where it is smaller.

The best part is that it all fit on one fat quarter of 28ct linen and when finished will fit in a 16 x 20 standard size frame. Always the frugal part of me looking to save money on the framing. (Roll your eyes if you must.) Now I can just buy a standard frame and frame it myself. That is also why I sewed fabric around the edges - I lace my pieces myself and there is less pull on the linen if you lace into another fabric.

Now on in my rotation - I want to get in some work on Cottage Garden Fairy and pull out my Hardanger Table runner before any more Round Robins show up. The next one is due to be mailed on Monday so I guess I should get busy.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Future Stitcher! :)

Yes, that is my metal hoop she has on her head, and please excuse my messy house in the background. I took this pic a few months ago already. I was looking through the photos I need to get made to prints and found it today.

Not much going on, Katie is refusing to nap in her big girl bed the last few days, but she'll sleep there at night. Weirdo! It isn't that she doesn't like the bed - she's just discovered that once mommy tucks her in and walks away it is real easy to just get up and follow mommy out of the room instead of laying downing and going to sleep. I guess at night it is too dark to get up and follow mommy out of the room? Thankfully we didn't disasemble the crib yet, so I just move the matress over to the crib for the nap and plop her in the crib. She fusses for a few minutes but then accepts her fate - she must take a nap.

Stitching wise, I've begun to get ready for the Mirabilia RR that will start in January. I've decided on a layout and begun doing the prep work. I'm doing "frames" around each of the sections people will stitch in so I've been stitching those last night and today. So far I have 4 out of 7 done. I'll post a pic when I'm done with them just cause I'm sort of proud of the shape and the layout I designed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Katie's new bed

She's growing up so fast! We pulled Alex's old toddler bed out of storage and set it up for her. You can't really tell in this picture, but she was so proud of her new bed. She kept coming back into her room and laying down on it even when it wasn't nap/bedtime.

I was a bit concerned that she wouldn't stay in bed when it was time to go to sleep, but that hasn't been a problem at all. We baby-proofed her room really well and we put up a gate across the doorway while everyone is asleep. That way she can't wander the whole house if she does get out of bed while everyone is asleep. She does get up in the morning a few minutes earlier than I'd like. Before if she was in the crib I could just let her play or fuss a bit while I brushed my teeth before I went in to get her. Now she can see me from the door, so I have to let her out and then she is underfoot while I'm getting ready for the day. Not too big a deal though.

The first night in the new bed, about a half an hour after we put her down, I heard a *thud* and then her crying. Yep, she'd fallen out of bed. I thought well, that is the end of that and she'll want to get back in her crib and she'll be afraid of the new bed. (We left the crib set up for a few days just in case.) Not Katie though - as soon as I opened the door to her room and the light from the hallway poured into the room she started scrambling back into that bed. She's been sleeping in it for 3 nights now and has fallen out one other time, but otherwise no problems. She still goes into her room at random times throughout the day just to sit on her new bed.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Mirabilia Round Robin

Just thought I'd blog about this because I think it's going to be a really fun project and also I'd love to scare up a few more people to participate! :)

One day this summer I got this really cool idea for a Round Robin. Why not do portions of the Mirabilia ladies in a round robin. Sort of just the torso/head/face/wings. I'll get to stitch several Miras I might not otherwise get to, I get to stitch mainly just the fun part and skip the endless dresses, and in the end I'll have a gorgeous piece that includes "snapshots" of several Miras.

Well we are finally getting our group together and I'm so excited to start. A few people had some good variations on this idea too and will be including things besides just faces - which will be fun too. I know there are some good background elements in lots of the Miras that would also look good stitched in a section on someone's RR. Like those statues in Fairy Idyll, The Castle in Cinderella, or the Urn in Villa Mirabilia. Other people might go with just fairies or just children, or whatever. I think there is lots of room for good ideas for some really unique but beautiful pieces.

We are accepting people to participate until the end of October 15. If you think you might be interested please visit the forum at http://p203.ezboard.com/ftwbbroundrobinsfrm50. Hope to "see" you there.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

2 Happy Dances

Not much going on, but I did finish off my section for Rose's RR and yes, I finally finished EGW. Here they are.

Now to get some progress in on Alhambra Garden and maybe another square on Katie's blanket before the next RR arrives.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

This close... to finishing English Garden Welcome by Teresa Wentzler! I thought I'd have it all done and in the frame by tonight, but those satin stiched leaves in the border are taking more time than I thought. They are fun to stitch and not hard or anything. I guess I just thought I could whip them out in an hour or two and it is really taking a day or two. Oh well, I should be done tomorrow, maybe get it in the frame on Saturday?

On the plus side I found the perfect frame for it in the clearance bin at my local craft store yesterday. It is DMC 3747 in color and 14 x 14 (design is 12 1/3 inches by 12 3/4 inches). I think it will accent the big WELCOME letters rather nicely. Okay, off to work some more on those leaves - after that it is just the beads. :)

Oh, and I saw this on Autumn's blog (GRITS) and thought it was kinda funny, so I did it too.

You Are Apple Cider

Smooth and comforting. But downright nasty when cold.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Weight Loss :)

Still plugging away at the weight loss. Seems I was stuck at 177 -178 for ages, but I've finally moved down a few more pounds to 173!! Yeah. Okay not much, but still a lower weight than I've been for many years. I only have to lose 20 lbs more to be the weight I was when I met DH and got pregnant with Alex. Of course I could still aford to lose another 20 after that and still be healthy, but I will be so proud just to acheive my pre-kids weight.

So far the weather has been cooperating with my free exercise efforts. I've been able to continue to do 30-45 min walks everyday with Katie in the stroller going up and down the hills in this neighborhood. I have to attribute a lot of my weight loss to that since I haven't changed my eating habits that much. I'm just trying to control portions better, but I still eat more snacks and goodies than I probably should. I'm hoping to lose another 2 - 3 lbs by the end of the month cause November is usually when it gets pretty cold around here. I'll keep walking as long as weather permits and then I'll have to dig out those work out tapes I've got around here somewhere. I'm just hoping I can at least hold my current weight through the holidays and cold weather. I told DH we should hand out pencils with Halloween designs this year so that I don't go crazy on the candy like I usually do. He's not having that though so I guess I'll have to practice some good old fashioned self control.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I have a new Neice!

My little sister (well she's 26, but still little to me!), gave birth to her first child yesterday morning at 12:04am. She had a beautiful baby girl she and her husband have named Maryanne Ilene. She was 7lbs 15oz and I forgot to ask the length.

We went up there (they live about 2 1/2 hrs north of us) after we picked up Alex from school yesterday afternoon to meet the new cousin. I meant to bring my digital camera, but forgot so no pics. When we got there we found out the hospital had a policy that didn't allow kids under 12 onthe maternity ward. I didn't think any hospitals did that anymore. So Sean ended up watching the kids in the lounge while I went in and visited the baby and new parents. Sean came in a bit later and visited a bit while I took a turn watching the kids. The nurse did relent a bit and said that Alex could come in and take a peek as long as he washed his hands (which I would have made him do anyway), so at least he got to see the new baby. Maryanne is a real cutie but of course not as cute as my babies were.

I was able to finally get rid of most of Katie's clothes she's outgrown though - so that's a bonus. So many cute outfits I sorted through to give them, almost made me want another. I said ALMOST.

In other unrelated news, Katie has been doing really well with the potty training. Much better than I had even hoped she would this young! She still isn't telling me she has to go, but she will start trying to pull her pants down, or diaper off sometimes when she has to go. I think if she had more words she probably would be communicating it to me. I've been trying to get her to say "potty" so she can tell me when she has to go, but no such luck. I did get her to go poopy on the potty yesterday, so that was a big victory and she definitely knows what the potty is for and goes every time I put her on it. She is so cute about it too. She will sit there and then when she starts going she gets this little self-satisfied grin on her face. :)

As far as my stitching goes, I did get some more in on my Angel of Summer. I'm pleasantly surprised at how she is turning out. I am doing her on MGC Textiles linen which isn't an exact evenweave, so she'll be a little fatter than the designer intended. I really like the color though, the pinks are showing up really well on the blue linen. I just worked on the wings this time and got sort of bogged down in that so I'm going to move on in the rotation and try to get in a little bit more on EGW before my next RR piece comes. Here is a quick pic of my progress on Angel of Summer so far.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I Got Tagged

by Autumn

7 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

Become a Grandma (not yet though!)
Get published - in a mag or maybe write a book
See both my children happy in their adult lives
Learn to quilt
Be thin again
Get closer to both my sisters and my dad

7 Things I can do:

Cross Stitch
Cheer up Alex when he is upset
Touch my toes! (new acheivement after a bit of weight loss)
Learn quickly
Analyze a situation quickly and accurately
Think for myself! :)

7 Things I cannot do:

Listen to screeching child for more than an hour (DH is called on to step in)
Have a lot of patience (I'm working on it though)
Climb on the roof of our house to clean the gutters
The splits - tried and tried in high school, but my body just doesn't flex that way
Belong to a gym and keep up with it

7 Things that attract me to another person:

Similiar sense of humor to mine
Fun Laugh
Being laid back
Compliments my strengths with his own
Willingness to learn

7 Celebrity crushes:

Bruce Willis
Keifer Sutherland
Kevin Bacon
Rob Lowe (more when I was a teenager)
Yeah, okay, Brad Pitt
Mel Gibson
Tom Selleck (Mostly in his Magnum days when I was little, and mostly cause my mom liked him so much too)

7 Things I say the most:

"Is that wise? or otherwise?"
"Wash your hands, Alex"
"Do you have to potty, Katie?"
"What I meandersay" (I picked up this little annoying saying from DH, who made it up.)
"Let's go for a walk"
"Is it 8 o'clock yet?" (Bedtime for the kiddos)
"Katie, NO!" (Usually as she is about to get into something)

Tag you're IT:


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Adventures in Potty Training

Katie will be just 16 months on the 28th of Sept. so I wasn't really thinking about starting potty training yet until she started bringing me diapers to change her. This just started this last week, so I decided to try out the potty chair and see what happened. Nothing to lose right?

She didn't have any trouble sitting on the little potty chair I took out of storage from when Alex was potty training. However once we took off the shorts and diaper to actually try to use it for its intended purpose, she got all nervous. I didn't want to push so I just let her up as soon as she started whinging. Before I could put her diaper back on her she peed all over the linoleum. Ah well, at least it was easy to clean up and no harm done. I left the potty chair in the bathroom and thought maybe I'll try now and then and she can work up to getting used to it.

I had the idea this morning to try it first thing when we woke up since most people do use the bathroom first thing in the morning. It worked! She didn't seem nervous at all either - go figure. She just sat down and peed right away! Sean and I gave her lots of praise and clapped for her and showed her her pee and she looked so happy. She has gone twice more since this morning, but both times were at my suggestion. I'm pretty sure she isn't ready to tell me when she has to go yet. But hey, its progress, and I'll take it. :) I'm going to try to keep up with it and have her sit on the potty each time I change her as long as she doesn't protest. Maybe, just maybe, things will start to sink in and she'll start asking to go. At the very least I save a few diapers getting her to go in the chair a few times a day. Hopefully it'll make it an easier transition once she is old enough to read her bodies signals. I figure if using the potty is something she already does by then, that is one less thing to learn.

Anyway, I'm pleasantly surprised at her early progress. :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Just Nan RR

Just finished working on the Just Nan RR that belongs to Autumn. It is really turning out nice. This pic doesn't really do it justice, but the fabric is soft greens and pinks and really compliments the designs chosen so far. Most of Just Nan's patterns this size have pinks and greens too, so I can't really see this turning out anything but beautiful. I'm so sad to be done and have to move onto something else - but alas I do have plenty of other things to stitch.

I stitched the two designs on the right - I only made one small modification to the pattern in the right corner. The chart called for some bead I had no idea how to get which was supposed to be a rose color. I had a darker color petite bead in my stash that matched the darker pink shade already used in the design and went with that instead. I think it came out pretty well. I reallly liked the Spring Peepers design too, which pops in real life a whole lot better than it seems in this scan. The greens and pinks with the little gold frogs is really pretty.

I'll start another square on Katie's blanket tonight and hopefully that'll only take a day or two to do. I'm going to do TW's Playful Kittens on it, so it might take a bit longer as her designs tend to be a bit more intricate even the little ones. After that I'll do some time on Angel of Summer if my next RR hasn't arrived yet.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Round Robins

I'm currently involved in 3 Round Robins. I never thought I'd get into them much, but once I did one I found myself wanting to do all kinds of them. My house RR is actually getting close to the end - only 2 more rounds to go. The pic is my latest happy dance for that RR.

For the next few days I'll be working on my open-themed RR. The theme of this one is Just Nan - and the owner is having us all use those smallish square type patterns she publishs. It is coming out really beautifully so far and I love the fabric. I've been droolling at the prospect of stitching on it since it came in the mail. I'll probably have that happy dance here in a few days cause I plan to just work on that til it is done.

After I finish the Just Nan RR I should be getting a any designer band sampler RR in the mail. No idea what I'm going to be stitching on that yet as I'll have to go by what is already stitched on the piece. I'm sure it'll be fun though - I think I enjoy picking out things for other people's pieces more than I even like getting my own done. :)

After all the RRs are done I'll be doing a few days on Katie's blanket, then a few on Angel of Summer, and then back to EGW. Boy I want that bear done! Hopefully I can finish it in the next few turns through the rotation. I really want it to be done before January cause I have a 4th RR starting then. A Mirabilia RR that I'm really excited about. Sign-ups are still open for it, so I'm hoping we get a few more people, but if not I think we have a good group already. At least the house RR should be almost done by then.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dumb Bird!

There is a very stupid bird in our garage that is driving me crazy. It obviously doesn't want to be in the garage because it is flying around an chirping incessantly. I tried to chase it out with the broom but the darn thing keeps flying either into the back of the garage, or up between the open garage door and the ceiling. It can't figure out that it needs to fly a little lower to get out of the open garage door. I noticed this bird yesterday and this morning it is still there. I put some crunched up crackers on the floor of the garage near the opening in the hopes it will try to eat them and see the opening once it gets down there - but this is one dumb bird!

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Well, I can sort of see the end of the tunnel on this project, but it is starting to annoy me nonetheless. I've decided I need to rip out the backstitching on the swans. Although the directions say to use 415 - I think 414 will be much better. See how the backstitch is just faded out on this - so knowing there is frogging ahead of me I think I'll put this away for a few days and stitch on my "Yellow Knackered Fairy" piece for the Dinky Dyes competition. I have some RR pieces coming in the mail soon too - so between those two things I should have enough of a break before I have to go back to it.

I just want it done!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Feeling Anxious

I think I've mentioned before that DH has been starting a new job. He was a social worker for 6 years and during that time managed to complete his schooling and hours to become liscensed as a professional therapist. So since I've been staying at home and the salary for a Social worker doesn't really lend itself to single income families, he decided to try to make a go of it as a therapist.

The first week of July he got this new job as a therapist with an agency in our area. The pay and hours sounded great - he can set his own schedule and he should be getting 40% of the fee, which is $150. We got out the calculater and figured out that he would really only need to work something like 20 billable hours a week in order to make what he was making at the old job - so he went for it.

Well... a number of things have come to light after he started working at the new job. Like most insurance companies pay about half of the actual fee - so he really gets about 40% of $75 in most cases - some cases less, some more. And the person who hired him led him to believe he could build a solid caseload very quickly, but it is taking a lot more time for that to happen than we expected. He has been there 2 months and is now billing about 10-15 hours a week. And he doesn't get paid until the insurance pays the agency which is supposed to take 90 days, but often takes longer. We have yet to see a paycheck. DH talked to the billing person at the agency last week and they said he would be getting a check for around $400 on Sept. 23. The next check won't come until about the same time in October. The October check should be bigger, but I'm not sure how much. You can guess that our mortgage is going to be a good chunck more than that.

Now we aren't in danger of losing our home or going without anything necessary, but it still makes me so anxious. What if it doesn't ever get better at this new job? DH tends to dig his heals in, and I certainly don't want to be the one responsible for making him give up his dream of being a therapist, but he has to have a job that will support this family.

The other question I keep rolling around in my head is whether I should go back to work. I've had mixed feelings about being a SAHM vs a working mom for a long time and this is making all the self-doubt creep in like mad. I really enjoy being home with Katie and having a chance to be there if Alex calls from school or needs me to play taxi driver for this or that. BUT I do miss the everyday interaction with other adults. Seems my blog and the needlework BBs I visit have become my biggest social outlet. It is really a vicious cycle because if Sean were making more money I could afford to get involved with moms groups and go to the Y and get out more. I might need to go back to work though to afford anything like that.

I've actually applied for two positions at a local publishing company. I applied there in March and had two interviews then, but they ended up hiring another candidate. So far they haven't even called this time. I'm confused because last time the HR person called me to tell me they selected someone else because she wanted to encourage me to apply again in the future, because I was definitely "in the running". Now they have two similiar positions open and they won't even call? I would really like to get hired there because I would be writing for crafting publications so I would be able to incorporate my crafting hobbies into my job. I also noticed a few other postions on our local job websites that I could apply for but I haven't. I guess I'm hoping I won't have to. Ultimately I don't want to go back to work unless it is for the perfect opportunity (like the publishing company). Problem is I'm starting to feel like staying home is just being selfish and I need to get out there and make some money so that DH can stay where he is at. He really likes the work at the new job - it just isn't bringing in the dough.

Well, I feel a little better getting all that off my chest. Maybe the publishing company will call on Monday.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cottage Garden Fairy

I finished another rotation on Cottage Garden Fairy and she is coming along pretty quickly. Although a bit of the lightest green color fades a bit on the fabric I chose, the contrast is really nice for the rest of the design. I'm really happy with how it is coming out.

Not too much else going on around here. I mailed out a box of clothes and shoes to someone in LA today to help in the Katrina relief efforts. I also loaded up the car with some more clothes, shoes, diapers and other stuff I had to donate and took them to one of the local TV stations. They announced today that they are taking a few semis down to the affected areas with supplies and that we could drop off donations there. At least I feel like I did something. I just hope someone gets some use out of the things I sent.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I've been watching all the coverage on TV and I feel so bad for all those people. I just cannot imagine what it would be like to live in those conditions and to lose everything so quickly. I dropped a few dollars in a jug at Walmart to donate to the victims, but it just seems like nothing. I keep looking around my house and seeing all the things I don't really need that I could donate to them. Stitching stash, clothes we've outgrown, Katie's bottles she no longer uses. I guess I could mail them to the Salvation Army in LA or MI or Alabama, but the postage would be crazy and I don't know if they really want boxes of stuff coming in the mail from all over the US. I plan to check with all the local charities here to see if they are getting together things to send and maybe I can donate through them. I know cash is what they need most, but unfortunately we are a bit cash poor right now. I have plenty of "things" to give - just not a lot of money. *sigh*

Thursday, September 01, 2005


I don't know what my problem is lately, but I seem to be frustrated with everything!

I'm frustrated with Katie because she won't take regular naps anymore. She will sometimes take about an hour nap if I stay in her room til she falls asleep, other days nothing will get her to nap. And she definitely still needs that nap cause she is sooo cranky on those days she doesn't nap. This is seriously cutting into my time to get things picked up, my stitching time, and my just general downtime. :(

I'm frustrated with Alex because he is getting to that age where he starts to question everything I tell him. He is just starting to realize mom maybe doesn't have all the answers and so he pushes me on everything it seems lately. In the grand scheme of things I guess this is a good thing as it shows he is learning to think for himself and he isn't really being sassy about it. I just find myself wanting to say "Cause I said so - and that is the only reason you need!" all the time. (For the record, I bite my tongue and explain why instead - but it is frustrating nonetheless.)

I'm frustrated with DH because his new job is not earning enough money fast enough, even though that really isn't his fault. He is a therapist and gets paid on a fee for service type basis and gets a cut of whatever the client's insurance pays. It takes F O R E V E R for the insurance company to pay the company and then for DH to see it in his paycheck. He's been working there 2 months now and still hasn't gotten his first paycheck. We are still doing okay... but I'm not sure we can do this for long.

I'm also frustrated with DH because he seems to never be home (trying to make more money) and when he is home he is catching up on paperwork for the clients he's already seen. I know none of it is his fault, but it is really difficult not to take out all the stress his extra work hours and the empty checkbook are causing me out on him.

I'm frustrated with English Garden Welcome, because the greens will not end and everytime I think I've finished a symbol, I find a stray one somewhere. I did do the swans yesterday and the blue half stitches for the water which was nice, but ended way too soon. Now I'm back to that sea of green. I may have to move on in the rotation soon because of the frustration is just too much. I'm almost to a point where I can backstitch some greenery on the bottom and I think if I do that I might at least get to feel like I accomplished something before I move on.

Lastly I'm frustrated with this darn cold me and Alex and Katie all have. We are all tired and big crabs! (Gee, ya couldn't tell after reading all this whining, huh?)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Dragon of Hope

For the past two days I've been stitching this little guy. :)

He was really a lot of fun. The design is "Dragon of Hope" by Jennifer Aikman-Smith of Dragon Dreams. The dragon is holding a globe in the pattern, but I stitched the whole ball in Kreinik 192 #8 braid to give it a crystal ball effect instead. I also changed the gold finger nails on the dragon to silver and backstitched with 3799 instead of 310.

This is one of the squares on the blanket I'm doing for my daughter. I'm going to finish it in the same style I did the Noah's Ark blanket for Wendy's baby. I'll back it with fleece and then put some sort of edging on it. 22 more squares to complete before I can finish it though!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Progress Pic

Well, it isn't much, but here is my progress on Alhambra Garden. It really is fun to stitch! :) I'm going to put it aside for awhile now cause I really want to finish English Garden Welcome. It has been a WIP since I first started a rotation back in 1999! I sort of put aside my rotation and just stitched what/when I wanted around the time I got pregnant with Katie - and I'm thinking I need to get back to a more regular rotation.

I also want to quickly finish a few pieces so I'm not sure how I'm going to get a little bit in on everything and finish what I want to with any kind of speed. For now I'm going to do another square on Katie's blanket, then I'm going to do another couple days on EGW. Then I'll probably do another square on the blanket and work on another of my WIPs. I think I'm going to do a three project type rotation. A square on the blanket, a few days on EGW, and a few days on another project of my choice. I'll keep doing this til EGW is finished and make another project a focus and put it in EGWs spot (next will probably be Cottage Garden Fairy). After I finish the blanket (probably at least a year) I'll have to think of something else - but for now I think that type rotation will work for me and allow me to actually make good progress on the blanket and have a few finishes while not completely neglecting all my WIPs.

Friday, August 26, 2005


Chatelaine is my latest needlework obsession. I've been vaguely aware of Chatelaine's existence for some years now - but only as a designer who ran mystery designs. That means you have to buy the chart and start stitching without seeing the finished product. Didn't sound appealing to me, I guess.

I've now seen several of her finished pieces and I fell in love with the Mandala Gardens. These were mysteries at one point, but the charts (with finished pictures) are now available for sale all at once. If you want to see pictures of these beautiful designs you can see them at European Cross Stitch. After selling off several charts I knew I'd never get too - and throwing in the premiums I won at this year's fair - I finally saved enough money to purchase one of the kits. Because they use a lot of yummy silks and beads, the kits are pricey. I chose Alhambra Garden for two reasons - it was among the cheaper of the Mandala Gardens, and the colors looked like it would go well in my living room.

The kit arrived yesterday and like a good little silk stitcher - I rinsed my silks first to make sure they were colorfast. In the old days I might have risked it and just not washed the piece. BUT having a 15 month old sticky-fingered kid in the house who is sure to touch the piece at one point or another meant rinsing the silks so that the piece can be washed before framing. I'm so glad I decided to rinse cause two of the silks bled. The Spanish Moss bled a little bit and the Cranberry Gloriana Princess Perle Petite bled like no tomorrow. I rinsed and rinsed several times last night and a bunch more this morning before it finally stopped bleeding. All the silks have been dried now and put on bobbins in the little floss away bags the kit came with. The kits are very well put together - each of the beads has it's own little container, sort of like the watch maker containers I have for my Mill Hills. The metallics and silks each had their own floss away bag as I mentioned which will be nice for keeping that odd ort that is long enough to use some more. I don't usually use floss away bags - but I might have to start for my specialty threads - makes everything nice and neat and you don't have to toss that 8 inches of metallic you cut off the card/spool.

After all the oggling I did over the directions and the rinsing of the silks etc. I've only finished a tiny bit of the design so far - I'll post a progress pic sometime in the next week when I have more to show. I'm hoping I can finish this one rather quickly (well quickly for a large piece) since I want to enter it in next year's fair.

Crazy me is also considering joining one of those mystery groups. After perusing through all the Chatelaine designs I'm more confident that whatever it is I'll like it at least somewhat. Also I've really liked working round robin pieces because of the group feeling, and I think this will be similiar in that regard. I'm considering the Mystery Sampler II which is supposed to have peacocks and simplicity as the theme! Sounds good to me and in keeping with the samplers I usually like. The materials are also not that expensive (relatively speaking of course) but I will need to save again and maybe by January when the group starts I'll have the funds. Probably can convince DH to kick in the last $20 or something for Christmas too if necessary.