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 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.