Thursday, October 23, 2008

Almost Friday!

Another week is almost over--thank goodness! I remember as a child thinking that each week seemed interminable. Now, as a middle-aged adult, it seems like Monday morning starts a roller coaster ride.

Still working through things I've finished and looking at them, and I thought I'd post a few more. As usual, I'm not sure who the designer is for the piece; it's probably Heart in Hand or Bent Creek, but I wouldn't want to swear to that. I probably also originally stitched this for my sister. She's got two yellow cats--One Ton and Two Tone. The cat on this piece reminds me of Two. The girls got those rather bizarre names as kittens. My brother-in-law found one kitten in the yard and brought it in to my sister. While she was getting things ready for a teeny kitten (had her eyes open, but wasn't really ready to be away from her mother), he appeared with another one and said, "Well, here's number two." For some reason, One and Two stuck as their names, and as they grew older (and One got chubbier), they became One Ton and Two Tone (she's yellow and white).

This one is a Bent Creek design that will one day be framed and hang in my office at school. I like the school books and the cat sitting on them, but I'm still a little creeped out by the glasses that make the cat look like an owl. I guess I'll get used to it! It was a fun and easy stitch, as I recall. I think I stitch more for the therapeautic value than for anything else these days. My job seems to be becoming more and more high stress, so when I come home in the evening, I want to sit down and unwind. For some reason, counting squares and making stitches makes me happy.

Friday, October 17, 2008


I'm so glad to see the end of another week! My big plans for the night include going through my stash and kitting up some projects. Of course, in doing that, I will discover that I need this color of floss for one project and a piece of fabric for another. Guess that means I'll have to make an order from my favorite online shop--123Stitch. Oh, dear. LOL!

I just ordered Emma's Garden (Lavender and Lace). We've got a good friend whose granddaughter is named Emma. Their family lost everything in the flooding from Hurricane Ike's storm surge. I'm going to stitch the piece for her as quickly as I can so that when they either move into their rebuilt home or a new one, she will have something to help decorate the place.

I am anxious to get my stash out and go through it. I packed it all up a month ago in preparation for Hurricane Ike, and it's still in Rubbermaid containers. I think it's safe to unpack it now. At least until next year.

Hurricane Ike, like Hurricane Rita, has been a defining moment in the life of my community. We suffered so much damage in this little corner of Southeast Texas, and much of the time, we feel like the rest of the world not only has ignored us, but never heard of us to begin with. It's a bad feeling for all of us, both those who lost everything they owned due to the flooding and those of us who were so fortunate and didn't lose anything. While my house may not have been damaged, my town was, and it makes me heartsick to think of it.

Ah, on to something cheerier. My dogs are being groomed tomorrow--I hope. My groomer, who is also one of my best friends, slipped and hurt herself earlier this week, so I hope she's able to get the kids done out, as we say. They haven't been groomed in almost three months, so it will be a big job to get all four of them done. After they are groomed, I will try to get some pictures of them to post here. After all, all of us proud moms like to brag on our children.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Butterfly is Finished!

One down, and how many more to go? I finished the first of the butterflies on Flower Power. Stitching over 1 nearly made me crazy. I wear magnifying glasses (those cheap little cheaters you can buy at the Dollar Store or Joann's Fabrics), but even with the help, I still had trouble seeing what I was doing. I think I did most of it by feel. I'm not looking forward to the rest of those little suckers.

In other Flower Power news, I'm trying to finish up the leaves and stems that go with the coneflowers so that I can move on to the next group of flowers. I'm aggravated with myself because I'm one stitch off, and no matter how many times I think I've corrected for it, it keeps coming back to kick me in the head. I think I miscounted on the second flower, and there is no way I'm frogging all of that work. I'll just have to keep correcting and hope I don't end up way off somewhere.

Here's a close-up of the butterfly. I can spot all sorts of things I did wrong on it, but I'm hopeful that when all is said and done, that it won't look too bad.

I'm off to catch the very end of Dancing With the Stars. For some reason, it's imperative that I know who has been sent home this week. My hope is that it's Cloris Leachman, but I think she'll be there for another week or two.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ms. Margaux Hemingway

I didn't get as much stitching done over the weekend as I would have liked to, but I did get some housework done. Clean floors and clean clothes went a long way toward making Monday morning more bearable. Tonight, while I watch Dancing with the Stars I will be working on that dadgum butterfly. Maybe I will triumph tonight and finish it.

I was watching the dogs and cat a few minutes ago, and I got to thinking about what an odd cat my Margaux is. I got her in 2005, just a month or so after Hurricane Rita had hit my home town. She and her sister, who also came to live with me, had weathered the storm outdoors, and after the storm, someone captured them and dropped them on my veterinarian's doorstep. Originally, Ellie (the sister) went home with a vet tech, but after she was disruptive in that household, she came to live with me, too.

When I took Margaux and Ellie in, I already had four cats. Yep, that's right--four other cats. The three older cats didn't last long after Rita. It seems that the stress of storms is often too much for old people and old pets to bear. That left me with Frankie, Margaux, and Ellie.

Now, I know that many people won't agree with my actions, but I do let my cats go outdoors. I live in a very quiet neighborhood, well away from a busy street, so the cats can wander around my house and a few neighbors' homes. Ellie went missing first, and Frankie followed her a few months later. I think that both of them moved in with neighbors. I thought that Margaux would probably get tired of life in the "poodle house" and join the others.

Well, apparently Margaux is enjoying being the queen of the household and the ruler of the poodles. As I watched them today, I was struck by how happy she looked as each one of the dogs stuck his or her nose in her face and gave her a good sniff. She particularly likes to cuddle up at night with Rory, my six-year-old female. The two of them bathe each other before finally falling asleep.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What to do on a Saturday Afternoon?

I've been sitting around the house all day today, telling myself that I should either stitch or do housework. So far all I've done is watch reruns of The Rachel Zoe Project. I think I'm about to get motivated enough to start stitching.

I thought that I'd post some pictures of other cross stitch projects I've completed. This dragon was done for my nephew, but it's never been framed. When I took it to the framer's for an estimate, I nearly fainted. So, it's still sitting in my pile of finished projects until I feel flush enough to get it framed properly. I wish I could remember the designer for it; I know it's not the Theresa Wentzler dragon. I bought that design, looked at the pattern and floss list, and said, "No way!" This dragon took me long enough to complete. I'd be working on the TW design until I died!

The cats and dogs design is one I stitched while my mother was having chemotherapy and radiation treatments for lung cancer. The waiting area had a whole wall of windows, and I could stitch a little bit every day while she had radiation treatment. On the days she had chemo, I got to put in quite some time stitching. It wasn't the most pleasant of places to stitch, but it helped me pass the time. Mom recovered from lung cancer, and lived for a couple more years before other issues caught up to her. Every time I look at this piece, though, I remember the comments I got from others in the waiting area, particularly an elderly male patient. He would come check my progress every day and tell me that I needed to stitch faster. He wanted to make sure I finished it before he finished treatment so he could see what it looked like. The piece is stitched on a piece of 10 count material with Caron Wildflowers (or maybe it's the other thicker thread). Some day I will have this finished into a pillow. For now, it's safely tucked away.

The reason much of my "stuff" is tucked away is because of my four-legged children. I have four standard poodles and one cat, and they are rough on everything! They don't always intend to be, but I really wouldn't want them to have much contact with this piece once it's made into a pillow. And, since the house is maintained for their comfort, I'm sure that one or the other of them would want to put his/her head on it. My oldest guy, Spenser, is in the picture on the right. He's 12 years old, and he is the absolute apple of my eye. Maybe someday I'll blog a little bit about his show career.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Now I've Done It!

I've finally created my own blog. I don't know that I have that much to blog about, but I wanted somewhere to share the things I love the most: mystery novels, counted cross stitch, and poodles.

The big thing on my mind right now is cross stitch. More particularly, a piece that is kicking my behind right now: Flower Power by Crossed Wing Collection. I've been working on it for about six weeks, and I felt like I was making pretty good progress. I've finished the coneflowers, even though I miscounted on one and had to make some adjustments to the pattern as I went along. I'm almost through with the leaves and stems that go with the coneflowers.

Then I started the first butterfly. Instead of stitching over 2, I'm doing it over 1. Let me tell you, my eyes are too old for over 1, even with magnifying glasses. I'm about two-thirds of the way through with it, and I'm not super pleased with it. Up close, I think it looks kind of lumpy; from a distance, it seems to be okay, though.

When I finish the butterfly, I'll post a new picture of it, but for now, here's the last picture I took of my progress.

It's easy to tell I'm new at the blogging thing. I'm not sure about how the picture is going to turn out! Oh, well.

Back to the butterfly!