Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving thoughts and a Christmas exchange

Thanksgiving week already – where has 2008 gone? It always seems that the hours from now until the end of the year just fly by as we try to fit 25 hours into every day. I just wanted to stop for a moment before the mad rush of Christmas and take stock of what I have to be thankful for. It's easy to forget with the economic chaos and seemingly constant rush of bad news from the media.

1. I have a job and a paycheck. Sure it makes me crazy at times but I get paid well, have good benefits, and my job has gotten better in the last 2 years. There were a few years where it was really the pits but I feel much better than I used to about it. Not to mention I can work from home when I want to, and I have some wonderful co-workers that help me get through the rough patches.

2. I have a dear husband and 2 doggies who love me - even when I’m crabby! I have 2 brothers, a sister, and my mom who all put up with me. I was raised by hard-working parents who taught us all to do what’s right in life, even when you don’t want to. All of my siblings and I are on good terms and that's more than a lot of people can say.

3. I am in reasonably good health – need to lose weight and exercise more but things could be a lot worse. I lost 3 friends this year who were in my age group. One had battled breast cancer for 10 years but the other 2 were complete shocks to me. It really makes you think about your life.

4. I love my home. When I lay down each night I am thankful that I have a comfy & warm bed, I have plenty to eat (too much really), and when I put my head down on my pillow, I feel safe and secure. Every night I think about all the people in this world who live in poverty and misery and don't have a safe and comfortable place to sleep. It’s very humbling. When I find myself thinking I “need” this or that for the house I try remind myself that I used to live in a studio apt in Chicago with a lot less. It seems at times that all we do is consume and find new ways to spend money. Bigger TV’s, nicer cars, etc. It’s easy to get caught up in it all and forget the basics.

5. I’m never bored with life or myself. I have so many interests. Not only my hobbies like stitching and quilting, but I will never get time to read all the wonderful books I’d like to. I always wanted to learn French (and now so I can read their blogs!), take some history classes, travel more, learn about photography, take piano lessons, study graphic arts, take a watercolor class, I could go on and on. There’s so much to do and never enough time! I’m sure some of you know people who don’t have hobbies – I do and I find it just plain strange!

For all my blogging friends, hope you have a wonderful holiday season whether you are with family , friends, or by yourself. The internet has opened up so much to us – no matter what your interests are, you can find someone in the world who shares it. We can “meet” people from far away that we would never otherwise know. I definitely feel withdrawal if I’m without my computer for very long! Since I started joining bulletin boards and online groups almost 10 years ago I have learned SO much from other stitchers, quilters, and hobbyists. I am truly thankful that we can share with each other.

And speaking of sharing and friends from afar, I received this wonderful Christmas ornament for the SBEBB exchange. It’s from Alison in Australia. Isn’t it just WONDERFUL? She is so creative using the little hanger and the clothespins. I just love it! I have seen Alison's work for years especially on the Shepherd's Bush bulletin board. Alison also included some extra goodies – I already ate the Cadbury's chocolate so it’s not in the picture ha ha. I am just finishing up my own ornament for the exchange and will send it winging across the Atlantic tomorrow. Alison is way ahead of me that’s for sure!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

DT Sampler Gameboard in the Finish pile

I'm happy dancing and scratching another project off my list. WAHOO!! I finally finished this on Tuesday, I am SO glad. This was an RR that went a bit awry (long story) requiring lots of rework on my part not to mention being visited by a virtual herd of frogs! (what do you call a group of frogs...) But here it is and it was worth the rework (click to see it better)

I have been working on my "start list" for guilt-free January. I'm so looking forward to some new starts after slaving away most of this year on my UFO list. I've been watching the mailbox every day for some sky-blue linen I ordered to use in an ornament exchange. I need to get stitching on it ASAP but I guess it's my own fault for not having ordered it earlier. Why is it that no matter how much fabric stash you have, you don't have the right color & count for a new project? It sure seems that way most of the time. Hurry up Mr. Mailman!!

Anyway, here's what I have so far on my January start list:

  1. Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice neighborhood - being done as part of Vonna's Me, Myself & I blog group. I have been working hard to identify patterns for my buildings and other key elements. I found lots of good info on the internet about the British sites used in filming the movie and then I tried to match house patterns to those, etc. As soon as the rest of my patterns come in I can start figuring out a layout of sorts.
  2. Beatrix Potter Quaker SAL - Hazel set this group up for next year and I'm so glad as the pattern has been in my stash since it came out.
  3. Quaker Christmas from Bygone Stitches
  4. New quilt to hang in my sewing room - I have at least 3 that I want to make but not sure which one will win out for first start. Since I repainted my sewing room about 6 months ago I don't have any quilts hanging because what I had didn't look good with the new colors.

These are just the big things. I am searching out linens and just ordered some Vicki Clayton silks to see if I can find some of the colors I need. Silks have gotten so expensive I am trying to economize some on my projects. I have so-o-o-o many things I want to stitch! I keep my pattern inventory in a little database and I did a report and found I have over 400 patterns! How is this possible? It doesn't seem like it (really!) and some of them are books with multiple items in them. And yet I want to stitch them all! If I was to calculate out how long it would take to stitch all those based on my finishing history, I think I would have to live to be as old as Methuselah! I have to take the Scarlett O'Hara approach - "I'll think about that tomorrow". :)

I picked up a small pre-lit Christmas tree at Costco this week. I just couldn't face putting up the big artificial tree (not a pre-lit) we have this year, it is so much work. We have to move some of our sectional from the family room into the garage, and it takes at least 2 or 3 evenings to get it all done. Not to mention having to crawl on my stomach on our tile floor under the big tree trying to put on the treeskirt, and getting my arms all scratched up from fluffing out the branches and putting on the lights. I'm feeling too old for all that this year I guess. This new little tree is in a decorative pot and just 6' tall but it will be a lot less work. The hard part is going to be deciding which of my ornaments will get to 'come out' this year as I have way too many to fit on this little tree. I just have to have some kind of tree though or it doesn't feel like Christmas to me.

Well the 18-lb Butterball is in the freezer and I have already done part of my Thanksgiving grocery shopping. I think there will only be 4 of us but hubby wants lots of leftovers so I got a big turkey. DH cooks our turkey out on the gas grill and I do the rest. I'm off to the drycleaners with the tablecloth today - I'm getting smarter about what I can and cannot get done. Some years I have worked so hard that by the time dinner comes I am just exhausted.

Thanks to all who stop by - I so appreciate it and love having this opportunity to share our needlework passion.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

UFO finish - 14 years in the making

I finally finished this sampler Friday night. I started this band sampler in 1994 - not sure why I never finished it as it wasn't hard to do. Just one of those things I guess! This is one of a set of 4 seasonal patterns from Just Nan called "Autumn Haze". I love the little beaded grapes. This was my oldest stitching UFO so very glad to cross it off my list. :)

I did the "Winter" sampler from this set in 1992 and it's been rolled up in tissue paper ever since. It was a class I took when I first moved to Phoenix. I had a hard time photographing it as the colors are very light - cream, ice blue and a few pink tones. It's really quite pretty in real life. I'm going to wait until I get "Spring" and "Summer" done and then get all 4 of them framed using the same frame moulding but maybe some variation in the mats to highlight the stitching.

I'm concentrating now on finishing up my Sampler Gameboard. I'm stitching the last row of houses and then I have to complete the left border. Haven't had too much stitching time this week as we were in the midst of getting new kitchen countertops. Wahoo! We came upon a real good sale on some granite and decided to finally replace our old countertops which were tile. Tile is such a pain with the grout and all. Anyway, guess you could say we're doing our best to keep the economy afloat! I had emptied all of the lower cabinets and spent yesterday cleaning, putting down shelf liner and putting everything back. It's nice to have them all ship-shape and clean and I sorted through and got rid of a few things along the way. There's so much odd kitchen stuff you have to keep for the few times you use it - I have a lot of holiday items etc. They take up a lot of room but you can't get rid of it all either. So Monday the workers will finish the backsplash and then we can sit back and enjoy it.