Tuesday, December 20, 2011

finis finis finis!

Those of you who have been reading my blog for over a year have seen these needlepoints before. But now they are finally finished!

My family has a tradition of taking turns making each other plus the parents a gift each year for Christmas. Last year was my year and I needlepointed designs from Laura J. Perin. The plan had been for me to have my box maker make me a flattish square box about 3 inches deep to fit each piece. But time got away from me and I never got the boxes ordered so I had to give my gifts with the promise of a box to come in the following year. My oldest brother who is a carpenter of course heard me say this and after Christmas came over to look at the box that was the original inspiration for my idea. My five sided dower box that I put a Quarter design in the year before. He told me he wanted to do the boxes for his year (this Christmas) and I told him my idea and showed him the photo of what I was thinking. He asked to take my dower box so he could check out how it was made and left. I knew he was making progress as he mentioned it a couple of times during the year but didn't think to ask to see the boxes. Three weeks ago he showed up at my door with five boxes. Five dower boxes. Five boxes that didn't fit any of the needlepoints.

In total guy fashion he didn't hear a word I said. He just duplicated the five sided dower box five times. Leaving me to figure out how to make my needlepoints not suck in them.

I decided I had to have mats cut for them but knew right away the finished product would look like the needlepoint and boxes had no real relationship to each other. And it would be my needlepoint and not the box that would suffer most. So I emailed Jill Rensel in desperation knowing if anyone would turn a sow's ear into silk it would be her. And she pretty much pulled off a Christmas miracle. I think they look great and they two piece look like they belong together.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birds of a Feather finis

Birds of a Feather - design by With Thy Needle and Thread

Stitched on 36 count French Vanilla

Overdyed Cotton Floss

yeah! I started this bad boy back in May. It NEVER takes me this long to finish a piece. Of course I did have life pop in now and again. :-) Bought a house, rehabbed a house, moved into said house. Dog issues and more dog issues. But she is finally done. I recently started a relationship with Jill Rensel (she did a couple of mats for me - look for the reveal next week) and I want to start getting to my back log of 100's of pieces framed now that I have somewhere to hang them. I think this will be the first piece I send her as it's the first piece I finished while in my new home. I need to date it yet so I'll always remember this year (like I could forget!).

I started on the Blackbird Designs ornament, Joy, from this years JCS Ornament issue using the silks. I bought the little kit that Drema put together. This is the first time I've used the Belle Soie Silk floss and to be perfectly honest, I wish I had not purchased them. They are divine! But I really can't forward them right now and now I want want to use them. Bad move. :-)

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Working on the last bits now. Just a couple of days to go.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

getting closer

I had actual thoughts of finishing this last weekend. :-) Well I was going great until Saturday morning when I went out to my garage to get in the car and drive to the grocery store for a few things. Dead. As in like a doorknob. With no warnings either. Sometimes when your battery is dying a slow death you have some sort of idea. Nothing until I tried to start the car. So I called my sister for a jump and she showed up about a half hour later with a new battery. She really is my super hero these days. She called her husband and told him and he instructed her to just go buy me a new one. So no car until him came several hours later with my nephew to put in the new one. But by then the day was shot. My sister hung around then for several hours and helped me put up my Christmas tree. It's Isabelle proof being fake and so far she hasn't shown the slightest interest in it so I think I'm ok. But the good ornaments are close to the top just in case she thinks they would make good chew toys.

Clancy and Aoife showing off how nice their first Christmas tree is in their new home.

So stay tuned for later in the week for hopefully a finis for the first time in months!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Part one Finis

I finished up Part One this week and I've decided to finish this one up before I start a Christmas piece. It should go quickly and I already have a good start.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Isabelle says thanks!

Isabelle had the last bits of bandage and as long as she doesn't mess with her foot too much, she doesn't have to wear her cone any more! Almost seven weeks. We have work left, I have to massage her foot and leg everyday to break down the scar tissue and she needs to do some exercises a couple times a week but for the most part this little adventure is over.

Thanks for all your warm wishes along the way.

Have a great weekend.

Monday, November 07, 2011

part two finis!

I finished up Part Two of the Birds of a Feather mystery. Yeah so what happened to Part One? As you can see I'm still working on it. :-) I'll finish that up before I start on Part Three. But I'm sure I'll put it aside to work on some Christmas stitching. I need a ton more ornaments to fill up my tree so I'm going to focus on that for now. And maybe a pillow or two. I had out all my fall/Halloween pillows and I just love them. So I want to do the same for winter/Christmas.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

By the Full Moon finis

By the Full Moon

Design by Ink Circles

32 count Ametrine by Silkweavers

I finished up By the Full Moon last night. How about that - stitching at night! :-) I LOVE this little piece and I can't wait to ornamentize it this weekend.

Jack O Lantern

Design by Casey Buonaugurino Designs

32 count hand dyed linen

I also stitched this little guy last weekend - cute and I'm going to finish it round rather than square like charted. I might add a little more dye to the background to make it a bit more orange. It came out a little lighter than I wanted but I didn't want to wait to start stitching. I figure I can just use a spray bottle and spray it on.

I started on this little guy this morning on the train ride into the office - Halloween Spot Motif Shoe by Prairie Moon. I'm doing mine on purple rather than the light green, well because I didn't have any light green linen. :-) This should be all that I get to this year but in case I have time I have two Blackbird Designs Halloween Stockings ready to stitch.

I did purchase this years JCS Halloween edition and nothing jumped out as a "have to stitch". I was hoping for a couple of non-square designs as that is pretty much all I have right now. My tree is going to look kinda boring. :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

something new

As I mentioned last week, I've been feeling like working on something fall/Halloween related. So I picked out several Halloween smalls to work on. This is actually the second I've completed/ started over the past few days. I finished one already but forgot to take a picture. Hopefully I can finish it and get it on my spooky tree before next Monday. This one if from a past issue of Just Cross Stitch's Halloween issue from Tracey Horner of Ink Circles on a piece of Silkweaver. I love it. :-) And it's been a great change and I hope to get one more stitched before I sit down and finish the small stash I have from the last couple of years.

Aoife (e-fa) says thanks for all the warm words. She is still basking in the glow. And so am I. We didn't make the draw for the next trial in the area so we have nothing upcoming until November 25th. I kinda wanted to strike again quickly after her success. But we will continue to practice, practice, practice!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Yeah Aoife!

Two years in the making - Aoife's first Novice Standard Qualifying score and it was a first place with 100 points! We still have a long way to go before she is at the excellent level and I'm sure it might be several more months before she earns another one, but at least she is on the road.

Not to be outdone, Clancy qualified each day in Novice Jumpers with Weavers Preferred. :-)

Isabelle had her first physical therapy appointment last Friday and her outlook is excellent! She will still be in the splint for at least two weeks and for two weeks after a soft bandage so that means the cone for another four weeks at least. We are also going back to the office every Friday for the next six weeks ($$$) for laser treatments and physical therapy. In just two and a half weeks in the splint the muscles on the right side of her body are already larger and her left leg is getting smaller.

But the vet cleared her some freedom during the day when I can keep an eye on her. She spent her first free afternoon sleeping on the couch with the other girls. And she can also go back to obedience class. :-) We lost our space in agility class and will have to restart at some point in late winter. It is always tough to find beginners classes in my area as the really good agility instructors only like to give advanced classes. But I'm hoping I can get her as far as an intermediate class on my own. I have trained three other dogs in agility and do know the beginnings at this point. :-)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

feeling fall

While the progress is adding up on this piece I'm really thinking I want to push it aside for a fall piece. Even a couple of fall/Halloween ornaments would be cool. I haven't purchased the JCS Halloween issue yet and I'm wondering if it's worth it this year? Of course by the time it would show up I'd only have a week or so to stitch. :-) I should have thought of this a couple of weeks ago. :-)

Isabelle is doing super! I had her stitches pulled on Tuesday and the surgeon thinks she is doing great. Almost full range of motion where her ligaments and tendons were cut. He didn't think she would need to be in the splint for the full six weeks but is going to let the rehab vet make the final call. Our first evaluation is tomorrow at TOPS. The place is super expensive but they are the very best in the area. I'm hoping I can stop restricting her activity level somewhat so she can spend more time out of her crate. I'm sure that would make her happy also.

Then on Saturday and Sunday Aoife and Clancy have an agility trial. Our first since a terrible trial in early July. I had just closed on my house and was under a huge amount of stress and we truly sucked. I should have known this would be the case and just passed on the trial but there was always a chance that I would not get the house and I didn't want to spend the weekend knowing one of my favorite trials was happening and I was not there. Wish us luck - especially Aoife. After two years I'm still trying to earn her first novice standard qualifying score and if I don't see some movement there soon I'm going to pull her from agility and focus on Clancy who is doing a bit better at trials. I only have so much money these days and I have to put my money where I can get results and Clancy is closer to his MaCH that Aoife is for sure.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Momentum lost

I was just starting to feel like I was getting my groove back when I found a monster of a counting error. I had been just living with all the others but this was a half a row mistake. And one I could not ignore. So frog, frog, frog. I don't know about you, but when this happens I tend to walk away for a while. Picked her up again yesterday and got past the frogged part.

Isabelle is starting to feel better and she is having her stitches removed today. Hopefully today I'll get some sort of estimate on how much longer she needs to be splinted. She also has an appointment with a physical therapist on Friday to start a treatment plan. Cross your fingers that we don't have to go the full six weeks. She is miserable in the crate.

Monday, October 03, 2011

long weekend

I didn't get much cross stitching done over the weekend - actually none. :-) Any progress I made was on the train this morning. I did sew some curtains for my front room bow window and I cut out some fabric for a valance that I'm making for the dining room. That was good progress given everything else I had going on.

It was a long weekend taking care of Isabelle. The poor baby is in pain and can't understand why I won't let her play anyway. I'm supposed to keep her on a leash when I let her outside but that proved impossible because she is so strong and determined and just pulls my arms off. The best I've managed is to keep her from launching herself off the deck. She still tries to run but usually stops short when she realizes just how much it hurts. It's going to be a long month.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Poor Isabelle or a tale of how stupid I can be

On Wednesday some time during the afternoon Isabelle got her paws (literally) on my brand new food processor blade. It had been sitting on a shelf in the kitchen and she somehow knocked it down. She proceeded to play with it (the vet and I could tell from all the tiny cuts on her paws) and eventually sliced open an artery in her left foot where the paw meets the leg - what I would call her wrist if she were human. I can only assume at some point she got tired of batting it around or it started to hurt and she left it alone but on it's side with the blades up in the air. Then she must have stepped on it hard and the blade cut across her paw, back over her wrist and back up her leg a couple of inches. She almost died from the blood loss. I got home from work a little after 6:00pm and I knew something was wrong before I even got out of my car - Iz didn't meet me at the gate. That was only the first clue - the rest of the night was a nightmare. There was blood on the deck as I walked into the house, in the kitchen it was everywhere and I called for her and she came staggering out of the living room barely conscience. By one of the happy circumstances in life my sister was in the driveway having brought me dinner and was waiting for me. I ran outside and got her and the three of us were off to the emergency vet seconds later. I live very close to an excellent emergency vet that is open 24/7/365 that also has a blood bank. She ended up with a blood transfusion and surgery to repair the artery, ligaments, tendons and muscles that were sliced - she has stitches three layers deep! Iz is splinted and the vet needs me to confine her to a crate for the time she is splinted, four to six weeks. My poor baby! I feel so awful. That blade should never have been sitting on a shelf. I've since gone through the entire house and didn't find any other hazards but of course the damage is done.

I really didn't notice just how much blood there was in the house but my sister did. She was on the phone in minutes calling people to come and start to clean - she told me later she didn't want me to come home to that if Iz died. I of course had to leave Isabelle - the transfusion took hours and they couldn't do the surgery until she was stable. I didn't even know if she would going to make it until the vet called me at 11;00pm. So I got home about a hour and a half after the cleaning had started. And was still shocked by the blood. It was everywhere. My sister wouldn't let me go into the bathroom - apparently she must have settled in there at some point for a long time. Throughout the house there was blood on the walls, of course furniture and the curtains. By the time I went to bed at midnight the worst of it was taken care of and I and I was to go to bed with the great news that Iz would make it.

I was able to pick Isabelle up from the vet at 10:00am yesterday. She's very uncomfortable and hates the cone and crate. I have a better cone coming early next week called a BiteNot and she is in the super sized crate that a friend gave me a month ago when she was cleaning out her house so Iz can turn around and get in and out without much trouble. The pugs are leaving her alone for the most part and I've been working from home. She gets potty breaks every couple ofAdd Image hours but no toys and no excitement. Hard to do with a 10 month old lab puppy. It's going to be a long six weeks. Once her splint comes off she will need to be evaluated for the possibility of more surgery but physical therapy will be a must.

The pugs rallying around Isabelle.

So all the bedroom plans are off for now. The fund is gone to pay to fix my baby. Money well spent and it's not like the bedroom is going anywhere.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

a happy surprise

I've moved onto the tree portion of Birds of a Feather. My counting is all over the place! You can sure tell how distracted I was when I started it. But no big deal - I'll just work around the miscounting and no one will ever be the wiser.

Thanks so much for your kind remarks about my new house. I'm having a blast and all I want to do is stay home and work more. :-) And work on quilts, and pictures and painting....

On Monday I received in the mail a most unexpected bonus. Some how my mortgage company double payed my home owners insurance and I received a refund of almost $1,000! That's the drywall, insulation, new sub floor and paint for my bedroom! I can start the tear down this weekend! That is so much earlier than the January date I was hoping for. Of course I have to clean out the room now. I ended up putting everything that wouldn't fit into the other two bedrooms into the main bedroom the day I moved in (it was against my better judgement but I let it happen anyway). Not being able to move into the "real" bedroom put all my plans for the other two rooms into chaos. My bedroom is 13 x 18, what will be my sewing room is 12 x 8 and what will be the spare room is 8 x 9. You can see how not being able to set up my bedroom in the what is huge compared to the other two rooms set up a domino effect on storage. Everything extra that should have a home in the two spare rooms ended up in the main bedroom and my bed and dresser is totally taking up all the space in the sewing room. I call it the room of bed. :-) So really before I start to gut the bedroom I have to move everything that is currently there and move it to the garage. And I need to make space for that too! I have somehow filled up a two car garage that is totally full with all my extra stuff and holiday things and only one car. ;-) So it will take at least one weekend maybe two just to get ready to start the tear down. So some of the money will be used for floor to ceiling shelves in the gargage so I can stack things much more orderly. Right now to get to one box in the gargage I have to move ten. I hate that.

A long weekend ahead of me.... It needs to be empty before I start tearing out the ceiling - there is blown insulation in the attic above and it's all going to come down on my head and everything else the second I start. What a mess it's going to be! But I'm so glad it's going to happen sooner than later!

Monday, September 26, 2011

getting to the new normal

I'm finally finding my new normal. I've been in the house a month now and yesterday I actually got my sewing space together finally (new curtains and slip covers soon!) and I stitched when the day's work was done. Here is my progress on Birds of a Feather. Back to the border. I don't want that left when the guts of the piece are done. I'd never go back to the rest! :-)

I took a bunch of photos of the house yesterday complete with shots of the dogs throughout.

I have a long living room and this is what is looks like from the front door. I divided it into two sections - one the tv area and one what I'm calling a book reading area. I need to recover / slipcover the 1980's colored green chairs to the right still but they were a bargain at a garage sale two weekends ago - $22.00 for the pair and just what I was looking for in front of the bow window.

This was the main bathroom before I got my hands on it. It was a mess and I took it down to the studs. New everything. I'm actually still working on it - I still have to put down some trim and finish sealing the tile floor I put down. The bath is small. On the someday wish list is knocking out a wall to make the bathroom bigger.

Here it is now. Chocolate brown and white. I love it.

My dining room is right next to the living room and is open to the kitchen. In fact all the living room, dining room and kitchen are open to each other. It was one of the things I liked most about the house. Here is my china cabinet with some of my depression era glass.

One of my brothers made me a corner cabinet several years ago. I pulled down some cabinets in the kitchen that overlooked the dining space and I lost all my glassware storage. So I made a bar out of my cabinet! I'm so happy with how it turned out. It stores all my bar ware, wine and liquor.

The kitchen area is really low on storage so I put in a pantry in the laundry room. This is still a work in progress - I have another cabinet to buy and install on top of the one shown and I need to add a couple of shelves to the actual laundry space. But I found another space to show off my quilts! They are everywhere. I'm so happy that I finally have space to live with more than one or two at a time.

A shot looking into my kitchen from the dining room - one of two rooms that still needs a ton of work. But the money has dried up and I have much more pressing issues to deal with as I find more money. The kitchen works and I put in all new stainless appliances - there is an peninsula of cabinets and counter top on the other side. I'm planning on putting in a slate tile back splash in the coming weeks and as soon as I have finished doing the outside of the house, I will start to redo the kitchen - a couple of years down the road at least.

This was before looking into the kitchen island area and dining room.

Now after. :-)

The front hall before.

The front hall after (Isabelle is looking out the screen door hoping one of the neighborhood kids comes over to play with her - they come over almost everyday after I get home from work and several times during the weekends). I've haven't touched the front door yet accept to replace the screens on the screen door and Isabelle proof it. :-) I'm replacing the doors shortly and didn't want to waste the time or money to make it look better. If I can't get to it before Thanksgiving, I'll paint the door a nice bright white and get rid of the nasty flat grey color (which by the way is the same color of the siding outside - I can't wait to make it a nice light almond/yellow color with green shutters).

Looking into the house from the front door before.

After. One of my best garage sale finds of the summer. A cabinet made from old barn wood. It was being used as a tv cabinet and has the type of doors that slide into the unit to get out of the way. The plan is to remove those type of hinges and put on the type that just open wide - I'll add shelves and put quilts on the doors to display them and put them on the shelves.

No photos of the bedrooms yet. I ran out of money before I could do over my bedroom. There is a crawl space and there was standing water in it when I bought the place. I've put in a sump pump and drain tile so it's now all nice and dry. The bedroom however is where the crawl access is (in master closet). There was a ton of mold in the room and I had to rip up the floor and I need still to replace all the drywall - walls and ceiling and all the windows in both the bedroom and the adjoining bathroom. And as noted earlier I'm out of cash. So this means I'm sleeping in the larger of the two remaining bedrooms - one is going to be my sewing room and the smaller of the two, my spare room. I'm hoping to start on the bedroom in January or so.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

be it ever so humble

Last Friday was officially move in day and the truck and movers were at my parents house nice and early. They were gone from my house by 1:00pm and I spent the rest of the day settling in.

It's been several long days for the dogs and by Sunday they were all pooped out. Iz is enjoying a nap on the couch.

I now have a doggy door the all four of the dogs come and go as they please. Molly was enjoying the last bit of sun on the deck Saturday.

Clancy and Aoife were enjoying the early morning sun on Sunday.

Even Hunter got to come over and visit and play!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

still here!

I can't believe it's been a month since I last posted. I hardy feels like a couple of weeks as gone by - days even - heck, hours even! I haven't had time at night to stitch and my train rides are for catching up on sleep. My daily schedule goes something like this: alarm goes off at 4:30am, feed and water dogs and get ready for work. Leave house at 5:50am to make 6:13am train downtown. 7:40am arrive at work. 3:55pm leave office for 4:13pm train. Walk in door of parents house at 5:30pm. Feed dogs and change clothes - 5:45pm leave for my house. Work, work, work - leave 9:00pmish for parents house. 9:30pm go to bed to do it all again the next day. The weekends only vary by a bit. Get up at 6:00am - leave by 7:00am for house to work, work, work. Leave around 6:oopm or so to pack more. 9:30pm - go to bed.

I'm still busy getting my house ready to move into. All the walls are painted with the notable exception of my bedroom and master bath. There was a leak in the roof (from a poorly installed satellite dish) and mold in the drywall as a result. That means the room needs to be re-drywalled and taped. Oh and I pulled up the moldy carpet also so I need a new floor. And that takes money and I'm out of money.

So I'll be moving into my sewing room for the time being. It's a smallish room but my bed just might fit. :-) I don't know what I'll do with my dresser and other things. So the plan right now is to move in next Friday! After almost two months of painting, pulling, replacing, fixing, fencing and generally being a slave to the house, I'll be moving in. I have two major tasks to finish before September 2nd - finish main bathroom - it was gutted to the studs three weeks ago and dog proof the deck. The pugs can get through the railing and the lab can jump over the railing. It's going to be a challenge because all my ideas cost somewhere around $300. And as mentioned before I'm pretty much out of cash and credit. And I so want it to at least look nice. I spend a lot of time on the deck and I'm not looking forward to seeing an eyesore every time I go outside.

My new fence is great and the dogs love being able to come and go at will. At least they can when I can keep an eye on them. All four dogs tested the deck withing hours of the fence going up. Clancy and Aoife can get through no problem and within minutes of the yard being dog proof I let Isabelle outside and she put her paws on the railing and turned around and looked at me as if to say, hey, I can go over! Na, na, na, na, na. It's a major problem still.

Once I finally move the fun will just be starting. I have a ton of sewing to do - curtains and pillows and such. I can't wait for that. I actually thought I was going to have time last weekend but some family help showed up and they helped me do some tasks that I couldn't manage on my own so I put the machine away. So look for photos in the coming weeks. Before and after - I can't believe the difference. I'm really proud of what I've accomplished.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stitching for a change

Despite the fact that I haven't put a needle to thread in weeks, I still drag my stitching bag with me everyday on the train to and from work. The last couple of days, I've even stitched! I put down the border that is Part I of Birds of a Feather and got started on Part II. I enjoy stitching letters and they do fly so I'm hoping that feeling progress will compel me to continue to work on this piece. Especially now that I have some where to hang it.

Every night when I get home from work I load a couple of dogs into the car and drive to my new house to work on it. I have completed two rooms with paint, new switch plates and the like and scrubbed them within an inch of their lives. :-) I'm happy with how they turned out. For now they are starting to fill up with boxes as I bring over a couple every time I drive over and so does my dad. At the rate I'm going all I'll need to move on moving day will be the last couple of boxes of things that I couldn't live without and my furniture.

This week the center of house is having a couple of beams in the underside of the house jacked up and replaced. Over the decades the medal had deteriorated by water dripping on them from the bathroom and laundry room and the center of the house was sagging a bit. And of course I noticed. :-) Then I can start to gut the floors and drywall in the bathroom and laundry room. When I have a new bathroom in place and the laundry room straightened out I can move in all the way. I'll have to live with the kitchen the way it is for the time being because I have other things to replace/repair that are more urgent - like new bedroom windows. But I will give it fresh paint and new fixtures and lights.

I'll post photos soon of some of the before and after - after I move in furniture and hang pictures and the like.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's mine!

I closed on my house Tuesday. I felt like the attorneys, closers and agents should have said "congratulations, we regret to inform you it's all yours." :-) It's been a stressful process and I haven't had much time to do anything but stuff that involved the close. The reality is the hard part starts now and that's fixing up my fixer upper. First on my list is get into the crawl space and fix the moisture problem and get my fence for the dogs installed. Then I can work on the bathrooms and kitchen with a goal on moving in before Labor Day.

Monday, June 13, 2011

House woes again

Sorry for the crappy photo - my camera ran out of juice and I had to use my phone. :-) I'm not making as much progress on my mystery as I would like. Duh, maybe I need to stitch to make progress? LOL! I spent three days in NY last week on business and I spent the rest of the week catching up on work and sleep. I should be getting the next installment in the mail any day and I was hoping to be done with part one before the part two came out.

I'm about 24 to 48 hours away from loosing the house - again. The seller has turned out to be uncooperative as can be. I needed to get in last weekend to start work on the FHA changes and they would not give me permission. So now I'm down to one weekend. And I still don't have "official" (written letter) from them for this coming weekend. The sellers agent says he can't contact him at all but what is funny about that is my sister drove by the house on Saturday and they were there and I drove by on Sunday to chat with a neighbor and they were there also. So much for that. But I did have one good piece of news, the sellers agent said he would take down the fence during the week so I won't have to do to take care of that piece of the FHA requirements. That little piece of help might turn out to be the difference in getting the house and not getting it.

Stay tuned - never a dull moment here. :-)