Saturday, September 30, 2006

Thank You, Isabelle and Violette!

When the mail came today, Eric came inside and said "you're becoming very worldly, you got something from France", and I clapped my hands because I knew it had to be my Crazy Cat Lady Exchange! It turns out that Isabelle in Paris was the one stitching for me, and she and Violette put together some amazing gifts. Violette sent the three mice for Hamlet, Othello and Romeo. The little yarn kitty and the pillow were for me! I love the little kitty, it is so sweet and has the daintiest little whiskers. (And you know the yarn obsession I am having lately!). Isabelle also stitched this gorgeous pillow. I have so been wanting to see one of these in person, to figure out how to make one, because they are just so cute. She used kitty fabric on the front and back and on the covered buttons, and the inside is muslin (which I love the feel of). The design she stitched was a freebie from Stitchy Kitty and Isabelle says she stitched it with hand-dyed fibers to soften the hues. I just love this! She and Violette sent along a cute card as well.


Romeo and Hamlet had a ball with those little mice this afternoon. I have fished them out from under the couches several times. I am too slow to get an action shot though, so here they are contemplating their new toys.

And here is Othello...this is about as active as he gets. I can't believe I actually got pretty decent photos of all three of them in the same day! Thank you again, Isabelle and Violette...Hamlet, Othello, Romeo and I appreciate it!

Photos of my Just Nan RR to come - hopefully tomorrow I should be done with it!

I am grateful for friends in Paris.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Me in the City...well, Chicago



Nicki, thanks so much for that link to the Natural History Museum, that place looks cool! I too have a thing for museums...of any kind. So, now as promised, I will continue with my "what I did on my fall vacation" editorial. Up above in that photo is the harbor. Our hotel was within walking distance of this, and I just love this photo where you can see the skyline. It was so nice to wander along here and see all the sailboats, and just feel the breeze. Our second day in Chicago, we went to the Shedd Aquarium, which was amazing. Their Beluga Whale just had a baby in July, and the baby was finally out of quarantine, so we got to see it. Funny, because when we were in Chicago for Thanksgiving, one of the dolphins had just given birth at the Brookfield Zoo. After the Shedd, we walked over to see Buckingham Fountain. A couple were taking their wedding photos just as we got there, which was kind of cool. In fact, I saw more wedding parties out and about taking photos than I have ever seen...it must be a thing in Chicago, or maybe just the beautiful weather? Anyway, here is the fountain.

Just an amazing photo as well. I love the sound of big fountains like this. It has a sound all of its own, not quite like the ocean, not quite like a waterfall. And you could feel the cool spray of it, as the breeze took hold of the water. So relaxing.

Then we went over to Millennium Park, which was a new experience for Eric. They built this after he left, so he'd never seen it. This is part of the area, it is this huge silvery metallic sculpture that reflects everything in it. From the side, it just looks like a huge egg but when you get around to the other side of it, you can see it has a bend in the middle. We took a pic of ourselves in its reflection. There was a Celtic Festival going on nearby, so we walked over to it and had some food, listened to some music, and watched some dancing. That evening, we went up to the Observation Deck of the Hancock Building...it was amazing. Seeing all the lights from the city and just being able to see so far from that height. Our last day there, we spent the morning at the Lincoln Park Zoo, which was nice. It was a good way to spend our time before we had to catch our flight. So that's my trip to Chicago.

On the stitching front, I am working on gridding my fabric for the RR, and should have it finished this weekend. I want to get it finished so that I can move on to working on my Halloween Sweetbag. I'm still craving knitting too, and a friend of mine from work has mentioned she would be willing to teach me...so that might happen soon. I am so excited. I have been online scouting out nearby yarn shops, and I've found one that offers classes, so that is my backup plan. I've been reading Stitch 'n Bitch, but it is hard for me to visualize it without even doing it. I guess I could sort of teach myself from it, but I don't know what needles to get to start with or what kind of yarn to start with. Oh well, I will look out over the knitting horizon like Luke Skywalker on Tatooine (geek alert!). Have a great weekend!

I am grateful for getting back to working out.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

And All That Jazz

Before I finally get around to telling you about my trip to Chicago, let me throw two other things out there. First, there are some interesting new developments in research on DaVinci's Mona Lisa, go here to read about it. It still amazes me that as old as this painting is, there is still so much mystery about it (The DaVinci Code aside). Secondly, the second class of my Brightneedle Ghosties and Ghoulies piece was yesterday. Ann, from Brightneedle, sent an email and had this to say, which I thought was very timely and appropriate... "life is too short and we should all take out the good china, the good linens and our very best needlework to enjoy." So, I am recentering myself in the present and reminding myself that life is a celebration...all of it. New shoes!! Ok...now, on to the show...

Let me start by saying that this trip to Chicago was really important to me for a lot of reasons. I was anxious about it because I have never travelled much, so I tend to get pretty anxious before I do travel. Also, I was anxious because the last time we were in Chicago (over Thanksgiving) Eric got really really sick and spent 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital. So, I was kind of a nervous wreck. But, this trip meant a lot. When I was married previously, my ex and I spent a lot of time talking about going places, but we never did. It was all talk. And I started to not really believe that I was ever going to fulfill my desire to travel. In 2002, after my divorce, I vowed to myself that I would travel, that I would not limit myself. The only problem with this was (see above) I am nervous about traveling. And as all my friends had families of their own, I was faced with traveling by myself. So, I did take a couple of trips to Rhode Island to see my best friend, and down to Austin to see my sister, but that was it. "Safe" trips. So, when Eric and I met and started dating, we talked about traveling...but there it was, the "talk about traveling". But, since I have been with Eric, I have been on a cruise to the Bahamas (where he proposed), been to Rome, Italy (for my honeymoon), and been to Chicago twice. Oh, and we went to a Dude Ranch in Bandera, Texas for a weekend (yes, folks, there are such things as Dude Ranches). So, I feel like my travel experience has sort of exploded. So, for that reason alone, any time we actually go somewhere, it means so much to me...it's like the fulfillment of a promise. The other reason that this trip meant so much to me is because I cannot get enough of Egyptian Art! I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Art History, and I love love love all things Egyptian especially. I was little bitty (that is a technical term) the last time the King Tut exhibit toured the states, so needless to say, I didn't see it. But, I think I may have seen every exhibit that has been in Texas in the last 20 years. So, to go to see this exhibit, and to actually travel to do it, was a BIG DEAL.

The exhibit is at the Field Museum, which is (I thought) similar to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in DC (where I went when I was like 10 and loved it!). We got the audio tour of the exhibit, which I never do, but thought it might be worth it here. The audio tour was narrated by Omar Sharif (and I love me some Omar Sharif!). The exhibit opens up with a movie of the actual excavation projected onto one of the walls. So you can see Howard Carter and his workers at the tomb. How exciting! I won't go into all the details of the exhibit, but it really is worth going to see. The Field Museum did an excellent job putting this exhibit together, and they have set it up so that there are not an inordinant amount of people in the exhibit at any given time. I highly recommend you go see this, if you have the chance.


After seeing the Tut exhibit and having some lunch, we walked around to see the rest of the museum. Eric grew up in Chicago, so he has fond memories of coming to this museum. This is Sue, the T-Rex. She is the world's largest and most complete T-Rex skeleton. The museum had a gem exhibit, a jade exhibit, exhibits on different parts of the world and its cultures, exhibits that were like walking into a three-dimensional Audobon book. Just amazing! It was a wonderful day! But, since I have rambled on and on and on here again tonight (boy am I chatty all of a sudden), I will continue my travelogue next time! I am still holding my breath for my exchange piece to get where it's going. No one has received theirs yet, so maybe by the end of the week, I will be treated to some of the lovely things people stitched for this exchange. Have a great night - and tomorrow is Thursday!!!!

I am grateful for daring to open myself up to new experiences!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

It's All Good...I Bought Shoes


All I can say is thank you. I am so grateful for the wondrous comments I received from those I know, and also from those who've been reading but not commenting. I am also a fellow blog lurker, so I really appreciate those of you who are new commenters for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Eric and I had a long talk last night, and I was able to voice some of my stuff and he is always great at helping me see things more clearly and get to a point of seeing things from a different place. I love that about him. Although, when I want to wallow, it is damn frustrating. So, Beyoncé and I began a new day today, and I started the day with gratitude...first for Rosemary for being that first supportive comment that I read. Romeo is still doing just fine...he has leapt tall couches in a single bound, raced up and down the stairs, clawed on the carpet and stalked Othello. I'm still keeping my eyes on him, but hopefully he is fine. Glenna, thank you for pointing out that Crazy Aunt Purl went through this same thing with Roy not too long ago. Strangely, I actually read that post of hers yesterday afternoon, in the midst of my own trauma. (See, when I stumble upon a new person's blog, I go back and read every post from the very beginning...I don't want to miss anything - am I the only person who does this?!) So, I did feel slightly comforted that Roy was ok and that I was not the only person in the world who didn't know about the lily thing. Oh, and I bought shoes. Compulsive, but so happy I have new shoes! For fall! And they may be kitschy-tacky too, but I'm gonna embrace my tacky. Speaking of my sheep...the fabric for my October blanket is horrible. It has pink splotches on one end of it, and there is a long light streak down the middle of it. I am all about hand-dyed fabric, but this is going a little far. I contacted Homespun Elegance, and they are sending me a replacement piece of fabric...how nice is that?!

No, that is not a crease in the fabric you're seeing, it's a big streak. But, I will be happy to have replacement fabric so I can stitch my October blanket. OK, so enough rambling for tonight. I stitched some last night and tonight on my Just Nan RR. They've actually pushed the mail date back a week, so I have a week extra, but since I have another exchange to get out...I'm still shooting for getting it done this weekend. Anyway, thanks again y'all, I really appreciate it!

I am grateful for my girlfriends and their wise words and my husband's objectivity.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Keeping it Real

This probably isn't going to be pretty, so consider yourself warned.

I know there are people that like their stitching blogs to contain lots of stitching, lots of pics, and pretend you don't have a life...because they don't want to hear about it. Well, ok...I am crossing that line. Today was not happy happy and I feel like I am in meltdown mode. I have to give thanks to mj, who pointed out that lilies are deadly to cats. So, after much crying, and a frantic call to my vet, while at work, I have been assured that all is most likely fine with Mr. Romeo. The lilies went out with the trash this morning fortuitously, I suppose, because both Eric and I were sneezing because of them. So, thanks to this website, I am now a more informed person, and hopefully will avoid being the horrible cat mom that I feel like now. I am keeping an eye on Romeo, and hope he's ok. Also, today, I received an email from Friend Who Went AWOL. I am bitter. I know I am bitter. I know I should work through it and move on, but frankly, I am still pissed. And each time she pops her head in and acts as if we are still buddy buddy, it pisses me off. Part of me feels like I should just respond and chit chat and make like it's all fine, part of me doesn't want to respond to her, part of me knows that I should probably address the issue. But, regardless, I didn't need it today. I have another friend, who won't respond to my emails. I don't even know what to say to that one. Sometimes, life just feels hard, sometimes past stuff that you've dealt with over and over, comes up again, and while you get to look at it in a different way, from a different place in your life, you're still looking at it. I know that I am completely rambling, and if I had good sense, I would delete this post and move on back to happy happy land. Is it possible that you can be loved and cared for and have a really amazing life, and still feel lonely sometimes? And it seems like the things that are getting to me are all so trivial. My SIL made a derogatory comment about my sheep (you know the one with the blankets, except she called it a cow). Yeah, maybe a sheep on my mantel falls into the category of tacky, or at the very least kitschy, but back off of my damn sheep. Because, frankly, it is tacky to come to someone's home and make derogatory comments about anything. Ok, I think I've had enough self-pity, and like I said, I am obviously rambling and not writing anything of general interest here. But, thanks for letting me.

The only thing that seemed to make it better today was driving home with the windows rolled down and Beyoncé's cd turned up.

I am grateful for Crazy Aunt Purl.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And She Stitches Too

Thanks for all the well-wishes and I am feeling somewhat better. Yesterday, we made a trip to the post office and I picked up my package from Martina. It did indeed contain my Mystery 9 embellishments. Aren't they gorgeous. Perfect for the piece. I will be interested to see what Martina designs as the stitched center and will decide then if I use the embellishments or stitch the center. I mailed off my Crazy Cat Lady Exchange piece too, and now I will just have to hold my breath until it reaches its destination. I am glad to have that crossed off my list though. Now, on to the next thing. I made a small start on my Just Nan RR. I am using the crown motif from her Queen of the Needle piece. I absolutely love the fabric I chose for this piece, it is just like a blue sky with clouds.
This afternoon, I played around with my iPod some more and was able to get some podcasts loaded onto it. I now am set up to get auto feeds of the Craftborg podcasts. I am so excited!


And finally, dinner with my Mother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law was fabulous, and my sweet Sister-in-Law brought me these beautiful Oriental Stargazer Lilies. Romeo is investigating. I have some pics of Chicago to share, so I will write about our trip next time. Hope you all had a great weekend.

I am grateful for my home and for family dinners in it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

No Good Can Come of This

Yes, I know...I can see where this is going too. I took Rosemary's recommendation, and added these two books to my library. One really shouldn't be in a mall whilst under the influence of cold medicine and mentholated cough drops. One should keep all crafty obsessions under wraps until one finishes her exchanges and Round Robin pieces. But, while I was there...these little beauties had to be brought home as well. I mean, who can resist silver nail polish? I mean...


On the left is "It's a Doozi Says Suzi", in the middle is "Birthday Babe", and on the right is "OP-I Love This Color". I forsee a pedicure in my future, possibly following a hot bubble bath. As you can see, though, still no stitching worth showing. One day soon, I will be able to stitch and stitch and stitch and have many things to share with my beloved readers. And if the lure of knitting gets any stronger, I will maybe even have other craftiness to share. Scarves! Socks! Kitty Pi! If I start doing macrame plant hangers, ya'll stop me, ok? Anyway, my exchange piece is all wrapped up and ready to be mailed tomorrow morning. We have a stack of boxes to go to the post office. Wedding pics, etc. all needing to be mailed also. And, I think I may have a package from Martina waiting for me, with my Mystery 9 embellishments in it. And let me just say (as a possible warning to my exchange partner), I rediscovered today (because I can't say I didn't already know it) that 1) I am really bad at gift wrapping and 2) I love tape. So, there you have it. Have a great weekend everybody, and please know that I am trying to get caught up on blog reading, etc.

I am grateful for my cats - wish I could get good pics of them.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Missing in Action

So, where have I been, you may have been wondering? Did I forget to come back from Chicago? Nope...had a fabulous time (more on that later), came back, then wham-o...sick. So, my life right now...

Kleenex...check
Nyquil...check
Cough Drops...check
Band-aids...check (yeah, I walked a lot in Chicago)

So, let me just say I am not having a good time right now. My Mother-in-Law is coming for dinner on Sunday, and my house is less than perfect. Ack! But, look, I have magazines!

Plenty of reading material to keep me busy while I am coughing up a lung. Needless to say, also, that there has been no stitching going on here either. At least, none that I can show you. My Crazy Cat Lady Exchange piece is finished and will be winging its way to somewhere this weekend. I have also been stitching on the Texas Cow for Gill, but frankly it just looks like a misshapen Texas flag at this point. And while I was out shopping for goodies for my exchanges, I picked up the thread I need for my next two sheep blankets (yikes, it is almost October - how did that happen???) And, as you can see, I bought yarn. Do I knit, no. Do I have any clue what I am going to do with this in my non-knitting-knowledgable state, nope. Can I control myself when it comes to the possibility of making something, not on your life. But, I bought it anyway. I just had a moment of crafty craziness, possibly as a result of the fact that I am freaking out about my Round Robin piece that has to go out on the 2nd, and my Halloween exchange that has to go out on the 15th!!! I am in complete denial that those dates are looming.
But, maybe I can braid it together in a huge braid and pretend I have made myself a scarf. It's pretty though, huh? Well, anyway...I am off to ask my husband to shoot me with a tranquilizer dart so that I (and he) can get some sleep. Hope you're all ready for the weekend!! Book club tomorrow night.

I am grateful for being mothered when I am sick.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia


So tomorrow we are off to see Tutankhamun (aka King Tut) in Chicago. I have wanted to see this exhibit the better part of my life, so this is a once in a lifetime (possibly) opportunity for me. I have a BFA in Art History, so this is my thing. I am so passionate about art. And Egypt holds such a lure for me. I cannot even describe the anticipation I have! So, now you'll know where I am...hanging with the pharoah. And meanwhile...back at the pyramid...I am frantically stitching away on my exchange piece. I am over 50% finished with it, so that is a good thing. I should be able to finish it early next week, so that I can get it sent out by next weekend. And I have been productive with reading, as well. I finished The Matisse Stories on Monday night, and I finished my class book, Spiritual Economics, last night. So, I am free and clear to start The Time Traveler's Wife. Hurrah! And for those who requested it, I now have a wishlist. There is a link to it on my sidebar (thanks to the hubby). Be warned, though, it is crazy long! Thanks to everyone for the compliments on my curtains, dang those were a pain in the ass to get right. But, they look good now. So, I'm off and should have adventures to share (with pics maybe!) when I get back. Have a great weekend! (And if you're wondering about the crazy title of this post, that would be from Steve Martin's song about King Tut...now I can't get it out of my head.)

I am grateful for museums.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Card Trick & Number 25

I feel like I have been going non-stop today. It has been a very productive day, though. First, I pieced together my block of the month quilt block.

This pattern is called Card Trick. This was another new pattern for me, and it was fun to do. I love the colors. Next weekend I am supposed to pick up my next block. Since I will be in Chicago, I'll have to figure out how that's gonna work. I can't imagine what the fabrics are going to be in the next block since the two I've done have been totally different from each other. I haven't managed to get much stitching done this weekend, but guess what I did finally get finished...


Yes, those are curtains you see! So, I can now cross #25 off of my 101 things list, which was "hang curtains in kitchen window". That is now 5 things I have completed off of my list. Hurrah! And my sweet husband brought me home some gorgeous pink roses today. These are called Latin Breeze. I am really pleased with my curtains (well, technically sheers). They still let in all the light, but allow me a little bit of privacy from my neighbors who love to look in at me. Our house is really coming together and feeling like a home. Off to stitch some more on my exchange piece!

I am grateful for being married five months!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Deadlines

I am frantically still working on my exchange piece, hoping to get it done soon. I did take along Gill's Texas Cow (ok, I guess in this case it's a Longhorn) to work on today while I had my tires rotated. I didn't bring my exchange piece because it's not quite as portable. So, here's a pic of what I've got done so far.


Not very exciting, but hey, it is starting to resemble the Texas flag, if nothing else. In the mail today, I received my fabric from Silkweaver for my Just Nan RR. I wanted a really light, almost sky blue...which is what this is, with bits of cloud-white thrown in for a gorgeous look. Nan uses so many pinks and burgundies, etc. I thought they would all be pretty on the blue.


This photo, of course, does not do this fabric justice at all. Like I said previously, I am getting a little anxious about the two exchanges I've signed up for and the RR that all occur about the same time. (How did that happen?!?) I am hoping my prep for my RR won't take too long. Then I will have to get busy on my Halloween Sweetbag Exchange. I think I'll lay off signing up for stuff. I did sit down last night and take the seam ripper to my curtains. They have been pinned and hung for a trial run, and appear to be the right length now, so I will sew them AGAIN tomorrow. For now, I will take myself to the couch for some much-needed sitting on my ass time. Hope you're all having a great weekend!

I am grateful for mini quiches (how cute are they!!)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Zesty

I have only been stitching on my Crazy Cat Lady exchange piece this week, so I have nothing to show you in the way of stitching. I thought I would stitch some more on Mystery 9 this weekend though, since I will have larger blocks of time to devote to it. But first, I must spend an evening with curtains, and a seam ripper. Yes, unfortunately I must. We measured them very carefully, I cut them, sewed them and they were too long. So, then I resewed the hem, after careful measurement. Then, they were too short. I am beginning to feel like Goldilocks. So, hopefully I will be able to get them "just right" over the weekend and then I will be able to cross another thing off my 101 list. Wouldn't that be glorious! I have also spent some time reading the next book for my book club, The Matisse Stories. It is three short stories, that center around three paintings by Matisse. I have read the first two, and they are wonderful. I am hoping to finish the last story before our trip to Chicago, so that I can take The Time Traveler's Wife with me. I have also been lurking on knitting blogs again, and my urge to learn to knit is beginning to become a siren's song. I find myself dreaming of scarves and socks, shawls and wraps. Please stop me before I take up another hobby. My Silkweaver's Fabric of the Month arrived today, which alleviated slightly the desire for expensive yarn and bamboo needles. Apparently someone at Silkweaver was informed about my yellow fetish lately.


I was treated to Lemon Zest Jobelan and a Limited Edition Cashel in an unknown color. Gorgeous!

I am grateful for my iPod (my workouts are so much more fun!).

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Back into the Groove


Although not much stitching was accomplished last night, I have made some progress on Mystery 9. I only have the specialty stitches left to do in the upper triangle, and in the lower triangle I have the baby corn background to do and the specialty stitches. Then onto the next two. I feel good about working on this again and I have fallen back in love with it. I also made a start on my Crazy Cat Lady Exchange piece. I am starting to get a little anxious about the two exchanges and the round robin I've signed up for. But I feel good about the start I've made. My fabric for my RR is on it's way too, so I'll be able to get it prepped and ready to go. And I'm really loving my new Ginghers...they are awesome. Now I just need a pretty fob from Amy (I've got my eye on her August fob). Well, that's all for now. I've got to go work on hemming my kitchen curtains. I took my iPod for a walk tonight for the first time, and it was great.

I am grateful for Steve Irwin.

Monday, September 04, 2006

September

I can hardly believe it is September. And it has actually almost felt a little fall-like with the weather we've been having this weekend. It has been raining today, but has been a little cooler overall. I had hoped to get a lot of stitching done over the three-day weekend, but I've hardly touched my stitching. I have been working on Mystery 9 though, so I expect to finish Part 5 (which was May's part) soon. We've spent the weekend working around the house and getting some things done that have needed to be done. We picked up our framed photos from the photographer on Thursday, so we had to hang our wedding photos and my bridal portrait. We also had some photos from our trip to the Bahamas last year, and our trip to Rome this year blown up and we are framing them as well. On our errands today, we went by Joann's since they were having a big sale.


I bought my first pair of really nice scissors - Ginghers. They were on sale for 40% off, plus I had a coupon for 10% off my total purchase...so they were a deal! I also bought some thread for my Crazy Cat Lady Exchange and also for the cow I am stitching for Gill. I loved the blue on these scissors and I am so happy to have a really nice pair now (The pattern on these is Alyssa). And as an end of summer hurrah - two charts arrived in my mailbox on Saturday.


I already had Whale House (the first of the Summer Snapperland charts), and Saturday I received Bikeride and The Lighthouse. These are too cute. I think they've done a much better job with the Spring and Summer series than they did with Winter. I still have the last chart to stitch on Winter, but it was kind of a disappointment because the first and last charts are very similar. But, it's been a fun weekend, although not filled with stitching. And, as you can see above, I did get my September blanket finished for my sheep. And although the leaves here in Texas are nowhere close to turning, it will be fall inside my house!

I am grateful for great sales!