Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

The Motherload!

A couple of weeks ago, I signed up for a Christmas giveaway that Danielle was hosting on her blog. She mentioned she would send the winner a handstitched ornament and I love ornies. Well, on Christmas Day, I was the lucky winner. Yay me!! Hearing I won was a great Christmas present.

Fast forward to Tuesday of this week...I open my apartment door and there on the floor is this huge package. Hmmm...what's that? So I open it and it's the giveaway package from Danielle! Holy cow...I hit the motherload! I was only expecting the ornie and maybe one or two small things. Danielle sent me so much stuff...I seriously felt like a 5 year old on Christmas morning. Here are a few photos...I piled stuff into the photos so it wasn't so photo-heavy.

Lots of past JCS ornie issues, Prairie Schooler, The Drawn Thread, Waxing Moon Designs to name a few...
And more charts....
And these were the things that made me *squee* out loud like a 5 year old...even though I was the only one home!

PS Ornie hand-stitched by Danielle...this is the design from November's (I think) GoS issue plus a bunch of overdyed threads! I've died and gone to heaven!!
And my absolute favorite charts out of the whole stack!
Thank you, thank you, thank you Danielle!

Wow...I'm still kind of speechless. I've been incredibly lucky in blogland this year. I've won 2 huge giveaways, a threads giveaway and an ornie giveaway this year. I have more stash than I know what to do with now...and after winning Danielle's giveaway, I am going to challenge myself to only stitch from stash this year. This will be hard because you are all enablers with the wonderful projects you work on that I may have not noticed otherwise but I am going to try really hard. *The boy* doesn't think I can do it but I think I can. There are a few things I will allow myself though:

~black fabric because I haven't any and just acquired the perfect pattern for ornie gifts for the women in my family next Christmas.
~beads for finishing ornies
~ribbon/trim for ornies or smalls
~BOAF Dashing pattern should I ever come across it
~Nora Corbett Letter V assuming she releases it and I like it

So the last 4 are *ifs* but the black fabric is a must!

We'll see how things go...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can! lol


A couple of days ago, I stumbled on this post on Laurie's (Aunt Purl) blog about reflecting and her new year's resolutions. Since that day, it's like my brain has been in overdrive and can't calm down. I've been reflecting on this past year, the things I need to do, the things I'd like to do, what I hope 2010 will be like. It's hard because obviously, I'm no psychic and all I can account for is the past and not the future. I can plan for things but that doesn't mean they will happen. I can only hope for the best. And sweet God, do I hope for the best this year. If 2010 is anything like this year, I'll be checking myself into a mental ward by the end of it.

Laurie said that she is going to try to "come from a place of yes". This spoke to me because the things she said rang true for me. I'm naturally a snarky, sarcastic person which a lot of people may consider negative or complaining. Since this year was particularly terrible with *the boy's* attack, the disappearance of his friends, becoming a caretaker 4 months into a new relationship for an injury that took 10.5 months to heal, being nervous about my job security for the entire year and looking after elderly parents without the help or support of my siblings, I have become quite angry and resentful. I am happiest when I am at home and stitching...basically leading a hermit-like lifestyle of pjs, stitching, tv and takeout. The snarky and sarcastic is will not go away but the anger and resentment has to go away and I can't live my life cooped up in my apartment no matter how much I would love to. There's work and parents to deal with and friends to see and lots of fun things outside of my four walls and I need to find a way to enjoy things again despite people cutting you off when you're driving, or cutting in front of you in the coffee line or just the general level of stupidity that you encounter on a daily basis. It's all a part of life. These little things get to me...and they shouldn't. And so I will try to find ways to be a little more positive and a little more happy and a little more smiley and reclaim a little of the happiness I lost this past year. It will still involve a ton of stitching and tv...and reaching out to both real-life and stitchy friends...and getting back into yoga. It will involve taking deep cleansing breathes and muttering "Serenity now!!" under my breath when I'm about to have a fit. And if you're any sort of Seinfeld fan, you'll understand this. And I say it because it's so ridiculous, it makes me laugh and the upset feelings go away. All I want is a little serenity.

So I think my personal goals this year will be pretty simple. Come from the place of happy....enjoy life...embrace old friends and new alike. But I will still be saying no! lol I haven't completely lost it. But I will try very hard to not sweat the small stuff.

I really think that everything else will be icing on the cake.

I do have to mention that I wouldn't have made it through this year without my supportive and wonderful friends and readers. At the beginning of this year...maybe I had 30 subscribers. And back then...I wondered who was reading my rambling posts. At the end of this year, I have almost 100! Wow! That amazes me! Thank you so much for all the support, kind comments and friendship you have given to me over the year. I can't find the words to express my gratitude but please know that it truly warms my heart.

I wish you and yours a happy and joyous 2010!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Needle is Flying!

I've been pretty close to being a hermit this weekend...which has been very productive on the stitchy front! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. Mine was relatively painless. I had Christmas lunch with my folks and made my excuses once my brother came to visit. He didn't say Merry Christmas to me, greet me in any brotherly manner or get me a gift. I pretty much called it for this year. I'm very glad I didn't waste my time getting him one. I, at least. had the good manners to wish him a Merry Christmas. I've pretty much been planted on the futon watching bad tv all weekend. Life could be a lot worse!! lol

The only reason I left my apartment was to go to NiaH to buy fabric for some major projects I need to get done in 2010...aka gift stitching. I was very indecisive and I'm surprised Mary didn't strangle me but in the end, I'm really happy with my fabric choices. Lisa even stopped by and we had a mini stitch-in and chat. We even pulled out our Marys to compare. It was nice! Until it was time to head home. We left in the middle of a rain storm and I white knuckled it all the way home!

Today, I ran the usual store, bank, gas station and other little stops and have been lazy the rest of the day. I finally made it to motif#5 on my MW. My goal was to have 4 motifs stitched by the end of the weekend and I've succeeded!
I had to change out the yellow motif. I originally stitched it in WDW Whiskey but the varigation wasn't showing up too well so I ripped it and did it over in GAST Gold Leaf. I'm happy with it! I think I will get a good amount of motif #5 done tonight. Then I have to decide what I will do. I have to get a start on gift stitching but I only want to be stitching on Mary! What to do...what to do!? I had hoped to make a NYD start on Fairy Moon but I don't think it's realistic right now. I have the feeling I will have to switch gears to gifts this week.

Last week, I was obsessed with getting a Christmas cactus. I've seen so many pretty ones in blogland...all sorts of colors. I've managed to kill the plants that *the boy* bought before he left. I asked for a Violet and he brought back some finicky little things instead. Ugh...dead. So I needed to replace with something nice. I can't kill a cactus though! After stops to three different shops, I finally found one. They only had a fushia-red but I took what I could! Here it is sitting with Christmas Fairy. Ignore the junk in the background. I'm stitching...not cleaning!! The blooms are starting to open on the plant and it's looking very happy and un-dead. My kind of plant! :)

Tomorrow is back to work for me. Thankfully, it's a short week. Yay!!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all my wonderful blog friends and readers. I so appreciate that you stop by and listen to my ramblings in my little corner of blogland. Thank you for all your wonderful advice, support and comments!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Meme

I saw this meme on a couple of blogs now so I thought it would be fun to play!

Eggnog or hot chocolate?
Egg nog...spiked with brandy. I am probably the only person who doesn't like hot chocolate!

Does Santa wrap the presents or leave them open under the tree? I'm scrooge-y but not that scrooge-y! I wrap the presents.

Colored lights on a tree or white? Colored...and blinky. They have to twinkle and blink!

Do you hang mistletoe? Yes.

When do you put your decorations up? The weekend after Thanksgiving...usually. As a kid, the tree would be bought Thanksgiving weekend and taken down New Years Day. I'm still within that realm assuming I'm in the christmas spirit and getting a real tree.

What is your favorite holiday dish? Stuffing

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope...Christmas Day reveal.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Twinkly lights, ball ornies and any other ones that are cute and fun. Twinkly star topper. My fiber optic tree is too frail to hold up the star topper so I have an old fashioned tree topper from the 50's for that one.

Snow: love it or hate it? Snow? What's that? The fluffy white stuff that I see on the tv? It looks fun but people tell me all these horror stories about it that I don't know what to think!

Can you ice skate? Oh yea, I can ice skate on my rear end! I have this problem that the moment I stand up on anything that it supposed to make me look graceful and roll or glide about, I fall down. I am the epitome of graceful!

What is your favorite holiday dessert? Warm apple and pear crisp with vanilla ice cream.

What is your favorite holiday tradition? Christmas Caroling Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve

Candy canes: yum or yuck? Yum. Love!

Favorite Christmas show? I'm opting for christmas movie and naming Love Actually.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Find a Little Joy

It doesn't really feel like Christmas this year. Mind you, I'm being a Scrooge, my folks are being scrooges and so are some of my co-workers. We probably aren't helping each other get into the Christmas Spirit being all Scrooge-y. I've always found it hard to deal with the holidays for reasons I discussed around Thanksgiving.

But I still find some movies like The Holiday, Love Actually and Miracle on 34th Street. Netflix will be bringing me A Charlie Brown Christmas, It's a Wonderful Life and The Bells of St. Mary this week to enjoy.

The holiday cds. Just this year, I finally bought White Christmas by Bing Crosby. My parents had the LP and when I was a kid...think 6 or 7...I would lug my Fisher Price record player all over the house, find a record, put it in my player and lie down on the carpet and listen. During Christmas, as a kid, I'd play Bing all the time. It's time to reminisce a little. He'll be crooning to me this year.

Christmas treats like the abundance of fudge, cookies and chocolate. Tomorrow is the holiday potluck at work and I am going to try to make these peppermint brownie bites. I love candy canes and incorporating that into dessert...bring it! I hope they turn out ok! If they bomb, I have a box of Peppermint JoeJoe's from Trader Joe's in case of emergency. Mmmm.....peppermint creme oreos! Yum!

Christmas lights...I love looking at them. It's the main reason I risked my neck climbing into the depths of the closet to dig out my tree. Blinky twinkly lights are my favorite thing!

And stitching...must stitch to prevent loss of sanity. Mary Wigham saw a little more action last night as I set aside an hour to stitch. Still on that massive motif though. I'll devote a little more to her tonight in between baking and then must make a start in my PIF this week. I heard from *the boy* that my little package arrived. In it was one of the ornaments I made last week. One went to my friend Kelly and the other to *the boy's* mom. I still have two waiting to be finished but those I'll just save for next year. The training I have invested in *the boy* must be working as he sent me the photo below without any other prompting. It's a Christmas miracle!! lol
Joy freebie by Lilybet Designs
32 count Antique Ivory Belfast
Recommended GAST and DMC

I wish I had had time to do a beaded edge but I was quickly running out of time and didn't really have any beads that matched. So, simple finish...the backside has the same border as the front side. can you tell that *the boy's* family is at least part-Irish. The shamrock and the leprachan cracks me up!

I'll be blogging through Christmas since I don't have any concrete plans. Visiting the folks, avoiding the brother and stitching to my hearts' content while listening to holiday music and watching holiday movies while in the glow of my twinkling little fake tree. But for those of you disconnecting during the holidays, I'd like to take the opportunity to wish you and yours a marvelous holiday. Merry Christmas....Feliz Navidad...Joyeux Noel.
Snoopy say Merry Christmas too...

Until next time...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

MW Update

Just a quick post today. Super tired and can't believe tomorrow is a workday...again! A lot of the weekend was devoted to laundry, organizing, tidying, finally packing away the Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations (yes, really) and digging out my Christmas stuff. I do have to say that I was very spoiled by having a real tree last year because I now realize that my little fake tree is puny! But I like the whole fiber optic effect. Since I wasn't even going to deal with Christmas, digging out the tree and setting it up is a huge accomplishment. Yay me! I don't feel like putting ornaments on it though. It looks nice with the lights, fiber optic and the tree topper.

I did have time yesterday to work on Mary Wigham. I am SALing with Lisa and you should check out hers...she's made great progress so far. As for me...I am a slowpoke! But see Lisa...I'm stitching! lol I do think I have finally mastered two-handed stitching so things may speed up. I've never stitched two-handed before. My left hand is pretty weak so I think I figured out the jabbing motion I need to do to get the needle into the right spot. Here's a terrible photo I took early this morning while it was dark and grey. I'm rarely home during daylight hours and my photography suffers even more in the winter.
I am using 40 count Lakeside Linens Fawn. It's a much darker color than I'm used to but I think my eyes are slowly adjusting. Another thing is that this feels like a higher count fabric to me than 40 count! I had no problems with the 40 count Tundra for Christmas Tea but the weave seems so tight on this piece of linen. I think that's part of the reason I'm being such a slowpoke too. I am using a conversion so graciously created and given by Katrina! Thanks Katrina!! It's a little revised from her original release. I'll list it here for anyone curious:

Blanc - GAST Shaker White
Ecru - GAST Lambswool
225 - CC Dulce de Leche
310 - WDW Charcoal
352 - WDW Red Pear
356 - WDW Baked Apple
407 - GAST Woodrose
433 - WDW Chestnut
435 - WDW Pecan
519 - CC Deep Fennel
725 - WDW Whiskey Edited 12/24: Changed to GAST Gold Leaf
739 - GAST Flax
746 - GAST Straw Bonnet
927 - WDW Dove
930 - GAST Brethen Blue
934 - WDW Juniper
963 - CC Rosy Glow
966 - GAST Grape Leaf
3052 - WDW Kudzu
3768 - WDW Teal Frost
3822 - WDW Huneysuckle
3855 - WDW Straw
3857 - CC Red Currant

The motif I am currently working on is being stitched in WDW Baked Apple. I am hoping that by this time next weekend, I'll have finished this motif and have moved onto another. I also stitched a little on Newton but am still stitching with white. Once I've moved into another color, I'll take a photo.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Craptastic Photos!

*sigh* It's really hard to take good photos when the weather is gray and the lighting isn't very good at night or in the office so bear with me. The camera operator is also a little under-trained as well! lol

First up is my last update for 2009 on my TUSAL. I managed to fill the jar up a little more in between Christmas Tea and the ornies I was making. The photo is overflashed but I liked how the ort colors stood out more because of it.
I'm planning on putting these orts into a baggie and most likely incorporating them into ornie stuffing. I'll use the same jar for 2010 and start anew! This is a fun no-stress SAL. Yoyo is taking sign-ups and you can join an anytime. You just need to go and sign up here.

As you may have guessed, I bailed on working out on my own and went and got a manicure. I picked OPI Crimson Carol because it's just obnoxiously glitterly and people stop me on the street to comment on the color. I mean look...I couldn't even get a good picture because the glitter was causing glare from the glitter in the polish! It's my cover into *appearing* like I'm in the Christmas spirit. I love red polish though so it's fun!
And I did watch Four Christmases but I don't think it was all that great. I got distracted around scene 16 and so by scene 21...I was all...where'd Vince Vaughn go?! So I have to re-watch that a little bit so I can understand what I missed. Yea...seriously...attention span of a jackrabbit.

Today has been a day at work. You know it's a day when I'm telling people I'm going back into private industry and looking for a job tomorrow! *sigh* If only things were so easy! My friend Claire and her munchkin met me for lunch today and she handed me a goodie back and another treat. She said it was a stocking stuffer type thing. We always agree to not give presents and to just try to spend more time with each other. When I got to my desk, I opened up the extra and found this...
Claire knows I love Snoopy (just not pumpkin ones). So here's Snoopy and Woodstock. The outfit Snoopy is wearing is a hint to what side of public industry I work in. It's not as fun and filled with hot, stud-like men as you may seriously.

Well...I'll be back in a couple of days. I'm not going anywhere but there's lots of cleaning to be done and SAL stitching to do. Hopefully...I'l have some cool things to share on Sunday.

Enjoy the weekend!

Until next time...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm Still Here...

just a frazzled trying to be into the Christmas spirit tired-ass scrooge-ette! Not to mention that the posting everyday for NaBloPoMo was HARD so I am taking a little blog vacation.

Thanks for all the kind comments on the Letter G reveal. She's on her way to the other coast so it can slowly makes it's way to Italy where *the boy's* niece lives. I have the feeling the niece is too small to really appreciate it all but her mom, who's also a G, will probably be surprised and super happy. My sister saw the big reveal too and she's asked that I do the C for my niece so that will be added to the assembly line in the new year. She'll be sent to Jill and will become my niece's Sweet Sixteen gift. My sister also asked me for "something red that can be put in the kitchen". Ummm...yea, I have no idea what that can be. Sounds like I'm be working my fingers to the bone between her requests, my BAPs and trying to do at least an ornament a month.

I've come to realize that I just don't have enough hours to the day and I've either become a very slow stitcher or just pile too much on myself and I get stressed out over something that almost always makes me happy and relaxes me. But when I have deadlines, self-impossed deadlines, I get frazzled and stressed out. Case in point would be my brilliant idea to make four ornaments at the last minute so that I can send off. They were tiny frill. Easy peasy. Yet...omg, it seemed to take me forever and in the end, I only finish-finished two of the four. Last night, I decided not to finish the other two because I really just had to get the packages in the mail. Even *the boy* was telling me it was ok to not do it because I was obviously not enjoying the process. He got a good deal of "ugh, you called me and I'm in the middle of blahdeblah". I swear that guy has the worst timing about things. You know, wait and wait and then decide to heat up dinner and the phone rings right when I'm going to take my first bite. *sigh* So I finished two ornaments and didn't take a picture. One went to Kelly my wonderful massuese and friend. The other to *the boy's* mom. I gave him explicite instructions to take a picture of it on their tree and sent it to me to share. I'm a little bummed I couldn't get the other two done but I'll be ahead for next year now.

In the process, my apartment seems to have upchucked all over the place so I'll be spending lots of my free time the next couple of days getting things back in order. It quite embarrassing how messy it's gotten!! Maybe if I get motivated enough, I'll drag the little fiber optic tree out of the closet and set it up.

So no wonderful pictures to show. I've watched some movies though. On Sunday, I watched Everybody's Fine with a friend. We thought it was a comedy but people...that is one sad, slow movie! If your curious about it, wait til it's on video and make sure you have some tissue nearby! It seemed slow to me but it did have some heartwarming scenes. Then that evening, I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on video because my apartment manager lent it to me. When this came out, I had no interest in watching it. It sounded weird and was anti-Brad Pitt. But since it was literally handed to me, I said why not! It was a wonderful film. it! It captured my attention up to the 2-hour mark and I have the attention span of a jackrabbit with movies. And even at the two hour mark, I wanted to see how things turned out. The acting, makeup, wardrobe and storyline were all superb. You'll have to devote 2.5 hours to watch this but it's seriously time well spent.

I've been a little lax with my exercise routine despite seemingly eating my weight in cookies and chocolate! I ellipticaled twice last week and then went to 25 stores and shopped til I dropped on Friday so I'm counting that as a workout too. This week...nothing so far and my exercise partner is taking today off to have a boozefest so I am debating between working out alone or getting a manicure. You tell me what sounds like a better choice! lol I'm thinking manicure and a lovely relaxing evening watching Four Christmases. Reviews don't look so hot on imdb so I'll let you know what I think.

This is longer than I anticipated and I applaud you if you've reached the end of this. I'll be back soon to post about my photo of 2009! Besides the cleaning, I'm hoping to put a few stitches in Newton, Mary and start a PIF.

Until next time...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Photos, Photos!

OMGosh...aren't you glad I'm not subjecting you guys to another pictureless post?! I rushed home at lunchtime today to heat up soup, take pictures and load them into blogger!

First up is my Plum Street Samplers Christmas Tea finish. This fabric seems difficult to photograph...or it might me the intense gray dreariness of the day but I tried! The fabric is really a blue-ish gray color.
Plum Street Samplers Christmas Tea
Lakeside Linens 40ct. Tundra
Recommended Belle Soie

The funny thing about Christmas Tea is that it's charted for Cranberry where there are little spaces in the letters but the model photo does not have the Cranberry spots stitched within the letters. I saw some photos stitched as charted and I decided I liked the model more so I went without. That's part of the reason why I also went with Lakeside Linens Tundra. The model photo looks like it's stitched on a blue-gray color but the color linen recommended (which I can't remember the name of right now) is actually a green color. It's always so interesting how the camera and lighting can really change the look of things.

Over the last week, I received some lovely goodies in the mail. Staci sent me a cut of some "Staci-dyed" linen. That was so nice of her! I was very touched to receive a goodie from her and I can't wait to figure out what to stitch on it. I just love the color and the mottling! I was also lucky to receive an "honorable mention" on Ruth's blog from a giveaway she was hosting and she sent me these lovely threads. She included some GAST, WDW, Belle Soie and Threadworx. All the colors are great and I actually didn't have any of these colors!

On Tuesday, I rushed home anticipating and worried about my Jill Rensel package. When I walked through the door of my apartment, the package was safely sitting there, waiting for my arrival. Whew! All I can say is that Jill is a fabulous framer and I may just have to start sending her all my projects that require framing from now on! She does such a good job and is so sweet! Letter G came out fabulous and just what I wanted! I'm kind of sad my name doesn't start with a G so I can keep it for myself. I'll let the pictures do all the talking. They are all clickable! These photos actually show a truer color of the fabric too...a soft pale yellow.

I am thinking about getting my Snapper Year and Christmas Tea out for her for framing. I'll be simple with those...just a frame since I don't think they require matting or anything fancy. Now time to pack up Letter G and get her on her way to her new home.

Until next time....

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


I'm lucky enough to live very close to work and many days, I just drive home at lunchtime, eat lunch and then drive back to work.

Today, I went home for lunch because I wanted to pack my gymbag and take some pictures of my finished Christmas Tea and the nice gifties that arrived in the mail.

So I went home...ate lunch...packed my gymbag...checked email and blogs...watched some Crossing Jordan and stitched a few stitches...and came back to work.

I'm sitting here remembering that I didn't take any photos! So welcome to another photo-less post. Shoot!

Hmmmm....and I just checked my UPS tracking for my Jill Rensel package and it says they left it at the front door despite clear instructions to have my apartment manager sign for it so he could put it in my apartment. So...slightly panicking! OMG...I am dashing home after work to make sure it's safe! Screw ellipticalling!!

It's funny how my previous post generated some funny and not so funny stories. Beth mentioned kids in her comment and I realized I didn't even touch on the single mom that lives below me TWO floors down. She has two full-time daughter and a half-time son. When the son is visiting with his mom, I can hear the yelling and insane running back and forth two stories up. I have no idea what the running is about but with hardwood floors and high ceilings...the racket travels! Apparently, sister and brother don't get along very well.

Maybe Thursday, I can share's the next time I can head home for lunch and take daytime photos. I'll try not to subject you to craptastic nighttime shots.

Hope everyone is having a good week and keeping warm. I am freezing my buns off here in SF but I guess I shouldn't complain...all we get is chill and rain. Some saw snow nearby and that's a rarity. I have never seen snow in SF my 34 years. The first thing to happen when I get home...besides hugging my Jill Rensel Package and tearing it turning on the heaters and putting the kettle on. Brrr!!!

Until next time...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Apartment Living

Are you ready for a rant? Ugh! Apartment living can be so frustrating at times. This weekend...all I wanted was a quiet, lazy, stay in my jammies and watch bad tv while stitching type of weekend.

When I want quiet...I *really* want quiet. But my neighbors weren't cooperating.

Saturday was the guy across the hall blaring Joan Jett around 8pm. Like BLARING!!! There is an apartment between us and I could hear the lyrics perfectly! I feel bad for the girl who lives between us. How can she deal?! I'd be having a nervous breakdown! Dude, turn down the music! Now, I love Joan Jett but I don't appreciate being forced to listen to her when I want to watch Criminal Minds and actually listen to the tv show. At least he has the sense to turn the music off at 10pm.

Now the people below me are the worst. They've been bad since I moved in and I complained about them three years ago. They are almost as inconsiderate as the college girls I lived above at my old place. I'd be more forgiving if they were college aged instead of the married 30=40 something married couple that they actually are. They've been playing two-beat bassy music all weekend. You know, the kind of music that is migraine-inducing. As I shuffled off to bed at 2am (yes, very late), they proceeded to head to the bedroom as well and have a loud argument/discussion which made me bang on the floor a few times and then resort to earplugs. Living here, I am completely dependant on earplugs because 1. they are loud, irritating night owls and 2. the dude snores so loud you can probably hear him on the East Coast! They drive me insane. In the 4 years I've lived here, I've never said anything to them since this is a consequence of apartment living but today, I had it! The loud music at 330pm was driving me insane. I couldn't escape it. Every room...bassy music. My head was starting to hurt. I wrote them a note, slipped it under their door, came upstairs, hopped into the shower and when I came out...silence. It was beautiful! They'll probably be loud and annoying tomorrow but I'm glad I "said" something. I'm way too shy to knock on their door and tell them off but oh, how I want to! I'd like to give the dude a brochure for a sleep clinic because seriously....can you hear him over there? He is fricking loud! He'll wake me up in the middle of the night and I'm not even in the same room!

My neighbors drive me insane! I love my apartment though. It's beautiful and when my neighbors aren't driving me batty by being loud, it's seriously my sanctuary. Arches, french doors, hardwood floors, high ceilings, loads of closet's beautiful. But I sometimes daydream about moving to a little cottage or duplex to minimize the number of neighbors and hence noise but that would cost me at least $400 a month more than my rent now and well, that's a lot. So...I guess for now...I'll buy stock in earplugs and Excedrine Migraine. It's cheaper.

Fricking neighbors!!

Stitching has been successful though. I finished Christmas Tea and organized my meager collection of DMC. I also got some lovely christmas surprises in the mail and even got complimented on my obnoxious glitter red nail polish. So it was not a loss! It's late, dark and rainy tonight and I won't even try to take pictures. I'll save them for next time.

I'm off to try my hand at a couple christmas ornies for last minute presents. Better go make my fabric selection!

Until next time...

Thursday, December 03, 2009


I've been away from the blog for a couple of days, trying to take on a couple of new challenges.

November was all about NaBloPoMo and seeing if I could do that and I did! Pat on the back for me!

December is about another personal challenge. You may remember that I was complaining about being winded just climbing up my three flights of stairs. Something that didn't faze me before. 50 stairs up...50 stairs down. The down part is's the up part that is hard. This year, I've been completely lax about fitness and working out and staying/getting into shape. All I want is to have energy and lose 10 pounds. 15 pounds...I'd be over the moon. I'm pretty height/weight proportionate but could use more muscle tone over jiggly tone. I started very slow at just 1x per week the last two weeks of November. 20 minutes on the elliptical to start. First week...20 minutes...felt like dying. Holy out of shape! Second week...25 minutes...legs felt like jello and I thought I might fall down the stairs. This week, 25 minutes and I'm ok. I hate working out! I don't mind the elliptical or walking though. I figured the elliptical during the winter is the best bet since it's pitchblack by the time I leave work and if I'm going to exercise, it's best to get it over right after work. There is a small workout room in my building at work so I don't even go outside. If I's over. I make's dark, it's cold, I need to do errands, I need to stitch...I need to do anything other than work out!

So Tuesday, Wednesday and today, I've done the elliptical. It helps that my coworker is using the room too so I feel like I have support and he can stand my whining. As much as I don't like working out, it's nice to see I ellipticaled (I know that isn't a word!) for 1.5 miles and burned 180 calories in 25 minutes. I think those numbers are the only thing that get me through it. I'm hoping for 3x ellipticaling during the week and one good walk on the weekend. The goal is to be able to do more time at a higher level but for now, I will take my 25 minutes at Level 2. One day, I'll get to Level 8 and I better have buns and thighs of steel by that point so help me!

Second trying to figure out how to meet new people and make new friends. Always a new challenge when you're no longer in school or a public transportation commuter. I also work in an organization full of men with egos as big as a 747. work friends are minimal. If you have suggestions of how to meet new folks, send them my way. Many of my friends are now scattered all over the states, married and are starting families, planning to start having families soon or just so in the throes of new's sightly disgusting. I am looking forward to being more involved with two local stitching groups in the new year and am excited about that but stitching isn't everything (omg, did I just say that!?).

Third challenge...for being in a scrooge - bah humbug mood about the holidays...I am suddenly obsessed about christmas ornaments having seen so many folks stitching such beautiful creations this season. I must have ornaments! So I will challenge myself to an ornament a month at least. I'd love to do two. But one at least while working on my two BAPs for 2010...Mary Wigham and Fairy Moon. I might even start ornaments this weekend since I decided to not feel guilty about my sewing class and lack of vest. Screw sewing...Viva la stitching! Of course, this will only happen if I ass-plant on the futon. I always say I will and end of squandering away precious stitching time on things like errands and laundry and cleaning! But I am hopeful that I will have 12 new ornaments to decorate the tree I envision myself putting up next year.

Since I've been ellipticaling and catching up on chores after work, stitching has been minimal. I've stitched most of the snowflakes on Christmas Tea and can probably finish it by tomorrow night or Saturday for sure.

Well, I know I've been rambling...I had wanted to put up a picture that Jill Rensel sent me of my framed Letter G but I can't figure out how to save it as a picture file so I sent it to *the boy* which usually means it may never get done. But he did it and turned it into the size of a quarter! *sigh* It's truly beautiful but the big reveal may have to wait until I receive it and can take a picture of my own. I'm so excited! I wish I could share it!!

Until next time...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Suenos Dulces

The winner of the pair of Spanish embroidered pillowcases is...

List Randomizer

There were 6 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. Missy Ann
  2. Natasha
  3. Cole
  4. Margaret
  5. Aridne
  6. Staci

Timestamp: 2009-11-30 05:28:44 UTC

Congratulations Missy Ann! I'll get these out in the mail to you shortly. May you have many sweet dreams (suenos dulces) on them.

Thank you to everyone who offered to re-home my unwanted Nicaraguan treasures. I really appreciate it! I hope that those who became adoptive parents enjoy their new items. To those who didn't "win", I may do this again in the new year once I do some closet cleaning.

Today is it! My final post of November for NaBloPoMo! I didn't think I could do it. There were some days I struggled for a topic and there were some days I didn't really feel like talking/blogging. But I did it! Thanks to those of you who read my drivel everyday, those who sent me much appreciated comments and to those who did NaBloPoMo as well. I felt like we supported each other. I know I didn't take this challenge alone and I feel like I've gotten closer to some of you through this experience.

Umm...don't expect me to blog everyday after this though.'s a lot of work...and I'm not used to talking so much! lol I might take a break for a couple of days and come back with stitching pictures! Hope...hope...

Until next time...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Where'd the Weekend Go?!

Holy's Sunday night! Seriously, did I just have a 4-day weekend and if so, what the heck did I do with it?! I feel like I didn't get anything done. I've been whining to *the boy* about this and he keeps reminding me that I got lots done but I didn't get much done in the department I really wanted to...stitching.

What happened to stitching?! I definitely thought I'd have a finish and a new start at the end of this weekend but alas, that is not meant to be.

I do have a different type of finish though.
I finished my pajama pants! Yay!!
They are still a little big even after I took in 2.5 inches in the sides and cut off 4.5 inches off the rise. But since they are elastic waist, I cut the elastic a little smaller to cinch the waist in a little more. I did my little happy dance in them earlier today! They are super warm and comfy. Perfect for the coming cooler winter months.

There is one more project for the class, a vest, which I've decided not to do. This little voice in the back of my head keeps screaming, "but it's your assignment and it's due!" but these big projects aren't my thing...especially under deadline when it's keeping me away from the things I really stitching. I miss stitching and I feel like my progress has diminished significantly in that department lately. I'm learning what I wanted out of the class. How to use the machine and technique but I never wanted to learn to sew to make clothing or quilting. I just wanted to learn how to make little bags and wall hangings and pillows...things like that. Clothing construction was just an added bonus. I have the supplies for the vest and may make it one day just to see if I can and who knows, there may be a sudden spurt and I may actually do it. But I'm not going to stress myself out over it.

Back to work tomorrow...say it isn't so! At least I'll be busy...have to close payroll and make sure the masses get paid on time. Shoot...I want to make sure *I* get paid on time! lol

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A "Kind of" Kind of Day

Today is one of those days. Truth be told, it started last night. It's a "kind of" kind of day.

I kind of feel lazy...yet...

I kind of feel motivated...

I kind of feel like sewing...

I kind of feel like going out...

I kind of feel like watching tv...

And I kind of feel like getting my nails done.

Very wishy washy and just general indecisiveness...which means...I don't really get anything done!

Yesterday, I met up with a couple of friends for tea at Lovejoys...a cute little tea shop in Noe catch up, have tea and eat some yummy scones with cream and jam. It was nice and fun.

When I got home...things kind of changed. My mom called to tell me that the Whole Foods Thanksgiving dinner gave her an allergy attack. I had picked the meal from there since they tout "organic and natural" and figured it would be safer with my mom's severe food allergies. Umm, apparently not. I felt quite bad and the whole scenario just made me feel like trying to do the "good daughter" thing and supplying the dinner backfired. So I've collected the food since my dad is already bored with it and my mom obviously can't eat anymore of it. I loved the food...but have more turkey than I can attempt to eat in a week. Anyone have any ideas of what to do with leftover turkey? Something freezeable since I can't eat this much in a week and don't really eat very much to begin with.

I do know that next year, I'm adopting myself out for the holidays!

While *the boy* was staying here, he became good friends with my neighbor down the hall. We both share the same fire escape. My neighbor sent an email to *the boy* (whose in RI) to tell him that he's seen rats climbing up our shared fire escape to the roof. I live on the third floor. WTF?! How do they even climb that high outside?! And on a fire escape? There's bars on all sides...not a flat easy surface to walk on! So...needless to say I'm now freaked out and paranoid. I haven't seen any bugs, vermin or rodents in this building, only ants. Is it even possible?! Seriously, in this case, ignorance was bliss! Windows are staying shut until I can have a little chat with the apartment manager. If I see a rat, people will hear me screaming in the next town over.

So...weird evening. I spent the rest of the evening starting my Mary Wigham but only put in 100 stitches or so. I was trying to get used to positioning, stitching on a darker 40 count fabric and making sure my first motif was coming out symetrically. I've already heard all the horror stories about the first motif and how many folks ripped it out because they couldn't stand leaving the mistakes in. I'm working cautiously! haha I am too lazy to take a photo of my measley start though.

Today ended up being a little sleeping in late (9:30), a little sewing, a little shopping (window variety), picking up food from the parentals, a little lunch, a little more sewing, a manicure/pedicure in an obnoxious glitter red, a little more shopping and finding the last size M lightweight wool single breasted black jacket at Macy's on clearance with an additional $10 off (ummm, can we say score!! woot!), a little chat with *the boy* and a little blogging.

I'm off to do a little tv watching (Monk) and maybe, just maybe...a litte more sewing.

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend! Thanks for reading my wishywashy "kind of" kind of post.

Until next time...

Friday, November 27, 2009


I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving Day yesterday. Mine was better than I expected but still trying. The day was made easier by my brother not coming to town for the holiday so it was just me, my parents, 4 loads of laundry and a turkey dinner. The Whole Foods meal was very yummy minus the pumpkin pie. My pie is 4x better but it was included with the meal. There was loads leftover and I was able to load a plate to take home for dinner today. Mmmm...mashed potatoes, stuffing, turkey and green beans. Nomnomnom! Thanks to everyone and their kind comments. I feel quite bad that people are so joyful when I'm a bummed out Scrooge but it's nice to know there are others who understand and might even feel the same way about holidays.

Today is a cold, cold dreary day in the Bay Area...even sprinkling in the morning. I am freezing and my poor little fingers are like icicles! Makes stitching a little hard!

Here is the post I had intended for Wednesday. My pj pants experience was unsuccessful last Sunday. They are about 4 inches too wide in the waist and about 5 inches too high in the rise. Oopsie! They need an overhaul that I have yet to pump myself up to doing. So on Sunday, I decided to treat myself to a little selfish stitching and I started Plum Street Samplers Christmas Tea. I had hoped to finish the words this morning but I am one word shy. close!! If I had had the time to stitch yesterday, I think I could have finished this as it's much smaller and easier than I thought but I was busy running around collecting food, heating up food, chatting with the folks and washing lots of laundry.
I am really enjoying this little project. I started this in such a flurry of excitement and I didn't inspect my fabric. As I adjusted the q-snap last night, I noticed a tiny fuschia spot on the fabric! I am hoping that I can stitch over it once I get to that part. If not, I may have to add an additional snowflake. I wonder how the spot got on's quite small. But it's too late to frog and flip the fabric. The spot is still on the other side anyways...just more faint than the side I'm actually stitching on.

I decided that it's time to keep better track of my projects and their details so I bought myself this book from WatermarkBindery to be my stitching journal. Ther service was fast and look at it. I love the colors and the little koi fish!
Christmas Tea is the first entry in my new stitching journal. On one side, I'll glue a picture of the finished project and on the other, I will write out all the details so I can reference back to it many years from now. At the rate I stitch, I figure the journal will last me three years. Not bad!

Well, time to go get ready to meet some dear friends for afternoon tea. When I get back, I'll start Mary Wigham!

Until next time...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Day Before...

Thanksgiving! Where does the year go?! It's a bit strange reading over everyone's blogs the last couple of days and reading all the reasons that people are thankful this Thanksgiving Season. I feel strange because while everyone is happy, I'm feeling blue, ungrateful and am filled with dread. I dread the holiday season...most of the time. It has rarely been a happy and joyful time for me. It's difficult and painful and most times...better left forgotten. If it's a year my sister and her family head to town or I have a love interest to spend it with, I'm a very deck the halls, christmas card sending, christmas caroling, christmas tree decorating, shopping, happy joyful Valerie. The rest of the time...let December 31st come around already! This year, I already know my sister isn't coming as her health has been poor and the dreadful economy has taken it's toll. *The boy* will be back East and it's no secret that whole relationship has been rocky lately. So the holidays will be spent with my folks and maybe my brother. I'm hoping he won't be there as each year my 19 years older than me brother likes to pick a fight. At the age of 53, picking fights with your 34 year old sister is kind of crass, rude and really...not appropo at holiday season let alone any other time.

Since my mother is getting too old to cook a big meal for men who don't appreciate it, I opted to order a turkey dinner from Whole Foods...because I don't cook. Well, nothing as big as a turkey. This was before the oven at my folks broke and the crazy show of childish behavior old folks show. Well, at least my old folks show. My mom doesn't want to go shopping with my dad because he drives her nuts and my dad won't go buy a new oven without her because he doesn't want to get blamed for buying the wrong oven. Seriously...stuff like this happens all the time...the old folks behavior I mean. I'm surprised I'm as sane as I am...which isn't saying much! So Thanksgiving dinner will be reheated via the microwave because there is no way my mom can get up to my apartment without an elevator...which isn't an option. So, it will be a weird and kind of lonely Thanksgiving. If I can get through tomorrow without a breakdown, I'm good until Christmas Eve when it all starts over again like Groundhog Day. By New Year's Day, I'm so happy that the holidays are behind me and I hope and pray for a year better than the year before.

This year has been an awful year. I'm eager to see it behind me. At times, it's very hard to realize I should be thankful. Yet, I know I have a lot to be thankful for. *The boy* is alive when he could have so easily been killed, he can walk, I've had another year to spend with my old folk parents, we all have our health to a certain degree, I have a lovely apartment with an apartment manager who takes care of me, I have a job that allows me to pay the rent and buy me lots of amazing stash, I have an amazing hobby which brings me hours of enjoyment and teaches me a lot, I have amazingly dear friends and have made lots of stitching friends this year through this modest little blog. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I just hope I can through tomorrow without a fight or a breakdown.

Truth be told...this wasn't the post I was planning on when I opened Blogger. I was going to prepare a post about stitching and add the photos when I got home. That may be a bonus for tonight or I may can it for Friday. Wow, after tomorrow...only 4 more days of NaBloPoMo! I didn't think I could do it and look at me...I haven't missed a day yet. Go me!! I guess I should be thankful for that too! :)

I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday filled with happy moments.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gobble, Gobble

I'm in pre-holiday not talkative today. So I'll leave you with this little picture. Makes me want to gobble, gobble one up!

I'm off to curl up on the futon with my blankie, tv and maybe get a stitch in or two. Yep...I'm actually stitching. I'll show and tell tomorrow!

Until next time...

Monday, November 23, 2009

De Basura A Tresoro #4

There were only two takers for the little cross and I put them in the list randomizer. The new owner is CindyMae! Congrats!

List Randomizer

There were 2 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

  1. CindyMae
  2. Edgar

Timestamp: 2009-11-23 04:27:15 UTC

CindyMae, please send me an email with your snailmail addy. You can find my email in my profile.

The item for this Monday is a pair of embroidered pillowcases in a bright pastel colorway. One pillowcase says "Buenos Dias" which is spanish for Good Morning and the other says "Buenas Noches" which is Spanish for Good Night. Sorry for the poor's taken quite late.
These are brand new! I just took them out of the packaging to take the picture. I think my aunt forgot that she gave me a set of these already...which have also been sitting in my closet.

If you'd like to adopt the pair of pillowcases, please leave a comment on this post only. I will draw a name on Monday, 11/30. This will be the last De Basura A Tresoro post. I'd like to avoid the post office as much as possible in December. It makes me happy that 3, soon to be 4, items have been re-homed in November.

Until next time...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sewing Samples

Hope everyone had a great weekend! I can't believe it's already Sunday night. So happy it's a short workweek.

Earlier today, I headed over to NiaH for what I thought would be a quick trip. Whoa...was that place crowded! It took a while of waiting before Mary was free to help me. The main reason I went was to get fabric for Plum Street Samplers Christmas Tea. I *really* needed fabric if I wanted this to be my Thanksgiving Day start! Despite just going there for fabric, I also came out with sidebars and knobs, project bags and the Shepherd's Bush Glad Tidings Kit. I was lucky enough to check out some things that I was curious SB Holly and Ivy, BBD Joyeux Noel and VS Christmas Carolers. I'm glad I saw them up close in person because I was able to resist them. Woot! About time I can resist buying stash.!!!

This weekend, I caught up on my sewing samples.

Here's the mini-vest again along with the princess seams sample.
And here are two examples of using cord and the other using bobbin thread.

Umm, just as a sidenote, the fabric for the sewing samples are provided by the school. I wouldn't really buy any of these prints on my own accord.

I've been very lazy about sewing my pj pants. I have no idea why considering I really think the fabric is so fun! I've managed to trace, cut and sew up the 2 pant legs. I sewed the crotch this morning but sewed wrong sides together. Oops! More time spent getting to know my seam ripper. So still need to sew the crotch and do the casing at the waist for the elastic band. Looking at them, they look huge from the crotch to the waist! I checked my measurements a bunch of times so hopefully it all works itself out.

Ok, time to get to work...on these pants.

Until next time...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Eagle Has Landed!

er..I mean the postman has arrived and two of my three packages have reached their final destination. That means I can share stuff. Woot!

Last month, Missy Ann sent me an old floor stand she had stored up in her attic and was no longer using. I mentioned earlier about how I had a floor stand fairy! I was so grateful that she was willing to give me the floor stand and I know I'll get much use out of it. It already had Mary Wigham ready and waiting for my SAL with Lisa to begin on Friday. I decided I would send her a little thank you package and Missy Ann let me know she received it. I'm so happy she liked everything. I made her an Isis scarf similar to the one I made for *the boy's* mom but with the correct cast on and needle size in an aqua, purple and fushia colorway. I also sent La D Da's Something Wicked with recommended silks, Tournicoton's Pere Noel and some other little things I came across.
A special thank you to Carol R. for being the courier for the yarn. Isis yarn isn't readily available around here not to mention the price hike is astronomical. But UK residents benefit of buying it at cost which is much more affordable, even with her shipping it to me. Thanks Carol!!

I also heard from Laura who was my partner in the SBBC birthday exchange. She sent me a funny email letting me know that she was so surprised to get a package as her birthday was actually September 22nd and not November 22nd and she had since forgotten. Oops! Guess there was a misunderstanding somewhere but she got her package and is happy and that's most important. Many of you may remember me talking about working on this exchange. I took my time, finished early and loved everything about it!

I stitched a tasseled pincushion and floss tag. The pincushion is filled with crushed walnuts to keep needles and pins sharp.
La D Da Tiny Sampler (freebie)
32 count Platinum Belfast
Recommended threads (omitted beads and added GAST Brandy in it's place)

I added SBBC on the back of the floss tag since that was the origin of the exchange and "happy birthday" on the back of the pincushion so she remembers why it was received.
And the entire exchange! I also included a couple of charts from Laura's wishlist and the corresponding threads for Mayflower Landing and a couple of other little goodies.

I hope it was all worth the wait Laura...happy birthday!

I'll fill you in on sewing pics tomorrow. I'm delayed. I finished all my samples but haven't done a thing about my pants other than take measurements. Time for me to peel off and trace my pattern now.

Until next time...

Friday, November 20, 2009

*The Boy* Cooks

Happy Friday Everyone! I'm not in the most talkative mood I'll let *the boy* do the talking...or in this case...the cooking. Before he left, he made beef stew and I told his that would be great blog fodder so he made notes and took pictures to share. I hope you enjoy!

Beef Stew

Gather & Prepare Your Ingredients

1.5 lbs of stew beef, cubed (slightly larger than thumb sized). Marinate this overnight, or for a minimum of 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. Take a heavy duty freezer bag, add the stew beef to the bag, 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp of herbs de Provence. Close the bag, mix everything around by kneading the bag and marinate this overnight or - for a minimum of 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

1 large onion (diced into medium and thin slices)

1 lb baby carrots (cut into thirds)

2 large stalks of celery (diced)

*2 large russet potatoes

Olive oil (regular or extra virgin)

2 TBSP butter



Garlic powder

Herbs de Provence

Bisquick Dumpling mix & water (per recipe)

Note: With all vegetables, you can use regular carrots, more or less onion and celery as you prefer Same thing with the garlic - you can use fresh garlic or get fancy and used roasted.

Chop your onions, carrots and celery then set aside.

*Leave your potatoes whole - do not cut or peel yet.

Start Cooking

Bring 8-10 quart stockpot to medium heat (completely empty) for about 2 minutes or until droplets of water sizzle and evaporate. Carefully add 3 TBSP of olive oil, wait 25-30 seconds for it to heat, then add cubed stew beef. Let it sit for 2 minutes before moving it - you want it to sear and make lots of noise. Stir and sauté this for another 3-4 minutes then add onions, carrots and celery. Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1/4 tsp of herbs de Provence. Stir and let sit for 2-3 minutes, stir again and let sit for another 2-3 minutes.

Once vegetables have brightened in color - usually 5 minutes, add 3 quarts of water and one quart of chicken stock.

Note: You can use a mix of water, chicken stock and or beef stock. Ratio of 3:1 water to stock


Once the water and stock reach a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and let sit for 40 minutes stirring every 10 minutes. Begin checking the seasoning of the stock. I find that taking a tablespoon out and setting it aside until it is cool works best. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Dice your potatoes into medium sized cubes and add to the pot. Stir in potatoes then check your water and stock level - 2 1/2 - 3 inches above the stock (meat and veggies) line is usually a good bet. Simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes. Stir every 10 minutes.

Note: Potatoes soak up flavor, especially salt, as they cook. Retest your seasoning at the end of the final 30 minutes.

At the end of cooking the stew, add your 2 tsp of lemon juice and 2 TBSP of butter.

Stir in and give the seasoning a final check.

You can set this aside for packaging, freezing or just enjoy a bowl immediately.

If you're ready to add dumplings to this then read on.

The Finishing Move: Dumplings

2 cups Original Bisquick® mix

2/3 cup milk (you can use soymilk if you prefer)

Stir ingredients until soft dough forms, drop by spoonfuls onto boiling stew; reduce heat and cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cook covered for another 10 minutes.

Note: I like them a little more dense and reduce the amount of liquid to 1/2 cup.

It is now quite ready to eat. Yum!

This is a soupier stew than what I grew up on but it's yummy. It freezes well and comes in handy when I want something hot and hearty but *the boy* isn't around to be my personal chef.

Until next time!