Showing posts from June, 2009

Our New Home

Just kidding--this is a picture of The Breakers, the Vanderbilt's summer home in Newport, RI. My husband and I had always wanted to see the mansions in Newport and earlier this summer we realized that the stars would align so that could happen. We would have one child on the West Coast, one serving as a counselor at an overnight camp and a third in France. So we made arrangements and headed north. We covered eight of the properties owned by the Newport Preservation Society and saw The Breakers twice. (We purchased a membership to the society which was cheaper than individual tickets or the packages that were being offered). The kids definitely would have been in mutiny mode after the second mansion, but we couldn't get enough! The audio tours are great and we had wonderful guides for tours at some of the smaller houses. And the buildings--what wonderful architecture and sumptious, over-the-top decorating. Yes, it was conspicuous consumption, a phrase coined by Mark Twain when …

The 25-Project Challenge

The infamous Striped Bass (see below) finished off my 25-project challenge. I went off my rotation to finish it because I wanted a new project to take on an upcoming road trip and because I wanted to accomplish one of the things on my 101 Things in 1000 Days list. The challenge is an idea from Cherylann who wanted to reduce the number of projects in her stash. The challenge is whatever you want it to be. Mine was not to buy new charts although I could purchase threads and other supplies to complete designs I already have. And I made an exception to the challenge to be able to buy a limited edition design and the JCS ornament issue. I also included classes in my exception. I completed a 10-project challenge at the end of 2007 and started a 25-project challenge. I made it to 8 projects--twice!!--before I caved and bought a new chart. I started again in July, 2008 and finished just the other day. Which is why I only bought this when I stopped at the LNS on the way home from my Sampler Gu…

3 Squares a Day

If you've looked at my sidebar, you might have noticed that I have a problem with startitis that has led to 34 current WIPs. Which is why I couldn't leave well enough alone when I finished the canvas fish and had to start Postcard from Paradise (Blue Ribbon Designs)even before I put the last stitch in the Striped Bass. If I do three squares a day and one strand of the dividing lines, I'll have this done in mid-July.

1/5 Full or 4/5 Empty?

Several years ago, there were a number of post on the bulletin boards I frequent about doing 101 things in 1000 days ( I made my list and my 1000 days are up today. I accomplished 21 things from the list, including completing a 10-project challenge and a 25-project challenge. Sadly, my goal of calling my mother weekly was also finished as she passed away from complications of Alzheimer's about nine months after I started my list.

And although I thought I had completed the goal of teaching my second son how to do laundry before he went away to college, I found that I had to revisit it when I mentioned something over semester break about washing his sheets and towels. His response was "You have to wash towels? I thought since they were wet after my shower I didn't have to wash them". Eeewww! (And just how did he think those fresh towels got in the linen closet when he used them for the entire 18 years he lived at home???)

Even though I on…

Reeling It In

Here's a picture of my latest finish, a Julie Pischke canvas that I refer to as the Striped Bass. It's done all in basketweave with a darning cotton for the blue background, Caron Waterlilies for the outside of the fish, ribbon floss for the white and a blue metallic. Even though it doesn't look quite like the model I saw in Julie's shop, I think my son will like it when it's made into a pillow. This project has been a work in progress since August, 2005 when we went to Key West after dropping my oldest son off for his sophomore year at the University of Miami. We had two great days at the beach, enjoyed a sunset cruise and ate key lime pie. I got to spend a very happy hour in Julie Pischke's shop although I didn't know then that the helpful shop owner was also the designer of the pieces I bought. We had heard that a hurricane was coming, but it was expected to hit in Fort Lauderdale, about 200 miles to …

It's the little things

About 6 months ago, the remote key for my van stopped working. I tried replacing the battery and nothing happened. Ditto for the spare remote. I put off doing anything about it until I had to take the van in for inspection and routine maintenance this week. I had it in my mind that fixing the remote would be expensive so I "suffered" through months of having to unlock the driver's door and then hitting the unlock button to get the rest of the van's doors open--so 1990. Not to mention that I felt unsafe in parking lots at night while I stood around trying to get the key in the lock. Well, my old road dog thinks she just came from the factory after an oil change, new rear tires, a new pollen filter (who knew that cars even had one of those??) and a new brake light (again, I didn't even know if wasn't working). All of this required an overnight stay at the dealer's because one part wasn't available and produced a bill not unlike that of an over…

Summer Reading

I mentioned in a previous post that I don't buy books anymore--well, not many books and certainly not very often. This is why. It's about half the books that are stored in a closet in my sunroom. They were moved there three years ago when we remodeled our master bath and I had to take books out from under my bed and nightstand. They're causing the shelves to sag slightly. And I'm not even showing you the books that have crept back under my bed and my nightstand, nor the ones that are piled on top of the TV in my bedroom. (We rarely watch the TV but it makes a great bookshelf.) So I'm making a commitment to read at least 10 of these books while I'm off for the summer. That's one book a week. Now if I could just keep from checking the latest bestseller out of the library.


Today was the last day of school for me and for my daughter. She survived the junior year of high school--her first, our last. It's hard to believe that my little girl is now a senior. The last day of school has had a lot of variations over the years. There have been the years when I was copying a report that needed to be sent out that day as the principal was locking up her office and looking pointedly at her watch. Other years, I've finished all my work the day before, and enjoyed a morning of saying goodbye to the students who are moving on to the next school. This year, I was working up until the last minute because I took the time to really clean out my room. It was time. I started in my current position 17 years ago and today I threw out some things that my predecessor had left. I took a short break to join the rest of the staff as we waved goodbye to the buses. I'm not ashamed to admit that's one of the best moments of the school year! Then it was off to the sta…

A Race to the Finish

Which one of these will be the 25th finish in my 25-project challenge?

Striped Bass-Julie Pischke canvas
Lights of Advent ornament (JCS ornament issue)

The Striped Bass (my name for it) has been a project for long-distance trips in the car for awhile now. I find the metallics tricky to work with in the car, so it's now getting a strand a day at home. The ornament is my car project. I stitch on it while I wait for my daughter to make her appearance for the trip to the high school (she is not a morning person), before I go into work in the morning because I refuse to enter the building before 7:30, and while I'm waiting to pick my daughter up from one of her many activities. School's done on Friday, though. Which one will be finished first? Your guess is as good as mine!

The Worst Books

In the Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde (Lost in a Good Book, The Eyre Affair), there is a character, Gran, who can't die until she has read the ten worst books of all time. Well, I may have found one to add to the list. On a recent foray into a bookstore (where I went for the sole purpose of scouting out the latest mysteries and novels to put on my summer reading list), I spotted a promising volume, The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil. I put in a request for it through my local library since I do. not. buy. books. anymore. The book arrived in no time at all and I settled in to read it. Twenty pages in, I wasn't impressed by the two women who are best friends, or by the two boys who belonged to one of the women., or the plot. I rarely abandon a book, but my patience ran out around page 80. Although not before the new owner of the yard shop had knitted fish for the window display--I kid you not. At least there wasn't a pattern in the back of …

The Frogs Are Gone!

The rain has left southeastern PA and taken the frogs with it. Maybe now I can make some real progress on Petit Sampling Etui. I frogged the line of over-one alphabet that begins with 'N' and got most of it re-stitched. Would have done more stitching, but the prom festivities and the late nights during the previous week caught up with me so I fell asleep with the needle in my hand. I'll have three more days on this before my rotation changes, so I'm planning to get this box done.

A Fun Time Was Had By All

Tonight is the senior prom and we hosted the pre-prom picture session for seven couples (and their entourages of parents, granparents and siblings). It was a successful event. All the girls looked lovely and the boys were handsome. The picture taking went well even though the soaking rain we got all day in southeastern PA meant we had to have it indoors instead of on our deck. And then the limo arrived--a stretch Hummer. Now, normally I don't approve of such extravagance, but the prom location is 45 minutes away from our house and I'm glad none of the kids are driving in this rain. My husband was so busy helping the girls stay dry under golf umbrellas on the way to the limo while I was checking to be sure that everyone had their evening bags and flowers (I know--I'm such a Mom) that we didn't get a picture of it. There were plenty of other parents documenting every moment, though! I was happy that I took the entire day off to make this event happen. I was in the groc…

A Plague

I have always been amused by story of the plague of frogs sent to Egypt to punish the Pharoah for not releasing the Israelites. I'm not amused by having them take up residence near my Petit Sampling Etui . Especially when I'm stitching over one. Especially when I have to take out an entire row of alphabet. Especially when I've already "reverse stitched" another section of this chart. No, I am not at all amused.

It Works For Me

I've tried many times to do a rotation. I've tried stitching 10 hours on a project. I've tried having a focus piece to stitch on every other slot in the rotation. I've tried rotating projects weekly. Nothing seemed to be right for me and I just went back to being a one-at-time stitcher. That was great until I started the SAL for Petit Sampling Etui with my sampler guild. I found that I was stitching on it all the time, trying to keep up with the SAL. And I really wanted to be working on some of my other projects, too. As I was stitching one night, I thought about the method I use to keep myself motivated during difficult parts of stitching or on boring borders. I stitch three needles full of one color, two of the next and one of a third. Then back to the first color. Why couldn't I do that with my projects?
And thus, a rotation was born. I chose four projects and rotate them, stitching four days on one, three on the next, two on the next and one on the last. When I…