Friday, December 23, 2011

Friday Finish

These items have actually been finished for a couple of weeks, but since my stitching time has been limited this month, I have nothing else to show.  The pincushion and scissors fob were made for my sampler guild's exchange from Blackbird Designs Wild Lilies pattern.  They're sitting on a square made by my grandmother who crocheted and did tatting.  I own three pieces of linen from her and they have  a  special story that I'll save for another post.

This seems to be the season of finishes or milestones in our lives.  My daughter turned 20 on Wednesday and that marked the end of having teenagers in the house.  My husband is the one with the big "finish" as he will be officially retired on December 31.  We've been thinking about this and planning for it for at least 18 months, but the transition has not been without its bittersweet moments.  My husband and I are of a generation who  spend their entire careers with one company.  He has worked in the transportation industry and has had continuous employment  for over 37 years although the particular company he worked for has been sold twice.  Leaving after that much time does give one pause and we've both questioned a few times in the last month whether this is the right decision at this time.  Ultimately, though, we have both know the time is right and we are ready to move on with this new phase of our lives. 

We'll be spending some time with our family this weekend so I'll take the opportunity now to wish you all a very special holiday and much happiness.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Picnic Day

Nineteen years ago today we moved into our current house.  As in other situations of great trauma and/or drama, so many details of that day are etched into my mind. 

The move was precipitated by the birth of our daughter, our third child.  We were rapidly outgrowing our contemporary style two-bedroom with a loft house.  So in August of 1992, we put the house on the market and began our search for another home.  We found the house we are now living in pretty quickly and for a few days, it looked as if the seller would buy our house.  (I remember spending the night of my 39th birthday on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor so it was clean for the showing the next morning.) However, the seller was going through a contentious divorce and the husband didn't really want to sell.  So he refused our offer which also meant the wife wouldn't be able to buy our home and we kept looking.  Every other house paled in comparison to the one we originally wanted.  Finally, we offered the full asking price and when the real estate agent told the husband he would still be liable for her commission if he didn't accept the offer, we had an agreement.  It was signed on October 31st.

In the meantime, we had sold our house to a couple who were expecting their first baby.  They both worked, but had a lot of income from tips and commissions.  That meant they had some trouble getting a mortgage and still didn't have one by around December 10 or so.  Our wonderful real estate agent who obviously wanted this sale to go through drove the couple to Maryland on December 14 and sat in the loan office to help them get a mortgage.  He was successful!  I took the call in the office at my school around 3:30 that afternoon and immediately called my husband to tell him that we were indeed moving the next day.  He went out to dinner that night with clients about an hour away from us and I went home to take care of our three children and move boxes out of the basement into the garage.

Fortunately, it was cold, but not raining or snowing on December 15th that year.  I waited at the bus stop with our older son who was in first grade at the time.  Since our new house was only a mile away, he didn't have to change schools and would be going to school on his old bus and coming home on the new bus.  Then it was off to do a final inspection on our house and continue helping the movers.  We were already exhausted by the time we went to settlement in the afternoon.  We settled on the old house first and remained at the table to buy the new one.  There was a heartstopping moment when the transfer agent (or whatever his role was) said, "You need $XXX for the house" in a tone that implied we didn't have enough.  I must have gone pale because he quickly reassured us that everything was OK. 

We were back at the new house in time to watch the bus carrying our son whiz by.  Our sitter hopped into her car and followed it down the hill.  It took a little bit for her to convince the driver that she could take our son, but she got him off the bus, brought him home and then had to leave.  Our daughter was six days shy of being a year old and was not walking yet.  I carried her as much as possible, but had to put her down sometimes to give my arms and back a break.  She crawled around and generally got in the way of the movers.  The highchair hadn't arrived yet so I had no place to put her down safely.  On top of that, it was cold because the doors were open all the time.  Finally, I bundled the kids into the car and went to the bank to get money to tip the movers and to get dinner at McDonalds.  We brought the food home and took it to the basement (which was carpeted, thank goodness).  The four of us huddled in the corner with our coats on as I took burgers, chicken nuggets and fries out of the bags.  My mind was racing with thoughts of unpacking and how I was going to get three kids settled into their beds that night when my son, who was 3 1/2 at the time, threw out his arms and declared, "There's nothing like a picnic!"  And thus, a family tradition was born.  

Every December 15th since then we have had a fast food dinner, sometimes in the basement, sometimes not.  Our two younger children don't remember the move, but they love the story.  Tonight my husband and I will be the only ones home for dinner.  We haven't decided if we'll have fast food (probably not), but we will pause to remember that crazy day and to renew our promise to each other that we will not move again until it's time to go to the nursing home. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Time is Running Out!

Although I don't post about it often, I read a lot.  A lot, as in 138 books and counting this year.  It helps that I like to listen to audio books.  Since I read for pleasure, much of this material doesn't require deep thought and therefore, I don't burden you with my reviews.  In case you're really curous about what I'm reading, you can check out the Goodreads link in the sidebar. 

If there's one thing I have more of than cross stitch charts, it's books.  I'm taking the Off the Shelf challenge sponsored by Bookish Ardour and committing to reading 50 of the books that are already on my shelves.  That will only make a small dent in the pile, but it's a start.  If you want to take the challenge, too, the sign-up is open until the last two weeks of December.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Preview

I've been working on some smalls for my sampler guild's exchange next Saturday.  Can't show you any more than this, but trI'm pretty close to finishing.  I got slowed down by a little "reverse stitching", but I'm back on track to have the pieces assembled this weekend. 

The smalls exchange is an annual event at my guild and is a lot of fun. Participation is voluntary and even if someone doesn't bring a stitched piece, she can still ooh and aah over what others have done.  We've expanded the event a bit in the last year or two to include appetizers and desserts (which reminds me that I signed up to bring a dessert and we're going out to dinner the night bfore--guess I'll have to plan ahead!).

After the meeting, I'm planning to meet a friend so we can see the embroidery exhibit at Winterthur in Delaware.  Should be a fun stitching day!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Finish

X-block quilt

Close-up of block
Here's one of the quilts I took to the long-armer last summer.  As yet, it has no name.  This quilt was one of the projects from my monthly "scrap club" and I did indeed use some of the black and white prints in my stash.  The block is made with an X-block ruler.  In the case of this pattern, I made a nine patch and then placed the ruler so that the outside patches would be cut at an angle.  Those pieces were used in the border.  The whole time I was making the blocks, I thought about how to put a little color in the quilt.  My choices were running to lime green or yellow as I don't tend to like the red/black/white quilts I've seen.  Then I spotted this perfect red and black print and it all came together.  Good thing, as I wasn't loving this quilt in its pre-border stage.  Now it's a family favorite.  It resides on the back of our couch and each of the kids tried to make off with it when they were home for Thanksgiving.  And don't you think the long-armer used the perfect quilting pattern?