Jan 29, 2006

Orts?? What's an Ort?

Ort: noun; a snippet or leftover bit of thread, usually resulting from a voracious addiction to handcrafted needlework.

Where do YOU keep your orts? The little guy in the pics is where I keep mine. It was given to me as a gift from a dear friend over 15 years ago. She was also a stitcher! Obviously whoever painted the lid wasn't... LOL (It should say JP Coates)

Jan 27, 2006

UFO's, PMS, and S.E.X.

UFO's, PMS, and S.E.X. -- I bet that caught your attention, didn't it? For those in the know, it's no big deal. LOL, and it's not what you think! Cross stitchers are a breed all their own and even have their own language! You may even think we talk 'funny'... Here's a bit of what I'm talkin' about:

UFO's aren't the flying saucers you were told about as a child. Oh, noooo... a UFO in Stitchers Speak is actually an UnFinished Object. Oh yes... all those projects we started and got frustrated with, sick of looking at, or just plain didn't like it that much after all... the ones we have hidden in boxes, drawers and closets... yes, those are UFO's!

PMS isn't that 'monthly thing' men blame our attitudes on. No sirree! When I get the attitude, it's because I'm just Protecting My Stash or Protecting My Stitching. Don't mess with a stitcher's stash or projects -- unless you have a desire to feel the wrath!

And oh that naughty word S.E.X. It brings so much joy to a stitcher! She (or sometimes he... Yes, there are many talented male stitchers) gets so excited over the Stash Enhancement eXperience that she can't wait to share it with her fellow stitchers. She gushes on and on about how it happened, where it happened, and what she got! She can barely contain her excitement. It doesn't matter if she's in a SABLE (Stash Beyond Life Expectancy) situation, or not. When the S.E.X. is good, it's great!

If the S.E.X. is really good, we'd better have an XSTH otherwise we could be in some big trouble! Those who are blessed with a Cross Stitch Tolerant Husband are lucky indeed. He takes pride in our talents and encourages our artistic creativity.

He just smiles when we thumb through our charts... our magazines... our freebies and decide what project to do next. Then we check our stash. Fabric -- check. Beads -- check. Charms -- check. Floss -- chh.. Wait a minute, missing DMC 3721, 721, 210! Off to the LNS (See ya later, honey. I'll be back soon! Kiss. Kiss.) As we pull into the parking lot of the Local Needlework Shop, our intention is to run in and get the floss we need. BUT! The S.E.X. happens all over again. Just have to have that chart... and oh! That evenweave is so pretty! Floss is on sale?! No kidding. Load me up!

When we get home again, we are faced with the WIPs. No, I don't mean the contraption used to beat animals into submission. We all have them. We're all proud to show them off. Some of us have so many Works In Progress you would wonder "How is she ever going to get those done?"

She gets them done by working on them in rotation. "This one on Monday, This one on Tuesday, This one on Wednesday" so on and so forth. She also gets them done by avoiding the Frog. We all despise the sound it makes "Rip-It, Rip-It, Rip-It" then he gives a little laugh taking pleasure in the fact that we made a mistake and had to rip it out. Bad Frog!

What do we say when we've finally finished a project? We proudly say "I have a finish!" and we rush off to take a picture of it so we can show it off to our internet cross stitching friends... because we know of no one in our immediate vicinity who cross stitches or would appreciate it as much as our 'net friends!

Jan 24, 2006

Hey! It's MY Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to me... Happy Birthday to me! Woo hoo... another year older, hopefully another year smarter, and I get so much better with age!!

Your Birthdate: January 24

You understand people well and are a natural born therapist. (Me, a therapist? Just lay down there on my couch and tell me all about it... LOL

A peacemaker, people always seem to get along when you are around. (Don't make me pound you! ...as said by Lucy from Charlie Brown & Peanuts Gang)

You tend to be a father or mother figure to friends, even to those older than you. (Maybe that comes from being the oldest of 4 kids!)

You enjoy your role, and you find that you are close to many people. (Yes, it's great to be me!)

Your strength: Your devotion

Your weakness: Reliance on others for happiness
Your power color: Lilac

Your power symbol: Heart

Your power month: June

My favorite sister (Hee, hee... she's my ONLY sister! It's a joke between us.) sent me flowers on my birthday! Aren't they purdy??!

Jan 18, 2006

Car Troubles - The Sequel... and Other Updates

Happy Hump Day! The week is all downhill from here, right? LOL, I wish I believed that one.

Monday I get in my car to go to work and it wouldn’t start. Key got stuck in the ignition, again! This happened two weeks ago. I walked to work – wasn’t so bad but my face and ears were pretty cold by the time I got there! A coworker gave me a ride home and delivered my client work. After work my brother came over and tested the battery and alternator. Turns out the battery was bad. I just bought that battery 3 months ago! We took the battery back. I gave him the receipt and he walked in like he owned the place and told them the way it was. LOL! He works as a service manager at a farm implement place so he knows how to handle those situations, plus he’s a man! (As much as I hate knowing it… men don’t get the run-around like women do) After some cussing he got the battery back into the car (it’s not the easiest to remove and replace). My car is back in running condition. Yay!

Work has been hectic all month! I cannot wait until I see Feb 1st! I’ve been so tired and I feel like I’m plodding along, trying not to let the stress get to me.

I start a new class at the college next week. On Mon nights, I’ll be taking American Literature II. Apparently, we’ll be reading 6 novels:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Edith Warton by Ethan Frome

I was supposed to go to my Get Fit screening last Sat – I ended up working and forgot to go. I talked to the person in charge and I can still participate in the program, but my weight, BMI, and cholesterol readings at the end won’t count for anything. I’m on a team and we get points for water and veggie/fruit consumption, as well as exercise. Changes in weight, BMI and cholesterol are taken into account at the end. So for the next 12 weeks, I’m supposed to do “healthy” things… Not that I eat all that unhealthy to begin with… but 5 fruits/veggies a day and exercise are hard to fit in sometimes!

Jan 16, 2006

Stitching Dilemma!

One of the projects I am working on is called Japanese Garden. It is being stitched on 32ct Jobelan with silks and hand-dyed threads. There are specialty stitches and beads. Because of these things, I cannot wash the piece once I am done! I have been stitching on this project for over 60 hours. When it finally came time to move the scroll rods... Yikes! There is dirt and oil stains where I have handled the scroll rods. Luckily, they are on the backside of the project because I put the fabric on the rods so that it goes UNDER the scroll rods, not over. I keep my hands very clean and still I got dirt stains. :-(

Well, I racked my brains trying to come up with something that would keep the fabric clean while being "handled" during stitching. I tried wearing a white cotton glove on the non-stitching (i.e the "handling" hand). Ever try that? Talk about cumbersome!! Then I put some thought into making something. I thought I'd get some quilted fabric and make something like the scroll mittens I've seen online. I was going to hold them into place with velcro. Problem was.... I didn't feel like making them right now... LOL!

I came up witha third solution!! I went to Menards (I'm sure any hardware store has this) and bought foam pipe insulation. I chose the size with the closest diameter in the center of the insulation as my scroll rod diameter. For $2.50, four 3 ft. long pieces came in one package. I simply measured how wide I needed and used a pair of scissors and cut to size. Each length comes with a slit lengthwise, so all I had to do was slide it around the scroll rods. When I need to move the rods, I just pull the foam off. After moving the rods, put it back on. You may want to wash them with a little soap and water before starting. Be sure to let dry thoroughly! :-)

Not only will this keep my project clean, but the foam is also cushiony and makes the rods "softer" to handle since I don't use a scroll rod stand. The foam can also be kept clean by simply wiping down with a damp cloth or handy wipe.

Jan 9, 2006

First Finish of 2006

Cherished Teddies Basketball Player

This is for my 13-year old niece to commemorate her 8th Grade Basketball season. As a toddler she became fascinated with basketball when she saw a WNBA game on TV. From that point on she was hooked. Whether she's playing real basketball, or on the computer the girl is good! She puts her heart into each and every game. I customized this piece to reflect her jersey number and her school colors. It took me 30.5 hours to complete.

Here's what other stitchers thought:

She is so sweet, Rachel will love her. ~Sandy P

Lookin good Meari... nice work ~Linda C

Congratulations. You are off to a good year. ~Brenda

Oh Aunt Meari, She is going to be sooooo thrilled.... Congratulations on your finish and your framing. ~Dee in TN

It looks great, Meari! I'm sure your niece will really appreciate it. ~Carol

Great stitching as always, Meari. ~Nann

Hi Meari, yes it did turn out fabulous and she's going to love it... watch out you may have to stitch one for each player on her team. ~Richelle

The bear is so cute. ~Jennifer

Your bear is so cute Meari, your niece will love it! ~Shirley in KY

I really like it too! ~Anna

Wonderful job on both the stitching and framing. She will love it. ~Lynne Mc

Meari, that turned out as cute as can be! I know your niece will love it! ~Teresa

Meari, your bear is adorable! ~Donna in Ed

How cute, Meari! Congrats! ~Glenda

Love your teddy and I am sure your niece will think it's awesome. ~Barb in TX

Awesome!! ~Julei

Looks great Meari. I'm sure she will love it. ~LA

It's adorable & she is going to love it!! ~Berly

Very nice Meari! And neat story too! What a great idea!! ~Pam

I enjoyed your blog Meari and the teddy is adorable! You've done great and your neice will love it for sure. ~Shirl

Looks wonderful Meari. Well done! ~Kelly

Cute Meari! ~Eva

Looks good. I'm sure you're niece will love it. ~Alma

She will love it!! ~Lynette

Too cute...nice work... Rusti

It did turn out fabulous!!! ~Stacey

Meari, I just love that bear. ~Peggy

Great job. ~Dawn in AZ

Very Pretty Meari!!!!! ~Vickie

That is very cute, Meari. ~Marl

Cherished Teddy looks good, Meari! ~Mylene

It's lovely Meari, your niece is one lucky girl! ~Olwen

It looks great, that mat sets off your great stitching just right. ~Cathy

Congrats on the finish! That is just too cute and I'm sure your niece will love it, what a nice aunt. ~Rene

The BBBear is VERY cute, Meari. Good job. ~Mary M

She is so cute. You did a great job with the framing!! ~Jacqueline

Very cute teddy bear cross-stitch. You did a wonderful job. ~Kathleen in MD

She's A Star!!

Celeste is a celebrity now. (click to see) Over the weekend, I got confirmation that she's a star. She's one lucky dog!

Addiction Group for Stitchers?

It’s been suggested that perhaps some of us need a 12-step program for stitchers.

The 12-Step Program for Xstitchers:

1. Find the pattern
2. Pick out the fabric
3. Check to make sure you have the floss.
4. Go to the LNS to get what you don’t have
5. Find something at the LNS to get what you don’t have.
6. Buy that pattern too, because they might not have it next time.
7. Pick out fabric AND the specialty threads for THAT one.
8. Take it all home and wind the bobbins
9. Order pizza for the kids and DH for dinner.
10. Start at least one of them, preferably both of them.
11. Discover that you forgot the Kreiniks for the first one.
12. Repeat step 4.

(Thanks Laura for organizing the 12-step program!)

The meetings would go something like this:

A big tub for everyone to “check their take-alongs” before they sit around in a circle. The first person to speak:

Wanda: “Hi, I’m Wanda and I am addicted to cross stitch.”
ALL: “Hi Wanda”
Meari (the leader): “And what were you stitching?”
Wanda: “Just some angel”
Mary: “Ooooo which one, I like angels.”
Laura: “Can we see it… Where did you get it? Can I buy it?”
Jessica: “Let me see if I have it in my stash. I know I have some angels in there somewhere.”
Berly: “Wait, let me get my purse and show you what I started.”
Meari: “No, NO, we have to… Hey Berly, that’s so cute! Let me get mine from the back.”

And then everyone gets their hoops, glasses, and extension cords for the OTT lights. They lived happily ever after on Tuesdays in their Stitching Bee!

LOL – Thanks Linda for outlining the XA meeting.

Jan 7, 2006

Calling All Shoppers

Do you like getting a good deal? I do! Today was such a nice day, I went shopping. Where did I go shopping, you ask? Not your usual store, I tell you. You see... I love getting good deals. Places where I get the best deals are thrift stores and consignment shops. I look at it as a treasure hunt of sorts and never go looking for anything in particular. After a stop at the post office, Celeste and I started off on our treasure-hunting journey.

Our first stop: The consignment shop. I came home with a bag full of goodies:

Frame for the Cherished Teddies basketball player I stitched up for my niece.

Book on growing and using herbs in the Midwest – Excellent condition and books were 25% off today! I tried my hand at growing herbs last summer and fresh tastes SO much better than store bought dried. I even dried some and it tastes better than store bought!

VHS movie – Erin Brochovich. Movies were 50% off.

Best of all – They had some excellent stash! I got ½ yd. of opalescent jobelan, a cord twister, waste canvas, scroll frame bars ($2.50!!), and a Debbie Mumm Snow Buddies kit.

Onward we went. Next stop, the bookstore. I didn’t get any deals, but they did have a better selection of cross stitch magazines this time. I came away with two: Stoney Creek Cross Stitch Collection Dec 2005, and the January issue of Stitchers World. Celeste was thrilled to see me when I came back to the car!

Last stop: Thrift store. More stash!! Even though the craft bin was almost empty, there were a couple things I picked up:

Christmas Year-Round Needlework & Craft Ideas – 25 cents
Large Ziploc bag full of stuff – 18” Polar Santa Stocking Cross Stitch Kit (really cute!), 14 skeins DMC floss wound on bobbins, package of 14 ct aida, smaller Ziploc bag of sewing notions – all for 50 cents!
Two flip top storage containers - for stash, of course!

I also came away with a brand new, still in the box, still wrapped in plastic, still padded by styrofoam... a Black & Decker 24-cup rice cooker for $10. I looked online and these things sell for $25-30 new. I’ve been wanting a rice cooker for a while now, so I was really excited about this!!

Jan 3, 2006

Happy New Year To Me

I woke up this morning proclaiming to myself “Today is going to be a good day!” in preparation of the onslaught of new year preparations I will have to deal with at work. The month of January is just a killer! Anyway, I go out to the garage and get into my car – no start! To top it off... the key got stuck in the ignition!! Luckily, I live only 15 minutes from work if I had to walk. I called work and a coworker came to pick me up.

My day keeps getting better! Long story, short... I paid an ebay bill of $1.54 by billpay. Next month received notice that payment was past due. So, I called the bank who did some investigating (check wasn’t cashed, not able to contact ebay). The bank stopped payment on check and reissued another one. I contacted ebay via email to let them know. They confirmed the email and notated my account. Today, I check my account and they charged me $15. After “chatting” online with a rep (They have no telephone support!), he informed me that one check “bounced” and they charged me the fee. Nevermind the freakin fact it was noted on my account the check had a stop payment on it!! Ebay will NOT waive the fee. Grrrrr......!!

Yep, Happy New Year to me!! Today is gonna be a good day.