Dec 29, 2005

Method To My Madness

Assignment: Convince you why stash is so great!

• Why do I buy stash if I may never have time to finish it all?
• Is it just so much fun to "fondle"?
• Why do I have several projects going at once?
• Does rotating projects really help you finish more projects faster?
• In what ways do I rotate?

First, I consider my stash a collection of sorts – A cross stitch collection! Books, charts, magazines, floss, needles, storage containers, scissors, fabric, beads, kits, scroll rods, hoops. Ahhhhhhh, yes! People tend to surround themselves with things that make them happy. For me, stash is one of those things! Some people collect stamps… some collect glass ornaments, some collect cars… I collect stash!

Secondly, I have to say that 95% of my stash is over a decade old. Several months ago, I returned to stitching after about a five year hiatus. I must say that it didn’t take me long to become “addicted” to the craft, again... and wondered why I stopped. Well, I know why but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, had I thrown all my stash away and started the buying process over... I don’t even want to think about how expensive THAT would have been! With cross stitch becoming a “lost art”, there are very few cross stitch magazines published today. Way back when, there were plenty to choose from. Presently, the best magazines are published in the UK and cost $10-12 each in the US bookstores. Years ago, I could get a year’s subscription for $20. I’m glad I kept all of my cross stitch magazines and stash! Some pics of my stash:

The box on the top
shelf is full of charts.
The second shelf is
cross stitch, quilting,
and sewing books --
Mostly cross stitch
books. The third shelf
is full of cross stitch

These are my hoops & scroll rods.

Here is my DMC floss
wound on bobbins.
Don't they look like
jewels? I have all of the
DMC colors.

Mat Cutting Tools:
Rotary Mat
Guide rail with ruler
Hand-held mat cutter
Mat Knife

LOL, I don’t “fondle” my stash! (Although, I think there are some ladies that do!!) Of course, if you consider browsing through magazines and charts “fondling” then I am guilty!! Most of my stash consists of floss and magazines. I have about 8 floss boxes full of DMC wound on bobbins, and a bit of specialty floss. In recent months, I’ve picked up kits here and there when they’ve been on sale.

Why do I have several projects going at once? Two reasons: 1) To keep me from getting bored 2) Instant... well almost... gratification. I tend to do complicated projects that take a long time. By interspersing small projects that I can finish relatively quick, I feel the sense of accomplishment that one gets from finishing something beautiful. Rotating several different projects keeps me from getting bored.

I don’t really think it helps me finish projects faster. There is no rhyme or reason to how I do my rotation. I try to work on my UFO’s (started circa 1997) at least once a week. On my WIPs, I just work on them until I get bored and the rotate to the next one. Some stitchers use the hours rotation: stitch a certain amount of hours, then work on the next project the same amount of hours, etc. Others stitch on projects on certain days of the week.

So you see... There is a method to my madness.

Dec 28, 2005

Tis The Season & Other Stuff

I spent the holiday at my parent’s home along with my brothers and sister -- plus spouses and kids. Being from a bi-ethnic family has it's advantages! As usual, my mother's food was scrumptious. We had the traditional ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, veggies, deviled eggs... plus sushi, udon, and fried rice. Mom had a special surprise, too. She made crab rangoons from scratch! It was all Mmmmmm Good! All the presents under the tree were just obscene. There were SO many! (Note: That's my tree in the pic, not my parent's.) The best gifts I got so far was a $25 gift card and a 10lb bag of Japanese rice from the Asian food store. I bought a tackle box that has those plastic cases with compartments just the right size for my specialty floss stash. There is even a tiny little case that’s perfect for beads. Didn’t get Christmas cards from any of my siblings. Is it too much trouble to sign a card and give it to me? I have to say that I was very disappointed since I go out of my way to pick out thoughtful gifts, send them all cards, and spend lots of time baking goodies to share with my entire family. Yes, it’s a time for giving – but is it too much to ask for a card, or to put some effort into a thoughtful gift? *whew* I’d better get off this soapbox...

Incidentally, all the cards on my wall except for about 5 are from fellow cross-stitchers. Since this picture was taken, the bottom banister support has been covered in cards.

As usual, I have too many stitching projects going at once! Keeps the interest alive, doesn’t it? On Japanese Garden, I have the border done around the Tori. I have some of the specialty stitches done. I put JG on hold since I am waiting on two colors of floss – one that was backordered and the other I neglected to order. Silly me! Got an email today that they were shipped today, and the floss I forgot to order is being sent as a gift. Yay!

I am also stitching a Cherished Teddies basketball player for my 13yr old niece who’s had her sights on bball since she was 3. I changed the the “CT” on the jersey to her number which is 33. I also changed the colors of the jersey and accents on the shoes to match her school colors. I expect to have it finished before the end of this bball season.

I worked a bit on my American Soldier Project, Freedom (by Stoney Creek), last night. I’m almost 1/4 done with it.

Still working on my UFO’s – Treasured Memories Quilt afghan. Haven’t worked on Elegance of the Orient in ages. I think I am going to start it over on a larger count fabric.

I started a new snowman ornament while at my parent’s house on Christmas. I also have a partially stitched bookmark of Tigger and Pooh.

Yesterday, I received my Stash of the Month package from Silkweaver Fabrics. There was a chart for a needleroll and several supplies to get one started on making it…

28ct Heritage Linen
Pkg of Mill Hill Beading Needles
Stranded by the Sea – Beach Paradise
Mill Hill Beads 4-color Pack

And a Tacky Bob! -- I wanted one of these! (No, this isn't your tacky uncle Bob.)

I’ve been wanting to try making a needleroll. Now I can! Yay! (As if I don’t have enough projects going???!)

While I was on vacation last week, the remodeling was finally completed to form my cubicle at work. There’s “frosted” glass around it that looks like rain hitting glass and sliding down. Several clients have come in and I’ve seen them touching the glass on the other side. LOL I’ve been moved from the second floor to the first floor. Actually all of us are on the first floor now. The firm’s intention is to rent out the upstairs to another business once they get entrances put in that segregates the 1st floor from the 2nd floor.

OK, I’ve rambled on enough now...

Dec 14, 2005

Happy Dancin' !!!

After 130 hours over the course of 5 months it's finally finished. Northern Lights is stitched and framed!!! Of course there was a mishap along the way... During the framing process, I set the glass on the sofa and went to get the glass cleaner. I was excited because I was SO close to being done! Sat down to clean the glass before putting it in the frame. Cr-a-ck!! Shards of glass under my rear end!! Oh nooooo.....! The next day, I ordered a new piece of glass... which was cheaper than the first piece (go figure). Last night, I finally got it all framed up. It looks so great!! It's cross stitched on black 14ct aida with DMC floss. The stitched piece is 11x14 in size... the largest framed project I've ever done. Here's what fellow stitchers had to say:

Your Northern lights are just breathtaking, stunning... I could go on forever. Great job there darlin' ~Carolyn

Oh Meari it's gorgeous!!!! ~Mo

Congratulations Meari! That was a large project and it came out great! ~Linda

Looks good Meari... great job! ~Shirley

Lovely work on the stitching and the framing. ~Lynne

Looks awsome. ~Virpi from Finland

Beautiful Work! ~Kimberly

Meari, it turned out absolutely beautiful. You should pat yourself on the back. ~Wanda

Wow, Meari you have sure got a lot of things accomplished - good for you and this is beautiful. ~Donna in Ed

Meari what a fab finish you really did a beautiful job of that one. ~Sarah

You sure deserve to do a 'happy dance'. Northern Lights is exquisite!!! Very nice job! ~Sharon

Meari, all I can say is WOW!!! It turned out beautifully, you should be very proud. ~Glenda

I think the frame matches beautifully! You did an absolutely stunning job. You should be VERY proud of yourself. ~Jessica

Congrats!!! It’s gorgeous. ~Linda

Standing ovation Meari! Very Beautiful. ~Hollye

Lovely work. ~Brenda

Meari, It is awesome!! Such a beautiful job you've done and yes, the frame matches it so well, too. ~Barbara

Wow Meari, Northern Lights is fantastic! Congrats on the finish, great stitching. ~Sandy

Absolutely beautiful. ~Dawn

Meari, That is gorgous and the frame is great with it. Happy dance some more for a great job. ~Donna

Wow, it turned out gorgeous. Congrats on the finish. ~Kathy

Oh Meari!!! That is so gorgeous!!!! Yey!!!!! I know you are thrilled to be
finished with it! ~Pam

Meari - You did a beautiful job. ~Mary

Oh wow! It's breathtaking! Gorgeous frame for it also! Congrats, Meari! ~Anna

Congratulations! It is awesome! ~Greg

It's beautiful Meari! Job well done! The framing is real nice too. ~Azzie

Beautiful job, Meari. It looks like a painting! ~Kendra

Congrats on a wonderful finish. I know your SO will love it. ~Terri

Very nice finish! Must have taken you a long time to do this one. Definitely one to celebrate!! ~Deborah

Congrats hun... its beautiful. ~Jaunice

All I can say is wonderful. ~Susan

Meari, It's just gorgeous! Congrats on the finish. ~Marcy

WOW Northern Lights os beautiful-brave one you are for stitching all that on the black whew!! Just beautiful! ~Patti

Congratulations, Meari--it is beautiful! ~Patricia

WOOOOO-HOOOOOOO! Beautiful!!! Congrats on your wonderful finish. ~Debra

I think it's Fantastic!! The frame looks really good and totally compliments the picture. ~Debbie

WOW! It looks gorgeous, Meari! Congrats on the finish. ~Mylene

Northern Lights is an absolutely stunning, fantastic piece. The frame really sets it off nicely. Congratulations Meari ~Carolyn

It is wonderful! Way to go, girl. ~Sherry

Congrats! Looks great! ~Linda

Meari, I want to congratulate you on your big finish :) Yea for Meari!! ~Peggy H

I took a look at Northern Lights and it is absolutely beautiful. ~Debbie

Meari, it's gorgeous! ~Carol I

Dec 13, 2005

Christmas Mad Libs

Remember the mad libs we did as kids?? Here's a Christmas one... Dear Santa Letter

Dear Santa,

I have been a good girl.
It really wasn't my fault what happened at Patti's Office party. It was Katie who spiked the punch with too much pina colada. I can't help it if I drank 15 glasses. It was so good---smelled and tasted just like lavendar.

I thought it was funny when I put Heather's socks on my head and danced the cha cha on the chair while singing `Beat It'. I didn't mean to break Patti's calculator and don't know why Patti would accuse me of robbery.

I don't remember calling Jerry's wife a slimy duck---even though she looked like one with black eye shadow and red lipstick!

And when I threw up on Kris's husband's arm, it was only because I ate too much of that cookies.

After all that fun, I admit I was a little tired. So I fell asleep on my way home and drove my car through my neighbor's bathroom. I don't think that was any reason for my neighbor to call me a cold monkey and have me arrested for murder!

So, I sit in my jail cell on Christmas Eve, all soft and fuzzy. And I'm really not to blame for any of this warm stuff. Please bring me what I want the most---bail money!

Sincerely and sickenly yours,
Meari (Really a nice girl!)

P.S. It's only 68 bucks!

Dec 12, 2005

Which of Santa's Reindeer Am I??

I am Prancer!

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet,
and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

A bit of Reindeer trivia: According to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their
antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to EVERY historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, EVERY single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a girl. We should've known... ONLY women would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night and not get lost!

Dec 7, 2005

Sleep Deprived

<-------- AIN'T SHE CUTE?!?

What’s new with me? Trying to keep my patootie warm, that’s what! I got out of bed to be greeted with 5 below zero temps today. I don’t think Celeste even wanted to go outside this morning to do her thing. Brrr! At least the sun is shining, though! There’s nothing worse than a cold, gray winter days.

Work has been a pain in the rear. Over a month and a half ago, I scheduled two separate weeks of vacation. The work I do is time sensitive, so it has to get out almost as soon as I get the data. There are two other women who do the same type of work, who are supposed to cover for me when I take time off. Well... One of them refuses. This has management in an uproar because the three of us “can’t seem to cooperate” and get my client work covered. There are only two days out of the five I am gone that is going to affect the other two women. Yet one of them claims it will put her WAY behind. Give me a break! Now, I’m being made to feel like the bad guy because I want to take time off. Not only that, one of the bosses told one of the ladies that if we can’t cooperate, they’ll just get rid of that kind of client work. WHHHAT?! I woke up at 2am this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep for over 2 hours because this bothered me so much. *sigh*

Last night while washing dishes, a glass broke and I ended up slicing the side of my hand near my pinky finger. I bled like a stuck pig! It has that burning hurt today. Of course it's on my right hand -- the one I write with. Makes it difficult to write anything.

On a better note, a bunch of ladies at a branch office are getting together for a catered lunch and ornament exchange. This will be the first year our office will be included. There will games and prizes, too. Sounds like fun!

My weekend will be filled with more baking, shopping for my Mom’s birthday and Christmas present, cleaning, and getting two new tires for my car.

That’s all for now...

Dec 5, 2005

Russian Tea Cakes

It snowed 3½" over the weekend. It was the fluffy white stuff that makes everything look so pristine and beautiful. Temps are very frigid -- Brrr! Other than shoveling a little bit of snow in front of my garage (leftovers from the landlord plowing the driveway) and my steps, I stayed inside and tried to keep warm. I did a bunch of stitching on Northern Lights and am almost done! I also did some baking -- Russian Tea Cakes and Gingersnaps.


1 c. softened butter or margarine
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. flour
3/4 c. finely chopped walnuts*

In a large bowl combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt on low speed of mixer about 1 minute. Blend well. Gradually add flour at low speed until just combined; stir in nuts. Roll dough into 1" balls -or- shape into half moons; place about 1" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for 8-10 minutes until firm to touch but not brown. Do not overbake. While warm, roll in powdered sugar. Cool; re-roll in powdered sugar before serving.

*Notes: I used 1/2 c. ground walnuts and the recipe turned out fine. 10 minutes baking time worked well for my electric oven. I used a plastic ziploc bag to roll the baked cookies in. The pic only shows the first coating of powdered sugar; I will coat them again before making up the cookie plates at Christmas.