Jun 30, 2006

HappyLite Sewing Machine Model 1837

For less than $12 including shipping, I purchased this cute little machine off Ebay. I am now the proud owner of a Montgomery Ward HappyLite Sewing Machine (Model 1837). It is pale pink in color (was also available in turquoise blue), weighs about 8lbs, and has the same dimensions (13W x 10.5H x 5.5D) as the Janome 3125. The Happy Lite uses regular size bobbins, needles, and presser feet. It is designed with a free-arm sewing surface when the extension table is removed. According to the manual, it's capable of sewing delicate, light, medium, and heavy-weight fabrics. When originally shipped from the factory, the following items were included:
  • 3 machine needles
  • Bobbin
  • Felt washer to be placed under the thread spool (missing on mine)
  • Large screwdriver
  • Small screwdriver (missing)
  • Satin stitch foot (missing)
  • Dust cover, which has a little pocket for the manual
  • Manual

I have a full size Kenmore sewing machine that works wonderfully, but I wanted something small that I could use when I had small projects that needed to be done.

The HappyLite does 7 basic stitches, including straight, zig-zag, stretch, and rickrack. It also does reverse stitching. It's also capable of doing buttonholes, but I doubt if I'd use it for that.

This seems to be a well-built little sewing machine with basic capabilities. The only plastic parts are the knobs and the extension table. The only negative to this machine is that there is no task light. I plan on getting it serviced/tuned up and then using it for light sewing. It's also the perfect size to teach my younger nieces how to sew. If anyone has additional information or history on this machine, please let me know. Chances are slim, but I'd really like to find additional accessories such as:
  • straight stitch foot (#2387)
  • narrow hemming foot (#2388)
  • zipper foot (#1028)
  • satin stitch foot (#SM718)
  • automatic buttonholder (#9259)
I have contacted Montgomery Ward and was told that the current owners only own the name and they don't have any information for products that were purchased at Montgomery Ward stores.
I have learned that the machine is possibly 16 years old and may have been manufactured by Happy Industrial Corporation in Japan (The back of the machine says: Made in Taiwan) and sold by Happy America Corp., 4705 Hydraulic Rd, Rockford, IL 61109. The Happy America Corp was established in 1978 in order to sell to Montgomery Ward.

If anyone is in need of a copy of the out-of-print manuals, I have them for sale.  Leave a comment with your email address and I'll get back to you.

Jun 29, 2006

Stitching Update and a Stitching Meme

Actually this is a non-stitching update: I took a small break from stitching because I had quite a few projects that needed to get framed. As you can see from my previous entry, I framed up the Pot of Flowers – that’s what I’m calling it since I don’t really know anything about my “rescue”. I also custom framed "A Virtuous Woman" for my sister. She “rescued” this one from a consignment shop. She found it all folded up with a big stain in the lower right corner. I actually got the stain to come out! One cool thing about my sister... She recognizes how much time is put into these pieces because she sees how long projects take me to stitch up. The frame ended up being 15x19 in size. A huge monster! I think it turned out wonderful.

I still need to frame LK’s How Does Your Garden Grow. I actually stitched it back in April. Lastly, there’s an Oriental Lady that was stitched in the mid-80’s – Yet another “rescue”. It seems I still have my work cut out for me!

Just what is a Meme??

meme (mem) n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

We stitchers are a culture in and of ourselves, aren’t we? Novel concept!

Now for the meme...this one has to do with floss storage:

1. How do you store your floss? – I wind my floss onto bobbins. I use like the cardboard ones even though in recent years they’re being made very flimsy, if you ask me. I know, I know: No one is asking, right?! Currently, I store them in the typical craft/floss storage containers. Is 11 floss cases too many? Don’t answer that. I have a nice fishing tackle bag that holds 8 huge containers, but I have yet to put my bobbins in it. For my "specialty" threads: The silk fibers are on bobbins in a small storage container as I don’t have many. I have a smaller tackle bag for those also. The DMC Light Effects are as I bought them and stored in a fishing tackle case. Still trying to figure out how to store them once used because they’re rather unruly!

2. Do you keep a complete set of DMC? – Ha!! Ummm… Can I plead the 5th here?? I think I may have at least 2 complete sets of DMC and then some. I have the entire set of Light Effects. Eventually, I’d like the Color Variations.

3. Do you buy new floss to "kit" up new projects or do you use out of a master set? – It’d be rather silly of me to go buy new floss to “kit up”. Wait, maybe that’s how I ended up with duplicates! Again, I plead the 5th. Usually, I will take from the master set. When working on projects, I’ll put the needed colors in one small craft container.

Jun 21, 2006

SBQ Cross Stitch Books

How many cross stitch books do you own and how often do you use them?

I suppose I have to count them? Well let's see, one entire shelf is dedicated to stitching books. Then there's one shelf dedicated to magazines and leaflets. In total, there are 41 books. Wow. Didn't know I had *that* many.

Cross Stitch A Beautiful Gift by Dorothea Hall
Cross Stitch from A to Z by Kooler Design Studio
100 Weekend Cross Stitch Gifts by Barbara Finwall
Greetings in Cross Stitch by The Vanessa-Ann Collection
555 Fabulous Cross Stitch Patterns by Donna Kooler
501 Cross Stitch Designs by Sam Hawkins
Quilt Designs in Cross Stitch by The Vanessa-Ann Collection
Hearts & Flowers Cross Stitch by Better Homes & Gardens
Alphabets & Samplers by Brenda Keyes
Decorating Your Home with Cross Stitch by Donna Kooler
A Treasury of Needlecrafts by Jean Leinhauser
Cross Stitchers Big Book of Alphabets & Borders by Better Homes & Gardens
Holidays in Cross Stitch 1987 thru 1993 by The Vanessa-Ann Collection
250 Christmas Quickies by Leisure Arts
Mary Engelbreit Cross Stitch for All Seasons
Mary Engelbreit Cross Stitch
100 Cross Stitch Christmas Ornaments
by Carol Siegel
Cross Stitch Greeting Cards
The Cross Stitch Motif Bible by Jan Eaton
Jo Verso's Complete Cross Stitch Course
John James Audubon's Birds in Cross Stitch
by Ginnie Thompson
Alma Lynne's Cross Stitch for Special Occassions
A Cross Stitcher's Oriental Odyssey
by Joan Elliott (My Favorite!)
The Pleasures of Cross Stitch by Better Homes & Gardens
The Encyclopedia of Cross Stitch Techniques by Betty Brandon
The Cross Stitcher's Bible by Jane Creenoff
Cross Stitch from a Country Garden by McCalls Needlework & Crafts
The Romance of Paula Vaughn
Sampler Stitchery
by Jill Jarnow
The Encyclopedia of Stitches by Karen Hemingway
Famous Paintings in Cross Stitch by Jan Eaton
Cross Stitch Fairies
The Cross-Stitchers Complete Companion
Gifts to Cross Stitch
by BJ McDonald
Times to Remember in Cross Stitch by Kooler Design Studio

As for how often I use them... Well, I look at them quite often. Does that count? I've made projects out of several. Wow, do I really have that many? I guess I shouldn't be surprised since I have a lot of books overall.

Anyone know how many Holidays In Cross Stitch books there are?

Revised 7/23/06: Since I originally answered this, I added a few more books to my stash collection.

An American Sampler 1989
Holidays In Cross Stitch 1995
Cross Stitch & Sampler Book

Four Seasons Cross Stitch
Expressions of Love
Classic Linens II
A Signature in Time
Country Cross Stitch
Quick & Easy Cross Stitch Gifts
An American Sampler 1990

Jun 20, 2006

Fearless Framing

Can't afford professional framing? Does framing needlework strike fear in your heart? Afraid you might mess something up and all the TLC you put into those stitches would be for naught? Don't worry (Be happy!)... It's easier than you think! I've been doing my own matting and framing for years and have never ruined a single piece. So, how do I do it?

Step One: If your project is washable, wash it. Even though it looks clean, dirt and oils from your skin and the environment most surely have attached themselves to your needlework. I use lukewarm or cool water and wet the entire stitched project. I put a tiny bit of Dawn dishwashing detergent on my hands and rub together. Then with hands on front and back of my needlework, I gently rub my hands together over the entire piece. Never, ever rub the fabric against itself or crumple it up - Unless your wish is to have a bundle of wrinkles that more than likely won't come out. If they do, it won't be easy. After the needlework is cleaned with Dawn, I rinse and rinse and rinse again to make sure the soap is gone. At this point, you can either 1) Hang the piece to dry. -or- 2) lay it face down on a white bath towel to dry. Sometimes I'll roll it up in the towel to soak up the excess water. For more info on washing, I have a blog entry called: To Bathe, or Not To Bathe.

Just an FYI... Please be aware it is not recommended to wash hand-dyed fabrics and floss. If you use hand-dyeds and HAVE to clean your project, use cold water to reduce the chance of the dyes running. There still is a chance it will, even with cold water. So, proceed with caution.

Step Two: When the fabric is slightly damp, press it with a hot (no steam) iron to remove any wrinkles and help it to dry faster.

Step Three: You will need to decide what size frame you're going to use. If you really want to save money on the cost of the frame, visit your local thrift stores and consignment shops. Frames are usually very, very inexpensive there. Yard sales are also good places to pick up inexpensive frames. Don't worry if the frame doesn't have glass. I almost always have mine cut at a local glass shop and it's not expensive at all. You can have glass cut at a framing place, but you'll pay more.

Be sure to clean the inside of the frame. You don't want any dirt getting on your needlework. Just use a damp soapy cloth to wipe the dirt out. Then use a clean (non-soapy) cloth to wipe away the soap residue. Let dry. I wouldn't recommend immersing the frame in water, especially if it's a wood frame.

The fabric of your stitched piece should be 4-6" larger in width and length of the inside dimensions of the frame. If your needlework isn't large enough to fit into the chosen frame, you'll have to sew additional cotton fabric along the edges of your needlework.

Step Four: Cut your foam core board 1/8" smaller than the inside dimensions of your frame. Foam core comes in sheets 20x30" in size and is 1/4" thick. It can be found at JoAnn Fabrics, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby. When cutting foam core, use a sharp craft knife. Cut slowly and carefully using several passes. Don't try to cut through the entire thing at once, or you'll end up with a jagged edge. Trust me, I know from experience! Do it slow and easy, and you'll be fine.

Step Five: Find the center of your foam core by drawing a light pencil line from corner to corner forming an "X". Then find the center of your stitched piece by folding it into quarters. Place a pin in the center of your stitched piece and then put the point of the pin at the center of the foam core. Press into place. Using T-pins, anchor the stitched project along the edges of the foam core.

You can also use binder clips to hold the fabric in place -- it's easier and faster. Once you have the stitched project secured to the foam core, you can remove the pin in the center.

Step Six: Time to lace up! You will need cotton thread to lace your project onto the foam core. There are several alternatives you can use: crochet cotton, 6 strands of white embroidery floss, kite string, and dental floss. I have used crochet cotton and embroidery floss. You'll need a nice long piece - at least 2-3 feet in length. Anything long than that and you'll probably end up getting it tangled and knotted... which will end in frustration! Starting at one edge, secure (it's OK to knot it) the end of your thread to the fabric on the backside of the foam core using a sharp needle. Insert the needle in one size then the other creating a zig-zag with the thread. Once you've done the entire length, secure the thread and cut it close to the fabric. If you find that you don't have enough string to lace the entire piece, it's OK to knot it to another 2-3 ft. piece. Just make sure the knot is secure and it's toward the center of the zigzag.

Tucking the corners in neatly, start the entire process again on the opposite sides. After I get done lacing, I'll usually use a slip stitch and stitch up the corners to make it look neater. You can then remove the T-pins.

Step Seven: If you had to sew on additional fabric, you'll need a mat to cover it up. You may want one anyway for asthetic purposes. If you aren't using a mat board, you'll have to get some spacers to keep your project from touching the glass. You can purchase ready cut mat boards at almost any place that sells frames. If your project is an odd size or you wish to have an unusual opening, you'll have to have it custom cut at a store that does framing (Ben Franklin Crafts, Michaels, Hobby Lobby). I have all the tools so I usually cut my own.

Assemble the framing materials -- frame, glass, mat board, laced project. Be sure to thoroughly clean the glass before adding the matboard and project. Be aware that some frames are not deep enough to accomodate the thickeness of the glass, mat board, and foam core. It's still OK to use these frames, you'll just have to use acid-free mounting tape to hold the project securely in the frame. I use it anyway even if the frame is thick enough.

Step Eight: Cut a piece of brown crafters paper (You can get a big roll of this at home improvement stores for around $6 and it lasts forever.) slightly smaller than the back of the frame. The easiest way to do this is trace the perimeter of the frame. Then cut it slightly smaller. Place double-sided archival tape along each of the four sides on the back of the frame. Gently press the brown paper to the back of the frame. Add a hanger to the back of the frame.

The smaller hangers will work for smaller sized projects. The above frame is 5x5" in size. Anything larger than 11x14, I recommend using the wire hangers. You don't want your projects falling off the wall, like one of mine did once and go bouncing down the stairs! Luckily it wasn't damaged, but I did put a wire hanger on the back afterwards!

Viola! You've just framed your first piece. It wasn't so bad, was it?
P.S. If anyone has info on the above piece (the flowers), please let me know. It was another "rescue".

Jun 18, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Here's a card I stitched up for my Dad in honor of Father's Day. It's entitled "New Car" but it looks like a classic model to me. My Dad likes old cars so I thought this card was fitting.

What can I say about my Dad? My earliest memory is my Dad on a riding lawn mower and pulling a little wagon behind with my brother and I. We were mostly likely thinking it was the greatest thing in the world. We couldn’t have been more than 2 or 3 years old. You can tell when my Dad is in an especially good mood... he has a silly, quirky sense of humor that comes out.

My Dad is a blue collar guy. He was and still is very handy. For many, many years he had a second job repairing small engines – mostly lawnmowers. He once took a metal tricycle, cut it up and turned it into a Big Wheel for my brothers. (Anyone remember what a Big Wheel was?) He also refinished furniture and made things out of wood. A beautiful cedar-lined chest he made… from a photograph I found in a catalog… sits prominently in my living room. Another nice piece – a small shelving unit – hangs on my bedroom wall. He made it when I was in my early teens. I have moved it from place to place with me for over 25 years. It matches my current bedroom set perfectly.

My Dad taught us how to learn to do things for ourselves. Do you know how many times I asked him how to spell this word, or that word? The response I got every single time was: “Go look it up in the dictionary.” Guess what? I am a very good speller and to this day, I *still* look up words in the dictionary. I have a dictionary at work and several at home. He also taught me things about cars… like how to change a tire. I thank my Dad for making me learn how, while he “supervised”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to change a tire! He also taught me how to change the oil in a car. That skill came in handy last weekend! Thanks to my Dad, I’ve done other basic repairs such as hose and thermostat replacements.
Weekend camping trips – “real camping” in the woods, not a campground – with my Dad (and Mom, too) gave us a love of nature. There was no Playstation, TV, or portable DVD players in the woods! Actually, we didn’t even have Atari back then. We learned to fish and explore the area. We learned to observe and appreciate the things in nature. We learned to create our own fun. Of course, he didn’t like it too much when he was fishing and we made a lot of noise. LOL – Where’s the fish for supper, Dad?

Thanks Dad, for all you’ve done. Happy Fathers Day!

Jun 15, 2006

Will It Ever End?

I come from a family of Pontiac lovers. GTO’s to be specific. Even though mine is not a GTO, I love my car… really I do! It’s served me well for many years. It’s got nice leather seats… even the driver’s side is heated. Mmmmm… yeah, that’s nice on those cold winter mornings! It’s fully loaded and I’m spoiled rotten with power windows, seats, and steering wheel controls. My car gets me where I want to go in record time. (LOL, OK that’s just me with a heavy foot.) No tickets recently, knock on wood. So what’s my point to all this? After six years of excellent servitude, my car has been needing attention. So far this year, I’ve had to:

Replace the battery (twice!)
Replace all four tires
Replace the front brake pads

And now I have to replace the rear brake pads and all 4 rotors, which is going to cost me $200 just for parts. Those are things that need my immediate attention. Called the local Auto Zone about getting the parts – Was told that if I went in and prepaid, they could order the brake pads since they were “temporarily” out. After I go there, I am told by one clerk that there is no way they can order them. As I was in mid-sentence explaining my phone call, he walks away and gets another guy. The next guy proceeds to tell me how he cannot guarantee delivery by Sat like the guy on the phone told me. Well then… I’m not about to prepay when I can wait until next week after the truck delivery. The second guy did go above and beyond by offering to see if one of the other stores had one and he’d drive there to get the pads. (Since I’d been so patient, he said. LOL) I’m not holding my breath, though. Looks like it’ll be another week before the brakes and rotors are done. What’s one more week of the entire car shaking while the brakes are applied??

Eventually, I’ll have to have my exhaust system replaced. What really irks me about that is the resonator only needs replacing and costs about $82, however…. Can’t just replace that part. Oh no. According to one place I talked to, they won’t just replace that part because it’s welded to the rest of the system. I will more than likely end up paying $300 for an entire exhaust system (and that’s just parts) unless I can find some backyard mechanic who is willing to cut the resonator out and put a new one in.

Shall we go on? Oh yes, let’s. I had a 25 point inspection done several months back and it found that the head gasket needs replacing, as well as the oil pan gasket, and several other gaskets that leak miniscule amounts of oil. According to my brother, it’ll cost me about $1500 to get it all fixed. He recommended I just drive the car and keep an eye on the oil levels – as long as I’m not constantly putting oil in the car, it should be fine. I just have to put up with the oil burning smell I get every now and then that comes out from under the hood. Nothing a face mask wouldn't solve.

New battery $60
New tires $415
New front brake pads $50
New rear brake pads & rotors $200
New Exhaust System $300
Gaskets Replaced $1500
A safe, reliable car -- Priceless

Jun 14, 2006

Am I the Pied Piper?

It was a nice evening, so I decided to take my dog for a walk. I had many encounters as strolled throughout the neighborhood. Ever see a cat and a dog face off? I'm sure you have. Imagine a dog that's smaller than a cat... and who doesn't even know what a cat is. Kitty knows what doggie is, though! Kitty immediately arches his back, hair standing on end, letting off his battle cry yowl topped off with a strong hiss. Celeste stands still about 8" away from Kitty's face. They just stare. I can tell Celeste wants to be friends by the slight wag of her tail as she tries to inch closer. Well, kitty won't have it... no way. Doggie enemy! A few minutes after we continue on, I look to my right and what do I see but a wee tiny face in the window looking back at me. Here was this little baby holding himself (or herself) up to the window ledge and was looking out. Seemed intrigued by me... as all children are (for some reason)... I smiled, which elicited a giggling happy response from baby in the window. How much is the baby in the window?? Oh, wait... it's doggie, isn't it? Farther along on my journey I see an older gentlemen sitting on his front stoop and his doggie hanging out nearby. Couldn't exactly tell if doggie was leashed or not, so I picked up Celeste and carried her. I'd go into hysterics if yet another dog attacked and killed mine! (OK, so I'm an overly protective furbaby mom!) Turns out the other dog was leashed, so it was all good. A little while later, I'm back on my own street. A bunch of tweenie boys hanging out on their bikes in the middle of the street. Like all boys do, they're boasting about how much better "my" bike is than yours and how "I" have a half pipe in my backyard. Oh-la-la! Dont'cha know half pipes are dangerous? Just ask my brother... he had one too. I must've caught the eye of one of the little boys cuz he just stared and stared at me. When I looked at him, he shyly smiled. Awww... isn't that cute? I almost made it home and a little girl across the way came running up to the intersection in front of my house. She yelled across the street, "Can I pet your puppy??" Being the nice lady I am, and a sucker for kids, I walked my dog across the street and let her play with my dog. Yes, I seem to attract the children... just like the pied piper. Doesn't matter where I'm at or how long I spend with them, I seem to make a lasting impression.

Jun 13, 2006

Freebies! One Week Only

Hoffman Distributing Company Inc posted their Summer showcase page. If you like designs from Trail Creek Farm, Little House Needleworks, Country Cottage, etc., you can download the
freebies for one week only. Check 'em out!

A Bit of Trivia...

I am or close to:

51 years 3 months younger than Walter Cronkite, age 89
46 years 7 months younger than Nancy Reagan, age 84
43 years 7 months younger than George Herbert Bush, age 82
36 years 4 months younger than Barbara Walters, age 74
34 years 2 months younger than Larry King, age 72
28 years 0 months younger than Ted Koppel, age 66
24 years 7 months younger than Geraldo Rivera, age 62
21 years 7 months younger than George W. Bush, age 59
16 years 6 months younger than Jesse Ventura, age 54
12 years 3 months younger than Bill Gates, age 50
7 years 5 months younger than Cal Ripken Jr., age 45
1 year 7 months younger than Mike Tyson, age 39
2 years 6 months older than Jennifer Lopez, age 35
7 years 11 months older than Tiger Woods, age 30
14 years 5 months older than Prince William, age 23

and I was:

33 years old at the time of the 9-11 attack on America
31 years old on the first day of Y2K
29 years old when Princess Diana was killed in a car crash
27 years old at the time of Oklahoma City bombing
26 years old when O. J. Simpson was charged with murder
25 years old at the time of the 93 bombing of the World Trade Center
22 years old when Operation Desert Storm began
21 years old during the fall of the Berlin Wall
18 years old when the space shuttle Challenger exploded
16 years old when Apple introduced the Macintosh
15 years old during Sally Ride's travel in space
13 years old when Pres. Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr.
11 years old at the time the Iran hostage crisis began
8 years old on the U.S.'s bicentennial Fourth of July
6 years old when President Nixon left office
4 years old when Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot
a 1 year old at the time the first man stepped on the moon
not yet 1 year old when Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated

These movies were released in the U.S. when my age was:

1: Midnight Cowboy
4: The Godfather
5: American Graffiti
7: Jaws
9: Star Wars
10: Animal House
11: Star Trek The Motion Picture
14: ET
16: The Terminator
18: Top Gun
19: Planes, Trains & Automobiles
21: Steel Magnolias
22: Home Alone
24: Wayne's World
25: Jurassic Park
26: Forrest Gump
28: Fargo
30: Saving Private Ryan
31: Toy Story 2

and lastly, and I was:

2 years old when All in the Family was first shown
4 years old at the time the TV series M*A*S*H began
7 years old when Saturday Night Live first aired
10 years old when CBS introduced Dallas
12 years old during the first airing of Hill Street Blues
14 years old at the time the first Cheers episode was televised
18 years old when L.A. Law was first aired on TV
19 years old at the time the series Married with Children began
22 years old when Seinfeld was first televised
23 years old in the month Home Improvement began
26 years old at the time the TV series Friends began
28 years old when Everybody Loves Raymond first aired
31 years old when Who Wants To Be A Millionaire began in the US

Want to know how many years older or younger you are than prominent people as well as how old you were when certain historial events took place? Click HERE.

Want to know about the movies? Click HERE.

Curious about the TV trivia? Click HERE.

Jun 9, 2006

Finished and Free!!!

The last thing I heard when I left on the last night of my Music in the USA class was: “Thank you and good luck.” It’s what my instructor said after I turned in the 2 question essay final exam. He did return our 5 papers and commented on how impressed he was with the quality of work the entire class did. I not only got an A on my papers, but I got an A on the second test! I truly thought I would get a C and would be lucky if I received a B. To say the least, I am thrilled with the A! If I were to guess about my live performance paper, I’d say I’ll probably get an A on it since I followed the same format as my other papers. Writing is one of my best strengths. Even if I bombed the final exam, I’d still walk away with a B for a final grade… which should come out sometime next week.

I am now free for the summer!! Even though the past 3 weeks have been a bit hazy, time consuming, and stressful, I am glad I have one more class out of the way. Despite a lot of regurgitating, I do have a new appreciation of analyzing music. Funny how various classes change your life, isn’t it?

Update: It's official. I got an A for a final grade in my class. Not bad for someone who has no music background whatsoever! Woo Hoo. Happy Dancin' for me!

Jun 8, 2006

A Question of Fours...

Four Jobs I Have Had in My Life:
– Public Accounting... Counting beans for more than one client at the same time. No co-mingling of beans, now. Most of my clients love me. There are a few who for some odd reason think *they* are my only client and expect me to drop everything. “You want what, when? Yesterday?” I may bend over backwards, but I’m not that flexible!
2 – Land Title Bookkeeper... what can I say? I became a bean counter during the hey day of home refinance in the early 90’s.
3 – Hotel Guest Services Rep/Auditor... Need to get checked in at the wee hours of the night, I’m your gal. Need someone to complain to because the party next door is too loud, I’m your gal. Need someone to close out the cash and balance the books for the night, I'm your gal. I received Employee of the Quarter for managing the entire hotel when the fire alarms went off and my “security guard” high-tailed it out of the building because he thought there was a fire. It was HIS job to figure out where the alarm was set off and *if* there was a fire, while I managed the phone calls from sleepy-eyed guests. And to think he still had a job after that!
4 – Fast Food Counter Girl... “Would you like fries with that?” Imagine being on the receiving end of: “If I wanted G*d-D*mn, F*cking fries with that, I would’ve ordered them” In those days, microphones not headsets were used, and anyone in the restaurant could hear what was said. Never saw my manager come running out of her office so fast!

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over Again:
1 – Officer and a Gentleman
2 – Pretty Woman
3 – Gone with the Wind
4 – Titanic

Four Places I Have Lived:
1 – Illinois
2 – Ummm... Illinois
3 – Let’s see... Illinois
4 – And oh yes... Illinois!

Four TV Shows I Watch:
1 – Today Show
2 – Grey’s Anatomy
3 – The Apprentice
4 – Friends

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:
1 – Disney World in Orlando, FL
2 – New Mexico
3 – Caribbean
4 – Alabama

Four Websites I Visit Daily:
– Yahoo Mail
2 – Yahoo Groups
3 – Yahoo News
4 – MSN

Four of My Favorite Foods:
– Sushi
2 – Seafood
3 – Pasta
4 – Rice

Four Places I'd Rather Be:
– At home (vs. at work)
2 – Vacation in Europe
3 – Shopping at a huge photography store
4 – Taking a walk through the woods

SBQ Picture Day

The first request comes from Vash who is requesting pictures ofthe back of your stitching... Are you brave enough to give this one a shot?

The second request comes from Singular Stitches, and she is asking for "a pictorial tour of the special place that you go to create your wonderful stitched creations."

Since my pictorial "tour" would be a bit fragmented due to having stash in various places throughout the house, I'm just including a pic of the area I stitch in most. The rest I'll describe best I can: I have two shelves in my "office" that are filled with cross stitch books, patterns, and magazines. I have a craft cupboard in a spare bedroom that is home to: 11 floss cases with floss wound on bobbins, a small storage case with excess unwound floss, a tackle box full of metallic floss, two bead storage units, 2 medium suitcase-type storage containers with various fabrics and kits, and all my scroll rods. On the desk beside the craft cupboard, is a double magazine case that holds kits, and another box with evenweaves and linens. Beside my sofa is a basket full of stitching magazines, patterns and kits. What can I say... I'm a collector! I've also got goodies in bags (from my shopping trip two weeks ago) on the floor of my office that I haven't managed to find time to put away yet. One day I'd love to have a room just dedicated to my crafty stuff... and another room for my photography stuff.

Jun 5, 2006

Patriotism & Cross Stitch

What started out as a gift of love for her Dad has turned into a patriotic mission. Although cross stitch is disappearing from the shelves of our stores, young Brittany is helping to keep the craft alive by making stitched gifts for soldiers in Iraq. I, myself an avid stitcher, am creating a memorial piece for a 22-yr old soldier who was killed in Iraq during 2004. Once finished, Freedom will be mailed to his family in Belvidere, Illinois. Here's more about Brittany's story:

Posted: 6/5/06

Brittany Limanen just wanted to give her dad something special before he left for Iraq. Now she is making something special for 150 soldiers. Brittany was simply making a “see you later present for my dad,” she said. “I thought it would be cute for my dad.”

Before Coon Rapids resident Brian Limanen was deployed to Iraq, his 10-year-old daughter made him a cross-stitch USA hanging decoration that she and her mother, Brooke, purchased at a local craft store. “He almost didn’t get his before he left, because I messed up the first one,” Brittany said. So, in a scramble she and her mother purchased another kit and got busy cross-stitching another one for her dad. “I finished it just before he left,” Brittany said.

Her father’s National Guard unit was activated in September 2005. He spent several months in training before being deployed. “It’s lonely at dinner because he would always tell us about stuff he learned that day,” Brittany said. Brian is a facts guy. “He is a walking/talking encyclopedia,” Brooke said. “He always shares facts with the kids.” Brian is a staff sergeant with the 134th Red Bulls. His job is fixing artillery, mostly on tanks. His unit will be in Iraq until May 2007.

“It was really hard when he left, because I’ve heard of all kinds of bad stuff happening to soldiers and I didn’t want anything bad to happen to him,” said Brittany. As soon as Brian was situated in Iraq, he hung up the special gift from his daughter. “He was really appreciative to receive that from Brittany. He said that it was pretty special,” Brooke said.

One of the men in Brian’s unit saw his cross-stitch decoration on the wall and told him that he wanted one. So, Brian asked his daughter to make one for his friend and Brittany began working on another cross-stitch project. Soon, more and more requests were coming in and before she could finish the second decoration, Brian had requested 150 USA cross- stitched decorations for other soldiers in Iraq.

“It feels special because I started this. It’s pretty cool,” said Brittany. A fifth-grader at Morris Bye Elementary School, Brittany works on this special project as often as she can. She receives help from her mother and grandmothers. “I think it’s awesome,” Brittany’s mother said. “She sees the drive in her dad and his love for the Army and it’s her drive and support that makes me so proud.” It takes her about 12 hours to complete one decoration, according to Brittany. The plan is to finish and have the cross-stitch decorations to the soldiers by July 4.

“She is daddy’s little girl. They have such a special bond,” said Brooke. Both Brooke and Brian graduated from Coon Rapids High School in 1994. They have been married for 11 years.
They also have a son, Bradley, who is five.

HometownSource.comECM Publishers, Inc.
4095 Coon Rapids Blvd.
Coon Rapids, MN 55433
by Jennifer Kivioja
Staff writer
ABC Newspapers

Typical Monday

Typical Monday at work. One person is out on vacation. Her backup got called for jury duty. So I was the only one in the office besides the secretary. I swear every one of my clients called me today... wanting *something*. Since I was covering for two other people plus trying to get my own stuff done, I was in a rush to get everything done before I had to leave early for my class.

That brings me to my class update. As you know from the previous entry, I had a test tonight. 15 short essay questions. There were at least 3 I flew by the seat of my pants. The others I'm confident on. One I didn't have a clue. The instructor wasn't even there! I'll get the results tomorrow night. I hope I at least get a B. Since the instructor wasn't there, we got to leave right after the test.

Since I got to be home early, guess what I did? I worked on Freedom. 81.75 hours into it so far. Remember the stitching I did yesterday? Well, I sat outside in the shade while I stitched. The weather was beautiful! Somehow, I managed to get a sunburn sitting in the shade.

Jun 4, 2006

Sighing in Relief... Or is it Frustration?

I can finally breathe somewhat easy. I have managed to write 5 papers, summarize 15 chapters into notes and timelines, and have my presentation in somewhat order. Now all I need to do is review, review, review for the test tomorrow night. Nora Roberts' "Come Away With Me" is excellent to listen to while studying!

Last summer I bought a Pioneer surround system from my old neighbor. Works great... when you can figure it out. It's a complicated system to hook up and if you push the wrong buttons on the remote, there's a good possibility of screwing up the sound coming out of the speakers. TV electronics tech I am not! Someone (either me or my niece) pushed the wrong buttons and no sound was coming out of the surround speakers, just out of the central ones. In addition, I could barely hear it above the hissing background noise. Well, I got tired of hearing the hissing sound so I decided to unhook the surround and hook the DVD player up to the TV. Do ya think I could figure that out?? NO! So now, everything is all disconnected... wires everywhere... and all I can do is watch TV and movies with no sound. Woe is me.

My Neighbor
It's been about 3 months now since my neighbor and her 8yr old grandson moved in. Within those 3 months, the grandson & neighborhood kids have managed to break the rope swing and the tire swing off the play fort in the yard. Mind you, I asked them NOT to play on those things. What really irks me is that they "politely" laid the rope on the floor of the fort for me to find -and- after breaking the tire swing... neatly laid everything beside the fort, without even apologizing or telling me about it! When asked "Who broke the tire swing?", the answer I got is "I don't know." Uh-huh. Shall we talk about the grass mowing? Oh yes, let's! For some illogical, unnamed reason... the neighbor lady mows the back part of the back yard only. She will mow the front part of the backyard right up to the edge of where my car is parked but not the little area in front or beside my side of the porch. Nor does she mow the front yard! I am oh-so itchin to ask why she does that! When I mow, or my neice mows for me, we do the ENTIRE yard. *sigh* Did I mention the constant slamming of doors every time the grandson goes in and out their side of the townhouse? The entire building shakes! And then there's the loud stomping up and down the stairs at all hours of the evening because he hasn't been taught to tread lightly. LOL, sometimes when I get really irritated with this I will intentionally and very loudly stomp up and down the stairs. (Naughty, ain't I?) Just a few more reasons why I need to find a house of my own.

I have done very little stitching over the past several weeks with the Music in the USA class monopolizing my time. I have decided that after I clean up the kitchen, I am going to sit down and do some! I need to de-stress, I think!

Jun 2, 2006

Just A Blur

The past couple weeks have been a blur. I finished up my Lit class and then started a Music in the USA class the following week. We finished up the 2nd week last night. Over the weekend, I have to write 4 more papers called Listening Logs. I have to listen to 5 songs from the two CD’s provided with the textbook and write a 1-page paper on each which includes history of the composer/performer, analysis of 3 musical components, and why we liked/disliked the piece based on the musical components. I have one done. I also have to write a paper on a live performance I listened to, using the same format. Luckily, when I went to the 8th graduation of 3 nieces that the band played a song and I was smart enough to bring a tape recorder to “refresh” my memory. What’s more I have to prepare a 15-minute presentation on a piece of music for the class. Lastly, I have to study for our 2nd test (which is next Monday) that covers our entire textbook – which we covered in 2 days of class this week. It discussed music from the 1920’s to the present. A lot of information? Yes, yes, and yes! Am I overwhelmed? You darn tootin’ I am! After all those things, we *still* have one more test to take. I’m guessing it’s at the end of next week sometime. The instructor is being a big vague on that one…

Needless to say, I haven’t really been accomplishing much of anything other than eating, sleeping, working, studying, and going to class.

I have noticed that the trees are green and flowers are blooming, though. I have taken time to literally smell the roses, so to speak. The college campus is beautiful with lots of trees and flora. There’s even a Japanese-like Zen garden.

Speeding Is Never A Good Idea

Especially speeding in Rock County. A sheriff’s deputy pulled over a car for speeding. What the deputy found in the back seat was beyond belief. Duct tape covered the license plates as well as the make/model icons on the car. What was in the back seat? Along with a screwdriver and pair of gloves was…. An ATM machine! Yes, the driver had stolen an ATM machine two hours earlier from a truck stop in Milton, WI. Pried it right off the wall of the truck stop! This is a true story. I heard it on news talk radio this morning. Criminals aren’t very smart, are they?

Life is tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid.

Jun 1, 2006

My Philosophy On Life

Recently, I was talking with a a girlfriend who was having man troubles. Actually, she has "man troubles" with every guy she dates. The way I see it, she tries to become what each guy wants her to be. Eventually, she gets frustrated and the relationship goes downhill. In reality, a woman who doesn't reveal her true self from the get go is going to have troubles. In light of this conversation, I thought I'd share my philosophy on life:

• Honesty, Integrity, & Honor. They are important.

• Live, Learn, Love... What else matters?

• Take me as I am, or don't take me at all.

• I will survive... I may not enjoy it, but I will survive.

• You never know what you get until it's in front of your face. Have fun, but don't overdo it.

• Some of the most extraordinary things can be found in ordinary places and packages. You just have to look for them. Isn't looking half the fun?

• I can be crabby. I can be moody. I can even be depressed. However, self pity is not an option. I'd rather be happy... We can try, but we can't always be that, can we?

• Everyone has the power to make things happen. If you want something done... DO it. If you want to be something.. BE it. The power of change comes from within.