Apr 27, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 4/27/09

Can you believe it's the end of April already?!? Time does fly, doesn't it?

What a crappy weekend. It was overcast and rainy all weekend. There was even thunder and lightning Saturday night. It looks like I'll have to mow the yard this next week due to all the rain we've been getting.

I must've been a good girl lately, because I've been blessed with another RAK! Sue from ESC sent me an envelope of lovely goodies! The two charts were on my wishlist :)

Peony in Vase by Pinn Stitch

Home of a Needleworker Too by Little House Needleworks

I just love the Mary Engelbreit notecards and note pad! They are just the cutest things! Sue also sent an 18x26" piece of 28ct Laguna hand-dyed fabric from PictureThisPlus in the color Sterling. I've never used fabric from PTP, so I'm looking forward to it! Thank you, Sue, for being so thoughtful and generous!

I've stitched another side of the Quaker Cube:

I also had a finish over the weekend!

Mona & Miles Ornament
Designer: The Sugarplum Express/Janlynn
Fabric: 14ct white plastic canvas
Fibers: DMC
Embellishments: Wire hanger

I debated on whether or not I wanted to frog all the stitching I had done on the scissor case I started a couple weeks ago. At that time, somehow I'd skipped over two rows of specialty stitches and started stitching the cross stitches instead. What to do? What to do? In the end, the perfectionist side of me won and I decided to frog it all. Then I started the diagonal queen stitches, which are flip-flopped every other one. First row went OK. Second row, I flip-flopped the first two only and then stitched a BUNCH all the same direction. Ack! So, I ended up frogging most of the second row. I did about 1/2 dozen more and I had to frog AGAIN because I did a couple the same direction. LOL By this point, squinting and trying to do the stitches had given me a headache. So I laid down for a nap! If you're wondering what I'm talking about... take look at the photo (it's clickable for a larger view) of the scissor case. At the very bottom are the diagonal queen stitches in ecru.

Edited: A few have commented on the scissor case "finish". The photo is not my finish, it's the photo used on the kit. Mine is just barely started. I used the photo to illustrate what I was talking about.

Lastly, my newest "small" WIP project: Oriental Kimono by Joan Elliott

2.5 Hours of Stitching

Valerie, the Fog City Dweller, is celebrating her 4-year blogversary with a giveaway. She's doing a giveaway on her blog until May 1st, so hurry on over and see what she has to say!


Hold on to your seats... I was asked on yet another first date! It was a very pleasant surprise to have dinner with a man who not only can have an intelligent conversation, seemed polite, thoughtful, open and honest with replies to questions, and even had questions of his own! Dinner was a 3.5 hour ordeal… LOL, I’m kidding about the “ordeal” part. Time flew by so fast and neither of us minded the “getting to know” each other conversations.

Funny thing about how this date came about. Most of you know I use a dating website... This man actually contacted me a year and a half ago on the website. I remember emailing him a bit back then, and he said we talked on the phone once (but I don’t remember it). I’m not sure why we didn’t meet way back when. This week, he saw my profile on the site again and emailed me: "I can't believe someone hasn't snatched you up yet. I figured someone would've made an honest woman of you by now." Something along those lines. I responded back by saying something like: "One would think so, but alas no." LOL From there, we chit-chatted via email a while and he asked me out to dinner. He really had a good attitude about us not getting together a year or so ago, saying that we were both in different places and who knows why it didn’t happen then.

At the end of the date, he gave me three white roses. He called me shortly after we parted ways to make sure I made it home OK, and to reiterate he had a really good time. He did ask me if I’d like to go on a second date. We both agreed we’d like a second date. So perhaps there will be one?

Yesterday, I made homemade lasagna. What do you think? Doesn't it look scrumptious?!

Apr 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009

Today is Earth Day. Everyone, no matter how young or old, can do *something* to help reduce the carbon footprint. I make efforts to reduce, reuse, recycle, and replensih whenever I can.

Here are the things I do on a regular basis:

• I use canvas bags for shopping, or carry my items out in my hands. You should see some of the looks I get from store clerks when I say, "You don't have to put that in a bag." LOL

• I've accumulated a lot of plastic shopping bags from before I started using canvas bags. I use those to line small trash cans rather than buy liners.

• As regular bulbs burn out, I've been replacing them with the energy efficient ones.

• I save gallon milk jugs and fill them with recycled water from the dehumidifier in the basement. I use it to water my indoor plants, and garden in the summer months.

• I wash my clothes (except whites) in cold water.

• I hang clothes outside during the warmer months.

• I recycle as much trash as I can. It's easy - We don't even have to sort it. It just goes into a bin and is transported to a facility where people do the sorting.

• I refurbish furniture and "stuff" to reuse.

• I open windows in the summer, rather than use air conditioning. I use A/C maybe 3-4 days all summer.

• I have and use a programmable thermostat for my furnace and A/C unit.

• I pay bills online which reduces paper consumption.

• I have employer direct deposit my checks which saves gas spent on trips to the bank.

• I shut off the water when brushing my teeth.

• I participate in giving and getting from local recycling organizations.

• I buy used when it makes sense.

• I shop at second-hand stores, consignment shops, and thrift stores.

• I print on both sides of paper (at work and at home) when it's for my use only.

• I use cloth rags to do household cleaning, and wash/reuse them over and over. This reduces the amount of paper towels used.

• I reuse envelopes and boxes to ship things all over the world.

What do you do???

Apr 20, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 4/20/09

Stitchy Stuff
A while back, I won a giveaway Shelleen was hosting on her blog. It's a Silver Needle Night kit depicting February events... Ground Hog's Day, Valentine's Day, Lincoln & Washington's Birthdays. I really enjoyed the last SNN kit I did so I'm sure I'll enjoy this one, too. Thank you, Shelleen!

In today's mail, I received this cute RAK from Jess. These block-by-block projects are designed by Craft Center of Fine Stitchery. They come in chart or kit form.

Lastly, I'll leave you with my progress on the Quaker Cube:

So far it's been a pretty quick stitch. I've only had to frog once. It takes me about 1.5 hours to stitch one square.

Nina is hosting a giveaway on her blog: "If you want to get a chance to win please show us your scissors on your blog. Not condition to have a lot scissors, you can show any what you have. Please leave a comment HERE if you want to be entered. To get one more extra enter put this logo on your blog and link back here, leave a comment again after it." The giveway ends April 30th, midnight (CET). You'll get scissors and the lot in the picture!

Here are my scissors:

Stitchy Stuff of a Different Kind
I was totally floored when I got my mail last Monday and found a fabric postcard from Wanda in Canada! I was so excited, I took it to work with me and showed it off. It's truly a work of art! Even my coworker said it would look wonderful framed. I've actually met Wanda in person and she's a great gal. :) (I did wonder why she never responded to me when I asked about fabric postcards. Now I know why!) Sneaky girl...

The fabric postcard was mailed just as you see it... Just like a paper postcard. Isn't it totally awesome?! Thank you, Wanda!! I LOVE it :)

Blog Award
Carolyn, the sweet lady she is, gave me an award! Thank you, Carolyn, for thinking of me. :)

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated."

I'm passing this award on to 5 others:

Kristin - Dragondreamer's Lair
Donna - Stitching For A Cure
Kathy - Kathy's Stitch and Other Comments
Rachel - What Crazy Looks Like
Ranae - Stitch by Stitch (Who I recently found out lives fairly close to me!)

LOL, ahhh... Where do I start?

Hand Sanitizer Dude: He seemed OK at first. He took me to a Superbowl Party hosted by some friends of his. We left early and finished watching the game at his house, since I had a 40 minute drive home. I asked to use his restroom and found that while the water in the toilet worked (thank goodness), the water in the sink did not. When I exited the bathroom, he handed me a bottle of hand sanitizer to "wash my hands" since the water in the sink wasn't turned on. As a parting gift despite my polite declines, he gave me a new bottle of hand sanitizer to take home. Proclaimed "work" gives it to the employees all the time. Oh, and I sha'nt forget to include the conversations about how athletic he was in high school... holding records that had previously been held by students who went on to be NFL stars. Picture a plump 38year old man bragging to me about his H.S. records! As you can imagine, it was the *first* and *last* date.

We Should Go out (Sometime) Guy: For almost two weeks, this guy texted me various messages of hello, good morning, sweet dreams, etc. The first time we talked on the phone, he asked me out, said we'd talk later in the week. Wed, he texted asking me if we were still going out. I said "Yes" and asked if he was still game. To which he replied "Yes!" Alrighty then. From that point on, no more texts. Thursday comes, no phone call. Friday comes, a few texts. No phone call. No mention of date which was supposed to be on Saturday. Saturday afternoon, he emails me giving me an excuse as to why he can't go out. Now mind you, I've been around the block a time or two with dating (LOL!) and I can tell when the games begin and when a guy is not really interested. In this email he said something along the lines of: "We can go out in a couple weeks, if you're still interested." Whoa.... Does he think I'm desperate? I emailed him back about how empathetic I was to peoples issues that come up, and that I felt it was discourteous to me to wait until that day to email me rather than pick up the phone... of which he should've done Wed or Thurs... not email on Saturday afternoon when our date was to occur. Can you believe he actually emailed me back after that with a simple... "OK" (ROFL!)

You Bet I Would Guy: I emailed this guy asking if he'd like to communicate a bit. His response: "You Bet I would." LOL So, I emailed him back asking him to tell me about himself, what type of relationship he was looking for, his hobbies, etc. His response: "I don't really know what I want, but I'll know it when I see it. You know what I mean? I want someone who's not afraid to get her hands dirty. Your turn, I guess." Hmmm, I thought to myself. LOL Another "Alrighty then" What I felt like screaming was: "How in the heck do you think you're going to find a woman if you don't know what you want???!" So politely, I wrote back that I did not know what he meant as I knew exactly what I wanted, that my profile gave a good indication of who I am, what I'm looking for, and what I'm about. My head almost spun off on that one.

Apr 18, 2009

Chipmunks, Cardinals, and..... Buffalo??

Ahhhh, Friday was such a beautiful day! Sunny, slight breeze, and temps of 73F -- my kind of weather. I could be happy all year with weather like that! I spent the afternoon at the bike path.

Let me back up a bit... a few weeks ago, I sold the extra washer that's been sitting in my garage since I bought my house and used the money to buy a new bicycle. I've been wanting one for about a year. After some research, I found this:

GTw Nomad - Fitness Series

Not only did I get it on sale, it has some great features such as quick release wheels, grip shifting, and quick release seat especially made for female anatomy. This bicycle is considered a hybrid -- a combination of mountain bike and road bike. It's made for comfort as well as smooth and rougher riding conditions.

Since Friday was the first *really* nice day, I headed to the bike path! This path goes from Illinois all the way to Wisconsin. Tree frogs chirping, birds flitting from branch to branch, and chipmunks popping in and out of holes... I meandered my way along the path. It was great to enjoy the sights and sounds of the outdoors!

Thus the title of this post: Chipmunks, Cardinals, and... Buffalo??

Yes, buffalo!

The entire length of the path is lined with trees, outcrops of limestone, wetlands, and creek.

The old railroad caboose sits on a horse ranch right next to the bike path:

Whenever I see this house, it *always* reminds me of my grandfather. For as long as I can remember, it has always looked this way.

This "shack" is very similar to one a man by the name of Frankie Shear lived in. Frankie Shear was a man who had a long beard that I've always imagined looked something like Rumpelstilskin. When I was a little girl, I had really long hair. My grandpa used to pull my hair to the front, pretend it was a beard, and tell me how I looked like Frankie Shear. My sister and cousins had long hair also, so he also did it to them. LOL! Grandpa (rest his soul) used to get quite a kick out of it.

By the time I ended my first bicycle trip of the year, I had ridden 13.7 miles! A couple years ago when I went biking with S on this same path, I barely made it 3 miles using his road bike (made for men).

***Sorry about the poor quality of photos, they were taken impromptu with my camera phone.

Apr 13, 2009

For Goodness Sakes...

The garage door opener... You know... The one I took down...

I listed it on a few sites as "Offer: Garage Door Opener (Scrap Metal)" then elaborated in the post about the brand, that the track, motor, and chain were included, but there were no controllers. I've boycotted my local freecycle group due to what happened last year, btw.

Right away, one lady emails me asking if I could hold it until 4:30pm because she thought her husband needed one. I didn't reply back to her, but I was thinking: "Lady, whoever comes and gets it first is the one who I'll give it to." I'm naughty, aren't I? LOL

6:40pm -- Another email: "if you still have this please let me know i will come git it" (Git it? LOL) I responded back that I was home, and gave him the alternative option of any time after 5pm during the week.

7:00pm -- Second email: "is it down and appart or still up? give me a call at xxx-xxxx" (Ahhh no, I don't give my telephone number out to strangers) I responded: "It's down... all in one piece. There are no remotes or controllers. You'll need a truck to haul it."

7:13pm -- Third email: "Can it come apart at all? its the opener and it it's chain and track right?" (Hmmm... did he READ the post at all?) By this time, I'm thinking -- For goodness sakes, it's FREE! If you want it, come get it. I responded: "That would be correct. I don't know if it comes apart. I took it down in one piece, but I'm not going to take the time to dismantle it."

7:19pm -- Fourth email: "O no thats fine i will i was just asking if you knew if it did. i wouldnt ask you to do that i mean you are just given it away thats a good reason for me to do all the laber. well thats what i think any ways but ya can i come git it now?" (LOL... like those run-on sentences?) I gave him directions.

7:26pm -- Yet ANOTHER email: "i will be on my way in about 15 minutes i should be there within 30 mins." (Which will make it 8pm.) So, I'm sitting here twiddling my thumbs and writing this post. Aren't you wondering how I'm accomplishing both those things at the same time??? All this just to *give* something away, LOL

8:10pm -- The guy shows up and he was polite... called me "ma'am" and everything, LOL He carried the opener out of the garage and dismantled it on the driveway using his headlights. (Yes, I had my yard light on, but it didn't shine where he needed it) He was *really* excited to get it. :)

Marvelous Monday Update 4/13/09

Stitchy Stuff
Guess what? My Needlebook Tutorial has been added to Needlepointers.com in several places! (Sewing Tutorial, Needlework Finishing Techniques, and Needlework Free Projects) Plus... In May, it will be featured on the homepage for a week!

I was the winner of a giveaway Lisa was hosting on her blog. I'd forgotten all about it until I received it in the mail last week. Look what the postman brought me!

A big thank you to Lisa for hosting the giveaways!

Finally, my WIP photos for the week... With how busy I've been, I'm surprised I even have anything to show!

Mona & Miles

Quaker Pin Cube
(Sorry for the bad pic)

As most of you know, I'm enrolled in an online class this semester: Intermediate Accounting. I'm in the 3rd week of 8, and so far it's been uneventful. Since I work in the accounting industry, the chapters so far are remedial for me. I had my first test last week and got an "A". I could've kicked myself for changing an answer (I had it right before I changed it). Oh well.

New & Improved!

Shortly after I moved into my house, the remote to the garage door opener quit working. Cruising Sears' website, I found out the opener that came with the garage is at least 25-30 years old! I drove 90 miles (round trip) to the nearest Sears repair center (as recommended by the 800-Line) only to find out the repair center ceased existence "a long time ago". Hmmm... Maybe the 800-line needs to be informed? The friendly store clerk suggested I get a $40 universal remote. I can still hear his words now... "It'll work. This works with everything." Uh huh... I bet you can guess it didn't work! So another 90-mile trip to return it.

Over the past year and a half, I've been using the wall-mounted control units to open and close the garage door. Yes, it involves getting out of the car to close the garage door... Kinda defeats the purpose of having a garage door opener, doesn't it? LOL

Last fall, Farm & Fleet had a grand opening and one of the featured specials was garage door openers. I bought one and it's sat in my garage all winter. I finally opened the box and looked at the instruction manual. Thought to myself: "This doesn't look too hard!" (You know where this is going, right?)

All the little parts came in a bag. I dumped them all out and set to work!

Work in Progress
Getting ready to attach the chain

Attaching the motor

I was so proud of myself when I had the entire thing together! All I needed to do was disconnect the old one and install the new. I ran out to my Dad's to get a 2x4, which was supposed to be used to hold the motor up while I bolted it to the supports. While there, he offered to come into town and help me get it installed. Four hours later....

A New Opener! A New Wall Control Unit! A New Remote for the Car! And even Safety “eyes” to prevent the door from closing on small children and animals (didn’t have that with the old unit).

It shouldn't have taken us 4 hours to get the thing up there, but we had technical difficulties due to (what I think) an overheated motor (as mentioned in the instruction book). Men use some "colorful" language when things don't work they way they're supposed to... and my Dad is no exception. LOL!

Revised: See the lightbulb in the first photo? My Dad was unscrewing it as he was doing so, I was saying "That's a new bulb. It's still...." My eyes went from looking above where the bulb was and traveled to the concrete where it shattered into a billion pieces. I then said, "Well, it *was* still good. Not anymore."

Later, after we got the new opener up, Dad says to me, "Gotta bulb?" I said, "I *did* have a bulb. You broke it." LOL Then I went in the house to get another one.
Amazing how many little pieces a bulb can create when it meets concrete!

Apr 6, 2009

Marvelous Monday Update 4/6/09

Literacy Liason
A couple months ago, the adminstrative assistant at work almost fell over when I told her I was thinking about becoming a volunteer literacy tutor. "When do you have the time for THAT?" she asked.

Since that time, I've been in training... things have changed a LOT since I was a literacy volunteer a decade ago. There's *actual* structured training now. To become a tutor involves 14 hours of various training activities: observation of literacy classes (I've observed 5 different classes), seminars, and R/T and online training. Two required group training sessions occur at the end of this month. Last week, I attended a diversity seminar for the college staff (Adult Ed Dept is on the college campus). Meanwhile, I've been plugging away at the online courses.

I got word that I may already have my first literacy student! I'll be meeting with her and the coordinator on Wed.

Stitchy Stuff
I've been doing a little stitching on Mona and Miles by Sugarplum Express. It's 14ct plastic canvas, and about all I can handle after a long day at work (It's tax season, ya know!). Here's what it looks like so far:

Friday night, I spent about an hour doing over-one stitching on JG. I seriously think I've reduced my vision to almost blindness, LOL. I know I could work on other sections that are over-two, but I'm stubborn! I refuse to move on until I have *this* over-one section done. Why? Because there will be 3 others to do later and I don't want to leave them all for last. Ick.

I received some wonderful goodies from Lillie for the mailart exchange. I felt a little silly asking what the little teacup attached to a cord and bell was for! It can be used as a scissor fob or cell phone fob. Scissor fob it is! I made a cuppa of the BOH Seri Sonket Lemon with Mandarin tea this morning, and OMG... it's so yummy!

Lillie did a beautiful job on stitching the design by Sampler Girl and I really like the border/lining fabric that matches the buttons on the envelope. Thank you, Lillie!

That Naughty 4-Letter Word!
S-N-O-W! Yes, my area was hit once again with sleet and snow yesterday. Luckily, it's warm enough that it melted right away. It was a yucky, cold day and very windy! This week forecasters are calling for rain, rain, and more rain. Depressing, but Hey! it's better than snow!

Apr 2, 2009

Quakers Rule

My latest finish.....

Designer: Milady's Needle
Time: 15.25 Hours
Fabric: 40ct Navy Bean Lakeside Linen
Fibers: Olde Willow Linen Floss, DMC Floss