Aug 30, 2011

Marvelous Monday Update 8/29/11 (on Tues)

Hard to believe it's the end of August already? With my nose constantly in textbooks, I missed summer. Boo!

My vegetable garden didn't fare so well this year. With all the rain, the tomatoes split, got buggy, and rotted on the vines. Only one cucumber vine grew and I got two cukes off it. The spinach didn't grow at all. Again, Boo!

Despite the weather conditions, my flowers did great. Remember the sunflower seeds I received in an exchange from Betty in NV? They are taller than my neighbor's garage.

I was really excited last week when I saw the heads were finally starting to bloom and bees were helping the pollination. :)

My double knockout roses are blooming for the third time this summer:

Celete must be getting older. I took her for a walk on the walking path near my house. In times past, she was able to do the whole thing, albeit a bit pooped worn out by the time we got home. This last time, she stopped about 1/3 of the way and had to rest. Three-quarters of the way, I had to carry her because she refused to walk. After a while, I put her down and she walked. Less than a block from home, she refused to walk again. Poor doggie. It wasn't even hot that day. I've decided to leave her home when I walk the path, because I don't want to be carrying the dog!

Here's a pic of her from last week where she was enjoying the cooler temps. She's also sporting her summer 'do.

Charley. What am I going to do with that bird? She has two issues going on, or maybe I have two issues with her. One, she is projectiling poop (Yes, poop!) all over the walls near her cage. I swear she sticks her stinky butt rear end up to the bars of her cage and let's it fly! I clean it up when I find it, but it's staining the paint on the walls. Any bird owners have that problem? Issue #2 is that she lays eggs and tries to sit on them... for weeks. She pushes them around in the bottom of her cage, and tries to shove her body between the bars to get closer. She's quiet during that time, but as soon as I clean her cage she's back to squawking unless I sit within eyesight.

Several of my readers have asked about the iStitch Stitch-Along (SAL). It's being hosted by Carol at her iStitch blog. Initially, she agreed to let 100 stitchers participate. Then she opened up 25 more spots. They filled up fast! I think I found out about it during the last 25 openings. Every two weeks, she will release another part to the mystery SAL. If participants stitched it according to Carol's instructions, it can be mounted on a box from Hobby Lobby as seen HERE.

Last Friday, Carol sent out Part 2 of SAL. By Saturday night, I had Part 2 stitched! What do you think?

I also started the ornament for HOE's "Words of Christmas" exchange. I finished the stitched part, and am almost done with the beading part. Then assembly and viola! Finished.

I received my HOE Lizzie Kate-themed ornament today! It came from Jayne at Jayne's Stitching Tales... all the way from the UK.

Thank you, Jayne!
It's adorable.

The postman was really good to me today! I also received the sweetest card from Glenna in KS thanking me for the great job I'm doing as coordinator of BFC in the ILCS group. She also included two skeins of floss... How thoughtful *big smile*. Thank you so much, Glenna!

School is really sucking the life outta me up all my free time. Last week, we had our first quiz -- Luckily, we get to take them twice. The first time I got a "C"... Yikes. The second time I got 100%. Note to self, print the quiz questions and answers out when you take it the first time in case you don't remember how you answered the questions!

I have a 3-page "descriptive essay" on Monetary Policy due this week. (Let's hope it's not quite as descriptive as my last blog post!) Plus 3 chapters of reading (another 90+ pages), written assignments for each chapter, AND online postings.

Next week is midterm already! No re-takes on that bugger.

Until next time,

Aug 29, 2011

Good Riddance!

Some of my enthralled fans long time readers may recall me sporadically mentioning my second job (unaffectionately called J2). I started working for J2 a year ago. Let's take a walk down memory lane, shall we?

I applied for a job on craigslist. Note to self: Employers who advertise on craigslist are usually cheapskates (don't want to pay for advertising) and are probably undesireable places to work. I digress. I applied, interviewed and was hired on the spot for the wage I quoted.

I was hired to work 8-12 hours a week. I ended up working 16-20 hours a week, while working 32 hours at J1 -and- going to school. I managed to get the books caught up as much as possible considering the "bosses" were never there to answer questions, or refused to inept at using email or pen and paper in response to my emails. I pretty much came to the conclusion: "If they're not going to take responsibility, I can only do so much."

This was last July. By November, I was sooooo ready to resign. In addition to the aforementioned making it difficult to do my job, you can read about the profanity and scantily clad women HERE. I sucked it up and convinced myself to hold out until something better came along.

Next thing I know it's May and still no luck in finding another part-time gig. Everything previously mentioned had not changed. It became a running joke between the BF, BFF, and I as to how many minutes I would be at work before I heard the F-bomb. LOL

I did not know when I was hired how BAD the company was financially. The VP claimed it was due to another company not paying them for a subcontract job they did. I have to disagree since J2 owes their suppliers wayyyyyy more than this company owed. Anywho, in May liquid crap stuff started hitting the fan. First it was direct deposit payroll... All of a sudden, they decided to no longer do direct deposit. Then it was the IRA contributions... no more. That part didn't affect me because I was part time. Since it was part of my job, I DID ensure those contributions were paid until the cease date. Then... we didn't know from week to week whether we were getting paychecks! Ack! You can read more about that HERE.

Let's mosey on to July of this year, shall we? By this time, J2's bank had cut them off. They had maxed out their almost million dollar line of credit, were overdrawn on both the operating and payroll checking accounts, and couldn't make the loan payments. The whole time they were whining complaining about how it's the bank's fault! Whaaat?

Then the brilliant idea was hatched. I think perhaps they tipped a few too many at the pub one night. Start a new company! Then file for bankruptcy with the old one. Read all about it HERE. You really can't get the full effect unless you read it.

Then things really started getting exciting! The PM of the old company (now a partner in the new company) was insisting that the new company be run like a company should be. The bosses of the old company wanted to play "business like always", which is why they were in the predicament they were in with the old company. Btw, did I mention their father owned a company that filed for bankruptcy a decade previous? And they had another company that filed the big "B" about 6 years ago. Do ya see a trend here?? Anywho, the owners of J2 (who were Dad and Uncle of the other partner of the new company) really had the intention of using the PM as a "face" to the new company so that suppliers and potential jobs didn't know who the company really was.

Almost one month to the day of starting the new company, it got to the point where there was no communication between the PM, his partner, or the bosses at J2. The PM quit - I'd like to think he said "F-this! I'm not putting my home on the line for this." He was gone within the week. The bosses at J2 were reportedly telling people the PM was fired. The secretary said it was a lie... She heard him quit. Next thing we know, there's a new PM. Ironically, he was on lay-off from the aforementioned company that owed J2 money, LOL.

By the middle of August, the secretary quit. Afterall, they DID tell her to seek other opportunities. She is a single mom, so I really don't blame her.

Are ya still with me? Riveting, I know! Almost like a soap opera, isn't it?

Last week, I saw that the son of the bosses (Yes, the last remaining partner of the newly formed maybe defunct company) was trying to do J2's payroll. Incredulously I asked, "Are you doing payroll?" As he fumbled around, I could clearly see he was having trouble. I informed him that I knew how to do payroll. The VP (who hired me to do that stuff), looks at me and says, "You do? Huh." All I could think was "O-M-G!". I told them I would do payroll and did.

This past Wednesday, I had to call J2 whereby I found out they hired another secretary/office girl/whatever title they came up with. So, this is TWO office girls they've hired and neglected chose not to tell me! So, Friday rolls around. Just call me Girl Friday because that's the day I go in to make sure the books are in order, to do tax returns, and union reports, close out month end, etc... since they decided the last secretary could do the other things I did. Now they've hired a new one...

I get there on Friday and introduce myself. She starts complaining about the lack of training. It was all I could do to not say something sarcastic about training to laugh or smirk. I proceeded to tell her that when I started a year ago, I had to pretty much figure it out on my own. I asked her where she worked before and she started bragging about how she had an "accounting background" because she worked in the office of the country club. Oh really? OK. She proceeded to ask what I did at J2... THEN says, "Well, later I'll watch over your shoulder to see what you do." I thought to myself, "The H-ell you will." She also admitted she had no payroll experience other than submitting hours to ADP. So, I showed her how to do payroll. Rather than doing it herself, she had me do it and watched. Usually not a good way of learning, but hey... Who am I to argue?

Let's skip along to when the bosses finally show up, OK? Both were in an office and I asked if they had a minute -and- I closed the door. Very diplomatically, I said: "Now that you've hired someone with accounting experience, what are your long term plans for my position?" I totally caught them off guard! The VP (the guy who hired me, remember?) stammered and could hardly look at me, kept mumbling "I don't know." The president told me that they were looking at getting an investor and he had 5-6 accountants of his own, yadda, yadda, yadda. He eventually said, "Probably 2 weeks to month"

Oh really, and at WHAT POINT were you going to spring this on me? AFTER I train the new girl? I didn't say that, but it's what I was thinking. Talk about an insult to the intelligence! Did I mention the president also said, "We'd understand if another opportunity came up". Sound familiar? It should -- it's basically what they told the secretary. Oh, and did I mention they told me they were starting *another* company (a THIRD one!) if this new investor gets onboard. Again, my guess is the new investor will be the "face" of the company so no one will know who's really involved.

Oky doky. For those who don't know me, I can be pretty good at hiding my emotions. Where as most people would've said "F-You" and stormed out, I calmly went through my day. I finished up payroll (and added the hours I planned on working that day). They signed the paychecks, not even questioning or noticing that my paycheck was twice the normal amount. Two days worth instead of one. I knew if I didn't add my last day's hours to the previous week's, I'd never get paid for it. I closed out the books for the month I was working on, and proceeded to do most of the next. I cleaned everything up and left a note as to how far I got.

The whole day I was fuming inside... not so much about getting let go, I'd been expecting that... it was more about the fact that they *thought* they were going to use me and then lay me off.

Now remember how I said I was ready to resign November of last year? Really, I was. I had a resignation letter ready to go, saved on my desktop at home. On my lunch hour Friday, I went home and got that resignation letter. I put a copy in my employee file. I worked until 5pm, set the alarm, and locked up like I always did. I promptly drove to the post office, put the key in with the resignation letter and mailed it.

I'm sure they've gotten it by now. I did apologize in my resignation letter. "I apologize for the lack of 2-week notice, but due to circumstances beyond my control my resignation is effective immediately." There were many "circumstances" beyond my control that went through my brain... none of which I could state in a letter, though. LOL

Like my coworker at J1 said: Yes, I need the money but I also need my sanity, too. There was too much drama, unprofessionalism, and unethical things going on at J2. Then to insult my intelligence.


Aug 26, 2011

Freebie Friday

Breast Cancer Awareness Ornament
by Dragonfly Stitches
(Click HERE for the freebie)

Aug 24, 2011

Bird on Blossom

... finally winged it's way to its new home.

I participated in a private mailart exchange with Evalina of This and That. I sent off the envelope over three weeks ago and was becoming worried it would never get there. Finally, I received word from Evalina that she received it!

Here's what I created for Evalina:

Clickable for Larger Photo

Design: Bird on Blossom
from book, A Cross Stitcher's Odyssey
Designer: Joan Elliott
Fabric: 22ct Hardanger, hand-dyed by moi!
Stitched: One over one
Fibers: DMC
Embellishments: LaMode buttons #4537, fabric trim

So now I'm anxiously waiting for hers to get to me :)

Aug 22, 2011

Marvelous Monday Update 8/22/11

Whew! Last week was rough. Despite spending the last week of my summer "break" reading the 93 pages for the start of school, the tough schedule had me beat by the end of the week. I managed it all, and got ahead start on this week's homework. We have a quiz this week and I have to start my 3-page descriptive essay on Monetary Policy, so we'll see how IT goes. I'm sure the instructor is on crack thinks students don't have a life outside of the online classroom.

Only 7 more weeks to go.... 7 more weeks


Now ya'll know that I love animals, right? Right. My northern neighbors not so much. Last year, they decided to take a foray into dog breeding become backyard breeders. They built two small kennels and put two Siberian Huskies in each one. These dogs rarely get to leave the kennels... no walks, no runs, no nothin'. Over the weekend, the female must've gone into heat because the other dogs would not SHUT UP were carrying on something fierce. Finally by 4am Sunday morning, I called the police (Yes, the dogs carried on all day and all night!). Sunday and this morning, the dogs were still whining and yelping because they couldn't get to the female.

So... Do I shoot the dogs? Or, the owners?* LOL

Since school sucked up and destroyed consumed all my free time last week, I only have a little stitchy "finish" to show. I managed to finish Part 1 of the iStitch SAL.

I did put a few stitches on Blossom Splendor, but not enough to warrant a photo.

Until next time,

*Disclaimer: I would never shoot anyone or anything. It was a rhetorical question

Aug 19, 2011

Freebie Friday

Heart Stitcher by A Mon Ami Pierre
(Click HERE to get the Freebie!)

Aug 17, 2011

Dear Santa....

We've Got Cookies!

And I have a finish that I am going to show :) I *finally* received word that it arrived at its new home with Amy at Cross Stitch and Cupcakes. I sent it over three weeks ago and apparently, Amy was on vacation until recently. Lucky girl!

I stitched this up for the HOE Lizzie Kate Ornament Exchange. It turned out larger than I anticipated, but adorable nonetheless. I found the perfect fabric for the back:

Dear Santa, We've Got Cookies #S50 Snippet
Designer: Lizzie Kate
Fabric: 28ct Hand-dyed Evenweave
(color and brand unknown)
Fibers: DMC
Size: 5x6.25"
Embellishments: Mill Hill Seed Beads,
Miniature Snowflakes
& Runched Ribbon

Here are close-ups of the details:

(Clickable for larger image)

Aug 15, 2011

Marvelous Monday Update 8/15/11

So how did your week go?

First up, is the quick and dirty version. Following is a more detailed look. So grab a snack and get ready for a great read!

• First... I did a block-head thing Tuesday night. I had the corner ornament on JG all stitched up, right? Well, I was stitching some gold very-fine braid between the black rows and "thought" I miscounted the spaces between the black rows. I "thought" I was off by one stitch which meant I'd have to frog everything to the left of it... which was considerable. No, I didn't frog all that! I frogged the little section of black and part of the foliage of the bonsai plant next to it, thinking I'd make up the error there and it wouldn't be noticeable. Well... the next time I sat down to stitch it, I realized I WASN'T off at all. Ugh, lol. So now I have to re-stitch the part I frogged and the bonsai leaves, which is about 10 or 12 stitches. Can't believe I did that!

• Second... I was heading down the basement stairs Thursday morning, and slipped a few from the bottom. In trying to catch myself, my arm scraped against the fireplace wall which is right next to the stairs. I have a scrape halfway down my arm and my wrist was bruised and a bit swollen. I'm fine, though. The worst part is that it’s on the part of the arm where you rest on so every time I’d put my arm down on something… ouchie!

• Third... I was working on a DIY project before work one day last week. I looked in the mirror to find green paint smudges on my face. Ack. So down to the basement I go once again (no, that's not when I fell) to get some paint thinner to remove the paint. Fun stuff. Not.

• Fourth... In preparation of school starting, I spent last week "trying" to get my chapters read to be ahead of the game. I've been so exhausted by the time I get home from work, it was all I could do to get a few pages read. I actually fell asleep while trying to read some of the chapters.

• Lastly... On Saturday, I was cleaning my stove when I noticed blood spatters all over. I’m not sure how it happened, but my theory is that I sliced my finger open while trying to pull the knobs off the stove in order to clean behind them. My finger hurt a bit at the time, but I thought it was due to my trying to shove my pudgy fingers behind those knobs in order to pull them off. Well, I was so busy cleaning and rinsing the dishcloth in the sink, I didn’t realize I sliced my finger open until I saw blood all over. I’ve been wearing a bandage over my index finger since then. Do you know how hard it is to stitch and type? I actually developed a cramp in my hand from trying to stitch with my thumb and middle finger, lol.

And now for the good stuff!

Yippee! Woo Hoo! Yay! Guess what? School officially starts today. I actually started reading the textbook last week. 96 pages due for this week. By the third chapter, I was ready to poke my eyes out with my stitching needles (lol). I've read more about how interest rates are forecasted and the theories behind it than I care to know about. What I really "loved"... NOT... was how I read about a theory 3 times (I'm a little slow, OK? Shush!) only to find out a couple theories later that the first one really isn't accurate because of... blah, blah, blah. Talk about annoying. Thankfully, the last chapter was interesting. At least to me. It was about The Fed, how it works, who's involved, etc.

In case you missed my previous posts: I'm taking a finance class called Financial Markets and Institutions. It's my second to last class before graduating in November. Yippee! Woo Hoo! Yay!

Yesterday's weather was awesome... 70's, nice breeze, and no humidity! What better day than to grill out. Who am I kidding? I've been known to grill out in the middle of winter. But, I digress. I found a recipe called Lime Cilantro Kebobs Mexicano. After reading reviews, I decided to change it up a bit. Basically, I marinated the chicken chunks in the lime cilantro mixture. Then the kebobs were brushed (not part of the original recipe) with a chili powder-garlic basting sauce. So, it turned out more like Cajun Lime Cilantro Kebobs. Talk about Yummo!!

This photo was right when I put the kebobs on the grill. When they were done, the chili powder turned black (like blackened fish does). The cooked kebobs smelled so good!

The local grocery store has had strawberries on sale for 99cents a pint for over a month now. They are soooo good. Soon, strawberries are going to be growing out my ears because I keep buying and eating them. Based on a salad I had at the St. Louis stitching retreat a couple years ago, I made my own version of a strawberry salad.

This was made out of a gourmet lettuce that was on sale for 99cents for four heads (Now the store sells it for $1.99!), strawberries, shredded parmesan cheese, vinegarette dressing. Talk about tasty!!

Sometimes, I amaze myself with the things I come up with and the journey it takes me on. I took this:

and made it into this:

Oh, did you want to know about the journey? First, I primered the shelf white. Do you know how many different directions you have to turn a shelf like this to get every nook and cranny painted? A lot! Then I painted it the same color green I used on my scissor display shelf.

Then came the "fun" part. I wanted to put inspirational words on the shelf, but how? I thought about the cool vinyl letters that those fancy-schmancy cricut machines do, but alas, I don't have one. So then I thought about the press on letters. Couldn't find any that were big enough or tiny enough in a font that I liked. I thought, "Maybe I can make my own press-on letters." So I tried various techniques online using my laser printer. Those ideas didn't work either. I could've bought water-slide decal paper, but I really didn't want to pay through the nose that much for the paper. It's kinda expensive.

During this adventure, I had printed the words I wanted on transparency sheets (one of the failed attempts). As I stood in front of my craft armoire looking for inspiration, it came to me! I grabbed my dressmaker transfer paper and proceeded to use it to trace the lettering from the transparency sheet to the shelf. Then I used permanent marker to color it in. Worked like a charm. :) The best part? I could "erase" the excess transfer marks -- Yes, I went outside the lines -- with a damp cloth. It wiped write right off. :)

What am I going to use the shelf for?

Right now, my paints. In the future, who knows?

Spice Rack found at Thrift Store -- 49cents
Can of Primer -- already had it
Can of Green Paint -- leftover from another project
Dressmaker Paper -- from my high school sewing class days
Transparency Sheet -- who knows where I got that from!
Permanent Sharpie Marker -- school does come in handy :)

Last week, I received an awesome RAK (random act of kindness) from Vickie at Reading and Stitching. She said she thought of me immediately when she saw them.

What do you think?
Is it me?

I think it is!
Thank you, Vickie, for thinking of me. :)

Now that school is starting, I've put JG back in her pillow case. That's where she resides when I'm not stitching her. Shamelessly, I've started another project. Carol over at iStitch is hosting a Mystery SAL. This is the first SAL I've done, so I am looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I'm not so sure about my thread choice, but I'm just going to go with it, as they say. Here's what my SAL looks like so far:

It's tiny. Carol recommended 40ct over two, but I didn't have any so I went with 36ct over-one.

Sharon, aka Daffycat, is hosting an End-Of-Summer Giveaway on her blog. Go check out the cutest ever gnomes.

Long time readers may remember the fabric-covered bobbins I made last year to store ribbon and lace on.

Since I had the spray cans out, I thought I'd try something different. Did you know I annointed myself "Spray Paint Queen"?

I had some of the cardboard templates cut out with the intention of making more fabric-covered bobbins, but never got around to it. I primered a few of those. Not sure if primering was necessary, but I did it anyway. Then I spray painted them and added the eyelets with my handy-dandy crop-a-dile.

I did some in blue also, but didn't take a photo. It's not quite as decorative as the fabric ones, but they're quicker to make -and- look nicer than brown cardboard.

I was quite crafty last week, wasn't I?

Until next time,

Aug 12, 2011

Freebie Friday

New Haircut by Margaret Sherry
(Click HERE to get the freebie!)

Aug 8, 2011

Marvelous Monday Update 8/8/11

More photos of the July 27/28 flooding. My coworker sent me photos of Galena, Illinois which is another city about 40 minutes west of me. One of my nieces graduated high school there. In the storm where we received 7" of rain, they received 13". The entire downtown area was flooded.

To see what these tracks looked like before the flood, go HERE.

Take note of the car wedged between the pipe and the ground!

If anyone is interested, I have a couple more scissor frogs on my Stash-for-Sale blog. There's a link on my sidebar, or click HERE.

Revised: These are already spoken for.

Thanks for the compliments on Blossom Splendor and Japanese Garden (aka JG). Lana at A Joyful Stitcher asked who the designer is for Blossom. Blossom Splendor was designed by Joan Elliott. Several of my bloggy readers commented on the cherry blossoms, thinking they were French Knots. Actually, they are Jessica Stitches similar to the one at the right.

I am almost finished with the stitching on the upper left corner ornament on JG! One more specialty stitch and viola! it's done (except for beading).

Not sure how much more I'll be working on this since I have to start studying for school again.

On different stitchy notes:

The BF asked me the repair his winter work overalls. I sent a shoutout for black jean-type material to the Freecycle members and a lady came through for me. She even delivered! In addition to black jeans, she also gave me a black canvas apron. I ended up using the apron because it was a similar to the material the overalls were made of. I didn't even have to cut up the apron... I just took the pocket off the front. The pocket was enough to patch one gaping large hole and two smaller holes. Coincidentally, the lady was the same one who gave me a lawnmower 6 years ago.

A couple weeks ago, my parents stopped over for a visit. Dad proudly admitted that he finally has worn out his jeans and had to dig through his stash stored clothes for new jeans. I finally finished hemming his jeans. He should be good to go for a few years, LOL.

Sarah of CraftyMoo is hosting a giveeaway relating to her holiday in the Highlands. Pop on over and take a looksee.

Terri at Dixie Samplar is hosing a "Welcome Back to Blogging" giveaway in honor of getting her blog back up and running. Hop on over to read what happened.

After my chiro appointment on Saturday, I stopped at a couple of garage sales. At one yard sale, there were gallon sized ziplocs full of ribbons, lace, and cording. The lady running the sale told me they were $1 a piece. Couldn't pass that up, could I? For $3, I got all this stashy goodness:

I also came home with a new purse... a Tommy Hilfiger purse for $3. It's got lots of compartments and well-made compared to the one I was carrying around.

Until next time,