Apr 19, 2014

Where Does One Start?

Ever have trouble getting a blog update started?  It's not like I don't have things to say.  I just don't know where to start.  The past couple days have been difficult (more on that later).  I guess I'll start with a bit of humor...

Last night, I went to the thrift store to see if I could find a purse and a belt.  The belt I've been using literally fell apart one day last week.  I did find a belt.  No purse, though.  Also picked up a couple of books for $0.99 each and a nice 11x14 ornate frame with a mat in it.  I figure I can use it for a future stitching project.  I don't know what it is with me and frames (must be the photographer in me).  It's either frames or office supplies.  Yes, I have a fetish for office supplies, lol.  Note pads, post-its, paperclips, pens, markers, pencils, etc.  You're probably wondering what it is I found amusing at the thrift store, right?  I can hear you, "Get on with it, lady!"

I spied a still-in-the-package bottle of Fray Check.  I use the stuff for sealing the edges of my fabric to keep it from fraying while I stitch.  Sometimes, if I'm not too lazy... I'll use the sewing machine, but fray check is easier.  So, I saw the bottle and picked it up.  And yes, I thought this was funny.  Not "Ha Ha" funny, but stupid funny like "Seriously?"

New Price:  $2.59

Thrift Store Price: $2.99
As hard as it was (she says sarcastically), I opted to leave the fray check on the shelf.  I can get the stuff for 40% off with coupon at JoAnn Fabrics.  Now that's a deal!
Last week started out with snow on Monday.  Can you believe it?  Snow!  This has been the longest winter ever.  Even though it snowed all day, we only ended up with a dusting of accumulation.

These were taken during my commute to work.  Despite the 40 minutes it takes, it is a beautiful drive (now that the "Tunnels of Terror" have disappeared).  This weekend, temperatures are supposed to get to the upper 60's with beautiful sunshine.  Yay!
After my last Petal Pincushion update, I realized I didn't cut the fabric correctly for four of the panels.  I based my size on the size of the chart and added an inch.  Makes sense, right?  However, that is incorrect.  There are three different charts for the project.  One for the button, one for the inside panels (which is the correct size) and one for outside panels.  Apparently, one is supposed to assume that the fabric for the outside panels would be the same as for the inside panels despite the chart dimensions being different.  This girl did not assume and cut the fabric according to the chart sizes.  Christina from A Stitchers Work and I are doing this as a SAL and are sharing photos.  After seeing her initial WIP photos, it occurred to me that my outside panels didn't look quite right.  Wouldn't you know, those are the panels I stitched first.  I had two done before I realized the error of my ways.  I've cut new pieces of fabric.  Thank goodness I have a huge piece of it!

The light half circle line isn't actually on the fabric pieces.  It's a reflection of sunlight from the camera lens.  Oddest thing... In all the years I've been doing photography, I've never had it happen before.
I thought I'd pull together the finishing supplies I found in my stash that'll be used to create the pincushion.  I forgot to include the 1/8" satin ribbon... it's the same dark purple as the stitched flowers.

See the cost of the button covers?  29cents!  I don't even remember where I got them, but I've had them forever.  I estimate they're probably from the 1960's or 70's.
The pincushion project is basically a mattress pincushion inside a pyramid box made from the stitched pieces.  I've been kicking around which fabric I should use for the mattress and bottom of the pyramind.  Pink or Purple?  I dug through my stash and came up with these purple choices:

I'm kinda leaning toward the upper left fabric, but I don't know if it's too "busy".  The bottom one looks too light and the dark purple in the upper right looks too dark.  What do you think?
I am really happy with the third panel I'm stitching on.  Believe it or not, I've used three different dye lots of DMC 704 (green) to stitch it.  I had small amounts of each on different bobbins and wanted to use them up.  So I blended two strands together and alternated with dye lots I stitched with.

Can't tell, can you?
I received word earlier this week that Anne of Doll's Musings received the Easter/Spring mailart I created for her. 

The designs came from two different sources:
"Happy Easter" lettering - Cottage Garden Samplings
Duck, bunnies, and basket - Cross Stitch Crazy, Issue 109 (March 2008)
Fabric:  18ct Hand-dyed Aida (purple, turquoise, yellow)
Floss: DMC
Embellishments: 1/8" purple ribbon, buttons, seed bead
Anne loves the little details I add to my mailart and said it was "darling". I'm glad she liked it.  She wants to learn how to add the border fabric and suggested I do a tutorial.  So, when I do my next mailart, I will do a tutorial.  Meantime, I do have my "plain" mailart tutorial on the sidebar to the left.
I haven't done much on Japanese Garden, but I do have an update.  I think when I last left off, I said that I will run out of the green Eterna silk floss.  In looking at a conversion chart, I found that DMC 369 is a very-very close match.  So, I ripped out some of the silk floss I'd stitched in the corner ornament.  I did this very carefully as I wanted to save and reuse as much as possible.  I re-stitched a section blending one strand of silk with one strand of DMC.  One strand of silk is just enough to give it the sheen the rest of the project has.  I showed the BF and he couldn't tell a difference.  So, I ripped out the rest of the silk thread and restitched it.  I'm hoping I haven enough silk to finish the other corner.  It will be close, that's for sure!

On April 7th, my Dad asked me if I could drive him to the VA hospital because he was scheduled for a biopsy.  The nearest VA hospital is about an hour and a half from my parents and two hours for me.  Two months ago, he found a lump.  They did a needle biopsy which didn't tell anything.  The lump grew to almost twice the size so they scheduled a biopsy.
Fast forward to two days ago.  My youngest brother called me to tell me he'd visited my parents the day before and found out the results.  I think my Mom said something because Dad wasn't going to tell anyone until after next Monday.  My Dad has cancer.  Cancer!  I asked what kind, and he said they don't know.  How can they not know?  How do they form a treatment plan if they don't know? 
On Monday, there is a consultation with the surgeon and radiologist.  I am going with my parents because they never ask questions about anything and sometimes I think they don't understand what doctors tell them.  They just go along with whatever the doctors say.  I try not to think of the ramifications... of course, I don't always succeed.  The last few days have been difficult, to say the least. 
I had a massage therapy appointment this morning and the therapist said, "This is going to be a stupid question, but are you having a lot of stress at work?"  Then, she proceeded to tell me that both my shoulders were really, really tight.  I said, "Not at work, but I've been under stress the past few days."  Apparently, I'm carrying the stress in my shoulders.  Rather than cancel my appointment in two weeks, I decided to keep it seeing as I've been internalizing what's been going on.
If you're interested, you can read a little about my Dad HERE.
I don't want to sign off on a downer, so I want to wish everyone who celebrates... a Happy Easter. 

I won't be doing anything special.  I brought work home so I can make up the hours I'll miss on Monday.  While putting some things in the attic last month, I came across my only Easter decorations.  It's been over a decade since I set these out.  If you look close, you can see that the tree lights up.

Until next time,


Berly said...

I'll be praying for your dad. Your stitching is lovely! Too bad you cut it wrong, but you're a trooper - you'll figure it all out & it will be beautiful!

Shebafudge said...

So sorry to hear the news on your dad. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Your stitching is beautiful and I love the colour of the fabric you are using for it. I like the top left fabric best and personally think it will work well.

Happy Easter. xx

Anonymous said...

I giggled a bit when I saw the fray check. :)

Agree with the upper left purple, that will be a fantastic finish, can't wait to see it!

On a more serious note, I will be praying for your dad and the rest of your family. So sorry you have to go through such a difficult time.


Jess B said...

Meari, I will keep you all in my prayers. Don't let them tell you they don't know what kind of cancer it is. They have to know, and if they don't they have to find out. It does make a difference what the treatment will be based on the type of cancer. Get a second opinion too. Don't just accept everything the VA tells you. I know you are probably getting flooded with information and opinions, but stay strong.

Faith... said...

I will be praying for your dad and your family. Praying they found it early enough and that it is treatable.

I think I like the polka dotted fabric...but then I just like dots! :)

Gillie said...

I am so sorry, Meari, glad you are going with them on Monday.

We got the snow on Wednesday and definitely more than you but was all gone by lunch time.

cucki said...

I will be praying for you my dear..sending you lots of love x

Linda K's Stitching Corner said...

Awwwww Meari...I am so very sorry to hear about your dad....it is so hard to deal with this when it comes to your parents or anyone for that matter.

Your Stitching looks really good...

Keep your Chin Up Meari and I am so glad that you are going with your parents to his doctor's appt.

Happy Stitching
Linda K, Railroad

Vickie said...

Oh Meari! I am so sorry to learn of this. I remember learning about your Dad in that post. :) I am praying for him and you all. I am so glad you are going with them. That diagnosis sounds like a bunch of junk!!

Dani - tkdchick said...

I'm really sorry to hear about your Dad and I hope he's going to receive the best care from the most compassionate practitioners.

I think I'm one of the few people out there who does nothing about the edges of their fabric when stitching. I've learnt that over time the fabric freys no more than 1/4 inch at most ... freying seems to be worse when its cut crookedly, once its straight, it stops freying. Try it some time!

Your stitching looks lovley and the mail art you did just so pretty!

Anonymous said...

WOW Meari - that was a lot to take in.

Your stitching projects are all gorgeous and we know that everything you create is perfect, at least in my eyes.

We have been watching the snow on the eastern parts and are happy that we only have rain.

I am really sad about your dad's cancer and I know how sad you must be.


Anonymous said...

Praying for your dad!!!! JG is looking great. I'm not sure which fabric would look good for the mattress & bottom of the pyramid. Looking forward to seeing what you decide.
Betty in AZ (ILCS)

Sharon said...

I'm sorry to hear of your dad's diagnosis. I'll send positive thoughts your way as you take on this journey with your dad. It's so hard when we have to step into a more "responsible" role ( for lack of better wording) for our parents.
I had a great laugh at the "thrift" price of the fray check. What a deal! The hubby and I were browsing surf boards just for fun...there was a nice one that had a huge sale sign above it. Upon closer inspection, we found that the $600 surf board was marked down to $599.95. Hard as it was, we passed on that "sale". Lol
Our son chose Japanese as his foreign language of choice. (The kid couldn't have chosen something a little easier? Nope, he had to choose Japanese!) so I'm always interested in your Japanese Garden. It is so beautiful! I think your thread choice is perfect.
Glad the weather is improving! Hope Spring is here to stay for you.
I like the polka dot material, but I'm all about polka dots on anything. They just make me happy. :)
Again, I'll be thinking of you...hugs....

Katie said...

LOL at the fray check. Maybe they should have noticed that mistake. Your stitching all looks beautiful. I agree your border on the mail art make it so much more special.

So sorry about your dad. I hope it's a good cancer if there is such a thing. I will keep you in my thoughts.

Joy said...

I pick my thrift stores carefully for that very reason. Sometimes, they charge more than what a new item would cost. My craft thrift store has good prices but I found the exact same Aida cloth at another thrift store for three times the cost. I miss the Catholic thrift store they used to have. It had decent prices.

Vicky L said...

I am sorry to hear what is happening to your Dad. I will put him, you and your family in my prayers.

Your stitching is beautiful. I am liking how the pincushion is looking. The mail art is very adorable! Especially the bunny. The story of the Fray Check is funny.

Pam in IL said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. The only advice I can give you is to go along with your parents to the appointments and treatments and take notes.

Keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Happy Easter to you.

MaryT said...

Meari so sorry to hear about our dad. Hope that his prognosis is good and they can get the cancer under control. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Your stitching as always is really nice. I know the feeling of getting something wrong in my stitching and I don't see it right away or I know that something is wrong and keep counting and counting trying to find it. I use fray check too, love the stuff. That was a great buy:)
Mary Louise in IN

SoCal Debbie said...

Your stitching is so beautiful! That is so funny about the Fray Check costing more than the original price! I use that on my fabric, too. Good idea to save your silk and use DMC instead.

too_busy_to_stitch said...

Sorry to hear about your dad - good thoughts coming your way. My shoulders carry my stress too - when I get my hair done my hairdresser is always telling me to relax my shoulders! Stitching lovely as always.

Mouse said...

Sending (((HUGE HUGS))) and hope you get some thing sorted for your dad ... can't decide what fabric either for you .. like them all ... love mouse xxxx

Irene said...

I hope all goes well with your Dad - it's lousy news.

Loved the fray check story!

Mary Ann said...

I will be keeping your dad you, and your family in my prayers.

Lovely stitching!

Anonymous said...

Meari - no wonder you have stress. You're fortunate
to have a massage therapist that can take of this for you.

I'm sorry to hear your dad has cancer. I'm also glad you are going with them to the doctor's appointment. I understand about parents not knowing what's going on. Both my parents are very hard of hearing so they miss half the conversations. It's possible that the biopsy will tell them what kind. Please keep us posted - will be praying for you, your dad, and your family.

Blessings, Donna

Kay said...

Beautiful stitching as always! I love the mailart, there is so much that I see other stitchers do that I have no idea as to how to go about it, but for the ones that are super creative like this I love to see all the new ways one can turn something stitched into something amazing! I am so sorry to hear the news about your father. I realize it is upsetting, but do not think too much about all the what ifs until you get a better idea of what is going on. I hope and pray the doctor can treat this. I send much love and positive thoughts your way. My husband's father has terminal brain cancer, although over the years has had many bouts with cancer that he fought and beat each time, but this year with having to help be a caregiver with my husband it makes me see so much in a new light and to embrace so much and not take anything for granted. It has been a humbling experience. I hope to hear nothing but good news in the months to come concerning your father, stay strong and stay positive.

Shelleen said...

I will keep you and your dad in my prayers. You should have taken the fray check up to the counter and seen what you could have gotten it for.

Nancy V said...


Beautiful stitching, as always. I like the top left purple fabric for your pincushion.

So sorry to hear the news about your father. It's a good thing that you go with them to get all the info the doctors have. Prayers and positive thoughts to you and your family.

And, to you and yours, Happy Easter.
Nancy V

Debbie said...

Sorry you've had so much to deal with. Sending prayers and good thoughts for the appointment on Monday.
I'm always impressed with your thrift store finds! I've got some of those buttons, never had thought about stitching a cover.
Count me in for your mail art tutorial.
Your stitching is beautiful, as always!
Happy Easter Meari!

Claudette497 said...

I'll be thinking good thoughts for your family - you're a good daughter to go with them and look out for your dad's best interests.

Your stitching looks great!

Sue said...

You know the blog looks marvelous, as always! I had to chuckle too about the fray check....lol.... glad you put it back!

I answered your private mail; please let me know how things go today.........you, Dad, Mom and the family are in my prayers sweetie...... hopefully, this was caught early.

Love you bunches SD,
Sue, your SM

DJ said...

Your stitching is lovely, and I loved the story of your thrift store adventure. I'm so sorry to hear the news of your Dad, and I will be praying for you and your family. I know you don't like posting the sad stuff on your blog...but I'm glad you did. I hope my prayers and the words of encouragement from your friends here will help relieve some of your stress. *Hugs* Take care of yourself too!!

Anne said...

Oh my dear Meari. I'm so sorry to hear about your father but I'm sure if it's been caught soon and removed, he will be okay. I'm glad you are going with them to listen to what the doctors say. So important to get the whole scoop and not parts of it.

Yes, I do adore the mailart you sent to me. It's displayed and makes me smile when I pass by. I hope yours arrives tomorrow. It'll cheer you up a bit I'm sure.

Hugs and prayers

valerie said...

So sorry to read the upsetting news about your dad. I hope you all get answers and a good treatment plan today at the doctor's visit. I'll be hoping for the best.

Great stitching. I like the mailart...I wonder how well the stamps really stick to the fabric. And glad you found a floss solution for the JGM.

Jennifer M said...

Meari, keeping you and your family in thought and prayer. Keep in mind this is early yet and I'm sure you will get answers soon. Hard to do, but try not to worry to much until you know more. I know this is a big scare and would feel the same, but I know what you're doing is right by going with them and am sure they are grateful you are.
Stitching is wonderful as usual. The thrift store experience is a laugh, and I agree, the left top fabric is the best of the three choices. Even though it's a busy print, it seems to go well with the stitched piece. Anxious to see the finish and I know you will share it when you can. Take care and you have a lot of shoulders and ears when you need them:)

Anonymous said...

Meari, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad and hope you were able to get some answers to the kind of cancer he has and the treatment that he will need. Will be praying for you and your family.

Your stitching is lovely as always.


Akila said...

I am so shocked to hear about your dad Meari. Hope you get all answers and he gets on his way to recovery soon

I am a great fan of your mailart, so pretty

Carol said...

Oh, what a shock to read about your dad, Meari... I do hope his cancer is treatable and that he'll have many, many healthy years ahead. I know how worried you all must be.

Love the mailart you sent to Anne and I know she does, too..

Take care now--hope you get some more answers very soon!

geeky Heather said...

I will add my prayers for your dad...that must have been a real shock. And I am with you...how can they not know what kind??? Maybe they need more tests...

I completely understand your office supply fetish...when I was in college, my "pick-me-up" (on the cheap) was to buy myself a new fancy pen or mechanical pencil. =)

Lynette said...

I haven't visited your blog in a while Meari but all your stitching is as lovely as ever - I love that mailart!
So sorry to hear the news about your dad. Will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.



CJ said...

Meari -

I am so sorry to hear you about your dad. Hope you mom is doing well and staying strong.

I always enjoy reading your blog and seeing what fabulous finds you have made--so funny about the Fray Check, was not expecting $2.99. Some times, you just have to laugh.

Look forward to your next post.


Anonymous said...


I am so sad to hear about your dad I will say a prayer for him and your whole family!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about the cancer news for your father. I hope the VA works with you to treat your father in a timely fashion.

Prayers going out to you and yours during this time.


glenda said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. I am familiar with that brand of stress and it's killer to say the least. (I won't say I know what you are going through..but I've been in a similar spot).

Your stitching is gorgeous. Keep stitching..anything to prevent the mind from wandering on its own!