Monthly Goals and Rotation Update

Goal Review

September Results:

Finish Ornament RR for ontime mailing - yup!
Get WBRR started (no procrastinating this round!) - About halfway done, I'll finish this weekend
Finish one more project - Finished Mini F
Only one start (if I start anything) - Didn't start a thing!
Don't short Stroke of Midnight in this month's rotation - she got her week
Create a list of kitted projects (StRIP Plan Phase II) - I managed a first pass....from memory....

October Goals

Finish WBRR for mailing and choose next lucky bug
Stitch Ornament RR for on time mailing
Start VS Heirloom Christmas Sampler
Start/finish 3 kitted ornaments (from JCS 04)
Have a blast at Hershey CATS! (and keep spending modest!)

October 2004 Rotation Plans

Yes, we have a theme this month :) I've also been smart and scheduled Ornament stitching while in Hershey. There may be some Make-It-Take-It stitching going on as well. One of the ornament weekends will include the first round of the Dragon Dreams Christmyth Ornament RR that starts mid-month.

WB/Ornament RR 10/1-10/3
Heirloom Christmas Sampler 10/4-10/8
Ornaments! 10/9-10/10
Christmas Elegance 10/11-10/15
Ornaments! 10/16-10/17
Santa's Midnight Ride 10/18-10/20
Ornaments! 10/21-10/24
Royal Holiday 10/25-10/31


Pick one:

A - I tried to comment, but it's broke!
B - Comments? I thought you were talking to yourself!
C - I haven't read this blog in ages. Too dull.

Just curious....


Seductive Stash.....

I've been pretty good lately with stash purchases. Meaning I haven't bought much.

Don't laugh....it's really true. Of course it's all relative, but for *me* I've been good.

I also know the "ultimate stash experience" is just three weeks away in Hershey.

But of the stash I have recently acquired, for some reason it isn't content to bake quietly in the garage with its compatriots. It wants to be used. Now. Or at least within some foreseeable time period.

I've managed to hit my goal of 30 wips (thanks to the StRIP Club on the Rotation Board and in fact am at 29 "official" pieces in progress. Of course I've focused on finishing smaller pieces instead of the big ones which will put me in a whole new mess next year...but...well....that's next year.

Here's what is calling (and what is likely to actually be started):

Heirloom Christmas Sampler by Victoria Sampler. This *will* be started next week as part of the VS Christmas SAL on the Rotation Board. I've had this baby since it was first released (in the red/green colorway) and it's time!

Royal Holiday by Mirabilia. I have fabric (Relic by Picture this Plus) and floss. I could start her tomorrow....October is going to have a Christmas theme (more on that tomorrow) and if I manage to finish another of my 29 original wips I could start her

Madonna of the Garden by Mirabilia. DH likes this one. I have floss and fabric for her.

Medieval Tiles by Dracolair. I saw this gorgeous piece in progress in Santa Clara and I purchased the accessory pack (with most of the threads needed) in May. The actual chart was released in September and in my hands very soon after. I really really really like this....really.

Lavender Lilacs by Silver Lining (scroll down the September books). Lilacs are my absolute favorite flower and I ordered this chart (and its Anchor floss) sight unseen. I still need to pull the DMC and am thinking of Waterlily Jobelan for fabric (floss toss hasn't been done yet).

Renaissance by PawPrintings. This wonderful piece was part of a purchase made for a "Graduation Present" from a dear, dear friend. It's waiting semi-patiently. The silks....oh my....

These are only the recent big pieces. I've a list of projects fully kitted and yet to be started here (check the "Kitted Projects" page). I won't detail the dozen ornaments in the new JCS issue...or the big box of "small" projects I have.

I need to quit my job so I can stitch....pesky things like family and all that depend on the income, though. Bother!


Question of the Week

Designer Dreams

Would you or have you designed your own cross stitch design? If you have can we see it?

I have designed a couple pieces in the past when I couldn't find the right design for what I wanted to do.

The first was a baby sampler - more years ago than I care to remember! My best friend's sister was the recipient and I hadn't been stitching all that long, so the opportunity to stitch a remembrance piece was very attractive. Unfortunately I couldn't find any samplers that I thought appropriate so I pulled motifs from Cross Stitch & Country Crafts (a rocking horse, that I remember was the focal motif) and created a border.

The second was a family tree design for my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary. Baney Family Tree I found the tree in CS&CC as well as the border. The apples on the tree are beaded and the wedding rings are done with gold blending filament (Balger back then!). It hangs proudly in my grandparents' home along with pictures of the family gathering we had in celebration.

The one odd thing about this - when I originally stitched the piece, my DS (Zachary over on the left) wasn't even a thought. When the piece was presented, I *was* pregnant but only a few days - didn't know for sure for another 10 days. A year later, Granny insisted I add him to the piece after it was framed. I did with a very small needle and it wasn't removed from the frame...I told her that any "future" additions would be a separate piece!


Sunday Brunch

I know, I normally don't add a blog post on the weekend, but with Erica on the Sunday Brunch and this handy iBook laptop available here in the living room...well...all my excuses are just *poof* LOL.

1) If you had a wedding, what flowers did you have at your wedding?

I had long stemmed red roses for my wedding.

2) What is your favorite flower?

Lilacs. Growing up in Michigan we had a couple *large* lilac bushes outside my bedroom window. They have a distinctive scent and bloom right around my birthday. I love lilacs....

3) Do you have flowers as part of your landscaping outside or your interior decor?

We have a couple blooming cactii in the front yard. That's about it!

4) If you went to your high school prom(s), what kind of flower did you wear in your corsage or boutonniere?

Probably a carnation though in all honesty I don't remember!

5) Do you like to receive flowers as a gift or do you think it is a waste of money?

I love to receive flowers. DH is great about sending me beautiful bouquets at work (usually roses) and Mom will send other flowers now and then. This year for my birthday - a beautiful vase full of purple lilacs :)

Until tomorrow!


Happy Anniversary Kay!

A year ago today, Kay and I were selected as Administrators for the Teresa Wentzler Bulletin Board.

It's been quite a year.....

Friday Forum - Friendship

1] What qualities in a friendship are most important to you?

Honesty is by far the most important quality. I will support and empathize but I will also tell you the truth. That is important to me.

Otherwise, sharing a good laugh, a hobby or interest, advice and wide shoulders to cry on are all present in what I consider "good" friendships :)

2] Who is your oldest friend [in terms of how long you've known the person]? Who is your newest friend? How did you meet both of them, and why do you get along so well?

My best friend in high school is probably the oldest friend that I still have occasional contact with. We go back over 20 years. It's been forever since I actually *saw* her (she lives in Albuquerque) but with the wonders of the Internet, we do chat and exchange the odd email and kid pictures.

We shared a common interest in high school as we were both members of the "A-Hall" gang. Chorus, Band and Drama all were in that hall and we were both in Drama (she also was in Chorus if I remember correctly). It was one of those friendships that just "clicked" and thru the years we've been in each other's weddings, worked together (in California) and shared good times and bad. My first visit to Disneyland was with her....our road trip to a David Bowie concert in Anaheim....marriage troubles....children born....so much.

As for the newest friend - I can't choose just one! I've made so many online friends in the last couple years that it is difficult to name just one.

3] Have you ever met someone, become really close friends with them, and then drifted apart for some reason? How did it happen, and did you ever try to get back in touch with that person?

Not many years ago I worked with a fantastic lady named B (really, we called her by her initial, not her full name). She was actually a "customer" of mine in that she represented a few of the clients I did monthly reporting for. Technically she worked for a different company, though both companies shared office space and her office was right next to mine ;). B was everything I wasn't (at that time): direct, opinionated, forthright and loud. We got along famously because she recognized that I actually *cared* about the work I did and the accuracy of the reports I provided (both scheduled and "on-demand"). We had lunch together a minimum of twice per week. We griped about the boss (both companies were owned by the same man) and gossiped about folks in the office..LOL. We did get together on the weekends occasionally as well.

When I left the company we still were in contact for several months. But when I had to change jobs *again* by the time I got back to her, she was gone. She did call me about a year ago (checking to see if I was available for a position where she was working - I declined) and after promising to stay in touch and get together for dinner soon....nothing more. Hmmm..maybe I'll dig around and find her number....

4] Do you feel that men and women can be good friends? Why/why not? Do you have any close friends of the opposite sex?

Absolutely. I've always had male friends of varying degrees. I believe it *is* possible to separate the friendship feelings from others that can get in the way of friendship. My husband is my best friend now, but I have good friendships with a couple of the fellows I work with as well.

5] Do you tend to make friends easily? Why/why not? Do you have many online friends? Which of your friends lives the closest to you?

I do not make friends easily. I've never been one to be surrounded by a multitude of friends, preferring 3 or 4 close ones that I can keep track of to a variety of acquaintances. While I'm a pretty trusting person, I am not one to share deep dark secrets easily and "hold back" when meeting new people until I get a good impression. I do have a good number of online friends that range from Georgia to California to Maine in the US, but also England and Australia/New Zealand. I've had the good fortune to meet many in person thru various travels and events and one of these days I'll be travelling overseas to meet even more :)


A spelling theme this week....

I spent all day in training on "Customer Astonishment."

Yes, you got it - "Satisfaction" is no longer enough, we now are required to "Astonish" our customers. Be careful you don't "Astound" though, that would be bad...

I will admit, though, the training was pretty darned good. We had an entertaining instructor, the room was freezing and there were lots of written exercises so it was pretty easy to stay awake. It wasn't a huge group (made up primarily of Customer Care folks [aka Help Desk]) so snoring would have been fairly obvious. I also had the joy of sitting next to the IS Director (3 levels above little old me) so I couldn't doodle rotation notes this time...as I usually do in long and tedious meetings!

The final exercise of the day was about giving "improvement feedback" and the instructor used a spelling test to show off the four types of feedback. I did not volunteer as a "victim" - leaving that for four of the guys in the room. They each rated themselves on their spelling ability on a scale of 1-10. Here's how they self-rated:

G: 10
J: 3.5
A: 7.5
JV: 8.63

Yeah, we're a bunch of techies LOL

The four were asked to repeat the words and provide the definition. I got 2 spelled correctly and 2 definitions (not the same words). None of the four spelled their words correctly! Here's the list:

G: obsequious (Got this one spelled right...)
J: onomatopoeia (had the definition on this)
A: antidisestablishmentarianism (Spelling and definition for this one!)
JV: eleemosynary (*No one* knew this one!)

We've got a "followup" session in two weeks to see if we've applied what we've learned.... At least it'll look good on my review next year....as I actually do most of what we were taught. Just need to be a tad more consistent and I'll be astonishing the heck out of my customers :D


Pet Peeves and Sudden Smiles

We all have them....here are a few of mine:

PP: Otherwise intelligent people that consistently misspell simple words: their, a lot, definite, receive, weird....(these are the *correct* spellings people!!!) Try your hand: Spelling Test.

SS: Testing my 6-yr old on *his* spelling words and hearing him get them all correct and spelling with confidence :) (Ok, so his toughest word this week is "now" but he got all ten right)

PP: Sports announcers that cannot pronounce the players' names correctly. "Mr. Miller? That should be Rafael Fur-CALL (as in "I'll call ya") not Fur-CAL (as in California)"

SS: Any baseball game broadcast in High-Definition....ahhhh...

PP: People that insist on passing in the "merge" lane. Just how much further ahead do you think you're going to get?!?

SS: People that let you in traffic when *you* are in the merge lane and just trying to get home

PP: Snowbirds on the road during rush hour (last traffic one, I promise)

SS: Coming home to smell dinner already started and children finishing homework

PP: Having a boss that thinks *he* knows where your career should go better than *you* do

SS: Great coworkers that make the most inane tasks/training sessions fun

Who has more to add? (And just to prove that yes *I* use the spell-checker occasionally - I missed 10 on my first quick pass thru the spelling test! LOL)

(Note to Gina: I'm still hoping to sneak in Royal Holiday before the end of October...I haven't forgotten her!)


Question of the Week, et al....(Sunday Brunch added!)

Lots of little things today so let's get started!

First, I got a much better Finian picture this weekend. Sunlight is amazing at showing *real* colors. Scroll down a bit to get a better idea of his true pigment.

It was a very productive stitching weekend. I finished Mini Mystery F by Chatelaine on Saturday. It will hang nicely with my Mini E in the entry way. For the curious - I won't be continuing with G or H. As much as I love these gorgeous bellpulls, the cost has become a consideration at this time. Also, as part of the whole "Stash Reduction" thinking, it's better to work on the myriad of pieces I already have either going or waiting patiently.

Ornaments are another animal, though. With the new JCS 2004 Ornament issue's arrival, I'm in an Ornament frame of mind . I stitched the Indigo Rose "Silent Night" this weekend (very quick - only 3 colors of DMC and 2 colors of beads) and did venture to the LNS for supplies for a couple more. Sweetheart Tree's Bellpull (minus the paillettes - *why* include those hard-to-find bits?!? The charm alone was $5!), Vermillion's Santa and a third (for the next Ornament RR - can't say - shhhh) are all on the plan for the fall.

Last bit of stitching this weekend was a start on the Wee Beasties RR. Over halfway thru the regular stitching thanks to a couple football games and that new Columbo DVD set ;)

Finally - the Question of the Week....

If you could design your dream needlework/cross stitch shop, what would it be like?

It would have an open floor plan, lots of beautiful models from designers and stitchers worldwide, a convenient Starbucks nearby for late night or early morning caffeine "fixes", a few well-placed PCs for Stitching Board/Blog surfing, a digital camera available for stitchers to snap pics of their WIPs or finished pieces to share with friends online, a comfortable classroom for classes with visiting designers or evening "stitch-ins" and oh yes....the inventory..... fabrics from both traditional companies and the best of the hand-dyed vendors, fibers sufficient to circle the globe and enough gadgets, accessories and charts to tempt even the SABLE stitcher

It *is* a dream, right?

The Sunday Brunch - in honor of my buddy Erica taking on this meme, I'm adding it to my weekly "to-do" list :)

School Supplies!
1) Do you prefer wide rule or college rule notebook paper?

College rule, of course.

2) What is your favorite writing instrument?

A nice fine black pen

3) What is the one office or school supply that you can’t live without?

I have a calendar book that lays out each week on the double open page. It holds everything from work tasks to personal bits and pieces and I'd be lost without one each year. Yes, I also have a PDA but there's still that satisfying *something* when I make notes in my little book.

4) Staples or paper clips?

Neither! Gimme a file folder or for really thick stacks a binder clip.

5) Describe the contents of the top of your desk.

How much space do I have here? Here in my cube my desk is currently a mess! I've been meaning to clean it for a few days . Here's just a sample:

Laptop in docking station and all its peripherals.
Candy dish (Creme Savers)
Harry Potter cup filled with writing instruments
MicroStrategy tall cup (ice water)
Cisco IP Phone
Wire file folder rack (but the folders are laying on the desk)
MC Escher Desk Calendar
Secret Pal Coffee Cup (for tea)
Various Post-It cubes
MacIntosh Apple Votive candle (Yankee candle - it smells good, can't light it!)
Dilbert Business card holder
2 JD Robb books....

I'll stop there....I really need to clean my desk...


Friday Forum - Morning Routines

1. Starting with your head down to your toes, what health/beauty products have you used/applied to your body so far today? [For example, shampoo, toothpaste, makeup, cologne/perfume, nail polish, etc.]

This is a fairly short list:

Dove "Beautifully Clean" Shampoo
Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Shower Gel
Bath & Body Works Warm Vanilla Sugar Lotion
Olay Complete Moisturizer
Lancome Eyeliner (dark brown)
Flouridex toothpaste
Suave Hairspray

2. Do you have a ritual when you take a shower, such as washing your hair first or maybe even brushing your teeth in the shower? If so, what? Do you prefer baths or showers, usually?

Always a shower for me. I wash my hair first and then the rest of me with gel and a "poof." Living in the desert, I keep my showers short.

3. How do you get yourself up and going in the mornings? Coffee? A hot shower? Breakfast? Would you consider yourself a morning person at all? When do you usually get up?

I am not a morning person and I don't drink coffee! During the week I don't feel "awake" until after I've had my shower and then I can manage the rest of the morning routine and even manage reasonable conversations. Some mornings I can tell when caffeine would be a good idea...and then it's in the form of a Coke or tea/hot chocolate in the cooler months.

4. Do you normally eat breakfast? What do you usually have? Do you usually make it at home or go out for breakfast, or do you prefer not to eat breakfast?

The first thing I do when I get up is take a pill that requires I wait an hour for breakfast. On the weekends I manage breakfast about 50% of the time and it's usually something quick (cereal or toast) occasionally a bit more involved (biscuits, pancakes, etc) for the family.

During the week, again, I manage breakfast about 50% of the time. Due to the medication, I don't eat at home (I'm long gone an hour later) and only rarely stop on the morning drive into work. Lots of options once I get to the office, though, as we have a cafeteria in the building, and a good bakery and Starbucks in the mall area outside the building.

If I go to the cafeteria I get cottage cheese/fresh fruit and skip the donuts/sweet rolls or eggs/bacon. If I want something sweet the bakery has a tasty cinnamon twist (not very often) and at Starbucks it's a Vanilla Bean Frappaccino with a shot of chocolate and a butter croissant (usually a Friday treat).

5. What does your alarm clock sound like? A buzzer, music, or something else? Do you ever set your clock fast so that you push yourself to get ready sooner? Are you usually on time, late, or somewhere in-between?

If my alarm isn't on a buzzer I don't hear it! I've done the "set it 5 minutes fast" but as I *know* it's fast it doesn't usually make any difference for me. For appointments and such I'm usually on-time if not early. For work each day as long as I arrive most of the time before 8:15, I'm happy. I do not have a "clock-watching" boss which I simply cannot stand! If I'm later than 8:15, 9 times out of 10 it's due to traffic not because I left the house late.


How big is your plate?

I'm sure you've heard the expression "I've got too much on my plate right now" when discussing all the happenings in life. This begs the question above (and a question I think would make an awesome title for a time/life management book) - How big is your plate?

I tend to think of my personal plate as a plain, basic, dinner-sized white plate of excellent quality. Maybe a little design around the edge or even a thin gold rim. Everything fits, but occasionally stuff runs into each other and "mingles" along the edges. Ok, more than occasionally....

As "home" is my first priority, that gets most of the available real estate. My spouse, my children, the extended family, etc fills this space. Now, I will admit that I am incredibly lucky - for the most part I have good kids (we're still "settling in" to school routine right now with DS - being a first-grader it's his first year of all-day-focus-and-pay-attention demands. As I think he is simply a ball of energy, this is tough for him) and an understanding DH. As for extended family - let's just say I'm glad I come from a small one.

Next largest portion of the plate would probably be "work." Since I was able to get rid of the "school" section this summer (WOOHOO!) "work" has grabbed up some of that. My actual work responsibilities have grown a bit in the last few months, and yet another sizeable one was added yesterday, so not surprising.

The last section of any size is "me" which includes health and personal happiness (stitching falls in this both as "mental health" therapy and "creative productivity"). The majority of the reclaimed "school" area went here Probably a good thing given all the health cr&p this year....

So...how big is *your* plate?


Finian is Complete!

Here's my completed Futurecast by TW Designworks....his name is "Finian" from the overdye used in the border: Needle Necessities Finian's Rainbow

The dragon is done with the 208-211 color family, accent colors 612/613 and 3747. Braid used is Kreinik 023 (Lavendar) and 9192 (peachy) for the crystal ball. Beads in the dragon or MH 3053 and MH 40252 in the border.

Fabric is antique white Jazlyn - though you can't tell it from the picture! I guess I need more light to get a good shot...maybe this weekend.

Stitcher's Question of the Week

Question of the Week

Do you stitch small projects one at a time that you can finish quickly, have numerous large projects going at once that you rotate,or both? How does your current system work for you and have you thought about changing it?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: I have a mix of large and small projects, with not enough smalls and too many large in the pile of 30 in-progress. I did finish off a few smalls this year to get down from 39 (no, not 9 finishes, a few were simply removed from the pile for lack of interest). As for whether I finish small pieces immediately - it really depends on why I'm stitching it. If it's a gift or some sort of deadline piece, then I'll work it pretty much straight thru. If it's just a break between large pieces or something for convenience I'll put it down and pick it up as the whim hits.

If you want to see the entire list (and the plans for 2004) go here: Rotation Log

As for how the pieces get worked, I'm pretty happy with my month-by-month plan. I've done the "List 'em all and work the list" method with 25 projects (managed to get thru 1.5 times and 2 good sized finishes before it broke down). I've done a strictly "screaming" rotation (whatever is calling the loudest is what gets worked) but in that phase I found I had the most starts and the least number of finishes.

Setting monthly goals and choosing a half-dozen projects to work on during the month seems to be working the best so I'll stick with it at least until the end of the year ;)


Friday Forum - Autumn

Fall - my favorite time of year :)

1. Do you enjoy the autumn season? Why/why not? Can you see any signs of fall already in your area? Are your thoughts beginning to turn toward fall, or are you trying to hold onto summer's last moments?

Fall is my favorite season. The smell of crisp fall air. School starting. The rustle of leaves as you walk. Halloween (my favorite holiday).

Then I moved to Arizona where fall lasts about 3-4 weeks in November. Then we're on to what passes for winter here in the desert.

As the daily temperature is still over 100F degrees for the next 5 days, I can't say fall has arrived in the weather! The kids are in school, though, so that's something.

2. What are some of your favorite autumn desserts? Do you make them yourself? Is there a fall treat that you've always wanted to try? What are your favorite goodies to give out [or receive!] on Halloween?

Pumpkin, apple and pecan pies are my personal favorites. Yes, I do make them myself...from scratch. With real whipped cream I can't think of anything I want to try - I'm a pretty adventurous baker and will try most any recipe that looks good!

Halloween is primarily small chocolate bars and treats reminiscent of childhood. Milk Duds, Sweet-Tarts, Kit-kats, M&M's and always a few extra for the household.

3. Do you have any special autumn events planned, such as visiting an apple orchard, dressing up for Halloween, going on a hayride, or maybe hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your home? If so, have you already started planning for these events?

The kids will absolutely dress for Halloween. There hasn't been any discussion for Thanksgiving yet between my mother and grandmother and I. We usually descend on Granny's but with Mom and I cooking and toting along food we've made. We don't have a huge family (10 total).

4. When you were growing up, did your family usually have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner [turkey, cranberries, stuffing, etc.]? Or, did you do something different, such as going out to eat or fixing nontraditional food?

Traditional always! I've never gone out for Thanksgiving. The one year it was even suggested I simply planned to cook for my family (and my brother) at home and let my parents go out if they wanted. They ended up having dinner with us ;)

The menu must include: Turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potates (candied or baked, this tends to alternate), green beans, brussel sprouts or broccoli (depends on who is cooking), scalloped corn, rolls, cranberry sauce (both the canned jelly variety and fresh cooked with orange), stuffed celery (peanut butter or cream cheese), cucumbers & onions in vinegar, pumpkin and pecan pies with whipped cream.

See why we do a "pot luck" style get-together?

5. Do you participate in Halloween festivities? What are some of the costumes that you've worn in the past? Do you still dress up now? Do you get many trick-or-treaters where you live?

The kids carve pumpkins, dress up and we pass out candy. I don't decorate the house much but we do watch "Nightmare before Christmas" and "Sleepy Hollow" on Halloween night (or the nights before/after). I remember dressing up as a gypsy and fairy princess (complete with ribbon-hair wig) as a kid and one year as an Oreo cookie. My kids go for the "traditional" costumes - pirates, cats and ghosts in years past. I will not buy their entire costumes, they must be creative within their own closets (or mine & DH's) for the most part. I will buy the odd "accessory" items (cat ears, pirate eyepatch) and I will do makeup if requested.

I know.... "Mean Old Mommy!" LOL!

We had *tons* of trick-or-treaters at the old house as we lived near two large apartment complexes. This year we're in a smaller neighborhood, so I expect the kids from the cul-de-sac (only 11 houses) and maybe some neighboring streets, but not the 100+ we've had in the past years.

Hmmm...maybe I'll get the kids thinking about their costumes this weekend...need some planning time...


Organization Bug hits again

Last night, after playing just *one more board* in Jewel Quest (I'm on 5-2, a real bugger) I decided to finally put together my Rotation Log. It's an Excel file and shamelessly stolen from Junette.

With all my web "documenting" the lists of WIPs and finishes were pretty easy to reconstruct. Dates were more of a challenge so I just used month approximations. The page with the most work yet to do is "Kitted Projects." Those 29 listed? Those are strictly from *memory* - I have not even begun to actually crack into my stash! I have a rather large box that is nothing but small projects (90% kitted). Lots of Victoria Sampler (BCS kits - many on sale at the LNS) and Textile Heritage kits and some silk gauze and well...just bunches of kits.

I did list a few that I know need just a handful of DMC to be considered "full kits." Originally I was only going to list the truly 100% ready to go stuff, but I've been known to start projects that weren't all there...picking up remaining bits as needed. Heck, I still need to finish acquiring beads for Christmas Elegance! I don't really like the red pebble beads called for and will probably substitute some glass or crystals from my own bead stash.

I guess the next step (after all the projects are listed) is to figure out what I'm truly missing and start working *that* list. Sheesh....lists and more lists....always a new list to make!


Are we back?

Hmm...I see new entries over on my list of blogs, so I'm thinking I'll be able to get this thru! I tried a minor template change this morning (current WIP this week is Dragon Ride) and the stupid "Publish" churned for five minutes

Anyway...had an interesting item show up in the mailbox today at work. As an "IT Professional" I get a couple weekly journals. This week's Information Week has a *very* interesting cover pic. Click over there...see on the right, about halfway down? The shoe pic? The article is about Van's offering custom-ordered shoes and tell me the one in the pic doesn't look like a sampler! LOL (DD would love the Jolly Roger shoes).

I admit, I did click over to the Van's website to check out the patterns, but as it requires "Flash" my work laptop balked so I'll have to wait until I get home tonight. I did see the price: $50 which isn't horrible for good Van's slipons.

DVD Find of the Week

(While this may not be a "weekly feature" it sure sounds catchy)

While visiting IMDB this morning searching for info on the new Batman movie (casual reference from a news article about the Genesis canister plunging to earth this morning in Utah - yes my "train of thought" hits many stations...why do you ask?) I stumbled across the new "series" releases.

Columbo is on DVD!

We are a "Mystery" household. We've seen all the Columbo movies shown on A&E/Bravo/Hallmark repeatedly. Watch Sherlock Holmes and Poirot on A&E. The DVD Sets we have include both seasons of A&E's Nero Wolfe and two sets of Agatha Christie's Poirot movies (Collection One and Collection Two). Also have James Bond, Jonny Quest and the Jetson's but they aren't exactly in the "Mystery" genre. If Ellery Queen every comes out, I'll be adding that as well.

So I ordered the first season of my favorite rumpled detective and I look forward to surprising DH with it :)


Where has the time gone?

Yes, I'm still in denial that it's September already.

Another week, another Question of the Week:

How do you explain cross stitch to non-cross stitching people? Do they get it or do they say “Oh, right.. you do knitting then (or sewing, or needlepoint)"?

I have four finished pieces hanging in my cube here at work. Everything from "regular" cross-stitch to hardanger to specialty thread/stitch work and it always amazes me who notices and who doesn't. Most reactions are "Wow. That's nice" or something reasonable similar. A few ask for more details and I do get the "Oh, my (female relative) does that, too." I usually have a project tucked away in my desk drawer, so showing something "in progress" helps with the whole explanation of how the design makes it on the fabric - having needle/thread/chart handy is a great visual aid.

I've also been able to reawaken the stitching hobby in a couple folks. A vendor rep was an avid needlepointer and had put it down for years. She recently gained a new nephew and decided a Christmas stocking was in order, so we met one Friday afternoon up at the LNS and she picked up a canvas and all the fibers. When she visits me for work, she'll occasionally bring the piece to show her progress or ask my opinion on a fiber used :) If we plan ahead for a visit, I'll bring in one of my current pieces to show her as well.

Weekend Stitching Update

I was both really *good* and really *bad* this holiday weekend! I finished Part 2 of Chatelaine's Mini-Mystery F on Friday night (good!). I completed Meliny's ornament from the Ornament Round Robin (good!) and even have a picture: Meliny's Ornament (don't look if you don't want to see Group 1 - though I know there are only 2 folks left to stitch it). I also managed some progress on Finian: Futurecast (good!). The bad part? On Monday, according to my handy rotation for the month, I should have been stitching on Dragon Ride........but well, Finian was coming along *so* nicely that he sucked up that time instead. He's actually got a full body (almost all the primary colors stitched - just a bit of shading in the tail left) and an orb.

Rather than short DR more time though, I intend to give Finian an hour in the evening and then remaining time to DR (should be 1-2 hours/day) this week. I still have to choose beads for him, and that's best done in good morning light on the weekend!

...And Yet Another Time Sink

I'm not usually a gamer on the PC, but we had a couple special circumstances this weekend. During some minimal errands on Saturday, DH found a version of one of my favorite PC games that will run on WindowsXP. The version of Black & White that we had was relegated to Win98/ME only and just crashed on XP. About four hours gone on Monday getting started on that.....I just love being a god. Last night I admitted being hooked on Jewel Quest from GameHouse and ponied up the money to continue from level 3-7 (where I ran out of "free trial" time). I'm now up to 4-2.


Food Memories

Wow. Two posts for two days in a row....and on a couple really busy work days LOL Don't get used to this!

Yesterday, Susan asked about favorite pizza. I added a comment that in the "not likely to get any soon" category, Nunzio's in Albuquerque had some darned tasty pizza. Unfortunately, an email later that day informed me they'd been out of business for awhile

While attending the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, I walked over to Nunzio's for a slice of yummy cheese pizza at least once, if not twice, per week. Another favorite haunt in those days was the Frontier restaurant, also across the street from UNM. Their specialty: the best melt-in-your-mouth cinnamon rolls you have ever had in your life. They filled a salad-size plate and were simply drowning in butter. No, not exactly healthy but were they tasty!

Albuquerque holds some seriously good food memories for me. I lived there for almost ten years (middle school, high school, college time frame) and sampled quite a few of the local restaurants. Mac's Steak in the Rough - they have the absolute *best* taquitos, onion rings and limeade (not usually all eaten at the same time....though, I suppose if you are *really* hungry....). Harrigan's (kind of a Applebee's/Bennigan's fern bar place) had a burger called the "Parlez-Vous Burger" that I craved while pregnant in California a few years after I moved! It's an open-faced cheese burger with wine/mushroom gravy and a dollop of sour cream on top. Paired with their wonderful home fries...oh my....heaven.

San Diego had a few good eats as well. I spent six years there after leaving New Mexico. Under the "mainland" end of the Coronado Bay Bridge was a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that was best visited early in the day (*plenty* of light and places to run). If you did you'd find some authentic tacos and chimichangas and see a few ladies in the back room making home made tortillas that were best served warm with just a little butter and cheese. Heck, the dozen I'd buy never made it home intact....plain and still slightly steaming from the bag was good enough!

For awhile I worked in San Diego's Old Town area (sadly about to see some serious renovation I hear) and a small corner deli was the preferred lunch time destination. Not only did they make sandwiches that were a mile high - you could order them with *Miracle Whip*! No other deli I have ever visited offered MW as a regular condiment!

Another oft-visited restaurant in San Diego was Po'Folks. It isn't often you can find a place to order "sweet tea" west of the Mississippi river! Their catfish and fried okra were easily the best things on the menu and crisp and light without a trace of a heavy fried taste.

Now, Phoenix has some pretty good places, too. Carolina's is another authentic Mexican restaurant (with incredibly good fresh-made tortillas) and it's the lunch destination at least once a week for almost my whole department! LOL If I ever leave the downtown area, I'll have to continue to make a regular pilgrimmage to Crazy Jim's to have the best gyro I have ever tasted. I've hooked several co-workers (only passing on the tradition as I was hooked as well) and at least once a month an email will come with only "Jim's?" in the subject line. We *all* know where to meet and when to leave!

Now if I could just find an A&W Root Beer stand like I grew up with in New Buffalo, MI. I'd love a frosty mug of root beer and a corn dog....

Friday Forum - Color

1. What color are most of the clothes in your wardrobe? Is there a particular color that you would never wear? What colors do you think that you look best in (or feel best in)?

White seems to be the best represented color in my closet. It goes with absolutely everything and whenever I happen to buy shirts, I always start with white.

Of course, I have lots of other colors as well. Blue, purple, red and black make up the the majority overall. I don't wear yellow or orange. Makes me look....ill.

When I'm feeling down, I'll invariably pull out something purple or red. I get lots of compliments when I'm wearing a nice deep red.

2. What are your favorite colors, and why? Are you inspired by them? Do you identify with them? Do you like them because of the way that they make you feel? Are there any colors that you totally dislike, and why?

It's hard to choose just one! I love deep jewel tones: amethyst, sapphire, ruby, emerald and diamond. I love the richness of them. However if you find something bright orange or lime green...well...you can keep it (blech).

3. What colors are surrounding you right now? What color is the sky at the moment? What color are the walls? What color is your computer's desktop wallpaper?

The cube walls are grey, desktop is taupe-ish, the sky is pale blue and my desktop wallpaper is dark blue. I don't use pictures as I would never see them due to all the windows open all day long LOL

4. Would you ever try foods that are unusually colored, such as purple mashed potatoes, green ketchup, etc.? Do you prefer your foods to be regular colors?

A few years ago at Easter, my mother got creative with the hard-boiled eggs. She dropped the shelled, hard-boiled whites in some food coloring. We had pale blue and pink devilled eggs with yellow filling. As she had extras, she added the colored egg whites to the potato salad as well.

This did not go over all that well with certain family members who prefer their food "naturally" colored. Personally, I thought it was kinda fun LOL. There have been a few times since that "colored eggs" have been requested of her for family gatherings. The same people roll their eyes (but manage to choke down a few) each time.

5. What is your hair color? Your eye color? Do most of your family members share these same traits? Would you ever dye your hair or try colored contacts?

Hair color: brown with more than a sprinkling of grey
Eye color: blue

Both my parents started out with the same coloring, but Mom switched to blonde years ago. She "highlighted" for years, but when you're highlighting more than you're leaving natural, it's time to just break out the bottle and forget about the brush ;)

DH is also brown/blue. Both kids have blue eyes but their hair is lighter in color.

I don't think I'll ever dye my hair. I've been blessed with thick hair that grows fairly fast and a nice soft silver/grey that provides some natural highlights. I like it, DH likes it, so no dye for me.

I did wear colored contacts in high school and college! I had a blue pair and a green pair of hard contact lenses. Boy, did I get some compliments when I was wearing those! My eyes are not exactly a striking color and the contacts just made them wonderfully bold. For now, I'll stick with glasses - though they are purple ;)


RIP Indian Larry

(Isn't that always the case? I resign myself to an eclectic blog entry and then an hour later find a real subject...)

The great custom motorcycle builder, Indian Larry, died as the result of injuries from a stunt gone awry in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this week. I stumbled across the story here: Indian Larry Story

You may not realize that I love custom motorcycles. I am a *huge* Jesse James (West Coast Choppers) fan and a WCC autographed t-shirt is a prized (and comfy) possession. I watch American Chopper on Discovery (Statue of Liberty bike is my favorite). I followed all the episodes of "Great Biker Build-off" (Indian Larry won against a Phoenix builder). I've seen all the Motorcycle Mania shows (showcasing Jesse James but Larry had a prominent role as well).

In fact, he was in Charlotte filming a new episode of "The Great Biker Build-off" this past weekend. Episode filmed on Saturday - he was performing his usual stunts on Sunday when the accident happened on Sunday. I've seen him "bike-surf" several times on Discovery (basically standing on a moving motorcycle) but I've never seen him wear a helmet. This time the bike backfired and he lost control.

His emblem was a question mark. His motto: "It's the mystery of life. You just never know."

Nope. You just never know


Warning - no central theme today, just odds and ends to get out of the way before a very colorful Friday Forum entry tomorrow.

Fish Update:
Cramer (see post "Survivor: Fish Tank I" below) is hale and hearty after completing his "ick" treatment. We'll probably get him some buddies Sunday or Monday and start Season II. (Note to Jen: I'm checking on a different source - excellent suggestion, thanks!)

Stitch Update:
Finian (Futurecast) is coming along, but he evidently isn't scary enough to keep the frogs away. His border was attacked last night and I managed precious little progress for the 90 minutes I spent working on him.

TV Comment:
I must say I really enjoyed the speeches last night during the Republican National Convention. They've been pretty good all week but last night's were the best by far!

However, I've had plenty of political drivel to last me for the next four years. After tonight I'll happily return to our usual viewing habits (Baseball, Discovery Channel, FoodTV, etc).

Work Observation:
Why is it when people are forced to be a "team" yet have no projects in common, does the boss feel the need to criticize the "lack of teamwork"? It's a miracle this particular group actually has enough to fill a bi-weekly "Team" meeting. There's no way we're going to be buddy-buddy and share our workload. Never mind the fact that one member has trouble working with any woman in a position of responsibility....and he's the boss' best buddy. The joys of office politics.

Medical Update:
So when the doctor says you need a certain type of medication to alleviate an identified condition and you remind her you've been taking a form of that drug for the last six years, why does she suddenly decide to "wait one more month" before taking any action? Why the rush for tests and followups when you fail to follow thru with action? I can *guarantee* that nothing is going to change in four weeks.

Weekend Plans:
I'm ready for three days off work. I realized this morning I'm tired of driving. Of course if people that truly didn't *need* to be on the road at 7:30ish in the morning would stay off, I'm sure it wouldn't be near as bad....yeah, and the snowbirds have just begun their migration. It's going to be a long winter.

Saturday is a family get-together to celebrate the August birthdays (yeah, we're late). Sunday and Monday will be baseball, movies, stitching and puttering around the house. I am SO ready!


Welcome to September!

Can you believe we're already in the ninth month of the year? Where has the time gone???

It's time for the monthly goal and Rotation/StRIP review.....let's see how I did:

August Goals

Finish Wee Beasties Round Robin (WBRR) and choose design for next one - Finished the one, but have yet to receive the next....I'm pretty sure I know what I'm going to do, just need to make sure it hasn't already been stitched!
Another week on Neptune/Poseidon - uh, no.
Start baby afghan #3 - Did that! Almost halfway done
Work with Susan (fumble99) on my WIP List - Done!
Start model (again, if it arrives) - It didn't

September Goals

Finish Ornament RR for ontime mailing
Get WBRR started (no procrastinating this round!)
Finish one more project (ok, that's *technically* already done)
Only one start (if I start anything)
Don't short Stroke of Midnight in this month's rotation
Create a list of kitted projects (StRIP Plan Phase II)

September Rotation Schedule

1-5: Mini-F/RR (probably some more Futurecast time in here as well)
6-10: Dragon Ride
11-12: SL Edith Wolford
13-17: Christmas Elegance
18-19: Mini-F/RR
20-24: Stroke of Midnight
25-26: Screamer weekend
27-30: Castles by the Sea

In August I did pretty well until I got to Stroke of Midnight's week. I ended up working on the Knotwork Bookmark and my recently finished Snowman Bag rather than going to the ball at all...not going to happen this month!

Before I dive into the StRIP update, I must admit that I had a little s.e.x. yesterday. I placed an order with Paw Prints in August (a gift from a dear friend) and the stash arrived in the mail yesterday! My spree included Renaissance (kitted), two of the new Just Nan's: Girls Night Out and Beach Roses, and fibers for the second Vegas Freebie, Futurecast. The overdye I've chosen for him is called Finian's Rainbow and so his name must be.....Finian.

StRIP Update

Thanks to a couple more "retirees" decreasing the list and the above mentioned finish, for a few short days I achieved my 30 WIP goal. But then Finian's floss arrived and I'm back to 31 for a bit until he's done..... Here are the current stats:

Retired/Adopted: 4
Finishes: 7
Starts: 6

New WIP Total: 31