Sunday, March 30, 2008

Art Y Pico Award

My dear friend, Jamie, has awarded me the Art Y Pico award. There are 5 rules attached to this and they are:

1) You have to pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2) Each award has to have the name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.
3) Each award winner has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y Pico" blog , so everyone will know the origin of this award.
5) To show these rules.

I would like to pass this award to:

~ My daughter, Sarah, for her "
gardening successes, failures, challenges, experiments, plans and dreams." One way in which she is creative is in how she makes the most of our very limited gardening budget by saving seeds and shopping for the best deals;

~ My other daughter, Grace, for her phenomenal photos. She never ceases to amaze me with her talent;

~ Dawn at The Feathered Nest. She takes the most interesting objects and turns them into wonderful art pieces;

~ Kelli, who has decorated her soon-to-be-up-for-sale home in a creative, lovely, and frugal way; and

~ Monique, whose cross stitch accessories, which she sells in her Etsy shop, are unique and colorful. I love the thread holder I purchased from her!

Thank you, Jamie, I am honored.

Two Finish-Finishes

I spent my afternoon finish-finishing two projects. First up is an old design that I suspect came from Cross Country Stitching magazine. I finished this as a mini bell pull.

I guess I never posted a picture of this project. This is from a kit that my aunt sent me a long time ago. I've wanted to try a tuck pillow; I used the instructions from Cyberstitchers. The only part of the pattern that baffled me was putting fusible web on the "Pillow Back, Stitching Back" pieces because they were never fused to anything. Next time I will use a lightweight fusible interfacing instead.

I still have one more small snowman piece to do something with; I'm thinking of another pinkeep.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Last of the Snowmen

This is my first flat fold. All I can say is that trim hides a multitude of mistakes, for which I am truly thankful! I did put all my other snowmen away, but while it's spring in my heart, we were blessed with about 4" of heavy wet snow on Thursday night. I don't think it will last, as the temps are going up, bringing rain with them.

This coming week is going to be busy: I'm finally getting my hair cut (haven't had it done since December, when I got a perm), we all have dental appointments, and on Thursday Phil begins chemo. I plan to do some stitching while sitting with Phil. As for the rest of the week, who knows?

Oh, and does anyone know why there are blue boxes around my pictures and signature? I don't get them on my other blog, but I can't figure out what's different. Any help would be appreciated!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday's Appointment

If it's possible to be encouraged about one's husband starting chemotherapy, you could say that I am. Phil's oncologist is wonderful. He wants to start Phil on chemo just one day a week (he had originally said two), and is willing to be flexible if we have a conflict, as we will on April 17. (Phil will either skip treatment that week, or do it on Friday.) True to my word, I let Dr. Smith talk first, and allowed Phil to ask some of his own questions before I asked the questions that hadn't already been answered. (Was Dr. Smith serious when he said I ask good questions? He's such a kidder . . .) Also encouraging is that his patients on this medication do very well and experience few side effects. I pray it is that way for Phil; he has a very sensitive stomach, which has been made worse since his diagnosis of kidney failure and Multiple Myeloma.

For the full report of today's appointment, go to Phil's Caring Bridge site.

I didn't get any stitching done as they called Phil back almost as soon as we arrived today, and then the doctor came in immediately. Starting next week, I'll get at least an hour of forced stitching time as I sit with Phil during his infusion!

Monday, March 24, 2008

"You Are Special" Award

My friend, Lori, at Musings from a Proverbs 31 Wannabe has given me this "Good Neighbor Award" just for being me! Thank you, dear friend.

If you're reading this, then consider yourself awarded as well. You are special to me!

Got the Camera!!

Tomorrow is the big day. At 2:30, we meet with Phil's oncologist about the next phase of his treatment. I think I have all of my questions written down, although I'm going to do my best to let Dr. Smith talk first, then ask questions later. (If you know me, you'll quickly realize how very difficult that is for me.) On the way home from church last night, Phil was asking me about side effects, and I replied that I thought the worst one might be fatigue. He shared that he's so tired now, he can't imagine it getting worse. He really is discouraged; it's not easy for a man to have to give up his job as he did on 12/16/2005 because of illness.

I want to thank everyone who has left a comment, those who have prayed. The journey for a Multiple Myeloma patient is difficult: numerous treatments, often pain as bones deteriorate (very few have no bone involvement; for now, Phil is one of those), and ultimately death. It stinks. We try to focus on the good times, making memories, and being thankful for every month the numbers are down.

Here's my progress on Finger Lakes Sampler. I'm stitching this on, I believe, 28 count antique white Monaco. I can't afford to purchase more expensive fabrics, so I'm pretty much limited to what I can get at JoAnn's or A. C. Moore, and then, I often use a coupon. I am using the recommended Weeks Dye Works and Threadworx (substituted for the now defunct Needle Necessities) threads. I've been having trouble seeing to stitch this at night, so I brought up a clip on light, which is now attached to the window sill next to my chair.

And this is Love Ewe from the February 2008 issue of TGOS magazine. You may recall that I did all this while waiting for and during Phil's dermatology appointment a week ago.


Lori at Musings from a Proverbs 31 Wannabe tagged me a while ago for eight facts about myself. I'm not good at these things, but I'll see what I can do.

1. I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in August, 1979 by watching a Billy Graham crusade on television.

2. My husband and I were engaged three months after we met and married within nine months.

3. I would love to be good at quilting.

4. I worked as a legal secretary before I was married.

5. My BA is in Religious Studies from Michigan State University.

6. I was deathly afraid of dogs until I was in my mid-late twenties, when I forced myself to get over my fear.

7. A surgeon's poor technique left me with permanent damage and arthritis in my right knee.

8. I cannot stand bare walls and surfaces, so my house is considered by some (hi, Grace!) to be cluttered.

I'm not overly fond of being tagged, so I'm not going to tag anyone. If you are reading this and want to play along, please do so. And let me know so I can read your list!

Sunday, March 23, 2008


The vacuum cleaner came out of the closet this afternoon, and the downstairs got cleaned. Except for the kitchen, which is my husband's responsibility. (I could have done it, but why shouldn't Phil have the satisfaction of a job well done?) I also decided it's time to put the snowmen away and pull out the spring and summer decorations, as spring fever has hit me hard. I hope to work on that task this week, in between Phil's appointments.

Last night, I finished my flat fold. The braid I put around the stitched piece covers the part that didn't turn out well. Phew! And as usual, I don't have pictures because someone (can you say "Sarah"?) has the camera. We've got to get that girl one of her own!!

I had purchased two tubes of assorted coordinating beads at JoAnn's, and I made two scissor fobs with them. They're not fancy, but one especially is very springy.

The other thing I did this evening was to pull out several more stitched pieces for small finishes. One I will make into a tucked pillow, but I'm not sure about the other two. I will explore the finishes listed here for possibilities.

My Finger Lakes Sampler is coming along very slowly. Stitching 1 over 1 is tedious for me. This piece has constant color changes and a lot of counting, making it go even slower. I think it'll be nice when it's finished, if I ever get there!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Sewing & Stitching & Spring Snow

Sarah's jumper is finished! We ended up using some buttons from my stash; I think they set off the jumper well. Sarah has the camera - again - so no pictures yet. I'm hoping she will wear it on Sunday, so perhaps someone can snap a photo of her. I am glad to have one less project in my UFO pile.

My Red Thread Snowman is being fashioned into a flat fold, using Vonna's tutorial. I'm almost done. I hope these finished get easier with practice, 'cause I'm spending a lot of time doing them.

Some first day of spring we had . . . it snowed, and now the wind is blowing like it's January. It's supposed to be spring, not winter!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Project

Last week was difficult. Dealing with the news of Phil's relapse, feeling sick for a couple of days (I think I had a bit of a cold, but in my body, not my nose), and general malaise made the week long and non-productive. I did, however, at the end of the week, cut some more fabrics for cross stitch projects; I even put the threads with some. I wanted to do this in preparation for taking Phil for his chemo treatments and other appointments. It's better to be able to grab something than to have to get everything together at the last minute. I also wanted some projects that I could easily see and not have to take my magnifier with me.

Turns out my planning paid off. Phil had an appointment on Monday with a dermatologist for removal of a basal cell carcinoma. Even though our appointment was at 2:00, the doctor was running very late, and we didn't get called back until 2:45! It was probably near 4:00 by the time we got out of there. I had put Love Ewe by Carousel Charts (from the February 2008 issue of The Gift of Stitching) in my purse, not expecting to get much done, but I actually did quite a bit of stitching. It was so fitting - the doctor stitched and I stitched. He did a nice job, but my project looks prettier. I am trying to sew up a jumper for Sarah so she can wear it for Resurrection Sunday. The pattern is easy, and one or two more sewing sessions should see it completed.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Around My House #2

This cross stitch hangs in our front entry. The verse is from Colossians 3:2 and reads "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." The design is from Cross Country Stitching, and is stitched on Aida cloth. The frame is one of the first my husband and I made.

This one also hangs in our front entry. I'm sorry the picture isn't clearer, but there wasn't much space for me to maneuver in. This is also from Cross Country Stitching. The finish is one of my favorites!

My Snowmen

I promised pictures of my snowmen. Here they are!

I made the two below:
Oops - sorry it's blurred . . .
I made this guy, too, and painted the flowerpot.
This little scene is on the pie safe in our front entry.
Sarah bought the wooden "noel" sign for me because it goes with the two cutouts below it. I know Christmas is far behind us, but I didn't get this guy (and the wooden "trowel" to the left) until after the holidays, and wanted to leave it up.
I made the lady on the right. She's a bit too tall, but cute.

It's almost time to put these cute guys and gals away until late next fall. I'm always a bit sad to pack them away, but I'm tired of winter!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Tote Bag and First Pinkeep

This is the tote bag I made on Thursday night. The more I look at it, the more I like it! I only wish that the view outside my window matched the lovely fabric. We're in the second day of a three day snowstorm! We've had snow, sleet, freezing rain, and more snow, and now lots of wind, which will blow the snow, hopefully into our neighbor's driveway! (Sorry, Brian and Colleen.)
Here's a lousy shot of the inside. I put in two large pockets, one on each side.
I spent the late afternoon and evening making my first pinkeep! I followed the instructions at Stitching Together, and also referred to Focus on Finishing. I am mostly pleased with how it came out, and I certainly learned some things! I am wondering if I could use fleece - not the stuff you use for blankets, but the kind that I would refer to as compressed. It also comes in a fusible variety, which I've used for purses. Comments? The batting I used had too much loft, I think. I also learned that the cardboard needs to be cut smaller than "just a bit smaller." I'm sure I will make another pinkeep!
A shot of the back.On a personal note, we found out on Friday that my husband's cancer is active again. He has Multiple Myeloma, which is an incurable blood cancer. In the left hand column there are links to several web sites where you can get more information, and a link to his Caring Bridge site. We know that treatment this time around involves IV chemo with Velcade, twice a week for two weeks, then a week off; that is repeated as needed. Although I will try to get help with transportation, I'm sure I will be with him at least once a week. I hope to be able to cross stitch during that time, which will be therapeutic for me. Too bad I can't get Phil to take up a portable craft . . . we've suggested knitting, but he's not interested. Oh, well.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Fast Stitching!

I finished The Red Thread Snowman from Bent Creek's Snapper series tonight! Another fast stitch. (Sarah still has the camera, so no picture yet.) I'm thinking that it's my fault that we're having a snowstorm all weekend. If only I'd chosen not to stitch that snowman! But he's been calling to me for a while, and I couldn't resist; after all, I collect snowmen. (Note to self: post photos of all my little guys and gals!)

Since spring fever is beginning to settle upon me, I thought the next project should be bright and cheery, so I decided on Finger Lakes Sampler by Brightneedle. We are a mere 40 minutes from one of the Finger Lakes (so named because they look like fingers, being long and narrow.) I am stitching it on 28 count Monaco evenweave; the color is antique white. I'm using the suggested colors from Weeks Dye Works and Needle Necessities (which are now manufactured by Threadworx), and am stitching it 1 over 1. I think this will be challenging! I'm thinking that if it comes out nicely, I will stitch another one for my in-laws, who live on Keuka Lake, one of the finger lakes.

On Thursday, I made myself a new tote bag from a shabby chic fabric I purchased on clearance some time ago. It has large pink roses on it. I love it as it's so springy! For now, I'm using it for my cross stitch.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Work Pray Trust - Finished!

I can hardly believe it myself, but I put the final stitches in Work Pray Trust late last night. It took only four days to complete (really three, as I didn't stitch on Saturday night.) Wow! How should I finish finish it?

I started The Red Thread Snowman from Bent Creek's Snapper series. The white in the snowman is hard to see at night, when I do my stitching, so I will probably have to pull out my magnifier again as I'm stitching on 28 count (I think.)

It got into the low 60's F today! Too bad it won't last: we're expecting a bad storm, and the temps will fall 30 degrees. Tuesday into Wednesday we will get snow, sleet, and freezing rain. Will this be winter's last gasp? I hope so!

(Almost) Completed Powder Room

The powder room is nearly done! I haven't put any thought into a new style of curtain/valance, although the fabric Grace found is perfect. For now, the old valance will stay. I still need to touch up some spots on the chair rail, and I found some scuffs on the pink, but these are quick fixes.
Below is the wall that is bowed so badly that we were unable to put up the chair rail. We are still contemplating what to do. It's too bad we didn't know about this when the builder came in two years ago to fix nail pops and other problems; it's too late now to have them come back. We'll figure something out, but if anyone has ideas, we're open to them! (I guess we could always not use chair rail there, but it'd look odd since all the other walls, including what I didn't photograph.) Oh, and I put the flower swag back up over the mirror to help hide the terrible wallpaper job under that light. Oops - I shouldn't admit that, should I?

Sunday, March 2, 2008


Is there a "Jelly Bean of the Month" club?

I am craving jelly beans! Too bad I'm so tired, or else I might just get in the car now, despite the fact that it's 1:15 am, and go to the 24 hour grocery store! (Licorice are my favorite.)

Oh, my.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Work Pray Trust

Here's my progress on Work Pray Trust by Lizzie Kate. It's going fast! I especially love the floss colors, which didn't come out very true in the picture.

This is "my" cat, Callie, taking one of her many naps. She was just too cute!