Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Happy Birthday!

24 years ago, just after noon, (and with much help from doctors), our firstborn came into this world.  We named her Sarah Elinor.  She has grown into a beautiful young woman who loves and serves the Lord, and who brings great joy to us. 

Sarah is a crafter just like me, and excels at knitting, cross stitch, scrapbooking, and many more crafts, including her newest hobby, polymer clay crafting.  You can visit Sarah's Etsy shop here.  She has become a good and patient cook (remember that first - failed - batch of brownies?) and will attempt dishes that require much work, always to our culinary delight.  Sarah serves us in many ways, but especially as she braves the stores once a week to do our grocery shopping.  She is also a cat lover, just like me.

Happy birthday, dear daughter.  May God continue to work in you to conform you to the image of His Son, Jesus, and may you serve Him wholeheartedly all the days of your life.  We love you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Crazy Cassie

. . . is her nickname.  She is wild at times, and seems to have an over-abundance of energy.  She especially loves to play rope, and will now bring her rope to us when she wants to play.  We're the ones to get tired of playing, as she can keep at it for hours at a time, and when she finished with one person, she will seek out another.

One day I left the vanity door open and when I turned my back to hang up my towel, Cassie had crawled into one of the drawers by climbing over the items in the cabinet!  I grabbed my camera and snapped these pictures. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Ornaments

This is Lizzie Kate's 1st Christmas, which I made for my daughter and son-in-law.  You have to excuse the picture; I took it back at the beginning of the month before the tree was up, so I simply hung it on the wall to photograph it.  I stitched this design two years ago for a new baby; you can see it here.  It's a quick stitch, although the finishing takes me a long time.  I think it would be better to finish it like a pinkeep, so I'm going to make a note of that and keep it with the pattern.
 I also stitched Nikademus by Raise the Roof designs, from the 2010 JCS Christmas Ornaments magazine.  Grace loves monkeys, and when I saw this design on the magazine cover, I knew I had to not only purchase the magazine, but stitch the design.  I especially liked how two different thread colors were combined to stitch his body and face as they were exactly what I'd expect for a sock monkey.  He's so cute, I could just squeeze him!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this."   ~ Isaiah 9: 6 - 7, ESV

"And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."    ~ Luke 2: 8 - 12, ESV

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ornament Gifts

During one of my visits to Michael's, I spotted some cross stitch kits in the dollar bins, so I purchased three.  Two were identical, and the third is a snowman, which I will stitch for myself. 

I still have to finish the other ornament, but these are gifts for our parents.  I had all the finishing supplies, so a dollar for each kit makes for a lovely, frugal, and personal gift.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Meet Cassie!

As I mentioned in my last post, losing Callie was heartbreaking for me.  Sarah felt the same way, so after talking about it, we knew we needed to get another kitty right away, not to replace Callie, but to fill the void in our hearts and lives left by her absence.  This past Wednesday we headed off to Lollypop Farm, our local humane society.  We had identified some cats we were interested in, thanks to Lollypop's great website, and were anxious to select the newest member of our family.  Some of our choices we eliminated quickly, and we ended up spending time with three cats - two were kittens and one a two-year old.  In the end, we settled on Cassie, the two-year old.
Phil plays "rope" with Cassie
Cassie had been at Lollypop for about two months.  She was found under a trailer with a litter of kittens, and eventually brought to the Farm where she patiently waited for us to adopt her. The vet at Lollypop believed her to be part Russian Blue, so we will ask our own vet what she thinks.
Cassie plays rope with herself
Cassie is loveable and playful.  She's mostly been confined to the master bedroom while she gets used to her new home, but we have let her run upstairs a few times.  She can be wild, racing from one room to the next, almost as if she were a kitten.  She loves to play "rope", where someone moves the rope to and fro so she can catch it.  She even takes it away to the other side of the room on occasion.  She also has a jingle ball that she loves.  Cassie plays so hard that she will hop up on the bed and fall fast asleep.  She is seven pounds of soft, lovable fun. 
There is a relatively new type of cat personality test that Shelters are using now; it's called "Feline-ality program" created by Dr. Emily Weiss of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.  Lollypop uses the test, and Cassie tested as a "Personal Assistant".  "You're working on the computer?  Let me press the keys.  Reading the paper?  I'll hold the pages down for you.  Watching TV?  I'll just plop in your lap so you can pet me.  I love an orderly household, don't you?  I'll help you with all your chores, and I'll help you relax when we're done.  You'll wonder how you ever managed without me."  For now, Cassie is shy and doesn't like unfamiliar noises.  She doesn't seem to like the dog, but we hope in time she will tolerate Kelly.  Mostly, she is bringing joy to our hearts.  Isn't that part of what having a pet is all about?

BTW, in case you are wondering, I am working on some crafty projects, but they are Christmas gifts, so I can't show them yet!  Sometimes it's a real problem that family reads my blog AND it's published on Facebook for all my friends to read.

Remembering Callie

A week ago Friday it became clear that something was wrong with our beloved Callie.  We were on our way out to our annual trek to Stokoe Farms, but Phil took time to call the vet and make an appointment for Saturday morning, to which he and Sarah kindly took Callie.  I was thinking she had a urinary tract infection; she'd get some pills and we'd be on our way.  Unfortunately, that was not to be.  Blood work revealed nothing, but an x-ray showed a large tumor on her intestine.  I hadn't realized she wasn't eating much - how I missed her three pound weight loss and emaciated body, I don't know.  But the tumor explained everything.  Phil and Sarah brought her home, knowing they couldn't make a decision about treatment without talking to me, since Callie had essentially become my cat.  The decision was made to put her down since the vet gave little hope of being able to remove the tumor. 

Last weekend I cried more than I have in a long time.  I cried until I thought my heart would break, then cried some more.  Callie had been my constant companion since my husband got sick five years ago.  She let me cry into her fur, snuggled with me during the night, head-butted me to let me know she cared, and listened as only a cat can do. 

So passed the weekend.  Despite seeing the suffering in her eyes, she tried to act as if not much was wrong.  Somehow she managed to jump the three feet onto the bed and wanted to be petted.  She even found the strength to jump from the toilet onto the vanity, and just hours before her death, took a long drink from the running faucet, something she did just about every morning.  On Monday afternoon, Phil, Sarah, and I took Callie to the vet for the final time.  She was a fighter to the end, requiring two doses of tranquilizer before the vet could give her the final injection that ended her life. 

We will miss Callie, yet we have fond memories of her.  The way she climbed my drapes when we first got her (she ruined them!), how she climbed the Christmas tree, making her paw bleed profusely after having her claws removed, eating turkey grease from the roasting pan and becoming terribly ill.  And these all happened in the first six months we had her!  She was a Calico through and through, having the fiesty personality they are famous for.  She mellowed throughout the 11 years of her life, except when it came to defending her buddy Klaus from our dog.  Thank you, Callie, for filling our lives with laughter and love.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Gift Tags

After finishing the finishing (!) on two Christmas gifts - sorry, can't show you until after Christmas - I decided to work on making some gift tags.  I used various Sissix and Spellbinders dies for these.  The poinsettia on the red tag all the way to the left came from Michaels, five in package for $1.  The snowflakes I've had forever; I attached them with tiny pop dots.  Before I add these to our tag stash, I'll run ribbon or yarn through the holes.  Incidentally, I used all scraps for these tags, a task made easier by Sarah sorting of all our scraps by color.  She put them in a shoebox that fits in our craft cupboard.  I still have five of the poinsettias and 12 round snowflake cut-outs to make more tags with.  And plenty of those little white snowflakes. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Snowfall

For some reason, I was the only one in our household who was not taken by surprise by today's rain-freezing rain-snow event.  Even the driveway plowing company was caught unprepared!  Despite the treacherous roads - which I didn't have to drive on - it was beautiful outside, and I managed to snap these pictures about an hour before sunset.

The weatherman said that we can expect the cold temperatures and snow to stay with us for the next two or three weeks, so it looks like we have a good chance of having our annual Stokoe Farm visit authenticated by snow.  Yippee!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Finished Finish

My first stitching finish of 2010 was Christmas Lace by Ink Circles, which was found in the December 2007 issue of The Gift of Stitching magazine.  I finally turned it into an ornament on Friday using Vonna's excellent tutorial. I can't wait to hang it on our tree, whenever we get it put up.

I apologize for the less than stellar picture; I took it at night against the back of a yellow legal pad that I propped up on my laptop. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010


We are having Thanksgiving dinner at our house today, so we've been busy planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and setting up.  One additional guest will grace our table - one of Sarah's church friends.  As we gather around the table to partake of the bounty God has provided, I pray we have a true attitude of thankfulness in our hearts for all of God's blessings, both large and small, and will be mindful that everything comes from His hands. 

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever;  to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever . . . It is he who remembered us in our low estate, for his steadfast love endures forever; and rescued us from our foes, for his steadfast love endures forever; he who gives food to all flesh, for his steadfast love endures forever."
Psa 136:26  Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
                                           ~ Psalm 136: 1 - 9, 23 - 26  ESV

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Painting Our Craft Room, Part Eight

My, oh my.  This project has been dragging along for a long time, hasn't it?  I am tired of going through boxes, bags, and other assorted storage containers.  But we are nearing the end, as evidenced by being able to vacuum about 2/3 of an area rug in the living room this week, and the pile of empty boxes that have made it back down to the basement.

Today's accomplishments included plugging in my pencil sharpener, taking a pile of unfinished sewing projects to the basement for temporary storage (Sarah is limiting me to one basket of projects in the craft room at a time), and going through every single rubber stamp that I own, which seemed like thousands.   We filled a copy paper box 3/4 full of stamps to get rid of, although whether we will try to sell them or give them away hasn't been decided.

We are hopeful that we can reorganize the Closet Maid basket unit we have - like the one on the right - so that my stamps AND Sarah's stamping/scrapbooking items will fit in it.  Our unit has single drawers in it except for the bottom on (the unit shown has double drawers). 

I am hopeful that my next post will be the last in this series, and I can finally take some pictures of the completed room. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Painting Our Craft Room, Part Seven

Our new carpeting was finally installed on Wednesday afternoon.  We I was frustrated when the installers showed up two hours late with no call, but I'm thankful that it was an afternoon appointment and that Phil hadn't gotten up early.  (He is increasingly more tired, poor guy.  The link to his Caring Bridge site is on the left under "Favorite Web Sites".)  Sarah and I worked until the wee hours Thursday morning to organize my new desk and set up her sewing area, as well as put the books back on the bookshelf.  I had planned to move the smaller bookcase that houses our cookbooks back in on Thursday afternoon, but it was one of those days that nothing got accomplished.  I am hoping that we can figure out how to use our saws to cut the countertop so we can get that back in place and begin to put the rest of the room back together.

Does anyone have ideas for scrapbook paper/cardstock storage?  We have a LOT of paper, and Sarah isn't happy with our storage, which is a homemade version of this unit sold by Amazon:
I heard Blogger was having issues inserting images, 
and I guess it's true.  Go to Amazon.com and search 
for "2-Tier Paper Storage Cube System with Casters 
and Dust Cover"
When I say a LOT, I mean precisely that.  Our unit is stuffed.  I also think it's higher than this one, probably 48"?

I'll try to be back soon with some pictures.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Painting Our Craft Room, Part Six

The call we've been waiting for finally came while I was fixing dinner.  Our carpet has arrived!  Unfortunately, we have to wait an entire week for it to be installed. 

It's just as well.  I had my knee injected last Thursday (Synvisc) and I'm not recovering as fast as I would like, so moving all that stuff back into the room would not be a good idea. 

Maybe Sarah and I can start going through some of our supplies ahead of time.  That is, if we can get through the mess and find them!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Painting Our Craft Room, Part Five

I spend a lot of time watching the DIY Network.  I have to admit that this painting project reminds me of the show Renovation Realities.  Maybe not as bad, but similar.  We started with a simple paint job, which has morphed into not only painting the walls, but also replacing the carpet and painting the window casings and baseboards. 

While I was out on Thursday night, Phil and Sarah took down the crafting counter that my dad built for us, and emptied the room of everything except supplies, tools, my desk, and the computer. 
Grace helped my dad install the counter on February 13, 2005.
When I got home, Sarah told me she'd been injured; somehow, she cut her foot - perhaps from wearing flip flops while working? - but fortunately, it wasn't deep enough to need stitches.  (By morning, though, it was bruised and very sore.)  And she's not the only one.  Here's what I did early in the project.

That's my arm you see.  It still hurts.  I have numerous other bruises on my arms, too.

Earlier this week, Phil and I went to pay for our new carpet.  We had questions about the price because it was about $100 higher than what we had calculated in the store, and we wanted to know why.  The salesman started by saying there was a $97 charge for installation . . . whoa!  It was supposed to be $39 because we chose a StainMaster carpet.  We stood there and discussed that with the salesman who helped us initially.  Well, it turns out we did NOT choose StainMaster.  In the end, we chose a different carpet, this time a StainMaster.  It's a better quality carpet, and we ended up paying $4.00 more than the price for the other one.  We're still mystified about the original mix up, though.

The good news is that Sarah and I finished painting the walls on Friday night.  I have taped off the windows and hope to paint those tomorrow, as well as taking the old carpet out so I can easily paint the baseboards.  Sometimes it seems this project will never end.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Painting Our Craft Room, Part Four

We didn't get much done in the craft room today.  It was one of those days when we were dealing with other difficult issues that demanded all our attention.  I was able to take some of the boxes from the great room out to the garage in an attempt to make more room for items like sewing machines which shouldn't be stored in the cold.  (We have our first frost warning tonight.)  I still can't believe all the supplies we have in the room that need to be packed up and relocated!  We need to move the 7' high bookcase out to the garage so we can access the rest of the items underneath the table, so we will try to do that this afternoon. 

Lowe's came to measure for the new carpet on Tuesday afternoon.  It will be another seven to ten days before it comes in, or so they say.  You never know about these things.

I had said that the room was 10' square.  Turns out it is 12' x 12'.  Now, of course, you understand how we could put so much stuff in it, right?

Stay tuned . . .

Check It Out!

Check out the cool project my daughter completed!  The Picture Effect

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Painting Our Craft Room, Part Three

When we got home from church on Sunday night, Sarah had pizza ready for us, so I poured a glass of Pepsi One and grabbed a couple of slices of 'za.  When I headed back to the kitchen for just one more slice, I got into a conversation with my son-in-law, so painting was delayed until 9:00 or so.  Then I realized I still had more painter's tape to put up, and I spotted a nail pop and a ding in the wall that needed spackling.  Needless to say, it was about 9:45 before Sarah and I started to put paint on the wall.  Why is it that the first coat takes so much longer than the second?  It doesn't help that we don't think our walls were properly primed by the builder and they soak up paint like crazy.  In fact, we used probably 3/4 of a gallon for the first coat on those first two walls I showed you in this post.  The good news is that we managed to put two coats on the first two walls, putting us well ahead of schedule.  The next step is to clear out the rest of the room.  We have to determine what can safely remain in the garage for a couple of weeks, and what needs to stay in the house.  Just thinking about packing everything else up makes me very, very tired.