Wednesday, March 14, 2007

My Round Robin Block

Gerry of Sewing Southpaw took some new photos of my block. Thank you! Thank you! It's so exciting to see the progress as it makes it's way around!

This is the photo Gerry took of the whole block. It just keeps on getting prettier!

Rebecca stitched the delicate flowers and added the lace, very fitting for Gwenevier! Thank you, Rebecca! Then she sent the block on to Gerry.

Gerry embellished the lace that I stitched onto one of the pieces on a whim. It was an "oh well, why not" moment. Flowers and beads fit for a Queen! Gerry, you did a wonderful job! Thank you!

Chocolate wrapper wisdom for the day..."Get your feet massaged." Oh, doesn't that sound lovely!

Back in Business - Kyle Has Another Interview

Sorry to be gone for a bit, but life has just kept me so busy with other things (sigh).

Daughter Caitlin was home from university last week for Spring Break and we went to Michigan to visit my parents. Caitlin won't have the opportunity to see them again until she comes back from Greece in June. We had a nice visit.

Kyle called yesterday to tell us that he has another medical school interview at the University of St. Louis. He thinks that this interview will be one to decide if they will put him on the "waiting" list. He is really hoping that Rush University will offer him a place in their class. He'll be closer to home and I will get to see him when he feels the need of home cooking and other home-type things.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kyle's Med School Interview

Well, Kyle stopped by before heading back to Urbana. He thinks that the interview at Rush University went well. Now, we wait. The Medical School admissions people said he would hear in about 4 weeks - either yes, no, or waiting list.

I need chocolate!

Chocolate wrapper wisdom of the day..."Love without rules."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Kyle has a Med School Interview - Yea!!!

Kyle just arrived to use us as a stop-over - free hotel service & free food & parental love. He is on his way to his interview for admission to medical school in Chicago. He will stay overnight with a student at Rush University tomorrow night and then do his interviews on Wednesday. I am excited and nervous for him. I sure hope that he is accepted!

Please say a prayer, cross you fingers and toes or whatever for him!

Adventures In Traveling

I had a great visit with my children this weekend and an interesting trip home with my husband (more on this later). This is a photo of Caitlin.

We arrived in Kirksville, Missouri (Truman State University) late Friday afternoon and had a short visit our with daughter Caitlin before she had to leave for the theater. Caitlin (assistant stage manager) wasn't going to be done until midnight because there was a photo shoot after the performance and our son Kyle wasn't going to arrive from Urbana, Illinois until very late (he left after work and dinner), so we were on our own for the evening. We checked in at the hotel and then had dinner and a nice quiet evening (read that - husband Tom surfed between basketball games and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on TV).

Saturday morning we woke up to rain - lots and lots of cold rain. The kids slept in because they were both up late. In pouring rain, we went over to pick up Kyle for lunch before Caitlin went to the theater to get ready for the performance and to pick up our tickets for the show. We had a nice visit with Kyle.

Then we went back out into the rain (I thought we were going to turn into ducks!) to see the play that Caitlin had been working on. It was The Taming of the Shrew, but set and costumed in the 1950's. It was fun and well enough done.

We had another chance to visit with Kyle while Caitlin helped tear down the set (it was the last performance). Then we went back out in the rain and picked up Caitlin and her boyfriend Gabe and went out for a wonderful dinner at an Italian restaurant. I had a wonderful Chicken Marsala, just perfect! Then it was goodbye time. Kyle was to stay the night with Caitlin and take her grocery shopping and we were leaving early to come home.

Sunday morning we woke up to find that the rain had changed to light snow. By the time we were ready to leave it had stopped. So we checked the local weather and found out about flash flood warnings across the north of Missouri. Of course, this was the route we had to take. The rivers were all way up but not yet flooding and we made it the the Mississippi River and across to Illinois fine. We got to Macomb and it was my turn to drive. Galesburg - must be lunch time. It was still my turn to drive as we headed north.

The snow started. My husband informs me that "there could be white-out conditions all the way home" across the whole state (we live near Chicago). I was ready to bang my head against the steering wheel. Yes, we were to try to make it home!

The winds start first as we head north and it's a struggle to drive as the wind hits us broadside and tries it's best to push us off the road. Finally, we are heading west with the wind coming from behind and we stop at Hillsdale. No power equals no gas AND no working toilets! (sigh) I was thankful that it was now Tom's turn to drive. The snow is coming down, blowing and not quite a white-out but bad enough. We manage to get gas at Rock Falls. So we set out again with a man behind the wheel who thinks it's just fine to drive at eighty miles an hour in the snowing, blowing, sometimes white-out! I began to wish I was driving! We did make it home in one piece, but Tom and his driving had added at least 50 gray hairs to my head and took about a year off my life.

I needed extra chocolate when I got home!

The chocolate wrapper wisdom of the day is "Spending time is a greater gift than spending money."

Friday, February 23, 2007

Off to Kirksville, Missouri

Tom and I are off to visit our daughter Caitlin in Kirksville, Missouri.

Caitlin is the assistant stage manager for the play The Taming of the Shrew that is running this week. Our son Kyle will also be joining us. He's coming from Urbana, Illinois. It will be a nice family get together.

Will blog if the opportunity presents itself. Have a good weekend, if I don't get back to this before Sunday evening.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Round Robin - Lori's Block - An Idea For Fix

Well, Allison suggested using a ribbon , but I just went through my stash and I didn't find anything that seemed to fit the block. However, I did a search of my lace and found a couple of motifs that might work. All of my lace yardage was either too large or too small to cover the gap at the top of the piece.

I pinned both up. What do you think? Being a newbie at CQ (I've only been doing this since September), I would value opinions and suggestions. So, ladies, leave me a comment!

I suppose that I could also go shopping and see what I can find. (As if I needed an excuse to hit the fabric stores!)

The chocolate wrapper shares it's wisdom..."There's a time for's called later."

Round Robin - Lori's Block

Now that Faith's Peter Rabbit block is on it's way to Rebecca, it's time to work on Lori's Cinderella block. Here's the block with Faith's work on it. Don't you just love her grandfather clock!

As you can see, it has not survived the tender mercies of the Post Office very well. One of the seams has separated (blue piece upper left) and the iron-on Cinderella has not responded well to being folded (it has cracked). I can't do anything about Cinderella, but maybe I can do something about that seam. I'll think about it for a bit.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Round Robbin - Faith's Block - Time To Pass It On

Another seam on Faith's Peter Rabbit block is completed.

A chain stitch runs along the seam. Detached chain stitches and straight stitches decorate the seam. Those yellow straight stitches aren't showing up too well in the photo. All are done using Perle Cotton 12.

I found my spider charms! So now the spider web is truly complete!

This is Faith's block as I prepare to mail it on to Rebecca. One of my chores tomorrow is to go buy some envelopes.

The chocolate wrapper speaks to us today. "Don't think about it so much." Just start stitching and let inspiration move you along!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge - more Week 7

Not much time for stitching today, but I did try a little more feather stitch.

I found this feather in the beloved Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches by Carole Samples (page 44). I used Perle Cotton 12. I really liked the way it turned out!

"Happiness is celebrating the little things." Chocolate wrapper wisdom

Friday, February 16, 2007

Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge - Week 7

Life has settled down and I am finally jumping in on the Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge that I should have started in January.

I have a start on the feather stitch, but have a few things that I still want to try. The top row is feather stitch in a variegated floss (3 strands). The second row is double feather stitch. Row 3 is triple feather stitch with a variation that I found in A - Z of Embroidery Stitches. The fourth row is also from the A-Z book - a closed feather stitch.

I will also be backing up and doing the stitches from weeks 1-6.

Oh, joy! Girl Scout cookies were delivered yesterday! I just love those Tagalongs - chocolate and peanut butter heaven!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Round Robin - Faith's Block Again

I completed a seam on Faith's Peter Rabbit block today.

I did the colonial knots and the fly stitch (both in Perle Cotton 5) and then ran out of inspiration. So I put it down and walked away. I decided to check out where the TAKE A STITCH TUESDAY challenge was, since life has calmed down and I now have time to jump in. As I was reviewing the stitches covered to date, I was inspired by the detached chain stitch. So I went back to my stitching and added that in Perle Cotton 8.

Now, since I can't find where the spider charms are hiding in my stash, I have to figure out how to embroider a spider. At least some of my CQ mess is getting cleaned up and organized while I look for those spiders!

Great wisdom from the chocolate wrapper today. "Age is nothing but a number." A philosophy I can heartily agree with.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Round Robin - Faith's Block

I worked on a spider web for Faith's block yesterday, but took it out because I was not happy with it. So, today, I made a second attempt and am happier with the result.

I am new to making spider webs. So, while it's not perfect, it seems to me to be a very credible effort. Now, I know that I have some spider charms somewhere in my stash - if only I could find them! Tomorrow, on to a seam treatment.

I went to the audiologist to have my hearing aids checked out and he made a few adjustments for me. A little more noise reduction was added on one side and he says that the feedback that I was getting every time I answered the phone would be gone (he was right!). Every day sounds are still working their way into the background and the hearing aids are beginning to feel like they belong in my ears instead of being an intrusion on my person.

Of course, today it was very, very windy (25 mph with gusts to 45 mph) while I was out shoveling the snow today. I will have to work on remembering to remove the hearing aids before I go out to shovel. I had to come in (again) and take them out because the wind and the cold were causing problems (like being too loud and freezing my ears). The audiologist told me that there was nothing he could do about excessive winds - I would just have to put up with it like everyone else. Since it is still snowing, I'll be at it again tomorrow.

I must confess to having an extra piece of chocolate as a reward for shoveling the driveway. The chocolate wrapper wisdom is good advice for staying at home in the snowy weather..."Watch reruns, they replay your memories." Actually, I have been watching DVD's of Firefly (great "cowboys and bad guys among the stars" science fiction).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Round Robin Progress

As I was looking at the Peter Rabbit block, I thought that the bunny ovals needed to be framed. So I decided to needle tat a frame for one of the ovals.

I used Perle Cotton 8. Since I was designing the frame to exactly fit the oval, it took a few tries to get the right shape, but I did it!

About my hearing aids...I have had emails and comments saying that maybe I should turn my volume down. Actually with the hearing aids set for normal hearing, if I did that, the sounds I need to hear (like conversation) would be turned down below the level I need to hear properly. This defeats the purpose of wearing hearing aids. The furnace and refrigerator need to recede into the background to the point that I will only notice them if something is wrong (like the refrigerator is making a strange noise that indicates it needs servicing). This is what all normal hearing people do - my brain just has to relearn how to do it.

The chocolate wrapper of the day is a bit self-promoting today. "Add a little sweetness to your day." Oh yes, every day, with chocolate!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Round Robin - CQforNewbies

The Crazy Quilting for Newbies Round Robin is under way. Blocks are from a fairy tale or story.

The first block that I get to work on is from Faith - The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I love all the bunnies! Faith did the silk ribbon embroidery.

My block is from The Once and Future King, or Le Morte de Arthur, or, if you prefer, Camelot. Gwenvier is the centerpiece. I can't wait to see how everyone embellishes it!

My life of chaos is settling down. I am slowly getting adjusted to my hearing aids. I have been very tired and was a bit worried until a friend pointed out that "your brain is working harder than it has in a long time and no wonder you're tired!" I guess that makes sense. Anyway, sounds like the furnace and the refrigerator are fading into the background, so I am adjusting like the audiologist said I would. It's just taking time. (sigh) I have also stopped jumping every time a new sound reaches my ears.

I couldn't wear them outside because of the cold and the wind. I have to find out if the hearing aids can be adjusted to minimize the wind. Between the cold, the snow and the wind, shoveling the driveway was a pain even after I came in and took out the hearing aids. Don't we all love sub-zero weather. I rewarded myself with an extra piece of chocolate.

"Love is always the perfect gift." The chocolate wrapper knows.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

My Hearing Aids Are Reality

Well, yesterday was the day. I got my hearing aids. They feel very strange in my ears and will take getting used too.

The audiologist explained lots of things to me, but it is very strange to be actually experiencing these things. He told me that I would be hearing things that I had not heard in a long time or had never heard before and that they would sound very loud and intrusive. He said that it would take several days for my brain to sort things out and begin learning to ignore the everyday sounds that people with normal hearing no longer pay any attention too.

So, my brain is all of a sudden processing information about sounds that I have not been aware of before. I got in the car after my appointment and as I pulled out of the parking lot, I was hearing a loud rhythmic clicking sound. I was very confused and could not figure out what it was, but then it stopped. As I pulled into the turn lane, the noise came back. Turns out that it was the turn signal! I had never known that the turn signal in my van made sound.

Every squeak of a floor board sounds like the house is falling down around my head. I turned on the dishwasher and the refrigerator turned on. I had to leave the room because t sounded like a train was coming through my kitchen. And my poor husband - he took the packaging off a DVD and the crinkling sound of the cellophane was so loud that it just about blasted me out of my skin.

This is all very disconcerting. I hope the process of retraining my brain to hear goes quickly! Chocolate will definitely be required! A lot of chocolate!

"Write a real letter, not just an email" is the chocolate wrapper wisdom of the day.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Completed Pincushion

It's here! A completed project!

I am happy with the way my pincushion turned out. As I mentioned before, some of the techniques learned in this class still need practice, but, overall, I am happy with what I learned. I enjoyed working with the linen. I had not done machine embroidery on linen before so it was a good thing to learn.

I keep on taking classes because I figure that, if I am going to have one of the upper-end sewing machines, I should learn as much as I can about it's capabilities. Besides, it's fun to learn all these neat things.

The pincushion has three pieces, a little "pillow," a back piece with buttonholes, and a front piece with buttonholes. It gets sandwiched together and a ribbon woven through the buttonholes holds it all together.

Direct from the chocolate wrapper... "Decorate your life."

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Pincushion - In Progress

One of my current ambitions is to stop creating UFO's. I am determined to complete the small projects that get started in the classes I take.

Last Sunday, a group of us got together to help out our friend Kim. Kim will be teaching a class at the upcoming Husqvarna Viking national convention. She needed us to test her directions for accuracy and ease of understanding.

Our first task was to learn how to build the machine embroidery design in our software. This was really fun! We learned to use the entredeux stitch to create the look of handmade Fil Tire.

After we built the design, it was time to stitch it out.

I didn't get the pincushion completed in the time allowed, but I had the opportunity to work on it with Kim at the shop's "Fuzzy Slipper Night" (an open sew, sew-until-you-can't-see-straight, with refreshments provided). We learned how to make corded scallops. My scallops are a bit uneven - I'll need to practice a bit more. The back of the pincushion is completed. Tomorrow, I will sew the scallops on the top, trim my jump stitches, open the buttonholes and weave the ribbon.

I am determined to complete this and not create another UFO! Now that I have told you about this, I have to get it completed or prove myself to be a real slacker.

Chocolate wrapper wisdom for the day - " Sometimes one smile means more than a dozen roses."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Caitlin and Missouri Ice

We got an email from our daughter Caitlin, who attends Truman State University in Missouri. She included some photos of the ice in her area.

While she is hurting from a fall on the ice yesterday, she is making it to class and took these photos today. Fortunately, the ice in Northeastern Missouri has not been as bad as it has been further south. Caitlin says that the sun managed to come out and melt things just a bit.

Caitlin tells us that when you shake the fir trees the iced needles sound like wind chimes.

Two of Caitlin's stuffed animals, Tipsy and Snibbly, have their own blog. Mostly it is about life at college with Caitlin. They are currently in a puzzelment about the ice.

My worry has been relieved! I need chocolate to help me recover. (Don't you love the process of rationalization!) The chocolate wrapper says "Send a love letter today." I should send one to Caitlin - Mom loves you, hopes you feel better, and hopes you don't fall again. Maybe I should have another piece of chocolate in sympathy for her pain. (Rationalization again.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Thanks For The Support

I have to say thank you to those who have posted comments and emailed me offering encouragement and support.

My hearing aids will arrive next Wednesday. Tom, my gadget happy husband, is impressed with the technical information and is very curious about how they work (typical). I am getting hearing aids made by Siemens, the Centra model. I do know one person who has these and she is very happy with them, so I am encouraged.

Yes, Susan, due to the coming Valentine's Day holiday, there is still plenty of chocolate on the shelves for everyone else in Naperville! But I have to admit to eating plenty of chocolate in recent days.

Speaking of Chocolate... Today's Chocolate wrapper (yes I restrained myself and only had one!) wisdom is "Laugh uncontrollably... it clears the mind." Oh yes, I needed that!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Life Has Been Chaos

Well, life in 2007 has been chaos. A horrible virus knocked me flat over the New Year's weekend and was very difficult to recover from. Part of that was my own stubborn fault. I was determined for several days to "get back to normal and get things done." This just led to total exhaustion and secondary infection (ear and sinus infections) that were not nice and put me back to bed. A one week recovery became close to 3 weeks.

Somewhere in all of that, I managed to complete Aiden's baptismal gown (see post on December 2, 2006). I forgot all about taking a photo of it before I gave it to his parents, so I am waiting to see if anyone got a nice photo that shows off the gown.

Also, as a result of recent (and not so recent) problems, I just spent several days with the hearing specialists and the audiologist. The end result of that experience was being fitted yesterday for 2 hearing aids. To be very honest, what little vanity I have was terribly offended at the idea of having just turned 54 and needing 2 hearing aids in order to have a life resembling normal. Basically, I'm just not old enough to be in this situation!

My more practical side has begun to kick in and be more reasonable. I am beginning to wonder if I remember what normal hearing is like. If my life is improved, it will all be to the better and my vanity will recover.

Now, I am two weeks behind with "Take A Stitch Tuesday" and my UFO project is sitting here making me feel guilty for not starting on it yet and my block for the Crazy Quilting for Newbies Round Robin is sitting here waiting to be sent out. Tomorrow, I begin my life again at the slower speed with lots of naps that my body is demanding.

Needless to say, coping has required copious amounts of CHOCOLATE! The chocolate wrapper wisdom of the day tells me to "Go to your special place." Getting back to that special stitching place in my mind and my life will be good.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Unscheduled Blog Vacation Caused by ISP Problems

I hope everyone had a great New Year's!

My birthday on December 30 was good, if you ignore the fact that I turned 54! Daughter Caitlin cooked dinner and I got books to read, DVD's to watch and clothes to wear from my family. I also got the unintentional gift of a very nasty cold from my son Kyle. It laid me real low for about a week. I do wish he had left that cold down at the University of Illinois!

With the New Year came problems with my Internet Service Provider that had me very frustrated! Things seem to be getting back to normal (cross your fingers Teresa), so I can get back to posting.