26 February 2010

Rediscovering Lost Projects

One of the benefits of cleaning out closets is that you rediscover abandoned projects. Today I rifled through a bag in my craft room (yes, I have a craft room and it's utter chaos!) only to find several WIPs.

As I still like most of them enough to want to continue them, I decided to put them in the rotation and make finishing these projects the goal if I'm to purchase any new charts.

First up is Bent Creek's Kitty Cat Row. From the numerous pics of my two dogs, you might not know that I'm owned by four cats (Stanley, Sadie, Lily and Mac).

Time for me to get cracking on this - there's a notation on the chart that it's reserved for a friend of mine in New Zealand when I'm finished. I probably put that note there 3+ years ago -- Kath, have you found another copy of this chart yet?

I'm stitching this over one on 28 ct hand-dyed quaker cloth in Kiwi from Kiwi Illusions. There's a bit done already, so with the quantity of natural light increasing daily, I think I'll start plugging away on this. I've got a Daylight lamp in my stitching corner so that'll help after the sun goes down.

The next lost project (or in this case, tossed aside) are these Tulips from DMC. Some of you may remember I paid beaucoup bucks for this kit from DMC France only to find it offered as a freebie on the DMC-USA site a couple years later. There's some counting errors in it but I think I've managed to compensate for them.

Stitched on 28 ct Antique White Cashel, the center two tulips are complete and most of the far right (red) tulip is done. This might be slow going, but I'm going to make an effort to get this one done and framed before summer arrives. I love this piece - even if I paid too much for it.

Continuing on with the tulip theme is Nan's Garden from Annalee Waite Designs. I love how bright and cheery this piece is and should be able to bang it out pretty quickly once I put my mind to it.

Stitched on 28 ct Antique White jobelan (noticing a trend as to what count fabric I prefer to use?) with DMC floss it's a simple and beautiful piece. I've barely put a dent in this, so I may push this one aside while I concentrate on finishing the other projects.

The final 'abandoned project' found in that shopping bag is Sam Sarah's One Fine Day. (Yea, I like flowers, if you didn't notice.)

This piece is stitched on 28 ct (of course!) hand-dyed Golden Sands Cashel from Kiwi Illusions using Sampler Threads. It's a bright cheery piece. I think the fence post is going to be a bit tedious, but I'll get it done.

There's a bajillion Lizzie Kate pieces that I'm wanting to start, but I think I'll set them aside while I try to finish up these half-finished projects. I like these four well enough to want to put the time and effort into finishing them.

There's a few others that I will need to decide "finish or fling". They may end up in the bag of stuff that I'm planning to Freecycle once the spring arrives. I've been purging my stash and setting aside charts that I no longer care for. My tastes have changed over the years and while I probably could make some mad money listing the no longer wanted charts on eBay, it's just too much of a hassle. I'd rather Freecycle them as a lot and make someone's day.

Considering there's a list as long as my arm of new charts that I want, I better get busy stitching so I can treat myself to the new stuff.

25 February 2010

Puppy Love


Self Portrait - 02/25/10
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

A tender moment with my 'old lady' (estimated age ~16 years) , Tara. Nearly two years together and I love her more every day. She's my shadow, my velcro dog.

24 February 2010

Update


WIP: Love by Turquoise Graphics & Designs (24 Feb 10)
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Wow - realized I hadn't shared my progress on Love in a few weeks. I've completed V and E, otherwise I haven't touched it much in the past few weeks. I was working on a major project at work which was due last Friday. The project is done but my carpal tunnel flared up, so I haven't really felt much like needlework despite it being my right wrist that aches and I'm a left-handed stitcher. Still need to figure out where my splints are so I can wear them and get through this.

Besides work, life's just been crazy here - snow, snow and more snow. Another storm is bearing down on us now. Depending on which forecast you look at we're to get between 3-18" between now and Friday. I honestly don't remember seeing this much snow in winter for years; probably since I lived in Michigan. As much as I'm sick of hearing my husband mutter, "I should be in Florida", I'm beginning to think that's not a bad idea. I like snow, don't get me wrong, but I've had enough for now.

The newest market releases are available and after reading the various market reports, I've got a list of 'gotta haves' as long as my arm. However, I'm attempting to focus on stitching from my stash this year. I've slipped a bit (damn you, Lizzie Kate, for such cute designs!), but from this point forward - no new charts! At least not until I stitch some more of what I've got in the massive stash.

Finally got back to yoga this week and it kicked my ass! It wasn't the gentle yoga I usually go to, a normal Hatha Yoga session, and though I was able to do most of the poses, by the end of the 1h, 15m class, I was physically exhausted. Mentally, it was what I needed - it really got my head back where it needed to be. So, I'm re-establishing that routine and feeling better about myself.

I've also been going through my closets, purging the old clothes, sundry items that I've never used or will never use, and Freecycling them. It's been remarkably freeing to declutter and pass stuff along to a person who can use it. I've got another pile of stuff to list, but with this miserable weather, I've been hesitant to list since people may have difficulty getting out to pick it up.

The big day is Monday - I go back to the GYN for the colposcopy. I'm calmer about it than I was a month ago when she called to say my pap was abnormal. What will be, will be - and I'm thinking positively that it will be nothing. So, deep breaths and keep calm until I get my results.

In the meantime, perhaps being snowed in will let me finally catch up with what's on the DVR. I've got about 6 episodes of 'Dollhouse' left, not to mention '24' from the past two weeks. One can always hope, right?

14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!


Happy Valentine's Day!
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

A lovely Valentine's weekend was had by yours truly here. Saturday night we got together with my sorority sisters and their significant others for our annual Valentine's Supper Club.

Last night's theme was French, but as I don't (like to) cook, I settled for bringing a cheese tray with grapes. I nibbled a bit on the wonderful delicacies - not eating a lot, but feeling satisfied. Unfortunately, the scale at Weight Watchers this morning didn't give me the number I wanted, but granted that I've been slacking and not trackng diligently since Christmas, it wasn't a surprise. I'm up 8 lbs from my all time low - which isn't that bad considering I've not been eating well of late.

On a positive note - I went to the gym on Saturday. For the first time in months - only did 30 minutes on the treadmill, but it's a start. I'm still not feeling 100% since having that bug at Christmas, but getting stronger every day. The treadmill was a nice easy way to ease back into things. The down side is that I've got a blister the size of a quarter on my left heel. Ugh. Tomorrow - it's back to yoga. It would have been this morning, but I didn't feel like going to a 7:30 AM class after getting in after midnight last night. This gal needs her beauty sleep.

11 February 2010

The Morning After


The Morning After - Part Deux
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

After shoveling out last night beofre nightfall, we woke to another 6" or so on the ground this morning. Additionally, the plows came through and left a pile of 'ice balls' and snow at the foot of our driveway. I swear it was taller than me at its highest point.

Two and a half hours of shoveling later, the drive was clear so I took the dogs for a walk before heading into work. It's a ghost town here today - maybe 35-40 people here and a good chunk of them are in a mega meeting. It would be an ideal day to accomplish things, but for the fact that the special project I'm working on (with a deadline of tomorrow!) can't be completed because I don't have the proper permissions to edit documents in a certain network folder. You'd think working for a technology company we'd have our act together...

It's an amazingly beautiful winter day though. The sky is brilliant blue, the snow is dazzlingly white and not too cold. I'm hoping to get out of work and home before dusk falls so I can take the girls for another walk around the block.

10 February 2010

Cookies! We Got Cookies!


Cookies!
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Over the holidays, one of items on my 'to do' list was to make my grandma's Christmas cookies. Unfortunately, the universe conspired against me and this, amongst a few other items, did not get done.

With the second round of the snowpocalyse upon us this week, I decided if I were stranded at home, I'd bake cookies for Valentine's Day to pass the time. So tonight, after shoveling what seemed like a football field or two of snow, I came inside and make cookies in lieu of dinner. (Husband informed me he wasn't hungry for dinner - never mind I had a pot roast in the crock pot.)

There's something so comforting about these cookies - they're a basic iced sugar cookie, but I have so many wonderful memories of eating these at my grandmother's and making them with my mom. I haven't had then in quite a few years - so it was time to make them. (Especially since mom didn't bother to send me any that she made at Christmas time.)

Grandma Streu's Christmas (Sugar) Cookies

  • 1 c. butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 T vanilla
  • 4 eggs'
  • 5 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
Cream together butter, sugar and vanilla
Add eggs, then add baking powder and nutmeg
Mix in flour, a little at a time

Roll out dough on pastry cloth, approximately 1/4-1/2 thick. Cut out with cookie cutters.

Baked on greased cookie sheets at 350 for approximately 7 minutes.
(NB: I find that these cookies need a longer bake time - closer to 10 minutes with my oven.)

When cool, decorate with icing and colored sugar.

Icing
  • 1 T butter
  • 2-3 T milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Stir in approximately 1-1.5 c. powdered sugar.

Another Day, Another Snowstorm


Snowmaggedon - Part Deux
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

For the second time in less than a week, we've been hit by a massive snowstorm.

When I woke there were several inches of wet, heavy snow on the ground which we shoveled. By mid-morning the snow stopped and the rain/sleet set in. It was mild enough that we went out to grab a bit of lunch and to allow me to stop at AC Moore to pick up a replacement skein of floss to replace the one that went walkabout this morning. (I used the snow day to work a little more on my current cross-stitch project.)

By late afternoon, the snow returned, falling fast. By 4:30 PM we were out there shoveling another 5-6" before it got dark. I took the dogs for a walk before nightfall and came back to help finish clearing the driveway. After that was complete and we made a dent in the pile left there courtesy of the snowplow. The rest can wait until morning.

I love snow, but 2+ feet in less than a week is just a little much, especially when I'm doing this much shoveling. Then again, it is a good way to burn some calories.

Forecast is calling for more snow on Monday. Please tell me it's not another nor'easter. I don't think I can take another substantial snow this soon.

07 February 2010

Snowpocalyspe Stitching


WIP: Love by Turquoise Graphics & Designs
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

The snowpocalyse that hit the Mid-Atlantic over the weekend afforded me time to sit and stitch uninterrupted. I loved this design when I saw it and after spending close to two weeks debating on what fabric to use, I started it last week.

While I know it's gonna be stunning when I finally complete it, it's somewhat annoying to change colors every 6-10 threads for the background design. At least there's no confetti stitching - that is probably the one thing I hate more than anything. Except French knots. (I've been stitching for 20+ years and still can't master any knot. I'm so pathetic I save my projects until I see Mom and ask her to do them for me.)

The 'V' is almost done -- I am short one color of DMC so if I can make a stop at AC Moore or Michael's tomorrow, I should be able to finish that off tomorrow. I've been working on 'E' all night - loving how it's coming together so nicely.

Now if I could only get the Nat King Cole song L-O-V-E out of my head. Should have known it would become an earworm once I picked up this piece. V is very, very extraordinary....

06 February 2010

Snowmaggedon


Snowmaggedon
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Here we go again...

Everywhere you look - a winter wonderland. There's in excess of a foot on the ground and it's still coming down. I have shoveled part of the driveway - and taken dogs for a walk around the block, bounding through the snow - but now I'm exhausted.

Glad I got the necessities yesterday: craft supplies, library books, liquor and food (in that order). It's no day for (wo)man or beast to be out. I think I'll stay indoors and craft a bit. Or tackle the latest Diana Galbadon book. Tough choice.

04 February 2010

I'm So Tired...


Tara
Originally uploaded by MarciNYC

Just like Tara, I want to flop down on the floor and crash. It's been a busy week for me and despite my intentions of going to bed 'early', it hasn't happened but one night.

So looking forward to a mega storm this weekend. Perhaps then I can just be content to stay inside, curled up in bed and catch up on my sleep. God knows I need it.

03 February 2010

Waiting Patiently...

Last night I got a phone call, at home, after dinner from my GYN. Apparently my recent pap smear came back with some abnormalities. In short, it's LSIL - low grade squamous intraephithelial lesion. (I can say cholecystectomy fine, but this one's got my tongue twisted.)

I ended up Googling and worked myself into a frenzy, imagining the worse possible scenario, despite the ACOG site stating LSIL is very common and usually goes away on its own without treatment. I figure I'll be the anomaly.

This morning I called my doctor's office as requested to schedule a colposcopy, and depending on what Dr W sees, a possible biopsy. I'm booked for the afternoon of Feb 22nd, so now I must wait patiently, not consult Dr Google anymore, and refrain from freaking out. Easier said than done.

Fortunately, I have a great group of friends who remind me to think positively. As one friend said, if it were that serious, they'd get me right away. So, until the 22nd, I'll try to remain calm and accept that it's ok to be abnormal (for a little while).

---
Update (04-Feb-2010): After the fact, I realized that Dr W told me this couldn't be done during 'that time of the month' so I had to reschedule. The procedure has been pushed back a week to March 1st at 2:30. So now I really do have a month of having to keep calm and stay away from Google.