A place for family and friends to see what I'm up to. Visitors welcome here.

Hail Guest, we ask not what thou art.
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart.
If Stranger, such no longer be.
If Foe, our love will conquer thee.
-Old Welsh Door Verse

Saturday, December 30, 2006

How far has the human race progressed?

Hussein has been hanged. We can communicate through the ether and some of us sleep warmly at night, with full tummies. And yet we can't seem to find consequences for evil beyond Hammurabi's Code (1760 B.C.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

In 2002, I was driving through the Salinas area of central California on my way to Carmel for a conference when I passed a magical village on the side of the road. A couple of days later I stopped for a long visit and entered the world of Steve Blanchard, sculptor in wood. There's no way I can even dream of owning one of his pieces, but from time to time I visit his website to see what's new. This piece has taken my breath away.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year's Resolutions

I've always loved making resolutions for the new year. It's such a hopeful thing to do. I rarely (never?) keep them (except for the one that says, "Don't be anal about keeping resolutions") but just the process of thinking about the coming year and what I would like to accomplish is positive.

One of my favorite holiday pastimes is going through my stash of projects to see what to focus on in the coming year. I have so many wonderful patterns in the Pattern Museum, so many beautiful fabrics in the Fabric Museum, and so many partially completed projects in the WIP Museum that I'm always surprised to find things that I'd forgotten about.

Here is my list of New Year's Resolutions for project progress.

First is this little lap quilt for my Mom. It's a sweet little panel in a Joan Walsh Anglund style. All I'm doing is hand quilting around the design, and all I have left is to finish the border and bind it. I think she will love it, especially since the carpet in her large sewing room is that dark teal that is used in the panel. Mom's birthday is in March and one of my resolutions is to finish this quilt to give to her for her birthday.

I am crazy for hollyhocks and fell in love with this fabulous design by Nancy Davis Murty. It didn't take me long to finish the top, and it's been sitting in a basket for three years waiting for binding. My second resolution is to bind this quilt. The bear quilt is another Nancy Davis Murty design that I'd like to finish this year. It will have to fit into the "good enough" category as there are some mistakes that, of course, my OCD eye shoots right to whenever I look at it. But, short of starting over, there's no way to correct them so I will live with them. There's a lot to love about this quilt, though, so I'm looking forward to finishing it. One of the reasons I got stuck on it is that I used too stiff a fusing material and my old machine couldn't handle the applique (and my aching fingers couldn't handle doing it by hand, either.) My new machine will handle it just fine, so it's on this year's list.

In stitchery, I'm currently transferring the embroidery patterns for this quilt based on a Bareroots design called "What Color is Spring?" I say based on because I'm making the quilt larger and putting a sampler by Crabapple Hill in the center. I also added a row of orange fabric that was not in the original design and will add a row of embroidery from Bareroots' book of borders in that row. Because the quilt is larger, I've had to alter the borders that came in the pattern to make them larger, but this has been an easy thing to do.

Last but not least is my best love, counted cross stitch. So many charts, so little time. Here are three I hope to progress on this year.

First is this Santa from the 1992 issue of Treasures in Needlework by Better Homes & Gardens/Cross Stitch and Country Crafts. I started out using 11-count, ivory Aida and two strands of floss. After several hours of work (I'd finished his sack of toys and part of the border, I realized I was going to hate the finished product so decided (sigh) to start over. Now I'm working on 14-count fiddler and am much happier with the result. I've pulled him out again and would like to make some real progress this year.

I'm also resolving to make significant progress on "Firefly Faeries" by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum. I had some eyesight challenges to overcome to work on this piece but I finally got there this spring. If the light is just right and I have my 325 power reading glasses I can work on this piece. It's probably not realistic to expect to finish it this year, but I would like to finish at least two faeries.

The third piece I will focus on this year is one I just started. "Hummingbird Flowers" by Dyan Allaire from artwork by Catherine McClung stole my breath when I first saw it. I had just purchased a hummingbird print by an amazing watercolorist named Kory Fluckiger from Ogden, Utah. I am planning to use the print as the focal point in the guest bedroom in the house we are designing for our retirement, and when I saw this chart I realized it would go beautifully in the same room. Today I realized that the hollyhock quilt will also go well with these two pieces. I'm really excited to get this one done before we move into the house (fall of 2008) so I need to really hustle!

I have lots of other ideas for this year. We are hoping to visit family over the summer and I have cross stitch and quilting ideas I'd love to do to take as gifts. A friend just moved into a new home in a different state and I hope to visit her this summer; I have a wallhanging started for her. And, although I've made lots of quilt blocks using foundation piecing, I've never designed a foundation-pieced quilt of my own. I want to do one of the Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland, then use it to mount my pins from Disneyland.

The real key to success in all of this is to NOT sit in front of the TV and veg. I MUST always have something in my hands in the evening. Surely once this becomes a habit, the time wasting will be overcome!

Science and Rational Thought

My husband's first blog. Give him a while to get it going.

Blogger Changes

I hate change. Somehow, changes always end up meaning more work and frustration for me. Like, so now I've "switched" to the beta-free Blogger and I updated my template (I really like the new one), but Blogger isn't saving my changes. When I go to "View Blog" it's the same old same old. So, maybe I have to add a post to make it change. Which is what this is.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Harris: Bush popularity down to 29.

And they say dreams don't come true.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

I think I've overcome a major challenge with this piece. I've struggled with the over two on linen because I don't see well. A couple of months ago I was thrilled to get a pair of bifocals that allow me to see the television while I stitch, maps while I drive and so on.

But the reading glasses part of the bifocals were only 200 and I still couldn't see to stitch on such fine fabric. Out of desperation I put a pair of 125 reading glasses over the bifocals and was able to work! Today I chanced onto a sale on reading glasses at the local drugstore and picked up a pair of 325. VOILA! I can see well enough to work.

Now the challenge is to be disciplined enough to finish this before my eyes get any worse!
This is the political buffer zone.
I have very strong feelings about politics.

I started this blog to share my stitchery projects, but have ended up using it for everything.

If you would rather see just the update on my stitchery, this buffer zone will allow you to do so.
And better and better...

Stephen Colbert.
The bravest man in America.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Better and Better

Rush Limbaugh was arrested on drug charges!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Sunday, April 23, 2006

It's Earth Day weekend and I'm missing John Denver. I was lucky enough to find a Greatest Hits CD set while shopping today and as I've listened old favorites like "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High" and "Calypso" I'm struck by how huge a voice for this dying planet John Denver was. If he had lived, would we be in the danger we are now, or would he have been able to lead us and keep a vision of hope and commitment to our planet alive?

"Living, and loving and letting it be."

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Just Back From Eden

We just returned from Spring Break in Eden. I managed to fight off my It's Vacation! laziness and finish this piece. It's one of the Valerie Pfieffer trios called "Three's a Crowd." All I had left to do was the backstitching; I was delighted to see how those fuzzy little backstitched feather tips brought this to life.

I had also hoped to get some work done on "Firefly Faeries" by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum. I'm determined to have that piece, but it's proving to be a challenge! First, I unsuccessfully tried to dye three different pieces of fabric. Two years ago I found a piece of linen that had been hand-dyed for that design, but just wasn't very excited about starting on it. The next year one of my xstitchinprogress friends shared a source that had the perfect piece of hand-dyed. I ordered it and all the stuff (beads, braid, specialty threads and so on) to finish this piece and got started. I can do the work, but my energy level, nutrition and stitching light have to be just right. I dislike working on linen anyway (it's too much like work), but the dye on this piece makes it especially difficult for my old eyes to see, and the tiny stitches over two... well, let's just say it's been a challenge.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I'm trying to remember when I fell in love with romance literature and can only guess that it was watching fairy tales in the movies. I remember a lovely book of Grimm's Fairy Tales that my uncle gave me (it had glorious watercolor prints of Cinderella and Rapunzel and Snow White). I know that I read Fifteen by Beverly Cleary when I was ten, and an aunt gave me Little Women when I was eleven. At twelve my parents subscribed to the Best Loved Girls' Book-of-the-Month Club books (all romances and all devoured as soon as I received them). Somehow I stopped reading for pleasure in junior high and high school, then rediscovered romances in the 1980s and was hooked again. Sometime in there I saw the Greer Garson, Laurence Olivier movie version and decided to read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Like so many, I was enchanted.

As I am enchanted by the most recent version of the story on film. This Joe Wright version with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet is delightful. Knightley is (finally) an Elizabeth of youth and spirit. Matthew MacFaydn is handsome in a "real" way (and his voice!) Donald Sutherland's Mr. Bennet is long-suffering but not hen-pecked; Mrs. Bennet may flutter about but in this version it is Mr. Bennet who runs the estate. Mr. Collins is a riot, Charlotte's move to the dark side is hilarious. I want to attend that first public ball!

Perhaps I'll have it memorized by the time the new Pirates comes out.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Mom and Dad's Homecoming

I had great fun taking Mom and Dad to Disneyland last week for the Happiest Homecoming.

Traffic was light on the way from Simi to Anaheim. Dad enjoyed not having to drive. We realized when we drove into the parking structure that we probably were not going to have to fight the crowds, and we didn't! It was a very light day, which was wonderful!

We started with the usual tram ride from the parking structure, and a stop for the folks to get their tickets. I got choked up when they bought annual passes; that means we get to do this again. They said they want to go back at Christmas time. YES!

I suspected they would really enjoy "Soarin' Over California," an attraction at California Adventure. You buckle into a suspended chair that is raised off the floor "over" an IMAX, birds-eye tour of California. One of the locations you soar over is an orange grove in my own town of Camarillo! Set to fantastic music by Jerry Goldsmith, the tour is enhanced by air currents, scents and sound effects so that you feel like you are actually in a hang glider. As predicted, they loved the ride. When it was over we went right back on a second time.

Then we went over to Disneyland. They had to stand in the Annual Pass line for their pictures, then we went to New Orleans Square for lunch and to listen to a set by the Side Street Strutters. Dad really got a kick out of the tubist who was doing the bass line. Awesome. After the set we HAD to ride Pirates of the Caribbean. I knew that this ride would be closed for refurbishment as of March 6 (one of the reasons to take the folks to the park when I did) because they are making some changes so that the ride and the movies complement each other more. After that ride (there were already some noticeable changes), we went on the Jungle Cruise, another long-time favorite. Next we boarded the DLRR at the New Orleans station and got off at the Toon Town station. The folks hadn't seen Toon Town yet. I strong-armed them through Mickey Mouse's house so that we could get a picture taken. We bought the professional portrait, but the CM kindly used my camera to snap this photo for me so I could post it on this blog.

After a break for frozen yogurt, we trekked over to Tomorrowland. Dad and I settled Mom in a safe spot in the sun (it was a chilly day) for some quality people watching while he and I headed for Star Tours. The crowds were so light that this was a walk-on ride, so we had to do it twice (it's our favorite).

We couldn't pick up our Mickey picture for another half-hour or so, so decided to go to the Main Street RR station and do the circle tour, then come back for the picture and watch the parade. Much to our disappointment, the only way we could find to get up to the train was via the stairs. We altered the plan and headed back to the Carnation Corner where Mom had noticed the Ragtime piano player. Mom and Dad sat and enjoyed his set and I scooted over to get in the photo pick-up line.

By the time I had picked up the pics, the piano set was over and everyone was ready to leave. We decided not to wait for the parade, but to beat the crowd out. Traffic was light as we got home at a reasonable hour, tuckered but satisfied!

I had a thoroughly delightful day!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sunset at Disneyland. After a perfect day I managed to hit the hub just as the sun lit the castle and the pink blossoms on the trees. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Husband and Wife

I wish I was a poet. I wish I had words to explain how delighted I am that these two are married! They have a lot of challenges - more than most newlyweds - to get through, but they will.

Disney 50

Why is it the older I get the more quickly time seems to rush past me?

It's been almost a year since we bought the property in Utah, and other than to collect some pictures from magazines, we're no closer to being ready to start building now than we were last May. And as overwhelming as it seems to get this house ready to move out of (whether we rent it out or sell it), we're not much closer there, either.

Happily, my new student teacher is working out well and I have two periods a day to catch up on paperwork. I wasn't as exhausted when Friday rolled around and am actually looking forward to getting some yardwork accomplished this afternoon.

I've spent some of my "spare" time (and used a few of my personal days) enjoying the Disneyland 50th anniversary - the "Happiest Homecoming" celebration. The park looks fabulous. Most recently I decided to try and find the 50 "50"s that are displayed around the park. Kind of like a scavenger hunt. There are 12 of them on the gaslights along Main Street, and I've photographed 27 others. I have two more from Christmas time and I'm going back on Wednesday to see if I can find the rest. I won't let anyone tell me where they are, though, because I'm having so much fun looking for them.

I'm still scrapbooking and spent a lovely day with Kathleen working on the current project. It's almost done, and then I'll start on my "50 Years of Disney Fun" album. I've been gathering stuff for it, and don't want to start until I've armored myself to go up into the attic to see if I can find the box of "vintage" memorabilia I know I have up there - somewhere.

It's a scary thought. The attic is one of the major major problems to be solved before leaving this house. We've tried live trapping, baiting and rat zappers, but we're still hearing the occasional scurrying sound up there, which tells us we haven't found and covered all the possible ways in for critters. Larry thought he'd solved the rodent problem a couple of weeks ago when he and Bart threw cotton balls soaked with peppermint oil into the attic from the access. We didn't hear anything for two weeks. Then, I heard something up there a few nights ago, and two nights ago heard what sounded like a larger animal chasing a smaller animal, then a rodent screech. Haven't heard anything else since. I'm imagining there's a cat getting in the attic (we've had them get in before). I'm going to have to get up there and crawl all over the space to find where they're getting in because I can't figure it out from outside. Crawling all over the attic is going to take some physical conditioning, some planning and some collecting of supplies. I'm only going to do it once, and I want to take care of everything that needs to be done up there while I'm at it.

In the meantime, this weekend I hope to plant the rose I bought LAST APRIL (poor little thing), then pack up some stuff in the family room (somehow when I packed the Christmas decorations I overlooked at least one box because I'm missing kitchen supplies, and I have over half a box of Christmas decorations floating here that need a home.) It would be nice to have at least ONE room that isn't in chaos.

Sunday, January 15, 2006


I really hate this weekend. I do it every time! I assign a project on the Bill of Rights that I collect just before winter break. I refuse to take them home to work on over Christmas, and vow that I will do them a few at a time until grades are due. This time, using every spare minute at school, I managed to grade less than one class' out of five. Now, progress reports are coming up and I am spending my MLK holiday grading. And grading. And grading. Looks like about 2500 pages by the time I'm done. Cripes!

It wouldn't be so bad if they were all great. But most of them are garbage so they take forever. Gotta put comments (that they won't look at, anyway.)

I'd so much rather be in Eden, even if it is white out.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Bart's Home

Bart and Yuka are married. We are ecstatic.

Now they have much to do so that Yuka can come live in the States with Bart for a while. Bart fell more in love with Japan this trip and I have no doubt they will live there at some point. Guess I'd better get set to travel. But, since I've always loved things Japanese and have always wanted to visit there, this will not be a hardship.

And although I would not call it a "thing Japanese," I also want to visit Disney Sea. Better start saving.

It's the MLK holiday weekend. As usual, I will be spending it grading Bill of Rights Scrapbooks. This will definitely be the last year we do this project. In fact, I'm putting a note in my lesson plans NOT to repeat this next year.

Over the winter break I finished the Bent Creek mini sampler with the bird and the square button berries. I thought the decorative stiches the pattern called for detracted from the rest of the design so I simplified them. I'm happy with the result. When I went to Aaron Brothers to pick up a couple of frames for photos, I also found a great frame for the sampler. The frame doesn't fit on the scanner, but I will post the sampler.

Sunday, January 08, 2006



Just a 54-year old middle school teacher who stumbled onto your blog. You're terrific. Hope you have a great life.

This is another block. I left the text off and used the bat button instead. Posted by Picasa

Each block is about four inches by six inches. This is my favorite. I was thrilled to find the teeny little blue flower buttons. Posted by Picasa

This is a small quilt top I finished in 2005. Each block is embroidered in stem stitch with letters in backstitch. Each block also includes a tiny applique and is embellished with buttons. This may have been the most enjoyable project I've ever worked on. Now I'm in the process of hand quilting the sashing and borders. Posted by Picasa

Stitch or Blog?

One day last week I commented to Larry that those bloggers have to be the most self-absorbed people in the world. They go to all this trouble to set up a blog site and fill it with ideas and images, and who in the world is going to read it? You might as well just have a journal in a Word document.

The very next day, scrapbook.com sent an email inviting its subscribers to start their own scrapbooking blog. How fun was that!?!

So, here I am, wiping the egg off my face and starting a blog space for my stitchery stuff. Maybe it IS only for me.

Ain't I worth it?