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

Monday, January 28, 2008

Still sick...

but sleeping better.

Kathryn is sure right about this virus. The coughing is manageable and I no longer hack away through the night. But I can't get enough sleep! I get home from work about 3:30 and am asleep by 3:35. If DH cooks dinner I wake up enough to eat something, then am back asleep by 6. I may wake up somewhere in there to make a potty run but I'm out for the night by 8:30 or 9 and dragging myself to repeat the process the next day. I shouldn't have to go anywhere this weekend and look forward to sleeping through it. It's going to be a very long week, though.

My friend Linda was asking if there is some way to set alerts in Blogger (to know when someone has posted new news). I've never tried it. Anybody know how to do this?

Thanks for the good thoughts. It took a couple of weeks for DH to be functional. I'm hoping to get through this week and see a ray of hope after the weekend.

Friday, January 25, 2008

She will survive...


I would blame this illness on Sam, but I know this is not the kind of virus that travels through the net wires. DH had it first and his doctor had this diagnosis yesterday, "Oh, you've got that bad thing that takes forever to get rid of."

What a guy!

I did drag myself to work yesterday and today because I was showing a video for two days. I figured I could sit through two days of Lewis & Clark as well as any sub and save myself two sick days.

I am now, however, officially wiped out and headed to my recliner to put my heating blanket over me. Once I rest up I might even feel like picking up a needle.

Or maybe not.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Found it, Chiloe! I was worried. The Borders near my mom didn't have it yesterday. Today I went to the Barnes & Noble in the opposite direction and I thought they didn't have it, but then found it in the quilting magazines. What's up with that?

Give me a snail mail address and I'll send it to you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Great Meme

Chiasmata had this meme which was really fun to "read" and looks like fun to do, too. She was very disciplined, but there's no way I can do this without "talking."

Age you will be next birthday

[I've been on this freeway! In Southern California we have names for our freeways in addition to numbers which is very confusing but that's how it is. The 101 is the Ventura Fwy until it gets to Los Angeles, at which point it is the Hollywood Freeway; the 5 is the Golden State and the 405 is the San Diego and so on. The 57 is called the Orange Freeway and is touted as being a good alternative to the 5 through Los Angeles but all the times I've been on it it's been pretty hellish so I avoid it.]

A place you would like to visit

I would like to visit Tokyo to meet and spend time with my DIL's family, but I hope they don't mind if I take a few days to explore Disneyland Tokyo, especially Disney Sea.

One of your favourite places

Big Sur, Central California coast, USA. CA Hwy 1 meanders along the edge of these cliffs. I've driven it once, been on it many times as a passenger (I prefer to drive it myself) and I never get over the beauty of it. It's less than 30 miles of road but it takes me hours because I have to pull over at every viewpoint for pictures.

Your favourite object

'Nuff said.

Favourite Food

Chili verde burrito, no rice, no beans (only pork in tomatillo sauce with cheese), wet.

Favourite Animal

My favorite animal ever was our Akita. There wasn't a picture of him on Google images (he was show quality in conformation - a walking work of art - but very submissive and did not like the show ring. That's OK, neither did we.) Anyway, Kuro, his mother (with the breeder) did pop up. Our Tremor was also black and white but MUCH bigger with a huge head and chest. Until Tremor I never had an animal who was a comedian. He would do silly things just to make us laugh, then, once we were laughing, stop and grin at us. He's been gone for four years and I still miss him.

Favourite Colour

Name of a Past Pet

The last one. Himalayan cat named after this song. Love The Cat (singer, not animal).

Where do you live?

When we moved into our house, we could climb up on the roof and see this island in the distance. Now it's grown up too much around us (not to mention we are too old, fat and out of shape to climb up on the roof.)

1st grade teacher's name

Also one of my family names.

Your Middle Name

Bad Habit

I'm forever setting something down "for a minute" then getting distracted before I put it away.

Favourite Flower

Favourite Holiday

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Don't Love Ya...

Tomorrow promises to be a bitch.

First work. Our school counselor, a sweet young thing in the second year of her first full-time job, seemed genuinely shocked that I no longer like teaching. Give it a few years, dearie, especially in our district. Fortunately, it's test day so they will be occupied and quiet.

I have to tear out the door at 3:00 (and hope nobody notices that I'm leaving before my contract time is over) to dash home for a shower, then to the neighboring town for a mammogram. Oh boy, oh boy! Must remember to take deodorant with me because after the mammo, I race back to my town for a union meeting for which I will be an hour late or more, then afterward a late night at the Board of Trustees meeting.

Ugh. And it will only be Thursday.

I have no idea what I will do on Friday. I should do something about Dr. King since Monday is the holiday, but I don't really have anything. Maybe he wouldn't mind if I showed my Rosa Parks video?

Fortunately, Saturday is scrapbooking with my Mom and sister ALL DAY. This is our special time together and we didn't get to do it last month. Always fun to catch up on news, share needlework patterns and - oh yeah - work on our scrapbooks.

I think I finally have just about hit the end of post-Christmas purchases. I got three batiks from Batiks-Plus. You can read about my dilemma with this quilt if you want. I got a couple of batiks that I can use for the mountainside, which means I can get the backing and so on and so on. The last item in my list of online purchases is a pint of rubber cement thinner. California has banned heptane from the state. So what? Heptane is the substance from which a product called Un-du was manufactured. Un-du would remove stickers from my scrapbook pages, and since I can't seem to put together a page without removing things multiple times, I considered it a necessary tool. Now that Un-du is gone (I've read that so many states have banned heptane that they've stopped making Un-du), someone shared that rubber cement thinner works for the same purpose so I ordered a pint from Dick Blick to give it a try. Once it arrives my credit card will take a long winter's nap so that the smoke can clear.

In stitching I've been working on the embroidery on the "What Color is Spring?" quilt. I look forward to showing you a completed center sampler. Need to finish the pansies, then the daisies and am done and can move on to the sashing!

By the way, be sure to check out the Shepherd's Bush blog. They've been enjoying the snow (sort of).

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Solution Revealed

I'm so surprised!

My youngest got me hooked on the NBC Series Heroes just in time for the writers' strike. I bought the Season One dvd set and he and I watched several episodes together. This was great fun for me and he seemed to enjoy it, too. We used to spend a lot of time together when I was a band mom and would drive him all over Southern California to competitions and performances, but now that he's grown (26) we don't have as much in common.

Anyway, here's what we were waiting for.

For those who've never seen it, Heroes is the story of a group of people who discover that they have "powers." One of them is an artist named Isaac Mendez. Mendez's power is that he can paint the future, and his paintings are an important element to the overall story of the series. I had commented to DS2 that this was my favorite of the Mendez paintings, and he did a Google search to see if prints were available anywhere. He purchased this from an Ebay seller in the UK. It's a print on canvas and I love it. In the show most of Mendez's paintings are not framed, so I will hang this in my room as is.

In our conversation the issue of copyright came up and I could see byDS2's face that it didn't occur to him to be concerned. My guess is that this seller is not paying the requisite royalties for use of the image. I'll check before I buy another (there are two or three more I would love to have).

But I'm not giving this one back, regardless.

Now we look forward to a fair and equitable settlement for the writers. We can't wait for the series to continue!

Preserving the History

I guess I can't say enough how much I enjoy sidebar surfing. VerOn!c@ was kind enough to respond to my tag in the previous post. After reading through her chosen posts I decided to visit one new person (just one, I have a lot to do today) from her sidebar. Since I'm developing a new appreciation for the French designs I decided to visit Lili in France. Her most recent post is about what happens to the pieces that we so lovingly gift upon our friends and family, or to those that we leave stored in boxes. As I started to comment I realized I had a rant coming on, so rather than bore her with it decided to move it here (and bore you with it!)

I'm a historian. I was a historian first, then I went and got a degree in it, then I started teaching it. I only say that to give first the idea that I love people's stories. I also love the stories of things and value the stories of the past. Which was why I almost burst into tears one day in an antique store when I saw someone's antique photo album full of family portraits broken down and for sale at $1 per page. THIS WAS SOMEONE'S FAMILY, for sale cheap to someone who wanted to do who-knows-what with antique portraits (decoupage them onto a papier mache box?)

Not that I can blame the person who wanted to use the photos to create. But somewhere there is someone who cares about those people, who would LOVE to have those pictures. Why don't they? Because the person who ended up with the album had NO IDEA who those people are; not only was there no history included with the pictures, they weren't even labeled with the names of the people.

I am the keeper of the family photographs on two sides, mine and my husband's. As people in the families heard that I was interested in the hiSTORY of their families they started pulling out photos. Some they gave to me. Some they let me borrow to copy. And one of my continuing projects is researching the history of these families and connecting the history to the photographs. It's been very challenging but incredibly rewarding.

However, as related to stitchery, I had not taken it to this level of thought until I read Lili's post. Is it enough to sign our work? Sign and date it? Hmmm...

Every year I make my students compile a project called "My History is America's History." Partly it's to make the point (again and again and again...) that today's America is a country that would not exist without immigration and that every person living here is part of that history. But more importantly, it's to get them to get the stories of their three "oldest living relatives" before they lose them. They also do some activities about themselves (autobiographical incident, favorite things and so on). I even make them document a favorite family recipe!

I make them do this because, in 1982 when I first started delving into family history, my husband's aunt gave me a copy of a document that she had received from a cousin (who I had never and have still never met.) It was written by a man named Robert L. Bamford (b. 1826) and was dated 1912. Mr Bamford had written down everything he could ever remember hearing about his family's history. For him the story only went back three generations. He even says that maybe nobody will ever care, but maybe someday someone will so here it is.
Robert L. Bamford was the brother of my husband's great-great-grandmother. He was certainly not thinking about ME, but I was THRILLED to get this story which told of his ancestors migrating into the early American west (even crossing the river on a "ferry" raft which is where his ancestor met her husband.)

Thanks to Lili, I now realize that I have many things, but especially the lovingly stitched "heirlooms" that have been given to me, that need more documentation. I won't bore us all (especially me) with the rest of the thought process but will jump to what I'm going to do.

I'm going to buy some really lovely envelopes. You know the kind where the flap has a lovely design on it? Then I'm going to write a short (short, Debi, SHORT) autobiography. I will print out a ONE PAGE family tree (ONE PAGE, Debi). Maybe I'll do all of this on something pretty. Finally, I will document the piece. Who designed the chart? What about it appealed to me? If it was a gift (especially for family), who was it for and why are they so important to me that I would make this for them. For gifts I might even make this a "Dear So-and-So" letter, very personal. I will include a photo of myself and a photo of the piece (maybe a photo of me holding the piece). I will put all of this into the pretty envelope, then, I will include this document with the piece. If it's framed, I will glue the piece to the backing board at the back of the piece (just don't use bulky paper, Deb). If it's something made into a quilt or pillow, I'll just include it with the piece.

The point is, somewhere down the line, someone will find this piece. If I've done it right it should last several generations. Maybe my great-grandchildren will find it in a box and say, "Why did Dad keep this ugly thing?" But maybe, when they find the envelope and make the connection, they will decide to keep it after all rather than give it to the thrift shop.

And for Lili, if you decided to pop over and read this. One day I had a garage sale. As a shopper was going through the stuff she found a piece of crewel. On the back was a "To From" statement and the shopper brought it to me and asked, "Did you really want to sell this?" It was a piece my mother-in-law had made for me. I had met my in-laws in the fall of 1971. I married my husband in June of 1972. Fourteen months later my MIL had a massive stroke and his father a nervous breakdown; He lived for four more years, she for thirteen. My husband did everything to take care of them from finding (and moving them into) multiple homes, fighting with insurance companies and, for the eight years his mother lived in our town, visiting her every Saturday and being at her beck and call. All for a woman who was a hypocrite, who neglected her sons when they were growing up and allowed her husband to emotionally abuse them, all while preserving her standing as the daughter of an evangelist and the wife of an Air Force chaplain. My husband hated his father and despised his mother, but he took care of them anyway. The rest of DH's story is not mine to tell here, but I will say that by the time she died and we were selling off what we didn't want of their belongings, I had no love left for the woman and did not want that reminder in my home. Would my children have appreciated having that connection to the grandmother they really never knew and don't remember? I don't know, but at that point it wasn't worth thinking about.

And now I must get back to work. Speaking of things of the past, I'm going through stuff from the attic. Some I don't even remember owning (easy to pitch out). Some I'm thrilled to find. For example, I was beginning to question my memory. I THINK I was in a junior high drill team when I was in the ninth grade, but I can pull up no memory of it. Was I in it or not? Well, one of the things I found was my old uniform from that experience, which brought back a little bit of memory. Whew!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I love self-absorption.

I was reading through my sidebar and noted that someone got tagged with a meme that sounded like fun. I thought about trying it out, but decided the chores of the day were calling so I'd better not. When I came back during a break, Marita had tagged me for the same meme.

Guess I'll get to do it after all!

So I'm supposed to link to five of my previously written posts and they have to relate to these five words:

Family: I chose this post about taking my parents to the Happiest Homecoming on Earth (aka Disneyland's 50th Anniversary.) They took us once a year starting the year the park opened and since this trip I've taken them many times.

Friend: This one is really hard. I decided to include this link because it talks a little about a special group of online friends of mine at www.visionsfantastic.com. One of those friends has a very special job that she really enjoys.

Yourself: I often reflect on how much I enjoyed this meme when it came around and am still amazed that I was able to come up with enough to complete it.

Your love: This one was hard, too, because - well, let's face it - my blog is pretty much all about me. But DH is my love (and he's such a good man even if he is a slob) and our best times are when we are in Eden so here's a post about one of our visits which, sorry to say, is mostly about me.

Anything you like: This was one of my favorite days at Disneyland.

So, it was fun, Marita, to go back. As I reread my posts it was good to note that some of the overwhelming problems worked out fine. There's a lesson there.

I'm now supposed to tag someone else. Here are MY rules about tagging for memes. No pressure. If you don't want to do it, don't. Life's too short to do things that aren't fun for you, especially in a blog, which is supposed to be fun for you.

Now, let me go see if there's anyone in my sidebar that might have a clue who I am...

Let's send this around the world, shall we?

New friends - VerOn!c@ (Malaysia) and Chiasmata (Australia)
Old Friends - Judith (Netherlands). Missy (Treehugger's Wife in Saipan) and Sam (Mad Fabriholic in USA who is on vacation and recovering from a bad illness. I'm sure she'll be so thrilled to get this.)

Have fun! And if it's not fun, don't do it!

How do you...

...learn new stitches?

I admit it. I'm really intimidated by these new charts by The Victoria Sampler. They are chock full of specialty stitches. Frankly, I've never had much interest in learning fancy-pantsy stitches and, most of the time, I don't even like the bulk they add to a piece. When I ordered the two charts I figured I'd just leave all the specialties out. But the more I look at this chart (I'm looking at the Heirloom Family chart pictured below) the more intrigued I am. The specialty stitches are designed into the piece beautifully (rather than look clumpy and out-of-place they really do add dimension to this piece). And in the Jingle Belles Xmas Tree Farm the trees are made up of these specialty stitches! So, now I'm thinking I need to expand my repertoire (did I spell that right?) and learn some new stitches.

All the stitches are demonstrated in the chart. So, if you've ever done a chart with these stitches, have you just figured them out using the chart, or have you taken a class or do you go to your lns for help or did your gramma teach you or ???

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ah, the suspense

The Christmas Gift package cost £12.67 to ship and is marked "Printed Matter." Oh, yeah, and it was posted December 12, so my mean comment about the seller not shipping until after Christmas wasn't warranted. DS2 has been working a lot (he is a substitute letter carrier for the USPS and delivers pizza at night) so I probably won't be able to tear into this until Sunday.

'S OK. It's kind of fun to suffer.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Just stopping in...

with a couple of updates.

News from Utah. The condo complex manager thinks the condo might be ready in time for DH's trip in February. The wallboard people have set a date. We're trying to think good thoughts. If they can finish the work by DH's trip in February, then we might STILL be able to get some rental $$$ from it (judging by the temps and snowfall so far it may be a nice, long ski season in Northern Utah.)

No, I didn't really lost 10.5 pounds this week. I ate so much crap this winter break that I assumed (based on how my clothes are fitting) that I had gained back all the weight I had lost before. Weighed in this morning and was thrilled to note that I had not gained much at all, but I was not going to change the ticker.

More goodies arrived yesterday (how much did I order, anyway?)

I ordered a handful of patterns from Crabapple Hill. This is my favorite - a pumpkin pin cushion.

Also tracked down the Victoria Sampler Heirloom Family chart I fell in love with on Calina's blog. While I was there I also fell for the Jingle Bells Xmas Tree Farm chart, both of which are now in my possession (fast service from Canada.)

And then there's this beauty.

No, I didn't order this. This is my Christmas present from my youngest. He bought something on Ebay well before Christmas and was very upset when it didn't arrive in time. He assures me it's "really cool, Mom." He's been fretting over it for weeks now, wondering if it would ever come and, if not, what kind of fight he would have to get his money back. I suspect he posted a negative comment about the seller, which prompted the seller to send the package (finally). Here is is, two weeks after Christmas. I didn't mind (I had plenty of goodies for Christmas and was really just enjoying his company), but I hated to watch him suffer this frustration on top of several others at the end of the year.

So, it's here now and I have to wait until the weekend when he will have some time off and will be able to watch me open it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Happy Anniversary...


I can hardly believe that I've been blogging for TWO YEARS!

Today is my anniversary, though, and I have the presents (to myself) to prove it!

In yesterday's mail came the fabric for La Balancoire by Nimue (the baby arrived a few days ago. I ordered the fabric from some folks - Picture This, Plus! in Kansas - that I had met at the last CATS Stitching Festival held in California. I wasn't sure what color to order. I didn't want linen or Aida, and I wanted something close to the color on the chart picture. But, sometimes colors, especially of hand-dyed, just don't show true on the computer, do they? So, I emailed the shop and included a picture of the pattern. I asked them to recommend something, and they recommended their Lugana color "Woodland." I don't think I could get any closer!

I'm still resting my sore wrist, then will finish the other fairy, THEN start this one. There are some specialty threads that I need to find first, so there's no rush.

As if that wasn't enough, TODAY my mailbox had my set of Butterfly Garden patterns from Treasured Threads in Iowa. Talk about fast service! And check out this pattern:

I fell in love with this quilt by Leanne Beasley the first time I saw its picture, and as I've waited for my order to arrive I've been trying to figure out how the ten blocks were used. That is, I knew the BOM set included ten patterns, so I've been studying the quilt top to figure out how they were used, but I could never make sense out of it. Today I learned why. This has to be one of the biggest bargains in quiltdom. Each of the first NINE patterns is for one block (the quilt is made of nine blocks). Each BLOCK is made up of NINE mini-blocks! Some of the mini-blocks are repeated (the little four patch, the heart, the daisy) but a whole bunch of them are unique to just one block. And even the ones that are repeated are "tweaked" a bit so that they don't look like repeats. I need to choose a couple of fabrics to use throughout the quilt (for a consistent look) but otherwise can be scrappy about it. Can't wait to get started!

Unfortunately, I have a LOT of neglected housework to do this week. Still have to take down the Christmas decorations, then have to get into the two spare rooms and "organize" the stuff that's in there. One we are using as a storage room. DS2's drums are in there, some of our boxes ready to move (whenever that happens) and a whole bunch of empty packing boxes. All of it has to be pulled away from the walls. In the other room, I have to sort through the stuff I brought down from the attic, decide what to keep and what to "bless" onto someone else, then move everything in there away from the walls. I'm not sure, but I think a defective electrical outlet may have been smouldering over the holiday. When I unplugged the lamps that were plugged into it the weird smell went away. Understandably DH wants to bring in an electrician to inspect and repair all the outlets that need to be fixed (before we burn to the ground?) but first I have to create a space for an electrician to work in. That's this week's job.

DH has an incredibly busy month ahead of him. He's been hired by his union to coordinate the campaign for one of the ballot initiatives so will be out several evenings a week managing phone banks. In addition to his responsibilities as president of the county's community college district's board of trustees. In addition to taking a group of emancipated foster youth up to Sacramento for training as lobbyists. He'll be gone quite a bit, so I'm going to try to make good use of my alone time. I'll spend the weekend he's away at my Mom's. I'm going to take her to a couple of quilt shops, then the next day she, my SIL and I will sew all day. (SIL wants to learn to hand applique so I think I'll try to start on the butterflies that weekend.)

2008 has gotten off to a good start for my family. My kids don't like me sharing all the details of their lives here but I don't think they'd mind if I say that some good things are coming together for them. Here's hoping the good karma holds!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Needle Arm


I built the deck behind our house. I designed, dug and planted the pond in our back yard. I built four raised beds in our backyard. I stacked blocks for another raised bed in the side yard outside my office window. I built two, 4' x 9' latticed trellis' and have planted and replanted hundreds of plants over the last thirty-five years. And never have I had a muscle as sore as the teeny little one I've pulled in the last two days from cross-stitching. And I've never strained a joint as I have apparently strained my wrist doing the same.

We are in hysterics imagining what I will tell the physical therapist when she wants to know how I injured myself.

I'm just going to take an ibuprophen and hope it goes away without medical attention.

I don't want to be a laughing stock.

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

I'm back to work tomorrow and wanted to share my progress on the Nimue fairy. Her wing is almost finished (one more color of backstitching.) Chiloe, I'm still working with my new scanner so the colors aren't showing quite right here. Like you, I used two over instead of one. This Aida is not quite so yellow as it is showing here. DMC color #3861 (first stripe in from where the body will be) is a kind of taupe-y brown with a slight lavender cast but not quite as lavender as is showing here. The other two stripes are primarily DMC color #3864 which is a much lighter step in the same colorway but comes across much less lavender, almost more yellow than is coming across here. There are orange highlights (DMC #407) that are popping more orange than this picture shows. If you click on the picture to the larger version, it is closer to the real thing. I'm hoping I can figure out all the settings to get the color right on these scans by the time I finish the body.

No, I didn't use the brown Mohair Marron that the design calls for. I'd never even heard of it so did a Google search for it and it appears to be a very French commodity (meaning all the sites where the words popped in my search were French sites.) There was a site that had a picture of the fiber and it seemed to be VERY fuzzy (long fibers off a central core fiber). When I first read "mohair" I thought it might give that spot the soft, velvety look of a real butterfly wing, but the fibers in the picture I saw were so long that I thought it might look more like a shag rug so I decided to give up the search.

Overall, I'm satisfied with how this is turning out, although I may not be so pleased with the dress. We'll see.

Chiloe asked about my blog titled "For Yumiko" so I thought I'd explain my other blogs. "Debi 101" will eventually be my list of lifetime goals. Travel and experiences, charts and patterns, WIPs and UFOs. Mostly just a place for me to go to remind myself that napping through football games on television is not a life. "Debi Stitches a Home" is intended to be the journal of the building of our retirement home in Utah, which is at a dead stop (and yes, there is a rant in that blog now ) because of our horrible American economy and housing mortgage disaster. "Debi Stitches a Family History" is where I put the occasional family story in hopes that someone out there will recognize a connection and share helpful information.

"For Yumiko" is a very special blog. Two years ago yesterday my older son married a wonderful woman from Japan. They met eight years ago when they were both college students in Fullerton, CA. They shared a house for a while in Fullerton, then in New York while my son finished university (even went through 9/11 together), but most of their relationship was maintained long-distance. My DIL became a fluent English speaker while she lived in the US, but the rest of her family speaks very little English and I speak even less Japanese. Yumiko is my DIL's mother, and she and I have been frustrated and more than a little sad that we cannot speak with each other. I can't even write a thank-you note when she sends a gift (which she very generously does from time to time). Then, after Thanksgiving, it dawned on me that maybe I could "speak" to her through photos in a simple blog. I post something, email DIL who emails her brother who opens it all up for their mother to read. (BTW, Yumiko is a fashion designer in Japan.) If anyone knows of a wonderful translator for Japanese/English I'd appreciate the reference. We've tried Babelfish and my DIL tells me the translation is dangerously garbled.

One of the highlights of this winter break has been having the extra time to spend here. I've enjoyed visiting new blogs and updating my posts here. Since my resolutions for 2008 include spending more time getting healthy with more (some?) exercise, better meal planning and preparation and more scheduled crafting time, I will not be lurking here at every opportunity so my posting will be sketchier. Please don't give up on me. I enjoy your visits!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fairy Update

I don't know if I'll finish her before I run out of winter break or not (two more days). I can probably finish the wing tomorrow but don't know if I can finish her body on Sunday or not. Probably not 'cause work (shudder) starts again Monday and I do have a few chores to do around here (like laundry and maybe starting to take the Christmas decorations down).

Want a laugh? I did so much stitching yesterday that I woke up with a tiny little muscle sore in my upper arm and sore joints on both sides of my wrist (from twisting my hand funny around the q-snap). In the future on small pieces I'm going to have to leave lots of fabric around the design so that I can use a larger frame and avoid that funny crook of the wrist.

It's storming today. DH and I tucked in under warming lap robes (rather than heat the house we're trying these) for the evening. Fire crackling, audio books, stitching away...

This is the life I want to lead with a little time in the morning for the garden and a walk, some kind of daily housekeeping chores so the place doesn't fall apart and time for quilting and scrapbooking, too.


Sorry for the Confusion...

...about my "Woot!"

When I started this blog (almost two years ago now, wow!) it was as a place to post pictures of my stitching for the xstitchinprogress yahoo group. Very quickly, though, it became more of a journal than I've ever been able to maintain before, and from time to time I have used the space for my very blue, very left-wing-liberal-union-goon rants.

I'm a teacher. I teach eighth-grade history, and in California that means I get to introduce kids to the Constitution. I love my country and I love the Constitution. And as a lover of my country and my Constitution, I celebrate every person's right to believe in what they believe and support the causes they believe are the right causes.

As long as those causes are moving us continually toward achieving the ideals upon which our country was founded.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Government exists, according to the founders, only for the purpose of ensuring life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL. Somehow, we've moved away from these ideals. Our leadership seems to believe that these rights only exist for "right thinking" people ("right thinking" being people who agree with them.) We need new leadership to help us get back on that right path, the path of ensuring that ALL people are secure in their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Last night in Iowa, Barack Obama won, by a significant margin, the Democratic caucus In Iowa. More importantly, the Dems nearly DOUBLED participation in the caucus process over the previous caucus, itself a record-setting turnout. And the numbers came mostly from the participation of younger voters.

David Brooks of the New York Times wrote of Obama's victory in Iowa,

Whatever their political affiliations, Americans are going to feel good about the Obama victory, which is a story of youth, possibility and unity through diversity — the primordial themes of the American experience.

Iowa is, of course, only the first of the opportunities for Americans to have a say in who will lead us. At this point it is WAY too early to tell who the candidates will be on November's ballot. And at this point, I'm not even sure who I will vote for in California's primary next month. But I am excited about the Obama victory last night.

"They" said that Obama wouldn't win in Iowa because he is African-American and Iowa only has 2.9% African-American population.

I was in New Orleans just two months before Katrina. The neglect of the poor, black population that still suffers there does not suprise me; the pervasive racism in the city did.

So this is what excites me about Obama's victory last night. A consistently conservative, mostly white population has thrown its support behind a man with a message of change and FINALLY, he is being "not ... judged by the color of [his] skin but by the content of [his] character."

In 1989 a man found what he thought was a reproduction of one of the 200 original broadsides of the Declaration of Independence. It was later authenticated as the real thing, and television producer and philanthropist Norman Lear bought it at auction for millions of dollars. For three-and-a-half years the broadside toured the country in Lear's Declaration of Independence Road Trip, a project to bring the Declaration to the people. In addition, in 2001 Lear produced "The Declaration of Independence Road Trip: A Living Blueprint for Democracy," a teaching unit on the Declaration that I was fortunate to receive at no cost for use in my classroom. Every year it is my privilege to play the video of the reading of the Declaration.

To commemorate the historic Obama victory in the Iowa Democratic Caucus last night, I include this link. I hope you can watch at least the introduction by Morgan Freeman, where he explains for me why Obama's victory is so exciting. For me, his victory shows that as we continue our "constant struggle to achieve [the] goals" of the Declaration of Independence, there is still hope that someday we may achieve them.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Hey, Missy!


Teeny Little Happy Dance

I finished one page of my enlarged "Firefly Fairies" chart. I'm thinking I'm close to being done with the blue floss on the blue fairy. There are probably still a few rows of blue but most of the bottom of her skirt is the pale salmon (like the orange fairy's dress) and metallics.

I've decided to move to one of the other fairies to work with a different color of floss for awhile. When I've finished all the floss, I'll do all the metallics and the backstitching, then block the piece and stretch it onto the biggest q-snaps I can find to work the beading.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sidebar Surfing - Part Deux

On the same day as my Australian surfin' safari, I also visited Chiloe's site. Chiloe is my friend who introduced me to the Nimue fairy. Here's my progress on her:

When I had surfed over to the Nimue site, I met "La Balancoire" ("The Swing"). I ordered this chart from ABC Stitch Therapy and it was while the chart was on its way that Chiloe arrived home from her vacation in Germany. As soon as she read that I had ordered this chart, she had to send me to one of her favored sites in France, Le monde de Typh, where this baby fairy in a swing is in progress. "Just so you can drool," she warned.

Mind you, I neither speak nor read French, but I engaged my friendly Babel fish for a (kind of) translation of the site so I could (kind of) follow along. What wonderful work and very different from what I'm used to seeing here in the western United States. Check out the piece in her logo!

Having had so much fun (and been so impressed) with this French site, I decided to surf some of the other French sites in Chiloe's sidebar. I headed next to Calina et ses Fees.


Check this out:

Why wipe out? Because, since I neither read nor speak French, I couldn't get any hints as to who designed this or where to find it. The good news is that I was able (eventually) to track this down. It's from a company called The Victoria Sampler and is called "Family." Now I just need to find a place to order it.

I've written before that my lns is 800 miles from me. There is (was?) one in the next town but they have been so rude to me on the few times I've gone there that I prefer to just keep a list going until I can get to the condo in Utah and shop at Shepherd's Bush. However, I was so anxious to get this one that I went to the designer's website and did a shop locator search. Sure enough, it said that the shop in the next town was a distributor for these patterns, so today I drove there to see if they had this pattern. The shop was closed (as in brown paper in the windows gone.) So, I guess I'll give the lovely people at Shepherd's Bush a call to see if they have this.

Dangers in the Water

I've commented before that I love sidebar surfing. I've met more lovely, talented people that way! But there are dangers in the water when you surf, and surfing the sidebars is no different.

One of my most recent expeditions started when I did a Google search of the terms "embroidery hand primitive" and visited Cinderberry Stitches, Natalie Lymer's site from Australia. I am always struck by the whimsy in many Australian designs. (Of course, they are in a land where they get to claim indigenous animals like kangaroos, kiwis, kookaburras and the duckbill platypus, so one would think whimsy might come naturally.) At Cinderberry Stitches I fell for this free pattern for a needlecase:

Interest piqued, I had to browse the rest of Natalie's designs and coveted "Christmas Mice"

and "Christmas Wishes."

At this point, though, I ran into a serious problem. Natalie doesn't sell patterns from her site. She does, however, have her "Stocklist" posted. Where, you might ask? In her sidebar, of course. I jump on my surfboard and, "Cowabunga!" I am off to Treasured Threads,
where my heart about stopped because there, on their home page, is the new quilt by another Australian designer, Leanne Beasley.

These folks are terrific, and in just a couple of emails my check for the full set was on the way to them! (That's what I get for surfing without a PFD - personal flotation device.)

I'm really hoping to use some of my Robyn Pandolph stash for this quilt, but just look at Treasured Threads fabric board:

Now, you think at this point I would be satisfied with my adventure, but there is always another wave (and another sidebar) to ride, isn't there?