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, August 29, 2009

Disney Rush

Anyone who can't understand a Disney Geek going over and over and over? Here it is. Wonderful fan video.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home to the Trenches.

Picked up my keys and saw what I was teaching.

Grade 8 American History. Thank goodness.

Got home late yesterday afternoon from Utah. Made it all the way to Ick Santa Clarita before having a problem. Won't go into the details except to say they're "improving" the highway and eliminated my usual offramp into the San Fernando Valley. For about 20 minutes I felt like Charlie on the MTA. But, it worked out and I was able to find my way to the Joann in Porter Ranch where the plastic project holders I needed to finish my storage unit were on sale, 40% off. Now, that's the way to end a vacation.

It was a great trip. Too much retail therapy (especially on top of Dodger's vet bills) but I don't care. I found a lot of great scrapbook paper for my son's books. Now that all the specialty shops in my county have closed all I have is Michael's, and we don't - shall I say - have the same "vision". Didn't get as much fabric as I have in the past, which is good because I'll never use all I have now and have no space to store more.

I did buy this at the Cracker Barrel on the way home:

Not a great picture but you get the idea. It's a business card holder, but is doing a fine job os holding papers that I need to type into the computer.

Kim's doing a "finish things up" promotion and so I will post these, although I don't think it's what she had in mind:
I hauled these up to Eden with me for framing. I love the way they turned out and can't wait to hang them in my "new" nest.

My stay in Eden was perfect. I drove up craving solitude and pretty much just tucked into the condo where I stitched a couple of days, sewed one day, read, worked crossword puzzles, napped. One day I watched the entire season of Firefly (plus Serenity). I also watched Coraline and Knowing. I was there for nine days and spent seven of them as described. Other than the movies and about ten minutes cumulative of news, the TV was off. No TV, no phones. Just blissful quiet.

We have a little man-made stream outside the family room that makes lovely music.

Saturday was the first scheduled day of the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival. Unfortunately, it had rained during the night so they canceled the launch Saturday morning. The rain eventually cleared up, but by then the wind was up so no balloons Saturday. Cool thing about storms in Eden - you are in the cloud. Can be pretty awesome sometimes, but this time was just drizzly and very wet. I'm sure the pilots were worried about lightening, too.

Sunday morning, though, was perfect and I could watch from the balcony. In years past they have launched and flown up the valley toward that divide (the one behind the clouds in the picture above). But last year the people who live at that end of the valley complained (go figure) so they just kind of hovered about the launch field, then flew the other direction. That really is more beautiful to watch because Snowbasin is in the background and they fly over the lake. But I was too lazy to get my shoes on, get in my car and drive around to where I could see that. A really good place to watch will be the deck of our house if (when! when!) we get it built.

I actually laughed out loud when I saw this one:

Want a better view?
Cracked me up. First year I've seen this guy.

Trip home was relatively uneventful. Stayed the night in St. George and somebody banged on my locked motel room door a couple of times. I figured it was kids. Once I calmed down from the surprise it was fine.

Got home to Mr. Innocent here.

Remember the tear in the carpet. We kept his bed over it so that he - we thought - would forget about eating the delicious padding. DH has caught him more than once dragging his bed off the wound and digging up more padding to chew on.


My room is almost done. This is the last space that I will work on:

One more coat of green and then I can start the actual organizing in time for school to start Monday. DS2 has already been paid to do the space over the cabinets. At 6'6", he has the reach to do this that I don't, especially since I'm enjoying not being in pain from ladder climbing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Just checking in.

Left August 7 for a solitary trip to Eden. Using my netbook for a quick check-in. There may be a way to post pictures from here but I haven't figured it out yet.

Took two days to drive up, which gave me time for a "rest stop" at my favorite quilt shop in Springville (Corn Wagon Quilts). This trip has also included a visit to Gardiner's Sew and Quilt in Ogden and Quilter's Haven in Bountiful (I walked out of Quilter's Haven with nothing, if you can believe it.) Have also visited one of the local Robert's craft stores (I need one of those) and Heartland Paper, a spectacular scrapbook shop (also in Bountiful). I've done some chores like arrange to have the condo re-keyed (not done yet) and have my wheels balanced and aligned (that is done). And I went to the local $3.00 theater one afternoon to see STAR TREK again.

Mostly, though, I've just been holed up. I mounted and framed two pieces (the fairy is framed, Chiloe!). My thanks to Vonna for her framing tips. I spent one whole day at the sewing machine working on the nativity scene wallhanging. I love how it's turning out (follow the Paper Panache link if you want to see what it looks like) but as a completely non-visual person it's a very difficult process for me. It's taking forever because I do so much ripping and re-sewing. Anyway, I've done some reading and worked a few crossword puzzles. Have hardly turned on the TV (checked CNN just long enought to learn nothing's changed) choosing instead to just relish the quiet. We have a little stream outside the living room that makes great music.

I'll be here three more days and really don't have any plans beyond working on Firefly Faeries (my Utah project). This is the weekend of the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival. I've been here a full week now, and the weather has been spectacular. Today was the first scheduled flight and it's been raining for hours. I feel sorry for the pilots. Maybe they need to move the date up to earlier in the month. One of the things I like about coming up here at this time of year is that it is definitely early fall here. And it seems that more and more the festival balloons can't fly because the fall storms are moving in.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

IAVA's Patrick Campbell on the launch of NewGIBill.org

So proud of you, Patrick.

Why do you stitch?

Musings from a Three-Bedroom Ranch

is asking. Go tell her what you think.

1)Why do you stitch?

Cross stitch is the perfect level of mental involvement for relaxation. It takes just enough concentration to keep me from fretting about anything else, not enough to create stress. Mostly, though, I love working with the colors of the fibers and watching something fun and/or lovely develop one section at a time.

2) On a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important what is your cross stitch passion level?

Probably about a 7. I don't make time for it every day (or even every week) but if I'm going to do anything crafty, it's usually stitching.

3)If you're only option for cross stitch supplies and patterns happened to be the major chain craft stores would you just walk away from the little X? Kiss it goodbye?

No. Michael's and internet are my only options as far as I know. There was a needlepoint/cross stitch shop in a neighboring town, but the people always offended me so I stopped going to it. I always joke that my local needlework shop is 800 miles away because I save up my specialty needs until I can get to my condo in Utah which is in the same neighborhood as Shepherd's Bush. I tend to get DMC at Michael's but charts at Shepherd's Bush or online.

I think a smart small business owner can compete with the big chains, but they have to be careful about their stock. You're not going to make it as a needlework shop owner selling floss for 69 cents a skein when Michael's sells it for 39. However, you can offer spectacular charts and fabrics and SERVICE that Michael's will never match.

4)Also are you so passionate about cross stitch that if indeed your only option was the major chain craft stores, would that inspire you to create your own cross stitch pieces because you have to stitch and you've stitched your way through the whole of Dimensions catalog--because you must stitch and the thought of life without a relationship with the little X leaves you feeling empty?

Probably not. I've often lamented that although I'm an excellent craftswoman, I'm not an artist. I don't tend to have a creative vision. It doesn't really bother me, though, because I have so many charts on file right now that I'd love to do someday that I'll have to live to be 200 to even make a dent. Don't think it's going to be an issue for me.

5)Finally what do the cross stitch magazines on the market offer you? Do they relate to you as a cross stitcher? Do you look at them and think to yourself, who do they think buys this magazine? I guess what I'm asking, when you see the current cross stitch magazines do they make you feel like they know their readers or do you find it's more of the same? What could they do to be ambassadors for the art of cross stitch other than putting a sampler on the cover with "F-U" on it? What are we missing on a PR level that could change the opinion of cross stitch itself?

As my husband always says, "That's why there's chocolate and vanilla." I'm very careful to check through magazines (for any craft) these days. My rule of thumb is that if I browse through and see two articles that I might do someday, I'll buy the magazine. Most magazines don't meet that standard. But I guess they offer something for someone.

I tend to buy more of the UK magazines than American because they tend to have a larger selection of designs that appeal to me.

I think part of my problem is that my "style" seems to be "out" right now. I have a hard time finding quilting fabric, too, because I didn't like retro when it came around the first time. Lime green? Really?

Frankly, I think the biggest threat to the craft world is the computer. I spend hours right here that I could spend stitching or piecing (or cleaning or weeding...) And I already love handwork and already have tons of supplies at the ready. The new generation of stitchers is sitting in front of a monitor playing video games and their moms - tired from a full day at work - don't have the time or energy to drag them out and put a needle in their hands.

6) And finally, finally, do you do other crafts and if so what are they and why do they pull you away from cross stitch?

I also do what they are calling "primitive" embroidery, quilting, dollmaking. I used to do ceramics. What pulls me away from cross stitch, though, is the condition of my house coupled with my exhaustion at the end of a day from my job. Most nights I'm too tired to pick up a needle. If I'm not too tired to stitch, I can't find what I need to do anything because the house is such a mess. I either end up trying to clean a little or, more often, just give up and fall asleep in front of the TV or come back here to the electronic sanctuary.

Monday, August 03, 2009


One inch at a time.

Sometimes one inch forward, three back but overall I feel like I'm getting there.

Today I finished this cabinet installation:

I had brought it home Saturday morning, but it needed a lot of finagling before I could call it done. I replaced the nickel door pulls with these acrylic pulls (looking for glass next - these were labeled "glass" but were not) and on the inside had to cut out part of the back to make space for the outlet and surge protector. Also had to mount an earthquake anchor on the back since this is not a top quality piece of furniture and was trying to tip every time I opened two doors at once.

I was really excited about this cupboard because I had planned all along to do this:

I now have a safe, central spot to close in all my chargers. It drove me nuts trying to get my electronics all charged, and I never quite found just the right power strip for all of them. These little charger docks were a real find at Staples. $2.99 each, each one has three outlets - spread out so transformers actually FIT - inside and ties to bundle the cords. Then there are those slider things on the top so that you can secure your item to be charged on top.

I'm really about finished with creating-assembling-installing the storage in this room. Now I need to move everything back in and clear the space for my son to finish removing wallpaper and painting the last section.

Also have a couple of stitcheries to frame for in here and will post a picture when I get that chore finished.

In puppy news, tomorrow we drop Dodger at the clinic for his final series of x-rays and - we hope - the all clear to let him have more freedom.

Last week I drove to Costa Mesa - about two hours from here - to buy a small desk at the IKEA store there. My timing was all messed up and I ended up having to face the 405 Freeway at 4:30 in the afternoon. 4:30 is the beginning of the rush hour in SoCA (usually from about then to 7:00 pm you can count on bumper-to-bumper traffic. Old Joke: "Why do they call it the 405? Because you only go 4 o' 5 miles per hour." Too true. I didn't want to sit for three hours on the freeway so set off to find a theater to kill some time. Instead I went to Macaroni Grill and treated myself to a yummy dinner, then went to a Barnes & Noble where I bought this book on audiobook:

REALLY a fun read! Well, a fun listen, anyway. I figured I could go ahead and get on the freeway and even if I got stuck (which I never did), I could at least be listening to a good story. And a good story it is! The history is very well done and there is a sweet romance, a light mystery (you know wh0 done it) and MAGIC. I love MAGIC books. My bedtime reading is Diana Gabaldon's Outlander, which came highly recommended but is, at least so far, a bit of a snoozer. Which is maybe a good thing, since it's my bedtime reading.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Life's Lessons.

When I was in my teaching credential program, the most profound lesson I learned has come back to me if not daily, certainly several times each year.

It's as if each person, the teacher shared, is born with a baggie. Each time something positive happens in that person's life, they add chips to their baggie. Whenever something negative happens, they lose chips.

Some students have baggies just stuffed with chips. These are the students who are willing to take a risk and raise their hand to participate. If they give a wrong answer or say something that elicits an unwanted laugh, they will lose some chips but they have so many it won't really matter.

Other students - for more reasons than I could begin to list - have few to no chips in their bag. They are not about to risk the few they have. So, they will not volunteer to participate unless they are pretty confident that, at least this once, they are correct. If that participation is rewarded with chips and they are more likely to try that again.

My bag has been feeling pretty light for some time now.
Big thanks to my family for making sure I got some chips today.

and on.... and on... and on...

Yard sale for husbands.

Last week Kim's husband put a red-white-and-blue quilt in the laundry. With a red bedskirt. If you want to read the rest, head on over. She was understandably upset.

And so, yesterday, I came home to this:

Not sure what you're seeing? Let me help.

I had just finished my last day of jury duty and had driven home singing happy little "it's over" songs, looking forward to moving ahead with my room project. Once it's done I can move in everything that's been stashed here and there - including in this family room. I figured I'd finish by this afternoon, giving me tomorrow morning to spiff up this room for a visit from my son and DIL.

DH was on puppy duty. Usually the puppy just sleeps when DH has duty so I don't know why he moved him but move him he did. In addition to the ginormous crate that we've had in the family room for going on two months now as Dodger recuperates from his surgeries, we had his usual bed (a big round one from Costco) surrounded by his exercise pen. Most mornings I let him out of the crate for an hour or so by keeping him on a leash but letting him play out in the family room with this toys. Sometimes I put him in the ex pen with a toy. But I never take my eyes off him because - bored and bratty as he's been - I never know what he's going to get into next. DH put him in there yesterday. He swears the dog was only in there for fifteen minutes but clearly DH wasn't WATCHING him. Hello? Because Dodger dug up the carpet UNDER the bed.

At first look it seems like this is something that could be repaired with a little carpet tape. However, the little darling didn't stop with ripping up the carpet.

Yes, that's a dustbin full of little pieces of Extrordinaire carpet pad. Best you could buy. Guaranteed for two lifetimes.

Unless your dog eats it.