Sharing my life and love of cross stitch. Thoughts about this and that.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Freebies: Patriotic

Variations on a theme. The dark blue on the BW charts will print black. Downloading subject to Copyright Information on the right. Happy patriotic stitching!!

I will be posting other patriotic freebies in the coming days/weeks. Check back often.

Uninvited House Guest

I heard rustling behind the file carts in my home office 3 nights ago. I thought it was my cat. Imagine my surprise when I finally got up from the computer to see what was making the noise and discovered 2 little black eyes and 2 big ears with a pointy snout looking up at me from under a file cart. I apparently didn't get the patio door completely closed. Since BP didn't go back out on his own ... Took me a LOT longer to figure out where he was hiding (back of closet) and how to catch him than it took for hungry baby possum to willingly go into carrier with food at the far end - less than 30 seconds! Isn't he cute??

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What does a dollar mean to you?

I did something I always do, then something I hardly ever do last night. I'd gone to Walmart for fish food and a battery for my smoke alarm, etc. My total bill was $14.00, including $2.99 for a 1/2 gallon of Blue Bell Coffee Ice Cream, that as a diabetic I shouldn't be eating to begin with. As I'm walking to the car a small and thin older man with beard in a long-sleeve plaid shirt, the kind of thin older man you might see on the streets or at a homeless shelter, approached carefully and called out "Ma'am, would you have 85 cents for bus fare?" Never slowing down, I called back over my shoulder, "Sorry, can't help you." Before I even got to my car, I was having second thoughts. I sat and watched in the rear view mirror for a couple of minutes as he cautiously approached 2 or 3 other shoppers who walked by totally ignoring him, and thought: he was polite, he wasn't THAT straggly, and he asked for just 85 cents - to catch a bus. (There's a bus stop right next to the store.) And I thought, what's 85 cents mean to me these days? What does a single dollar mean? Heck, I just spent 3 of them on something I'm not even supposed to eat. I found one in the bottom of my purse, backed out and drove over the 2 rows in time to see 2 other people quickly walk past him. I called out "Hey, sir, here I have this," and held the bill out my window. He took it carefully and stroked it like it was precious. His shoulders lifted in a really deep sigh, like a weight had been lifted. He said "Thank you so much, ma'am. You saved me a whole lot of walking." Because of the location of the store, he likely meant many miles. I told him he was welcome and drove off. I felt good about it and by the time I got to the parking lot exit I was choked up. That dollar meant so little to me, who nonetheless is trying to scrimp on them, and apparently so much to him at that moment - whether or not he used it for bus fare. I said a little thank you that I was blessed to be able to do something so inconsequential that meant so much to someone else.

Then I wished I had given him the $5 instead. One measly dollar seemed just not enough.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Recent Finishes

My Mother's Day project, started in September and only recently finished. The one with the daisy was made for a friend. Stiched on 32ct linen. I never could get 2 threads to lay right, so both of these are stitched using just 1 thread. I really like the more delicate look. In person, these look wonderful. Not so sure about the digital close-ups, however. The colors in the top picture are closer to the actual DMC colors. My photography assistant:

Yes, she really is that deep, vibrant henna/cinnamony color, hence her name. She has an amazing amount of loose skin, and she's got more thick, dense fur than any cat needs. I could crochet a sweater out of the undercoat she sheds every spring. She's a low energy cat with 2 speeds: mosey & amble, which match my energy level perfectly! My neighbor's daughter found her as a tiny kitten, inside a microwave at a party. Henna will be 13 in July.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Freebie: Lil Dragon

20w x 20H
14/28ct: 1-3/8 x 1-3/8 inches
French Knot or bead for belly button
Evenweave recommended

If you prefer or need a B/W chart, please leave a comment. I'd love some feedback!

Originally created in 1995 to fill in a blank lower corner in fairy design for a RR. The fairy was bent over looking down at something. Lil Dragon is what I came up with. I borrowed the fairy chart from another participant. Carmel in NZ, perhaps? Her RR was pigs. I still have the little wooden pig bookmark she sent. I've always wondered what happened to her. I have only participated in 3 RRs. I think that "architecture" was my theme for this one. I'd intended to frame the piece for my newly graduated daughter's future office. Unfortunately, one participant decided to hold a couple of pieces hostage. When that was FINALLY resolved and my RR released, I asked that it just be sent home as then stitched. By the time it got back, about 15 months late, daughter had had it with the "good old boy" attitude she'd butted heads with, and had already moved on to something that utilized her skills and gave her the independence she needed to excel. The RR piece is still unfinished and unframed. Needless to say, it was my last RR.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sobering experience

This morning I stopped at a nearby estate sale. I never do that sort of thing, but since some stitchers seem to find gold mines on occasion I thought I'd take a chance. Found a 12 x 12 frame for $1. Then I walked into this elderly woman's craft room, and stopped cold. There were quilts in various stages of completion, crocheted and knit afghans with the needles stuck through them as if she'd just laid it down. A pink, grey & white star shaped- afghan made in the pattern I've seen displayed on the 123MB. Do I need that? No. A crumpled mass in the corner turned out to be a beautiful hand-crocheted double bedcover that was flawless - and must have weighed a ton. I don't know how anyone would ever get it out of a washing machine into a dryer. A variety of 2 or 3 dozen skeins of yarns, boxes full of notions, more than a dozen dozen needle craft and crochet books. envelopes full of plastic canvas and patterns. And I just stood there looking at all that and knew in my soul that what I saw was that woman's life, laying displayed in thick piles that were being idly fingered or totally ignored by most people walking through the room, and for which the family would never receive payment anywhere near the value of time, labor and love expended in creating them. That the family hadn't even taken the bedspread made me so sad. It was more sad than peeking in the closet to see a few boxes of shoes left behind, still waiting their turn to be worn and never to understand their usefullness and lives were over as well. I was thinking that when those lovely things inevitably didn't sell, most of all that beautiful craftsmanship would likely end up in the trash with the rest of the leftover, unwanted household items and junk. That woman's life set in bags on the street waiting for an enternity in the landfill. I felt the need to rescue all of it and let it feel wanted and appreciated and loved all over again. The double bedspread was a treasure, but I have no place for something that fine. I am well aware that when I pass my daughter will go through my stuff in her "kamikaze" take-no-prisoners housecleaning mode (I had to retrieve stitching from a bag on the street when she decided to clean my admittedly messy room one day) and that all my stitching, as well as pretty much everything else around here will end up on the street. To save my family the wasted effort, I've given them instructions to not bother coming in and to just light a match. I wasn't kidding. Better a funeral pyre than stench and mold and who knows what else.

Question: Am I, are we all, just wasting what few days we are granted in this life stitching and making things which will end up in the landfill probably a lot sooner than later?

I still haven't shaken that "what's the point" feeling.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Freebie: Father's Day

My Dad doesn't hunt, fish, golf, drink, watches but isn't into sports, etc. so unless it's mushy, most Father's Day cards just aren't appropriate. He does play Scrabble. So I designed this quick stitch, then made into a card by lightly gluing on to 1/2 sheet of 80lb white card stock, folded in half to make a card. Color options are indicated on the chart, but you can choose your own. I think I stitched it on 16ct Fiddler's Light, then fringed the edges to within 3 squares of the design. My Dad has a refined sense of humor, which is the reason for the HA. : ) I see I left off the happy face symbol beneath it. I made up the alphabet script on the fly to fit the space available. I designed and stitched this in 2004 and the displayed-ever-since card is doing just fine. The card stock may or may not be acid free. I'm thinking I used acid-free stick glue, however. My personal opinion is that by the time anything might start to degrade, I won't be around and no one is going to want anything I've glued with or to it anyway, so generally don't worry about things like that. Download of the design is subject to the copyright information on your right. If you do stitch it, I would appreciate a comment and possibly a photo to post! Perhaps with you and YOUR Dad. Thanks.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Another wee modification

Since I don't have a freebie ready to post right now, though I'd share a Prairie Schooler design I modified into a wedding sampler. This was adapted from a motif in one of the Spring Samplers (middle below) as follows:
- changed colors and used mostly GAST
-added a 3rd blue flower to replace umbrella I wasn't using
- slightly adjusted position of a couple of the other elements to make room for wording
- Added names and date - which amazingly just fit
- Added sentiment
- Added flower in corners that echoed center design

This is the original design (look just left of bunny in center sampler). After I'd spaced everything, this was an amazingly quick stitch, even for me. The design remains copyright The Prairie Schooler

Best Intents

I had intended to spend today either 1) cleaning or 2) stitching. Ok, forget #1. I just threw that in there to sound domestic - the last thing I really am. However, I could NOT stay awake, then I woke to the sound of thunder when there was NOTHING anywhere close only 90 minutes earlier. I'd slept through the most severe of the series of storms. As I volunteer with the Office of Emergency Management, I woke up enough to to get down there about the time the next set of storms hit, and spent the rest of the day listening to and logging in real time the storm-spotter reports - well except for that hour when it certainly looked like everything was over -and I drove to daughter's house in another nearby city. I'd only been there 15 minutes when we were recalled as yet a third set of storms popped up just west of here. I didn't get home until after 10. My daughter's flight to Las Vegas was eventually cancelled, but not until after I'd told her it was unlikely they'd get away tonight, and she'd already rebooked flight for a later date and was waiting on a taxi to just come home. CROSS STITCH ALERT: I still haven't gotten my camera fixed, so here's the booklet that I've recently been stitching from. I've stitched the bottom left and top right 1 over 2 on 32ct light linen. Perfect, it's 3am and thundering again. UPDATE: Severe thunderstorm warning #4, 3rd trip to the OEM, home by 4:15.