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

Monday, May 30, 2011

My Thanks, Appreciation and Gratitude for

Each and every person who is serving or has served in the United States military, and for those far too many who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
My Father, Jim - WWII
My Brother-In-Law, Brett - Vietnam
My Son-in-Law, Dan - Post Vietnam & Middle East - Career Military (Retired)
My Best Friend's Father - WWII, Korea and beyond - Career Military (Deceased)
My Uncle, "Tex" - between WWII and Korea (Deceased)
My Son-in-Law's Father - WWII and beyond - Career Military (Deceased)
My Sister-in-Law's Husband - currently serving
My Aunt, Louise Maw  - in the first training class for Occupational Therapists near the end of WWII and 
later in charge of the OT Program at the VA Hospital in Waco (Deceased)
My Cousins and Other Relatives - WWI, WWII, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam and Beyond
(Living & Deceased)
My very long time ago former Brother-in-Law, Lt. Col. Sam Brooks - Vietnam and beyond
Career Military (Retired)
My High School and College Classmates - Vietnam and beyond 
(some Killed in Action far too young, some Career Military)
And so many others I have known or met whose service is certain and my appreciation great.
This Memorial Day, may we always remember all women and men who have ever served and sacrificed.

** For my many free Patriotic Charts: click on Patriotic under "Lables"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

1990 PS Santa

1990 PS Santa
From Bk 36 - St. Nicholas II
Both were stitched on 18ct Fiddler's lite in late 2010. I'm currently stitching the 1991 Santa directly beneath 1990 and left fabric to stitch a third below that. Since I already stitched 1992 Fishing Santa years ago, I'm thinking maybe the1994 Sunflower Santa for the 3rd Santa, but reversing the direction so that it faces opposite the 1991 Fruit Basket Santa.

Friday, May 13, 2011

My First Over One

Stitched a few years ago with GAST on 28ct white Monaco. No, still not "finished." I can't recall the designer. Anyone? Since I had the necessary floss still handily stored separately in a Ziploc bag, I started on the 1991 PS Santa (with fruit basket & pineapple) instead of the EMS berryball. How many times have I set that aside now?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mother's Day & Orchids

Mother's Day was great! My DS and her DH were at my parents' house when I arrived but left before a late lunch. DD and her DH brought barbecue and gave me a very nice card. I gave my Mom a card along with a beautiful multi-branched phalaenopsis* covered with blooms and buds. I was finally was able to give DD the orchid I had purchased for her birthday in March. My offer to take her to lunch is still hanging out there - now in permanent limbo. After DD left Dad wanted me to watch his new Les Mis DVD (10th anniversary ed). I'd already seen it 3 or 4 times, but it's his newest focus and had declined previously. But I enjoy Les Mis and because it was important to him, I watched it again. Mother napped. Sitting back down on the couch after a quick break, I felt something stick me. It took 2 or 3 minutes to find and needle nose pliers to extract a long sewing needle embedded in the cushion. At least it didn't embed itself in my tush !

Orchids: *Phalaneopsis have blooms which last for months so though the one for my DD sat in my window or by my bed for 2 months, it had only dropped a couple of them. I have had some phals that had blooms lasting more than 5 months. Although some orchids do require meticulous care, I've found both phals and dendrobrium AND my catteleyas (which bloomed even after they froze - but never longer than 14 days) to be incredibly forgiving, over- or under-watering being the primary culprit along in orchid demise. As long as all the leaves haven't wilted and turned yellow and the roots haven't all dessicated, they can usually be nursed back to growth, and often bloom. For as little as $10 at Kroger, well worth the investment! Try one! Ask me if you have any questions. Warning: like potato chips, you can't stop at just one.

Photo: These are a couple of my dendrobiums from a few years ago. The small stained glass hanging was made unassisted by my daughter when she was 11 or 12 (25+ years ago). I'd picked the center white pansy from my flower bed and pressed it with that type of project in mind. The house in the photo background left is the other side of the small, spring fed creek that runs across the back property line. It's bed is about 15' lower than the house sits - meaning I have a very steep backyard covered with native trees and vines. I call it "my forest."

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Meet My Mom (and Dad)

Mom and Dad in 2004
Mom at 17 or 18

A photo of my beautiful Mother, Helen, taken at age 17 or 18, carefully hand colored. With ancestral roots going back to one of the first Anglo families who moved to Nacadoches in the Spanish/Mexican territory around the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and a Caddo Indian ancestor whose "Texas" ancestry goes untraceable hundreds of years earlier, she is a true daughter of Texas. It was her grandfather, the son of a German immigrant to Central Texas in the 1830's, who married a descendant of the early pre-Texas root of my family tree.

As I enjoy telling people: My Mom was raised in a zoo. Literally! My grandfather took care of a herd of dairy cows for Captain Roy Aldrich of the Texas Rangers on a 20-acre spread just outside the then city limits of Austin. Ma and Pa's small house sat in the middle of the animal cages comprising what amounted to the city's first zoo, a collection of native Texas critters and other animals taken in and cared for by Captain. Captain had an office in the Texas Capitol Building and lived in the large 2-story primary farm house on the property. When they could Mom, her older sister and younger brother would catch a ride to the State Capitol then play on the steps waiting for him to get off work then Captain would drive back home with them. Their weekends were a flurry of Austin and local families strolling and picnicking on the grounds and visiting the wild animal cages while other Texas Rangers along with State and Local politicians visited with Captain.

The stories Mom tells of those years were always magical to me: sliding down the tin roof of the wolf cage, getting chased up trees by loose javalinas (fierce wild pigs) and having to wait for men on horseback to lasso the animals in order to rescue them, my little uncle getting the end of his finger bit off by a parrot and my grandparents just sticking it back on and wrapping it up (it worked!), cramming as many sour wild grapes into their mouths to see who would make a face first, plus so many more. And though they played in the creek to keep cool on long summer afternoons, no, she insists, they were smart enough NOT to swing on grapevines over the alligator pond - as much as I want to believe they did. I think "halcyon days of childhood innocence and freedom" pretty much describes that period of her life. I love to hear Mom's stories still! We tried for years to get her to write a book about her childhood adventures, and she did finally start one years ago and sent a couple of stories to family members. I regret I have no idea what I did with them and wish I could replace them. She has since written an autobiography for the family, but she's left out so much of what made her early childhood so interesting to a city-raised daughter.

Mom's family later moved to a small community NW of Austin. She graduated from high school at 15 and she was almost 17 when she moved to Fort Worth where she worked at the Dr. Pepper bottling plant and lived a rented room with my aunt and 2 other friends. She met my Dad at the nearby Baptist Church on April Fool's Day when she was 20. They got engaged on Halloween and married the next Valentine's Day (well, that was the original plan any way - the church and senior minister were already booked so they were married by a minister friend on the 7th in my grandparent's living room instead). I was their Christmas baby. My sister is 19 months younger, and my brother was born 9 years later, just before Mother's Day. In fact, tomorrow is his birthday - ON Mother's Day. This year my parent's celebrated their 64th wedding Anniversary!!

Although she never had a paying job after they got married, my Mom was always actively involved with us in school along with other volunteer activities right up until the past 3 or 4 years when medical issues prevented her from doing so: Church, PTA at the school and as President at the city level, Blue Birds and Camp Fire Girl Leader for 11 years, Cub Scout Leader, Blood Testing for Carter Blood Center, long-time volunteer and Administrative and Training Director for the local chapter Contact (a nation-wide telephone counseling ministry). Her final volunteer position was with the hospital auxiliary in Labor and Delivery. As a member of Contact and continuing through her years with the hospital auxiliary she also made hundreds (maybe thousands) of small pillows which were given to new mothers and surgical patients to tuck under and around them. Mom is now 84 years young. Although she can no longer do leg work as a volunteer she continues to make pillows, quilts, small stuffed animals, aprons and doll dresses for the hospital, Salvation Arny and for the church bazaar.She's been named both an Arlington and a Tarrant County Volunteer of the Year, among many other honors and accolades bestowed on her. Nowadays she works diligently in her yard and gardens and still does all that sewing, including cross stitch.

And she can tell the most hilarious fractured fairy tales!

To make her even more wonderful, during all of those many MANY hours a week of volunteer work throughout all these years she was and continues to be the epitome of the ideal SAHM! What's even more (and probably her biggest challenge), she has so patiently tried to guide and direct and most definitely has put up with me for the past 63 years - something I can never fully appreciate nor thank nearly enough! I am so blessed to have Mom for my Mother, so proud of her many varied and important accomplishments, and I love her so very, very much. So to My Mom and to each and every one of you, your mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts everywhere, my warmest and most sincere ....


Friday, May 6, 2011

1989 PS Santa Finished - Next in Line

Stitching finished. Because the white is difficult to see as any shade different than the Fiddler's lite fabric, I substituted gold for Santa's tassel and the ribbon on the wreath.

Next project will be an Ellen Maurer-Stroh complimentary Christmas design from years ago that I've always wanted to stitch. I've always called it the "BerryBall," but EMS' name is "Christmas Greetings." Probably also to be stitched on the 28ct white opalescent.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

1989 Santa Progress & Some others

JBW Angel for my cousin
I made a special trip to my thankfully nearby LNS yesterday to get 844 and 610 to finish the 1989 Santa. She's increased her DMC price to 65 cents - still less than the 10 mile RT drive to Hobby Lobby or Joann's.
JBW Tree
PS Santa

These others are stitched 1 over 1 on 28ct opalescent Jobelan. My cousin is undergoing treatment following a recent mastectomy. Her favorite color is purple. I'll finish it as a small ornie. I'm also covering a travel pillow with a purple themed flannel to send as well. The small Santa will be finished into a 1-1/2" ornament (similar re the Joy-Love-Peace Tree) for the counter-top Christmas tree my DD displays in her bathroom. I originally gave her the tree and several 1-1/2 to 2" cross-stitched onries (18ct-22ct) in 1990 for her dorm room. If you look closely you can see a stain running diagonally upper left to lower right across the small Santa. I stitch sitting on my bed watching TV. I had set my cup of maybe 3 or 4 sips worth of water on the window sill over the end of my bed. ACCIDENT WAITING TO HAPPEN :( I had some of my stitching in various ziplock bags (except for one bubble-wrap-interior shipping envelope in which I was still "safely" storing the fabric) in a box under the window. Naturally, when I left the room for a few minutes the cat knocked the cup off. I thought those shipping envelopes were leakproof !! Because I also drink hot tea from that cup the water apparently absorbed some of the color, or perhaps it's from the kraft paper exterior. The stain wasn't noticeable until it dried. The fabric creases now have a very light stain which I'll have to stitch over or around now, and I really didn't intend to stitch everything on it over one, but now probably will have no choice. GRRRRRR !! Anyone know how to get a stain out of opalescent fabric?