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

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My Sister's Photo in the Paper

You may remember that my sister does volunteer work with Airborne Angel Cadets of Texas, an all volunteer non-profit which collects items from individuals, corporations and groups then packs and ships Care Packages to our troops in Middle East. The Dallas Morning News just published this article. That's my barely younger sister, Betty, in the center  We looks so much alike ... NOT. :D  Click to enlarge and read it. If you've a mind to, visit the Airborne Angel Cadets website and read more about the program, including letters and emails from our soldiers. They REALLY appreciate the necessities, goodies and children's cards and creations they receive. The ACT doesn't get free or reduced shipping rates and spent $52,000 in 2012 alone to do so. Donations in any amount are always welcome. But regardless, take a look at the site. The dedication, work and response is truly inspiring.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Greetings

Merrychristmas image

Wishing each and all a Blessed Christmas
With sincere regards,  Linda

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wonderful Choral Versions of "The Night Before Christmas"

Our high school choir sang this every year. We loved it. Since that was almost 50 years ago, it's wonderful to see that this fun version is still around! Because it is in musical form, I still remember all the words (and tune) after all these years! You'll enjoy it.

Listen here to the original 1942 Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians version.

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Free: In Memory Little Angel Chart

designed by Laura of Passione Ricamo in response to a special request and in remembrance of the victims and families in Newtown, Ct and Sandy Hook Elementary, posted to her blog on December 18th.  I know people around the world have all been horrified and devastated by this tragic event. I continue to break into tears and can no longer watch the news from there because it upsets me so. It is so kind and generous of Laura to have designed this sweet and innocent memorial. If you download, be sure to leave a comment.

Little Angel Chart 

Also a new, lovely blackwork design from Jeanne at Byrd's Nest as her contribution to help ease the pain.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Breast Cancer Freebie

Cardinals for a Cure - by Blue Ribbon Designs, could use as Christmas themed ornament as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Freebies listed

  • Stitchers Village  - available only until December 1st, 6 small Christmas Ornaments posted 1 per day.
  • Balades et Broderies - Noel Hearts, Christmas, Easter, seasonal and many other free small designs - 37 so far

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving! (and a past freebie)

May we each be truly grateful for all the blessing bestowed on us this past year, and special prayers for and blessings to those who are no longer with us or are unable to be with us this year.

A freebie from 2009 (click on picture for link):

from LindaMc at Bits of Floss

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Unusal site for needlecraft freebies but

I enjoy reading cozy mystery series, something I discovered a couple of years ago. There are all sorts of cozies related to location, comfortable or off-beat characters, wine, foods & sugary goodies, dogs/cats, etc. I tend to read just 1 or 2 series at a time to the extent they are available at the Library, then must find another author. Which is what I was doing early this morning. I thought, there MUST be needlecraft mysteries, which is how I happened upon author Monica Ferris, whose heroine has taken over her murdered sister's needlework shop and becomes a sleuth in the process. This is already a 16-book series so I'm behind to start, but unfortunately only the most recent books are at my library. But beside the point of the FREEBIE reference. In reading about the author I discovered that in each book there is a needlecraft chart related to the story: cross stitch, needlepoint, a black work, a cut out, bookmarks, etc. A Christmas ornament, a Taun horse, a phoenix, and other delights. Even more important for this purpose, the author has made each of the patterns available online as a .pdf freebie!

Visit:  Click on the "Pattern" at the bottom of the description of each of her books and explore the possibilities! You may also decide to read one of her books in the process. They get good reviews, so I'm excited to start reading an author new to me.

Friday, November 16, 2012

New Freebies

at Artecy only until 11/30: Celtic Christmas Tree and a mini Grizzly Bear Salmon Fishing

Check out other new freebies on the Freebie Links page.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


We all tried to talk him out of it, but my 88-year-old Dad INSISTED he was driving ALONE to eastern Kansas to visit an old friend. After putting 1100 miles on the car,  he got home safely a while ago. WHEW and THANK YOU to the Kind and Watchful Gentleman upstairs!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Love this time of year

Summer (it was hotter in September than in August this year) is OVER at last! Temps swing between freezing and the 80's. This year, because of an early cold snap, the oaks and gum trees and all the other deciduous trees have already started turning beautiful colors (it's been as late as mid-December in some years.) What's more, the gore and horror that passes as "entertainment" mostly ends after Halloween. I can sit and stitch as I watch (or just listen to) uplifting Christmas movies at last, all day and all night if I want. My only gripe about those is that except for one I recall with James Garner and Julie Andrews from several years ago, the women are young, beautiful, often needy - and so are the men. Really wish there were a lot more that feature much older adults, couples AND singles, and don't involve a Santa Claus and cute young, needy children as part of the story. [Confession: I've been watching/listening to Christmas movies, but I  haven't done all that much stitching recently.]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

WIP Progress, Reading Binge, New Freebie Links

After a long hiatus, I finally did some stitching earlier this month. But mostly I've been on a reading (and ice cream) binge. Since 9/5 I've read 19 books, six of them in the past week including 3 mysteries by Laura Levine, a TV sitcom writer turned novelist (her heroine, Jaine Austen, is owned by a cat named Prozac - it gets funnier), the latest MC Beaton Agatha Raisen mystery, the final Anne & Todd McCaffrey PERN novel (okay, I read some, became totally disenchanted and confused, read the ending which left me even more confused, put it aside while I read 2 other books and deciding whether I wanted to even go back to it, skimmed another couple of chapters then took it back to the library. Okay, I didn't read all of it, nor can I recommend it even to hardcore Anne and PERN fans.The last couple of days I've read Killing Lincoln, pausing in the middle to read one of the far more light-hearted and wholly inconsequential Jaine Austen mysteries. I've got a several hundred page, non-fiction Time Traveller's Guide to the Universe to probably read all of (I enjoy astronomy), a cozy mystery by a different writer, and put 2 more Jaine Austen mysteries on reserve at the Library. Now that my eyes are totally fried, I need to try to get back to stitching - something anyway. I really hadn't intended to finish "Bless This Nest," yet there I was stitching on it for hours at a time. I'm a fast reader but a very SLOW stitcher.

** Check out the new links on my Freebie List!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Good News - More Sad News

Alex April 2008


April 2004

My son-in-law, Dan, called Tuesday to tell me he's been accepted into the M.Div. program at Brite Divinity School (TCU). I was unaware he had applied. However, I am very happy and excited as it is very meaningful to him. As he started to hang up he asked if I'd like to have the left over cat food from when they had a cat at the house.

Huh? WHAT??? I asked "Has something happened to ...." which is when I found out DD's 16-year-old Miss Chatty Cat (my name for her) had been missing for 3 or 4 weeks, since shortly after Brulet disappeared. I was disappointed they hadn't told me. Then last night at choir practice Dan told me that Alex, DD's almost 14-year-old Akita? mix had taken a turn for the worst, that they had put off the decision too long (they mentioned hard decisions in August when I last watched over DD's cat and dogs), and that they had asked a vet to come to their home. It turned out to be the same one that had done the emergency C-Section when Alex gave birth to her late-in-life, cruise-souvenir "Pups" in 2008.  Alex was gently released from her pain and the infirmaties of advanced age in her own back yard, with my DD holding her.

DD has never had to do this before and I know it was something she's been dreading for a long time. The decision was, as is usually for each of us pet owners, sadly inevitable. I've taken care of Alex and Miss CC off and on for the past 12 years (and more recently the Pups) when my DD was out-of-town - sometimes as often as twice a month for a week or more at a time. They have been as much part of my family and my heart as my own furbabies. I have been crying all morning. One of the reasons my DD kept 3 of the now 4-year-old Pups, was so that when Alex passed she would have something left of her. They are her solace. One looks so much like Alex we have all sometimes mistaken him for her. l can't find a picture of Miss Chatty Cat, a beautiful domestic long hair.

UPDATE: A night or so later, Heather got up in the middle of the night and was shocked to see Alex asleep in her dog bed. It was only when she reached down to see if she could pat her that she realized it was the look-alike Pup, who had never before slept in it. He continues to do so.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sang in Quartet at Church This Morning

Northwest Christian Church - Arlington

 I'm the short one. (Can't believe I had to say that! I must already be getting shorter.) I'm standing next to my Son In Law. Yes, he's somewhat older than my DD. My DD and Dad also attend. Dad took the photo.

Webshots is Shutting Down - Permanently

As of December 1st. They've started a new "photo storage" site called Smile, which has a annual fee and is NOT a public photo share site like Webshots is. You MUST do something prior to December 1st, otherwise you'll lose access to your photos forever. You can tranfer your photos to Smile (though I understand from people who have that they end up all scrambled, NOT in the original albums, and are only available to view for invited guests - a real bummer for those who want to look at cross stitch projects), or you can d/l back to your computer. I have an old Flickr Account I rarely used, and tried out PhotoBucket, but preferred Webshots format at the time. This is the 3rd online photo storage/share site that has closed on me. Not sure what I will do.  Be aware that if you've linked to photos on Webshots, those links will no longer be valid. When my computer crashed and I lost everything between 2005 and early 2010 (my backups didn't work), I was able to replace SOME of them because I did have a Webshots and FlickR account. The link to one of my Webshots albums is apparently listed in a Galveston tour guide, and I have traffic because of that. I don't know who lists it, so I'm not sure what will become of those photos. I'm unsure what to do now. Anyone have any suggestions?


Sunday, October 7, 2012

My Library & Lost Books - I FINALLY Acidentally Found Them!!

I love my branch library. Though originally located in a much smaller stand-alone building, with some actual individual character, it was moved into it's current storefront location within the same shopping center in 1996 when the small Safeway sold out to some other chain (now defunct) which built a new, much larger facility directly behind the former Safeway (where the Library was) requiring it's destruction. Though considerably larger in square footage than the building it replaced, the storefront location was too small from the outset. It's ALWAYS busy.

Consequently, having the entire catalog of books and materials from all the Arlington libraries online one can peruse at leisure, reserve any book regardless of actual location, have it delivered to then pick it up from my local branch in under 2 minutes is wonderfully convenient! With renewals, one can check out a book for up to 9-weeks. I rarely have to renew anything. Usually.

Last spring I checked out a  couple of books in the mystery series I was then reading. Finished both in a week or so. Afterwards was pretty sure that at some  point I had had them with me to return when I ran errands one day, but maybe it started raining, and maybe instead I brought them home and inside - where they immediately disappeared into my very own personal black hole - where many things I never find again apparently de-coalesce.  I searched and I searched and I searched, even making special trips to 2 restaurants where I might have taken one or the other of them to read and maybe had inadvertently left it there? Maybe once, but TWICE?? No. I searched places in the house where they couldn't ever possibly be. By the end of the 9-weeks I reluctantly reached the only other reasonable conclusion: that somehow I had inadvertently knocked them off into the recycle bin or garbage can and were long gone, as unlikely as that might be. Still that MIGHT have happened. On the last possible day of the last possible renewal period I womaned-up and told a librarian I simply could not find the books and needed to pay for them. if you don't by the final due date you've got to pay the accumulated fines PLUS the cost of replacing the book. 

I thought that libraries would get some sort of wholesale deal. Apparently not. Full hard cover price was what it was going to cost me, plus $5 fee per book. (Assuming they are till in print, which I doubt.) Total? Sixty bucks! Yikes. I pulled out my MC. To my surprise the librarian suggested I keep looking, checked them out to me as if from scratch and started that whole 9-week cycle over. I received 2 more reprieves over the summer, the last one extending the "absolutely need to find by" date to October 22nd. I had no where else I could look and by the end of September I was past ready to call it quits, pony up the full amount and just get it over with. As of October 1st I had one more 3-week renewal left, but enough was enough. I stopped at the library to just pay. Had the lines not been very long with kids apparently from a near-by children's center checking out books through the librarians (rather than self-serve) I would have. Instead I came home and did that one final 3-week renewal online to avoid fines on top of the cost of the books. I was going to pay Saturday and would have had I managed to get out of the house before the Library closed early. Monday was a holiday, so definitely TUESDAY. I was tired of dealing with it.

With that decision firmly made ... Saturday night I was changing the bed, carefully moving my current reading venture to the nightstand so I'd know exactly where it was. Ok, just how many times have I changed the bed in the last 5 months? I can't even count. As usual I was struggling to tuck the fitted sheet at the foot of the bed. There is always that one last hard to get to corner that necessarily involves brute force and the hope one doesn't dislocated a shoulder or get flung across the room in the process. I'd already done the 3rd corner. Between the last 2 I spotted a piece of fabric between the mattress and the foot of the bed. A pillow case. I plucked it out and ... wait .. what momentary miniscule glint did I just spy out of the corner of my little eye? Still holding on to the ever-so-slightly bent far corner of the mattress, I looked closer into the shadows at the end of the bed. Did I see what I thought I just saw? I reached down to feel. It was hard. I looked closer. Could it possibly be ...YES YES Y E S !!!! BOTH books ... And after months and months, suddenly serendipitously there they were, wedged side-by-side in the just-wide-enough space between the box springs and the railed foot of my will-survive-any-old-EF5 of the cast iron bedstead. But hadn't I looked there several times already? And why hadn't I seen them when changing sheets or when standing at the dresser not 2 feet away?  They SHOULD have been pretty obvious. I can't explain it! Nonetheless, HURRAY!! At LAST.  There they both were, resting edgewise on the lip of the frame that the box spring sits on, otherwise they would have fallen to the floor and I would have found them months ago during any one of the numerous times I looked under the bed with the flashlight (one would hope), but too low for me to feel when I tucked in the top sheets. I couldn't believe it. After all these months and all that searching...

I was going to drop them off at the library after church today, but decided I wanted to make dern sure they were properly checked in by handing them directly to a librarian rather than just drop them in the outside return slot. So Monday then. No TUESDAY.  They're laying on the front seat of my car. Not bringing those 2 back inside the house. WHEW!!!  Quite a scare. I've felt really guilty all along.

UPDATE: I did hand them to a library assistant who immediately checked them in for me. Double WHEW!

MILESTONEI mark the passage of the seasons by more practical measures than a date on the calendar: 1) when in the fall it's finally cool enough inside to put on sweats, and 2) when it's too warm the next spring (here it's usually still officially "winter.") to continue to wear them. This year my YIPPEE SWEATS!! day was October 6th, when we set a Record LOW high of 57, another Record LOW high on Sunday, then tied a record low LOW on Monday morning of 39.  I only recently got to turn my A/C OFF I'm not about to turn the heater ON any time soon. It got down to 63 in the house. I'm pretty sure October 6th is the earliest YIPPEE SWEATS!! Day has ever been! YIPPEE!!!  

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Freebie Links Added

See Freebie Page

Also added: Strawberry Tea Campaign - (the UK's breast cancer care campaign) with small charts

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Videos of Endeavor Landing at LAX - with Music!

NASA TV's edited video:

The 24-piece brass/percussion ensemble, in which my brother plays trombone,  sounded the first trumpet note exactly when the 747's wheels hit the runway. They timed Copland's "Fanfare to the Common Man" to end as the 747 and Shuttle came to a stop directly behind them. The video and sound are excellent!

Vocalist's unedited video of landing and taxi with full version of Fanfare, wind, cheering and jet noises - also excellent! Like and leave a comment for Steve.

FOX News video of the event.

Commentary over "Fanfare," then you can hear the stirring version of "America the Beautiful" sung by Steve Amerson, who captured the above on his IPad, accompanied by the ensemble starting at 4:15. Very moving. All of it.

As for my volunteering at Cowboys Stadium: I had to leave home just before the Shuttle landed in LA, sat around and did NOTHING for the next 2 hours, then folded over the tops of hot dogs in sleeve and stacked them on a tray. (I have a post grad so it was relatively simple to learn and do.) Thursday I volunteered with a different group preparing 3,000 sacks with chips, condiments and napkins for the Staff Rally on Friday - only about 1/3 to 1/2 of which were necessary/used. A LARGE group of 20-something stadium employees (I assume being paid) dropped hot dogs into a sacks just before handing them out as other employees walked past. I sat around and did little or nothing for another hour or two, then helped take the 120 or so left over dogs down to the field. I was pretty sure I'd get lost trying to find my way back to the freight elevator, so I was told I could climb what turned out to be more than a couple of flights of stairs through the lower section of seats to where I could exit out and find an elevator to take me back to street level. Instead I had to climb yet another 3 extra long flights, by which time my legs were rubber. To my surprise, I didn't drop dead before I got to the car.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brother to Play at LAX Space Shuttle Endeavour Landing!

Endeavour Space Shuttle is scheduled to land about 12:45 PT (2:45 CT) at LAX, and should be broadcast LIVE on some stations. The brass and percussion ensemble Jim will be playing with will perform "Fanfare to the Common Man" by Aaron Copland with the first note at "wheels down" and "America the Beautiful" as dignitaries disembark at the hanger. Aaron Copeland's classic "Fanfare" is recognizable and  very moving. It was featured in "Saving Private Ryan," and other films and on TV. You can hear the Marine Band version here: /ihas/loc.natlib.ihas.100010429/default.html

I'd already volunteered to assist at a Cowboys Stadium Staff Kick-Off Rally today from 2:50 to 10pm and won't be home. Given my druthers, I'd be in LA with Jim!  SO WISH I COULD BE THERE (or at least see it on TV! - maybe the landing WITH MUSIC will be repeated later on the news.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Still sad news & Exciting News re Brother

Sad: I have not found Brulee and am trying to accept I will never see him again. I still call when I'm outside or driving down the street and check the Strays list at Animal Services daily. I just keep really expecting him to show up.

Exciting: My brother, Jim, did some or all of the arrangements and will be part of the brass ensemble that is to play at the official welcome at LAX when Space Shuttle Endeavour lands in LA on Friday!! Way to go, Jim!!

Disappointing: But unless it lands before 10am there, I won't be able to see it as I'm scheduled to volunteer at Cowboy Stadium for some sort of Cowboy Stadium Staff Kick-Off Rally. I hope someone records the Shuttle Landing and Welcome!! That's soooo much more exciting! Maybe I can talk Jerry into showing it on the JumboTron?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New Halloween Freebie

Happy Halloween 2012 - by Kit & Bixby, courtesy of Hoffman Distributing, probably of very limited availability so D/L now!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Brûlée has been missing for a week

Brûlée is 16 or 17 years old. He is tall, very long and very lean. I adopted him in 1999. The vet said he was around 4 at the time. He'd been found wandering around a super market parking lot. He kept Maahing and reaching through the cage door trying to snag anyone who walked by to love and pet him. An Animal Services volunteer kept changing the euthanasia date hoping someone would adopt him, and persuaded me to take him. He's been an interesting and wonderful cat. Neurotic and needy, quirky and I would call him God's way of teaching me patience. He'd Maaah so loudly and so often that I converted a classical tune that I would sing and his MAAHS would fit in as part of. Until recently, he wanted / had lay between my knees if I was sitting in bed, on my shoulder and sometimes on my face if I was asleep. I thought his recently less dramatic behavior was him giving up after I forced him to stay inside when he desperately wanted out combined with all the chaos next door with new owners, new roof, city tree trimmers in our yards for 4 days, renovations with lots of people he didn't know. But I realized he might be ill. I'd planned to take him to the vet last Tuesday. I last saw him Sunday night. I had to go looking, but not necessarily unusual. He appeared from the bushes up the street, not unusual, but rather than let me get near to herd him toward home he ambled into the neighbor's back yard. I figured he'd be home in a few minutes. Hour at most. I thought I'd let the window open enough for him to push it open if he showed up while I was gone on Monday. I got home after dark and discovered I'd closed it too tight. I called and called and walked up and down the street. My neighbor insists he saw Brulee Monday headed home after I'd been out. Somehow he disappeared in that 50 or 75'. Did the possum I discovered eating the food I'd put on the window sill for Brulee frighten him off. Did someone manage to catch him? (I find that hard to believe). Did another wild animal get him? Was he scared so far away he can't find his way home? Did he wander away to die? I don't know. I've walked up and down the street dozens of times calling. Driving the neighborhood. Talked to anyone who was out, but no one has seen him. My neighbors, who all know him, can't figure it out either. I've been watching the Animals Services Strays list. I've listed him on their Lost & Found. I've called or dropped flyers to nearby vets. I have new flyers to put in mail boxes. I don't know what else to do. I feel so guilty not realizing he might have been ill and needed to see a vet sooner than I realized. I should have tried to get in Saturday morning rather than think it could wait until Tuesday. Have I done enough to try to find him? I just know IF he could come home he would have before now. Now he's gone. I don't know where. I don't know why.

My heart is breaking.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

YEAH!! Marjolein Bastin freebie: In the Garden

I stand corrected. Just yesterday I discovered the link I had to the BH&G Australia site was broken. Despite numerous attempts and considerable time trying to find one that worked, I couldn't and sadly concluded this wonderful chart was no longer accessible. BUT ..... DeeinTee tracked down an old link that still works! Yeah!!!! Thanks Dee!!!

Working link:

Suggestion: visit and d/l the chart ASAP.

8/15 UPDATE: Ooops! I managed to post a link to my own blog instead of the one to Garden Sampler. I've since corrected that! There are just some days .... : /  Thanks to SoCalDebbie for letting me know!

Well, that correction still ended up back on my own blog, but I'm sure that is really IS fixed the 3rd time around. Sorry for the inconvenience!


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Broken link to Marjolien Bastin freebie

In adding more links on the Freebies page, I discovered that the wonderful Marjolein Bastin Garden Sampler, which was originally posted online by BH&G Australia in 2001, is no longer available. It's a wonder that it was accessible for as long as it was. A very sad loss and a reminder that when you find a freebie you may EVER want to stitch, d/l and backup the chart immediately.

And PLEASE, if you run across a broken link for a site listed on one of the Freebie  pages, please let me know so I can remove or at least note it. Thank you!

WIP UPDATE: I'd planned to finish stitching LK's ABC's of Aging Gracefully and move on to something else that has been waiting patiently in the wings for months (or years as the case may be) while watching the Olympics. Instead I'm absolutely stuck on trying to substitute ONE color which just doesn't show on my blue fabric. I wanted to just choose a slightly darker hue but immediately realized the DMC # of the provided floss (3848) was incorrect, spent a long while trying to figure out whether it was 504 or 3818 or 3813 (all so close in hue under my home lights all but impossible to determine), spent over an hour driving to Hobby Lobby and my LNS with different lighting trying to determine same, then emailed LK who kindly took the time to email back and confirm it is 3818, and would like a photo of the finish on the Wedgewood Blue fabric. The the next darker hue is 503, but darker than I want, so have spent even MORE HOURS trying to choose a totally DIFFERENT color and haven't been happy with a gold or yellow or a peach or a different blue or aqua or a lavender; definitely did NOT want another pink, etc. In the meantime, I could have FINISHED the piece had I not been stuck on that one single color choice. As of last night, I finally decided I did not want to introduce a whole new color into the original color scheme so my next experiment will be a blend of the provided 3818 and 503, and see if that works. If I hadn't already ordered and put money down for framing, I'd just set it aside and come back to it in a few weeks or months.

Don't you hate it when one tiny, pretty much totally inconsequential thing stops you dead in your tracks and you simply can't move on until you resolve the issue? Or in my case, make sure it's exactly right?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Newest Freebie Links

Bee Happy - Crafts 'nThings - perhaps today only; Chart is a .pdf file you can save and print. The key is a .tif file that will open in Windows Paint or similar program. You can then print from your graphics program and/or save as a .jpg then print.

I've started adding the newest freebies or sites I run across at the top of the Freebies page. Check for recent additions.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DFW Stitchers July 21st GTG

Just a few members of the diverse, international group of stitchers who frequent the 123Stitch Message Board. The GTG was hosted by Mary Ellen, who until last week I had no idea only lives 2 blocks from me. The GTG was to meet and greet Martha (turquoise T on right) from Galway, Ireland, vacationing in Florida who DROVE from Orlando to visit her. Other stitchers L to R: Jenetta, Leslie (who drove up this morning from San Antonio, Lynn's husband, Lynn, Bonnie, Me (up front on right), Mary Ellen, Martha and Melissa. After meeting at Mary Ellen's house, we went to Stitch Niche. While they shopped for fabric or fibers or charts, I was looking at frame samples for my ABC's of Aging Artfully. I was ONLY looking (you know where this is headed already, I'm sure), but maybe if I just got the frame I could do everything else myself. Needless to say, with their current 25% discount on framing and even though Doug offered to put the "sticks" together for me (which they usually charge for) ...  I haven't had anyone else frame anything for me since 1990. I recall that vividly because it was  a finished piece  with 9 different hearts that I was working on as a gift for Mom as I sat and watched TV when suddenly it was the first night of the Gulf War and CNN was televising live from Baghdad as bombs burst all around the American Hotel. Here 22 years later I can't look at the framed piece hanging on Dad's living room wall without thinking about it how surreal and disturbing it was at the time, stitching hearts while bombs dropped on strategic targets (and "collateral" civilians). Anyway, I haven't had anything framed since then.  (Here it comes, as you knew it would): Until now - that is when I get the piece finished. I know how meticulous they are with stretching the piece, something I could probably do but no where near as nicely. And, knowing me all too well, even if I had a frame specifically cut to order, the task of  actually mounting, stretching, etc. would probably take me another decade before I actually got to it. But I, who am usually so frugal that my brother frequently comments can squeeze the ### out of a buffalo nickel, can justify the whole schmooze since I opted for a frame that cost about 40% less per linear foot than the one I'd originally picked out (which actually looks just as nice or even better). So of course that reduced the total price by a full 1/3, plus the discount ..... Nonetheless, it is a splurge. I guess after 22 years I deserve one. :D  Above photo taken with Lynn's IPad and used with her permission.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

WIPs as of July 15th

See previous post for background info on my Sunflowers project. The stitches on the far right were those made by Mother before she passed away. I stupidly trimmed the fabric way too close. I wish I could have centered the design so that these would be with the center flower. Not sure what I'll do to accomplish  that, but they WILL be on the finished piece. There are only a few stitches here and there to complete it, but  I've been thinking I may instead just leave it as it is now, not quite completed. Just like my Mother's life.

When I set Sunflowers aside, I started up Lizzie Kate's ABC's of Aging Artfully. I'd bought the kit some time ago but couldn't decide what fabric to use.  This is Wedgewood blue, and I like it. With full crosses only it could go pretty fast if I didn't have to complete each stitch one at a time because of the overdyed threads. Until last night, I hadn't stitched on this since early June.

I hastily grabbed the "Bless This Nest" kit at Walmart to take with me to San Antonio in mid-June, but ended up taking ABC's instead - though I never took it out of the suitcase. I began stitching this end of June. Why I'm spending time even working on it I'm not sure as I not sure I'll ever finish it. I had a horrible time trying to sort some of the greens and I still have 3 strands of some green leftover that may or may not even go with the kit. I knew when I started should substitute an evenweave for the 14ct Aida because it is chock full of 1/2 and 1/4 stitches. Yet I didn't. Not sure why. Last night I FINALLY got around to setting it aside to finish ABC's of Aging instead - a much better use of my stitching time.

There is simply not enough space on Blogspot to accommodate ALL the WIP's I've got in my stash, some going back almost 3 decades. Some I lost interest. Some the reason for stitching long since disappeared or was outright rebuffed, and even if completed would have no home to go to. 

Nonetheless, I've had Prairie Schooler's Birds and Berries kitted up since last fall to work on, but haven't yet, I have a LONG overdue wedding sampler to design and stitch for my DD and SIL, who will celebrate their THIRD anniversary in a couple of months, and because they are BIG Halloween people, I recently bought Whooo's There to stitch for them as well.  It would help if my eyesight were a LOT better and I wasn't the slowest stitcher in the entire world!!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another unexpected honor

Arlington Volunteer of the Month

Was just made aware by the Office of Emergency Management, in a simple "FYI" email with the just the link. Not complaining, mind you, but, uh, don't they let people know in advance or at least with a phone call? I wonder what, if anything, comes next, and wish I had a decent "publicity" photo. What an emotional roller coaster this past month has been.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

New Sampler Girl Freebie

Reading with Jane - a chart listing Jane Austen books; check out Tanya's other designs as well!

Monday, July 9, 2012

RIP Sweet Little Smidge

RIP sweet little Smidge 7-8-12

I have had an emotionally intense weekend after finding a 7 or 8 week old feral kitten laying under my bedroom window late Friday. I did post about him on FB and the 123MB, and you can read a bit more about him under his photo on Webshots. But I am so emotionally drained by the loss and experience I no longer want to go into details other than say I tried my best, I so hope that what I did didn't make him worse rather than better, that he died while being held by someone who truly cared for and already loved him dearly, and that others who found out about him cared very much as well. Smidge did not die frightened, alone and anonymous. He was beloved, and he has a forever name.

RIP, dear swet little Smidge. I will miss you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

OFFICIAL Press Release re Award

July 2, 2012
Arlington Fire Department Volunteer Awarded State Honor 

Linda McMillen, an Arlington Fire Department Office of Emergency Management Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer, was awarded the second annual Jack Colley Award for Volunteerism last month at the annual Texas Unites Citizen Corps/Volunteers Organizations Active in Disaster Conference.  The award was presented by Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, and Penny Redington, executive director of the Texas Association of Regional Councils.

The award honors an outstanding volunteer who exhibits leadership, dedication, self-sacrifice and service to the State of Texas in the field of emergency management. This statewide recognition is the highest honor presented to a volunteer by the state’s Citizen Corps Program.

McMillen has been instrumental to the success of the Arlington CERT program since 2007. During her time with the CERT program, she has participated in numerous training classes, exercises and emergency responses. McMillen was vital to the response following the April 3 tornadoes through the organization of more than 40 volunteers to support the Arlington Emergency Operations Center and the city’s Tornado Recovery Center.  She also participates in several monthly tests of the outdoor warning system and represents the Arlington EOC on the Tarrant County RACES radio net.  McMillen has volunteered in many special events and EOC activations, including the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, Super Bowl XLV and a full-scale exercise at Cowboys Stadium.

The Jack Colley Leadership Award was established in honor of Jack Colley, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management from 1998-2010, for his unwavering support, dedication, and service to the citizens of Texas during times of crises and for his outstanding leadership in the profession of emergency management. The award is given annually to recognize the outstanding leadership and service of a Citizen Corps volunteer.
Media Contact:
Rebecca Rodriguez
Manager | Office of Communication
Rebecca Rodriguez
Marketing Communications Manager | Office of Communication
101 West Abram Street, Arlington, TX 76010 | P.O. Box 90231 MS 01-0370, Arlington, TX 7600-3231
office: 817.459.6412 email:

And with that I expect that my 15 minutes of fame are officially over. July 4th I served as Net Control for a couple of dozen radio operators staged along the big Arlington 4th of July Parade Route. Except for a couple of minor medical issues and one stalled vehicle, everything was totally and completely uneventful. Just the way we like it. My computer has been on the fritz again, so wishing everyone a BELATED Happy 4th!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Received 2012 Jack Colley Leadership Award !!

This may be as "official" as it gets, so I am reposting my previous post about receiving this astonishing recognition! Here is a link to an article posted on the City of Arlington website.

I was and remain deeply humbled and incredibly honored that as a member of Arlington CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) to have been nominated by the Arlington Office of Emergency Management for this Award. I was absolutely stunned when I learned that I had been selected to receive the 2012 Jack Colley Citizen Corps Leadership Award for volunteerism (related to disaster preparedness and/or response) in the State of Texas. “This statewide recognition is the highest honor bestowed upon a council or volunteer by the state's Citizen Corps Council,” said Julie Martinez, Texas Citizen Corps manager. "This Award was established in honor of Jack Colley, who served as director of the Texas Division of Emergency Management for more than a decade before his death in 2010."

I was presented with a plaque in honor of Jack Colley, an official Flag of the State of Texas that had been flown over the State Capitol a few days before (with accompanying certificate that also has my name on it, albeit misspelled). My name will be added to a permanent plaque kept at the Texas Citizen Corps headquarters in Austin.

Receiving Award from Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas 
Department  of Public Safety, and Penny Redington, Executive Director
of the Texas Association of Regional Councils.

With Matt Feryan, Emergency Management Planner.  
Arlington Office of Emergency Management

L to R: Asst. Chief David Carroll - Fire Rescue Support Div; Matt Feryan - OEM
Irish Hancock - Administrator Office of Emergency Management, Me and
Arlington Fire Chief Don Crowson 

From the email sent to CERT members:
Linda McMillen, an Arlington Fire Department Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteer, was awarded the second annual Jack Colley Award for Volunteerism last week in San Antonio. The prestigious Jack Colley Award honors an outstanding volunteer who exhibits leadership, dedication, self-sacrifice and service to the State of Texas in the field of emergency management, attributes personified by the late Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Jack Colley. This state-wide recognition is the highest honor bestowed upon a volunteer by the state's Citizen Corps Program. The award was presented by the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Steve McCraw, and Texas Association of Regional Councils Executive Director, Penny Redington, at the annual Texas Unites Citizen Corps/VOAD Conference on June 15. 

Award Description

The Jack Colley Leadership Award was established in honor of Jack Colley, Chief, Texas Division of Emergency Management, 1998 – 2010, for his unwavering support, dedication, and service to the citizens of Texas during times of crises; and for his outstanding leadership in the profession of emergency management. The award is given annually in his honor to recognize the outstanding leadership and service of a Citizen Corps volunteer.

Narrative from the award submission:
Since 2007, Ms. McMillen has been instrumental to the success of the Arlington CERT program and the Arlington Office of Emergency Management. Throughout her time with the CERT program Linda has participated in numerous trainings, exercises and emergency responses. Most recently, Linda was vital to the response following the April 3, 2012 EF-2 tornado that impacted the cities of Kennedale and Arlington. Her efforts organized the response of over 40 volunteers to support the Arlington Emergency Operations Center and the City’s Tornado Recovery Center. In total, Linda volunteered approximately 90 hours in a ten-day period to ensure a streamlined process of CERT volunteer management. Linda also regularly manages the ham radio net for Arlington’s monthly outdoor warning system test. Each month, Linda dedicates time to organize and assign volunteer radio operators to observe and report the status of the siren system. Additionally, Linda regularly responds to severe weather warnings and represents the Arlington EOC on the Tarrant County RACES radio net. Linda has been involved with major special event and natural disaster EOC activations which has included the NBA All-Star game, Super Bowl 45, Cotton Bowl, World Series, Tropical Storm Hermine and the April 2012 Tornado. Furthermore, Linda has participated in every major exercise sponsored by the City of Arlington which has included a full-scale exercise at the new Cowboy’s Stadium, a functional EOC exercise in preparation of Super Bowl 45 and numerous drills, tabletops and workshops in support of the Arlington Office of Emergency Management.

I remain totally overwhelmed and am still trying to wrap my mind around it. I truly did not expect this. Awards are not the reason I do volunteer work. I wanted to be active in the community and hopefully might add something productive and positive along the way. I have the time, and I get a great deal of personal satisfaction doing the things I get to do. I'm happy and gratified just to receive honest thank yous and the privilege of being allowed to continue to assist as I can. This .... this is overwhelming and I'm still trying to digest just how prestigious and just how high an honor it is.

My sincere and profound thank yous to the Texas Citizen Corps Council - their staff and representatives, the State of Texas Emergency Managment, Texas VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters), the City of Arlington Fire Department and the Office of Emergency Management for being so honored. Again, I am deeply humbled and incredibly honored to have received the 2012 Jack Colley Leadership Award.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ABC's of Aging Artfully - Lizzie Kate

Part of my current project on 28ct Wedgewood Lugana. I've completed almost all of the first 3 lines.  "e" is charted for "eat chocolate." I'm allergic so I may substitute  "eat ice cream" if it will fit. I debated about fabric color and have decided I quite like the blue! The LNS owner advised I would need a full fat quarter. Nope. Just 1/2 that. Instead of wasting all that extra fabric, I'm utilizing a 2-1/4" allowance, which is more than enough for framing purposes. I would have preferred chart only, but it only comes as a kit with 4 skeins of CC Caterpillar, and 1 skein of each of the other colors (of which maybe 1/4 is actually used), plus some DMC white and an aqua. Except for the Caterpillar (which is a mix similar to 3371 with 898), I would have preferred to use same or similar CC's I already have on hand, and definitely didn't need the white or aqua. Still I liked it enough to buy.

PS:  Click here for some simple Patriotic and 4th of July designs and ideas!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

As if I hadn't had to replace

Pixma MX372
computer and A/C in the last month, my 13-1/2 month old 4-In-1 Epson Workforce 520 printer jammed and flat quit working last week. This makes the 3rd printer in the last 5 years that has jammed to death. Thank goodness I had purchased a 2-year extended warranty on the Epson, even though that cost 1/3 the price of the printer but turned out to be about the same the cost as only 1 of the 2 required black ink cartridges - a pretty sore issue for MANY REASONS including the fact it used 3 or 4 times the amount of ink of any printer I have ever owned. And that despite the fact I printed almost exclusively in black draft mode and never in color. To be honest, while it had some nice features (all totally unrelated to printing), I despised the thing and am glad to be legitimately rid of it.

The first time I had had to replace BOTH black cartridges to the tune of about $40 (only $20 less than the initial cost of the printer including ink, and shockingly far too soon considering how little printing I actually do these days (none in color, and still those cartridges are all but empty) I started thinking about replacing the whole !#@!@## thing. But I hadn't gotten that far as I still had a smidge of ink left. Still I was on the verge of having to replace 2 blacks and 3 color cartridges to the tune of $90-$100. New printer, including ink - about $65.  Took Epson back to Frye's expecting Repair Dept to spend a couple of minutes removing tiny piece of still jammed paper I couldn't see at home. Instead they didn't even look at it and sent me back to Customer Service to have it replaced. Really? Long story short, I finally agreed to swap Epson for the Canon Pixma the warranty would approve of, however, IT would only come with a 30-day warranty - which I expressed considerable polite concern and polite consternation about. In the end, however, they replaced the Epson with the Canon and I paid $21 for a new 2-year extended warranty. I felt like I got a good deal, and I'm hoping when I get everything attached and plugged in it works. The  drive to Frye's is a real hassle.

I'm hoping I haven't been snookered on ink usage and cost yet again. It's utterly ludicrous and an environmental disgrace. Printers have fallen to amazingly low prices. The cost of ink, however, has skyrocketed. It's less expensive to toss the printer into a land fill and buy a new one than shell out thick wads of cash for a new round of ink!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

ABC's of Aging Artfully

Lizzie Kate isn't my designer of choice, but I feel too close a kinship with this so ordered it a while back. Since I wasn't aware it was a kit (chart and floss) and it cost a LOT more than expected, I put off buying fabric until Monday, taking advantage of a 20% off everything sale at Stitch Niche.  After considering the neutrals, on a crazy whim I chose 32ct Wedgewood Lugana. Hoping that works! If not then I'm probably buying inexpensive natural linen at Hobby Lobby or Joanns or get practical and look through all my stash at home. Which I should have done first, of course.  Only AFTER I got home did I remember I already HAVE the same fat quarter of Wedgewood Lugana. Now I'm trying to find the LK chart pack that I'd looked at just a couple of days earlier and, of course, had set aside in a spot so I'd know exactly where it was. Meaning I may never see it ever again. I'll thinking about taking take this project with me to the conference in San Antonio.

I've decided to drive so I'll have transportation, though the 4-1/2 hours or so drive is NOT something I'm looking forward to. Re accommodations: First I was told the Hyatt Regency River Walk, where the conference will be, was booked and I would be staying in a hotel some blocks away. Nooo. That won't work for several reasons. Then I was told they were going to book me in at the Marriott Towne Place facility right next door. OKAY! Nicer rooms, free breakfasts, kitchenette, etc. Yeah! Today I got a call from Matt at the EOC to confirm my registration and to let me know I'd been booked at the Hyatt. Hmmm. The conference info indicates that first night was booked solid 2 weeks ago. Guess we'll see, huh? 

Monday I finally ordered new glasses from the prescription I got on 12/30/11, delayed because of necessary follow-up Specialist appointments. I've picked Sophia Loren rose metal frames with an opening large enough to accommodate my trifocals. To be honest, I have no idea exactly what they look like other than they were okay, similar to frames I had a few years ago, and I didn't feel like trying on multiple others when I can't really see what they look like on me without my glasses on to start with.

Friday, May 25, 2012

New Project

I originally blogged the following on February 23rd but somehow never posted it: This explains the Sunflower project that still languishes. I'm having a lot of problems with my eyes and hunting down small sections and confetti stitches to complete is more than they want to handle.

Last spring I discovered Mom trying to stitch a pillow kit from the photo graph as she'd misplaced the chart. She'd just started. I told her I'd bring the picture home to see if I could rechart it on PM. Noooo way, I quickly discovered. So I emailed Janlyn asking if there was someone just to purchase the chart. I got a kind email saying they would mail one to me, free. I called to let her know, but she'd had a bad reaction to a medication that never should have been prescribed for her in the first place. A couple of days later Dad found her unconscious ... Sadly, the chart was mailed the day my Mother passed away. I brought the kit, minus charts, home with me with the intent to finish it for her. After deciding my next project, I came across it instead. So far I've got the center of the center sunflower stitched. I had to start over. First the fabric was too small for the entire pillow and obviously did not come with the kit. It looks like linen aida and is a natural rather than the kit's white. And, to my dismay, I simply could not figure out which section of the chart mother had started on.  I now realize it was foolish to cut the fabric into a square. I kept her start on the fabric, but now it's on the edge, when I should have left that long and included it at the bottom of the design in her memory. I need to find a creative way to still display it when I finish the center part of the chart.

Cecilia's Samplers Freebies

Four small freebie designs:

JBW:  Sailing Alphabet
CherryWood Designs: Give Me Floss 
NeedleWorkPress: Summer
The Queen Stitch: Sunset Beach

Friday, May 18, 2012

Wow! Nominated for Award

I just found out I've been nominated by the the Arlington OEM for the 2012 Jack Colley Citizen Corps Award, the highest honor awarded to a Texas Citizen Corps volunteer and only the second year it is to be awarded. The recipient will be announced June 15th at the Texas Unites Conference in San Antonio.  Because there are so many other volunteers serving various disaster relief agencies throughout the state who have put in so much more time and effort, I have no expectation whatsoever of "winning," nonetheless: Wow!  BTW, last year's recipient was later invited to the White House as a "Champion of Change." Hmmmm.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


What's more, in attempting to extract whatever data he could from "dead" hard drive on previous computer to save to NEW computer hard drive, my friend, GERRY (who helped me out last computer crash as well), discovered what was REALLY wrong with the old hard drive and fixed it. So as of 10pm last night, I have TWO working computers! No more trips to Library to use computer! HOORAY, HOORAH!!! But what do I do with two computers? Hmmmm. My next technical expenditures will be for newer monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day. This was the first without my Mom. My DD made dinner for my Dad, brother (in town for 4 days), and sister. Very nice and I was very appreciative. Dad says he came out of his computer room one evening last week and Mother was standing beside the table and looked up him, then disappeared. I asked what he said to her, but he was too shocked to say anything. When I asked if she was her young self or as she was in her middle years all he would say was that she looked wonderful.

The Office of Emergency Management has asked if I would like to attend a conference for volunteers and volunteer agency personnel in San Antonio in June. I said yes. They will cover mileage or flight plus hotel. It's a 275 mile trip each direction and I am NOT fond of driving distances by myself.  OTOH, the mileage expense will be enough to cover meals as well, while flying will not. Because of the need to show up early to airports, it's likely to take longer to get from home to airport to hotel than simply driving - assuming no road issues, that is. Not sure which I will do yet. I haven't been anywhere since 2008, and leaving cats at home for 2 nights shouldn't traumatize them too much. Wonder if they'd spring for a cruise instead? :D

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Still Sans Computer : ( Most recent home invader

I had hoped to have new computer before now. Not sure on timetable as am relying on busy friend to build one - albeit on the far less expensive side. Good news: Expensive medical tests say I'm just fine.  But why do I still feel so lousy? Been stitching on the Sunflower pillow. I'd originally planned only to stitch the center portion, then decided to add 12 extra rows outside the second inside border, then decided to add another 3. Meaning at this point most of what I've got left is mostly like trying to stitch hundreds of often confetti stitches - which is a very very slow slog! Must now repair or replace my non-working air conditioner. It's already up to 84 in the house. TOO WARM!

I've previously posted about wild critters that have found their way inside my house. Baby possums, Baby raccoon, big white rabbit (really!), various mice and rats rodents I do NOT want in my house, and cringe when the only solution is setting out poison because I also have cats who only occasionally bother to catch one, but don't want to risk poisoning them. I walked into the living room late Wednesday afternoon, and caught a shadow and strange movement in the far corner near the fireplace out of the corner of my eye. Huh? Then it moved. What?? OMG, surely NOT!! Making it short: it was a REALLY BIG SNAKE with very bad temper. No, I didn't scream, though OMG was said several times. I quickly determined it looked like rattler, but didn't have the triangular head so wasn't a poisonous variety. I hoped. Then it buzzed its tail at me and decided to protect itself by making the top 1/2 of it's length a tight S then striking out trying to bite me. WHOA! Then I wasn't exactly sure, pretty sure it wasn't poisonous, but .... With plastic container between me and it and a long mop handle I managed to herd it into the fireplace and closed the fire screen. THEN called 911 who turned the report over to after-hour Animal Services. Thinking it was safely trapped then went to put on clothing necessary for inside human visitors. In the 30 seconds that took it got out of the fireplace and then wouldn't cooperate when I tried a second time to herd it back in, including more tail buzzing and striking out. At which point it slid off the other end of the hearth and behind furniture against that wall. Eventually Animal Services called and said it was probably a Texas Rat Snake (non-poisonous) and finally showed up a few minutes later. In the meantime, I'd been watching that wall hoping it did not get any further. It didn't and was coiled up under the book case my TV sits on. The AS guy grabbed the upper part of it with something like what you would use to take something off a high shelf. It got loose a couple of times, and it took the 2 of us to get it into a plastic container: Him grappling front part and holding buzzing tail and me closing the lid on top of it when he finally managed to get both ends in the box at the same time, a somewhat difficult feat because of mad and uncooperative snake. His first comment upon seeing it: "It IS a big snake." Like 4-1/2 -5 feet long and 2" in diameter. He seemed to be expecting the garter snake variety, the kind of thing I'd just have picked up and carried out on my own without a second thought. After getting both ends in container and lid on and latched, he carried container out and transferred snake from mine to his. It only got loose twice in the process, once almost making it into the flower bed. It again took 2 of us to get it in the container and lid closed. He promised to take it somewhere safe and release it. I told him it was welcome to stay here but only if it would stay OUT of the house AND eat all the local rats and mice. Texas Rat snakes are aggressive and ill-tempered by nature, are excellent climbers and will eat anything it can get in its mouth (birds, rodents, lizards, etc), and though it didn't show lump of having had recent undigested meal, it was definitely well fed. Drat! I didn't even think about taking a photo. Overall, after the initial shock and worry of it getting somewhere else where I couldn't find it, my biggest anxiety 1) was anxiously trying to straighten before someone came in my admittedly messy house while at same time trying to watch to make sure snake was staying put as if it got loose in the house, I would NEVER find it again, and 2) oh no, how did it get in and how LONG had it been inside? I DON'T KNOW! Now I'm wondering whether it was female and if it laid eggs anywhere inside. OMG!!

Some photos here:

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New Computer

Apparently 9 years old is too old despite new hard drive and 100 times more RAM. The hard drive I bought for old one was wrong type, but Gerry, my RACES friend, said he could build me a new one for about the same amount I'd paid for the hard drive, with the new hard drive, of course. Remaining is the issue as to whether or not I can recover any of my data that wasn't backed up (way too long ago.) Can't get at through Windows, but another friend managed access to at least some of it through Linux. Two weeks, I'll be without home computer for at least another 2 weeks. In mean time I've been using the library, and occasionly at Dads.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Arlington tornado

UPDATE:  ARRL (American Radio Relay League - a nation-wide organization for amateur radio operators) has an article about the North Texas tornadoes that mentions me - but didn't bother to see if they'd spelled my name right.

Not only did my hard drive crash AGAIN a couple of weeks ago, I've been very busy helping out at the Office of Emergency Management as the result of the tornado in SW Arlington on 4/3. I was called to come in to handle emergency radio traffic on the 4th because of the severe weather. I was sitting at the intersection next to the Administration Building when the sirens went off. My Dad was going to drive my car home to the garage he'd cleaned out (because of predicted large hail), but I told him FORGET THE CAR, YOU'RE COMING UP WITH ME!  (As I'm looking up to make sure something wasn't about to drop on top of us.) Very interesting experience. No time to be frightened, even when a spotter reported the circulation was right on top of our location. Circulation is rotation in the clouds, NOT a funnel or tornado. HOWEVER, someone took a photo of a funnel only 1/4 mile from our location. It's not a tornado unless the circulation actually reaches the ground. I left the EOC about 6:30pm. Because I sit in a windowless office with a screen way above my head showing radar, and was so busy listening to radio traffic and reporting emergency events to staff, I was unaware there had been a tornado in Lancaster at the same time. The whole area was EXTREMELY fortunate. No deaths, only 2 or 3 serious injuries, the Arlington tornado missed 2 elementary schools and a huge high school by as little as 250 feet. Had it continued on it's original path and not dissipated, it would have hit my neighborhood 2 or 3 minutes later. There has been an over-abundance of volunteers (leaving hundreds of good hearted citizens disappointed that there was nothing they were needed to do.) Nor were donations originally accepted, then later referred to Mission Arlington once a distribution plan was set up. The areas hit by the Arlington tornado were almost exclusively upper middle income and higher, thus most, if not all, are covered by insurance and though FEMA has been in to assess the damages, the likelihood of getting funds from FEMA is small. (They only cover non-insured expenses.)

I called the next morning to find out if our CERT volunteers had been activated, and instead was asked to come in to secure and schedule volunteers for both the Emergency Operations Center and the Tornado Recovery Center. Subsequently, I have been at the EOC pretty much from 7am to 11pm (or later) every night through Sunday. Went home at 8pm on Monday. Now I'm preparing documentation for the OEM/EOC to determine how many different people and how many hours they've put in. So far I've got a total of 215 volunteer hours for the EOC (not including the 3+ I spent today trying to figure out how Excell and Word 2007 work - I HATE THEM - way too overly complicated and far too many unnecessary graphics - I wish they'd leave what works perfectly well ALONE!). I don't have the total hours for volunteers working at the TRC yet, but it was operational from 8am to 8pm Tuesday through 6pm this past Monday. Close to 100 more I suspect. UPDATE:  CERT volunteers logged 185 hours at the Tornado Recovery Center. Altogether, in less than a week, volunteers totaled over 400 hours assisting at the Office of Emergency Management, the TRC, Fire, Police and citizens of Arlington.

One interesting story that I haven't seen published is that when the tornado hit St. Barnabas church, it sucked up or blew away hundreds of plastic Easter eggs, meaning some folks found unexpected plastic eggs hidden in their yards this year. Thankfully, my daughter was working at home. Straight line winds or a small spin up hit her office and blew in windows where she would otherwise have been sitting. God is good!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

New Debbie Cripps Freebie

Small Violet Posy by Debbie Cripps.

Still stitching on the Dimensions Sunflower pillow chart my mother started before she passed. I really don't care for the greens in the kit. Not sure whether to change or to just live with them. She substituted a small piece of 14ct natural linen aida, which gives it a more rustic look. I'm having to guess at which of the 5 yellows/gold are which. Two of the light yellows are so slightly different that after stitched I can't tell the difference. I'm only stitching the center and the borders, and maybe 3 or 4  rows of that outside mishmash.That's all the available fabric and all I'm interested in stitching anyway, although the outside design appeals to me more than the solitary sunflower center.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

New Permin Freebie

Cute Easter type duckie

Medical stuff lately so I haven't been keeping up with the Freebies. Hopefully I'll get back to that in the near future.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

PIF: Columbine Bookmark - Winner

Winner of the PIF drawing is Dee in T!

Thank you to all the ladies who entered. Wish I had multiples so I could send you each one!

Happy Stitching,  LindaMc

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Columbine Bookmark

Except for a couple of stitches, all I  have left is a LOT of backstitching - not my favorite thing. Although the original kit came with 15ct aida banding, floss, felt backing and a tassel, I received this as a PIF with only the well worn chart, on which someone had marked the DMC colors, and some left over floss, though I mostly used my own. This is stitched on 28ct natural linen banding, which has a slightly wider center stitching area. After stitching the 904 mid-value green, it was difficult to distinguish the difference with 895 dark green so frogged it all and started over. But after considerable search thru stash ended up blending the 904 with 319 instead. I added a couple of spaces to each side of the design before the border to make it fit better between the bands, only to discover no matter where I "centered" it would be one square off on the banding. Am adding a couple of stitches to the left side of the flowers and moved the bottom vine one left and added an extra stitch to make the design more centered. I may restitch that center tendril as well to add a couple of stitches in width. When finished it will likely become a small wall hanging instead.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New Freebie Bookmark

In Honor of my Mother and in Appreciation for over 20,000 Hits on my Blog

My Mother made hundreds of bookmarks for church bazaars, family reunions, and other occasions during her lifetime, often designing as she stitched along.  I've attached many to my bedroom walls (needless to say an eclectic assortment of photos, cross stitch, and original art) with a push pin rather than use for the purpose intended. This verse was particularly meaningful to her, as it is to me, and this holds place of honor on the wall right next to my bed.  Provided you include the copyright information, the chart is yours to share without restriction.

  • Stitched on white 14ct Aida, stitched area 92w x 18h 
  • Finished size of fabric (stitching plus necessary extra rows) apx 7' wide by 1-1/8" high
  • DMC colors used:  907 (light green), 905 (darker green), 725 (topaz) and 315 (deep mauve). Or chose your own.
  • 9" length of 1-3/8 grosgrain ribbon, burgundy or your choice
  • Lightweight fusible webbing just one row smaller than fabric
  • Center stitched piece with webbing on ribbon. Iron. Notch ends of ribbon.
  • Be sure to add a French knot above the "i" in "with." Just realized I missed it.

My Cousin's Obituary

William William "Bill" Anthony Hensley 
(July 15, 1945 - February 8, 2012)

William "Bill" Anthony Hensley, 66 of Mounds. OK, passed away on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at his home. He was born on July 15, 1945 in Burnet, TX. to Marion and Earlene Hensley. He was grounds keeper for Greenwood Cemetery. He served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam Era. He was of the Baptist faith. He enjoyed camping, fishing, and spending time with family. He is preceded in death by his parents, Marion and Earlene Hensley. He is survived by his wife Beverly (Tyler) Hensley of the home; children, Robert Jones of the home, Janet Smith of Sapulpa, OK., Tracie Miller of Ravia, OK., Kimberly Parizon of Decatur, TX., Jonathan Jones and Jamie Jones both of Mounds, OK., and James Hensley of Ramona, OK. ; 21 grandchildren; 4 great-grandchildren; and sister, Janet Nunez of Erath, LA. Visitation will be held from 6-8:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, 2012 at the Smith Funeral Chapel, Sapulpa, OK. Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 13, 2012 at Smith Funeral Chapel, Sapulpa, OK. Officiating will be the Reverend Stephanie Sargent. Bearers will be Chester White, Danny White (Rossie), Mark Roberts, Tony Roberts, Curtis Parker, Billy Smith, John Brooks, Billy Raye Young. Honorary Bearers will be Wade Jones, Marcus Tarter, Thomas Miller, Cody Jones, Angel Garcia, Clyde Smith, Sean Keen, Lance Keen, Joshua Hensley, Colby Jones, and Jonathan Jones, II. Interment to follow at Mounds Cemetery. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Smith Funeral Home, Sapulpa, OK.
His mother was my mother's sister. I had no idea he had so many grandchildren or great-grandchildren. The long drive and wintry weather prevent some of us from attending the funeral today.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Shipping GS Cookies to Troops, New Stitching Project, etc.  A wonderful volunteer organization my sister actively participates with. If for no other reason, you might read about their endeavors and the appreciation they receive in return.

I've been under the weather for some time. After 2 rounds of antibiotics, I've got a specialist appt next week. And in testing for this one, something else showed up. Unless told otherwise, I'm putting that one off for now..

Stitching: I just picked up the ABC's of Aging by LK from my LNS. Anyone stitched this already?  I didn't realize it was a "kit" so a LOT more expensive than I expected since I thought it was just the chart. But at least it'll have fabric with it, right?. WRONG. Instead Weeks and CC threads and some DMC I have no need or want of.  Since I ordered it without asking enough questions up front, I felt obligated to plunk down $34 (including tax) for it. Most I've ever spent for any needlecraft project. And I STILL have to decide what I have around here to stitch it on as fabric was going to be another $15. Good grief! I finally started stitching a Columbine bookmark I received quite a while back as a PIF. I'll PIF, well worn chart and some of the DMC theads, as soon as the stitching is complete. I'll post that separately later for those interested. I'm stitching on 28ct natural linen banding as all I received was the chart and some threads as well. It's lovely, but I don't look forward to all that backstitching, 

Sad family news: My just-older first cousin passed away this week after a long battle with cancer. His funeral is scheduled on Monday in Oklahoma, a 5-hour drive. Some of the Texas family may go, and I should, but predicted wintry weather may preclude anyone from here from attending. Though very ill, he insisted on coming to Mother's visitation and funeral last June. He should never have made the trip and could not make the funeral after all. He's the first one of my generation to pass - a very sobering and sombering reality. His sister has been battling breast cancer at the same time. She is not well either. RIP, cousin Bill. Prayers and good thoughts for their family are much appreciated.