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

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Jim McMillen's Big Band/Jazz arrangement for Let It Snow

a new single, recorded by Laura Dickenson this past week at Capital Records. Outstanding and fun. Some of the top studio and other musicians in LA,.

Let It Snow (LA version)

Let Laura know how much you like it on FB and/orYou Tube and share the link Freely!!

Question?  I've recently been unable to get south on You Tuve and some, but not other videos. When this first post to Laura's page on FB I had terrific audio. Now silence even on FB. Any one have any clue?


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Newest (and past) Permin Freebies

December 2015 - Santa with Goose  (cute)
November 2015 - Candles with Poinsettia (nice)

Most are small, simple and quick-stitch designs that will fit a 2" or 3" frame (depends on your fabric count and shape of the design). Perfect for a greeting card insert or glue-on and  quick Christmas ornies, etc. Also some button covers and at least one placemat or corner design for something. Nice mostly quick stitch designs when you want to set aside that BAP or do a quick project. The chart sheet includes any special stitching or instructions along with the shape of the appropriate small frame.

Best yet: Explore freebies back to May 2011 by changing the year and month at the end of the url.  July 2012 would be 2012_07 for example. HOWEVER, not all months are still available (I only spot checked primarily for December).. While May 2011 was still there, the next one was November. I found at lesast one duplicate. But if this sort of design/stitching interests you, it might be worth a bit of exploration. Without a photo on the chart sheet, sometimes it's a little hard to tell what the design is. My favorite has been the 2015_01  Deer in Forest scene. Wished I had used evenweave.

Note I'm thinking and talking about cross-stitching again! I'm waiting on my new glasses to come in but I'm so used to reading blur that while these Walmart readers are definitely not perfect, they are better than nothing,- even if I sometimes have to wear a second pair on top of the first to read - and stitch?

Update:  I've gone through and d/l all the freebies I back to the partial 2011. IF I still have the motivation, I MAY lst them by month, but only IF THERE IS SIGNIFICANT INTEREST.. A LOT of flowers, only a few of which I've indicate the colors when I saved.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

My Brother's New Christmas Album!!

Skin & Bones Christmas

For anyone interested in a new take on Christmas classics, my professional  musician/arranger brother, Jim, and professional percussionist friend, Johnny Sandoval, have put out a new Christmas Album called Skin & Bones Christmas. Skin = the conga drums and apx. 50 other percussion instruments played by Johnny with a couple of others on a couple of tracks. Bones = the 6 trombone and 2 bass trombone parts my brother Jim plays. You can hear clips of the individual tracks at the cdbaby links. Different but definitely ENJOYABLE Christmas music. It's also available through The Horn Guys, which has a better cover photo and a short video of Jim demonstrating trombone techniques for a locally produced internet program, but no clips. The album is also supposed to be on Amazon, but I haven't seen it there yet.

I know. With celebrating trombone and drum playing skeletons on the cover, it definitely strikes me as more Halloween than Christmas, but really it is jazzy and mellow brass traditional Christmas music with a Latin and other percussion beats behind it. The graphic on the cover is based on similar medieval artwork and with added elements by their art director. Ok, it's really strange, but it sure gets one's attention! 

The album features Jim playing 6 trombone and 2 bass trombone parts, and Johnny on around 50 percussion instruments all layered and synced together into the Master and individual tracks.  The styles range from R&B, Samba, Latin Jazz, and several others.

Not trying to sell albums for him (well maybe a couple) but just like to share my brother's talent and sense of humor. Jim sent me the album last week, which is when I discovered the DVD player on my computer isn't working. So far all I can hear is the clips online. :O  The album is supposed to be on Amazon shortly. 

BTW, the album would make a great Christmas exchange gift with a surprisingly nice surprise for the lucky recipient. Just sayin' .. Wonder if *I* ordered one for that purpose it'd get here by Thursday?

Merry Christmas Everyone

LindaMc - happy that after almost a full year that I've FINALLY been given a prescription for a new pair of glasses - just hoping they will actually work!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Hershner's:  Tea Cozy Ornament   Gingerbread JOY Banner
  - many others, look under needlework

Leslie Teare Christmas Owl - and Christmas Baby Deer - be sure to click on her blog which has many other recent freebies including including Woodland creatures and Birthday Fairies.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Freebies and Some Catch Up

Jacky Lonen has shut down her blog. Her beautiful designs are free until such time the blog disappears:  Includes flowers, birds and other designs.

From CEC: Christmas Elf

Stitch Niche:  Is for sale. The family and staff held a Wake  for Kathy at a local pub,  J Gilligans. Many stitchers, friends and family came, some I'd met at just drop-in shop visits. Beautiful eulogies by family members. Lots of Miller Lite, Kathy's favoirte brew, and J Gilligans Irish Nachoes (featured on the Travel Channel). Good food, good friends, and happy memories of a wonderful woman .

Eyes: Although released by cataract surgeon 10 days ago, still having issues and have seen my decades-long prescribing/diagnostic optometrist and a glaucoma doctor since because 1) I didn't trust the prescription the surgeon's tech determined, and 2) my pressures had gone up despite the iStints and glaucoma drops. After well over an hour of refraction by the optometrist he determined a setting that would give me 20/20 vision in my good eye anyway, and the best possible in the bad eye. Then the NEW glaucoma doctor 1) determined the pressures were a bit lower and she wasn't concerned and 2) there was no more swelling or inflammation caused by the surgery, but 3) my eyes were still very dry and my eyeballs/corneas irritated despite all the artificial tears, all of which affect my vision. Further, that my vision was still in a state of flux and she suggested I not get either prescription filled and either see my regular glaucoma doctor in North Dallas (NOOO)  or I could come back to see her in a month. Really?  PERFECT!  I'd already decided to search for a new glaucoma doctor anyway. I won't even have to get on a highway to drive to their FW office! My vision is overall better, but I'm STILL going to have to wear trifocals!! I may ask optomotrist for a bi-focal prescription and find somewhere I can get a really cheap pair. Haven't decided.

But over all I was disappointed, deflated, irritated,  PO'd, depressed. Any and everything other than happy and joyous, pleased or satisfied. I was looking forward to being released and get to get my life back and do things I haven't been able to do because of the eye problems only to discover I still have all the same problems (except no cataracts) and now new ones caused by the newly implanted lenses themselves. I'm sick and tired of all of this. New doctor told me I'd have to be patient, some eyes just take longer to heal. Yeah, I've heard that and Easier said than done. I'm sick and tired of being "patient."


Monday, October 26, 2015

Very Sad News

Kathy Morrisey of Stitch Niche in Arlington, TX passed away Saturday evening. I've not heard anything about the future of the shop. So very sad and such a loss for the North Texas stitching community..

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Now that I can almost see well enough to get back on the computer: here are a couple of Freebie opportunities:

Twelve Days of Christmas - a Mystery Sampler from Plum Street Samplers

Halloween Witch & Pumpkin from Gazette 94


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Still recovering from Cataract surgery

Very complicated. Lengthy recovery time. After 2 months first eye still not stable. Had to have second eye  done anyway because of high pressure that required immediate removal of cataract. High sensitivity to preservatives in eye drops (14 a day for 8 days  then down to 9  for the rest of the month  then only five for the rest of my life or until somebody changes their mind. I'm tired of eyedrops which sting my eyes and cause one or both of them to tear for hours on end.) which creates yet another problem affecting my vision. I'm bored. I'm stressed out. I can't read. I can barely focus on anything on television. I hope my number 2 eye heas faster than number 1 otherwise I'll be sitting here for another 2 months doing little if anything. I knew it was going to be complicated and recovery will take longer than normal. I  just had no idea just how complicated and how long this is going to take. Thank goodness for DVDs that I've seen so often I don't really have to focus to know what's going on. Hope everyone else is working on Halloween and Christmas  presents and ornies. Check the freebee list. Sorry it's become so out of date.

Update:  Only 3 more days of post-op drops. Vision in first eye has degraded. Don't know what that means in the long run. Eyes have gone from tearing constantly to producing so few, if any, that I'm having to use artificial tears several times a day - and night.  Driving is even more problematic, especially at night. As soon as I'm 60 days post op, I'm getting other opinions. Seems other doctor's wont see you before then at the earliest or until after you've been released.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New My Big Toe Freebie on Wichelt

Amazing Grace - ornament sized design by My Big Toe available at  Click on FREE GRAPH. Check out the other Wichelt freebies while there!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Henna & Oscar

Henna turned 19 last week.She came to live with me as a maybe 6 week old kitten my neighbor's teenage daughter rescued from a microwave at a party she attended. !@#!@# !!! Once she reached adulthood, she's never been particularly lovey dovey, never wanted to be picked up or held for more than a few seconds at a time, and takes great exception to most other things these days, but for a cat over the age of 90 she's in pretty good shape. And though she has a "galloping" heart rate, she's not on any medications. That's remarkable!! She's weighed as much as 11.5 pounds resulting in reduced calorie food for years. Now she's somewhat underweight, so I'm trying to get her to eat as much as possible.

Happy 19th Birthday, Henna! (taken 7-15-15)
I figured Oscar was one of the local ferals when he showed last summer. I may have seen him even earlier than that, but I'm not for sure it was him. He started coming inside during the fall to eat and use the litter box. (Feral? Litter Box??)  I slowly got him used to me, such that when he showed up injured in early January, I simply picked him up and put him in the cat carier - no muss, no fuss. which is when I exclaimed "You've been handled before!" Realizing at that moment he wasn't a feral but likely someone's long-missing pet. To the vet's amazement, he tested negative for FIV, etc, but surprisingly wasn't micro-chipped. He'd been hanging around and/or in my house for at least 6 months. He needed treatment and since locating an owner anytime soon, if ever, wasn't an answerable question, I paid to have him stitched up and while he was under sedation, neutered. Three days later, he dropped the still a bit distant behavior and suddenly began to rub against everything in reach and purring like mad. That abrupt behavior change was really interesting to watch. He'd suddenly decided I was his and this was home. I did look for ads re missing big gray-blue cats for a while, but he'd been around so long by then if there was a missing notice, I couldn't find one. He's smart enough that if he was from around here he'd have long since found his way home. When the stitches were removed, I had him microchipped with my info. I originally thought he might be a Russian Blue since he has that unmistakeable blue grey coloring, but wrong color eyes, and he was already too big. I started researching other big blue cats with gold eyes and wooly fur and discovered and now and absolutely convinced he's a CHARTREUX. Mostly if not pure bred. How a  Breed still relatively uncommon in America ended up a stray on my windowsill I'll never know. In January he weighed 14.1 pounds and the vet said he was a bit too thin. A month later he'd already gained 2 pounds and in May he weighed 18.1 pounds. The vet said he'd be better off at 16 pounds. He's now up to 19.1 pounds. GOOD GRIEF!!  Since he's not outside 24/7 running it off, Oscar definitely needs to go on a diet!

Oscar January close-up -14.6 pounds

At the Vet's in May - 18.1 pounds! He's gained another pound since then.
Watching it snow in February

Again, I am convinced he's a Chartreux. His eyes are gold, He's got the distinctive wooly fur and at 16 to 18 pounds is the right size. And then there's the quiet trilly meow also particular to the breed. However, when he REALLY wants out or attention, he can get quite loud and insistent. If he's just announcing, it's the trills. But mostly he WANTS OUT. At times he runs to every window and tries to find a way. I've discovered that's usually linked to an urgent need to go potty, despite the fact he and Henna share 2 litter boxes. A couple of times he's left me a present - I guess because when he couldn't get out he didn't have time to make it back to the litter box. I am NOT happy about that! To get out he jumps in and out of the windows over my bed (once on my shoulder - it's like getting hit by a falling bowling ball, and for a long time bit my toes and grabbed my leg with all 4 paws. That was until he bit my heel while I was asleep and I inadvertently kicked him with said bitten heel right in the face. I apologized profusely but still feel awful about having done so. He did get the message and hasn't bit the back of my heel since. And when I say NO or make an irritating squawk he does quit the nipping and capturing. He also knows the word "stay" and no longer ALWAYS tries to get out the front door when I leave. Keeping him inside when I get home is another matter. His present favorite game is to flop on the floor and TRY to attack my feet as I step over him (after a belly rub, of course), just not as robustly as before. His favorite sleep position is flat on his back legs fully splayed. Silly, beautiful cat.


After years of putting it off, I suddenly need to have cataracts removed ASAP. Because I have small pupils and other issues, the surgery is going to be more complicated and take longer to perform and heal from than normal cataract surgery. Provided something doesn't come up in the mean time, first eye will be toward the end of July and the second toward the end of August. Because of the glaucoma, the eye surgeon will also be implanting a tiny stint in each eye. I'm told I will never know it's there. For years I've been telling myself, and those who feel compelled and entitled to scold me for continuing to put it off, that I'd rather see blur (which I am an expert at reading, by the way) than run the higher risk of cataract surgery. However, now because of recent faster growth of the cataracts that impacts on my glaucoma issues, it's more like I'd rather run the risk of cataract surgery than go blind from glaucoma. As I've already had 2 previous laser procedures done on both eyes that had no effect whatsoever on the pressure, I rather doubt this will either and I'm advised that more surgery may be well necessary in the future.  I am quite nervous and NOT happy about any of this!! So if you are so inclined a small prayer or kind wish would be appreciated.

The new Prairie Schoolers are out, but sadly with the news that after 32 years Pam and Nancy are retiring and these are their final releases. All good things ......

Monday, April 13, 2015

Personal Updates

Just completed a 3-day FEMA CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Train the Trainer course and am now certified to teach Basic CERT classes. This is the online version  It's a start but the in-person training includes hands on training, more unites, and the opportunity to ask question, meet current CERT members and professional members of the community brought in to teach many of the NINE units.  Not to mention that local CERT organizations don't recognize the on-line training and one would need to take the in-person class to become active. But it's interesting and better than nothing. The goal is to teach individuals how to prepare for and take care of themselves, their families and their neighbors after a disaster until professional first responders can arrive. It also provides you the opportunity to assist first responders in a large scale event or disaster as well. Most of the material is REALLY interesting.

I've also been pulling together Radio Operators to assist Race Organizers before and during the Lone Star Races in Arlington on April 26th. This is the second year I've had the opportunity to do so. Last year we used 8 operators. This year will be 16 or more.  Last year Start/Finish was at The Ballpark (Texas Rangers), now formally called Globe Life Park. This year Start Finish starts in front of City Hall. The 5K and 10K have routes through Central Arlington, particularly through the large UTArlington campus. The Half-Marathon heads east, past Cowboy AT&T stadium, past The Ballpark, the back just the other side of The Ballpark, within 1 block of where Mother lies in rest, 2 blocks from my church and 2 blocks the other direct from I grew up, south for a bit over a mile then west almost to my neighborhood, then back east, cutting behind UTA's Maverick Stadium, down Greek Row, 3 blocks back north then a short distance east to City Hall. Although I did all this successfully by myself last year, this time the OEM asked the guy who was my mentor, then walked out, then came back after I had no choice but to ask for technical help, to also assist. I'm still doing most of the actual recruitment, correspondence and document preparation - that's mostly because I did it last year and still have the forms and info on my computer. :D This year I'm keeping time records!

As for the seminar, it was a 26.1 mile, 30 to 55 minute drive depending on traffic and route. All this on only 7 hours sleep the entire 3 days. That CERTAINLY was NOT my intention!!! I just couldn't get to sleep after I got home in good measure because of all the other stuff I was already working on here. Saturday night the only sleep I got was sitting at the computer (we had to do a teach-back which I learned would not be acceptable in the form we'd planned until after my teaching partner had already left and it was after 5:30. Since he was staying at hotel because his commute was slightly longer, it was up to me to put together all the props for the demonstrations then figured out what I THOUGHT would work, wouldn't. So I had to decide what to do on my own and didn't have the opportunity to tell him until we got to class the next morning. He wasn't happy. I don't blame him. I was a severely anxious nervous wreck. I don't know why. I've presented court cases and taught college, but this time I could barely function. We only had to go 5 minuets, nothing for someone who had 75 minute classes. Or so you'd think. I swear I only talked (barely) for 90 second when the instructor called time. I also swear that other teams had FAR longer than just 5 minutes each. I think some others did as well because looks started being made. My poor teaching partner hadn't had time to rehearse with the props at all, couldn't get his protective gloves on, etc. I felt badly for him and quite guilty because the center prop we were going to use that really didn't work, he tried to use anyway. But we both passed. Maybe one day we'll laugh about it. At the time I was mortified re myself and felt very VERY badly for him.  Thankfully I had 2 micro naps just before the review for the final test (which I was also very anxious about but turned out just fine. I missed one question, probably everyone else made 100.

I'm sure all this is so fascinating (NOT), but I'll end here by stating emphatically:  I WISH I HAD HAD THE TRAINING I TOOK THIS PAST WEEKEND BEFORE I TAUGHT AT THE COLLEGE LEVEL!!  No idea whether I'll ever teach a CERT class, or any other class for that matter, but I now know MUCH better how to do so.

No, I haven't done any stitching in 3 or 4 months. I'm thinking about stitching but I never get around to picking up a project or a needle.

Everyone have a great week!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Added freebie site

Friday, March 6, 2015

Cat freebie, Update and some DFW winter pics

Tom Pudding Designs - A House is Not a Home without a Cat

Update: I removed the posts about my fall and black eye. Some remnants of black eye and small bump remain. I've been really skittish about falling again, so with all the wintry weather the past 10 days, I'm staying home and in general being extremely careful when I'm up and about! I was really thankful when I was told to "Linda, stay home," when I was literally ready to walk out the front door on the 28th to help with the Cowtown Marathon. Instead I sat at the computer from about 6am to 2:30pm logging (taking notes) on the amateur radio traffic. Except for the Half Marathon that they ran a day late, the rest of the 2-day event was cancelled. After all the runners left the corrals, it got pretty boring. Should have used the time to stitch between radio transmissions!

Our recent weather: For those under several FEET of snow, please don't laugh derisively. I truly don't know how you handle it. We normally get only an inch maybe 2 all winter, if any.

February 27th - up the street
February 27th -  My driveway - 2 inches of snow topped with 1/4 inch of ice
March 5th - Looking across the street - 1/4" sleet topped with 2.8" of lovely snow.
March 5th - Straight out the back door. Those are houses on the higher ground across the creek.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Heart Sachets and Love Birds

Heart Sachets  From Cross Stitch Collection  (I love the padded hanger!)
Love Birds Heart  From Janie Hubble Designs

Monday, January 26, 2015

Finished Halloween Biscornu Freebie

I just discovered a Korean website that has posted several photos of my Halloween Biscornu design along with the chart, but thankfully giving me credit and a link back.  I've never seen it stitched and it's REALLY CUTE (giving self pat on back!)  You can visit the page here.  I translated the page, but I never did see a "contact" link so I could ask permission to use a couple of the photos. If you find one, please let me know! Also, if anyone is interested, I can change the year to 2015. :D

Pre-Christmas Freebies Still posted

From Cross Stitcher Magazine and Cross Stitch Collection, the free charts (that were posted "only for 24 hours") can still be reached through the following links: 
  1. Day 1 (December 12th) : From Cross Stitch collection:  Christmas Carol - a Victorian Village with carolers!  104H x 192w - must d/l by 2 P.M. December 15th (not sure which time zone so don't wait!) From Cross Stitcher Magazine: Reindeer Cushion - all of Santa's reindeer including Rudolf by Kate Mawdsley; individual designs suitable for smaller projects - d/l by the 15th
  2. Day 4 (December 15th)Seasons Tweetings - 4 card/ornie designs and 3 gift tags
  3. Day 9 (December 20th) - lovely dove ornament charts to download 
  4. Day 12 (December 23rd) - download two floral Thank You cards to stitch 

Thursday, January 15, 2015


For those who have taken a look at my "Reading List Page, you'll see that the ONLY comment was made by author, Lea Wait, in August, 2013 about her upcoming cozy mystery "stitching series."  I had read all her Antique Print cozy mysteries to date and posted them to my Reading List, but how she ran across it, I haven't a clue. I was surprised and delighted that she had. As for the new stitching series, I've been waiting ever since.

Twisted Threads, was released on January 6th. In honor of its release there have been a few give-aways. I was amazed and delighted to learn that I won a copy! Wow!!!. Can't wait to receive and read it! Thank you Lea Wait and Dru Ann. I'm sure it will be an intricate plot involving a needlepoint piece written by an author who is very skilled in crafting plots, characters and descriptions. I'll recommend it having yet to even read it!

Shadows on a Maine Christmas, released last September, is a continuation of her Antique Print mystery series, which includes fascinating details about various antique prints - many of which are woven into the story line. Each chapter begins with a comment and/or picture about an antique print, many of which are incorporated into the storyline. The information is authentic and fascinating- Lea Wait is an antique print dealer in real life. For example: Shadows of a Down East Summer is multi-period, the story interwoven with a summer spent on the Maine coast and the prints/paintings by Winslow Homer.

Read about Lea, her background and her books for children and adults on her website!}

Not a cozy mystery fan? Didn't realize I was/would be either until the last few years. Seeing as how I read The Complete Sherlock Homes the summer between 6th and 7th grade, and all of the Mrs. Pollifax novels, starting with one in a Readers Digest Condensed Books volume at about the same age,  makes you wonder why not, doesn't it?  Give Lea's books a read. I'm pretty sure you'll be hooked as well.

I highly recommend Lea's books for adults and children to all those cozy mystery readers. Actually I recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good read!

BTW, my neice, Denise Belinda McDonald, who has had several e-books published/released, is starting to write cozy mysteries. She's sent me a copy of the one she is currently shopping. It's my next "read!" Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

A New Freebie Every Friday

Happiness is Cross Stitching - New in 2015 - Monthly Cross Stitch Mini-Cats, other Mini-Cat and cross stitch freebies, gift tags and other items to print. Check out this interesting site.