Tuesday, December 03, 2013

The interview(s)

Miss Kat interviewed my Dad last night.  She's writing a paper for her Comp class and it's a biography about someone she knows.

Initially, she interviewed Kev, but she told us he was too boring.  I say she interviewed Kev, but...well, here's a wee bit of how their interview went.

Miss K:  "Where were you born?"

Kev:  "I was born in Akron, Ohio.  I think."  He turned to me and said, "I was born in Akron, right?"

Me:  "Yes, you were born in Akron."


Miss K:  "When did you get married for the first time?"

Kev:  "I married L. in..."  Turning to me again, he said, "When did L and I get married?"

Me:  "1984"

Kev:  "Yeah, 1984 and we were married for..." again, he turned to me and asked, "How long were we married?"

Me:  "Four years dear."

Kev:  "That's right."

Miss Kat thought that maybe she should interview ME about her father's life since I seemed to know the details!

So, she decided that maybe she should interview someone else.  Kev suggested my Dad, so we made arrangements to have Mom and Dad come up last night for supper and Kat could interview him.

Most of what he told her I knew, and had heard before, but he did share some stories I hadn't heard and some details to stories I knew but not to the extent he shared.  It was fun!

It was also interesting to see Kat's reactions to some facts that I just took for granted.  Both of my parents were born at home.  To me, it's a fact, not anything special...but to Miss Kat, it was a little exotic.  My parents remember when they got electricity and indoor plumbing.  Dad went to a one-room country school. Horses were his toys.

All things I just took for granted that are special and unique.  Not just Dad's story, but Mom's too!

Mom was so proud that Dad didn't have to ask her when they got married, he actually knew!  We did argue about when he broke his leg once, but decided that maybe it really was in late 1979...maybe...we're still in debate about that one.

I've always been one to ask my elders questions.  I used to ask all my grandparents for stories.  Listening to Kat and Dad last night, I realized that those conversations should happen more often between grandparents and grandchildren.  I'm glad it happened in our house last night.

Monday, August 19, 2013

August showers bring...

Since the 23 of July, we've received 12 inches of rain at our house.  That much rain while in the midst of a drought is unusual.  Much needed, received with much gratitude, and enjoyed. 

Our yard consists primarily of Buffalo Grass.  During times of drought, it goes dormant and brown awaiting enough rain to trigger growth.  Then it greens up and takes off.  Personally, Buffalo is my favorite kind of grass.  It's soft underfoot (while green, when it's dormant, it tends to crunch underfoot.)  It's a fine bladed grass and is just a nice soft shade of green.  Plus, given enough time, it can squeeze out weeds and stickers on its own--without the need of chemicals.
 Rain also can bring a lot of water.  This creek runs to the north of our house.  During one of our rainstorms, we got 1.5 inches of rain, but those 10-20 miles from us received 5-7 inches.  All that water came downstream through our creek.  The highway leading to our house was closed for an hour or so as the water crossed over the bridge.  The shot below is after the water levels started to drop.  There are a lot of farmers/ranchers in our area who are now rebuilding fence and water gaps.

 I've appreciated the rain because it's caused the wildflowers to bloom.  This batch is in my yard.  Not sure what it is, but they sure are pretty!
A not so nice "benefit" of rain are these.  Stickers, or Goat Heads, or Texas Tacks.  They've been dormant until it rained.  And now they are popping up all over the place.  Kev and I can't go outside without spotting and pulling up a plant or 10.  The pretty little yellow flowers will turn into nasty stickers.  Any time we see a little yellow flower, we get down, find the base of the plant and pull those suckers out!  The plants then go into the trash because we don't need any stickers growing into new plants.  With all the rain, the ground is nice and soft, so they pull easily.  And yet, we can't walk anywhere outside without stopping to pull stickers.  And if you walk off and leave it, you might not spot it again until it's dropped lots of stickers.  Simple trips outside now aren't so simple or quick!
 And this stuff also grows.  It however doesn't go dormant during dry spells, but grows when nothing else will.  Bindweed...the bane of my existence!  I pull and pull and and it just comes back!  It's become a jungle in many spots now.  We've not been very diligent in pulling it.  Probably because we've been picking stickers.
But we'll put up with the weeds, and the flooding, because we love the rain.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Page 4 finished!

See what happens when you have a streak of hot days?

Don't know about you, but I spent a lot of evenings inside, stitching.  Much nicer to be inside where it's 75 instead of outside where it's 100+!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

page four continued

I told you that I probably would't work on Eldar much during June!  I actually took this shot 2 days ago, and I did work some last night while we were in the house, but it's close enough to where I actually am that you probably wouldnt even notice what I've added in one day.  He has an eye now and you can see the shape of his face.  It's slow going.  Lots and lots of color changes.  Lots of subtility in shading.  I was so excited to start using green, and now I'm rather sick of green!

But, we've got the garden weeded, the flower beds are weeded--for now, and as the temps go back into the high 90's and 100's I might stitch a wee bit more in the evenings.  Maybe I'll get this page finished before Volleyball season starts!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013


Growing up as the child of Ranchers/Cow folk, I didn't go on vacation every summer.  Reasons for this include:

Not having the money for a vacation
Summers are busy times with harvest, and County Fairs, and getting ready for County Fairs
Dad didn't trust anyone else to take care of the cattle

Really, the first and last ones there were the biggest reasons we didn't do vacations.  Actually, the last reason is the main reason we didn't take vacations!

I can remember three vacations...one trip to Colorado Springs/Limon, Colorado for a Woodruff/Smiley reunion.  I was 5 or 6.  The second vacation was to Red River, New Mexico when I was 8 or 9 and the last one was when I was 15 or 16 and we went to Branson, Missouri.

On our Colorado trip, I really remember bits and pieces of being at the Family Reunion and going to the North Pole near Colorado Springs.  The trip to Red River, I remember we stayed in a cabin.  I remember it got cold at night and Steve and I loved playing in the creek--which was COLD!  I also remember watching hummingbirds.

I do remember more of the Branson trip.  I remember we packed a lunch and ate it in a park in Winfield, Kansas.  I remember Mom worrying about us being able to find a hotel room in Branson and Dad telling her to not worry, they'd have plenty of rooms.  I remember Mom also being worried that we wouldn't be able to find our way out to Silver Dollar City, and Dad telling her that he'd bet all we'd have to do was follow the traffic. (Dad's more fly by the seat of his pants, and Mom's more of a planner.  On this trip, we tended to "fly" which caused Mom some stress, but she did really well!) I remember the traffic crawling all the way out to Silver Dollar City, and thinking we'd N.E.V.E.R. get there!

I remember loving the "Fire in the Hole" ride.  I remember Mom picking out a mirrored picture with dried flowers behind glass.  It hung in our living room for years and years.  (Do you still have it Mom?  Because I think I could find a spot for it at my house!)  I remember being fascinated by the craft demonstrations.  And I remember that on the next day, we went to a water park and had a blast.

It's interesting...like my family, Kevin's family didn't do many "real" vacations.  They spent most of their vacations back in Ohio, visiting family. So neither Kev nor I have a real tradition of taking vacations.  We neither one feel neglected, or feel like we've missed out on anything.

We always intended to go on vacations.  We went to Ohio three times to visit family and one summer, we, with Kev's folks, drove to Niagara Falls.  We vacationed once in Corpus Christi.  We spent several summers camping with friends and family up near Steamboat Springs.  But there have also been several summers when we've not taken a vacation.  And the only vacation where it was "just" we four was the trip to Corpus Christi!

Our family vacations have been at the forefront of my mind these past couple of weeks because Kev and I "planned" a rather spontaneous vacation to Branson for our family this past week.

Andy graduated from college last month.  He earned his Fire Science/EMT degree, passed his National exams and found a job.  In three weeks, he'll begin his career as a Firefighter/EMT for the City of Liberal Kansas.  For some reason, it hit Kevin and I that this could be our last chance for a family vacation that would consist of "just we four."

So, Kev told me to figure out a place we could go that was relatively close and somewhere we'd never gone before.  I picked Branson--probably because it was the last vacation destination that my family had gone on, I have fond memories of it, and it was somewhere new for Kev and the kids.  So, unlike my folks, and thanks to the Web, I booked a room in advance, bought tickets to Silver Dollar City in advance, and we went on vacation.

We had a great time!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Page 3 finished!

I know it's not a big deal to many, but I just wanted to document the finish of page 3 of "Eldar."  I've got the top row finished and have started on the real central elements of the piece--the dragon itself.  I'll even get to start stitching the top corner of the book he's reading on this page!

Of course with summer upon us, I may or may not spend much time stitching, but seeing progress is so fun!  To be honest, seeing this photo brings the detail out much more to me than being up close to it day after day.  Here, I see the shadings much more fully than when I'm working on it.

Monday, June 03, 2013

If I die in the Chicken house

Yesterday I spent a little bit of time out with the Girls.

 The ones with feathers who live out in the Chicken Mansion.

I spend time out there regularly, I just don't take the camera.  I've got two baby chicks I'm raising.  I started with three, but one got out and was pecked to death.  With the price of pullet chicks these days, I wasn't very happy with the adult girls and chewed them up one side and down the other.

They're just like my kids and ignored me.

My remaining two chicks--two Americana's--are doing well and growing quickly.  I gave them a strawberry yesterday, but they didn't know what to do with it.  It was still there this morning.  I imagine I should just give up and give it to the adults.  THEY know what to do with a strawberry!  Anyway, while delivering the strawberry, I noticed that the young chicks were out of feed.  So I grabbed the feed sack to remedy that situation.

I was minding my own business, chatting to the young things, as I opened the feed sack when something jumped out at me and ran up my arm!  I let out a shriek, dropped the scoop, stood up, tried to knock that thing off me, at the same time it ran back down my arm and across the back of the chick pen behind the adult's feed barrel.

It's a wonder I didn't wet my pants too.

Once my heartbeat resumed it's normal pace, I calmly finished feeding the chicks and exited the building.

No one heard me shriek--and it was a shriek!  No one came to see what was wrong.  No one seemed to notice I wasn't in the house.  It was almost like the day I locked myself in the Chicken Mansion...no one noticed.

So, if there comes a time when you don't hear from me for a couple of months or more--call my family and have them check the Chicken house to see if I'm in there, dead.  Obviously, they won't notice if I'm gone!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Cool Canning labels & BBQ sauce

A couple of years ago, we found a recipe for homemade BBQ sauce.  We made it one weekend, loved it, and since then, I've made all our BBQ sauce.  Sometimes, I even add finely chopped jalepenos to spice it up.  (Kev's favorite.)  We have a very good friend who always makes his sauce every time he grills or barbecues.  While I love his sauce, it's never the same twice, and I like the convenience of having a jar of it in the pantry when I need it.  

So, one day last week, I canned up a batch of sauce.  I made 6 pints and a "short" pint which I put in one of my Weck jars.  (It's the tall juice jar in the back.)
Recently, while I was browsing on the web, I found some shrink-wrap canning labels.  From Modern Harvest, they make 4 designs and I couldn't decide which one I liked the most.  Fortunately they have a "sampler" pack.

Now that I didn't have to try to pick out a design, I placed an order for labels for pint jars, quart jars and 1/2 pint jars (or jelly jars.)  Very reasonably priced.  (Each package of 36 labels is $6.99.)

I liked the premise that these were shrink wrap labels, I liked the large writing area and I liked the back side which lets you mark the month and year you canned the item.  Since I hate writing on lids, and hate the little Ball labels that were never big enough, didn't fit nicely on the jars, and were a pain to scrub off empty jars, this seemed to be a perfect answer for me.

They're incredibly easy to use, just write on the label with a Sharpie pen, slide the label up on the jar (they go clear around the jar...as in shrink wrap!)  Then dip the jars in hot water for a couple of seconds.  I had my pot boiling, and I held them in for a few seconds.  I probably kept them in the water longer than I needed to, but I wanted to be sure they shrank up!  Then, I just set them on the towel to dry.  I was really pleased to see the pint labels also worked on my Weck jar, because of their shape, labels are a challenge, but no more!  I'm going to get out my Weck jars of honey and maple syrup and label them too!  And when my jars are empty, I can simply cut the labels off with a pair of scissors.

I'm actually now looking forward to canning season so I can play with my labels!  I'm also eyeballing that multi-pack of Sharpie pens so I can get really creative and colorful with my labels.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I'm a bad bad girl...or maybe just a busy busy girl

I am so sorry for not blogging any better than I have the past few months.  It's not that I don't have anything to say, it's that I've just been so darn busy!  We've had something going on every weekend since the first of April, and I'm sad to say that I just seem to be able to keep my head above water and have dropped anything that hasn't been a priority.

My house is proof of this.  I went into the bathroom the other day and really looked at the toilet.  It was filthy.  And I was ashamed of myself for letting it get in this state!  Needless to say, it got cleaned right then and there.  I haven't looked as closely at the tub...yet.  We've kept the carpet swept...somewhat...but my house does show a lack of care.

In our (my) defense, we've had two proms to get someone ready for.  Why she can't get herself ready, and why it takes her all.damn.day to get ready is beyond my comprehension, but I was roped into 'helping."  We also had one After Prom to work and build an obstacle course for.  (I'm using the Royal "WE" here.  Kev did the building.  I just helped him carry the darn thing in to the gym, set it up, and run the kids through it.)  I haven't willingly stayed up so late at night in years.  Getting to bed at 4 a.m. and waking up at 7:30 at the age of 49 is not as easy to do as it was when I was in my teens and 20's!

We've been to two auctions this spring.  We'd like to go to more, as several have come up with butchering equipment, but we've had other commitments and just haven't been able to go to them.  One we went to was a 2 day event.  The first day was the farm/workshop equipment.  The second day was the household stuff.  Kev had to work part of both days, but left me with instructions on what to bid on.  I bought him the back blade for the tractor he wanted.  I paid $30 more than what he wanted me to pay, but dang it...I felt that $30 was worth it!  He wasn't real happy with me when I told him I bought a 5' x 5' pile of cinder blocks for $2.50.  But, before we had them loaded, he had ideas of how to use them.  The $25 he spent of a huge pile of lumber was a steal.  In his pile were some 2 x 10 boards that were 20 foot long!  One of those boards usually runs $25!  And we are still kicking ourselves for not bidding on the pickup that sold for $1400.  We could have used it, and it was the steal of the day.  (Kev was gone and I didn't know if I should bid or not, so I didn't.  I should have, but I didn't.)

My only prize on the household items day was a pile of linens in which were hidden some nice big tea towels.  I wanted two table clothes, and the auctioneer bundled them all together with other...stuff.  I got what I wanted, and a whole lot more!  Some I tossed because it was junk, worn out and really stained.  The rest I washed up.  I've ironed some of it and the rest is still waiting for attention.  Anyone need aprons?  I have 6 or more now.  I also got some nice canning jars.  Not as many as I'd hoped for, but some.  And my Dad nicely bid on some bread pans for me.  They came with some pyrex baking pans.  I gave the baking dishes  to a friend and have found time to use the bread pans!

We've been busy attending track meets.  It's been an awful track season this year.  The cold days have out weighed the nice ones.  Poor Kat has struggled this year with pulled muscles and sore legs.  There are only nine girls out for track, so getting a good relay team together has been difficult.  Kat has done real well in 200 dash.  She's been running it in 27 seconds. Fast enough to place 4-6th.  She'd like to be able to qualify in it for State.  She could--if we'd have some decent weather!  She's also trying to qualify in the 400 m run.  I think she's a better 400 runner than a 200 runner, but we'll see!   Her 4 x 100 relay has struggled.  They've switched runners in and out all season.  I think the current group of girls is the fastest of the season but I'm not sure they are fast enough to qualify for State.  I really hope she makes it to State... We've been to State Volleyball, and Basketball this year, it would be nice to go in Track as well.

Mr. Andy has been working hard to finish up his Fire Science/EMT degree.  He graduated last weekend.  He's passed all of his Fire qualifications and is a Fireman II.  He's passed his EMT practical exam and is scheduled to take his written National EMT test next week.  Best news for Mom and Dad is that he's applied for two jobs!  Maybe we'll be empty-nesters someday after all!

Besides Andy graduating, we've got a niece graduating this weekend, and next year Miss Kat will.  The following year, my nephews will.  Gosh, I'm in the middle of buying Graduation gift season which will be followed by buying wedding gift season!

The downside of all this busyness is that we haven't had time to work outside on the garden...we've planted our spring veggies, but with the Topsy-turvy weather, who knows if anything will come up.  Top that off with no one being home to water the garden...who knows what my garden holds.  I'm hoping to be able to plant the rest of it next weekend...if we stay home long enough.

I did buy three new baby chicks!  I need to post about the girls again.  I need to clean out the chicken pen. It's on the list right after the house cleaning!

I've been working on my cross stitch some in the evenings.  I'm on the third page!  But I really haven't put much time in it since the first of April.  I don't know how much I will work on it this summer either.  I've made a commitment to get Miss Kat's album/scrapbook caught up.  I havent' touched it since we moved.  Since she'll be a very active Senior next year, I've got to get crackin on it.  And, I'm making another committment--to blog more often... stay tuned.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A quicky...

Some quick updates...

Miss Kat's basketball team took 3rd at the State Tournament!  They won the consolation game in the very last second.  It was just like an NCAA game!  The pressure, the excitement, the shouts of joy, the tears.  It was amazing!  I wasn't sure I'd get to go see the State games, but I was able to find plenty of help at work to cover and was able to attend every game.  Miss Kat doesn't plan on playing next year, so this was an exciting finish to her first and last season of High School Basketball.

We've had more snow in the month of March than we've had in the past two years!  Much needed moisture.  I'm ready for spring though.

Mr. Andrew is finishing up his Fire Science/EMT classes.  He's looking at potential jobs in Wichita and in Dodge City.  While I love him dearly, I think we will all be ready for him to move out and to start his life.  

Kev has been starting plants in the greenhouse.  We lost all but two of the tomatoes he started.  Back to square one on those!  We're discussing other remodeling projects in the house.  Kev's shower needs to be done, as does the bathtub/shower in Andy's bathroom.  We also would like to completely remodel the kitchen, but the cost and the idea of not having a kitchen for a while is stopping us from just diving into that!  But, as spring rolls in, Kev's thoughts will turn towards outside projects.  We need to put new siding on the house, so I really expect that will be our next big project.

I've still been working on Eldar.  I discovered that floss colors have changed over time.  I bought new skeins of 3 colors of gray and realized that the dye lots are not the same as what I had in stock.  I've figured out a solution, and just hope it's not noticeable to anyone but me!

Basketball season might be over, but track season starts today.  Miss Kat has her first meet today.  She's running the 200, and legs in the 4 x 100 and the 4 x 400.  (Why can't they still just call them the Quarter relay and the Mile relay?)  We're ready to cheer her on!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Eldar update #2

Page one of 12 is complete...

Well, except for 4 squares in the lower right hand corner and a few squares in the bottom yellowish block.  I didn't have that color of floss this weekend, so can't do them till I go to Hobby Lobby and get the floss (DMC 3855).

I didn't do those few green colors because each square was a different color and they continue into the next block, so I will pick them up as I move on to page 2.

One of the most interesting things to me as I've been stitching this is to see how the colors play off each other.  For example, the wing of the dragon--which is that huge yellow/orange section.  The top edge is black then a Garnet color then the varying shades of brown and yellow.  I was skeptical about that Garnet floss, it just seemed too "out there" but it works!  It gives a nice depth to the image.  I can't wait to see how this all pulls together!
(Here's the complete picture, just for comparison!)

Monday, March 04, 2013

Kat's room

  Two years ago, when Andy moved out, Miss Kat moved into his former bedroom.  We painted one wall gray with a metallic glaze over the gray and the rest of the room was bright turquoise/aqua blue.  We bought Miss Kat a duvet cover that was zebra striped.  Unfortunately, the room decor just never clicked with either of us.  Kat hated the duvet cover and we spent more time fighting with the darn thing than it was worth.  

So back in October or November of 2012 (you know 3 or 4 months ago), Kat found a new bedding she liked and we bought it.  And, then it sat in the box it came in because we weren't sure what to do with her room.

It sat there until the weekend of Miss Kat's 17th birthday.  For her birthday, I had asked my cousin, Megan, if she'd come paint and do something "special" for Kat's room. (Megan technically is a cousin by marriage, but the heck with that!)

Megan happens to be a professional painter/decorator and is so creative and un-afraid to try anything!  We discussed colors and finishes and special touches that Megan has done on other projects.  And came up with a plan for Kat's room.  THIS is the result:

Kat picked out a soft yellow that matched the pillows that came with the bedding.  We decided to use a flat paint for the yellow.  It's bright enough that we decided we didn't need any extra shine. The gray wall we'd painted two years ago still worked, so we left it, but "jazzed it up some with the flowers Megan hand painted on the walls.  Plus, the sheen on the gray balanced the yellow.  The gray flowers aren't metallic, but are a nice and soft gray.

The second picture is a magnetic wall.  Miss Kat loves to have photos and pictures and lots of paper stuff on her walls.  So a magnetic wall was a perfect idea.  (You can see a small magnet on the right side, above the light switch.  It really does work!)  We bought Rustoleum's magnetic primer, and then painted over it with the yellow.  Like the "WE"?  Megan bought the primer because I couldn't find any in Dodge.  And, Megan did all the work.  I "supervised."  Which means I sat on Kat's bed and talked Megan's ear off!

Since we were trying to get this project finished between the two snowstorms, Megan came down on Saturday and went back home on Sunday.  She had the room painted on Saturday and we were waiting on the primer to dry.  So, around midnight on Saturday, we went to bed.  I got up around 7:30 Sunday morning and went down to see if Megan had gotten started again.  I walked in Kat's room, and found Megan putting the finishing touches on!  She'd woken up at 4:30 a.m. and decided to get to work.  I can't help but wonder if maybe she worked at that ungodly hour just to avoid my "help!"

Miss Kat loves her new "adult" room.  It's been a week, and her room is still clean!  AND, she's been making the bed!

I told Kat that this was the very last room remodel/repainting job I was doing for her.  This room will last until she takes that big step into adulthood...which is too soon.

(But the bedding stays with me!)

Friday, March 01, 2013

Snow days

We were visited by Winter storms Q and Rocky last week.  In fact, the kids and I had 4 snow days.  Three for Q and one for Rocky.  Kevin stayed home all but one of those snow days.  He went to work last Friday, February 22.  The storms reminded us all of our last winter in Colby, when we got lots of snow every single weekend from the end of December until the end of March.  This time, we never lost power which was nice!  What was't nice was when our pellet stove quit running on Thursday.  The new part came in this week, and it's running again, but when it quit, I did have some concern with heat IF we were to lose power.  Fortunately, we were fine.

Winter Storm Q gave us 15 inches of very wet snow.  Rocky blew in with more, but I haven't heard the official amount yet.  Just east of us got almost 3 feet of snow from Rocky and they did lose power.  The storm was worse south and east of us.  And we had it much worse than Dodge City did.  In fact, when they announced that we'd have school on Tuesday, I thought they were nuts!  We were trying to dig out ourselves, and I couldn't imagine that the college was any better.  It was.  They didn't get much snow at all.

And what did I do with a 6 day vacation?  I baked bread.  I stitched on Eldar, I read, I baked cookies and made Andy a chocolate cake with carmel frosting. I cleaned house.  We celebrated Miss Kat's 17th birthday and we enjoyed time together in front of the fireplace.

Here's Andy digging the snow away from our front door.  (The white box is our old freezer.  We need to relocate it/dispose of it, but haven't decided what to do yet, so for now, we are rednecks with an old freezer in our yard.)  Right in front of Andy is the door.  Snow drifted it in completely.  Since our snow shovel also decided to break during the storm, he used a regular shovel and cleared just enough away for us to get out the door.

 This is the inside view of the snow drift.  (Please excuse the remainder of the paper label on the window.  I've not gotten around to scraping it completely off the door.  It's only been up a year!)

 Kevin got our tractor out on Monday, the 25th before the storm was over.  He knew he had to get started moving snow or we'd never get out Tuesday.  He had to dig his way all the way from the shop.  I know he spent 3 1/2 hours moving snow Monday, and he spent more time than that on Friday.
 He finally dug out Miss Kat's car on Tuesday (Feb 26).  Prior to that day, she drove the Escape and we drove the F250.

It's probably our first  last snowstorm of the winter.  We're in a warming trend, which will be nice.  The grass should green up.  I haven't heard of anyone complaining of the moisture or the snow.  It' s not enough snow to break the drought, but maybe it's a sign of moisture to come.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Eldar progress

As you look at this photo, you will notice that I'm not stitching in the scroll frame.  

I had to give up on the scroll frame.  It was big, bulky and just not comfortable.  I got cramps in my hands, arms and neck using the darn thing.  So, I switched back to a hoop.

I also gave up on using 25 count fabric.  My 49 year old eyes just didn't appreciate stitching on something that small.  I did a test run, and stitched a block of stitches 5 x 5.  Twenty-five stitches were the size of a pencil eraser.

I'm using 18 count fabric.  Much easier on my eyes.

So, it will be a little bigger, but I will not stress as much about small stitches, I'm happier.

The above stitching represents about 15 hours of work.  (I stitched most of the day last Sunday, and some evenings.)  On the pattern, it's almost the complete top row.  I think there's one more block to do.

Yep, it's gonna be a long project!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

If you give a stitcher a gift card

It's Mom's fault.  She gave me a $25 gift card for my birthday present.  I sent her the following picture as an idea for my birthday gift.  It was only $6.99, and would fit in with my office projects.  

 Instead of ordering it for me, she gave me a gift card.  So I ordered the above  kit along with this:

Tempo tape.  I use it to mark my spot on patterns.  It just  helps me keep my spot.  And since it's removable  it doesn't damage the paper.  I had used up what I had and needed more.  

Unfortunately, the day I ordered the above, I'd forgotten to use my gift card, so I paid for it.  

A short 24 hours later, I got a catalog with the pattern for this listed:

Oh my gosh!  I was in love.  This was the perfect project to use my gift card on!  I showed it to a friend and we then ventured to the Heaven and Earth Designs website to look at other designs.  Once there, I found that their patterns were on sale.  More than half off the price listed in the catalog.  So, I bought the above pattern.  I was able to download it, so I printed it out.  I think it's going to be my next project (well, after Mr. Jefferson, but he's a quick-y project.)  

And, in my excitement, I forgot to use my gift card.

The pattern is called "Mini Eldars Secret."  The pattern is 12 pages.  Every single square of those twelve pages is one stitch.  Stitched over 25 count fabric.  The finished design will be 9 x 13 inches. It also uses 89 colors of floss. It's a big commitment. But, before I can start on it, I need fabric. 

 I ran to Hobby Lobby and bought the linen I need...and some new needles.
 . Because it's such a densely stitched project, it's not advised to use a hoop, so, of course, I had to buy a scroll frame to hold my project.
Once again, I forgot the gift card.

Then I went back to the  catalog I originally saw "Eldar" in, and ordered the following:
This box holds 100 floss baggies, which is what I store my floss in.  I decided this would be perfect for my project.  I could pull my 90 colors and keep them organized in a box nice and neat.

This time, this final time, I used my gift card. For an $11 item.

But because of the stinking gift card, I spent way more than $25.  

If only Mom had just bought the Jefferson sampler instead of giving me a gift card...

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

2012 Reading list

It's time for my annual "What I Read last year" list.  In 2011, I read over 100 titles.  In 2012, I only read 94 titles (excluding magazines and some re-reads that I just didn't document.)

The little "e's" in front of titles shows those I read as e-books.  I was curious to see how having an iPad with the Kindle and Nook apps changed my reading habits.  Some e-books, I read for free from the Kansas State Library's e-collection.  Free is always good!

Since I imported my list from excel, it doesn't really lend itself to comments about each title.  But I can say that my two most favorite reads of 2012 were:  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham.  My favorite non-fiction title of the year was A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachael  Held Evans.  So, browse the list, pick out a title or two to read.  Let me know what you think of it!  And, if anyone has any questions about any title I read, feel free to ask.  I love discussing books.

e Clash of Kings George R R Martin
Sybil exposed Debbie Nathan
e Doomsday Book Connie Willis
e Sweet Revenge Nora Roberts
e Fated Carolyn Mccray
A feast for Crows George R R Martin
Storm of Swords George R R Martin
e Spying in High Heels Gemma Halliday
e Killer in High Heels Gemma Halliday
e Undercover in High Heels Gemma Halliday
e Alibi in High Heels Gemma Halliday
e Mayhem in High Heels Gemma Halliday
e Footsteps in Time Sarah Woodbury
e Prince of Time Sarah Woodbury
e Daughters of Time Sarah Woodbury
e Fearless in High Heels Gemma Halliday
Third Grave Dead Ahead Darynda Jones
Celebrety in Death J D Robb
Colonial Women Carole Chandler Waldrup
e The Winter King Bernard Cornwell
Tomorrow is Today Julie Cross
Prized Caragh M. O'Brien
Tortured Caragh M. O'Brien
e The Witch's Daughter Paula Brackston
e This is me Surviving Kathie in FL
e Mom's Journal of the Zombie Years Kathie in FL
e Over the mountain and through the Fire Kathie in FL
Maze Runner James Dashner
The Witness Nora Roberts
Sugar Nation Jeff O'Connell
e Discovery of Witches Deborah Harkness
The Serpent's Shadow Rick Riordan
The Last Boyfriend Nora Roberts
e Lights out David Crawford
e Deadlocked Charlaine Harris
Vengeance Born Kylie Griffin
e The Bride Price Tracey Jane Jackson
e Daughter of Joy Kathleen Morgan
e Sagebrush William Wayne Dicksion
e Why I left the Amish Saloma Miller Furlong
50 shades of grey E L James
e Confessions of a prairie bitch Allison Arngrim
If walls could talk Lucy Worsley
e Wicked Business Janet Evanovich
Ruby Red Kristen Gier
e Shadow of Night Deborah Harkness
e The Stolen Crown Susan Higginbotham
e Tumbleweeds Leila Meacham
Once Burned Jeaniene Frost
 Goddess Test Aimee Carter
Goddess Interrupted Aimee Carter
Grave Mercy Robin LaFevers
e The Last Romanov Dora Levy Mossanen
e Through a Glass Darkley Karleen Koen
Sky Dragons Todd & Anne McCaffrey
e Mountain Woman: Snake River Blizzard Johnny Fowler
e Wonder Woman: Odyssey Michael Straczynski
Nightshade Andrea Cremer
Wolfsbane Andrea Cremer
Delusion in Death J D Robb
Bloodrose Andrea Cremer
Sister Wives The Browns
Love times three The Dargers
The unthinkable: who survives when disaster strikes Amanda Ripley
Bitterblue Kristin Cashore
Rift Andrea Cremer
Why is the Penis Shaped like that? Jesse Bering
e The Covenant Beverly Lewis
The Uninvited Heather Graham
The Betrayal Beverly Lewis
The Sacrifice Beverly Lewis
The Prodigal Beverly Lewis
The Revelation Beverly Lewis
Holy Misogyny April D DeConick
e Return of Rafe MacKade Nora Roberts
e Pride of Jared MacKade Nora Roberts
e Heart of Devin MacKade Nora Roberts
e Fall of Shane MacKade Nora Roberts
Promised Caragh O'Brien
The Mark of Athena Rick Riordan
e A Year of Biblical Womanhood Rachael Held Evans
The Perfect Hope Nora Roberts
Fourth Grave beneath my feet Darynda Jones
Consider the fork:  a history of how we cook and eat Bee Wilson
Sapphire Blue Kerstin Gier
The Physick book of Deliverance Dane Katherine Howe
Lord of Mountains S. M. Stirling
Witch of Hebron James Howard Kunstler
Son Lois Lowry
Kiss of Midnight Lara Adrian
Kiss of Crimson Lara Adrian
Mary Boleyn: the mistress of Kings Alison Weir
Nightshade Nora Roberts
Night Smoke
Wrong Hill to Die On
Nora Roberts
Donis Casey