Friday, November 21, 2014

Seasons of change....


We had an abrupt change of seasons here in Iowa.  According to the calendar we are not yet into winter but it sure has felt like it.  We went from the lovely green views to the winter white very quickly.  This snow was early for us and you can see the leaves are still falling from the trees.  It has been pretty cool here (others would say freezing cold) and we have had some tremendous winds.  Honestly there has not been such a thing as a good hair day here in a couple of weeks.  Oh and my hornets next - not going anywhere apparently.


With the changing of the temperatures comes the season of the holidays.  Rapidly approaching is Thanksgiving (less than a week away) and I will be acting as hostess for the family gathering again this year.  The entire family will be together and we haven't seen everyone in one place at the same time in 2 years.  

I spent my day yesterday cleaning house (I know I should wait until after everyone leaves but I just like a clean house to start the holiday) and I am hoping to find enough time this weekend to make a table topper/runner to fit my island.  I've been wanting to do this for a couple of years as it would be so much handier than a dozen trivets out for the hot dishes.  One big runner lined and then can be tossed in the washer for clean up.  I think I will take advantage of the quilt as you go method to make it super quick and easy.  I'm think I'm just going to use a color scheme that goes with my decor rather than novelty fabrics for the occasions.  


There has been a bit more progress on July by Prairie Schooler and am loving the piece.  I hated to set it aside but realizing that Christmas is just a short jump from Thanksgiving I decided I better get started on my gift giving stitching.  I have fewer friends/family to make things for this year with some opting not to do exchanges in 2014.  As a couple of items were already made, I would look for a giveaway to start off 2015.
This is my start on one of the pieces.  I know the picture is not good and I had to do some editing to muddy up the picture to disguise the project.  I wouldn't want the person who will get the gift to see it beforehand - and no I'm not going to tell you who gets this one.  Surprisingly it is stitching up very quickly even though I'm stitching on 48 count at night.  I just love it!

I will get serious on my stitching/sewing for the holidays once I get through Thanksgiving.   Hmmm I wonder if one of my friends'  teenagers would want to earn a few bucks helping me get all my Christmas decor done.  I think it would be worth it!


I will leave you with this poem written by an unknown author.  It is helpful when experiencing a change in a friendship.

Reason, Season, or Lifetime

When someone is in your life for a REASON, 
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. 
They come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.

Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, 
our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer your send up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They  may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it.  It is real, But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Recent Days - Colorful, Fun, Challenging, Relaxing!


My SIL (Jodi on right) and I spent a fun and relaxing Sunday afternoon at a local park taking pictures of the Fall foliage.  In all honesty the colors this year are not as plentiful as past years but if you look at your surroundings through a lens you can get some wonderful shots.  Interestingly enough I thought the greens were quite vibrant as well.  The pictures below were taken at two different parks  - Yellow Banks and Ewing.  


My BFF (Rene' who you can see in the next picture checking out the Halloween display) and I managed a day long outing to a town East of us called Oskaloosa (Osky).  We've known each other since the 2nd grade so let's just say a lot of years!  We talked, we laughed, we bought!

I couldn't resist taking a photo of their display of Topsy Turvy mugs.  They are so adorable.  It was close but I managed to leave the store without one. 

Instead I spent my money on a pair of "pricey" ice skate ornaments for my Christmas tree.  You all know I have accumulated over 30 pairs of ornaments for my tree.  Amazingly no two pairs are a like!

Rene' wanted to try one of the new restaurants from the Iowa's Best Bite Restaurant Challenge called On The Green.  We chose to have a lighter lunch of Chicken Tortilla Soup (delicious) and Risotto Tots.  OMG the Risotto Tots were amazing!  When I commented on this on the Challenge Facebook page, they responded that this particular dish was what put them over the top in the challenge.  I can definitely see why.  If you get a chance, you should check out one of the restaurants in the challenge as they are all pretty amazing.

On our way back to the city we stopped long enough to take a couple of snapshots of this Bed and Breakfast along the highway.  Just a beautiful old house!  They don't offer tours but I bet the inside is amazing!


I've experienced a few challenges this week.  While some were taken care of pretty easily I'm afraid there will be some carry over to next week for a couple.  


My central vacuum just needed some new parts in the components that were transportable and at very little cost.  I was pretty happy about it.


I'm afraid my computer crash was a bit more time consuming and costly but still not drastic.  This is one that will carry over into next week.  You wonder what happened - well my computer when you turned it on brought up the Apple logo and just went to a white screen and never changed.  I finally made an appointment at the Genius Bar and an hour into the process I found out that my hard drive was too full.  Who knew you needed to have a certain percentage of your hard drive available based on your storage for your start up software to work.  Apparently I did not!  Another hour later I was able to delete enough documents (freebie cross stitch patterns), movies (just video I took to share what I had done during the day with my son) and photos (did not know that once they are in iPhoto they can be removed from the downloads section as they are duplicates at this point) to get my computer to actually start up.  

It was suggested and as I had wanted to do this for some time I bought an external hard drive to put my photos, music and movies on.  I bought the one with the most storage (2 terra bite) to allow room for growth.  Here is where the carry into next week comes in as I did manage to transfer my photos and home movies but can't quite figure out how to move the iTunes stuff.  Also, before I delete anything from my hard drive I do want to make sure I've really moved it to my external hard drive and how to access.  I'm thinking this will be a much shorter appointment.  Thankfully I did not lose my photos and video of my mom during her last year of life!


My dishwasher is making a strange noise when it runs these days and seems to take a bit longer to run through.  The good news is we have time to shop for something new and if worst comes to worst I still know how to do dishes by hand!


I was out on Friday enjoying a little shopping and thinking my luck might be turning around.  I've been on the hunt for new jeans as I've lost so many inches exercising I have none that fit.  I was so excited that I actually found a pair that fit and a sweater to boot.  I should have known I was pushing my luck as they only had one pair in my size among all the colors and when they checked online in their computer there were no more to be had.  Grrrr!


To end my week of challenges I was eating lunch and all of a sudden something felt different in my mouth.  Yep, you guessed it a piece of my tooth chipped away and is now gone forever.  I was able to talk to my dentist and he gave me tips to keep that tooth safe over the weekend but staff will be calling me with a time to come in on Monday to start the process of repair.  It appears a crown is the fix for this particular problem.  I see $$$$$ flying away!


Through it all I did manage to find some time to stitch, read and rake leaves to keep my stress level down.  

I did reach my goal of having the Halloween Cubes by Primitive Hare stitched entirely 2 days before Halloween.  Unfortunately, I did not have time to do the finish work.  At least I can take my time and do them up right before next year.

I have now picked back up my WIP  July by Prairie School to continue working on.  It is moving along very quickly and expect a finish before the new year.

Well, I think that is enough for today as this post is rapidly approaching short story stage.  Hope you all are still enjoying some lovely Fall weather and not the early snow I've seen in some regions of the USA.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Might Make It By Halloween!


It is the 10th and I am rapidly approaching the finish of the Halloween Cubes by Primitive Hare.  H-A-L-L-O-W are all complete and I started on the first E last night.  It is moving along very quickly.  I'm finding it kind of funny how when I'm stitching some of the letters they are relating to things in my life.  This "E" I'm working on right now has an owl in it.  Funny that the night before I started stitching it two owls came to sit in the trees out back and hooted all evening long.  The face in the tree on the letter "A".....

Well I have a tree that has a face as well.  Stares at you whenever you are on the front porch.  I've been thinking about painting parts of the eyes with glow in the dark paint to freak out the trick or treaters.

I'm currently thinking about how I'm going to finish these letters and have a couple few ideas in mind.  Decisions, decisions.

My bestie, Harriet had a picture of a design she was trying to find the designer or design name for as she is interested in stitching it.  She knows me well as I love the hunt for those things we can't find.  As it happens, I knew that I recognized the style but could not think of the designer right away.  It was such a coincidence that a WIP that I haven't picked up in awhile has been on my mind the past several days.  Guess what?  Yep, same designer. 

Day 38 - 2 hrs 40 min 

Thanks to Harriet's inquiry I am going to pull out Peacock by Courtney Collection and my hope is to finish it this year.  

Back in 2010 I posted about how many friends/family often ask me how long it takes to stitch a particular project and I can only give them a general a couple days for this, a week for that, 3 months for this.  I've never been one to keep track of how much actual time stitching is in a project.  This is the project I decided to keep an actual log of actual time stitching on a project.  Each and every time I work on this project at the end of stitching for that session I snap a photo and enter the Day Number and amount of stitching time for this photo.  You will notice this photo is Day 38 and I stitched 2 hours and 40 minutes that day.

To date I have worked on this project on 38 different days for a total of 56 1/2 hours of actual stitching time.  It will be fun to have a truly accurate number to give this time.  However, this will be the project that no one will ask the question - LOL!


Today I popped into our local Planned Parenthood book sale and scored some patterns to add to my stash.  There are 2 from Told in a Garden and 1 from Lavender and Lace.  Each cost me 75 cents which was a total bargain.  It looked like someone had donated their entire collection of Told in a Garden and Lavender and Lace as there were about 20 patterns there.

At same book sale I scored 2 books on my wish list to read.

I also picked up a couple of fun recipe card books for the holidays.  The Nestle ones have some ideas for "In a Jar" gifts.  


I did finish Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I was a good read but I knew where it was heading very early in the book.  Still as I didn't know all the details of the how it was still a good read for me.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I Race.....


I memory of my mom who was the bravest, strongest woman I've ever known.
I honor of mom's best friend (Betty) who is a 30+ year survivor.
I hopes that a cure will be found so this race will no longer be necessary.

Yesterday was the annual Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure held in Des Moines.  It was a chilly downright cold morning with a temperature of 29 degrees with windchill.  So much for moving it ahead a couple of weeks to hopefully have warmer weather.  Thankfully the sun was shining brightly instead of the foggy damp weather we had been experiencing.  

This is a cause I am passionate about.  I have been participating in the fundraising portion of this race for 14 years (right after mom's first diagnosis with breast cancer) but this was my 6th year walking it.  I started walking this race when my mom was re-diagnosed with breast cancer.  Sadly she lost her battle just 8 months later.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't miss my mom's wisdom,  sense of humor and her ability take you worst day and have you laughing about it by the end of the conversation.  Oh the laughs we have had together!

As it happens, mom and I had lots of conversations during those last 8 months and during one such conversation I promised mom I would continue my endeavors to live a healthier lifestyle.  I even went to far as to tell her I would be running this race one day for her.  To this day I'm not sure what I was thinking when I uttered those words.

I really had no intention for that day to be yesterday.  I had not been training to run at all.  Just doing my usual walking and classes at the Y.  Okay so I found it easier to jog the hills on the trails in the park but would not classify it in any way as training.  It just seems like the stars had aligned for it to be yesterday.  

When we lined up to start, it ended up when they closed the gap between walkers and runners before the starting gun I was in those 2 rows where walkers and runners are shoulder to shoulder.   Well when the gun went off I thought why not see how far I could go totally expecting to go no farther than the first block down the hill.  Imagine my surprise to be all the way to the bottom of the hill and around the corner and still running.  It gave me the encouragement to keep running and managed to run all the way to the halfway point which is where my brother and sister-in-law were providing security (local Harley group provides security along the entire route).  Stopped for my hugs, encouragement and photo with my brother and off I went again still running.  

After making the next turn into the 20 mph winds I ended up alternating walking/running as running into the winds made it hard to breathe.  By the time we reach the last 1/2 mile everyone was walking as we met up with 1 mile walkers and it was just curb to curb people and no way to run through the crowd.  Not to mention the band at the corner many people were stopping at to dance and sing clogging up the street.

I know I did not run the entire 5K but there are some promises that don't have to be kept to the nth degree.    Mom would have considered this a done deal and promise kept as I ran most of the race.


I am continuing to make excellent progress on Halloween Cubes by Primitive Hare.  I am currently on the Letter O and expect to see a finish on it today and a start on W.  It is going to be tight getting them done for display this year but all other stitching projects have been set aside in hopes I will get there sooner than later.


I have also set all other reading aside except for my recent start of Gone Girl by by Gillian Flynn.  I know the movie is set to be released this week and we have date night on Friday night and suspect this will be the movie my husband wants to see.  I want to have the book finished before then.  This also will be a small miracle considering how busy my week is this week.


Remember this from 2 weeks ago where we were leveling up the yard and reseeding?

This is what it looks like today.  I am amazed at how quickly it has filled in over the past week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Starting To Feel A Lot Like Fall!

It is beginning to feel like Fall here in Iowa.  Cooler temperatures and leaves are starting to turn color and drop from trees.  Fall mums and pumpkins are appearing in stores and on front porches all over town.

It is the perfect time to fix the sinking front yard.  Over the past few years the area in the picture has sunk so much that we were close to seeing the bottom of the driveway pavement.  Bill decided it was time to level it out with dirt and reseed.  Better to do this in the Fall as in the Spring you get too many weeds in with the new grass.  It took 85 bags (1.5 cubic feet each) of dirt to level it out and a huge bag of grass seed.  We are expecting this weeks daytime temps to reach almost 80 so am hoping to see shoots of grass soon!

I've been making progress on July by Prairie Schooler.  I'm surprised at how fast it is stitching up.  However, I decided to take a break from it over the weekend to begin stitching another project. 

This is Halloween Cubes by the Primitive Hare.  I saw this design and knew it was perfect for a piece of "accident" over dyed fabric that a friend dyed.  I pulled it out and I loved the contrast of the colors of the design on the orange fabric.  Yes, it is 9 letters that will spell out Halloween and each letter has some Halloween related design to it.  Of course, I thought I needed it for this year's display so am stitching quite a lot right now.  Thankfully the stitch count is 47 x 47 but I'm here to tell you that is still a lot of stitching.  Let's just say I'm not working on it right now as my hand is so sore from stitching so much since Sunday night.

I purchased some Camaro fabric to make a lap quilt for the car - well really for Keith in the car.  Sometimes when taking a drive before we get home it can get a little chilly and Bill and I end up putting one of our jackets over Keith's legs for extra warmth.  I'm going to make a trip to Creston to Quilts and Notions to buy some coordinating fabrics.  They have such a huge selection of really interesting and different fabrics that it will be worth the 45 minute drive to get them.  I also want to get some fabrics for the Halloween cubes I am stitching as well.

I've also signed up to walk the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Des Moines on October 4.  Many of you know it is a cause near and dear to my heart as my mom passed away from breast cancer.  

I hope you will visit the website of BlueRibbonDesigns and purchase Belinda's design called "Five Houses of Hope".  Belinda has designed this special piece to raise money for the Komen 3-Day she is walking in November in Dallas.  It is 60 grueling miles and this will be her second year walking it.  She has been training since she took her last step last year after her feet recovered and I'm so proud of her for walking again!

I'm not getting as much reading time in right at the moment as I'm so busy stitching.  I am, however, still reading Hitler's Furies on my Kindle App while doing the treadmill at the gym and started rereading Dan Brown's the Lost Symbol.  I've been wanting to read it again ever since we returned from our trip to Washington D.C. a year ago after walking a lot of the places featured in the book.  

I'm thinking it is about time to give my blog a new look.  You know a new photo header, maybe different color scheme, font, format.  I've not stared at it long enough to figure out how I want to change it but hopefully soon an inspired thought will come to mind.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Fall Finish!


I was so excited on Friday evening just after 10:00 p.m. to put in the last stitch to Harvest Time by Prairie Schooler.  It seemed like I was never going to get to that last stitch so I was thrilled.

It went off to Stitch n Frame for framing on Saturday morning.  I had four really good options for frames to choose from but this one did stand out above the rest.  It is a frame I have used before for other Fall finishes.  This picture is a better representation of the fabric and thread colors than the first one.  It is all in the lighting to get true colors in a photo.  I will have it back by October 8 so still some time to enjoy it before the winter things come out!

Speaking of winter here is a snippet of a new pattern I bought to complete for Christmas.  It is stitched on a overdyed fabric called Twililight Mist Jobelan.  I did not get this fabric but one very similar.  Mine is a cross between Twililight Mist and Stormy Grey.  For the record I do believe the pattern has misspelled the fabric used and it is actually Twilight Mist.  I can't wait to get started on it.
I did, however, get started on Prairie Schooler's July over the weekend.  I am making great strides in my stitching goals this year by starting my second Prairie Schooler from my stash.  As mentioned before, I'm stitching it using Hand Dyed Fibers Premium Silk Floss.  It is my first time stitching with Premium and I am loving being able to use 1 strand over 2 on 32 count and getting the same coverage of 2 strands of regular floss.  The fabric is 32 count Lambswool.   I will list my conversion from DMC to HDF colors.

DMC                                                                      HDF

White                                                                     White
312                                                                         Mermaid Blue 2323
422                                                                         Haywains 4127
437                                                                         Kodiak Bear 5127
843                                                                         Jackalope 5263
844                                                                         Nightshade 5311
898                                                                         Kodiak Bear 5139
927                                                                         Steelies 2449
3022                                                                       Zinc 5235
3052                                                                       Marsh Green 3349
3362                                                                       Alluvium 3405
3777                                                                       Perfect Red 6217
3828                                                                       Haywains 4129
3830                                                                       Perfect Red 6213
3863                                                                       Quern Stones 5165

I will say that I should have picked a darker Kodiak Bear for my 898 conversion so if you are considering my conversion you might think about changing that one.  You might also consider the blue in the flag if you don't like the one I'm using (Mermaid Blue 2323).  It is pretty true to the color charted but I could see using a navy blue for this color as well.


There have been 3 more car shows since last posting.  Keith and I stopped by a couple of them for awhile.  I don't like spending my entire day there but don't mind stopping by for a couple of hours to spend time with hubby.  Thanks to Brian for another family photo for our album.

Keith managed to con Bill and I out of a new Iowa Hawkeye blanket at one of the car shows with vendors at it.  It is a nice big (twin size) blanket so will keep him nice and warm in the coming winter months.

I'm pleased to report that Bill brought home another Best of Show for his category to add to our growing collection.


I also went to Pella with my friend, Launa to watch her daughter run in a track meet.  I will say the girls had quite a challenging run but am not sure it was any more challenging than the walk Launa and I had back and forth to the car to see the event.    This is the start of the race and about 1/3 of the runners.  

By the time they got to our location at the top of the hill on the return trip headed for the finish line they had definitely spread out quite a bit.  

Launa and I made a few stops on the town square.  A must was the Jaarsma Bakery, Butcher Shop, Quilt Shop and a lovely little boutique.  We really had a fun few hours together.


The weather is turning off cooler here but mowing must still be done in between rain showers.  You see why I don't mow - Bill likes perfectly straight lines which he can do in his sleep.  I, however, could not mow that straight even if my life depended on it.  

I have started doing a bit of Fall decorating on the outside.  This is my favorite spot to sit and read while waiting for Keith to come home.  The blooms on this mum will soon be beautiful bright yellow.  I've also put a few more mums in pots where I've taken out summer flowers that have seen better days to be sure.


I did finish reading (and re-reading) the trilogy of books by Deborah Harkness.  I needed to read Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night to bring the storyline back to mind before starting Book of Life.  I was glad I did go back and read again as I picked up on things I somehow missed on the first reading.  I did enjoy this trilogy and look forward to seeing what her next offering will be.

Now I am back to reading Hitlers Furies by Wendy Lower.  It tells the story of how the German women were involved in Hitler's campaign for a pure race.   I tell you I am getting a lot of use out of my Kindle App on my phone while walking on the treadmill of a morning.  I just put my treadmill on incline 4 and ramp up the speed to 3.6 mph and my time just flies by while reading.  I've come close to being late for my weight class a couple of times I get so involved in the story.

Well, time to go.  I'm often struck how odd it seems when I end a post to just stop and no really closing.  Until next time.....