Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Sewing

So, I had to do one more project tonight:  sew up my husband's pajamas.  I don't know if it's how they're sewn or what, but he always manages to pop the seam, right in the worst area to do it.  I had to sew up both of his in the last two days.  So, that means I had to drag my little sewing kit out.

It's actually a Caboodle that my parents got me when I first learned to sew probably around the age of 7 or so.  I've used it ever since.  I have a pretty small sewing collection.  I had inherited all my Grandma's stuff including her sewing machine but it didn't make the move to Texas.  Fortunately, I'm not a big sewer and I don't use the machine if I can help it.  My Mom bought me one of those basic starter kits from Wal-Mart or something and then we put it into the box.  I've got the basics, including a pinking shears and one of those handy stitch things.

I think I'm going to have to make a needle case for myself though.  Somehow, all my sharp needles disappeared so I bought a set at Hobby Lobby but now I have so many of them and no where to put them.

Christmyth Griffin

I finished the Griffin today!

Organizing some Stash

So, Doctor's visit today was successful.  Was told to drink more water.  At 31 weeks, safe to deliver at 37 but he won't think of inducing until 39 or 40 if I'm dilated.

So, I've been drinking water and organizing my stash.  So, I took some pictures.  Warning:  Image heavy
This is for you Chris, and your resolution for fewer frogs!  ;)
I keep most of my smaller books and pamphlets in a  file box.  I also have my Aida and some remnants of fabric in it as well along with some cheap non-DMC floss that I originally got when I first started to not do kits (didn't know any better).  It used to fit a lot more but like any good stitcher, I've acquired stuff over the years.
These were like $1 apiece at Aidaworks so I picked them up last year.  Not sure when I'll get around to them.
I like to design my own little things but I can't come up with them from scratch, I normally combine motifs.  So, the alphabet books come in handy.  Only problem---none of the alphabets come with a set of numbers....
These are the mini books I originally got when I first started off kits.  I really really like the 365 book.  I did the mini samplers for the little perpetual calendar I made for my mother and she loved it.
I love Beatrix Potter, so I ordered these back when I first moved out and was single.  Some day I will do the cute guinea pigs gardening.  I already used the mini book to do a birth sampler for one of my friends (see finished pieces)
I used to like cats more so I picked these up.  Maybe I'll do something for my Mom or Emily out of them.
I bought an afghan and was going to do it all Disney but never did.  Now, I probably will end up doing some Pooh and Princess stuff for the babies.
I did the Fairy Tale Sampler but haven't got around to the other two yet.
Some really great stuff in here.  I originally was going to do my bedroom in Fantasy when I lived alone.  Now that I'm married, well, those cottages that are in my future pieces album are most likely going to be done first.
These are more from the $1 bin at one of the WI LNS stores.  I was hoping to get more of the Staff Dragons but unfortunately, I never heard back when I wrote to the designer :(
More random books.  The bears are cool.
My Christmas stuff.  I like to do small ornaments since I don't know what to do with the bigger pieces when it's not Christmas anymore.
Hee hee.  Frogs
And lastly, some random stuff that people have given me but I'll probably never do. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas and some progress

So, this Christmas was a success.  My brother and sister-in-law really liked the scarf and hat that I gave them and the mother-in-law liked the Amish quilt cross stitch piece.  With a little help, we were able to make Zoé's and Emily's Christmas as well.  

The little Googie got a tent from her big brother and sister with a tunnel and a keyboard and a xylophone (all noisy toys, notice) and lots of clothes and board books.  Emily got the jeans she wanted and makeup and art supplies.  Ken and I decided not to really do gifts for each other but I did get mint M&Ms and he got a 90% dark chocolate bar (I don't understand the man, he licks the bowl when I melt unsweetened baker's chocolate and this is pretty darn close to that).

Spent today designing a wedding sampler for my stepson and his wife.  I couldn't find anything that I thought they'd like so this is kind of a blackwork sampler.  I haven't decided if I should put more stuff in or spread everything out and start stitching.

I also made some progress on my "Do Not Meddle" piece.  I think once I finish filling in the wing, I will rotate to another project.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve and a word about Shepherds

Several years ago, I played organ and piano for my former church's Sunday School Christmas program.  The focus for the program that year was the shepherds from the familiar Christmas Story.  No one ever thinks twice about shepherds showing up at Jesus' cradle but really, they were social outcasts.  It is always interesting how God goes to the "unworthy" people first.  Jesus regularly hung out with prostitutes and tax collectors.  Even in the Old Testament, prophets like Elijah were sent to live with non-Israelites.  Something we should consider when we feel too unworthy for God's great love.  I found a nice little sermon about the shepherds and have put excerpts below.

Also, if you haven't seen The Nativity Story, I recommend renting it this holiday season.  If there was one thing I got out of it, it was how Mary was actually viewed.  We see Mary's song in print and think, "oh, yeah, she's definitely blessed among all women" when in actuality she was a pregnant teen and the townspeople either thought she was a slut who slept with someone other than Joseph or that Joseph was a bad boy who just couldn't wait to get it on with Mary.  I doubt they would label her "blessed."

So, now I leave you this Christmas Eve with the familiar words of Luke 2 that I recited almost every year (being a good Lutheran girl) and parts of the sermon on shepherds.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ1 the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  The Following is taken from this website  They were unlikely heroes of faith, these shepherds. They weren’t the sort of men whom the general populace expected would receive angelic announcements. Those sorts of messages should have, by all human reckoning, gone to men like the three wise kings of the east. But no angels come to them. Instead they receive a star to guide them. God, perhaps as a way of showing that faith is best grounded in real life rather than much formal learning, sends the heavenly singers to the shepherds – men who consult no books, study the skies for nothing except clues for the weather, and have no social standing.

These men, huddled on the foresty hillsides of Palestine, warm beneath their ram skins, eyes vigilant, on guard against roaming wolves, were of low station. Shepherds of Jesus time were considered, by the general populace, generally untrustworthy (which makes Jesus’ later stories centering around the shepherd’s role in the life of faith all the more remarkable). Even worse, their work made them ceremonially unclean.

The idea of uncleanness is something we don’t know much about, but was an important part of Jewish life. The division between clean and unclean was fundamental for Israelites. They were commanded by the Law to be physically clean, ritually and ceremonially clean (having offered the right sacrifices and been through the correct ceremonies), and morally clean. When people or things became unclean, they had to be washed to be considered clean again.

The shepherds were considered unclean because they had daily contact with carcasses of animals and came into contact, however incidental, with all sorts of unclean animals. Common unclean animals included spiders, flies, bugs, rats, and mice. A dead rat was not something to be overlooked. It was carefully taken out and buried. It’s a distinction we don’t think about today, but was strongly enforced in those days and had solid medical reasoning behind it, in the days before refrigeration and Orkin pest control.

So, surprisingly, when the angelic announcement arrives, it comes first to the social outcasts of Jesus’ day. These men are unclean and there is no mention of them stopping off to become clean before they make their trek to Jerusalem to see the new born babe. Which has further significance for us today. It tells us that we are called to God, in a paraphrase of the old gospel song, just as we are. The invitation to return to God’s good graces is the invitation to a “come as you are” party.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Stitching Resolutions

My Yahoo group has been listing their stitching resolutions.  I already have made them so draw your attention over to the right sidebar where I have my 2011 stitching list.

Also, I was given 4 GIGANTIC binders of cross stitch magazines from the 80s and 90s by my cousin a few years back. There's so much good stuff I wanna stitch (and some stuff I just shake my head at....not my style at all).  So, I've decided to make a Picasa album devoted to stuff I want to stitch.  It includes both kits and stuff out of books.  A new link to that will appear in the sidebar.  It's also below.  Yes, I understand it will take me YEARS to finish all of that.  But hey, one project at a time.

Future Project

Merry Christmas everyone!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Presents

So today is my 26th birthday.  Feel really old.  Could just be the pregnancy though....

So my husband made me chocolate chip and walnut pancakes for breakfast and he baked a German chocolate cake which we have yet to try.  And I got Toy Story 3 and a gift card to Olive Garden from my mom and then I got these as well from Steven and Ashley (I love case you're wondering):

I especially love the lamp so my husband's going to set it up for me on my nightstand.  He's very pensive.  And cute.  But then again, treefrogs have that whimsical look on their faces all the time so it's hard to have an uncute treefrog.

Had today approved to take off but my FMLA leave ate up all my paid time off so it's off to work for me today for 10 hours :'(

At least tomorrow, my husband is taking me to Outback with the gift cards I got from work (we get points for doing well in metrics) and Steven and Ashley are watching the baby so it will be a baby-free meal!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A finish and switching projects

So, I finished Mary's Lamb Sampler today.  Here's the final result.

I figure it doesn't look bad considering I had no color or stitching chart to go with it.  I would like to get it framed for the baby's room but it's a little larger and I'll probably have to wait.

Meanwhile, I switched projects from the carnival throw temporarily to WIP #2 which is "Do Not Meddle."  I was further on it than I thought.  Here's what it looks like currently:

I know there is some frogging to do somewhere.  I am proceeding with caution.  There are 6 colors of green used on the dragon and two of them are really really close together.  I am using Raymond's method and have needles threaded with all the colors needed.  I am doing a color section at a time and then switching to a different needle.  I figure this way, I can figure out where I went wrong and rip instead of trying what I did before which was to start with the outline (made sense at the time....until I realized I was off by at least a stitch!).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Petit Christmas Tree

I have mostly finished the Christmas Tree I was knitting based off the "Patriotic Decoration" on the KK website.

The original calls for 15 discs to be knitted.  I decided to go with 6.  Of course, you can feel free to use as few or as many as you like.

The basic instructions are to e wrap the loom 3 times and knit 1 over 2.  After knitting the amount of rows called for, do a gather finish to remove the stitches from the loom, leaving a 1/2" hole in the middle for the dowel.  Using the loops from your cast on, gather the bottom as well leaving a 1/2" hold in the middle as well.  It will form a disc.
This is the size of the discs on my tree
Blue Loom:  15 rows, 21 rows
Red Loom:  24 rows, 30 rows
Green Loom: 27 rows, 30 rows

To finish,  you slide the rows through a 1/2" dowel cut to size (I have to find my saw to do this).  I have not decided how to top my tree off yet.  I may make a plastic canvas star.  You can decorate it anyway you want.  I chose to use gold Glitterspun yarn.  You could also use beads.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reflections on Becoming a Mother-In-Law

So, Saturday, I will officially become a mother-in-law (it was supposed to be for the second time but that fell through).  So now I'm siting here thinking about a couple of things while I try to fall asleep (third trimester tends to cut down on sleep because you're uncomfortable and always running to the bathroom).

I get asked a lot of questions when people find out that my husband is 20 years my senior (Apparently this is a large gap now although my husband points out that in the older mysteries he reads, 40 year old men are marrying 20 year old women all the time).

For instance,
Isn't it strange that your stepchildren are close to you in age?
Does your husband really want more children?
Don't you think it's strange that your children and grandchildren will be close in age?

For the first question, yes, I'm turning 26 in about two weeks and Chris my oldest stepson is 24.  Steven (the one who's getting married) is 20.  Both of them have disowned their biological mother and consider me their mother even though physically, it's not possible. 

For the second question, my husband says that his 3 kids made his first marriage bearable.  He was so excited when we had Zoe and is excited for the new girl as well.  Circumstances have made him a stay at home dad and he enjoys this challenging job (he definitely works harder than me).

For the third question, nope.  More playmates!

I do have to take this opportunity to clear up one other common misconception about an older man marrying a younger woman.  Most of the time it's assumed that the older guy left his wife for the younger woman.  Well, in our case, his ex-wife left him for an older man and I didn't come into the picture until several months after the divorce was finalized.

So, I'm getting excited for this wedding (it's going to be rather small).  Steven is marrying such a great girl who is a great match for him.  So, I'm happy and proud.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Carnival Throw Progress

So, I've made some progress on the throw.  Finished one more wheat panel and lengthened the wheat panel that was too short.  I also mattress stitched 4 panels together.  Now just one more wheat panel to go.  And some tassels.  Think I'll finish up the Christmas tree first.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

O Christmas Tree

So, the Christmas tree has been up since slightly before Halloween.  We have put it up early the last two years because we have relatives that come for Thanksgiving and not for Christmas.  It's a nice 6 1/2 footer we got at Home Depot last year that has the fake snow and pinecones and looks quite real. 

I love Christmas.  Could be because my birthday is the 22nd.  I have a lot of decorations that  I've accumulated, mostly because a lot of times I got them as Christmas presents.  These are some of my favorites:

This is one I inherited from my Grandmother.  It's a Danish paper ornament.

I have several Mickey Mouse ornaments.  I've always loved the Sorcerer Apprentice hat but I also have the traditional Mickey Mouse ears hat, the  Mickey Mouse Santa hat and the Mickey Mouse Pirates of the Caribbean hat.

This was a project one year at my church's Jesus Birthday Party that I played music for one year.  It's a wiseman if you haven't guessed and would be really easy to make.  It's a gold ring with pieces of cord tied onto it, the eye and nose beads are strung on a wire and the crown is a piece of fancy gold paper.

My Grandma made a bunch of Chrissums for her church.  I managed to get one from her personal collection when she died.  Should probably see if I can get the pattern somewhere and make a few of my own.

I'm not sure where this came from.  It has the chorus from "We Three Kings" around the edges.

One of my relatives made me this.  I plan on making one for each of my baby girls.  It actually has a letter inside that she wrote to me.
We also have a train on our tree.  Last Christmas we had it running around the base but this year we attached it to the tree because of the baby. She loves to watch it go around.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Helping Mommy Stitch

Hello, everyone it's Zoé.  I was helping Mommy with her knitting yesterday.  I think she should let me do some.  I was even holding the tool right.  What do you think?

My big brother Chris went back to Afghanistan yesterday.  I got to run around the airport but Mommy wouldn't let me play with the cool moving stairs thing and she wouldn't let me go through security either.  I wonder why. 

Knifty Knitter Patterns I Can Recommend

For any references I make to books/pamphlets, see the links in the sidebar to the list of books that I use.

Afghan Shawl (Loom Crafts with Knifty Knitter)
My mother joined a knitting circle at church and the project was to make shawls for shut ins.  I started with this shawl.  It uses the blue long loom (unfortunately, one of the pegs broke on mine and my husband tried with his strongest glue to glue it didn't stay and this will use all the pegs).  Basically, you start with a tube using one over two stitch then switch to knitting across the loom in ribbed stitch for the majority of the shawl then back to a tube so it has 'cuffs'.  Makes a very very warm shawl.  Also uses my favorite yarn, Lions Brand Homespun.  Unfortunately, I don't have a pictures since I made it and then gave it away.

Drawstring Purse (Learn New Stitches on Circle Looms)
Not very hard to make.  You will have to make a long i cord for the handle but I thought this was a great little purse.  There is a picture of this in my Picasa album

Diamond Lace Shawl (Learn New Stitches on Circle Looms)
This was a more difficult pattern.  I didn't use a fuzzy yarn so you can see the pattern more clearly.  Very light and airy.  Was also supposed to be for a shut-in but they stopped the project before I finished.  Also a picture on my Picasa album.

Metallic Shawl (Knitting with the Knifty Knitter II)
I used a thicker yarn so it looks different, however it's a very versatile pattern.  Picasa album.

Christmas Stocking (Knitting with the Knifty Knitter)
Makes a very large Christmas Stocking and it wasn't hard.  The hardest part was the heel.  Picasa album.

Tassel Shawl (KK Website)
I made this for a friend and she absolutely loved it.  It's very interesting because you increase and decrease a lot.  You will need the tassel maker for it because it needs the tassels to complete the look.

Baby Mitts and Booties (KK Website)
I have made these several times for people with babies and they go over really well.  The use the flower loom.  The only modification I make is with the booties, after the cuff is made, I start knitting around the loom so I don't have to sew it up at the end.  It works just fine. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Catching up on UFOs

Ma Teakettle (of Teakettle Corner, see blogs that I follow) is joining a year long project to finish a bunch of WIPs.  So, I decided after looking through my stash that I probably should finish off some WIPs before jumping into something new although I don't have a lot of UFOs (that I know of).  It's a combo of knitting and cross stitch:

UFO #1:  Carnival Throw  --  This is out of one of the KK mini books.  In the book it's supposed to be yellow and aqua green (um, no....) but I'm using Wool-Ease worsted weight yarn in Blue Heather and Wheat.  I actually have the three blue panels completed but I have one oatmeal one done but I discovered....IT'S TOO SHORT!  AAAAAARRRGGHH!

UFO #2:  Do Not Meddle -- This is a cross stitch pattern.  Unfortunately, I stopped it because there is some frogging to do.

UFO #3:  Christmyth --  I was doing the Christmyth ornaments off of Dragon Dreams.  I stopped in the middle of the Griffin.  I think there's some frogging to do there as well.  There are actually several more, not sure if I will do those just yet though.

UFO #4: Ruana  --  I started this before I got married in the fall in Wisconsin (you know, getting's nice and's like a blanket shawl....) but it takes awhile because it's not the twisted knit stitch and it's got cables.  Yeah.  Then I needed the round yellow loom for something and so I took it off.  I will finish it if I can get it back onto the loom.  That should be interesting. becomes a ball of yarn.

UFO#5 Family Portrait --  This was supposed to be a present for my friends Luke and Jen for the birth of Nora....who's now 1 1/2.....yeah.  It's still quite unfinished.  If I ever finish it, it'll probably go to them anyway.  They'll think it's cute.

UFO #6 Kinkade --  Since I just started it, it's at the bottom of the list.  Not sure I'll get at it this year.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Googie!

My little Googie is one today!  Can't believe a year ago I was in the hospital giving birth (and can't believe that in 3 months, I'll be back there)

It's also my future daughter-in-law's birthday today too.  She's 21.  Happy Birthday Ashley!

And my stepson Chris is supposed to get married today....hoping he's not making a big mistake  (don't ask...SOAP OPERA!).  Wishing him a safe trip back to Afghanistan for another 6 months.

Current Project

So, I saw this on the Knifty Knitter Website and I thought, hmm, wouldn't it look nice in green?  So I'm making a Christmas tree from this pattern.  I've decided to start by making half the discs because it doesn't have to be THAT tall and I'll add more in as I see fit.   So far, I have 2 1/2 discs done out of 7-8.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas Music

For me, it's never too early for some Christmas music.  I have almost 10 GB of Christmas music on my external hard drive and several hundred dollars of Christmas sheet music for piano and organ.  So, here's some of my favorites:

O Come O Come Emmanuel
Of the Father's Love Begotten
Carol of the Bells
Joy to the World
Angels Carol (a John Rutter piece)
Angels from the Realms of Glory
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came
There Shall a Star Come Out of Jacob (Felix Mendelssohn)
Masters in This Hall
The Holly and the Ivy
There Were Shepherds/Glory to God (from "The Messiah")
Magnificat (arr. Jackson Berkley)

Friday, November 26, 2010


So, today I finally decided to upload a few songs I have arranged as a test to see how a music player would work with the blog.  The good news is there is a play/pause button so you can start and stop it at your leisure.  Currently, I have only uploaded the two songs I legally could---one is an arrangement of The Coventry Carol that I did several years back for piano, voice and mandolin (that would be me singing and strumming, someone else had to do the piano part); the other is an arrangement of We Three Kings for piano and mandolin which I exported directly from Finale (as I don't have the equipment to record it live....was saving up for it and then I got married).  One other piece I did was an arrangement of Savior When in Dust to You for piano and SA choir but I don't have a recording of it and Finale wouldn't do it justice so maybe I'll just have to convert it to a piano only piece.  I wish I had the file of Trans Siberian Orchestra's What Child that I rewrote the lyrics for so I could perform it in church.

Currently, I am working on an arrangement of Now Thank We All Our God for piano.  Once it is done, I will upload it.

A hat and some progress

So, I knitted this hat as a Christmas present.  I think it turned out pretty well.  It's the "Patterned Hat" off the Knifty Knitter project page.

That would be my husband trying to be funny.  Let me try that again...
I used some green Homespun Yarn by Lion's Brand that I had in my craft cabinet.  I love working with it, it's so soft and works well on the Knifty Knitters because it's a larger gauge. 

I also made some progress on Mary...

The rest of the work to be done is mainly outlining which is definitely an embroidery stitch...I just can't remember the name of it off the top of my head.  I think it will turn out nice.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!