Thursday, April 25, 2013

We spent the last few days at a NARFE conference in Richmond, VA. My husband, who worked for the Naval Research Laboratory, was re-elected Secretary of the Virginia Federation of Chapters.

He spent his days in meetings. I got to hang out in the atrium lobby. The lighting is almost perfect ... at least it is when the sun is shining. I brought my cross-stitch with me. I started a new project...and then re-started it. Before we left home, I selected a piece of fabric to use, but I didn't look at it too closely. I picked it from my stash and it didn't have any labels left on it saying what it was, what the count was, etc. But, it was almost a full yard. 

I marked off my three inch top and side margin and started stitching. I stitched the letter A from a small alphabet. It looked enormous. So I started counting ... I had a very nice piece of 28 count fabric. If I had been using 32 count, my project would have been 21 x 20 inches. I decided that I was going to restart it     ... over 1 ... the fabric count being too large to call it a miniature, but a better size for a finished project. Unfortunately, the picture I tried to take of it didn't turn out ... and I still haven't gotten a new memory card. 

I have decided that the last grand kid ornament this year will be a sail boat. His mom reminded me that I have never done one of those for him, and he has been taking sailing lessons for years. So, a sailboat it will be. I will try to incorporate the insignia of the sailing association that is giving him the lessons, but I'm not sure I can fit it in properly.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

It's Saturday ...

and I didn't remember Loudoun Sampler Guild this morning ... again  This is getting to be a bad habit. I remembered yesterday. I remember early this morning, just before one of the fans in the family room died with a bit of a splutter and bang, and I promptly forgot about the meeting. We did go get a new fan, not installed yet, but when we got home ... the meeting clicked in. Just a couple of hours too late. If wishes were fishes ... the best laid plans of mice and [wo]men ...

I got my Christmas Rules back, along with 13 Colonies. Here is a photo of Rules ... not the greatest picture I've ever taken. I couldn't get it all in the picture with it laying down, and when I tried standing it up, well, you would have thought I put it on a slide.

I've finished stitching Becca's ornament. I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I still need to do one for Bryce. I've pretty much decided on the La Crosse player with the word LaCrosse underneath. I've emailed our daughter to ask if she thinks he would like that. I'm afraid she will say oh do baseball....again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mostly Christmas Thoughts

I am continuing to work on the Christmas ornaments. I now have three of the five completely stitched. I finished Eme's Karate Girl yesterday.

Not too bad. If I was starting over, I'd probably change her face, but I'm not starting over. I have Becca's started. Poor Bryce. I still don't have any idea what to do for him. I have a clip-art LaCrosse player, but I'm still not sure about it. Any suggestions?? Please!

I am also working on Meri's Christmas stocking. I am doing Anna's Stocking by Shepherd Bush. With Becca and Bryce now officially into their teens, I am thinking that I should start thinking about some more adult stockings for them. I like the Country Crafts and Cross Stitch Heirloom stockings, but would probably do the wallpaper version instead of the more elaborate version for Becca. Once again, Bryce has me stumped.

The grand-dogs stayed with us an extra two days. Vicki and family decided to extend their vacation and stayed over an extra night with friends in Charlotte. Unfortunately, they forgot to tell us about it. We spent a large part of Easter day worrying about them since they were to have picked up the dogs that day. We finally called them and they were surprised we didn't know they weren't coming until Tuesday!!! Kids ... even when they are 50!

A friend passed away yesterday ... she had been the very first female volunteer firefighter at our local fire department. We will be heading to her funeral on Tuesday. So, I won't make it to my stitch group this week. Last Tuesday, for dessert, our hostess treated us to large cream puffs from Wegman's. They had a whipped cream style filling. Beautiful to look and and wonderful to eat. And did I mention they were huge! Everyone managed to eat the whole thing, but at least for me that almost didn't happen. Huge! Delicious! Yum!

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I hope that everyone is having a good Easter day.

We are dog-sitting. Our daughter and her family took off for Spring Break. They headed to Hilton Head Island and a week of beach fun. While they were gone, Rick celebrated his 50th birthday. We are expecting them to pick up the pups later today.

I am feeling very frustrated with my stitching right now. Not that I am in a slump or anything like that. I just managed to complete two bands on the Loudoun Sampler Guild band sampler. I put it down ... I guess I forgot that I had dogs here ... because I put it where the inquisitive beasts could find it. When I went to stitch again, I couldn't find it. Then I spotted it on the floor, picked it up, and cried. I had a very nice little (and little is a very relative word) snag in the fabric ... right in the middle, about halfway up the piece of fabric. I thought about pulling out threads and reweaving, but the damage was more extensive than I was willing to rework - both vertical and horizontal threads. So, I took the 'easy' way out. I simply got a new piece of cloth and restarted. I did make some changes in my colors on the first band. All in all, worse things could have happened. I had been mildly unhappy with at least one color choice, so I was given a chance to fix those, and I am now about halfway through it. Picture next time I post ... I'd do it now, but I need to buy a new memory card because the one I have now is full.

Meanwhile, I have finished one more of the Christmas ornaments. The Lego symbol. The picture of it was the last picture the card would hold. With no further ado, the Lego block.

Friday, March 22, 2013

It's almost Easter, but I'm stitching Christmas

I have been moving along on my ornaments for the grands. I have one of them done completely, and the others are at least sketches.

I started with the easy one! Meri will get a Santa Claus. I selected a chart that included a sleigh because I loved the picture Barb posted of Meri in a sled that Bill made for the kids when Becca was a baby. You can't see it in this picture, but the fabric has little gold sparkle in it.

I have the Lego symbol for Xander started, but there is a sea of red in that and I am working slowly.

The little girl Karate Kid and the archer are taking shape, at least on paper. I found some free clip art that looks enough like what I want that I can take it from there. I am not an artist, but I am finding these adaptations to be workable. Bryce is proving to the be hardest. I have made baseball oriented ornaments for a number of years and frankly, I am tired of baseball. I have done his swim team emblem, his dog, and a little gentleman dressed in colonial garb holding a parrot (his mother hasn't forgiven me for that one yet - when he saw it he decided he needed a parrot!). His big interests are baseball, lacrosse, his dog, and his newest ... girls.

One of my guilds (Loudoun Sampler Guild) is working on a year-long project. Our talented members are designing a band sampler and presenting it to us one band each month during 2013. As usual, I am behind. I have almost completed the January band and when I am through, I will post a picture of it. Betsy Morgan designed the first band -- actually, she designed two bands and we had to choose one to stitch. It was a hard decision. I finally went with the more traditional version with a house, horse and tree. The other choice was a large bird house complete with birds perched on it and a bird flying through the air. Donna LaBranche designed the second band - a pretty piece of bargello with an almost quote from Claude Monet 'color is my obsession, joy and torment'. I didn't make it to the March meeting, so I have to wait to see who designed what for March.

Rick continues to do well. Well enough that the family is heading to be beach for Spring Break. The dogs are  also getting to make a trip for the break ... they are coming here. It will be a full house next week when the LI family heads down.

Friday, March 8, 2013


This year marks the 50th Annual Woodlawn Needlework show. As you might expect, this show was an extravaganza. Many, many beautiful pieces of needlework. And something I hadn't noticed in past years (though they may have been there) miniature stockings and bundles of Christmas ornaments. Miniatures abounded. My husband who accompanies me each year remarked on the number and variety of miniatures. Traditional samplers were in abundance. There was goldwork, needlepoint, Reticello, Zentangle-inspired, fun pieces and serious pieces. In short, there was something for everyone.

I fell in love with a piece that I don't think got any ribbons, but I absolutely loved it. A traditional sampler, and yet non traditional, complete with alphabets and people enjoying old-fashioned pursuits. I liked it so much that after we left Woodlawn, I headed for In Stitches Needlework in the hope of finding the chart. I am happy to report complete success. I started describing the sampler, and the lady helping me knew exactly which item I was looking for. A few minutes later, I was a completely happy camper, clutching my brand new Story From The Past Sampler chart by a mon ami Pierre.

Of course, no trip to the Woodlawn Needlework show is complete without lunch with the Nellies Needlers. Their menu doesn't vary too much from year but why mess up a good thing. I look forward to my Chicken Salad Plate and Lemon Tart. Our waitress was an old friend from the Needlers, and while we were eating, several of the cooking staff came out to say hello. Nice to see everyone!

Oh, and I got an honorable mention for my Christmas Rules. Too bad I don't have a picture of it, but when it comes home, I will take its picture and post it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

I'm going to be absolutely positive in this post. Rick (son-in-law) is doing marvelously. He is even back to work. He did not get back into the trial. Can't say that I am upset. The oncologist suggested that he go back on a drug that he was taking while in the trial ... just not the experimental drug. He is thriving on it.

I am working on Christmas ornaments ... a bit in advance, but I need to give my finisher time to do her magic and she is planning a big Christmas in July. I try to do an ornament that reflects something that is going on in each grand kid's life. So, this year the ornaments will be:
Becca - something to do with archery. I found a great free clip art site that has some neat choices.
Bryce - haven't decided on his yet, but it will probably have something to do with lacrosse since I have run out of baseball ideas.
Xander - his mom suggested a Lego symbol since he loves Legos.
Eme - she is on a special team for her karate (she has earned her blue belt), so a little karate kid seems just right.
Meri - too young for special interests yet, so she is getting a Santa Claus.

I'll post some pictures later ... when I take some.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

I should have posted before this. Rick survived the pneumonitis. The emergency room doctor at Anne Arundel Medical Center gets all the credit. All of the doctors were leery of using sulfa drugs because Rick had a reaction back when he was taking IL-2. No one wanted to use sulfa again. But the doctor at AAMC felt that we were going to lose him if they didn't do something extraordinary. So, after consulting the the two oncologists he decided to go ahead and use the sulfa based drugs. He felt that he had Rick in a closed environment and could keep a nurse near his side in case of a problem. He went ahead with the treatment and reported later that the drugs began to take effect and you could see a visible change in Rick -- for the better. It took a number of days, but he was soon home. Too weak to climb the stairs, but home. They moved things around and made a bedroom for him out of an office. He stayed there several days until he was able to tackle the stairs to the master bedroom. Then, once that was done, he had an appointment with the oncologist to discuss the next steps in the cancer treatment. The oncologist told them that while all the rest was going on, Rick's hernia had become an issue, and suggested getting it repaired before the next round of whatever treatments they chose. So, Rick head back to the hospital for a hernia repair. That was an easy job for him. He has bounced back from that one just like the old Rick. Now, they are awaiting word from the sponsor of the trial to decide if he can rejoin the trial. I am of mixed emotions on that one. While the drug was working miracles on the cancer cells, it was leaving him at risk for pneumonia. I'm glad I'm not in that decision.

Friday, January 18, 2013

It is after midnight on Friday, the 18th. I can't seem to get to sleep. Bill is in Maryland, being with Bryce while his mother is at the hospital with her husband.  SIL has been transferred to Johns Hopkins. His vital signs are all good. His blood oxygen level is very low. He is still very weak and lethargic.A CT showed a lot of congestion in the lungs and his oncology team wanted him where they are. He was transferred this evening. He sees the oncologist first thing in the morning and a bronchial specialist after that. Hopefully, they will find the cure for what is going on in his lungs. The scare about the mortality rate for people in his particular drug trial hangs over us all. Sorry to be so down, but it is where I am these days.

Monday, January 14, 2013


My last post was at the end of November.

Life has been a little hectic since then. My son-in-law is in the hospital for the second time since then. At Christmas, he was admitted because he had pneumonia and the doctors were afraid that his chemo-treated body wasn't responding properly. Well, he managed to get back from that, but hasn't made it back to work yet. Over the week-end, he was readmitted with a temperature of 103, and a blood pressure of 80/50. Three pints of blood later, his blood pressure is back up enough to make the doctors happy, his temperature is responding to the antibiotics - slowly, but responding. The bad part is that he appears to have given up...he is asking his wife to start making funeral plans. We are all hoping that as the fever recedes and the blood pressure returns to normal he will regain his zest for life. I think that and his desire to see their son graduate from high school are what has kept him going these 32 months since his diagnosis. Their son is, so far at least, handling his father's illness well.

They have many friends who jump right in to help out with taking care of the son ... getting him to and from practice, making sure he has a good dinner if our daughter has to work ... We think of them as part of God's blessing on the family.

If you have an inclination to do so, please send prayers, good thoughts, good vibes ... whatever you can. I personally feel that prayer helps.