Getting away from it all...

...that's what we did this weekend. In a continuation of our anniversary celebration, we took a three-day trip to Bodega Bay. It's only 2.5 hours from home, so it's an easy drive.

We stayed at our favorite hotel, The Inn at the Tides, and enjoyed another fabulous Winemaker dinner on Friday night. We've been going to this hotel for over 15 years, and have been to at least 10 Winemaker dinners. It was fitting that we celebrated our 20th anniversary there.

The weather was rainy on Saturday, but it didn't matter. It was just nice to kick back and enjoy the sounds of the ocean and the rain, and not think about work, email, IM, and the telephone. I used the drive time to get some stitching in (LOL) - I finished my sparkly black and silver shawl (and wore it to the dinner), finished a small cross stitch project, and finished my first pair of knitted socks!

We took the long way home on Sunday so we could enjoy the good weather that returned. It was a wonderful, restful weekend!

Happy Anniversary to us!


Today is our 20th wedding anniversary, and our 25th anniversary of being together.

Wow! Where did the time go?

We had both been married before, so we approached our relationship carefully, plus there was my daughter to consider. So we lived together for five years before committing to marriage. By the time we did marry, everything seemed right for us, and our daughter was happy.

My husband is a wonderful guy who gives me time by myself, encourages my creativeness, and is incredibly supportive. When I was overweight, he never made rude comments or made me feel bad about it. He just loves me for being me.

And because of that, I am free to be me, not someone else's vision of me. Another wonderful gift from my husband!

Happy Dance: needlepoint UFO finished!


Hooray! After 5 or 6 years (could be longer...) I have finally finished the needlpoint UFO with the white background. Put the last stitch in [late] last night!

So what is it? It is a needlepoint canvas of two kokopellis against a Southwestern background. The design is by the late Tish Holland and comes from Sundance Designs.

There is an option of adding a few copper beads to the kokopellis, but I'm not sure I want to do that. I like it the way it is right now. All that's left to do is block it and frame it! (Much easier than doing white background!)

I'm not sure whether this finish will completely unblock my stitching blahs, but it at least has me looking at my UFOs.

Next up, another needlepoint UFO with a white background...I have far too many of these!

I stitched today!

OK, after all that whining about not stitching, I actually did some today. Granted, it's still not cross stitch, but at least it involved needle and floss!

For the last couple of days, I've been trying to "prime the pump" (more or less). I've been working on updating my website with more project pictures. I've been really bad about taking pictures of my completed stitching and quilting projects, or I've taken really bad pictures of stuff--I can't win! (I figured if I looked at all those great pieces I had already finished, maybe it would inspire me to start stitching again.) Anyway, someone in the office suggested scanning projects as an option, at least for the flat stuff.

So, I went looking for flat pieces to scan, and gee, who-da-thunk, I found a needlepoint UFO. I must have started this 5 or 6 years ago. It's a Southwestern painted canvas with speciality threads and stitches. All it needs is the final part of the background, and then I realized why it was a UFO: the background is white. I absolutely hate stitching huge portions of white. It doesn't matter what stitch is used, if it's white, I get bored...FAST.

Since I didn't want this project to get shoved away to UFO-land again, I decided that my goal this month was to finish it. So, today I stitched some white background...and reminded myself that it is character-building to work on something you don't like.

Really. It is. It's good for you...honest...

The stitching blahs

I love to cross stitch and needlpoint, I really do. But (you knew there was a big "but" in there, didn't you?) lately I just haven't been in a stitching mood.

I usually don't stitch much around the holidays simply because I have too much other stuff to do. However, the last thing I stitched was back in October when I finished a bunch of small Halloween kits from Pine Mountain and Shepherd's Bush. The only other stitching I did during the year was in 3 days in April at the Burbank Cross Stitch Festival, 2 days in July (on vacation), and a few days in September. Most of the year I knitted, worked on several quilts, and made a bunch of soap.

I'm not sure why I'm in such a stitching slump. I have tons of wonderful cross stitch projects kitted and ready to stitch, so it's not lack of materials. I have all the necessary stitching tools (read: more than I need), so that's not it. I just can't seem get into it again. I think the only reason I stitched in September and October is because I had these two projects that were nearly done ("Ocean Waves" by Laura J Perin and "Grins of Delight" by Shepherd's Bush) and I was determined to finish them.

I try to motivate myself by fondling my stash, but that's not working either. I'm hoping some "stitching" switch will turn on soon, otherwise my poor Mermaid Queen will continue to languish in her scroll bars instead of joining her sisters up on the wall.

A gift of "space"

After surviving a first marriage that wasn't the best, I learned something about myself (let's face it, I learned a lot about myself, but I digress...):
I really need to be by myself once in a while.
If I don't get my alone time, I get really cranky. I need time to recharge and not worry about the normal, everyday stuff.

The good part is that my [2nd] husband understands and lets me have the time I need. He also needs time for himself, so it works well for both of us. This is one of the great things about our relationship - we understand that we each need space. We recognize that we don't need to joined at the hip to show that we love each other. We each have our own interests and encourage each other to pursue those interests. Don't get me wrong, we do share a lot of interests and do spend time with each other; it's just that we don't need to do that 24/7.

So, this weekend is one of those "space" weekends. He's gone off for an overnight, to play in the snow and get outdoors. I'm at home, working on my projects, napping playing with the cats, and watching the Netflix movies that have piled up. When he gets back Sunday night, I'll have dinner ready and we'll catch up on each other's weekend - recharged after our time alone.

It's a wonderful gift that we give each other.

Eclectic, or just weird?

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the different kinds of music people love and hate. She really doesn't like hip-hop or rap, but loves heavy metal. I, on the other hand, like a lot of the hip-hop and rap stuff my daughter listens to, and don't particularly care for heavy metal. It started me thinking about how different my tastes are from others "my age."

I don't know about you, but when I was in my teens and 20s, I thought people in their 50s were pretty old -- you know, staid, conservative, not open to new ideas, dressing really matronly, the whole "when I was your age..." and "I walked 15 miles to school in the snow..." mentality. Well, here I am on the other side of 50, and I am nothing like that. I have not magically become a matronly, OLD person. OK, so occasionally, my mother's voice comes out of my mouth, but for the most part I think I'm still pretty young.

Maybe it comes from having my (only) kid 10 years later than most people my age and is helped along by the fact that I am married to a man who is 5 years younger than me. Between the two of them, I've been exposed to a variety of music, books, movies, and other interests, some of which I have adopted for myself.

Because of my daughter, I love certain rap, hip-hop, and pop artists, as well as salsa music. We love the some of the same kinds of movies -- chick flicks, romantic comedies, and some animated features.

Because of my husband, I love The Blasters, Los Lobos, rockabilly music, and I'm now able to listen to some country music (yes, there is a story there...that's another blog entry). I've always loved musicals, but it was my husband who took me to see "All That Jazz", giving me a love for Bob Fosse and, inadvertently, Vivaldi concertos. It was through my husband's encouragement that I even attempted to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez books.

I am also fortunate to work in Silicon Valley and have a job that allows me to learn new software applications every year and exposes me to new technology. I work on both Macs and Windows machines and seriously miss working on Unix machines. I own an iPod (my second one because my mini was too small!), use a Palm Tungsten E2 to track my schedule, and create databases to track my stitching stash. Yes, I do geek out regularly!

In my copious spare time, I do needlework: cross stitch (I'm trying my hand at a couple of my own designs), counted canvas work, and a little embroidery. I make quilts and, in the past, have sewn clothes for my family. My latest thing is making melt-and-pour soaps and body scrubs, both
scented with essential oils.

Anyway, it got me to thinking: what do you call a 50-something who

  • Listens to the Black-Eyed Peas, Christina Aguilera, Vivaldi concertos, Mexican music, Queen, the Beatles, Aimee Mann, and the soundtracks to Cruel Intentions, Frida, and Legally Blonde
  • Loves movies by Quentin Tarantino, Roberto Rodriguez, and David Lynch; movies that star Reese Witherspoon, Julia Stiles, Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Steve Martin, or Richard Gere; loves all the Star Trek movies, all the Harry Potter movies, and all of the "classic" Christmas movies (White Christmas, Going My Way, Holiday Inn...)
  • Loves the "traditional" home arts of needlework, quilting, sewing, knitting, and cooking
  • Gets excited with new fonts, loves the Unix command line, and waits for the new MacWorld every month
  • Reads romance novels, Harry Potter books, James Patterson, adn Lousia May Alcott
Eclectic, or just weird?


Turtle quilt progress

It's hard to keep my project momentum going during the week. Yesterday, however, I made a point of getting one more thing done on my Mom's quilt.

Let me back up here and describe this quilt a little more. I've been wanting to make my mom a quilt for a couple of years, but I've never found a pattern I really liked. I knew I wanted to make one with turtles (her favorite thing), but all the patterns were too blocky or looked like they belonged in a baby's room.

I finally found a pattern with appliqued turtles that fit the billl. It's "Baby Honu Sea Turtle" by Lisa Boyer and while that sounds like a little kid's quilt, the pattern itself is quite grown-up. My version of the quilt uses green batiks for the turtles and blue batiks for the waves. I added two borders: a narrow teal-and-blue batik with turtles for the inner border and a wide dark blue batik for the outer border.

Yesterday I pin-basted the quilt together, using a pale green and blue batik with a vine pattern for the backing. I'll start machine quilting this puppy on Saturday. I'm not quite sure when I'll give this quilt to my mother, but at least I'm making progress!

I ended the day by adding a few rows to my shawl. I'm using Patons "Glittallic" in Black Tinsel on size 15 needles; I cast on 55 and am just doing a plain garter stitch. I'll add some fringe to it when I'm done--whenever "done" is! LOL!!

Busy, busy weekend

I went dress shopping for the first time in a year. Not to say that I haven't been clothes shopping in a year...LOL! I need a new dress for our anniversary later this month, so I braved the Sunday crowds at Norstroms and Macys. After trying on about 20 dresses, I finally found one that will "do"--I think my husband will like it.

There were really no dresses that I fell in love with--if the dress style was good, the color was bad for me, or they had the wrong size; if the color was great, the dress style was REALLY bad or cut so poorly, no one would look good in them. At least I found dresses that actually had zippers this time. The last time I went dress shopping all I could find were dresses that pulled over your head and, as a result made, me look really shapeless and fat. Not quite what I'm looking for in a dress!

I made great progress on the turtle quilt for my mother: added the last border, prepped the binding, and prepped the backing. All I need to do now is sandwich, quilt it, and bind it...that's one big "all"!

I made progress on the sock I am knitting and I started a new shawl for myself (to go with the new dress). I have two weeks to finish the shawl, so I think it's do-able. No stitching this weekend, although I did look through a few projects.


I spent a lot of time trying to finish packing up Christmas in the house. Every year, it seems to take me longer to pack things up than it did to decorate! I guess that means I shouldn't decorate quite so much--HA!

2005 Project Recap

One of the reasons I started this blog was to talk about my various craft projects. So let me start by listing what I finished, what I started, what’s in progress, and what got sent to that big UFO/NGFO/IDJ (UnFinished Object; Never Gonna Finish Object; It’s Dead, Jim) pile.

Finished in 2005 (alphabetically):

  1. Advent calendar quilt, 11/2005
  2. Afghan, claret Thick and Quick yarn, 02/2005; gift (knitted)
  3. Arm warmers, black Microspun yarn, 12/2005; gift (knitted)
  4. “Best Witches” by Shepherd’s Bush, 10/2005 (cross stitch)
  5. “Boo To You” pillow by Pine Mountain, 09/2005 (cross stitch)
  6. “Boo!” quilt (finally!! Top was finished eons ago), 10/2005
  7. “Counting Sheep” quilt, 08/2005; gift
  8. Dishcloth, beige and white cotton yarn, 11/2005 (knitted)
  9. Dishcloth, cream cotton yarn, 11/2005 (knitted)
  10. Dishcloth, yellow and blue cotton yarn, 11/2005 (knitted)
  11. “Dragonfly Dreams” by Dimensions, 09/2005 (embroidery)
  12. “Grins of Delight” by Shepherd’s Bush, 10/2005 (cross stitch)
  13. “Halloween Foursome” pillow by Pine Mountain, 10/2005 (cross stitch)
  14. “Howl” by Shepherd’s Bush, 10/2005 (cross stitch)
  15. Knitting Needle holders: one for my circular needles, one for my double-pointed needles and one for my straight needles, 02/2005 (sewing)
  16. “Ocean Waves” by Laura J. Perin, 09/2005 (counted canvas)
  17. “October” by Shepherd’s Bush, 10/2005 (cross stitch)
  18. Poncho, Purple Mountains yarn, 03/2005
  19. Scarf, blue Kickx yarn, 04/2005; gift (knitted)
  20. Scarf, blue Kickx yarn, 08/2005; gift (knitted); I liked the yarn so much I made another one
  21. Scarf, chocolate Carmen yarn, 06/2005; gift (knitted)
  22. Scarf, maroon and black Poof yarn, 02/2005 (knitted)
  23. Scarf, teal and blue drop stitch using a pattern from Keyboard Biologist, 02/2005 (knitted)
  24. Scarf, teal Squiggle and teal Fizz yarns, 02/2005 (knitted)
  25. Scarf, turquoise Vixen yarn, 05/2005
  26. “Seeing Stars” quilt (finally!! Top was finished eons ago), 10/2005
  27. Sock (yes one), Passion Regia yarn, 08/2005 (knitted)
Started, But Didn’t Finish:
  1. Red and black quilt for my office, started 09/2005
  2. Sock 2, Passion Regia yarn, started 09/2005
  3. T-shirt in claret TLC yarn, started 07/2005
  4. Turtle quilt in batiks, started 12/2005; gift
On Hold, But Will Work on Soon
  1. “Flower Power” quilt; need to sandwich and quilt
  2. “Peacock Majesty” by Just Nan; about half done (working on that dark teal fabric is a pain)
  3. “Queen Mermaid” by Mirabilia; poor thing is languishing in its stretcher bars
  4. “Seahorses” pillow, one third done; stopped when I found a problem with the way the canvas was painted (needlepoint)
  5. “Wright Stuff” quilt; sandwiched, just need to quilt the d*mn thing
Into the UFO/NGFO/IDJ Pile:
  1. Samplers from the 2003, 2004, & 2005 CATS dinners
  2. Seaside Heart 2004 CATS class
  3. Tisket a Tasket 2004 CATS class
Looking back at this, I really did finish quite a few things last year--wow!

Blog trials...

I've been reading blogs for a while and like the idea of having some place to jot down ideas, stories, describe my projects, and so on. I figure it's one way of actually getting the thoughts down on [digital] paper, plus it makes it easy for me to point friends to a link so I don't have to tell the same stories over and over again.

So here goes...it's always good to try new things, right?

Eye Candy Friday...

...and a Tour de Fleece update. First, the eye candy. The sweet pea bush in our front yard is continuing to bloom: The tomatoes in th...