Monday, May 15, 2017

Cross-Stitch Donation

Friends, I am sorry that I haven't been around to read and comment or to even answer your comments which I know is very bad form but I am having a difficult year. But enough about me...

An old friend recently lost her father, and as she goes through the things he collected in this life she is trying to find the right people for the stuff. She recently came upon a couple of boxes of cross stitch books and pamphlets. She surmises he picked them up at a yard sale, as was his habit. She doesn't want to send everything off to Goodwill, but she is hoping there is a group, perhaps one doing good works, who might be interested.  (I think she wants to handle this in bulk rather than become an ebay seller or the like.)

Please comment if you have any ideas!

I'll be back, friends, I know I will.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reading Not Stitching

As I've said I've been reading. This is good news for the sad, sad number of books I've been averaging per year but bad news for the stitching. I haven't taken a stitch since February! This is what I've read so far this year. I've given a star rating out of five. (You will see that sometimes a Pulitzer Prize winner gets the same number of stars as a memoir or mystery. I am judging the books against their type rather than each other.)

January 9 The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family, Josh Hanagarne (****) A memoir by a librarian with Tourette's, a love story to books and libraries. A conversational and funny exploration of how Hanagarne tries to control his Tourette's.

January 11 The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (****) A great many echoes of African American literature haunted my reading of this book. Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, for example, shows up in the movement from place to place signifying historical moments. While Ellison's work is about alienation, Cora seeks to find community because in doing so she will mark her own humanity. (Lots of reviewers compare Cora's stay in the attic to Anne Frank, but y'all Harriet Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl) stayed in an attic for seven years while escaping slavery.) I read this book for a book group, and I liked it much better after I had the chance to talk about it.

January 23 Normal, Warren Ellis (**) I really didn't enjoy this one. I didn't think it was well-written, and I wasn't that interested in it. Sci Fi is not my thing.

January 23 Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us About Health and the Science of Healing, Barbara Natterson-Horowitz (****) The big thesis of this book, that physicians can learn about human medicine by reading the work of veterinarians could have been handled in a short academic paper. What I found so interesting about this book were the fascinating examples and ties between the human and other animals. If you have a medical or scientific background, you might not enjoy it as much as I did.

January 25 Ceremony, Leslie Marmon Silko (****) I read this for a book group, and it wasn't clear how it met the theme of the club, but it was a beautifully written exploration of the lives of Native American WWII vets.

February 1 Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal (***) I was fascinated, but then again, I'm fascinated by the pictures I get biennially of my colon.

February 9 Touchstone, Laurie R. King (****) I was charmed by Harris Stuyvesant, the lunkish-appearing American detective gallivanting through the country houses of England. Deftly plotted.

February 10 A Long Way Home (***) What a remarkable story. Although there was a lot of repetition, it was utterly compelling.

February 14 Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? Mindy Kaling (**) Light and fluffy. I haven't really seen Kaling in anything, so I wasn't particularly attached to her as a writer or actress.

February 20 Pretty Little World, Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino (***) Great beach read. I loved the ending, where we find some nice, perhaps philosophical, conclusions. What we gain--and give up--living communally.

February 26 The Bones of Paris, Laurie R. King (***) The sequel to Touchstone, good read. This book was not as well-plotted nor the characters as well-drawn as the first in the series.

March 5 The Book of Speculation, Erika Swyler (****) Um, I meant to read The Department of Speculation but this speculation was really very good. A librarian, a book, a family mystery, and an old house crumbling into the sea. Enjoyable.

March 9 The Zookeeper's Wife, Diane Ackerman (***) This book needed a judicious editor, but the story of the family--which I am sure is the only part that ended up in the movie--was captivating though harrowing. But there was far too many asides...seriously at one point she's talking about one of the friends of the Zabinskis who was an entomologist who gave his bug collection to a museum and I think she names all 30,000 bugs. Individually, with nicknames and dates of birth. It got in the way.

March 18 The Moor's Account, Laila Lalami (****) This books was so imaginative--the historical representation of a slave on an ill-fated expedition in Florida in the 16th century. Marvelous.

April 19 Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (*****) Beautifully written. How different the world is for people. You may think we are all living in one America, an equal America, some sort of meritocracy, but Coates demonstrates powerfully that we are not.

Started, will not finish
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, Thom Hartmann This was assigned for my work book club, with the theme of sustainability. I had so many objections to this book, as did my group. Anyway, I couldn't finish it in time for the group, and I refuse to finish thereafter.

Started, will finish
Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation, Andrea Wulf I started this on my trip (Kindle edition) but the book expired and I had too many other books to read on deadline (for three book clubs) that I just couldn't get to it. I'll re-borrow it this summer.

EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want by Frances Moore Lappe This was also for the sustainability book group. I felt so bad about hating Last Hours so much, I read a little less critically. Still, this book is much less all-or-nothing than some environmental books about how we should be living our lives. (I'm very close on this one.)

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, Siddhartha Mukherjee. I was listening to this one on audio and there was a horrible skip in it. So I am waiting for a new edition.

The Mothers, Brit Bennett. I couldn't get into this book at first, so I missed the book group meeting. But eventually I grew to be interested in the characters and the gossipy mothers who begin each chapter. Still, I might have to put it aside to read the last book for my sustainability book group.

I am planning a trip to the stitching store this weekend. I am going to buy what I need to stitch the anniversary sampler. I'm hoping that will get me back into stitching.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Still Here

Friends, I had not expected to be away for so long, but I have taken nary a stitch for months. And months.

It took me a while just to be able to stay up and eat dinner after my safari. It took me a couple of weeks to feel like I was back in the game, but honestly I've felt off for months--I haven't even baked any cookies for the old ladies! I have finally gotten around to figuring out how to share my hundreds of safari photos with you. The only problem is that you won't get to hear my patter.
I am still reading rather than stitching. But I have missed you, so I'll be making the rounds. See you on the interwebs!

Friday, February 10, 2017


Photo from Death to the Stock Photo
I haven't been stitching. I can't settle on a project. I'm distracted by so many things... The most enjoyable of which is trying to keep up with my three book groups. One meets only three times a year (after winter break, spring break, and fall break) and the other meets only four times this semester. But in January, I had three meetings in two weeks. There was a lot of reading to get done! I'm still reading. I'm six books ahead of schedule for my  Goodreads Challenge.

At the end of this month, I am leaving for safari in Tanzania. I'm going with my mother and aunt. I'm very excited for this trip but there is so much to do! (Which seems odd since you can only bring 66 pounds of gear. Total. Including your camera. For 12 days.)

Because I will be gone the first week of March, I've decided not to do Craft Month this year. I had themes planned for each week and projects chosen for almost every day. I just can't see how to make it work. Best just to go away and enjoy being away.

My lack of stitching induced me to designate Ladybug, Ladybug as my project for February. So far, I've managed about 40 minutes on it. But I'll be back. I'm not giving up this easily.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Happy New Year!

I did not expect to be away for so long! Christmas preparations took so much more time than I expected--and that's with dropping projects all along the way! My father decided he wasn't able to travel this Christmas, so the dude and I went to him. (My mother came up to spend Christmas eve with us.) On Christmas day we all flew to Florida. Over the next couple of days we went to Spanish Point, the Dali Museum, the Italian Market, and shopping--I was visiting my mother after all. Once we were back home, I had to read, read, read to make progress toward my Goodreads Challenge. I tried to read 20 books, but only did 18--which I'm quite happy about since I was only at 11 at the beginning of December.

With the loss of Picasa, I can't make the fabulous collages I've made the past couple of years. Google Photos limits you to nine pics. Here, we have almost all the smalls from this year (No small in September or October). I do have one more to share from December, but I am one strand of Tropical Ocean from being done. 

Most of the finishes
Sadie's Stocking
Light House
Hawaiian Santa
Winter Row
French Country Owl
Ties that Bind
Greenland Santa
Mary's Stocking
Wisteria Snowman
Love Bird

I finished 19 pieces (including the nine smalls) when last year I finished 12 pieces (seven smalls). My goals were to "stick to the rotation and see where I get." Some months I was able to stick to the rotation better than others but I think I did well!

For 2017, I'm going to stick with the rotation again, and sign up for the Smalls SAL. Maybe this year I can get even closer to 12 smalls for the year.

  1. St Nick's Noel
  2. Christian's Stocking
  3. Our Souls
  4. Forty Seven Hearts (new, anniversary present)
  5. Love Me, Love My Dog
  6. Deruta Biscornu
  7. Lapland Santa
  8. small
  9. Ladybug, Ladybug
  10. Tis the Season
I'm also going to celebrate Craft Month with the helpful input you gave me last year. 

Onward, stitchers!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Advent Blog Hop

Welcome one and all. Special Christmas Cheer if you are visiting for the first time from Jo's Advent Blog Hop. Ten more days! Can someone invent a time machine? I need to go back--I need another month. 

Jo asks:

Do you have a favourite decoration you must have on display every year, maybe an heirloom, one the children made or something with a special story behind it?

I got kind of hung up on the heirloom part of this question when I was thinking about which ornaments, which are decidedly not on the tree, to photograph. I don't really have any Christmas heirlooms. Maggie never had a tree in my memory--or more precisely, she had a ceramic tree about 12" tall that lit up. On my father's side, my great grandmother, when she got Alzheimer's, started throwing away heirlooms--her wedding portrait, other photos, "junk no one wanted." And her daughter always did "theme" trees. The thing with most theme trees, in my experience, especially if they are changed annually, is that you don't really develop an attachment to the ornaments. Unless, of course, you make your own.

When we moved to my childhood home in 1976, my mother had a designer from Ethan Allen come decorate our formal living room. It was blue and gold with touches of pink that were in the oriental rug. So the small tree she put up in that room pulled in those colors too. And for that tree, she made these angels. When we were cleaning out her house thirty three years later, we found enough Christmas ornaments to open up a shop. Most went to the thrift store, but I couldn't let these go. So I guess these are the heirlooms from one crafty lady to her daughter.

But that's not really the question, is it? In the years we haven't decorated (usually we do, even when we are going to England on December 26) I always put out this Santa that I stitched. The pattern is by Heartstrings, and it is stitched with fluffy fibers that Silver Needle kitted up. I loved every stitch, but especially the ones done with Very Velvet!

It was finished (at an incredibly reasonable price) by the fabulous Miss Mona of Magic by Mona. 

It is also something seasonal that I've stitched. Two birds, one stone.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

It's the Most Busiest Time of the Year

Yeah, I know, "Most Busiest" but I was trying to stay with the song lyric flow. Not a lot of three syllable words that have the right rhythm. Moving on!

Last week, I finished my Lovebird by Just Another Button Company. It's an interpretation of their felt pincushion. I used the overdyed flosses that were called for, the buttons that were called for, and if that's not the called for fabric it's very close!

I love this bird! He's so fat and cozy. Just like love...or something.

As I said, it is the busiest time of the year. I know I am not alone in having made an incredibly ambitious list of things to do and purchase and wrap and make and bake and cook and clean and attend...

The dude and I are reorganizing the guest room/study in the midst of all this busyness. The study had two desks (in a room built for one) because we had purchased a desk shortly after we moved in and then about four years ago we inherited one. We just had both in there because the inherited one was too small on its own but it was too sentimentally precious to do away with. Plus it had been shipped across the Atlantic. So now we are trying to find new places for all kinds of crap that we had stored in the big desk. It was a black hole for crap. I've already filled the car once taking stuff to Goodwill from that room. Of course my mother arrives next week (!) so it needs to be done by then. Along with all the other things this time of year! So I'm sorry that I haven't shared the Lovebird with you until now, and I haven't visited and left comments on all your gorgeous work or your advent blog hop entry or your own blogging every day undertakings or your own bitchings and moanings about how hard it is to do it all backwards and in high heels. Until next time, keep on keeping on!