Sunday, November 18, 2018

All of Me

The other day I realized it was November, and I wasn't blogging every day. I felt a little sad that I had so gotten out of the blogging habit that I didn't even realize November had any special meaning for this little blog.

Yesterday, I went on my Feedly for the first time in a long time. I unsubscribed from a bunch of blogs, mostly those who hadn't published in three to five years (!) but also ones that I couldn't easily identify the person who was writing. I figure if I couldn't remember who you were, I probably wouldn't miss reading you. I really pared things down and I think that will increase my desire to connect. In part I was kept away by the number of people whose blogs were in my feed but I wasn't really reading; I also think the I was being weighed down by the old abandoned blogs in my feed.

Interestingly in reviewing those "dead blogs" I saw how many had returned after an absence. The last post was usually brimming with new optimism for future posts. It made them seem especially sad. None of that for you! Though if things had ended, that Maggie post would have been the best way to go out.

I've had some mental bandwidth for these tasks because things at work are starting to right themselves. I believe I told you back in July that there were happenings--my boss left and I was "interim" director which basically meant I couldn't do anything meaningful but had to keep everything running. I've been promoted permanently--so I can do the meaningful things including hiring a new associate director. Nevertheless, mentally, I'm more present. Still extraordinarily tired at the end of a day, but present.

I finished stitching the dude's anniversary gift in August, but last night I put on the button so it is officially done! This is the 2018 Collector's Heart from Heart in Hand; it's stitched with the kitted fabric and the called-for colors. The dude was especially pleased by it because he likes John Legend. Not for his music. Rather, Legend is a Penn grad and spoke at a graduation the dude attended. (Go on, read it; commencement speeches are one of my favorite genres.) The second anniversary sampler I finished this year! And it's not the first Collector's Heart I've done for him.

Well, I have plans, including bringing this computer in to be looked at. If it were as fast as it should be it wouldn't be so painful to blog. See you soon.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Another Maggie Monday

Loyal readers will be thrilled to know we visited Maggie yesterday. Disloyal readers will need to know that Maggie is my crazy 96 year old grandmother who I've posted about before, bringing you weekly doses of her shenanigans (click on the Maggie Monday label for more).
On this visit she posed the philosophical question, "What the hell good are you at 96? I'm lucky I can wipe my ass."
Later, we took her to the dive bar where she bartended until she was 87. She's a local celebrity there; they don't even charge her for her weekly vodka and tonic with a side of ice. This regular came up to our little group. He had just bought a house and he wanted to invite her to his house warming party. "I want you to come. You don't even have to bring anything," he says. "I guess I'll return that dining room set then," she deadpans.

Bottoms up!

Monday, August 06, 2018

What the What?

If you are an excited naked grandmother with an elephant fetish, this MarNic design is currently available on 1-2-3 Stitch. And if you are, you're welcome.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018


To start my next anniversary present, I needed a few flosses. I headed to Strawberry Sampler to pick them up. And of course a few non-floss things jumped into my basket. Those included Heart in Hand Today Forever (a future anniversary sampler) and a few of the flosses I will need to start that one; Plum Street Samplers A Hundred Ways (the Jane Austen quote) (another future anniversary sampler!); and Plum Street Samplers Woolemina (you know how I love sheep); and two olive buttons for Amy Bruecken patterns because they were a quarter each. I couldn't resist that price! I don't even know if I need them!

They didn't have one of the flosses I needed so I headed to the internet where I found more things I absolutely needed. That little Mill Hill polar bear was on sale as was Merry Two, so I picked those up. And then I saw Heart in Hand's Always You (you can't really see it in the photo), and I had to buy everything for that one! And I have a third future anniversary sampler to add to the pile.

Y'all, I might be back in this thing!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Anniversary Presents

Forty-seven Hearts is complete! This is last year's anniversary sampler that I finished on this year's anniversary (yesterday).

By Silver Creek Samplers
Stitched with the the called-for threads
on Vintage Country Mocha 32-count

I finished it on the way to my niece's high school graduation party. This one. The one I wrote about here. Well, that post was prescient because she is heading to Temple to go to Tyler School of Art! We're so proud of her, and we know she will accomplish great things!

We adore her so much, that we were happy to put off our anniversary dinner until next weekend and instead eat chicken nuggets and pizza. (I guess her little girl self got to choose the menu!)

I signed this one not with the year, but with the anniversary number. I thought that was a better way to sign it than to admit I've dropped the ball on this project. Maybe we'll be married long enough to forget this little hiccup! 😉

The good news is I started this years sampler yesterday as well. It's Heart in Hand Needleart's 2018 Collectors Heart. I probably shouldn't say this, but it's 60 x 60 so it shouldn't take that long. (I've cursed myself, haven't I?)

Monday, July 02, 2018


The dude wanted to go to Portugal for his 50th, and I had no objections. We spent four days in Lisbon, staying on this street, which had a stop for Tram 28 just down the hill. We saw lots of that iconic tram. We took a cooking class, which was a fun entree into the culture. We learned to make bacalau a bras, a salad, and a nice garlicky clam dish. We walked everywhere, and if you've never been to Portugal, it was built on a hill on top of a hill between two hills. As our cooking instructor said, "I never go to the gym but every day is legs day." We walked between 10,000 and 18,000 steps every day. All of it uphill both ways.

We had lovely, perfect weather in the mid-70s almost every day, and cooler in the evenings. Perfect for all those hills!

We went to Belem and saw the tower and the monestary and ate pasteis de nata, though we had those every chance we got! (That was our very touristy day.)

Cross stitch in Praça do Comércio! See, I haven't stopped thinking of you...

From Lisbon, we took the train up to Coimbra, which houses a 600 year old university. We visited the library there, but no photos are allowed. You should go check it out. We also went to see a performance of Coimbra fado; we've become fans.

From Coimbra, we went up to Porto. I had invited two of the dude's oldest friends to join us as a surprise for the dude. And boy was he surprised! We had gone to the Livraria Lello when I got the text that they had landed. Then everything I did, I did slowly after texting them. "We're at lunch here;" Me: tiny bites, extra chewing, lots of conversation. "We're at the church across the street, with the tile on the outside." (Me looking at every piece of sculpture in *both*--side by side--churches.) We were standing in front of the churches when I saw them--thank god because I had no idea how I was going to stall from there!

The dude was so surprised, totally bewildered that they were there! So we went and tried some port.

And then we celebrated Portugal's World Cup run. We got to see the Portugal-Spain match in a square in Porto with a few hundred of our Portuguese friends. Our waiters told us where everyone would be for that one. What an awesome thing it is to watch the beautiful game with others in public. We're thinking we need to take another trip to a world cup country in 2022. (But that will be in winter ...because FIFA. 🙄)

We spent a lot of time at the river because it was so flat! A relief!

And on the "six bridges" boat tour I found more cross-stitch!

There was lots more but I don't want to be the person showing all the slides while people snooze!

Portugal was fabulous! You should go! I'd love to go out to the Douro Valley next time, but there's a great big world. Who knows what's next.

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Let's Catch Up

Well, that was a long time to be away! I haven't been crafting much, reading more. There's also been work brouhaha, vacations, visits, and auntly* duties. Let's see if I can catch you up in one go.

I realize that I haven't even shown you the last craft of Craft Month. You may remember that I was making little imaginary parties. I made a hot chocolate party. To top your hot chocolate, you could choose crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, nuts, marshmallows, whipped cream, and chocolate syrup for drizzling. I added whole peppermint sticks for stirring, if you like that kind of thing. I used buffalo plaid tableware not only because it matches my crockpot, but I find it very cozy. (I've had a couple of buffalo plaid flannel nighties in my day.) There are many recipes for crockpot hot chocolate on the internet, but I'd rather not use condensed milk (too sweet) and put my regular stove-top hot chocolate recipe in only to stay warm.

I also finally got to use these adorable cardinal bowls I bought (at Target?) a couple of years ago. 💗

According to my photos, I went to Longwood and the Please Touch Museum with my sister and the girls. (They remind me of me and my sister!)
My mother-in-law came for a visit in early May, and we made our usual rounds of gardens. We went to a couple of new ones too, and took a trip up to Jim Thorpe where we had some lovely woodsy walks and delicious breakfasts

My 30th (!) college reunion struck at the beginning of June. We spent an expected amount of time talking about perimenopause and eldercare and children going off to college, with an adequate time spent reminiscing and sharing our accomplishments. It was a refreshing weekend despite the wicked heat and humidity. (It was especially wet; in five years, I'm hoping our "reunion gift" is a pair of wellies.) A couple of days later the dude and I were off for a celebratory (he's--almost--50!) vacation in Portugal.

Some someones turned four at the end of June. The multi-themed party necessitated three types of cupcakes--Spider-Man (Sweet Baby Rea), Rapunzel (Special K), and Pink Pineapples (Sissy). But my cousin--who's now in pastry school!--handled them all with aplomb. I was also successful in making a Spider-Man card and a Rapunzel card (thank goodness for all those yellow DMC flosses--which became a braid hanging from a castle).

Let me make some rounds, and I'll be back to tell you more about our vacation.

*Why doesn't aunt have a nice adjectival form like avuncular? I wonder why that might be...