February 25, 2007

Challenges and Blessings: Sampler Sunday

The past week was quite an adventure. We closed on the new house Tuesday, and on Wednesday the movers showed up bright and early while I was still transferring our six cats and the bunny, some of whom were traumatized by the trip. The bunny is typically calm during all events; a couple of the cats are real nervous nellies. BF greeted the movers and pointed the way to the furniture and the roughly 80 boxes we had packed, and 7 hours later and a busted lamp or two, we were in our new home.

Thursday day was a blur of unpacking and running back to the old house for things that we didn't want the movers to transfer (electronics, etc.) and to start the final clean-up before the painters and carpeters come and we put the place on the market. Friday was more of the same, but we took time on Friday evening to make a proper meal in our new kitchen--yummy meatloaf. At that time we noticed a little odor of gas which we shrugged off; the gas smells a bit when you first turn on a burner. Besides, the smell of the meatloaf filled the air. Exhausted, we went off to bed. We got up early the next day to the overwhelming smell of gas, so we called the gas company, who advised us that a tech. guy was on his way and to get out of the house immediately. We stood around in our pajamas in confusion processing this information and wondering where our glasses and keys were and if we should take the cars out of the garage. At that point the gas guy showed up with his wand and meter and shouted at us "get out of this house, don't make any phone calls or turn on any lights." Seems we were in far greater danger than we realized, and we could have blown up! Seems also the lame previous homeowner decided to substitute or fix the old gas range that conveyed with the place by installing a part inexpertly. Words fail me--even though I have the vocabulary of a sailor IRL generally--when I contemplate the danger that person put us in to save a few bucks.

But all is well now, things are largely put away in the new place, and the old house is looking clean and spiffy (I've been putting about five hours a day into the place while I'm still on vacation). We bought a nifty new electric skillet until we can get a new range delivered sometime next week and went grocery shopping for food that can be cooked in the microwave or the skillet in the meantime. This morning we woke up to this:

Tonight I am finally, finally picking up my needle after almost a week away from my needlework and stitching in my new needlework room. Later, I might soothe away my aches and pains with a bath in my new tub.

This is a UFO I pulled from my stash. I can't remember what it's called, although I would imagine it's probably "Watermelons." It's from a book that I loaned out or lost long ago, but fortunately, I made a working copy of the chart so I could tote it around. I haven't finished it (I started it probably 20 years ago) because it's on aida, not my favorite cloth to work on. But it seems a shame for it to languish in a drawer, so I'm going to try to get it finished soon.

February 18, 2007

Flowers in the Snow: Sunday Sampler

I don't have any progress to show you today, as the little bit of stitching I did since I last posted was on a large project, and it doesn't look any different than the last time I showed it to you. Mostly we've been packing for the move on Wednesday and doing errands relating to making sure the house is ready for us. I'm going to miss our little yellow crocuses, which I planted and are always the first flowers to bloom each year.

I decided against making a move from Big Law to Even Bigger Law. They weren't very appealing when I went over for the interview. There were lots of don'ts--don't make a mess, don't leave cases lying around, don't put file boxes around your cubicle. Sounded mostly like don't have fun to me. Everyone there seemed subdued. So, notwithstanding the extra pay (to make up for the benefits I would no longer have), I'm staying behind. My best work friend is staying for the same reason I am, which is good, but it was hard to pack up all my other friends. As our clients faxed in their releases to have their files moved, we pulled stuff from file cabinets, loaded them in boxes and gave them to the moving crew who came with a truck to haul it all away. In the end it was about 450 boxes of documents. On Friday I started to cry early in the morning and never really stopped the rest of the day. I was efficient though, and everyone pretended not to notice, except for various people from Human Resources who'd come by to pat me on the arm. It will be good for me anyway; I've been bored, unchallenged and too comfortable. It's time to get out and find something more interesting to do, once we sell our present house.
Here's a wintery little sampler I bought on ebay. It's by Eileen Bennett--I like her classic designs--and it's called Frost Worke Sampler. It's to be done on 32 ct Belfast Linen in cream and is stitched with DMC and tatting cotton in a variety of stitches.

Here's an extra sampler for today: "On Peace," from Designs from Pamela. Her photo is unclear, but the design is very intriguing. Someone is fishing in a stream, watched by what look to be a dog and a cat. Fun! The sheer drop of the property is a bit scary-looking though!

I've had fun buying fabrics on ebay to make into curtains, drapes and valances; for a while you may be looking at more of that from me than stitching. But I still set some time aside to stitch--there's nothing quite as calming, really.

February 14, 2007

Day Off!

We've been packing:

We had an ice storm that started yesterday afternoon. When the government closed at 2 p.m., we were sent home as well. The road home was traffic clogged and slippery so it took about 2 and a half hours to get there. The bus was packed, but we had a group nap. We looked like a bunch of kindergarteners--hats, mittens, wrapped in coats--heads bobbing in the stop-and-go traffic. I stayed home today, as the commuter bus wasn't running, which was a nice break from the tension at work. Those of us being asked to join the new firm were given the figures at which we'd be hired. The question is, would you give up generous benefits in exchange for cash? That's what it comes down to--the wooing firm can't change their benefits structure for the new folks, so they give you more salary. I'd lose two weeks of leave, lose my year-end bonus, lose some profit-sharing contribution. In return, they'd give me a 20% increase in salary and a nice signing bonus. But I don't really think I want it, although more money is always seductive, especially when you're buying a new house and have seen lots of things at antique shows that you'd like to put in that house...like this vintage work bench. It's simply beautiful and beats any new piece I've seen in furniture stores as we've looked for a center island type of thing for our kitchen. Actually, it'd make a great craft table too, perfect for holding a sewing machine and all my cups and jars and boxes of notions. It was probably a lathe table (the well in the center held the equipment), and the beautifully pegged holes would have held tools and vises. We passed on it that day, but we took the card of the seller.

Late in the afternoon when the roads were mostly cleared I drove over to the box store to buy more packing cartons and stopped at Michaels to buy the DMC skeins for the Book of Hours project. And I worked some on Meadow Hills since I'd left Whale Hunting at work. BF noted I was cranky this afternoon since I lay down to take a nap and he woke me up to tell me it was time for dinner. Poor guy had a crabby valentine for a while until I fully woke up. He made a lovely roast, mashed potatoes (I was in charge of gravy), salad and corn. Happy Valentine's Day to you all!

February 11, 2007

Packing Up: Sampler Sunday

I've been working on Whale Hunting a good bit. I'm at a fairly tedious part of the design, stitching lots of grass in huge blocks of the same color. For those of you who asked, this design is large (certainly larger than I figured when I purchased it online): 21.75" x 9". There's lots and lots of grass to go, and more sea, and two more major structures, one of them a church.
All the tedium on this is a bit soothing though. It's a nice break from packing to move to our new home on the 21st. We've very excited about going, and we've been decluttering for months in anticipation of it, but we still have tons and tons of stuff to sort through--BF has lived here 17 years, and I have lived here 12. What I didn't anticipate was the bombshell that got dropped on me at work Thursday: it seems the corporate practice that I've worked happily for is picking up and moving to another, larger law firm. I'm invited to go as well and have a concrete job offer; it's just a matter of ironing out the kinks in benefits; unfortunately in a few respects, their benefits aren't quite as good. I have the option of remaining behind and working for the Food and Drug Administration practice. Not sure I want to do that--they're litigators primarily, which is a whole other kettle of fish from transactional law, although I could stay with the firm I like with its cushy benefits (not least of which is six weeks of leave per year). I have about a week to decide, right on the eve of my own move. And whether I go or stay, I still have to help the corporate folks pack up their files and cases--I feel like curling up in a packing box and sleeping until both moves are over. I'm grateful that I have a job either way, of course; I've had law firm friends in similar situations wind up with a job at neither place.
So in honor of my stress, I've chosen a happy, hoppy sampler for today: Bunny Parade, by The Workbasket. It's stitched on 32 count fabric using Weeks Dye Works or DMC. And it's a LOT smaller than Whale Hunting!

Here's my own dear bunny parade, sticking out his tongue at me.

February 04, 2007

20% Off Sampler Sunday

To celebrate Superbowl Sunday, my LNS, Everything Cross Stitch, offered a special sale today. Everything in the store except Anchor and DMC threads was 20% off, and some pre-cut gorgeous fabrics were as much as 35% off. When I arrived around 2 p.m. there was happy mayhem, with a line at the fabric table. I got some lovely things (too dark for a decent photo) including some beautiful colors of R&R linens, and lots of odds and ends to fill out projects I was working on--everything from the beads for the Book of Hours bellpull to the project pack threads and embellishments to Christmas Village (Victoria Sampler) to threads I was out of for Whale Hunting. And speaking of Whale Hunting, here it is. I've become enthusiastic about it once again--never really lost that, but it had gotten bumped down the list a bit.

I didn't buy any new samplers today, although I was tempted, but here's a design from my collection called--surprise--"Noah's Ark at Sea." I've long intended to collect various Noah's Arks and do them. There are lots of them out there, some quite elaborate. This is a simpler (therefore more realistic project for me, time-wise) version. What I like, especially after carping a couple of weeks ago about the Procession sampler that showed a second, more complex version but required that you send away for the fancier version, is that you have your choice on two variations of the Noah's Ark design. The first, done on 32 ct "dirty linen" Belfast has an alphabet punctuated by little animals above and below the boat; the second design--my favorite--is done on 28 ct blue linen and shows ocean waves and little fish under the boat, as well as the stars and moon above, and an alphabet border. Nice to have the choice, all in one chart! The chart is designed by Sandra Sullivan and is offered by Homespun Elegance.

Have a great week--I'm off to monitor some drapery fabric I'm bidding on at ebay...