December 28, 2008

Sampler Houses

I noticed when I was shooting Christmas pictures last week how many houses in Fredericksburg would serve as perfect models for sampler houses. I'd love to see the inside of this place--it looks somewhat unimproved, in possibly a good way. Or at least unembellished. There is a simple wreath on the door--no bells and whistles or bows, which makes me think that whoever lives there is a minimalist. Note the really nice weather vane on the house next door. Also note that the unwhite-washed bricks are the "weather" side of the house--we get most of our weather from the west, and the whitewash on that side may have been scrubbed off. I have a sampler in my WIPs that has a house that has bricks like this.

It looks a little like the house in "Meeting House Hill" (Carriage House Samplings). There's an interesting aspect to this sampler: some (the grass, the sea and larger items) is charted over 2, and some (the houses, sailboats) is over 1. I'm doing it on 32 count so I can see it.

I took this out of my stash. I'm fond of the simplicity of it (and the fact that it's a fairly quick stitch). This is a Sheepish Designs chart (also done over 32 count). I'd like to do a series of these, and although the designer has retired, there are still a lot of them around. I'd like to do 8 or 10 and frame them all the same and hang them in a row along one of our hallways. I don't like the flatness of the DMC for the large-ish blocks of color, so I've substituted GAST from my stash. The colors are a bit different, but I think that's ok.

Here's some progress on Dorothy's Garden: I managed to stitch most of the big flowers in the urn motif during these last few days.

Here's Buckaroo napping alongside some of my kitted up projects. I did a lot of shopping from my own stash while getting organized. I cannibalized HOHRH to kit up two other projects. At $4 a skein or so, it doesn't make sense to have all that AVAS just sitting there in a bag. If I get around to finishing HOHRH, I'll buy it again, block by block if necessary; I'd like to think of it as a just-in-time-inventory system. Some of the designs I've kitted up this weekend include Janet Gibson (in the bag--NPI silks that I've gathered as I've gone along) and True Virtue (the loose skeins of AVAS). I also went to the library and got a half-dozen books I've been wanting to read. I work just 3 days this week and don't start new courses at school until the first week of February. You'll probably be relieved that there aren't so many pictures and I'm not so long-winded when I get back to "normal!"

"Don't you guys want to do something other than nap? I'm booooored."

December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas (Rabbit Version)

Good evening! I'm Peaches, your narrator of the adaptation of the Christmas poem by Clement Clarke Moore.

Twas the Night before Christmas, and all through the hutch
Not a creature was stirring, not even Big Dutch.

"My name's not Big Dutch--it's Alice! Get that straight, or I'll come over there and kick your a@@!" (Elvis: "ooooo--she has pizzazz. I like a bun with pizzazz!")

(Alice is a rabbit available for adoption through Bright Eyes Sanctuary and Rabbit Rescue. Photo copyright 2008 by Patti Henningsen.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that Sid the Iguana soon would be there.
Elvis: "Sid the Iguana?!"
Sid: "That's right, St. Nicholas retired years ago--it's been my gig for the last 50 years or so. And I'm retiring now. Going to Florida, gonna bet on the ponies at Hialeah, gonna go to the beach and check out the babes, gonna work on my tan. Life is short, kid. There's a new guy taking over--his name is Pink."

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foots
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and doots.
His eyes--how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like cotton, his eyes like two cherries!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

Pink: "There are going to be a few changes around here. I've traded in the reindeer for this guy. With global warming, I don't think we're going to be needing reindeer--except maybe in Seattle. The camel will work for everywhere else."

We hope Pink's better than that snowman who came by this morning. The snowman was a fraud--his carrot nose wasn't even real.
Elvis: "Who is this guy? I don't like him. I'm going to take him out."

"And who are these little guys? They make me nervous." Sun Tzu: "The art of using troops is this: when ten to the enemy's one, surround him..." (Thanks, Diana, for this reference to the great tactician who was nonetheless probably no match for the wiliness of a determined rabbit!)

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk,
And laying his paw aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, gave the camel a whistle,
And way they both flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exlaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Merry Christmas to all my bunny and stitchy blogger friends! Pink, Elvis and Peaches send best wishes, and now they're going to chow down on their parsley and craisin "wreath."

December 22, 2008

December 21, 2008

The Night before Christmas (Mouse Version)

I'm going to wait until Christmas eve to do the Night Before Christmas Rabbit Version. I'm worn to a nub; I went out shopping today, and it was all a bit much. Heard in Target: "If you don't shut up I'm going to bust you in the head and you can sit in the truck 'til I'm done."

As an antidote to big-box Christmas cheer, I went to Old Town Fredericksburg and strolled around, not shopping, just taking Christmas pictures, some of which you'll see over the next few days. There is a store called Wittingham's that sells various household decor, furniture items and a full range of kitchenware. Each year the window could rival anything on Fifth Avenue for creativity. Here's this year's window. The mice are all handmade, and the displays cleverly incorporate the store's wares.

December 17, 2008

Snow Day (North of Seattle)

Pink and Elvis have some ideas for how Bunny Lady and Rabbits' Guy can pass the time while they are snowed in:
Exercise inside--dash here and there.

Do crafts.

Work on that stack of reading material.


Have a snuggle and a nap.

December 14, 2008

Peaceable Kingdom and Pookah from Paducah

The day started inauspiciously, with blue lights in my mirror as I returned home from shopping. The police pulled me over! Not for anything I did, but for my pimped-out car (I buy my cars used, and that's how it came) with the dark, dark tinted windows. The cop was polite but asked me the most ridiculous question: Ma'am, are you aware of the Virginia code with regard to window tint? I so much wanted to quip that the car was like that when I stole it, but I was mindful of the fact that he might just not have a sense of humor, and it would probably result in a ticket for "defective equipment," which is what my window tint is considered to be. He hung a little analzyer on the window and determined that only 19% of the light was getting through my side windows instead of the 50% we're required to have (it's 35% in back). So it's off to the dealer after the holidays (I didn't get the ticket) to have the tint removed, which is kind of a shame; I thought the dark windows would be a nice contrast to my chrome rim spinners. (Kidding--I've got better things to spend my money on.) Like needlework!

And rabbits! This is Pookah, a rescued rabbit at the Bright Eyes Sanctuary and Rabbit Rescue in Hagerstown, Maryland. Pookah was found running around an apartment complex courtyard in Arlington, Virginia. Pookah is about two pounds (all fluff, from the looks of it). He was gathered up by wonderful Patti Henningsen, who runs Bright Eyes, and was incidentally Pink's foster mom. Next week I'll show you some of Patti's gorgeous photos of rabbits in their holiday best; she is also an pet portrait photographer. Note that Pookah is not really from Paducah as far as we know. Note to BF: think how easy to shop for my Christmas gift if you go pick up Pookah for me! (BF has said no more rabbits in our house.)

I passed this guy on the way home from Christmas shopping. There were some sheep, goats, miniature donkeys, and a smallish cow-looking thing with horns (do they have little oxen?--that's what he looked like). And this camel. He was quite good-natured, and looked like he had a smile. He was also affectionate. Too bad they're zoned against farm animals in my county.... There was also a baby Jesus in a manger--a plastic doll wrapped up in a jacket.

"Be sure to stop by next week for our first annual Rabbit Christmas!"

December 07, 2008


Yesterday I took the final exam for my statistics class and handed in my little research paper for accounting (revenue recognition where right of return is present. Let's say you're a publisher and the bookstores return on average about 60% of your unsold books--at what point do you record the sale?), so today was the first Sunday in 15 weeks that I didn't have homework. I did a little stitching on The Ark (La-D-Da). I had put it away some time ago, because I had made an error that needed to be frogged. The frogging took about 15 minutes, and then I rolled forward again.

I went to Everything Cross Stitch Friday and got this. It's very reminiscent of the Noah's Ark sampler above, isn't it? It's a new chart called "Home Coming" by Eileen Bennett for the Sampler House. It's charted for 35 count (I'm using 32), using DMC. I like it a lot, but I don't get the big bug in the center. It IS a bug, isn't it? Maybe I should take it out and insert some more rabbits. There are only 2 rabbits in this design--not nearly enough, I'd say. It's a pleasingly affordable project: 12 skeins of DMC (lots of colors of brown and black and gray in there ($4), a small piece of linen ($8), and the chart ($8). How many projects can you kit up for $20 these days?

Most of us loafed today--it's cold and windy here--and I'm still wiped out from yesterday. Next week is the accounting final, which I don't worry too much about and will spend just a bit of time studying for. (There's something about the color of that bath rug that makes me feel that Peaches is relaxing next to the pool.)

More loafing.

In fact if it weren't for needing to eat and wash some clothes and mess with the vacuum, nothing would have been accomplished today at all. No Christmas decorating occurred. Ditto shopping, dusting, toilet scrubbing or climbing the ladder in the garage to find the Christmas stuff. I did not return my horribly overdue library books. I did not go out to Borders and use my 25% off coupon or buy a New York Times. I did not get gas or hem my pants. I did not iron anything to wear next week.
"We're hungry."

November 30, 2008


Now that Thanksgiving is over, we turn our thoughts to Christmas. I guess. I'm not a big holiday person. It would not be fair to say that I hate the holidays, but I really don't get whipped into a frenzy by any of it. Perhaps my emotional/nostalgometer is simply turned down a notch or two lower than other people's. Beyond the bizarre behavior of people standing in line for better than 12 hours to save a little money on stuff they probably don't need are the hyperdecorators in my neighborhood. They really got rolling this weekend. My across-the-street neighbor actually got out the ladder today and put up some of his lights, which are now lit. It's the 30th of November. It's RAINING. It's dangerous--never mind the wet, slippery ladder--but let's consider the 15 amps that the outside socket pulls. We drove to dinner last night, and coming home in the dark, it seems that roughly one in 10 of our neighbors has put up lights and action figures and blow-up stuff already. That will increase to about 4 in 5. I don't really get it--we did the outside lights last year, and they seemed nice enough, but a lot of work for something that wasn't that satisfying.

There are two things I'd like this year, aside from our old faithful Christmas tree and the various bulbs I've been forcing: a large, really nice fresh wreath, and a garland of shells for the mantelpiece. I like this garland--it's featured in the latest issue of Tradional Home. I'm sending away for the shells and I'm going to see what I can whip up. I'll show you pictures as I do it. Of course, since I have final exams the next two weekends in a row, it's going to be tricky to get done.

Speaking of wreathes, here's the wreath from Dorothy's Garden. The year goes under my initials, but why tempt fate and put a particular year in, just in case I lose interest and don't finish this until 2022?

And here's Pink, who as always, is doing his best to help me decorate. "Mom, instead of stringing cranberries, let's string doots this year, and hang them on the tree!"

November 27, 2008


Whoa! What is this? An alien life form?

Don't worry, Peaches, I'll have a little talk with this guy.

I don't like his attitude; I'm going to take him out.

He is a little dry.

Oh, brother.

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours!!!!!!