August 31, 2008

The Train they Call the City of New Orleans

Like a lot of people, I'm watching the news of the storm headed for New Orleans tonight and hoping fervently that no one is harmed--that somehow the storm misses everyone. We went to N.O. in 2005, a few months before Katrina; BF's company paid for the trip. We went because we were expected to and hadn't planned to like it much, especially since it was already steamy. It was an incredibly interesting and charming and dangerous place. Even back before the flood, it was an unsafe place to be; I'm comfortable, if aware, in cities--New York and DC in particular (notwithstanding the dead body they found in the parking garage of my office building last week)--but there are some small cities like N.O. and Providence in particular, that raise the hair on the back of my neck. But good heavens, the art galleries, and the music and the food. Oh, the food...

This has been a spectacularly unproductive weekend for pretty much everything but needlework. I woke up yesterday realizing that I'd forgotten a small but crucial task at work, so we dashed into DC so I could complete it. I tried to talk BF into hitting a museum or a good restaurant, but it was hot, so we headed back to VA, stopping at the new Wegmans. Wegmans is an amazing store--more food court than grocery store. They had Wianno Cape Cod oysters at the oyster bar (I mostly don't take a chance with oysters on the half shell--if you've ever gotten a bad piece of raw seafood I don't have to tell you about the violence of that particular sickness. Besides, there's no "r" in August.) There was Indian food and Thai food and every kind of seafood, baked good and pizza by the slice. It was crowded, and we were overwhelmed, so we limited ourselves to a few treats: some good bagels and cream cheese and nova for me; some sake and ale for BF.
Other than those things, we've stayed indoors mostly and puttered in the house. I've entertained myself by vacuuming under the sofa where Little Friend seems to live and retiring to the bedroom to stitch and nap. Little Friend sheds like a bear.

Lemon Tree is coming along.

And I stitched until 3 a.m. on this last night.

I also placed an order with Attic Needlework in Arizona for Scarlet Letter's "Country Life." I've been meaning to buy it for years. I think I will plan to start it at Christmas. Or Thanksgiving. Or maybe my vacation in October. It's only 9 inches high, but it's 36 inches long. How cool would it be to have the 4-foot vertical ATS and the 3-foot horizontal Country Life? Yeah, I should live so long.

Happy Labor Day, all!

August 24, 2008

Sheepish Sunday

I have acquired a ridiculous amount of stash lately, but here's something I'd like to get just as soon as I finish one of the projects I'm currently working on--probably "Lemon Tree." This is Shepard's Care, designed by Little by Little. As Edgar once noted about L by L, their designs are generally a little "off" in an interesting and charming way. I think I would have to correct the spelling of "shepherd" though.

The design reminds me of friend I made when I was on the Isle of Skye. In many cases there, the sheep aren't fenced--I don't know if people don't worry about their sheep wandering away, or if the sheep get out. Certainly there aren't many cars on the road on Skye. Skye is wonderful, and very worth visiting. I mentioned how much I've missed going to Scotland, in part because there are many places you can go (especially off season when we tend to travel) that are unspoiled and lightly traveled. We're planning a vacation for late spring next year though, and it looks like we'll be going to Wales. It's thanks to this woman's wonderful blog called We Three Ginger Cats Tales, that we'll be spending some time in St. Davids. She writes a lovely blog and photographs her cats, who seem to enjoy going for walks along the wild Welsh coast. It's a mystical-looking place. She's a children's book illustrator; be sure to look at her illustrations and her art, which is sold by a gallery in Wales.

Here's my progress on "Lemon Tree Sampler."

And here are the guys, having a nice nap together. There are two boxes, but they prefer to share one at all times. They do that no matter where they choose to sleep: the open cage, the bath rug, one box or the other--they are always tucked around each other.

Off to roast a chicken and see what I can do about bringing some order to the house. Have a lovely week.

August 20, 2008

Lemon Tree Very Pretty and the Lemon Flower is Sweet

That song going through my head, unfortunately, despite my being around when Peter, Paul and Mary sang it, is from the Pledge commercial, and now it's stuck. It's because I felt the urge, despite all the delightful other projects I have, to pick up Lemon Tree Sampler again and work on it.

What we have a lot of around here these days is not lemons, but cherry tomatoes. And regular tomatoes too. We've eaten tomatoes plain, with blue cheese dressing, with balsamic vinaigrette, with vidalia dressing, on sandwiches (with and without bacon or ham or toasted cheese or mayo), I've made sauces and salsas mild and hot, with little mystery peppers that burn your mouth, and I'm getting ready to make tomato bisque, which might be nice with the addition of a little shrimp. And we're still not sick of them. Unfortunately, they're beginning to play out just a bit, and despite watering and feeding the leaves are growing sparse and crispy. Some critter bellies up to the big heavy tomatoes at night and takes a nice round bite of them and leaves them on the vine, then bites a different one the next night. Want mayo with that, critter?

Here's Pink, caught in mid-hop, as he bustles over to say hello. He also says hello (and Elvis does too, from a distant room where he's busily dooting on magazine covers) to Nachtegaal in the Netherlands.

August 17, 2008

Mama Has a Brand New Bag

Yesterday I took my final exams. The exam in advanced algebra was at 9 a.m., and the exam in business law was at 2 p.m. I finished the algebra exam at 10:30, so I had time to kill until 2. So I went out and bought myself a new vehicle because I figured I deserved a treat. It's sleek, sporty, German engineering, with accessories and horsepower, and it turns on a dime. It handles like a dream.

My new ride--the Dootmobile:

Not a car! I am not excited by cars; I buy one every 7 or 8 years, generally used, and then I drive it until it is ready for the scrap heap. I'm a vacuum cleaner fiend! Well, who wouldn't be with 6 cats and 2 rabbits, all of them shedding, shedding, shedding? Which is probably just an excuse. I love vacuums of all types, but especially the German ones. I literally vacuum some room every day. BF rolled his eyes when he saw it, but even he admits it's pretty cool. And it's not like I came home with a Porsche, is it?

I was shattered by the end of my exams, and came home and had myself a nice four-hour nap. I got up around 9 p.m. and puttered and did needlework until 2 a.m., and then I slept another 8 hours or so. Today I felt almost human, although school starts again in a little under three weeks, and next semester may well be rougher, since I'll be commuting to Maryland on Saturdays. But that's another day. In the meantime, I spent a leisurely day stitching...and vacuuming!

Here's some progress on "Dorothy's Garden," which is done on 34 count Legacy linen in cafe au lait, using Au Ver a Soie silks. The designer of this is A Stitcher's Hand, and I can't say enough good things about the charting. Each page is clear, and it's immediately obvious what part of the design you need next when you finish a page. The symbols are large and clear.

"Yazziebear called me the little dummy sidekick dooter. I am not a dummy!"

Edited to add, because of the question about what kind of vacuum it is: it's a Miele, and it'd be considered a stick vac, although it's heavier duty than most sticks. We have a half-dozen vacuums, and my very favorite for carpet is a big upright Sebo (also a German machine). It's very powerful, very smooth, and relatively quiet, plus it does not have a belt, so there's no belt to break. We have a large Miele canister vac, which has a power head as an attachment, with a beater bar for rugs. It's also quite powerful and relatively quiet and has a long, long retractable cord. I use it mostly for uncarpeted floors. I have been using a Eureka Mini Mite for stairs, bathrooms, little places, because it's light and has pretty good suction. The big cleaners are wonderful, but they're heavy (metal parts instead of plastic ones mean they're not as easy to take from floor to floor). The Mini Mite has a high-pitched scream and a short cord, so it's deafening, plus I constantly have to unplug and replug. The new small Miele stick is to replace the Mini Mite--it is much quieter, has a bigger bag, isn't much heavier, and its cord is about 3 times as long. They're more expensive up front, but they have lasted longer than my U.S. vacuums, and all have been trouble-free. The bags are more expensive too and you need a big vacuum center to stock them (although you can probably get them online), so I don't recommend them in terms of cost, but I do in terms of getting something that does a really good job and will last with daily use on all the hair and tracked cat litter.

August 13, 2008

Guest Post Wednesday (Giving Free Rein to My Attention Deficit Disorder)

Hi--I'm Yazziebear, and I'll be your guest blog narrator tonight, since Mom is busy studying for her finals on Saturday and grumbling over the graphing calculator.

Here's the sampler she calls "Pets." I call it the Yazziebear Sampler because it has cats, but there isn't any blue thread in the project for stitching my eyes. She's going to have to fix that, isn't she?

And here's a new start, which she's been doing instead of studying. It's "Dorothy's Garden," and here's a picture of the project. Think she'll ever finish it? I don't.

I'm supposed to show you a picture of the Pink Dooter and the Little Dummy Sidekick Dooter, but I couldn't find a good one, so Mom will have to show you one later in the week.
Cheers, your pal, Yazziebear.

August 10, 2008

Sunday Samplers

I did a fair amount of stitching the last few days after rushing through my last remaining homework assignments, and even had time to help clean out the garage and weed out the garden. I also started a new sampler, which I'll show you later in the week. Here's some work on Charlotte Clayton, which I think of as "Pets."

Some progress on ATS--I'm working on the cloud section that no one seems to enjoy much. The cloud is huge and tedious. I try to stitch a few rows at a time and then put it away and pick up something else.

I can't believe we're on the last round of the RR. This is Wendy's. I had fun going to the needlework shop yesterday to pick out something that complements everyone's beautifully done squares.

I sent this off a bit late to Wendy, who fortunately is on vacation (hopefully getting lots of stitching done). I'm crossing my fingers it reaches her on the day she gets back so she's not held up by my tardiness. This is Deb's; she selected lots of Workbasket designs, including the Pithies, for us to stitch, and even sent along all the possible fibers to stitch them. Edited to add: Do not ask me what this pithy means--I haven't the slightest idea.

"Why do you have so many magazines stacked over here, and why are the bindings all chewed on them?" Also edited to add, after Freckles and Deb's comment: for whatever reason, they love to rip up BF's issues of Corvette Fever. Because they like to go fast? They leave my issues of Traditional Home, House Beautiful and Metropolitan Home alone, indicating to me they do not have a clear preference on the style of furniture we buy.

"I don't approve of your choice of bedside reading matter. There's nothing here about rabbits."

August 06, 2008


I started "Sail Away," stitching at lunch at work for the first time in a long time, since there's just a small amount of homework left and studying for finals. I finished Deb's RR block also, but Blogger won't let me post the photo.

And here are the buns, draped over each other, napping. Although we run the A/C, it's still warm upstairs, so you'd think they wouldn't want to be all curled up together. Do you suppose bunnies sweat through their feet? These cage doors stay open, since there's a baby gate up to this room, but they seem to prefer napping in their cage.

August 03, 2008


I got up early yesterday to go to the farmer's market and bought these:

I made jam with the raspberries and I made a cobbler with the blackberries. I'll make muffins with the blueberries, for lunches. That's probably all we'll have this week, since we didn't bother going to the grocery store this weekend. Frankly, I'm tired of the grocery store. I'd rather spend my money at the needlework store, which I did today. I went to Everything Cross Stitch and bought "Sail Away." Hah! You knew I was going to do that, didn't you? Did you think "And They Sinned" would occupy me for long? I figure I've got about 5 cylinders of oatmeal in the closet. A quick stop at Wa-wa for bread and milk, and we've got dinner for a week, especially since I now have all that raspberry jam.

Because I was thinking about berries, I pulled this out--LHN's "Morning Berries."

The color in the lady's dress is called "Berry Cobbler"; it's a GAST color.

"I'm a Pink Berry. You should go visit Cadbury at Bunny Girl's Website. She just adopted him, and he's cute as a button."