Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloweiner!

Oscar wishes everyone a safe and happy Halloween!! Hope all of you get lots of treats and no tricks!

Friday, October 26, 2007

ASG -- The Adventure Continues!

It's been about a week since I returned from A Stitcher's Gathering in Louisville, sponsored by Moss Creek Designs (which is run by the wonderful Rae and Ron Iverson). I've downed about 6 cups of coffee this morning, so I'm guessing it's time to give you my take on it.

I'm sure some of you have read Teresa, Jill, Heather, and possibly Judy's version of events (if The Magic That Is Heather and The Joviality That Is Judy have updated their blogs yet). They took a lot of pictures, so I'll let you visit their sites for those.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon, after an uneventful (thank goodness!) flight from Atlanta. Jill and Heather were on the flight with me, but Teresa and I had discovered earlier this summer that she was on the same flight, so we very smoothly arranged to surprise the others with her just showing up at the concourse. We pulled it off to perfection, as neither Heather nor Jill had a clue, even when I was talking to Teresa on the phone and directing her to where we were lunching on the concourse. I just love being sneaky like that. :)

We met up with Judy at the Louisville Airport, checked into the Seelbach Hilton, then scooted down to visit with Ron and Rae to see if they needed help. Ann showed up after her harrowing drive in through Louisville traffic (urgh) and we decided that a trip to Lynn's Paradise Cafe was just the ticket. We've dined there before and we knew we were assured some tasty food.

Note to self: When your roommate refuses to let you watch The Weather Channel, when she knows that's one of your most favorite channels on TV, become suspicious.

We got to Lynn's, and just as we put our name in for a table, they herded us down to the basement for a TORNADO WARNING. I take these things seriously. Evidently so does Louisville. I have nightmares where tornadoes chase me. I don't know if Louisville does, but they weren't kidding when they say they take precautions. Evidently this was why my roomie (Teresa) didn't want me watching the Weather Channel, as she had prior knowledge of tornado watches and such. Hmmmm.

So we're in the basement of the restaurant, which actually made me feel better about eating there, because as basements go, it was clean and well lit. The folks at Lynn's couldn't have been nicer. They kept bringing down food that was in process to share, brought us soft drinks, and kept sharing information that I'm sure meant something to the locals.Here is our crew in the basement. Judy is holding what I believe is a huge jar of Miracle Whip. (Due to the extreme terror associated with the situation, some minor details have been blocked out of my mind.)

At any rate, when the storms had died down some and there was a break, the manager invited the hearty few who had stuck with them (mind you, we didn't have a way to leave or a place to go per se) back upstairs for dinner on the house. Quite the nice gesture on their part. All in all, if you have to be stuck in a restaurant during a tornado warning, I'd say Lynn's Paradise Cafe is the place to be.

Alas, the terror wasn't over. When we returned to the hotel and went back up to see what was happening with Ron and Rae, they were decorating with a Halloween theme. One of the groups of stitchers was the "Web Weavers" and there was a FREAKING HUGE arachnid outside the door of the class. Seriously. The thing could easily have consumed Louisville. And, as most of you know, I have a serious phobia going on about arachnids. If I meet a bug, I count the legs, and when it gets greater than 6, we have a problem. So I'm squeaking "Make it go away" and Judy's telling Ron and Rae "She's not kidding" and I'm hiding behing Rae with my jacket over my head whimpering. A thoroughly embarrassing display, I fear. At 1 in the morning, Teresa offered to go downstairs and "off" the arachnid. Now that's a friend for you. But Ron and Rae are also very good friends and the arachnid disappeared from my sight for the remainder of the weekend (Judy also had my back and got to our classroom early on Saturday to make sure it was gone. Thanks Judy!!!).

But what of the classes, you ask?? FANTASTIC!!! First up was Eileen Bennett. Now, Eileen is regarded as the "Grande Dame" of samplers. To be fair, we tried to warn her. Really. We told her that she never really would have control of our class when she got us first. And somehow our class disintegrated into a discussion of our retirement plans and what kind of retirement home we'd have to build and whether or not Heather would be taking care of it. Poor Eileen. But she handled it like the pro she is and gave us an absolutely beautiful acorn sampler.

Next was Rae's class. A set of smalls featuring squirrels, so Heather was in "squirrel heaven". (Heather's thing is squirrels, like my thing is sheep). Rae's pieces are so intricate and challenging. They make me think while I'm stitching, which is why I enjoy them so very much. I have a great deal of respect for Rae as a designer, teacher and person, and I'm proud to count her as a friend.

Our last class was with Barbara Rakosnik and was a specially made tin topper, complete with a specially made tin! The design featured tons of queen stitches, but once you've learned Barbara's special trick for doing queens with a sewing motion, they're a piece of cake. The tin is beautiful, and there were a couple of accessories that went with it available in the boutique that of course had to come home with me.

Throw in a delightful welcoming tea, some very fine meals, and a Sunday brunch featuring a slide show of the weekend (where I fear my arachniphobia was a featured issue -- good thing I can laugh at myself, eh?) and you've got the weekend. Here are the Stitchqueens in our matching tshirts at the Saturday night dinner. A fine looking group of women if I do say so myself!!! Left to right is Judy, moi, Ann, Jill, Teresa, and Heather. Some of my bestest buddies ever, and I'm so thankful to have them in my life.

One more thing.... Rae was kind enough to let me stitch the model for her Tribute to Noble Eagle, which was her 9/11 commemorative sampler. It's an absolutely stunning design of Wessex work, and I hope that my stitching communicates the beauty of the design. I hadn't seen it framed until ASG, so I had to get a couple of shots. This is the sampler itself. The picture doesn't do it justice.Me and the sampler. I still can't believe I stitched something this big! And I'm so thankful to Rae for the opportunity to do it.

So that's ASG for the year. We don't know where the fall one will be next year... we won't be going back to Louisville, so the adventure will continue in a new location. But I'm looking forward to it wherever it is!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Why I Love Needlecraft Corner

Well, folks, it's been a sucky week. Actually a pretty sucky two weeks, but I digress....

If you check the calendar, Monday is October 15. This is a date that CPAs across the country look at with a sense of dread. It's the drop dead date for individual tax filings without penalty. This means that everyone who has put off filing their return has to get their act together and actually get their stuff to you.

In general, most of these people are not happy, because they're not getting refunds. They're looking to reduce the tax liability that they should have paid back in April. So they like to "discuss" things with you. Some of their ideas are useful. Some of them would see everyone in San Quentin (where, I'm told, they won't let you have sharp objects, but again, I digress). Some of these discussions can get quite lively. After some of them, you hand people's stuff back to them and tell them to find another accountant, because you're not going to jail or losing your license for them or anyone else.

October 15 also draws it's share of looney tunes out of the woodwork. Folks that will drive you absolutely nuts. You'd think that having had 10 months to actually accumulate paperwork, folks would have it all together. Think again. Sometimes it's because they never got it.... this I understand, because heaven knows I don't trust the postal service. Sometimes you get stuff ripped into a gazillion pieces (yeah, the dog ate it). Sometimes, a week before taxes are due, they bring you a **grocery bag** full of receipts (these are known as the "cha-ching" returns because you can hear the price going up).

So, it's been a very stressful two weeks for these and some other reasons I won't go into here. Suffice it to say when I ran out of Ben & Jerry's earlier this week it nearly precipitated a call to Homeland Security. Richard and Oscar have been practicing duck and cover for the most part as I scream at the computer.

But then, today.... a wonderful and unexpected thing happened. A package arrived from Needlecraft Corner. Drema is constantly on the lookout for sheepies for me, and has me on "sheepie automatic" and loves to surprise me. It couldn't have come at a better time.New sheepies. Brand spanking new sheepies. The Wooly Wintertime sheepie came with stuff so I could start stitching immediately.If Richard had been home, I'm convinced he would have dangled the box in front of me like a piece of meat you dangle in front of a wild animal to try to gain its trust.....

I love Drema. :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

An itty bitty knitting finish!

...For an itty bitty person who's coming into the world soon. Charlie's scheduled to arrive on October 19 (coincidentally Richard's birthday), the much anticipated second child of Dan and Amanda at church, so I thought a little cardi was just the ticket:Richard admits that he's a guy, and even he thinks it's cute. Pattern is amazingly simple and available online for a reasonable cost. I did have some tres cute sheepie buttons to put on it, but Mom said (and I reluctantly agreed) that they were too large for the sweater. I'll keep 'em in the stash because you never know when some sheepie buttons will come in handy.

On another note, I went to the doc this week to get a referral back to my orthopaedist. Some of you know that I had rotator cuff surgery done on my left shoulder four years ago. It's due to a problem with misshapen shoulder blades that I was born with; the blades come down in a point that eventually rips into the rotator cuff. Evidently the right side has decided to get in on the act, and there's a good chance I'm going to have to have that repair done before the end of the year and the beginning of tax season. That'll put a hitch in my knitting and stitching plans for a few weeks, fer sure. So I decided I needed a little treat:This is an itty bitty 8GB iPod Nano. It's very cute, and it'll be great to take with me to ASG so I can listen to music and my annoying podcasts on the airplane without bothering people. I also downloaded a pattern today to knit the Nano its own little sock. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Stitch Pink, baby!

Head over to Stitch Pink for a contest to support a cause close to us all. Seriously, go there now!