Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 in 60 seconds

I'm still alive!

My friend Shawn came for a visit from Chicago, one of the things we did was go on a bike tour of Coronado Island.  Total blast, and a bit of a cheat since we had electric bikes (but I swear I barely used the battery).

I got serious about losing weight and participated in a medical study through the VA.  Part of it involved having genetic testing done to link my genes to an "ideal" diet.  I can officially say I have the fat gene.  Despite what a lot of people would like, its actually fairly rare.  By the way, my ideal diet is low carb (30% fat, 30% protein, 40% carb).  Lean meat, veggies and Greek yogurt are my friends now.  Oh, and I'm down 25 pounds (it was almost 30 before the holiday season struck).

I went to my first ever pro football game, 2 actually (pre-season) and had a blast.

Managed to hook up with my college roommate that lives less than a mile from the house.  How's that for coincidence?  We've been having fun and I get to spoil her kids like an Auntie.

She hosted a Halloween party and I sort of dressed up.

I took up a new sport/hobby - paddle boarding!  Totally love it.  Even better I love the San Diego weather that allows me to go paddle boarding on Boxing Day (December 26 for the non-Anglophiles).

There was a single stitching exchange with Parsley.  She sent me a gorgeous gold box and tons of extra goodies.  She knows I love to cook, so included some cookbooks.

I chose to stitch a covered shadow box, borrowing design inspiration from Blackbird Designs, and using pattern elements from Blue Ribbon Designs.

I had some other stitching finishes as well

The last two are part of a larger project - a collage.  I borrowed inspiration from Gigi's large sheets she stitches.  I was getting tired of having a bunch of small pieces.  You can only  have so many pillows and framing gets expensive, not to mention running out of wall space.

Christmas snuck up faster than usual, and then was gone in a blink of an eye.  Jim, Mary Lou and the goldens came out as usual.  Buddy (on the left) is their newest rescue, and he's a mix, there's definitely some hound in him.  Holly (on the right) is a playful as usual, despite getting up there in years.

I found out Annie is a total ham when it comes to taking pictures.  I was trying to get the settings right on my DSLR and she had fun posing for me. No, the settings weren't correct for this shot, its over exposed!

Mom even got me to eat turkey this year.  I enjoyed the duck I cooked for Christmas Eve much better, but never got a snap of it.

And probably the highlight of the season for me was getting my picture taken with Santa.  I was bundled up in a ton of layers, we were at a members-only event on the Midway to watch the Parade of Lights (various boats decorated for the holiday cruise the bay in an aquatic parade).

Uncle Greg and his daughter Delaney came down for a visit after Christmas.  Delaney is severely handicapped and has the most wonderful companion dog, Breona.  Unfortunately she's getting up there in years.

Hoping everyone has a joyful and blessed 2014!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

My stitching sister

You probably don't know, but Terri is my stitching sister.  We share very similar backgrounds - both of us were in the Air Force, we're both accident prone, we both have ankle issues, we're both going through graduate school, and most importantly, we both love to stitch.

Out of the blue a package arrived yesterday.  I wasn't expecting anything, so I was totally blown away when I opened it and kept pulling out item after item.  Terri had chosen to surprise me with the most adorable Easter bunny stitched over 1, and all sorts of other goodies.

You might notice 2 of the chocolates are missing.  Both parents were hovering as I opened the package, and chocolate was immediately consumed.

Terri - thank you so much for spoiling me!  Random surprises are the absolute best!

A few weeks ago I posted about a new blog, The Snowflake Diaries, and an adorable freebie on it.  I chose to go out of my normal comfort zone of 36 or 40 count linen and stitch on 28 gingham.  For some reason the pale green gingham screamed Spring! to me and seemed perfect for this design.  I'm still trying to decide if I'm going to be brave enough to sew this into an egg-shaped pillow, or if I'm going to try and find an oval frame.
Spring Bunny Love, stitched on 28 ct gingham with
Nina's Threads (slightly altered from charted colors)
Several months ago I posted about having artificial turf put in the back yard.  I thought I was going to hate it, but I have to admit, I love it.  I never did take a true "before" picture.  The one below is after we'd spent several days pulling up plants and cutting out bushes.  Its hard to see, but what's left in this picture are the root balls of about 40 bushes.  I spent an hour trying to dig one out without any progress.  The easiest solution was to rent a stump grinder for half a day to grind them out.  Dad was done in about 90 minutes.

And here's the after pictures.  The yard is just so open now, doesn't look like a total overgrown mess (only partly overgrown now).  Annie has gotten used to it, and we have a great area for me to throw a ball for her.  We're still working on the part of her bringing it back and dropping it for another throw.  She thinks the game is for me to chase her to get the ball.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Skunk 2, Princess Annie 0

Why do dogs always get sprayed late at night?  That one is easy, skunks are nocturnal.

Why does the freshly skunk-sprayed dog run straight to my bed to roll in?

That's all, back to drying the dog after her hydrogen peroxide and baking soda bath, then changing my bed linens.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Word Play

Its been a long time since I've really devoted any time to this project, and even longer since I've shown any pictures.  December Word Play was completed back in 2011, I worked on November all through 2012 and finally finished it this month, along with October and a start on September.  The whole series is being stitched on one loooong piece of 40 count Flax linen, which I gave a coffee bath.  For those of you that are curious about the specifics, it will be roughly 890 stitches lone (including 5 blanks between each month) and 129 wide.

And here's a pic of the whole thing as of a few days ago (there's been some progress on September since the picture).  Please excuse the wrinkles!

Its a bit strange working backwards, but I don't trust myself to count correctly up to the top, and I'm too lazy I don't want to take the time to baste in the lines.

I'll leave you with some pictures I took while we were at Sea World last week, taking advantage of local resident Fun Passes.  Mom rode the Manta rollercoaster with me, since Dad's back is a ticking time bomb for a 3rd back surgery.

Shamu show

Falcon used to scare off snowy egrets that steal food from the seal and sea lion area

Mom (and Dad next to her, but hidden) on the whirly-gig ride.  This is actually in the children's
area, but what the heck, the park wasn't exactly swamped with kids mid-week in March.

Harbor seal clapping to get attention and hopefully fed some
mackerel (assuming the snowy egret didn't steal it first).

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I was getting a bit depressed about the lack of pictures in my 2013 Finishes album, so I decided I'm going to count each of the Santa's Village houses as its own finish.  Cheating?  Maybe, considering I am stitching it all on one piece of fabric, but it keeps me motivated.  I swear Santa and Mrs. Claus's eyes aren't really as freaky as they look in the picture.  I took these outside in bright light, and you're seeing shadows cast by the itsy bitsy tiny beads I used for their eyes.

I did make some changes to the cookie shop, and turned it into a bakery by stitching a chocolate cake on a silver stand.  The cookie button is borderline too big for my 36 count fabric, but oh well.

For those that follow me on Instagram, these next pictures will be a bit of deja vu.  June, hold your breath, I finally finished Eve's Garden and the chart will be in the mail to you shortly.

Shepherds Bush Eve's Garden, stitched as kitted

The orange tree is absolutely loaded with flower buds, and smells heavenly as you walk by.  Just like a bottle of my favorite Jo Malone Orange Blossom cologne!

The lavender is coming into bloom as well.  If it were my house/yard, I'd have this all over the place.  Its beautiful and one of the best natural bug repellents around.  I had 3 plants right next to my small patio up in Utah, and could sit outside in the evening and never be bothered by gnats, no-see-ums, or any other kind of flying insect that tries to eat me alive.

I've totally gone California hippy with my breakfast.  Greek yoghurt is fine, adding homemade pomegranate jelly is delicious, the ground flax is healthy, but the hippy part was the local bee pollen I added.  Oh well, it fits in with the Birkenstocks I seem to live in due to my various ankle surgeries.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

New Blog

Or at least new to me.  Thanks to Carol and Nina sharing the link on Facebook, I found this blog with an absolutely adorable free chart perfect for Easter.  In celebration of opening her new blog, Maja is posting a free chart each day for the first week.  Stop by The Snowflake Diaries and take a look!

Spring Bunny Love from The Snowflake Diaries blog
As for my own stitching, I should have some nice pictures to show soon.  Well, as soon as I get the camera out and take some decent ones.  Finishes deserve the attention of the big camera, and not crappy phone pics.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

When the cat is away...

or in this case, when mom is away, what do Dad and I do?

Meet up with our friend that works on HAL Statendam when its in port and take her to the zoo.  Love my membership, especially since I can now take someone in with me for free.

Polar Bear Plunge
  While waiting for her we walked around the waterfront and I got a picture of The Kiss.  Some of you are familiar with this statue, for the rest, here's the condensed version.  Its inspired by the famous photo taken in Times Square and the original statue in San Diego was only a temporary exhibit, made out of fiberglass.  It started looking grungy so it was taken down, and a huge hubaloo broke out about the permanent (bronze) replacement.  The San Diego Art Commission rejected it, stating it was tacky and not the look desired for that area of town.  The Port Authority said screw you, we want it, go ahead since its Port Authority property.  The Midway was given 3 months to raise $1 million, which they did in 8 weeks.  Now we have The Kiss back permanently, and it has a 96% approval rating.  Take THAT San Diego Art Commission!
The Kiss
Star of India, part of the San Diego Maritime Museum
Princess Annie got a haircut.  This was only half of what got cut off.  For some reason mom likes her fuzzy, even though she gets dirty faster, she itches more, and is just generally harder to keep properly brushed and groomed.

I went to a Painting and Vino class and made a masterpiece!  Ok, not quite a masterpiece, but I had a lot of fun.  I learned I can't draw straight lines or make a balloon symmetrical if my life depended on it, but I do great with text.

And I've done some stitching.  Horrible picture of Santa's Hamlet, but you get the idea.  I think I want to make some adjustments to the cookie shop and make it a bakery.  The cookies just look strange.

CCN Santa's Village, on 36 ct Light Sand with assorted overdyed cotton floss

Jane Rees finally saw some progress as well.  Not a lot, but I've made it all the way across the top of the chart.  Obviously I was too lazy to take it out of the Qsnaps to take this picture.

Scarlet Letter Jane Rees, on 40 ct Ricamo with HDF silk
Thank you everyone for stopping by and a special thanks to those leaving comments.  I know I've been absolutely horrible about responding back to them.  Please forgive me, and know they're all read and appreciated.