Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And I thought LAST week had issues!!

The "Doctor's Bookmark" may have to be re-named Georgia, in honor of where I was waiting when I finished it. (Not ironed, and not ribboned, but done tatting.)

So, somewhere just south of Savannah, on I-95, at 7:30 last night, was where the car- with only 21,000 miles on it!!!- decided it would be a fun place to break down!

I'm sitting in a lovely hotel, with Auntie and the dog, waiting to hear from the dealership in Savannah that it is fixed and ready for us to continue our trip. AND, to what do I owe the fact that we are cool and comfortable? My iphone!!!

That thing is AMAZING!!! I took care of everything, EASILY, just sitting in the car. I no longer care HOW much the phone cost or what it costs monthly to operate, the Iphone is FABULOUS!! Last night it made what could have been terribly difficult, really quite easy. I arranged roadside assistance and a tow, talked to the dealership where GM was sending the car, and found a hotel that would accept the puppy and close enough to limp the car to, all by just pushing little words and icons on the phone screen!

So, the bookmark is finished and I'm going to play with some motifs while we wait. Hopefully, the wait will not be too long.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Off to Florida!

Off to drive Auntie to Florida- "see you real soon"!

We're Off to See the Wizard!

On Wednesday, September 23, 2009, you can celebrate the 70th anniversary of the release of the Wizard of Oz, by seeing the newly re-minted and re-mastered HD film in a real theater on a big screen! Just click on the picture for more information.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Magical Blog Hop!!!

The Second Star to the Right Blog Party is today!!!! For some magical fun, just click on the map! ENJOY!!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Special tatting addendum

I had to add this PS to my post. Look what arrived in the mail today!!!

I found this on ebay and was totally lucky to be the only bidder. It is a BEAUTIFUL shuttle, in just the size I like (small- 2 1/4 inches) and sterling silver! I can wear it as a pendent on a chain as it has a jewelry loop, but it is a real shuttle, and it will give me great pleasure to tat with something so lovely.

Tatting- already something I love to do- just got BETTER!

Tatting, Travel and other news

My tatted bookmark is close to finished! This piece will be called "The Doctor's Bookmark". Not because I am a doctor (although I am, albeit retired from practice) but because it was almost entirely tatted in doctors' waiting rooms!

So, according to my post of one week ago, I should be somewhere in Virginia right about now. Clearly I am not. It's been a heck of a week!

The good news is that the quizo with my former students was TONS of fun, the CTMH crop went really well and I finished a bunch of cards to send to Cards for Heroes, and Mom's procedure went great- her vision improved dramatically almost immediately!

All my doctor's appointments were kept. Since all of them ranged from not-too-bad to bad news, we won't talk about them. Nothing life-threatening in any of them, just lots of aggravation, lots of time to be spent in hospitals for tests and offices for procedures and such, and lots more interference in any ability I might have to live "normally" and not have to have my schedule controlled by health issues.

Dinner with the Aunties was supposed to be fun- my youngest Auntie up here- who is SUCH fun all the time- and my Florida Auntie were finally going to meet! Well, Florida Auntie ended up in the hospital for several days which meant a) no dinner and b) significant changes to the travel plans.

So, instead of the side trip to western North and South Carolina- which was to have included a day at The Biltmore!- we will be driving straight to Florida. While I am certainly a little disappointed, I am totally NOT upset- whatever is best for darling Auntie is absolutely what I want to do.

Now we will leave on Sunday morning, hopefully arrive in Florida on Monday evening, spend Tuesday at the hospital for Auntie to have more tests, and Wednesday with her own doctor to review the tests and the hospital reports, and get things situated for her to be fully healthy again. Presuming a good report, then the fun begins.

The rest of the revised schedule includes a trip to St. Petersburg to visit the P.Buckley Moss gallery there, hopefully a chance to get together with my friend and high school classmate who lives about an hour from Auntie, and lots of restful time reading and tatting, and sitting in my favorite chair on the lanai. Then, the following Monday it is Off To Chicago to visit my favorite DB and his wonderful family until Labor Day!

I spent some time the other night, when the insomnia was raging, AGAIN, to go around the Internet and find tatting patterns that would be good for my trip. Working on the bookmark showed me that my stitches and my picots are far from uniform- it's been a LONG time since I seriously tatted anything- so I collected and printed out 10 motifs that will be good practice and I can include in my 25 motifs challenge. Whether I also take some cross stitch will depend on the room in my backpack. I have to travel light as I will be flying solo, with crutches, and therefore need to have as little carry-on as possible- and I certainly would not risk a piece of needlework in checked luggage that might get lost. So, it's likely that tatting will be the only needlework I take.

OK- this is turning into an epistle of immoderate length. Time to get back to my to-do list for today- which is LONG!

Hope it is NOT as hot where you are as it is here. Have a GOOD day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Historical Novels I Like A Lot

Over at Risky Regencies, Carolyn has posted a list of her favorite historical novels. She then invites the readers to leave a comment or make a blog post with our own lists. Add to the basic question the fact that she allows books which were not historical when written. And, clearly states that she (and therefore, by inference, WE) can make up the rules for the list.

WHOA- do you have hours to read here? And, can my blog handle a single post that would probably go into several pages?

Just a little (very little) hyperbole there. :)

It is almost impossible to predict who will like any given book. I try to remember to always say "I really like it" rather than "you'll like it". With that caveat, here are some of my favorite books- either written as historicals, or historical now:

Books in series:

The Williamsburg novels by Elswyth Thane
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
The Golden Chronicles, The Tales of the Jewelled Men and the Sanguinet Saga by Patricia Veryan.
The Asian Saga by James Clavell
Little Women (and the rest) by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables (and the rest) by Lucy Maud Montgomery
God is an Englishman series by R.F. Delderfield

Individual books:

To Serve Them All My Days by R.F.Delderfield
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Winds of War (plus War and Remembrance) by Herman Wouk
The Captive of Kensington Palace (and everything else by Jean Plaidy)
Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff

There's about 1000 more but that's a good start.

Just for a little fun, here are a few of my favorite mystery series and writers from the "Golden Age":

Nero Wolfe books by Rex Stout
Albert Campion books by Margery Allingham
Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy L Sayers

Well, that should keep you reading for a while!

Oh, and PS- I did not list Jane Austen anywhere because she transcends any list- she is my favorite writer of all time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Corn on the Cob, Nero Wolfe style

Back at Mother's Day I posted that my DS had given me the complete Nero Wolfe TV series on DVD. DH and I have been slowly working our way through the episodes.

We watched "Murder is Corny" a few weeks ago and DH listened to NW's description of the "right" way to cook corn, which is: fresh from the farm, still in the husk, in the hottest oven possible, for 40 minutes, shucked at the table and eaten with butter and salt. NW calls this "ambrosia".

On our way home from visiting Auntie this evening, we passed a farm with a stand our front, still open. DH suddenly pulled in and announced "We're having corn, Nero Wolfe style, tonight!"

Now, let me inform you that we were in the heart of New Jersey, in August, and anyone from the Northeast US knows about Jersey corn in August- it is FABULOUS!!! We've been lucky to have eaten this special treat all our lives.

When we got home I pulled out my Nero Wolfe cookbook just to be sure, and turned the oven up to 550°, the last register before broil. I put the corn into the hot oven, just laying it on the rack. After 40 minutes, the husks were blackened and like burned paper, and crumbled when I removed them. Some of the corn kernals were golden, some were browned. We added the butter and salt and ate.

Verdict: unanimous from DH, DS and I- we will NEVER cook corn any other way again. It was the tenderest, juiciest corn ever. I cannot describe the taste- it was corn, but better than any corn I've ever had.

As Mikie used to say (for those of us of a certain age, lol): "Try it, you'll like it".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cards for Heroes Blog Hop

Cards for Heroes is having a mini-bloghop, called "Happy Holidays for Heroes" today! I am pleased and proud to be a part of it. If you just came here and missed the earlier stops,
you can click on the snowman card above to get to the CFH site and find the beginning of the blog hop.

Before you start hopping, you can also check out the videos and all the information on the CFH website. Reading what the soldiers write to CFH almost always puts me in tears.

For those of you arriving from Seongsook's blog, WELCOME!

Above is a basic little card that I made Thursday morning. I'm going to a Crop today and will spend the day making cards to send to CFH.

CFH is a wonderful group. We create blank home-made cards that are sent to military personnel serving overseas, so that they have something on which to write home to their families and friends. (There are no Hallmark stores where they are!) CFH collects all kinds of cards- birthday, thinking of you, anything that you would send to your loved ones.

Right now the emphasis is on Christmas/holiday cards. CFH needs those cards as soon as possible, although will be accepting them until November 1st. However, they also always need non-seasonal cards, so anything you feel like making and donating is always appreciated. And, anyone who is not a card-maker but would like to contribute can always donate financially to the group. CFH boxes do not get a free ride on the mail planes, so donations to cover postage are greatly appreciated!

Why do I make cards for CFH? It is because of my father and the stories he told about serving at an isolated base in Greenland during World War II; he talked often about the letters he exchanged with my Grandparents. It is because there are too many of my former students who are serving now or who have served in the past few years and I want to do something for them and their buddies. It is also because my brother, my cousins and my friends served in VietNam and I know how important it is to honor the soldiers who serve regardless of what you think about the war in which they are serving.

The blog hop will take you to many CFH participant sites. It's a chance to see some amazing cards, get lots of ideas, and read more about the people who contribute to CFH and why they do it.

I hope you enjoy visiting all the blogs, and also hope that you will become interested in supporting the group.

Now it is time for you to jump to Paula's blog!

Have a great time, and a great weekend!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Busy, Busy!

My schedule is crazy!

Today: MRI
Tonight: Quizo with some of my favorite former students
Tomorrow: Eye doctor
Saturday: All day crop with my CTMH rep
Sunday: dinner with the Aunties
Monday: dentist
Tuesday: take Mom to doctor in the AM; orthopaedic doctor in the PM
Wednesday: pack for long trip
Thursday: leave for multi-day drive (with lots of great stops!) with Auntie back to Florida

There is SOOO much I still HAVE to do around here, and SOOO much I will not get done.

Oh, well.

Frank Bielec And The Flaming Red Heart

For anyone who has never tried needlework.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

When The Onion Meets Disney.....

.....the results are hilarious!

Now, as anyone who knows me, or reads here, knows, I love all things Disney! So, when I saw this, I just had to share- this is TOO funny.

BTW- there are two things necessary to fully understand this article. One is that legions of "tomb warriors" in the form of statues were buried with ancient Chinese monarchs, and the other is that you probably need to be 50+ to get all the references.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, RIP

This picture was taken at a pool here in Philadelphia in 1964.

Mrs. Shriver was a doer, not a talker. She changed for all time the way the world viewed the talents and interests of those with mental disabilities.

She challenged not only those with disabilities, but all of us.

She was a GREAT lady.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We're having a heat wave.....

.....so not much is getting done around here. I went through two crates of assorted books and papers today and ended up with one crate to keep and one crate to put on ebay- needlework charts, books and magazines.

I've been spending a lot of time researching digital scrapbooking the last few days. There's so much talk about the new Stampin' Up digital program being released in a few months, and I am also considering the Creative Memories program. I've used Shutterfly in the past to make photobooks and been very happy with the results, but would like to explore doing more.

I already have this program- Pixel Magic- which is, in fact, the HP
Creative Scrapbook Assistant program under another label. It's been sitting, un-used, for a couple years now and I finally loaded it on my computer yesterday. I've played with it a little bit and think it's pretty easy, but wonder if there isn't something out there better without any more effort. I read some reviews on various programs and it doesn't get a very good rating. So, I'll keep looking- I want an EASY, good program.

I threw this together last night while I couldn't sleep (DH had a migraine and I needed to be somewhere else to let him rest). I don't love it, and I will re-do the page for this picture, but it's not bad (IMHO, lol!) for a first attempt. I previously tried to master Photoshop, and when that was more than I could handle, Photoshop Elements, but they were both just too much learning curve for what I want to do.

All of the pictures at the link on my sidebar listed as "My treasures-family heritage pictures" are from before World War II. Some go back to the 19th century, and there are still some more to be scanned and added, like the one of my Great-grandmother as a young woman.

I want to make a totally adaptable digital album- one that can be emailed to all my cousins, could be printed in book form at Shutterfly or somewhere like that, could be turned easily into a slide show for DVDs, and can be easily printed out at home or professionally. It would be a GREAT thing to be able to share with all my cousins- and I have a LOT (like about 35) of cousins! (And, that's just first cousins- we won't even consider the numbers if you add in the next two generations!)

So, I need a program that will make a beautiful book/video/etc and without being too much work to learn. I'm going to "real" scrap the originals- they deserve a wonderful treatment- but before I do that I want something that everyone in the family can share.

So, if it stays this hot, I guess I'll be doing my research instead of my housework- sitting is a lot cooler than working around the house.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Belated book review

I've been meaning to post a review on this for more than a week.

*This* is The Traitor's Wife, a book by Susan Higginbotham. I finished it in only a few days and really, REALLY enjoyed it.

It is set in a time period about which I hadn't done a lot of reading- early 14th century England. Most of the story takes place during the reign of Edward II and the characters in the book- virtually all real people- are related to the royal family and closely involved in their lives.

It is the story of Eleanor de Clare, granddaughter and niece of the first two King Edwards. She is married at a very young age to Hugh le Despenser, and becomes a Lady-in-Waiting to Edward II's queen. Her relationships to the royal couple and her husband's ambitions combine to make a fascinating, and true, story.

I enjoyed it for a number of reasons. It is very well written- the characters and the story engaged me right from the beginning. I wanted to keep reading and find out what happened to these people.

There is an attention to the details of the time- clothes, furnishings and such- but without the painful particulars that sometimes distract in books set this far back in history. (I know about the differences in laundry, cooking, sanitation, etc at that time compared to our time- I don't need the specifics of how these things are handled, and especially not repeatedly as that can become intrusive to the flow of the story for me.)

The characters are fully developed; you see their good and bad, and they feel real. The history is obviously painstakingly researched and readily understandable. The culture of the time- the effects of religion and politics, the realities of health, life and death, the ideas of what is right and wrong- is presented well and in context.

Many, MANY years ago my beloved English teacher, Sr. Joanna Regan, taught me that a good historical novel should be well written and enjoyable, and also teach because it (most of it, at least) just happens to have happened. The Traitor's Wife meets Sister's criteria- a really good read and I learned some history in the process.

There is a follow-up book, Hugh and Bess, that continues the story in the next generation. I have it on my must-read list; I really want to find out what happens next. And, isn't that often the description of a good book?

The Traitor's Wife I definitely highly recommend!

For the Historical Fiction fans

From the wonderful Historical Tapestry website, I went off to All Things Royal, where there is a blog candy giveaway of items about Anne Boleyn.

Check it out!

There is such a fascination with Anne, even 500 years after she lived. How different might have been the history of England and the rest of Europe had there been no Anne Boleyn!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Late night- can't sleep

Our Disney Photopass disc arrived today and here is one of the pictures. DH looks wonderful in all of them but that darn broken tooth had me doing all kinds of grimacing rather than smiling so I'm not overly thrilled with most of them for me.

I love the Disney Photopass program, although it has gotten very expensive. But I use their editing software before I order, so all our pictures are available to us both "plain" and with lots of Disney add-ons. We had about 100 pictures taken of us that week and I ended up with more than 350.

Here's one that's fun, even if it isn't particularly attractive:

I have to take DS for a "procedure" tomorrow, so I'll maybe getting some stitching or tatting done. Let's hope the waiting room is well lit and at least vaguely comfortable. I swear the people who design those places should be made to sit there for a day- they'd improve most of them pretty quick if they did!

I'm off to bed with another good book; I hope I can sleep tonight earlier than last night!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A little tatting progress

Not a great picture, but you can see that I've made progress.

Yesterday was the orthopaedic doctor- I need an MRI next. Still in the cast and still crutches for any distance walking. :(

Today was decluttering and sorting. I stuck to grocery sized bags- easier to carry and morale boosting- you can fill them faster, lol! I ended up with 3 bags of trash, 3 bags to sell on ebay, and 6 bags to donate. A small dent but every little bit counts.

I hope it is a little cooler tomorrow- I might get more done if it wasn't 90°!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Wonderful Stitching News

This is a picture of the original Beatrix Potter Quaker Sampler chart from Needleprint- a company in Britain that specializes in reproduction charts. Their main focus is on samplers from The Ackworth School- a Quaker school whose students produced beautiful pieces of needlework in the Quaker motif style. There is a long story about Needleprint and BP and Ackworth, but I'll let you read it there, or save it for another day (when I make some progress on my own BP!)

The big news? Needleprint is releasing designs in what it is calling the "Infinity Charts"! You can download the charts, and then, if you wish, you can alter them- change the colors/threads, change the initials to personalize a design, etc. You can print out only the page of the chart that you are working on, and if you spill your tea on the chart page, print out a new copy. You can store your charts on CDs or flashdrives.

Think of the money saved- no more expensive charts due to color printing on heavy paper, no more expensive shipping costs since these come from England, no more re-buying a chart we lose or wreck with use.

I plan to print out pages with only small sections of each chart well divided on the page, and then cut them into smaller, workable pieces. I have the Help-n-hand chart holder and like it a lot but a full page does often bend and get annoying.

Everything about this new idea is terrific! I can only hope that more designers will follow this wonderful example.

BTW- Needleprint is also offering a FREE download of the Mary Wigham Sampler- a beautiful Ackworth sampler. If you haven't tried Quakers yet, this is a wonderful opportunity to get hooked on them.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


Totally NOT settled back in, but I'm home from the shore.

Thought I'd give the blog a new look. Didn't want any beachy themes since I'm not there anymore. :(

Not much news- lots of doctors appointments coming up along with work on the house.

I'm off to read the 4th book about Maisie Dobbs.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.