Monday, December 27, 2010

Want a good New Year's Goal?

If you knit or crochet, here's a program you might want to consider joining. HAP= Handmade Afghan Project and the group makes afghans to give to wounded service men and women in military hospitals.

The HAP website has all the information you need to join this terrific group of volunteers. If you don't knit or crochet but would like to donate to the program for mailing costs and other expenses, all that information is also available at the website.

The requirements are easy- they ask that you make 6" x 9" rectangles that will then be assembled by other volunteers into hospital bed sized  afghans, using rectangles from 49 different people. This way each afghan represents the work of 50 or more people! What a wonderful way to show wounded warriors that many people around the country appreciate their sacrifice!

There are no requirements that you submit a certain number of rectangles to stay a member of the group- so, no pressure. If you have some yarn laying around in an approved color ( no pastels or baby colors for obvious reasons) you can send as few as 7 or as many as you can make.

The goal for 2011 is 105, 154 rectangles which will make 2146 afghans!

So, if you would like to be doing something productive and worthwhile as you sit in front of the TV, or during your lunch break, or whenever, check out this group. They are accepting new members until January 21, 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Here's why we are not on our way to Florida!

This is what we would have been driving through.

 And a bigger perspective on what we'd have been driving through.

All in all, a good decision to fly on Tuesday.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It turned into a very nice Christmas! But then.....

Christmas turned out really nice for us. We got past the car situation and had a lovely evening for Christmas Eve, decorating the tree, watching movies on TV and just generally enjoying the peace and quiet.

Christmas morning was also really nice. Everyone was very pleased with their gifts, especially me! DH asked two days ago "what do you want?" and I said I didn't care but then winked and said "jewelry is always good!". Well, it seems that DH is developing a penchant for black and white diamonds! (Remember the anniversary necklace?) Here's a not terrific picture of a real surprise I opened this morning:

Yeah- all those sparkles are diamonds! On a more practical note, I also got a heated ice scraper for my car- and he bought that before the change in the weather forecast! 

The rest of the day went well also. Dinner was very good- brined turkey is THE way to go! Mom and DD came for dinner and it was very pleasant.

Speaking of the weather, however.... we were supposed to leave tomorrow morning to drive to Florida. Obviously, THAT is not happening. So now, at RIDICULOUS expense, we will be flying down on Tuesday. My other Christmas present from DH, two new books on CD for the trip ( we like to listen to books as we drive), will probably now get saved for another trip, whenever.

Having spent the last 15 New Years in FLorida, I was really looking forward to the WARM. I will still get it, but we must first endure the blizzard that is apparently on the way. It will make Florida seem even better, but I do wish we could have gotten away BEFORE the shoveling!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and enjoys the rest of the holidays.

Harry Kalas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas « CBS Philly – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of Philadelphia

Harry Kalas: ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas « CBS Philly – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of Philadelphia

Studio 60 O Holy Night

This clip makes it worth the entire "Studio 60" series. The performers are actual New Orleans musicians, displaced by Hurricane Katrina. The audio only of the music used to be available for download- it might still be out there if you look for it. I LOVE this version of this beautiful hymn.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We had a SCROOGE Christmas Eve

Someone decided to do their Christmas shopping in my son's car. :(

Gone is his briefcase, with the Leatherman we bought him 10 years ago for Christmas and which he liked so much he named it, and carried it all the time. Also in the briefcase were his school materials from Drexel, including the engineering calculator that will cost a bundle to replace. Plus they don't make that particular briefcase/messenger bag design anymore. 

Gone are several rare comic books with author's signatures- totally irreplaceable!

Gone are two Vera Bradley bags, still in the boxes. Gone are presents he had bought for other people to give when he was at stores they didn't have time to get to. Gone is his GPS and car radio. Gone is his gym bag.

Also gone is the car window they smashed- and no place is open to fix it until Monday. So the first expense was to buy a car cover in case the snow actually shows up.

Everything except the radio was in the trunk so it wasn't like the stuff was sitting on the seat asking to be taken. He usually brings most of the stuff into the house every night, but he was staying over at a friend's house so he didn't bring them in.

Although the total loss is quite large, the car insurance covers some things and the homeowner's others, and both have deductibles that make two claims not viable- so he/we are out the whole expense.

I am SOOOOO NOT in a Christmas mood now. :(

Sesame Street: True Blue Miracle

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We have a bathroom!!!

So, here's the view later than the one I showed last weekend. Some of the old subfloor is now gone and you can see through into my living room.

 This is one of the views looking up from the living room. This was Monday and Tuesday.

Here's where they had to go before they could completely fix all the problems correctly- NO floor, and the upstairs of the house literally propped up from below!

I got to do a Meg Ryan in "Kate and Leopold". One of the days the contractors forgot to close the bathroom window, which they kept open hoping to keep the dust level down ( I guess it helped, haha) and I had to walk across those skinny, SKINNY beams to close it.

Finally, late yesterday afternoon, I got to take this picture:

That's the GOOD news. We have a fully functional bathroom- an expression which has been used repeatedly by my happy family in the last day. "I'm going to take a shower in out fully functional bathroom"; "I'm going to brush my teeth in our fully functional bathroom". Sure beats "I'm going out for dinner and a shower"- from my son several days ago, sure to become a famous family quote.

There's still some bad news. The living room ceiling still looks like this:

 The sunporch still looks like this:

 Every surface in the house looks like this:
And the really amazing, depressing thing is how the dust can get EVERYWHERE- even inside closed doors and drawers:

 It's gonna take FOREVER to get rid of the mess. Christmas is going to be interesting, to say the least. 

Whatever the situation though, I am wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas on 1915

Saturday, December 11, 2010


  This is a view of my bathroom, right now. Yeah!

When the plumber and contractor came on Thursday to do what should have been a relatively quick, easy (and NOT horrifically expensive) job, they discovered that the previous contractor, 25 years ago, had done something interesting.

Instead of laying down a subfloor on the side of the room that supported the shower, toilet and sink, he had simply broken up the original tile, used that as fill, and put in approximately 1 1/2 tons of CONCRETE!!!! between the new floor and the living room ceiling!!!! 

So, for the last two days they have been breaking up concrete and hauling it away. Leaving us this:

We will be without a bathroom upstairs for several more days. Now, at any time, that would be a significant issue. This weekend- with rehearsal at GMA this afternoon, my mother's birthday dinner tonight, and Candlelight tomorrow, being unable to shower is *rather* a bigger issue than a normal weekend. (There is a "bathroom", i.e. toilet, in the basement- unheated.)

So, I am packing to go to my mother's to shower for today's events and then will sleep at my aunt's tonight so I don't have to hike down to and up from the basement all night. Clothes for several events, skin care, hair stuff (dryer and curling iron), and a general goodie bag- all these need to be organized, packed, etc.

This is NOT fun!!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas busy with fun and great memories!

This is turning into my crazy Christmas week!

Last night I went to a crop at my CTMH rep's house to work on Christmas cards. I got 12 done, using the Mistletoe Workshop on the Go- same as the crop I went to several weeks ago- which includes some really pretty papers and a great stamp set; I made the cards using a design included with the WS. It was a really relaxing evening. Thanks, Cindy! 

Also on the agenda this week is a Christmas party tonight for the faculty and staff of my beloved CD- I am really looking forward to seeing everyone and having a wonderful time.

Friday night is DH's staff party; that should be fun as well- I've known so many of these people for years and really enjoy their company.

Saturday night we are taking Mom out to dinner for her birthday, along with Auntie.

Saturday afternoon I have to drive out to GMA for rehearsal for what I think is a GREAT idea. Mercy is having an alumnae Candlelight Procession Sunday evening, and I am (again, as in Senior year) an Angel!

As I know I've made clear before, I loved my high school experience, treasure my memories and classmates, and am eternally grateful for the 4 years I spent a GMA. I also am very blessed that the lessons that the Sisters taught us, very subtly since I did not recognize them at the time, have stayed with me all my life, and I hope, have made me a better person than I might have been without them.

One of the most important and wonderful times at Mercy was Candlelight Procession. Our school has a central courtyard, and around it a "glass corridor" that leads to the auditorium, which has break-away walls. Imagine looking out, from a darkened auditorium, to a winter scene with a procession of candles carried by young women singing Christmas hymns approaching. It was truly magical!! Once we were in the auditorium, the lights came up, everyone joined in singing Christmas carols, and then the room darkened again for the Christmas Tableau. While Senior girls read from the Christmas gospels, students portrayed the Holy Family and all their visitors.

One picture which I have only in my mind is one of my greatest treasures. It is a toddler boy, just turned 2, in a white turtleneck and bright red corduroy overalls, climbing up onto the stage to see the Baby Jesus in the manger. In front of everyone, of course. Yes, I didn't hold his hand and he got away from me. That was 30 years ago as I fulfilled another Mercy tradition- taking your children to Candlelight.

So I will probably be exhausted all next week from all the activity this week, but everything planned will be fun and I will finish this week, or more accurately start the next, repeating a special memory with classmates and schoolmates from the past- how wonderful is that!

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel - Enya

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Cards

My Close to My Heart rep had a class/crop a few weeks ago. It was a fun afternoon and I got some actual cards made!

CTMH has a really pretty Workshop-on-the-Go this year, using the papers from their Mistletoe collection and a nice stamp set. The workshop comes with a booklet with cutting guides for a good selection of cards and enough paper and supplies to make 25 cards or more. 

I am pleased with how these turned out. A couple of us are getting together next week to finish our cards. Once we figured out the cutting guides, it was easy to cut out all the pieces needed to assemble the cards next week. They are all individual, but the work putting them together is close to assembly line, so the time invested will be far less than if we were designing each card individually.

 You can check out this workshop HERE and see others that CTMH also offers.

Are you cards made yet? Addressed yet? Mailed yet?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chatelaine German Christmas Market

Here is an idea of how this design will look when I (someday) finish stitching it.

What is it, you ask? It is the Chatelaine (Martina Weber Rosenberg) German Christmas Market design!

My supplies for this piece are ordered- it is so gorgeous!!! Martina designed it originally for a dark blue fabric to mimic the look of the market at dusk, but when I saw her preview of it on black fabric I knew (no matter how much black fabric is NOT friendly to 58yo eyes) that I had to do it that way!

I also signed up for another project with Martina- the Wisteria Garden. This one is so beautiful- and it is going to include lots of "3D" stitches for a really textural, "flowery" look. This one starts in January.

Martina has a Yahoo group that you can join HERE. There is also a Yahoo group for each of her designs during the time the design is active, which is usually a year. After that you can still buy the design, but you would miss out on chatting with other stitchers working the same design at the same time- a really interesting and nice feature.

If you like the look of these designs but not necessarily the particular topic, make sure you check out her website. Everything she does is absolutely gorgeous- the hard part is choosing which one to choose!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First HAP rectangle and NaBloPoMo

Well, I finished it last night- my first 6x9 rectangle for the HandMade Afghan Project!! It took 4 start-overs to get exactly the right number of stitches to make it exactly 6 inches wide, but now I know so I can repeat indefinitely. I like the yarn, called Stars and Stripes; it is a Red Heart Super Saver and I have two big skeins of it so I guess I will be able to make quite a few rectangles.

I did this one in plain, old single crochet. When I get tired of or bored with single I will change up to another stitch- but for now I am set with single.

This is, for me, the perfect TV project. DH and I both teach all day, and we like to relax in the evenings with someone ELSE putting on the show. I found that I can successfully work on this while watching TV- which is more than I can do when trying to combine stitching and TV, or tatting and TV, etc. 

Remember- HAP is accepting new members for a few more weeks. If you want a pleasant diversion in the form of knitting or crochet, and one that will benefit our country's wounded service men and women, then this is the program for you. Use the link above, and check it out!

If you routinely check my sidebar- which has many, MANY links to all kinds of things that *I* find interesting (and you might also), you will see a new badge there. It is actually just the December badge, but it is a new version, all dressed up for the holidays.

When realizing earlier in the fall that I have blogged far less this year than previously, I decided to try harder at getting on here. I found NaBloPoMo at the beginning of November and signed up. It stands for National Blog Posting Month, and is a group to encourage people to try blogging every day for a month. I didn't do all that well in November- 18 posts- but that *is* better than I have done for the rest of this year. Look at it this way: 60% is a failing grade in my class, but it would be a satisfactory average for a coach, and a history-setting average for a baseball batter. Want some encouragement to keep up with your blog? Check out NaBloPoMo at the link above or on the sidebar.

Time for dinner!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beautiful Sampler Stitch-a-Long starting

There is a Stitch-a-Long (SAL) starting in January for this gorgeous sampler!

The sampler was worked by Mary Glover, in 1787, when she was 12 years old. The chart will be a reproduction done by examining and counting the stitches in the piece. 

There is a *little* hitch for most of the readers here- the blog and the group are in French. Fortunately, I still can read enough French to muddle through; writing is not as facile and I speak it almost not at all anymore. Well, it *HAS* been almost 40 years since I lived in Switzerland- and I've forgotten a lot more than the French I once knew, lol!

However, a chart is a chart, so if you are interested, check it out HERE.

Teneriffe Lace web completed and Crochet for a Cause info

So, this is how the web looks when it is completed. I need to take it under the last stitch, but when I do that I will also have to start the darning stitch for the center of the medallion.

Working with a stiffer thread (Cebelia #10) than I have before (I previously always worked with perle coton) was a little tricky. I found that if I sat in the recliner and each time I went under a thread I sent the extra thread to the side of the chair, well spread out on the floor, it didn't tangle too much. As I worked on it, it became more relaxing.

This step also took longer than I remembered- about 3 hours, or maybe a little more. I used to think of this as "setting up" for doing the Teneriffe, but when I made my mind think of it as part of the finished piece and not "set up", it seemed to be much less tedious. Strange how our minds work, isn't it?

Once I finished the web, I put the Teneriffe Lace aside last night; I also wanted to get started working on my first crochet rectangle for the Handmade Afghan Project.

HAP is a great program for those who like to knit and crochet. Each participant makes small (6x9) rectangles that are then sent in to be combined into afghans for wounded service men and women in military hospitals. The afghans are assembled by volunteers, who use rectangles from 49 different donators in each afghan.

The rectangles must all be exactly the same size in order to be successfully included in an afghan. Last night was spent making three rows, then checking for size, then tearing out and removing a few stitches from the foundation chain, and starting over. My last effort removed too many stitches, so another start will be necessary today. Once I determine the exact number of chain stitches for the foundation that work out to exactly 6 inches, I will be good for this hook for as long as my two skeins of yarn last. I found this Red Heart Super Saver Yarn-called Stars and Stripes- and it seemed perfect for this project.

I am really enthused about this project. Crochet is one of my favorite winter activities and one that I can do in front of the TV in the evenings without much stress. (Cross stitch and tatting require too much counting and paying attention; I don't get much accomplished with the TV on.) To be able to enjoy myself while sitting with DH every evening, AND be able to put the time to SUCH good use is really great.

HAP is currently accepting new volunteers, so if you knit or crochet and want to do something special for our country's wounded warriors, then check it out!

Laundry and lunch are calling. Teneriffe and crochet are on the agenda during the Eagles game. Then it's time to get ready for a new week!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Starting the Teneriffe Lace web

This is the back of the Stitch-Around as I get ready to make the web. The web is the basis of all Teneriffe lace, regardless of the pattern for a specific medallion. You can see where I simply knotted the base thread to hold it tightly in place. The base will support the medallion until it is completed and will then be cut away to release the medallion.
Here's where working on Teneriffe becomes a little complicated. The directions call for cutting the entire length of thread you will need in one piece- in this case, 7 yards!

You can see that 7 yards of loose thread can get tangled pretty easily. I work my web with the thread laying out on the floor in front of my chair- it seems to tangle less that way.

I chose Cebelia #10 in white for this medallion. I threaded one end through a size 22 tapestry needle- I find the regular needles are easier for me for laying the web, and will switch to the curved needle when I begin the wrapping. I tied a large knot in the other end of the thread after feeding it through the Stitch-Around form. As I find that surprisingly large knots can work their way through the hole at the center of the form, I also tape the end of the thread to the back of the form.

The web is easy in principle and the only difficulty is keeping those 7 yards of threads untangled. Working out from the center hole,you run the needle under the base thread at any point, pull all the thread through, then run it towards the center under the next base thread section to the right. You are essentially centering the thread around each opening on the form at the position you originally chose to control your size. Here's a close-up:

You then go directly across the form and do the same thing at the hole opposite to the one you just surrounded. Next you will bring your thread back to the first side, and there you will move one hole to the right and repeat the process. You continue around the entire form until you have a complete web.

Next time there will be a picture of a complete web.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Next Step Teneriffe Lace and some more tools

Well, it took a lot longer than I planned to get back here, but here it is. This is the Stitch-Around "fully loaded" with the base thread. Next step, which I *will* have ready for tomorrow is the beginning ( and hopefully more) of the web thread.

With my interest in Teneriffe Lace re-piqued as it were, I've been doing some reading and some Internet cruising. I've found two fun old tools that I purchased from ebay last week.

The first is called a Crazy Daisy. It has spokes that come out of the body of the gizmo with a wheel in the center, allowing you to mount the web, do the design, then just retract the spokes, and VOILA!, there is your medallion. Sorry for the blurry picture; my scanner doesn't do 3-D very well.

Another fun new to me but very old tool is the Proctor 1903 Teneriffe Lace wheel. I have not had time to read any instructions, so I don't even know for sure how this one works. 

I did get the base thread done for a second medallion, on the needlelace loom I got last week from Hand Dyed Fibers. So, I will also be seeing how this tool works out.

All three of these tools here have a distinct disadvantage compared to the Stitch-Around, and that is that the sizes possible are limited to one size with the Crazy Daisy and the needlelace loom, and I don't know if there are two options with the Proctor tool, but certainly not more than that. The lines in the Stitch-Around are also very valuable for helping you to make your knots evenly, so we will see how that works out with the other tools.

I found another tool for Teneriffe lace at Lacis, but that won't be here for a while and I am unclear how it works, so that might have to wait until the second round of tests- I really can't quite figure it out from the picture above from the Lacis website.

The one thing I *CAN* tell you is that I found the plastic grids sometimes sold for "making Teneriffe lace" are nothing more than plastic canvas and I could NOT make them work. I tried them several times several years ago and I am guessing that someone could do Teneriffe lace medallions on them, but that someone was sure not me!

Down the road even a little farther I am going to try using my bobbin lace pillow for making Teneriffe lace- I've been told on good authority that they do work that way- but that is another item on the list for after this first exploration is done.

Tomorrow, the beginnings of the web.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Our Gettysburg Legacy - Speaking Out Against the Gettysburg Casino

No Casino in Gettysburg

I joined No Casino Gettysburg. It is a group that is opposing the opening of a slots casino one-half (1/2) mile from the battlefield at Gettysburg.

Check out THIS LINK to find out more.

There will be a final hearing by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board on Tuesday, November 16. Go to the NoCasinoGettysburg site and see what you can do to prevent a casino being opened within walking distance of the most hallowed ground in the United States.

Operation Write Home Blog Hop

Today is the latest Operation Write Home Blog Hop! Click on the picture to go and see the wonderful work being done for this terrific group- and consider supporting it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Teneriffe Lace, step-by-step

There's been some discussion of Teneriffe Lace over at InTatters (an online tatting forum) lately. A few ladies have expressed interest in learning more about it. 

Well, I'm no expert, but I do know how to make basic medallions of Teneriffe lace using my Stitch-Around board, so I am going to make a new medallion over the next several days. I will be taking pictures at every step of the way and posting them here and at Intatters, so if you are inclined to want to learn more about how Teneriffe Lace is made, just follow along here.

The picture above is of a new medallion at the very first step- laying down the base thread, also known as a holding thread. You go around the form, threading over and under, filling in every hole. You can use any available thread, as long as it is strong enough to hold your working thread- I am using some left over #5 perle cotton. When I complete this round, I will do the same thing again, but doing the over-and-under on the opposite sides, so that there will be a complete holding thread- no spaces- on both the front and back of the form. Next picture will be a completed holding thread, and the beginning of the web, so check back tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Here's to the Heroes: A Military Tribute

Thanks to all the Veterans who have served our country!

Went With The Wind!

I am so excited- my first Barbie doll in 50 years arrived today!!!

I am totally not a doll collector- the closest thing I have to a doll collection is either my Byers Choice Christmas Carol Carolers to decorate for Christmas, or the couple dolls I still have from childhood, including my beloved Lizzie (an original Suzy Walker) and my beautiful Shirley Temple doll, both of which are kept for sentimental reasons.

How I stumbled across this one I don't even remember- but when I saw it, as Carol Burnett says in the skit, "I just couldn't resist it!" I saw this skit the night it was first performed on the Carol Burnett Show. I laughed until I cried, literally. I have probably seen the clip 50 times since then, and I still laugh. It is, for me, one of the great comic moments of television.

So, with the gown recreated for Mattel by the original genius designer, Bob Mackie, and the face such a wonderful image of Carol Burnett- well, I just couldn't resist it. Tomorrow it gets set up in my classroom- the kids probably won't "get it" but I know the faculty of a certain age will enjoy it- and I will smile everytime I see it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Tatting Supplies Arrived!

Well, I got a nice package from Handy Hands today! For those who don't know, Handy Hands is a terrific company for buying tatting supplies- they have a tremendous selection. Now, I have been tatting for about 12 years but still consider myself a beginner; I cannot do split rings or mock rings or any of those other fancy things. But I can do rings and chains and picots, and that's really all you need for many designs.

While still in my own Beginner Level, I have taken on teaching basic tatting to a group of students at school. So, this package was 10 shuttles and the original Fancy Pants book. I bought the book so that I had a reference I can leave in the classroom with lots of pictures to help the girls learn.

I will also take in my duplicate copy of Rebecca Jones' Complete Book of Tatting- remember when I posted that I could not find my original copy and bought a new one, which would guarantee that I found the original? Well, I did- and that extra can now be a classroom reference as well.

Yesterday I went to ACMoore and bought 10 crochet hooks- I forgot to include them in my shuttle order from HH, and could not face another shipping charge for such tiny things. As for thread, I have plenty of that- several generous ladies from InTatters, the online tatting forum, sent me boxes with balls of #10 and #20 for the girls to get started with.

I will be showing some Youtube videos to help them see what the stitch and hand positions are all about. If anyone has any recommendations for which videos they think are best, please let me know!

I've started a new project for the 25 Motif Challenge, but it isn't far enough along yet for even an "in progress" picture- but it will be motif #8. One of these days I will dig out #3 and #5 and see if I can finish them- they got me frustrated and got put aside.

Time to go take a nap until dinner!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Chicago Bean

One of the highlights of my trip last weekend was our visit to the Chicago Bean. Sitting in Millennium Park, it is a giant, GIANT mirrored kidney bean shaped object. It just sits there, and people come and laugh and smile and take pictures. Totally useless and totally FUN!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tatting- one success, one failure

So, I have two pieces of tatting to show. I can't say "show off" because one is a failure. DARN!!!!

The piece above in black and red variegated Finca #12 is Kersti's Stumpy pattern. I got to the very end before I realized that I had missed the VERY LAST join!!! Then, when I was going to just leave it like that, I could not figure out what to do with the last little chain. So, into the discards box it goes.
The cross is a pattern I found from Becky Dempsey that was an online freebie. It is also done in #12 Finca. This one WORKED! It still needs to have the ends dealt with, and I have to wash, startch and straighten it out, but it is done and it is right! It also was a good lesson- I have been miscounting my picots, which gives it that slight curve. The curve should be fixable with the washing and starching.

So, at least I am back on the 25 motif challenge bandwagon. These are motifs #6 and #7. The likelihood that I will ever get 25 pieces of tatting done in a year is slim, but what the heck- it is fun trying.