friends


I feel a need to resurrect this-here blog of mine. Really just as a place for me to dump thoughts and ideas and the extra brain-luggage I have. It’s been a while. Lots has happened. Some things are the same. I still know how to stitch and do that once in a while. I’ve taken up knitting a bit more than stitching, but both languish a bit due to life. I’m not a caregiver anymore, in the sense that the one person I was caring for moved on to that grand adventure in January 2016, where I know she is renewing relationships with family and friends who have gone before her. And, she’s skipping and running, and hiking and doing. And for that I’m very happy.

My little Chloe May joined her last December. It was clear that Chloe had cancer like her grandma-ma, and she passed in my arms. So, she’s running and skipping by my mom’s side in that grand afterlife. I’m not alone though. I have Buster and Bob Marley. Bob joined my family about a month after mom’s funeral, when he was found wandering the neighborhood. We found each other, and it has been said by many that mom sent him so I’d have another soul to care for. Buster and Bob rule the house and it takes me almost a full Saturday to bathe and clip them both. Buster is a mini-schnauzer mix, while Bob Marley is, I believe, what you’d call a Schweenie (Shi-Tzu and Dachsund mix). His hair never stops growing, and when I found him he had obviously been on the streets for some time, or greatly neglected in the dead of a Utah winter. He had dreadlocks and a matte on his back the size of an R.O.U.S. Thus, when I took him to the vet for some care, and they asked me his name, I told them Bob Marley. Bob recuperated at our house, and wormed his way into our hearts. He goes by Bob, or Bobby now.

I’m just recovering from a long, long time of getting by day-to-day. Finding those small moments of life that I can enjoy, and not feel guilty about them. And, dealing with the added responsibilities that are upon me in my professional life. I’m very blessed. Life is good. Truly it is. I’m working to get to where life is “gooder”.

Hello my friends in the blogging world!  I want to share in the celebration of my nephew’s safe and honorable return from a two-year LDS mission to Slovakia.  He says he has left a part of his heart with the people of that nation, and having served a mission myself years ago, I know what he means.  The best thing about my nephew’s return is the gathering of family and friends that we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks, and the memories that have been created and remembered.  I want to extend this feeling to all of you, and get us all into the spirit of the holiday season from Thanksgiving through the New Year (and whichever holiday you celebrate be it Christmas, Chanuka, Kwanza, etc.).  So, I have been gathering some items for a giveaway.  The rules for the giveaway are these:

1) I will give one chance to you if you comment on this post and tell me how you found my blog or know me.

2) I will give another chance to you if you share your favorite family holiday memory on your blog, and include the link to your entry in your comment so that others can find it from my blog.

3) I will accept entries through Sunday, November 8th, and will draw the winner’s name on Monday, the 9th.

And, here is what the winner will receive:

Jolly Holiday

Lizzie Kate’s “Jolly Holiday” chartpak (includes 30 ct linen and buttons)

Four skeins Week’s Dye Works, and one skein Gentle Art Sampler Thread called for in the kit

John James Tapestry Petites needles, size 24

Four coordinating fat quarters of fabric

A Utah Quarter needle magnet

— I’ll also throw in the two skeins of DMC called for in the chartpak when I send the package.

I will ship internationally as well.  So, folks, I hope you enjoy this little giveaway, and that it helps you to kick off a great and memorable holiday season with those you love!

I’ve also made progress on several WIPs, but I’ll save those for another day.  I hope your weekend was relaxing.  I spent most of the day yesterday driving up in the beautiful Utah mountains taking pictures for my photography class.  While the fall colors are pretty much finished, there were some great views up high, with a bit of snow and icy streams and lakes.  I enjoyed myself very much.  And, now, I’m going to prepare for what will be a very busy week.  We are expecting some continued wonderful weather, with skies clear and daytime temps in the 60’s.  Wonderful!

At home, I have a really big garden. (thus the “farm” reference in the title of this post).  I’m thinking of hanging a plaque and calling it the “Lulie Blackham Memorial Garden” for a dear friend that always had a huge garden… Now that she’s left this spinning globe for heavenly pursuits, I’m sure she giggles a bit to know I’ve spent so much of my time this year digging in the dirt and wishing I had asked her questions like “Which varieties of corn do best in our area, and what in the world can I do about all these grasshoppers?” before she took her trip.

I have a great new cedar fence that divides my garden (street side of property) from the rest of my backyard thanks to some great youth in my area, so that I have some privacy, and can create an outdoor living space over the next year or so.  I have a vision.  I will accomplish it.  No matter how many good intentioned neighbors offer to help me just lay the whole backyard with sod.  (Why would I want to water and mow just as much sod in the back, as I already have in the front to take care of… in an arid, desert climate?).  I do hope to get a gate built before the winter sets in, and – cross my fingers -get the whole thing cleaned and stained… not sure I’ve enough time before the snow falls for that though.

We also had some wonderful friends come for a quick visit from Nevada.  David and Jane came calling on a Sunday, and left Monday night.  While it was a short visit, it was a whirlwind visit.  I think Mom’s still recovering.  We had a big barbeque with all of our family on Sunday night, then we talked until late.  I went to work for a few hours, and then we hit the road.  We went to the Cheesecake Factory in Salt Lake for lunch, and then to The Wool Cabin, and Pine Needles at Gardner Village.  That was fun.  I was pretty pleased with myself.  I only bought two hanks of Malabrigo worsted (a navy with lime, and a burgundy with green to light green), and two skeins of Happy Feet sock yarn at The Wool Cabin.  There were many things that tempted me though.  Jane picked up some really nice yarns, and I think she will have a great time making something out of them!  She also found some really fun things at Pine Needles.  I bought a few small items.  Since that little jaunt to Salt Lake, I’ve been back a few times, so my pride in having some self-control was short-lived.

I have had my job re-written at work, adding more umph to my role, so that I can be more empowered to do some things that need to be done… vague I know.  But, it’s a good, and CRAZY TIME GRABBER thing.  So, I’m glad the garden is about finished for the year.

I have made more time for stitching and just being creative most days.  There isn’t much time for that, but I have been working on several pieces that I’ll show you over the next few days.  And, I’m at the point where I create the heel for my first-ever knitted sock.  It’s been in that state for a bit, but Jane’s visit was fun, because she knits socks like a fiend, and actually brought several with her just for me.  Jane told my mom, “It’s probably a good thing Laura and I don’t live closer…we do too much damage to our pocketbooks together.”  It’s so fun for me when I find someone who loves fiber and needles (any kind: knitting, tapestry, sewing, etc.) as much as I do.

I’ll leave you with a couple of pics of my recently completed “Lo, How a Rose” by Brightneedle.  I used the Weeks Dye Works threads called for on Antique White Belfast, except I switched out the Chablis and used GAST Old Red Paint instead. LoHowARose_Detail1

Finished!

Finished!

 

That’s it for now.  Aren’t you glad?  This is getting to be a long one!  I hope you have a creative day!

Judith has let me know that she received her birthday exchange package from me.  I decided to participate in Edgar’s Stitching Bloggers Birthday Club this year.  It was really fun to put together some items for Judith and she likes them!  I’m glad she does. So, I can now show pics.  I stitched a portion of Country Cottage Needleworks’ “Summer Garden” over one on 32 count water lily linen, using the DMC the pattern called for. After selecting the pattern I would stitch, I wanted to carry the garden theme throughout the package. So, I used the stitched piece as an insert in a little padded stitching/sewing envelope and stuffed some little items in it.  I also added a little strawberry needle  emery/fob, that I created using the pattern on the Martha Stewart website. I had some scraps of coordinating pink fabric and overdyed wool felt for the leaves. I’ll make more of those little strawberries, it was so quick and fun.

judith1

judith2

As you can see, I added a few goodies, and most fell in that garden theme. The pocket contained some needles, a skein of Thread Gatherer silk (which I think was named something with roses in it?), and two skeins of Gentle Art Sampler Thread: rhubarb and sweet pea.  Judith took better pictures of the additional items, especially the chartpaks/kits.  But, since Judith said she likes Shepherd’s Bush, and I live 45 minutes away from the the Shepherd Bush shrine, I thought a few things from their shop would be good.  I included the pansy needleroll (one of my favorites), a shop exclusive kit called “A Garden Gentle”, and a Little House Needleworks/Crescent Colours chartpak called “Quilting” because she also quilts a ton! When Tina and Teri came to speak to the Swan Guild, they brought a fun little project of wool felt flower scissor fobs.  I was able to make mine at the guild meeting, and I just love it, because it’s lightweight, yet I can always find my scissors.  When I was at the Bush, I was really happy to see those little fobs on their counter, with scissors. So, I couldn’t resist putting a pair in the package also.  And, Judith had some beads on her wish list that I found.  I’m realy glad she liked everything and that I happen to live close to the shop of one of her favorite designing teams.

I also took a few pictures of the stitching in progress, so I could remember the size of the piece:

0531

I haven’t had much stitching time really. But I stitched last Sunday on “Lo, How a Rose”.  I’ll get some daylight pictures of that for my next post.  I really like how that one is turning out. But, I’m afraid that there won’t be much stitching for the next several weeks. I’m trying to put the finishing touches on the Swan Guild website changes, have some homework looming over my head, some big projects at work, family and church things and meetings, AND a garden to prep and plant the early veggies in.  Oh, and two new cherry trees to plant!  I love spring.

Thanks for stopping  by!

Okay, on this Valentine’s Day, I’ll just start by saying that my iTunes is shuffling and began with Frank Sinatra singing “Moonlight Serenade”, then moved onto James Taylor singing “My Romance”.  Sheesh.  Can’t a single girl enjoy a quiet Valentine’s Day with something like Aretha singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T?  Oh, and now the thing’s moved to Lionel Richie and “Truly”.  Wow.  I know it’s all my fault that these things are on my iTunes.  I really do.  And, I’ve loved these songs for years which is why I have them.  But, the Apple gods must be playing a joke though and picking these things all in a row. Or someone’s telling me I’m a hopeless romantic hidden beneath the thick skin of a Cupid cynic.

Lest I offend any of you who are celebrating this day of greeting-card days with your soul-mate (or said stand-in until you find him/her), please know I fully support you and am extremely happy that you are!  And, that I’ve had a most wonderful day myself and do NOT long for gooey, mushy stuff.  I did quite enjoy lunch with my brother-in-law, sister and their three daughters.  My great BIL wanted to take us to lunch for Valentine’s Day!  Great guy.  Did I say he’s a great brother-in-law?

I’m now listening to Queen Latifah singing “I Know Where I’ve Been”.  Better.  And a bit ironic after that last tirade, don’t you think?  Okay, maybe you’d think so if you knew more about my life.  Which I’m not going to share on a blog.  Not while I’m sane.  But, I will say that if you think of the princess looking for a prince by kissing a lot of frogs, you’d be really close to knowing a bit more about it. 😉

So, yesterday we had a great time with Cathy B, running around to all the great stitchy spots along the Wasatch Front.  We started at the Craft Center, where my friend Cheryl and I met up with Cathy B, Alice, Lynn, and Brenda.  They had the Homespun Elegance chart in for “Home is Where You Hang Your Needlework”.  I picked that up and after everyone had completed their shopping there, we headed up to the Shrine… the Bush… the place where “the rock stars of stitching” live.  At least that’s what Cathy calls them. And, I quite agree.  Tina and Teri were extremely gracious as always.  It’s so fun to look around and see what they’ve done with new releases.  And, you know even though I make it up there every few months or so, I had neglected some of their shelves with “long lost” designs for a while.  Cathy was immediately drawn to the Mary Garry section… and thanks to her attention to that area, I was able to pick up two charts that are just great.  They are “Friends in the Garden” and “The Ice-Skating Party”.

I was a bit sad that they didn’t have market releases out yet.  But, that was actually fine, and Mr. Pocketbook was grateful he wasn’t punished like he was expecting to be.  I also picked up the remaining supplies for Mary Peacock, which I had purchased the chart for the previous week.  Cathy had her camera there, and she may get to post some pics, but I have some too.  Of course, we were all looking at Cathy’s camera and not mine…here are Tina, Cathy B, and Teri:

Tina, Cathy B, and Teri

And, from left to right: Cheryl, Laura (me), Cathy B, Lynn, Alice, and Brenda:

Cheryl, Laura (me), Cathy B, Lynn, Alice, Brenda

After our shopping at the Bush, we headed over to Rooster’s for lunch.  Great food and great company.  Cathy, amazing person that she is, presented us all with a valentine… in our cards were hardanger hearts!  Wow.  She even had one there for Cheryl, who was kind of a last minute addition to the group.  How nice and thoughtful of Cathy to do that.  And the hearts are beautiful.

 Then, we went next door to the Needlepoint Joint.  Since I’ve started knitting it was hard for me to make it through the main part of the store and into the next section where their stitchy stuff is.  At one point, I said out loud “I’ll have to get me a sheep.”  I just love yarn.  I contained myself by thinking about the yarn I already have and the three projects that are on the needles.  But, when I caught up to the others in the stitchy section, I was happy to find an old copy of Fine Lines, which has the “Women of the Mayflower” chart in it from Sarah Ullman of Olde Willow Stitchery.  I only have a few copies of this magazine… and they’re mainly just the charts I liked.  I never was able to find this one.  Needlepoint Joint in Ogden has about four more copies if you’re looking.  And, about three other issues were there too.

After perusing some more there, Cheryl and I took Cathy to the airport.  It was a really fun day, and I especially loved the time we had getting to know Cathy.  What a sweet person!  I hope you enjoyed your time in Utah, Cathy.  We had a great time!

Okay, I don’t have any stitching progress to show, because I’ve been finishing an exchange.  But, that’s done, so I just need to wait until Tuesday to put it in the mail.  It’s a tiny bit late for mailing, but not anything that a reasonable amount of postage can’t cure.  I think.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, I’m now listening to David Benoit & Russ Freeman…  love this stuff.  I do have the ability to control this iTunes/iPod thing right?  (In the time it took me to post the pics for this along came Michael Buble singing “Call Me Irresponsible”, and the smooth talent of Marc Antoine.  I’m now enjoying the timeless Ella singing “Miss Otis Regrets”.  Love it.)

Happy day to everyone!  Take some time to stitch and listen to some fun tunes… or whatever relaxes you.

I admit, I’ve not participated in many exchanges, but only because I knew I didn’t have the time and couldn’t do what I really wanted to do (I’m a perfectionist that way).  So, when I read about sign ups for the 2009 Stitching Bloggers Birthday Club, I carefully considered what I could do, and then quickly signed up!  I just received my partner’s info, and this is a secret exchange, so I won’t share any specifics here.  But, I will say I’m just excited to participate and I’m already making plans.

I have been stitching a little bit.  And, finishing frames for long completed needlework.  I will take some photos this weekend.  I have stitched a tiny bit more on “The Riddle” by Drawn Thread, which I’m loving.  And, I’ve started “All Our Troubles” by La-D-Da.  I decided to stitch that on 40 count Meadow Rue, with the Weeks Dye Works threads.  I love it so far. 

And, I have been keeping up with school the best I can.  My Advanced Linux Admin class is a real beast.  We’re using virtual server software to install and administer our own instances of Linux.  The version of Linux we’re using is two versions old, and the virtual server keeps crashing my laptop.  I don’t lose data, but the server just won’t start, no matter what I do, and no matter how many times I remove it and re-install.  I am going to concentrate on it this weekend and see if one last ditch effort will work.  If not, I’ve let the instructor know that I’m just a bit fed up.  I’m not the only one in the class who has had troubles, but mine have been the worst.

And, I’ve promised the Swan Sampler Guild to begin building a real website.  One good thing about the Linux class is that there’s a Service Learning requirement.  And, I’ve convinced the instructor to let me count the Swan website, so ladies… it will have to be completed by the end of this semester.  I hope that’s good news for you!  I will be contacting Sandra soon with some details and potential layouts.

Well, that’s it for now.  This is a quick update in the middle of the day, which I normally don’t have time for and shouldn’t even think of, but hey, it’s Thursday.  Don’t ask me how that makes today different.  It just does for now.  I’ll use another excuse on another day.

Happy day everyone!

You know that great song from “The Lion King”?  It’s been running through my head lately.  Might be because it was part of the opening for the Tony Awards last Sunday.  I didn’t watch anything but that really.  But, anyway, the past few weeks have been particulary poignant for me.  And, on Sunday night as I watched performers on TV run around in animal costumes, singing “The Circle of Life”, I cried.  Because one of the world’s best women and one of my best friends was about to journey Home.

Lulie Blackham passed away early Tuesday morning with grace and acceptance of the Lord’s will.  I first met Lulie over 25 years ago.  She was called to serve as the president of my LDS Young Women’s organization.  This was the second time in her life that she agreed to serve in this capacity, and at the time, I just didn’t realize how fortunate and blessed I was to have her in my life.  I learned quickly how much she would mean to me though, and my love and respect for her has deepened so much more.

Lulie always had a smile for me when things were tough, a quick wit when I needed to laugh, and such a grasp of common sense that I never could find a reason not to take her advice.  The most important thing that Lulie shared with me though was her love of Jesus Christ; her knowledge that He is the Savior of the World, and of individuals like me and her.

When I first met Lulie, I had recently moved from California.  It was tough moving right before I was to start high school.  Most of the girls in my neighborhood and school treated me as an outsider, and sometimes worse.  My academic plans were turned upside down, because the Utah schools just didn’t believe I should be in advanced classes, and they didn’t teach the variety of subjects that I had been interested in.  I felt like I had been taken back 20 years into the past, didn’t know the language, and had some sign on my back that said, “I’m not like you”.  As an example, on the first day of school, I wore my usual Levi Strauss cords, with my khaki-green M*A*S*H t-shirt and a comb in my back pocket for my long blonde, California hair.  I had white Reeboks on, and I stuck out like the sorest of thumbs.

I didn’t realize that the pre-requisite in Utah for social acceptance was to wear buttoned shirts with little ribbons around your neck, and have your hair-bangs stick out like a shelf.  I will admit though that if I had known, I would have done all I could to stay away from that style.  It was like a mix of pioneer-bonnet-like hair and a calico shirt.  Anyway, I digress.

I had one friend in high school that welcomed me that day.  I had one adult mentor that loved me for who I was, and more importantly who she knew I could become.  The mentor was Lulie Blackham.  The friend was Susan Olsen, but I’ll write about her another time.

I couldn’t understand at the time why so many of the kids two to three years older than me were paying attention to me.  They invited me to hang out with them, to go to the dances, ball games, and other high school events.  Since then, I have suspected that Lulie played a part in all of that.  Her daughter was part of the slightly older crowd, and I found that I had new friends who took me in and made me feel welcome.  I was clueless as to why they took such an interest in me.  Probably better that I was.  I’m so stubborn I would have refused to do anything with them if I knew they had been encouraged to include me.  They were so genuine though that I never knew what precipitated their friendship.

I can’t really sum up Lulie’s influence in my life in a single blog post.  There are so many memories that I have of her, that have meant so much to me.  Some are personal and not something I want in cyberspace.  The reality though is that there are just too many to mention.  I understand now that Lulie was able to be who she was because of her loving family and a strength of spirit that she possessed before this life.  Her sweetheart, Gus, is also one of my heroes.  They were and are a team like no other that I have seen.

I have learned so much about life and the purpose of life from this woman.  She wasn’t perfect.  Sometimes she was wonderfully imperfect.  But, she was the closest thing to perfect in a person that I have known in my lifetime.  And, probably for the rest of my life.

I know she has had a wonderful reunion with her parents and other family, and with her Savior whom she loves so much.  Those who knew her are coping with a big hole in our hearts though.  I haven’t cried this much since I was little and skinned my knee.  But, I keep hearing that deep, uniquely-Lulie voice saying, “Come on.  Buck up.  I’m fine.  The last thing I want you to do is wallow in this.  The Lord knew what he was doing.”

And so, I’ll echo that.  The Lord knew what he was doing.  I can’t promise that the floodgates of tears are going to end anytime soon.  I can tell you that I have a renewed sense of purpose and a love of life and loved ones.  No regrets.  Lulie knew where she stood with her friends, family, and most importantly, the Lord.  And, we knew where we stood with her.  She never missed an opportunity to hug you, tell you she cared and that life is good.  There is so much more I could say about her.

God bless us all to live so that she can continue to be proud of us.  And God bless Gus, her eternal companion, the partner and friend that she loves so much.

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