just life

Hello friends! I’m just stopping to show you a little progress on Moira Blackburn’s “Time and Season Sampler”. This is a piece I have had in my stash for quite a while, and knowing it would be for me and a large one at that, I have put it off. But no more. I did cheat a bit and started this last week, so I guess you could say it is my combo Christmas and New Year’s start. It is also the first I am working on in my 15 pieces for the “Up for a Challenge” blog.

Progress on Moira Blackburn's Time and Season Sampler

It’s not a great pic.  Lighting isn’t good, but you get the idea.  In fact, I think most of these pictures this first little while for this challenge will be a bit off, because I can’t take the pics during the day time.  So, my apologies up front! 

Progress on the office/craft room has been great, although I took a few days off from that project to prepare for this next first week back at work, by getting shopping done and giving Chloe and Buster a “spa day” yesterday. It has been frigidly cold here, but they needed baths and cuts so badly, that my friend and I took care of that yesterday. I couldn’t have done it without her. So, here are Chloe and Buster in their home-haircuts to wish you all a wonderful new year. I woke them to take these… can you tell?

Chloe May

Chloe May




Hello again everyone! I am here to officially wish you a grand and joyous Christmas.  I hope that all of you are well and able to spend time with loved ones this holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday.

I am enjoying a two-week vacation from the office.  That’s not to say I’m not checking e-mail and working on the odd item here and there, but I am at home, doing mainly what I would like to do!  I was able to finish my big Christmas shopping today.  Woo-wee!

I’ve been quite busy for the last few days.  I’ve had a couple of house guests (two of my favorite people).  My aunt’s father passed away this past week, and she and my cousin were at my home as they prepared for and we attended the funeral.  Their stay ended with a big group of family here for dinner on Saturday.  It was nice to see all of them, and I was happy I could help provide a place to gather.

Now, I’m on to some finishing of projects (minor) for some gifts I’d like to give. We’ll see.  I have back-up plans in case things don’t work out.  I haven’t decorated my home, other than the small Christmas tree upstairs.  At this point, I don’t think I’ll bother!  But, I am and have been listening to Christmas music, wrapping gifts, and sending good wishes to everyone.  And trying to spend quiet time remembering the reason that I celebrate this wonderful holiday.  It’s been wonderful.

I have also been stitching a bit!  Yay!  I’ve been switching back and forth between “Jenny Bean’s Christmas Sampler” and Prairie Schooler’s “Christmas Eve”.  And, I’ve picked up some fun items at local thrift shops, to help decorate my little crafting side of my office/sewing room.  I’ll show those in a later post.

Do any of you have the same problem I have when shopping?  Do you find more items that you would like than you do for your family and friends? I have found some really fun items, and I’m happy to report, I am wrapping a few for myself!  And, I’m not even wrapping the rest.  Hee, hee.  By the way, I just ordered from Down Sunshine Lane for the first time last week, and wow, is Amy fast!  I was so pleased with her service.  And, just the fact that when she has something listed on her site, it’s in stock…  Love that.

Anywho… do any of you seem to find wonderful items that you just can’t pass up during the holidays when you’re supposed to be giving to others?  I AM giving to others.  I’m just making sure I’m covered too. 🙂

This year, for some reason, I’ve been especially careful to have some of my old favorite Christmas songs playing on my iPod.  I’ve had these in some form or another over the years, but some haven’t made it to my digital library.  I’ve been reminiscing about my times at my Grandma Eva’s house, where she had a Gene Autry Christmas album which she played on her turntable…  My sisters and I loved it.  I think my favorite song has to be “Here Comes Santa Claus”.  I love to hear Gene sing:

“Hang your stockin’s and say your prayers ’cause Santa Claus comes tonight…

He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor
He loves you just the same
Santa knows that we’re God’s children
That makes everything right
Fill your hearts with Christmas cheer
‘Cause Santa Claus comes tonight…

He’ll come around when the church rings out
It’s Christmas morn again
Peace on Earth will come to all
If we just follow the Light
Let’s give thanks to the Lord above
‘Cause Santa Claus is comin’ tonight”

So, tell me what your favorite Christmas carol/hymn/song is… I’d love to know.  I live my life to a soundtrack… I really do.  I love music.  What Christmas song is associated with wonderful memories for you?

I’ll share some progress pics of my stitching and my workroom after Christmas.  I’m going to spend time this week finishing up the final preparations for the holiday, and spend some quality time with family and friends.  I hope you all do too!

Vintage Santa Postcard

Yes!  March.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted since March.  Shame on me.  Well, I’m up late working and watching my computer tick, so I can put in a few words and hopefully a pic or two.  Not much on the stitching front, because I have a few things going, and not a lot of progress on any.  I started LHN’s Liberty Belles on July 5th.  I know.  It’s late, but it’s a little fun piece, and we actually ended up celebrating the holiday on Monday anyway.  Ribeyes, jumbo shrimp scampi, and potatoes, onions, and sweet potatoes in butter on the grill, lots of lemonade and a new piece to stitch on.  That was a nice day.

In other news, I recently went to Orlando for a conference.  Whilst there I realized that Universal was having a “soft opening” of the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Islands of Adventure.  The park has now opened to the public, but I was able to sneak in one morning that I was there, with only 999 other crazy people.  While I hear that now, the waiting line to just get in is 9 hours.  Sheesh.  I have to say, as a big Harry Potter fan, they got this right.  It was just really fun, and the new ride is a blast.  I have tons of pictures, but here is a good one, with my friend Cheryl and I in front of the Hogwart’s Express.

Cheryl and Laura in front of the Hogwarts Express

Cheryl and Laura in front of the Hogwarts Express

Hogsmeade Snowpeople
Hogsmeade Snowpeople – Don’t they look great for being in 90 degree weather?
Hogsmeade Toward Hogwarts Castle

The Hogsmead skyline towards Hogwarts Castle

Owelry And Butterbeer

A View of the Owelry and the Butterbeer Keg

You can probably tell in the picture that I brought home a bit of loot.  The thing I forgot about was that my wands — being the long, thin, pointy things they are —  might cause a ruckus with airport security on the way home.  Yep, they caught sight of them in the Xray in my carry on, and had to search my bag.  But, what happened next was something I wish I’d had a video camera for.  They guy at the X-Ray pulled one out of the box, carefully looked it over, then raised it above a co-worker’s head, and with a flick of the wrist and swish of the wand, found out that it wasn’t really magical at all, and let me pass.  Funny stuff.  I did tell them that they would probably have lots more come through security in the next several months.  Luckily, the folks at Universal were smart enough not to make them sharp on the ends, or I would have lost a pricey investment in cast resin, I think.

And, I do have tickets to James Taylor and Carole King next week.   It’s been a long time since I’ve been willing to spend good money on a live performance.  In fact, I think it’s been since I got my iPod.  Who knew that lovely digital thing that contains most of my music collection would be enough to keep me in boogie heaven.  But, I couldn’t resist the option to see James and Carole together, and even splurged for seats on the floor.  I’ll let you know if it was worth it.

I have purchased a bit of stash.  My auntie Susan and I spent a day a couple of weeks ago in Ogden at Shepherd’s Bush and the Needlepoint Joint.  I picked up the last Blackbird Loose feather chart, linen and a thread conversion for The Goode Huswife’s “With My Needle” (already had the chart) at SB.  Teri was there, dressed in her usually cute jumper attire with a big felt flower brooch pinned on, and my Aunt went nuts.  She has decided she wants to be the queen of felted, knitted, and crocheted flower brooches in Boise, Idaho.  She decided this before we went to the Needlepoint Joint, where we found, some free knitted and crocheted headband charts, and a book called “100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet”.  I also picked up a chart of six knitted dishcloths, and a couple of skeins of mercerized cotton for the dishcloths in a neutral color.  I just love the little dish and face cloths that Staci at Snippets and Stash does.  Especially the neutral colored ones.  Okay, any of them are great!  And, I’ve wanted to knit some up for gifts.  We’ll see how much knitting I get done while the sun is shining so much.  I did see a wonderful knitted purple pig, that apparently is in a Rowan book that was not in stock… that saved me about another $30 I’m guessing.  Well, maybe not, when I order it online and feel compelled to make sure I buy enough to get free shipping.  I think it’s a plot.  After we shopped for stash, we picked up my cousin, and returned to Rooster’s for a great dinner.  It was a fun day.  I don’t often get to spend time with my favorite aunt.

Then, last week, after I spent all day at a meeting at the U, I stopped by a couple of shops on my way home just before they closed.  First, I had to pick up some new bamboo size 8 needles, because someone chewed on one of mine… while it was in the yarn still…  this boy-dog of mine has a yarn fetish.  Yarn and threads are the only thing he goes after to chew on.  Well, that, and jelly doughnuts, which is a story for another day.  After picking up my needles (and avoiding any more yarn purchases, which I’m proud that I did),  I did trek on over to The Craft Center.  While there, I picked up some threads for the BBD loose feathers piece.  I didn’t like the colors called for, and in fact, they don’t look much like the photo in my opinion. So, I did some switching.  And, I’ve decided I’m going to stitch the front and back of the pocket in a sampler form, with one on top of the other.  I also picked up the first two charts of Lizzie Kate’s Christmas Rules.  I’m not much of a big Lizzie Kate fan anymore, but I just can’t resist a few of her latest designs that say so much. 

So, there you have it.  It’s a long post I know, but lots can happen in four months!  Whew.  I’d better make this a habit, or call it a quarterly newsletter or something other than a blog, don’t you think?  The good thing about this big post though, is that I can see I’ve been really blessed to have good family, friends, and fun the past four months.

Well, life is busy.  Better get back to my computering.  I’m also really grateful to be employed in a job that I love!  Hope that the few of you who read this are having a great summer also.

Hello friends! I thought I’d pop in and mention a couple of things. First, Debbie asked if I was using different colors on my two BBD pieces.  I am using the threads that are called for on the Quaker House, with the exception of the green.  I’m substituting WDW Scuppernong for the Olde Willow Stitchery that was listed.  On the ‘Tis the Season piece, I worked out a cotton overdye substitution, because I just didn’t want to buy all that silk for a holiday piece, however wonderful it is!  But, I should also note that I used my “vibrant” setting on my camera.  I will take some new pictures in the daylight and post those this weekend.  I am also using a different linen than is called for on each, but I can’t remember which ones!

And, Margaret, I have to agree that Merrill’s are wonderful.  In fact, the Keen’s I bought were to replace a really old pair of Merrill’s, that have a lot of the sole worn away on them.  But, who am I kidding?  I won’t get rid of them.  They will still be my weekend kick-around shoes.  I just couldn’t find any Merrill’s that would work for weekdays.  Almost bought a black and fuschia pair of Merrill boots though!

Now, to the main event.  At least the main event in my life lately.  I’m watching the women’s Olympic snowboard / half-pipe event right now.  How many of you are watching the Olympics?  What is your favorite event?  We have an Orem native who is competing in the skeleton.  I’ll admit, I cheated and checked the results online, but I’m going to also watch late night!

And, as I watch all of these events, I wonder what is in the psyche of these competitors that allows them or pushes them to go FAST down a hill on sticks or spin high in the air on boards?  Or run and jump onto little tiny sleds, head first, down what I can only describe as an icy alpine slide on steroids, like Noelle Pikus-Pace?

I live at the base of some of the most beautiful mountains in the world, where skiing is the ultimate call-in-sick excuse.  I did “transfer in” from Southern California just before high school.  I remember all of my new friends would go skiing.  I never had the money to ski really, so I didn’t.  Until I was an adult and working for a company where I helped to manage some conferences for key partners.  We arranged for the conference to be held at Deer Valley, and part of the fun was free ski lessons or a snowmobile tour.

The bunny hill was wonderful!  My instructor asked me if I had ever skied before; he thought I was a natural (of course he couldn’t have been biased by the fact that he was being paid!).  I picked up on the whole technical aspect of skiing immediately.  I could even stop at the bottom of the hill.  I spent the greater portion of the day going up and down that hill.  It was my friend and I loved it.  Absolutely.

Then, I took my first ride on the big lift.  I barely got off in time for the easy run.  That should have been an indicator what was to come.  It was a beautiful day. But a day of sunshine that created more slush on top of a very thick layer of powder.  I readied myself at that top of that run.  I knew I could do it.  After all, I was the queen of the bunny hill and a “natural” on my first time out.

I set off down the hill.  I told my legs to move my skis.  I felt like I was moving through marshmallow creme.  I found I could plow through it if I just went fast and straight down that hill.  That steep hill.  I wondered if I could actually stop.  It was that downhill thing, combined with fast.  That’s what kept me snow plowing in the slush.  And, I kept falling.  And falling.

I kept getting up.  Then, when I found  myself on my backside again after what felt like twenty times, I looked over and saw the mid-mountain shuttle stop.  That little sign on the post, outside a snack bar.  It was just a short walk away.  I got up, and fast, I tell ya.  My move to get out of the skis, was the fastest thing I did that day… I must have looked like a big awkward duck in those boots as I walked past the snack bar and over to the shuttle stop.  I know.  You’re asking me “where was your pride girl?”  I had none.  I didn’t care.  Funny thing… the shuttle driver didn’t seem to be fazed that I was standing there in full gear, begging for a ride down.  I got on, and dreamed of the bunny hill where I had a glorious time skiing like a real person.  And I vowed that skiing on the big mountains wasn’t for me.

I took the easy way out, and haven’t been back since.  I’m really tempted to try cross country skiing though.  I keep looking at all of the beautiful powder and I want to be out in it.  So, I’m working toward being more in shape to do that.  But, downhill snow skiing is not in my future.  I gaze at beautiful snow-covered mountains all winter from the valley.  Unless of course I drive up to the outlet mall in Park City where I take part in my own Olympic event of shopping.

Sometime I’ll have to tell you all about my water skiing experience.  Think fish bait.

I’m going to stitch now.  I hope you are all getting in some great stitching time, and cheering for your favorite Olympians!

Saw this on Leah’s Blog and thought I’d play along.

What Big Cat Are You?


You Are a Cougar

You have more strength than most people, and with it, the ability to inflict a lot of harm.
Your power gives you confidence, and you find leading others to be easy.You believe that you need to the best, and you are very driven to excel.
Most people immediately admire you, but some people feel very envious of your abilities.

Hmmm…. okay.  Sounds like I’m a bit of a nut case.  Good thing I don’t put much stock in these things.

Don’t worry folks… the giveaway will be posted by the weekend.  I’ve been working to add to it… 🙂  I just am having too much fun with it.

Sky Candy

I know, I know… I can’t really cheat that way.  Let’s just say, I’ve been busier than a one-armed paper-hanger… or so my grandpa used to say.  This is a really short excuse for a large span of days.  But, I promise some pics of my WIPs and other fun things this next week.

My nephew returns home from an LDS mission in Slovakia on Thursday.  And, to celebrate, I’ll be announcing a giveaway on my blog on Friday.

Also, I just finished transferring the website host for the Swan Sampler Guild.  It’s not very fancy, but I’m excited that we have it finally transferred!

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