Sunday, September 30, 2007

Day 457: Silver Delight

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Dusty Miller

When Dale and I first rented a home together and started taking care of a yard, this was one of the first plants that I was able to grow. Guess you can say I don't have much of a green thumb. If you were foolish enough to utter those words, it would be quite the understatement!

But I could grow Dusty Miller, and it was hardy enough to come back year after year.

This one was growing in a neighbor's yard. I found it looking good while all the plants around it have succumbed to the frost. Fall is certainly all around now. The pine needles are raining down with the brisk winds. We even had to turn the heat on in the house this weekend. C-H-I-L-L-Y!!

But the real sign of fall? The Halloween candy and costumes are cascading in the aisles of every grocery and discount store in town.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Day 456: Alfred Hitchcock Presents ...

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, The Birds on Ridgewood

I came across this scene as I was driving home, a few hundred feet down the street from my home. A big flock of these black birds, feeding.

I slowed down to a crawl, grabbed my camera out of my purse, steadied it on the rim of the car window, and took the shot. Inching forward, I must have spooked them. They took off as one, and perched in a couple nearby trees.

Guess I should be glad they didn't turn on me and attack!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Book Review: The Austere Academy

I'm back to listening to the audio version of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I just completed Book the Fifth: The Austere Academy.

More tragic events plague the three Baudelaire orphans as they are shipped off to Prufrock Preparatory School.

I've added my book review to The Bookshelf.

Charity Sewing: My Second Quilt Top

On Wednesday at St. George's Quilters, I managed to get another baby quilt top pieced together. This one is really sweet. The print fabric has little stuffed animals floating through the sky on clouds and umbrellas.

I won't be able to attend Quilters next week (I get to have a medical procedure instead ... oh, joy). But I brought home the pieces for another quilt top and will see if I can get it put together some time this week. This will be a large/double quilt (rather than a baby quilt or lap robe), so will take a few extra sessions. It's quite pretty ... all purple and floral.

Day 455: Hooray! Furniture!

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Our New Sectional

For the last about 18 months, we've had very little furniture in our living room. We got the new floors put in, then the new windows and doors, the new half wall by the stair well and the new mantle over the fireplace. I even bought the area rug.

But we were having one heck of a time finding the correct seating arrangement! Our living room is quite small, L-shaped, with an oddball alcove at the end of the stair well. A couch and love seat were just too big. But chairs did not provide enough seating. We went to about seven furniture stores, looking and looking, measuring and measuring.

Finally we found an arrangement that fit -- and a superb sales woman. We had this sectional custom made. It arrived yesterday and fits just right. The color is wonderful. Even the extra pillows came out better than I'd anticipated.

Our living room is almost ready to be lived in again! A couple more tables, the flat screen TV and one more shelving unit ought to do it for furniture. Then blinds and window dressings in a hunter green (to contrast with all this cranberry).

This has been a long project, but it's coming together so nicely. Worth the wait!

Happy Dance: Wannabee Crab

I finished the stitching on another quilt square for charity today. This little Wannabee Bear wishes he were a small crab.

Our group will be making a quilt of all kinds of bears that wannabee different sea creatures or island boys.

You can read a tad more about this quilt square in my Stitcher's Studio in Cameo's Corner.

WIP: Wedding Sampler [8]

I went to Michael's a couple days ago to play with some mat and frame ideas for the wedding sampler. This is the most pleasing combination I came up with.

It's a simple cobalt blue metal frame with a gorgeous suede blue-green mat. I think it really brings out the colors of the sampler and adds some nice texture, while keeping the frame simple so it does not overpower the design.

Now I'm waiting to see if Jeanne and Mathew approve of the combination. After all, they are the ones that are going to have to live with it.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Day 454: Fungus Among Us

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section: Mushroom Underbelly

I found this bright guy in the gutter at the side of the road while I was on my walk this afternoon. Don't know that I've ever seen a red-topped fungus before. It looked like it had only recently been kicked to the curb.

Day 453: Full Moon

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section:
Full Moon Rising

This looked so much better in real life than it does in this image.

That moon drew me to it. Sucked me right in.

Made me want to fall in love again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Day 452: By Another Name ...

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section: Variegated Rose

I had some fun playing with the edge and color exchange tools in my photo and paint programs.

As the days get cooler and the frosts begin at night, the number of blooming roses in the neighborhood diminishes. This pretty little bud caught my eye with its beautiful coloring.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Day 451: Canadian Geese

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section: Migration

A sure sign of fall is hearing the call of the geese as they fly over our home. Sometimes we will see them in the perfect V formation. Other times, like this, we will see a long line of the geese. These were five out of about 20 that were flying together, their call preceding them.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

WIP: Wedding Sampler [7]

The stitching is now complete!

I decided to use a brighter and more orange shade of Gentle Art Sampler Thread to fix the fading yellow Xs and Os problem. I chose "Butternut Squash," using just one strand over the top of the stitching I'd already done.

Because of the light color, the extra thickness of three strands floss does not seem too heavy in the yellow as compared to two strands in every other color.

The good part is that now those Xs and Os show up much better. They don't fade into the background, neither do they pop out as a main feature. I think I got it like Goldilocks would like it ... "just right."

I signed and dated the piece on the bottom left using one strand of that same Butternut Squash.

Now I'll have Jeanne give me an idea of what kind of matting and frame she'd like. With a piece like this, I think simple will be better. Time to pick out some options, then let her choose.

Day 449: Winds of Change

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section: Stormy, Stormy Day

The winds of change are coming around here
both outside and inside our home.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Wisdom of Harry Potter

I'm back to listening to the beginning of the Harry Potter series. On my walk today, I listened to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

I'd gotten to the part where Harry is caught by Dumbledore looking into the Mirror of Erised. Here, another pearl of wisdom is spoken:

It does not do
to dwell on dreams
and forget to live.
Remember that.
~ Albus Dumbledore

Such wise words. I do well to remember them ... and live by them.

Day 449: Fall into Red

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section:
Deep In Bloom [4]

I saved the best 'til last. I love, love, love this image!

Sometimes, I even surprise myself!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Happy Dance: Music Notes Bookmark

This ought to be the last bookmark for a week or two. I made this one as my September bookmark for the Cross Stitching for Charity group.

Another gal in our group stitched this pattern and I liked it quite a bit, so stitched it myself using different colors.

You can learn where I found the pattern and the DMC numbers I used in Cameo's Corner in my Stitcher's Studio.

Next for charity? To catch up with the ornament stitching! Plus I have a quilt square due soon.

Day 448: And Now, Yellow

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section
Deep In Bloom [3]

I tried to get approximately the same angle on this yellow rose as I did on the pink one.

This photo has some serious shadow issues, and that leaf it a bit distracting.

But still, can't you just about smell it?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

WIP: Wedding Sampler [6]

Oh, I'm so close to having this finished now!

Did you notice that I stitched the date WRONG the first time? I had them married in September instead of August. So I changed the 9 to an 8, with a bit of frogging and finesse!

The new Sampler Threads arrived in today's mail. I'd say that is superb service! I ordered them on the evening of September 14 (a Friday). So I'm thrilled to have them in hand -- and in sampler -- already! is a winner in my book!

So I stitched the word "Sure" today. All that's left is to find a yellow that is a bit brighter so that the Xs and Os stop fading into the background. I'm not going to frog the stitches (rippit, rippit, rippit). Instead I'll just use one strand of a darker or brighter fiber and go over what I've already stitched so that they "pop" off the fabric a bit better.

Then sign, date, wash and frame.

I'm so thrilled that this wedding sampler went together so quickly! My daughter and Mathew have been married just one month today.

[Happy 'Monthiversary' Honey!]

Happy Dance: Diamond Bookmark

I finished another bookmark today. This one is made from a freebie motif pattern I found online and adapted it to a bookmark shape.

I had some fun using the new DMC Color Variations floss.

You can read more about my Diamond Bookmark in Cameo's Corner.

Charity Sewing: My First Quilt Top

For about the last eight years, I've worked with the St. George's Quilters each Wednesday. We make quilts in an assembly-line style.

I started out tying the quilt layers together.

For several years, I've done the cutting of the rectangles.

Starting yesterday, I began sewing. This is the first quilt top that I assembled for the Quilters.

Though I started it yesterday at the group, I was quite distracted. So I brought it home to finish it up. I had a very nice couple hours listening to The FLY Show on BlogTalkRadio (FlyLady's radio show) while I finished piecing the top.

The gals had me begin with a baby quilt, so it was small and do-able. This one has an Easter theme, with two different bunny prints and a pretty green solid seersucker. Some of the baby quilts go to the Food Bank. And each baby that is baptized at St. George's also receives a baby quilt.

The local Food Bank has asked us to create 85 quilts and have them ready by Thanksgiving, so we're doing what we can to fill their needs. That makes for pretty quick stitching and a whole lot of dedication for the [mostly] senior women who take on this task.

Day 447: A Rose is a Rose

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Deep In Bloom [2]

Here's the second in my mini series, Deep In Bloom. These photos were taken in the late afternoon. Isn't the background color on this one gorgeous?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Day 446: Fall Color

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Deep In Bloom [1]

I'm starting a new mini series of photos tonight, Deep In Bloom. Over the next four days, I'll post images of some pretty fall flowers that I spotted on my walk and captured with my macro lens.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Happy Dance: Assisi Bird Bookmark

I stitched this bookmark in just a couple of days. I plan to do up a few small projects while I wait for my Sampler Thread order to arrive so I can finish the wedding sampler.

This bookmark will be donated to charity. You can learn more about it in Cameo's Corner.

Day 445: My Two Hundred Pound Trophy

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Lucinda

Well folks, did you ever think you'd see a two hundred pound trophy guitar that still fits in your lap? You can stop rubbing your eyes. Here it is!

OK. So that's a bit of "mom humor"
... as my kids would say
... as they groaned.

Today is a RED LETTER DAY for me. For the first time in over ten years, I weigh less than 200 lbs!

OK. So most women would keep that high of a weight a secret. But I'm shouting from the webtops! I am now more than 26 lbs lighter than my highest weight, and more than 15 lbs lighter than when Dale and I started on the Jenny Craig program a few weeks ago!

As a reward to myself, I bought this new Lucinda classical guitar.

For a while now I've been thinking about having a "kick around" guitar. One I could take to the backyard or the beach (in Idaho, that means down to the lake or river) . Nothing tooooo expensive so that if it ends up getting a little nicked and scratched, I won't lose my mind. Something lightweight that I can tote around easily. Get out easily. Play more often than my 12-string Fender.

So I've cut my nails, and am ready to build up the calluses on my left hand. My fingers can still find most of the chords, but my strumming/picking hand is way out of practice. This time around, I want to play more secular music than sacred music, so I'll need to build up a new library of guitar music. And then find some musicians to jam with.

I am so darn proud of the progress I've made so far! Go me!

Book Review: Memoirs of a Geisha

I recently listened to the audio version of
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
and was completely entranced with the world he depicts.

I highly recommend this book. You can read my complete book review in my Bookshelf.

I've rented the movie via Netflix and hope to find time to watch it this week. I hope it is as haunting and enchanting as the book.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Day 444: A Moonlight Walk

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Reaching for Moonlight

One very nice thing about living in north Idaho is that our home is in a very safe neighborhood. It's not unusual to go out for a walk in the moonlight and meet several neighbors doing the same thing. Walking their dogs. Riding bikes. Enjoying the soft early fall evenings.

Tonight I decided to take a different route than I normally take. I walked west, toward the setting sun. The crescent moon rising over the hills to the south (truly ... we're that far north that the moon floats in the southern sky).

This vibrant flower was growing in a curbside garden with its siblings, stems stretched toward the moon, petals opened wide to display its brilliant colors, dancing and swaying in the light autumn breeze.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Stitcher's Studio: Guilds & Schools Links Update

I updated another page in CameoRoze's Stitcher's Studio tonight. In the Gateway section I went through the links on the Guilds and Schools page and made sure all the links worked.

For those of you needleworkers who enjoy the social aspect of stitching or like to be part of a group to learn new skills and techniques, joining a needlework guild might just be the ticket.

There are some guilds and schools that must be joined locally. But there are others that welcome remote members. Take a look and see what is available, and which guilds and schools might be a good fit for you.

If you know of a guild or school that is not listed, let me know and I'll see about adding them. (Please note that I no longer link to individual chapter websites of ANG or EGA).

Stitcher's Studio: Floss Conversion Links Update

I spent some time today updating a page in CameoRoze's Stitcher's Studio .

In the Needlework 101 section under "Tools of the Trade," I have a page full of links to conversion charts for many, many types of fibers and beads.

So, if you're looking for DMC equivalents to Gentle Arts Sampler Threads ... or Anchor floss to Silk Mori ... or Mill Hill Beads to DMC ... or what DMC colors are equal to colors on a color wheel ... or any number of other color matching needs, head over to Conversion Chart Links on my website.

If you know of other floss conversion charts that are not listed, let me know and I'll see about adding them.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

WIP: Wedding Sampler [5]

The wedding sampler is really coming along nicely! Today I was able to stitch the hearts and the rest of the Xs and Os and the remaining ribbon. Then I charted out "Jeanne + Mathew 09-20-07" and started stitching it.

Sure hope I don't have to wait a long time for the fibers to arrive. I'm a little bit tempted to stitch the word "Sure" in a slightly darker shade of the green. I think that would work, too. But I'm going to give that idea several days to gel. Having the final word a darker color AND the names/date all on one side may make the right side of the sampler visually heavier than the left side. So I'll have to think that idea through carefully.

This pattern has certainly been a pleasure to stitch!

Day 443: EDM Challenge # 25

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Blessing Cup

It's been quite a l-o-n-g time since I've attempted an Everyday Matters challenge! I'm up to Challenge 25:
Drinking Glass

OK, so this isn't a normal drinking glass. But it is something special that we use in our family for special occasion rituals.

Recently a friend of mine asked if our family says grace before meals. That grew into a discussion of some of the ways we incorporate our religious beliefs into our normal family life. This is one way that is most dear to us.

For special occasions, we have a family blessing cup that we fill with sparkling cider. Dale and I bought the cup when we were dating and we use it about 8 times a year ... birthdays, holidays, special occasions. We even used this at our wedding so that our family and friends who were not Catholic could still participate in a sharing of the blessing cup. If we had participated in a Catholic mass, only our Catholic friends could have been included in Communion. We were trying for something more inclusive.

When we use the cup at home, one person begins the prayer, takes a sip, then passes the cup on to the next person at the table. Each person contributes by saying a little something. It doesn't have to be a "prayer" so much as to say something of gratitude. For example, if it's Dale's birthday, we'll each say a little something about him that we're grateful for. After each person has their say, a sip is taken, and the cup is passed on.

Our family blessing cup is a brass chalice-like piece. But I've given Blessing Cups as wedding gifts, and they can be made of ceramic, glass, crystal, whatever seems right for the recipient.

We also have this book that we sometimes use, The Blessing Cup: 24 Simple Rites for Family Prayer-Celebrations by Rock Travnikar, O.F.M. It's nice because it can sometimes give a jump-start for the prayer. It has rituals for various kinds of celebrations ... like birthdays, holidays, deaths, achievements, and lots of other kinds of special celebrations.

Each ritual has an opening prayer, a scripture passage, some petitions (response-type prayers), and a closing. They are quite simple, but very nice when we want something a bit more formal (a bit more Catholic, too).

If friends are present, we always encourage them to add to the prayer and celebration. But if it just feels too awkward to speak, we encourage them to take a sip, and pass the cup on. It is quite a wonderful way to draw us all together around the table.

Day 442: Look! Up in the Sky ...

I added this new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Hot Air Balloon Sighting

On our way into Spokane this morning (if it's Saturday, it's Jenny Craig!), Dale and I spied this hot air balloon soaring over the valley floor. I managed to get this photo while traveling 70 miles an hour down Interstate 90. I'm impressed that this photo has this much focus! (No, I wasn't driving, Dale was.)

This sight just makes my heart soar. Soon, I hope, I'll be a rider in such a balloon! I've been given the gift of a ride ... now I just need to book it. I hope to share the ride with my daughter Julie who turns 21 on Monday.

Happy Birthday, Julie!
(Wish you could be home so we could celebrate with you!)

For a little Jenny Craig update ... I lost another 2.4 lbs this week! Go me!

Friday, September 14, 2007

WIP: Wedding Sampler [4]

I got a little more stitching done on the wedding sampler today. Finished up most of the ribbon. Started on the hearts.

But the bigger news is that I found a website where I could buy the extra Gentle Arts Sampler Threads I needed for just $2.00 per skein, and no shipping charges! So I went through my entire GAST stash and bought 10 skeins so that I'll have plenty on hand.

The site is called They carry lots of specialty fibers including:
  • Caron Collection
  • Carrie's Creation
  • Crescent Colours
  • Dinky Dyes
  • DMC
  • Divine Threads
  • Ginnie Thompson Flower Thread
  • Kreinik
  • Needlepoint Inc.
  • Northern Lights
  • Olde Willow Stitchery
  • Rainbow Gallery
  • River Silks
  • Silk & Ivory
  • The Gentle Art
  • The Pure Palette
  • Weeks Dye Works
And you can pay either by credit card or PayPal.

I hope the service is superb and that the fibers arrive in a reasonable amount of time. It's great to be able to find good sources for fibers. In my neck of the woods, the shops have some of the fibers, but usually not the full line, and rarely the one color I need.

Day 441: Roving Entertainment

I added a new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Silverwood: The Juggler

One of the most amusing characters we met during our visit to Silverwood was Bret, the resident juggler. Bret just wanders through the "dry park," entertaining the guests, the employees ... and I dare say, himself.

He wanders on Main Street, batons in hand (and in air!) putting on a show for whoever wants to stop and watch. If a small crowd gathers, he'll drag out his trunk and do a more thorough show in front of the train station. That's what we were lucky enough to catch.

Bret makes the greatest faces ... and is good about coaching his audience into saying, "Ooooooo! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!" as he does his tricks. He'll quip that no audience (especially with kids) is satisfied until he juggles something dangerous.

So Bret dutifully got out the fire batons, lit them, and juggled for a bit.

The youngin's wanted more! So then out come the knives and hand grenade. He even posed for pictures while juggling these.

Not enough danger? Well, then, how about juggling with fire while jumping up and down on a pogo stick!

Then he said, "Every juggler needs to do one trick that is nearly impossible." At which time, he got out a Rubik's cube. He had an audience member mix it up. Then he solved the puzzle while juggling it with two colorful balls while keeping the crowd entertained with banter! And he managed to solve the Rubik's cube in just over five minutes.

The appreciative crowd gave him all the "Ooooooos! and Ahhhhhhhhhhhs!" he desired. Then the poor guy went off to take a break from all that bouncing around.

At the end of the day, I found Bret keeping a group of employees amused over by the Country Carnival Midway. As we walked by, I asked in a stage whisper, "Yes. But can you juggle fire?"

Bret just growled at me -- and winked.

WIP: Wedding Sampler [3]

I was able to put several hours in on the wedding sampler yesterday and made some excellent progress.

Now I have a problem, though. I'm running out of a couple colors of sampler threads and need to find some new skeins. Guess it's time to call around or order online.

I'll stitch until I run out, then move on to another charity square until my replacement skeins arrive.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Day 440: Lighter Than Air

I added a new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Silverwood:
Panic Plunge

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am not a daredevil. Oh, sure. I can do some things without batting an eye that scares the bejeezus out of lots of people, like speaking before a large crowd or singing in public. But I'm a chicken when it comes to trying things that are new to me (like using a cell phone!)

So I surprised even myself last weekend when I decided to go on one of the newest rides at Silverwood, the Panic Plunge.

I really don't know what got into me! Jodie was working at Gravity Dog, a hot dog stand in Roller Coaster Alley. When we went to visit her there, I looked up at this 140 foot tower and thought, "I want to try that!"

Dale thought I was nuts. But I popped into line and got on the ride quickly, before I had time to change my mind. I really didn't know what to expect.

I actually enjoyed the ride up! I was seated on the opposite side from where this photo was taken, looking east over Timber Terror and Hwy 95. Then we got to the top ... heard the hydraulic release ... and I became airborne on the way down! My bottom actually came up off the seat! It was like a really fast, bad elevator ride where your stomach climbs up into your esophagus.


I was so dang proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone that way!

And just for some perspective, look at how high the tower is above the roller coaster, the Ferris wheel and the rest of the park!

I've impressed even myself!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Day 439: The Magic Show

I added a new photograph to Creative Journey in my Photography section, Silverwood: It's Magic!

Another must do event each time I visit Silverwood is to attend the World of Magic show. We were extremely lucky on this visit.

After getting our popcorn and drinks, we were able to get seats very close to the stage and right on the center aisle. It's one reason I was able to get this photo ... I was close enough to the stage lights that I could take a photo without a flash.

The magician for this show was Nick Norton, son of the park's owner. What a great stage presence! His long, lean lines and practiced hands were mesmerizing.

Before the show, he came into the audience to do some close-up magic and card tricks.

During the show, there was levitation of people and objects. Some switcheroo stuff with his pretty assistants. And fun tricks with cards and bits of flying paper debris.

I was lucky enough to be chosen for one of the audience participation bits. He levitated the table in this picture, flew it around the room over the audience's heads, then back onto stage. That's where I got to help show that there were no strings attached by lifting the edges of the purple tablecloth.

There's something wonderful about being present at magic shows. I'm a true sucker for the illusions and a very eager and appreciative member of the audience.

If you want to know more about Silverwood, check out this interview on Roller Coaster Alley.

Bragging Rights

Raise the Roof
for Jodie!

Jodie got the results from the ISAT
(Idaho Standards Achievement Tests)
that she took at the end of 8th grade.

She did unbelievably well!

Check this out:

Click for large view

Not only did she do GREAT overall, but she got 100% in five areas!
* Reading process
* Concepts and Language of Algebra and Functions
* Data Analysis, Probability and Statistics
* Writing Process
* Writing Concepts

That's a perfect score in Language Usage! Ahh ... my little writer!

Go Jodie! Go Jodie! Go Jodie! Go Jodie!

Jeanne's Wedding

My daughter Jeanne married her long-time beau, Mathew Strobeck, on August 20th. We received these photos from the photographer this week. Click on any image to get a close-up view.

The Happy Couple

The Kiss

Ring Exchange

The Vows

Say I do!

This is not a laughing matter!

The Wedding Party

My Girls:
Jodie, Jeanne, Julie

Dale, Jeanne, Margaret