Aug 21, 2019

Johnny Marzetti

Hi folks.  No stitching to show.  My eyes have been really bad lately and the drops only last for about 10 minutes before more are needed. 

I am viewing Instagram more and more, and enjoy seeing the photos of those participating in #commonthreadedstitcher.  When I saw the ones for chart, thread, and fabric stash, I was floored!  I thought I had quite a few charts and linen yardage but I was WAY wrong.  Way way way.  I've been to stitching shops with less inventory than a few of the stitchers!  Holy cabolie.  Sampler Queen Carol had the most impressive stash, not only for organization but for quantity.  As with FB, I am naïve to the tips and tools, so the more people I choose to follow the more confused I get.  But one day, when the fog lifts and the eyes are clear, when jowls recede and hormones return, when summer is six months and winter is a week, I'll have an epiphany about such sites and may even purchase a phone to participate. 

I wanted to share my sister's most requested meal from the kids and friends.  Many versions of Johnny Marzetti out there, this is hers.

I large onion, chopped fine
2# lean ground  beef
12 oz package of very wide noodles, cooked
3 tsp salt (less if watching)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 28 oz. can tomato puree
1 can tomato soup (like Campbell's)
1 16 oz. can tomato sauce
3 Tbs sugar
1/2 cup (more) shredded sharp cheddar

Saute onions, add meat and brown.  Drain if needed.  Add sauce, puree, soup, and seasonings.  Bring to a boil, add cooked noodles, pour into greased casserole dish.  Sprinkle top with the cheese and bake for 35 to 45 minutes at 350.  Can be made a day ahead, just bake a little longer if cold.

Many versions but with some not liking green peppers, or mushrooms, or sausage, or anything else you could add, she keeps it simple and everyone can partake.

A few days of nice weather, still not the heat that some are having, and my crabass claws are starting to emerge.  In a few months, I will be snow crabass.
Hope the week is going well!!

Aug 18, 2019

One more Sunday to September

Unbelievable.  I can't wait until summer.
Been painting and trying to imagine a plan to correct the wonky work, but unless it's all removed, there really isn't anything we can do.
 I wanted to show you the Limelight hydrangea bush, flower heads just as large as last year.  Yep, that's my arm holding it up.  We have the tree version and neither it nor others that I've seen generate the flower size of the bush variety.

The Annabelles are starting to bloom again, mixed in with the large dried blooms in that lovely green.

The trim paint continues to be Dove Wing from BMoore (on left), and rather than put myself through more sample jars and wasted time, decided to use the Shaded White in the powder room.  You can see the difference in the two colors on the strip of the frame where the hinge is attached.  Shaded White is a dirty white, warm grayish Farrow & Ball color mixed by Behr.  I use matte for the walls and Eggshell for the trim.  After two coats the sheen becomes close to satin but not quite as shiny.

I'll find something to paint yellow, maybe the wall cabinet in the foyer.  Always loved DT Smith's yellow kitchens and I am set on something in this color with black hinges.
This is such a drastic change after living with the very dark taupe for 25 years, and of course I am having second thoughts, but when the walls are painted with the White Dove, there may be enough contrast.  And if not, too bad.
Hope your weekend went well.  Mine was uneventful.  Except for the heartburn after the fried green tomatoes.
Thanks for visiting.

Aug 15, 2019

My last visit to James Creek

James Creek Galleries and Meander Hill in Youngstown Ohio are the only two shops that I like to visit.  James is closing.  The Amish market stand that we visit is in Volant so I decided to stop for one last time.  Their 40-70% off sale starts Saturday but everything is 30% off this week, 40% off Americana.  There were some fall and Christmas items mixed among the wares.  Not wanting anything new for display, I came home with four evergreen bunches for holiday decorating, two gourds that I could not resist, and two pillow shams.  I only purchased one of each color and style.
The pear gourds are a good size, sit perfectly, with great stems.  Who could pass them up for $5?  The shams are queen size in a heavy woven material which I plan to sew into bags.  I will miss that shop.
We've been painting the stair rail and trim in the small foyer, and the door in that hallway to the half bath (with Moore's Dove Wing).  I would love to have a color in a room but decided to follow through with shades of white as planned, except for the powder room.  It may be the colors shown leaning against the wall, Shaded White for the trim, but I am considering colonial yellow. 
The wall cabinet will be coming down and we're removing the drywall and building a larger built in cabinet in that wall.  Remember decades ago when everything had a heart cutout?  I can see a colonial yellow cabinet with black rattail hinges.  Guess I'll be heading out for paint samples tomorrow.  The mirror over the pedestal sink is turned sideways, and I added black hooks on it.  Unfortunately, my tiny Italian aunts could not see themselves in it!!  Oh to be that short. 
 Seems it was only yesterday that I was complaining about August starting, and it's already half gone. 
Happy Friday!

Aug 12, 2019

House complete!

Hi folks.  How was the weekend?  Fall is closing in quickly isn't it?  The correct answer is yes, dammit.  I know there are many of you whose favorite season is Fall, and one of our favorite sampler stitchers loves winter.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion even when we don't agree, maybe the country can take a lesson on how gracious and respectful stitchers are to one another!  From 14 count white Aida to 48 count dark linen, from cute little motifs to massive samplers, from cotton threads to high end silks, from freebies to expensive kits, we respect others' preferences/choices/likes/abilities.  As it should be.
Now, here's my progress.  It's been so long since I filled in a larger area, I forgot about directional change.  My wonky stitches are usually always uneven because of my tension issues.  I use the sewing method and do the first half and then return for the cross, which creates obvious horizontal rows. 
When I stitched horizontal and then vertical to complete the stitch, it created a really nice appearance, even and neat.  I don't know if you can see the difference between the solid areas and the door (the only part done in two directions) but I can!  No visible rows on the door.
The satin stitch rows beneath the house are over four threads, three rows of different greens, and I'm wondering if I should use three threads instead of two.  I'm done for the night, eyes are terribly dry today, tomorrow I will test the coverage.  Two doesn't look bad, and it's a small area of the sampler so it will not be noticeable.  I'm close to finishing this first page and realize that the amount of linen to the piece will be a problem for me at some point.  I used to be able to roll and hold the excess but my arthritis is taking a very sharp turn to WTH!!
Can you find my Monkey Mona?
Taking Carole to the doc tomorrow.  Today I  had my eye makeup tattoo touched up after three years.  For a week after having this done, I have to keep the area greased with Aquaphor and the very dark eyebrows and excess ink will slough off.  Until then, I look gorillaish.  So I'll wait in the car.
Have a good week!!
Thanks for visiting.

Aug 10, 2019

Quick! For a change.

You know how decision making has become a real problem for me.  I am happy to announce that I have tried to correct that, and I'm making progress.  Little tasks are finally being accomplished. 
Today, I spotted these boxes, one waiting for a label.  Since my files are mostly gone, I need to start fresh and have no intention of spending the hours and ink trying different pieces.  So I grabbed several unframed pieces and held them up, bingo. 
A few looked good with it but Barbara Schlater looked the best, color and compliment to the top box.  I didn't look any further, did not try them all again, did not pull out any others.  That was easy and it's a good feeling to not drag my butt for weeks thinking about it.  Eureka! 
I made some progress on the house and realized that even though I love to see them in samplers, I do not like to stitch them in samplers.  The side will have a two color pattern, not as much repetition.
Someone is enjoying another very cool morning.  It's been feeling more like September than August!
Hope your weekend is great!

Aug 8, 2019

Page turner

Hi folks.  One week gone in August already.  Hard to believe, tough to swallow. 
This Ann Hicks sampler is the first in memory, maybe the first ever, that I have stitched from a magazine.  The closest I've been is the very large fold out page from Scarlet Letter's big girls.  Stitching fully across starting at top left is my way, right wrong or indifferent.  Sometimes the border would be completed across top and left side as a way to keep an eye on errant stitches.  How many times I have changed the body to align with the border, only to realize later that the border had the error.  Obviously, not a good method.  This project is eight pages and I will complete one before moving on.  My habit is hard to break and I did extend the top area into the next page, and may do that again just to complete a motif or color.  Maybe it won't be as daunting as seeing the entire project at one time.  Another first, the majority of Ann is motif, not my usual alphabet or verse.  I'm sure the majority of you work page by page, but I'm wondering if there are any rebels out there that can't break their routine pattern of stitching?
Back on my feet, I worked a little last night and am starting the house.  Yay!  Why do we all love those houses?  Am I tempted to change its color?  You bet, but I won't.  Damn.  I'm growing up!   I found a few minor errors in the chart so far.  The large star in the top center looks light in the magazine photo but the chart says dark plum.  I like the plum! 
This is for Vickie's Emerson, a finish carpenter who knows why levels are important, unlike the carpenter who turned a very short staircase into a fun house.  I guess if you have continual vertigo, you're not sure if it's your eyes or the walls that are leaning!  Any carpenter knows, starting with a unlevel surface makes everything done after, crooked as well.  This beam is close to 2" wider at the bottom.  Mark wants to tear it off and start over and I told him it's not that important.  Once it's painted, it may not be noticeable.  If it is, I'll hang a candle sconce or slim basket on it!
It's been a long long while since I've felt like stitching a large sampler.  Hope it continues.  This may end up being in my top ten list of favorites.
Have a great day!!

Aug 6, 2019

Morning spin

Yep.  Vertigo again, not too bad though.  Preventing me from stitching, very little progress the other day.  I really want to get back to this sampler.  Just love it!
After heavy downpours last night, this morning is again cool, I love the sun on greens.  Ferns are doing very well.
The garden is not.  A few tomatoes but most have the fungal wilt.  Slugs took down the brussel sprouts, the zucchini rot as they develop, the sugar snaps are yellow, very few peppers.  After the June flooding and rains, not enough time for recovery.  Just like dealing with tint in paint, you can always add, but can't take it away.  That's the story of the garden's water. 
Speaking of paint, it would be best for me to stay off Pinterest.  Rooms and sites that changed to a white scheme and inspired me to switch to a clean look, are adding color.  Silly people.  Don't they know how vulnerable I am?
Enjoy your day.  I'll be sleeping off the Meclizine.


Aug 4, 2019


Just a few.  Not really.  the I was browsing Pinterest and happened to see my old photo of the tub I hung from a hook years ago.  Must have been a good idea since LTD Commodities and several others are now selling a hook with a galvanized tub!
There were several others that have a stronger and nicer hook, but you get the idea.
That may have been a good idea but what I did before leaving for Cleveland, was not!  I wanted to update my Garmin GPS, not for directions, just to tick off that evil witch inside when I refuse to turn left.  What else would you call someone who tells you to turn when doing so would require crashing through concrete barriers into oncoming traffic? 
Garmin's website looked exactly the same as it always does.  So I clicked on the update option and your name, email, phone number, and GPS model were to be entered.  I did.  The phone rings and it's Garmin from India.  (A sure sign that it's customer service.)  In order to download the 40 minutes of new maps, remote access is required.  I didn't think twice since my laptop manufacturer has done that several times for repairs.  I followed the instructions but my GPS would not connect to the laptop, he showed me thousands of entries from trojans and malware and said they were the cause.  So he downloaded a program and removed them, my GPS connected, and the maps were downloading.  If I wanted to keep my computer free of trojans I could purchase a security program from him.  Hmmm.  That's odd.  It wasn't until two days later that I called Garmin and found that their website is regularly copied by scammers.  I gave them the phone numbers I was given to purchase and other info, removed anything new in my program listing, and changed my password.  Too late though.  I don't keep any important info, no phone link, and I don't see any problems.  Usually they infect you and then charge a huge amount for removal but I think this guy just wanted to sell a fake program or get my card number.  Lesson learned. 
When I took the flowers and medications to Carole's yesterday, the rep from LifeVest was there.  The large wound she has under her breast, (there was blood on the vest), was because of what we suspected.  The first rep knew nothing.  The fit was FOUR inches too large and those metal packs and electrodes were moving constantly, wearing off her skin and setting off the alarms.  Carole told her it felt too loose but it made no matter.  She also never showed her the proper way to wear the control unit so it doesn't injure your skin, another wound on her shoulder.  Yet this incompetent employee suffers no consequences and keeps her job which seems to be the norm these days.
And speaking of incompetence, check out the work by the new carpenter we hired.  The drywall I tore off a few weeks ago was the short wall that confined the stairs.  We hired him to install hew railing and trim.  The long board against the wall is cut 2.75" at the top, and tapers to 2" in the center, goes back to 2.75" at the bottom.   WTH??  The wall is perfectly level and we will have to remove the board and replace it with one that is cut properly.  How hard is it to keep 2.75 the entire way when using a fence on the table saw?  He used our equipment, we know the fence is spot on.  I did not ask to see his level or his square because he was recommended, but I don't believe he owns either.
Not only could he not calculate the correct distance between balusters, the wide board trim beneath is not cut straight at the top edge.
He obviously cut short and then pieced.
And did not know how to fit with a mitered edge, so he stuck a piece on.
Mike (my other guy that couldn't work because of PTSD) called me for work and stopped at the house.  He is a different man.  Never mentioned the PTSD which he did every 15 minutes before, laughing, joking, bought a new $75000 truck, all after receiving his full disability approval for over $3000 a month (we did not need to hear his finances).  Remarkable recovery.  Jason knows Mike and was here at the same time, said his dad was asked to join this group of five men but refused to go along.  Ah yes, Jason the gorgeous was here too and is coming back.  Mike and Jason are two that actually know their craft, and Mike will re-do the stair railing for me.
Well that was long wasn't it??? 
Beautiful day once again, cool mornings and nights, it's coming.  NOOOO!!!!
Have a great start to your week.
Thanks again for your prayers!!  And for the visit.

Aug 3, 2019

What a difference

a doc makes.  Cleveland Clinic is incomparable when it comes to heart treatments and I'm sure many other ailments and diseases.  We are home.  Our visit was not what was expected after the local doctor visit recommended immediate surgery.  We were packed for a stay, prepared for such.  Dr. Estep, head of the Heart Failure Center, was wonderful.  His approach is medication first to treat symptoms and strengthen the heart, then defibrillator, then mitral clip through a catherization, not open heart.  We will return in 5 weeks for more testing and reevaluation and if her condition at that time is what he expects, will proceed to the clip from there.  The visit's added bonus was meeting an elderly man doing extremely well after a heart transplant. 
The LifeVest is cumbersome, the monitor to wear is heavy, and she was not fitted properly.  Cleveland called to check on her today and after hearing of the problems (it rubbed her skin off, alarms are constant, she cannot get any rest) advised her to remove it.  Developing an infection from the wound in her heart's weakened state is more serious and he does not want her under the stress it is causing.  She is not permitted to use any antibiotic cream or powder, it would interfere with the electrodes.   A tech from the company is coming out to check the fit and that may help, but not until the wound heals.
Picking up her new meds this evening along with a pink hanging basket (she killed the other two) and a DD iced coffee for us both.  Sunday will be a day of rest and gratitude.  And STITCHING!!!  I really feel the need to work on Ann, and I've also got it in my head (after a reader's email) to stitch Anna Eliza Abe again (Threads of Gold).  This time, higher count linen, lighter shade, and a different color for the house.   Anna was my choice to accompany me to Cleveland for the stay, and maybe I should save her until then.
Thank you so much for the prayers and well wishes.  It means so much to me.
Have a wonderful weekend. 
It's fricking August.

Jul 29, 2019


I'll be gone for a while.  We start in Cleveland August 1.  They wanted her tomorrow but for several reasons, she requested a few more days.  Her doc told me to kiss my summer goodbye.  Last year it was the month of August with her sepsis and gall bladder surgery.  I have no idea when the surgery will be, they are trying to work out a plan since she is high risk, but her heart is critical right now and they need to work fast.  The doctor in charge is the head of the Heart Failure Center.  It's still shocking that you can be in such a dire situation when your cardio exam went so well, and you had all testing done last year at this time.  Whatever.  I just hope they can correct or at least help her, and quickly.
I will let you know the outcome once it's over and we are back home.  I am not driving, nor could I.  Mark got lost twice on the way home and we never know if a test result will require an admittance or return the next day so we have a driver lined up also.  He can't stay in Cleveland with me because no one can take care of the wild brats.  I don't want them left outside day and night and they won't allow anyone near enough to coax them in at night or to feed them.  The raccoons will take their food if left outside.  They refuse to use the litter box, locking them inside is impossible, and the garage is terribly hot.  Chris saw the new doctor (who is only staying three months) to find out his new pump is not working properly, hence the continual emergencies, so Mark needs to be close and get to him if he fails to answer the phone.  There is never an easy solution is there?
Say a prayer if you are so inclined that this will end in a good result for her.
Thank you.  Take care.

Jul 26, 2019

One more and the last one

with binder holes.  Stoney Creek's The Lord's Prayer.
This is mine, lovely border and dove, the prayer is backstitched.  Some metallic thread is used but you can change that.  My dove is white metallic and the crowns, wheat, lions and a few letters are gold.   I recently saw this completed on FB, beautiful piece.
Here are the holes and there are also markings, and I colored in some of the symbols.  If interested, email me.  It looks like I changed the top butterflies beneath the sheep to hearts. 
I will be working on Ann tonight, but I've chosen two small projects to work on when I'm staying at Cleveland Clinic with Carole.  After a great exam and good numbers, her echo showed otherwise.  I always go to her appointments but the last one was excellent and this was just a follow up for results with the nurse that I did not attend.  Needless to say, she is in shock.  They are fitting her with a life vest Monday and rather than screw around with the yokals, she is going right back to Cleveland for another valve surgery and pacemaker change.  We will know when next week.  I wish there was a way to get to the clinic without that multi lane drag race route that I cannot handle.
The heat is returning for a few days and the brats are already enjoying it.  And a little tip if you plan to paint outdoor furniture.... black heats up like a toaster and will fry your butt in seconds.
Have a good weekend.

Jul 24, 2019


Not as widely desired as Yellow House.  But still about a dozen requests.  This time Kris Butorac was drawn.  I will be scanning a bunch of samplers I know I will never stitch for a sale but I don't know if it will be through the sampler chart selling FB page or here or eBay.  It's so much easier when the address and mailing label are available without revolving emails especially when there are two dozen or more charts.  I'll see.
Little Santas are in ornament/pillow/tuck form and so stinkin' cute.  Tiny!  Probably add hangers but not yet.

Hope your week is going well.   August next week.  Can't believe it.

Jul 23, 2019


There were over 20 readers that wanted Yellow House!  I scrambled and pulled a number, it matched Mary McMaster.  Sorry to disappoint the others, did not expect that many requests.
This is the Sheepish Designs McCarthy sampler.  I did mine on a unbleached linen that is very gray and dull, do not like it at all.  Emails only.
The holes are shown here and the crease is worn, a few marks centering the over one verse.
If I ever get the gumption to remove it (the thought of mounting again is holding me back) I will dip it in a bit of yellowish tan dye.  I know some of you just fell off of your chairs.  The unevenness is the reflection from the other wall and it doesn't look too bad in this photo, but it does when hung with the other samplers on warmer linen.
And while waiting for Carole's heart testing at the hospital, I got a good start on the corrected Polish piece and finished it last night.  Much better.  Just in case you plan to stitch it, please download the latest chart.  I changed it so many times and this final one looks more balanced and better than the others.
Again, I'm sorry for all the changes.  I didn't plan it as a freebie, just as a gift, and I appreciate Alice's help with the proper lettering/slash.

I'm sitting on my swing with a light jacket!  It's chilly without the sun and such a drastic change.  I have my home made cold brewed iced coffee and it is divine.
Have a great Wednesday! 

Jul 22, 2019

Two charts

Sheepish Designs Yellow House Sampler
Sheepish Designs McCarthy Sampler
Both are original publications and both have been stored in a binder and have 3 holes.  Back then, I discarded charts I completed since selling was not practiced so I wasn't concerned with markings or condition.  The holes are in a stitched area but those missing stitches can be easily recognized from the border pattern.  Neither can be sold so I am offering to you rather than tossing.  

First will be the Yellow House Sampler.  I'll contact the new owner Tuesday evening and post the McCarthy chart then for Wednesday.

If you'd like the Yellow House, EMAIL ONLY so I have a way to contact you.  Click the address below, it should work.
p.s. Cinderella is back in her castle since it has cooled off. 

Jul 21, 2019

I can always shut the door

The power returned but the nearby lightning strike fried the compressor in her air conditioner.  It's very old, the repairman does not know if it can be replaced.   That cost would be bad enough but if a new one is needed, our estimates here are over $2000.  Wonderful. 
So it looks like she will be staying here for a while until it's ordered, repaired, or replaced.  Her house is only 73 but she claims she can't breathe, and the temperature will rise as the day progresses.  I don't have a heart problem so I can't relate but she is always overheated and humidity makes her breathing worse.  I'm sure it does, it did for my MIL, but it doesn't seem to bother her when she is sitting outside watching the great grands play.  So I offered to buy her a tent.  Proper etiquette would have been "no thank you" instead of the snarky response.  I told her she could borrow my bracelet.  She did not take that offer graciously either.
Mom's bedroom has a TV, recliner, queen bed, private bath, and separate controls for heat/air.  And a door.  I have the key.  Poor Cinderella.
For the first year, I cut the hydrangeas at the right time!!  They always wilted within days but after reading a few tips, cutting them when they are just starting to dry is perfect.  They are staying beautiful and turning that green that I love.   A pop of white that would not have been noticed if I had not cleared out the clutter.  It may come back after all the rooms are painted, but I doubt it.

Have a good day! 
Keep an extra key handy, just in case a mean sister comes your way.

Jul 20, 2019

Fabrics for Santas

Greetings folks.  I sure hope you and your critters are handling the heat wave.  It is hot!  I sat outside on the swing for an hour and my body adjusted to it rather quickly.  Coming into the cool house actually felt chilly.  My sister (who cannot take heat to the point of breathing trouble) has lost her power since 7am, will not be fixed until their estimate of 6pm SUNDAY!!  Today is the worst day of the heat!  Only 16 homes were affected by the loss from the torrential rains and bone shaking thunder early this morning.  We are fine and I need to straighten up a bit because she will be coming here later to stay until tomorrow evening.   I told her to purchase bags of ice and throw them in the fridge and freezer so she doesn't lose it all but of course, she won't so we will have to get them.  She can get in her (MY!) car and pick them up here.  The understanding when I gave her my beloved vehicle was that it was to be kept in her garage.  Instead, it is outside always with the sun baking the paint, the oak's tails and leaves eating the paint, because it's more important to have the great grand's plastic big wheels and the rest of Toys-R-us inside.  You have no idea how that frosts my butt.  She has more excuses than the Kardashians have injections.
I haven't been stitching because of another two day bout of vertigo but today I am fine.  I decided to choose fabrics for the latest Santas since I found them last week in the floss basket.  I forgot all about them so as usual, I get excited all over again. 
Here's the center area of my petunias.  You can see how full they are from the pruning.
Even after all the cuttings and damage from the June rains, these Vista Silver Bells are outperforming all the others.
I had to stop in a vet's office to pick up pills for my brother's cat Peanut, who became very ill very quickly with some sort of infection.  It's been two weeks and she is recovering but still needed more meds.  I stood at the counter for over 15 minutes waiting and listening to the most gut wrenching howls and moans from a dog with a head injury.  I could not take it and crying without producing tears burns like hell.  I wanted to ask if he would be OK but I just couldn't get any more words out. 
I stopped to drop off the pills and also this little jar of heaven for his birthday.  We don't buy gifts other than little treats and since he loves figs, he should love this.  I do!!  New to me and fabulous on a cracker.  Problem is the jar's contents seem to vanish like magic.  I don't know why. 
My sister will be coming soon.  She is very upset about her friend's 40 year old daughter being diagnosed with uterine and breast cancer.  Physicals every year, but the tumor was cantaloupe size.  She is coming home today but needs chemo to start next week and breast surgery following.
I hope everyone is having a pleasant weekend.  Don't sweat the small stuff.  You never know when the big stuff may come.
Thanks for visiting with me.


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