Dec 31, 2019

My new wand

What planet have I been living on?  Or am I under the same rock as Lauren?  Geez.  With the loss of so many stores locally, I don't browse like I used to and frankly have lost interest in doing so.  Recently I started visiting Amazon and seeing so many things new to me.  With all my brother's antiques and treasured items, dusting is a real chore for him.  So I found a microfiber duster that is specifically for delicate items, but at the same time, learned about the larger dusters.  Holy sugar cookie.  What a Godsend to arthritic hands!!  I sprayed lightly with water, and felt like I was in a commercial.   Lightweight enough to balance on my toes and skip around the room in a pale blue chiffon dress complete with matching apron while twirling my dusting wand.  I am thrilled.  This baby goes between each spindle at the seat, across the back, up and down caressing each rail while removing those dust puddles.  The extension allowed the legs and stretchers to be cleaned without much bending.  My black chairs looked black in very short order and my hand was not tortured.  The tops of my cabinets did not require stretching, and the hand shaved wood of my antique spinning wheel did not for once embed a splinter.  I don't like one time use products, this can be washed (but no dryer use) over and over and a light spray of water is all that's required to hold the dust and not release it .

  I am buying one in every color of the best quality.  Thin nubby, thick nubby, short nubby, long nubby.  Sometimes, living on another planet can bring excitement for the most mundane gadget.  Especially when it creates an easy solution for a painful chore.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to slip out of this chiffon dress.

Mr. Pete is keeping me hopping.  After all the work I put into his shelter, he is staying by the door or looking at the kitchen window.   Had no choice but to create shelter closer.  So yesterday I did a quick second house with two plywood overhangs for protection.  I hope husband was not saving them for a project.  

We have another shelter, a wood table, that Mark enclosed on three sides and added a higher shelf inside.  A thick piece of plywood is covered in plastic and angled to shed water.  The boys like it on that shelf but Petey has made it his.  So they've decided to take up residence in his two houses.  I am constantly outside trying to diffuse a home turf war.  I need to replace ink in the printer and get his photo out to vets.  I seriously doubt anyone will claim him.  But when the ink is in, I plan to work on a small project for a giveaway.  

  Carole and Chris came for dinner this evening.  It was the postponed Christmas Eve dinner traditionally with smelts, pierogis and slaw but I made cheese pierogi filling in nalesniki instead.  The smelts were excellent and I found my aunt's marinated recipe to try along with our regular fried.  It's sort of weird.  You boil water, vinegar, and some oil the smelt were fried in with a ton of rosemary until reduced.  Strained, and then fried smelts are marinated in it with some of the rosemary.  I forgot to save 1/4 cup of the oil so we had only the floured and fried.  Maybe next time.  

We never know what tomorrow will bring.  We read about living each day as if it is our last, and we agree and nod, but do we follow that advice?  It is not easy, human nature gets in the way and we fall back on everyday life and routines without thinking how precious each day is.  I hope to remind myself daily.  Happy new year to all.  Wishing you a healthy happy 2020.


Dec 29, 2019

Turning a page

Finally completed page one of Ann Hicks.  I'm hoping the following pages will be easier for me.  I am used to large blocks of red Santa suits or alphabets.  This wonky tree took forever, and these little birds were not fun.  Yes they are very small and easy to stitch, but changing colors for a few stitches that don't make sense in the design is something I need to learn to tolerate.  Seriously considered doing them in two colors only but stuck it out.  Five little messy fricking birds.  Done.

I saw this sampler that Merry Wind Farm stitched into a project bag and I loved it.  She was very helpful in directing me to the designer because I had no clue.  Nada.  Zip.  Did I see it on someone's blog and forgot about it?  Possibly.  The book is Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day from BBD.

For every two steps to recovery, I go one step back.  Mark took me out for a little ride today and we stopped at Carole's.  Chris had truffles and melt-aways with a DD gift card there for me.  That made me smile, and also made my stomach ache because as you know, I am a pig.  I could use a nicer word but pig is appropriate.

Have a great last few days of another year gone by.


Dec 28, 2019

For a very short time

these guys get to live outside of a box.  Isn't that a shame?  I mentioned before that my friend's mom was an avid stitcher of Santas (and so much more).  She moved to a small home in the city and converted the smallest bedroom into her stitching studio.  The tiny room had a large comfy chair, a maple desk covered with project filled baskets, wallpaper featured a miniature red design, the corner hutch was filled with stitched Santas.  Red accents and upholstery against cream and tan, you couldn't help but feel good when entering.  Even though the Santas were plentiful, the room didn't look seasonal because they blended so well with the color and needlework theme of the room.  Thirty some years ago and I still remember it.


So here's a look at some of my favorites, you've seen them before, that will be going back into their box soon.

I would love to take the trees down as some do the next day, but Mark does not agree.  Carole calls every day to see if I'm feeling better, if plans for our family Christmas dinner are made .  I would prefer Monday but with a mid afternoon doc appointment, that won't work.  So I guess it will be new year's eve and day.  

Petey boy is sitting right at the corner of my door and stretching his neck to look inside.  He stretched his massive gut across a thin fence rail in the nice weather yesterday. The orange cat we saw him roaming with months ago, is now his enemy.  He goes after him every time and we have no idea who he belongs to.

Holidays during the week really mess up our day clocks don't they?  I just saw the mail delivery truck, so I guess it's not Sunday.   Yay!  My back scratcher should be in my mail box.  I couldn't believe how difficult it was to find a decent one.  Added to an order from Kohl's, I got two, anxious to see the quality.

Hope your weekend is relaxing and wonderful.


Dec 25, 2019

A quiet Christmas

In more ways than one. 

Mark's gift - his wife's throat and breathless cough took her voice away.  A little huff of air is all that's heard, music to his ears.

Carole's gift - her sister was not present to witness the overload of unnecessary gifts to the great grands and throw eye daggers followed by a speech in the kitchen.

Ron's gift - his sister was unable to have the Eve and Day dinners so his generous neighbor brought pasta, ham, stuffed cabbage, roast beef, salads, potatoes, cookies, and pie to his door.

Chris's gift - no consequence to his aunt not being able to visit, he previously tried on his new Sketchers for fit and received his gift early.

Petey has been a good boy, except for today.  For some reason, he went after Nitzy from behind.  This poor boy is now staying by the back door and this is the view from our kitchen window.  I still can't approach any closer than about six feet, but he is hanging close and looking for us most of the day.  He came here well fed, does not hunt, couldn't have been on his own for long.  Big boy isn't he?

I won't be hitting any sales or enjoying this warm weather for the next few days.  I need a new laptop and I will probably spend some time shopping online again, and some stitching too between naps.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, great cookies, and lots of hugs.  But keep those hand sanitizers handy!!  This is a virus, it's spreads, and it's not fun.

Thanks for visiting!


Dec 23, 2019

Book 58

Crabass Santa.  I had planned to change his eyes to reflect anger, but decided there is too much of that around.   His coat is 3802, the face is my preference for Santas.  Rather than 407/356 I use 3773 for the face and 407 for the cheeks/nose.  

I added colored knots and strung them together with 3371.  I wanted him to look like a frustrated crab as sometimes happens when lights go wrong.  But I plan to remove this and do smaller knots on the tree alone, or none at all.  I've seen many of your finishes with piping or tiny poms and want that on mine.  For some reason, my taste is changing once again, and I wish these guys were done on a solid fabric as Jobelan in sage or a neutral.  Why?  I've been linen linen linen for so long!!  For samplers, absolutely.  But ornaments, I am liking the solid base without the slight variations and texture.  Menopause.  It still happens.

My sampler tags on the little tree look so cute, but because of the thin wood are slightly warped.  Good thing I didn't make any to sell.  May not bother you, bothers me.  The tin ornaments that I so love are not to be found.  I've tried all sorts of searches to no avail.  

Went to the doc today, she is gorgeous, and so so thin.  I asked if she was OK and found that she is divorcing.   Our chiropractor for many years, a friend, and really great guy, was in the obituaries this morning.  Unexpectedly while in Florida.  Shocked to say the least.  Anyway, she took throat cultures but believes my gagging, pain, and inability to speak for more than a few sentences is because the virus has flared the Sjogren's.  She gave me an Rx for antibiotics in case I get worse over the holiday or am notified about the culture.   I may attempt a brunch Christmas day, great grands will be at Carole's for dinner. 

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday and Christmas, whether it's a full house or alone, decorated or bare, we can all look to 2020 with hope and best wishes.


Dec 22, 2019


Greetings folks.  I am working on my crabass Santa and I couldn't remember the colors I use for PS faces.  I think the 407/356 combo is too much color depending on the fabric and coat colors.  While looking through finishes, I realized how much I like the sage Jobelan for Santas.  I gave away quite a few pieces, did not think I would ever use it again.  But as usual, regrets, because I do like the way it looks.  The texture is not there as in linen, but the coverage and crisp background makes Santa stand out.  I remember someone (I think it was Shirlee) looking for the sage but don't remember why since it is still available.  Mine was from decades ago, is the current sage Jobelan unlike the old?  Anyone know?

I cancelled Eve and Christmas dinners.  I'm really not well and the decongestant meds have dried me out to the point I can't talk for longer than a few minutes.  I may call the doctor tomorrow.  I have a hard time swallowing with the Sjogren dryness but with the cold meds I can barely get food down.  I can't enjoy the meal and can't talk with anyone for long so we will postpone dinners.  I may make a muffuletta for brunch on the 25th, hope to be better by then.

Petey got close to Bud this morning and was crying to him.  No hissing, no growling, just the same cry he gives to me.  Bud did not respond.  He is trying hard to fit in and I plan to take his photo to several vet offices to see if he is recognized.  He was definitely someone's indoor cat.  Saw another FB post of a cat that was left at the curb of a highway with his bed and litter box.  

Getting down to the wire folks!  
Hope you're all ready.


Dec 21, 2019

Of all days!

It started last night, came on quickly, and my head is pounding hard enough to feel it in my teeth.  I have what Mark had, thought I skimmed it, but it's now full blown.  So what is he doing today?  Sanding and waxing the soapstone.  We're having dinner here the 24th and 25th.  It will take a damn big microfiber wand to get the fine dust from the rooms, even though the sander has a dust catcher.  Also not good for someone with a stuffy head and dry eyes!  But he's wanted to do it for some time, and chose today.

I was sending a note to a friend and while mentioning Mom, remembered these slippers.  She and her sister had little, but Christmas and Easter were the dress up days of the year.  Their best earrings, fancy dress, and always a pair of good slippers for when the heels became too much. These Daniel Green's were never worn.  I've kept them, a little too narrow for me, but I do love them.  There was a party at each aunt's home from Christmas through New Years.  And you dare not go without a good dress, husbands in suits.  We played Tripoli and other games, they made fancy drinks, and I so miss those times even though they were decades ago.

Got a little stitching done after several days of another eye flare up.  But the cold meds are making me quite drowsy so I don't know if the needle will be picked up tonight.

Enjoy your weekend!!


Dec 19, 2019


Some like the simple things,

some prefer more posh settings.

Some are lucky to have lots of food and shelter, but it's not enough.

The surroundings don't feed the soul, soothe the loneliness, comfort rejection.

I ordered Feliway spray for the brats and hope to receive it this weekend.  My brother has been taking care of ferals for many years, currently three in house.  Now a very young, very thin, black and white long hair with the sweetest little face has shown up.  Our shelter hasn't had room for a year and strays have no where to go.  He does not want to start with another young cat at his age and a likely move to an apartment in the next few years.  Did you see the story of the door that was blown open by wind and the 9 year old sweet dog that entered?  In need of medical, on three legs, emaciated, infected, wandering the streets, the home owners decided to keep her.  I wish they all would have happy endings.

Been ridiculously involved with finding a comforter without a microfiber cover and lots of loft.  Number four is being returned this weekend and number five is ordered.  Most cotton covers are white, not the best color for Carole.  This last one appears to be overfilled, cotton, but white.  Now a duvet cover is needed.  I've ordered firefighter hoodies, back scratchers, books, blankets, boots, jeans, and other last minute items for my technology deficient family.  Finally over and done with, now to plan meals. 

I ordered a pair of Crocs from their site (they had a huge sale), they came today and I haven't taken them off yet.  I love Crocs but am in between sizes and prefer a secure shoe.  Found it.  Elastic top to hug and this one runs small so the 1/2 size up fits perfectly.  Comes in heather gray with a white sole which I may also order.  Still on sale!!  If my eyes improve we will make a trip to the Ohio mall Saturday to look around a little, I will be wearing these for sure.

I haven't been sleeping so I may take a few sips of Black Velvet Caramel.  Do not like the taste of wines or alcoholic anything, and it doesn't take much at all to make me sleepy.

Hope your week has gone well.  The last weekend before Christmas!  
Where did the year go?


Dec 15, 2019

A day to snooze

And that's what the brats are doing.  Cold with snow on the ground, so Crabass Stitcher meets Crabass Santa this afternoon.

Petey is becoming a problem.  He is now hanging around the back door, pitifully crying.  I won't let him inside because of conflicts and I can't get near, so how would I get him out?  Plus the fleas he is probably carrying.  But.  He is attacking Missy.  She is half his size and he waits in hiding for her to go out (they won't use a litter box) and the chase follows.  Old man Bud goes to help but he is missing several front teeth and aged.  He would not stand a chance.  So now what?  I saw an article online that a pheromone hog spray applied to a female's back will deter males.  The spray tricks them into thinking the female is a male through scent.  So will she make the house smell like a sex crazed hog?  Thankfully I was able to trap them early and have all three neutered, but it has not stopped the fighting with others.

One article describes its use for bad behavior in dogs.

Another was similar but related to cats fighting and ravaging the females, neutered or not, and good results using the same boar/pig androstenone pheromone.  Or something like that.  Missy has been here for almost 10 years and still runs from us, a hunter, and not a house cat unless it's raining or very cold.  Hiding her will not help, and I can't leave her/them in the house while in Cleveland or gone for the day.  Doesn't matter the color, scent, no scent, texture, box size, they will not use the litter.  Petey has been a good boy until he started coming close to the house, and he is even hovering over Bud now, showing his dominance.  Not good.

I wish Petey's family was responsible and did not allow this to happen, but many cat owners are not able to domesticate strays and do the best they can.  I don't have the answer.  I'm one of them.


Dec 14, 2019

Crabass Santa

After browsing the PS charts, and realizing the two designs I chose are finished and sitting on the mantel, this guy seemed fitting.  Doesn't he look a little crabby?  I think I will add a messy light string hanging from the tree using back stitches and colored french knots.  Trying to reduce the amount of red coat Santas, I chose 3802.  Gold is too cheerful for a crab, I have several blues and greens, purple was too strong.

This tree was to have dried cloved oranges, but I like the simplicity of nothing at all. It's a perfect tree for dried fruits and I have enough lemons, limes, and pomegranates, but I like it this way.  Still not adjusted to the almost white room, and may go over it with the cream that is in the little powder room.

It's raining and turning to snow.  We were to make a quick trip to a mall in Ohio for a new golf bag, but he decided to stay home. 
 I am trying a new recipe tomorrow that the pierogi makers were served recently.  The recipe is from Zgoda, the Polish magazine published by the PNA.  Honestly, it does not sound good at all!!  But it received rave reviews, so I will try it.  Bought a fresh batch of allspice berries and always have bay leaves handy, and I am anxious to give this a try.  I assume it's OK to post it here since the publication can be viewed online.  You can view this 2019 Fall issue and back issues.

Have a great weekend!!


Dec 13, 2019

The tag tree

Hello people!  Surgery cancelled for today.  Since I would not be asleep and having a bit of a cold, I could sneeze.  When I do, people duck thinking a lung will be flying by, not delicate by any standard.  Not even normal.  He did not want to be working on me when my body is rocked by the quake and he has scalpel in hand.  So instead, my sister comes over with her tablet that she just can't figure out, even with page after page of my handwritten instructions.  Rather than stay and pay attention, she leaves, I waste over an hour deleting the Google garbage and notifications, and she doesn't return to pick it up.   Last night was another episode of irresponsibility on my nephew's part regarding his pump and I wasted a lot of time trying to locate his missing reservoirs from other suppliers.  She tells me to order it because he can't (he has a phone with data) and even if he could, does not have a credit card.  So I have to take over once again, all for naught, when his friend lends him a few after work.

  Needless to say, no stitching yet!!  But I did get the little tag tree decorated.  I filled in with the tin ornaments that I love from Pat Catans.  Do you think my vintage tiny glass ornaments would be better?  As I look at these photos, the tin being the shape and size of the tags looks monotonous.

I think it tuned out very nice, but I still plan to see if the tiny colored glass would look better.  If I had taken the time to learn Instagram without a phone, I would post it.  But I didn't.  

Maybe I should purchase more tags to do a folk art tree next year. Better yet, print them now before the old printer croaks again.  I doubt we will repair it next time since I no longer make the box labels.  

I feel a sneeze coming.  Best move away from the tree.

Have a great weekend!!


Dec 11, 2019

When I find the hemp roll

that suddenly disappeared, I will attach and hang these little tags on the small bare tree.

I could do a few more but don't want to.  Tomorrow is another appt for Carole right in the middle of the day, and she wants to go to TJMaxx after.  She finally learned how to get on to and can order anything she wants and drive herself to pick it up!  YAY!!!

Mark saw the doctor today and is on meds now, recovery will be quicker.  I am gathering supplies for a Friday afternoon stitch while elevating and icing my foot.  I do use 4.0 mags and I can't stitch without them, but a dry eye surface is like looking through waxed paper.  When drops are applied, clarity and color return as the surface is replenished.  But it only lasts about 10 minutes.  I don't blink as often when stitching because I'm trying to focus on the chart and placement which makes it worse.  Blinking and dropping often doesn't make for a relaxing stitch!  Friday will tell.

Hope to have something to show Saturday!!


Dec 10, 2019

A holiday stitch

Since I am having a really difficult time following the chart on the large sampler, I thought a small holiday project may be possible, easier to follow than a motif, and can be easily enlarged for visibility.   I just can't see.

So looking through the Christmas binder yielded a few options.  I so love this mouse and have held on to him for many years, completely unreadable (for me) small symbols and I don't think they would be clear enough when greatly enlarged.  The tiny PS nutcracker, maybe.  I took photos of the boys and after reducing them equivalent to 35 count, prefer the look of their current size so no plans to restitch now.  But Connie Francis's Where the Boys Are has been playing in my head!

The easiest for me to stitch would probably be one of the Santas in the two larger charts, but certainly on a lighter linen.  I've only stitched three from these charts.  Well, that's all I can find.  Really thought I stitched more!

I cut Carole's hair this afternoon and had difficulty holding the hair shears.  Off the Eliquis for a week because of Friday's surgery so I am taking advantage of that and chomping on Advil.  It isn't helping my hand, hip, or back which is disheartening.   Always found relief before.  So I'm not even sure I will be able to hold the needle, haven't practiced enough with the left hand.  A small project with larger blocks of color should be an ideal way to start.

Mid week already.  I'm still shopping and ordering online for Carole and myself, still picking up in-store orders.  I went overboard this year, but no one knows who will be here next year.  A friend recently diagnosed will not make it to Christmas, and four months ago was vibrant and active, totally unaware of what the next day would bring.  

Celebrate.  Live for today.  Splurge.  Make someone happy.


Dec 9, 2019

Where the boys are

This year, in the kitchen so I can see them all day.

I think they're happy here.  I have an itch to stitch them again.  Over two, one thread, 35 count instead of 28.  Have any of you used a higher count linen?  Do you think this finished size is more appropriate for these boys than using a higher count?  I haven't tried 36 since the eye issue and maybe even the magnifier won't be enough.  I spent way too much this year, would like to get a light I saw recommended, will wait for it.

I need a pair of comfortable shoes and checked JCP during their big sale on Clark's.  I found two boxes that contained pairs of old beat up shoes, which means two upstanding citizens tried on new expensive shoes and walked out of the store with them.  That was only my size in one brand, just think of how many other boxes contain used shoes from women who think they are entitled.   So honest people end up paying higher prices to compensate for theft from criminals.  Oh wait.  If you're in California, Proposition 47 allows you to steal (a misdemeanor offense but it's rarely enforced) if it's under $950 whether from an elderly person's home or a store.  Think of what you can accumulate if you do that every week.  

Mark is slowly improving, thank you!  Hope your week is starting good and only gets better.


Buckets, baskets, no bows

Same as last year and I like the simplicity.  Red burlap ribbon.

Ran out to do a little grocery (more like cat food) shopping and stopped to pick up an in store order at Kohl's.  I was concerned that if I get what hubby has, I won't be able to stock the shelves.  Then I remembered I have another doc appt tomorrow and have to go out anyway!  I didn't cut Carole's hair for her, and it's probably a good idea that she not come into our house right now.

Hope your weekend wasn't too hectic!  Two weeks left!  What kind of cookies do you bake, what is your favorite holiday treat?


Dec 8, 2019

Playing tag

Lord's Prayer, The - Cross Stitch PatternFirst off, Anna, you are no-reply so I cannot contact you.  In case you see this, here is the chart for the Lord's Prayer.

Yesterday I got the leaves done (damn last minute oaks), outside decorating, did the final shopping for Carole.  This afternoon will be cutting Carole's hair and house cleaning.  I worked on sizing more snippets for printing and hope to do that also.  Here's a few.  Some will print too dark and I think a few folk art tags would be nice too.   The tags are 1.75" x 2.75".
I remember a tree covered with my wooden floss tags, most folk art and some vintage Santas.  I must have added them to the others for sale.  I still have those files so if these result in poor quality, I'll just use the old ones and change to squares rather than full coverage.

Friday's trip to Cleveland was uneventful, just exhausting.  I don't know why but the car ride really wears us out.  Mark felt OK for the day but crashed when we got home.  Continued to worsen and is back in bed, it's now in his chest, seems to be the current flu.  So many people have it in PA, higher every year and this year is worse. Two of his friends are on medications and after 12 days, not much better.  All have had their shots.  I am in a holding pattern!  Continually using hand sanitizer.  My brother worked as a hospital guard for over 10 years dealing with ER and around other sick patients, never had a shot, never got the flu.  Currently the shot is mandated for workers. He thinks keeping his hands sanitized and turning back to coughs and sneezes is the reason.  If he couldn't turn, he held his breath.  When shopping, he goes as far as wiping ever edge of the cart, not just the handle.  If the check out clerk is sick, he wipes down every item when he gets home!  Yes, he is what some consider extreme, obsessive, but he's never sick!!  One time in over 30 years and he blames it on a very crowed veterinarian office.

Hope your weekend is going well!

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