Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jingle, Sparkle, Joy is a Wrap!

While down in San Antonio visiting with my dad and family for Thanksgiving, I put the final stitches in Jingle, Sparkle, Joy. I only had my camera to take pics of it, so none of the pictures I took really show the true colors of the piece.

Here's what happens when the ever-faithful, ever-present kitty assistant (aka Little Miss Nosey-body Hannah) doesn't land properly on the surface where the photographer has laid the piece and is snapping away.

After removing Hannah, the Helper-kitty and repositioning my piece, here's the "before" pic. I really did enjoy using the DMC on this piece, but kept thinking of overdyed colors in my head that would've looked good, too!

Because I couldn't find just the right color of fabric in my stash to begin with, I had already decided to try to age it using coffee grounds. We don't drink coffee in my house, but my dad does. Of course, he looked at me like I'd grown 2 more heads or something when I told him what I wanted to use his cooling coffee grounds for. He was like, "Why do you want to mess up such a pretty finish?!?" He acted like I was committing some kind of heinous crime! I just told him, "You're gonna have to trust me, Daddy. It'll look great when finished. Just breathe! Really, it'll be okay."

First, I took the grounds (in their filter) out of the the basket and dabbed that all over my piece. I don't have a pic of this because I'm not real good at taking pictures one-handed and I didn't want to lay the coffee ground filled filter down. (Say that fast three times...I dare ya!) Then, holding the coffee filter in the palm of my left hand, I grabbed grounds with my right and started smearing them all over my finish.

I left them there until they were dried out (all day, pretty much). Then I wiped them off into the trash can and found this hiding underneath.

I really like it! My dad was pretty pleased with the way it turned out, too! LOL

Monday, November 24, 2008

Feline Herpes Virus, Sneezing, Coughing, and a Bacterial Infection

Warning: This may be too gross for some of you. If you get queasy reading about gross pet stuff, back out now!

My little Hannah-bug has Feline Herpes, which like in humans, is incurable. The virus lives in the brain and flares up periodically. We can do lots of things to keep the flare ups under control, like maintaining a routine, keeping her little life & home environment as stress-free as possible, and making sure she eats high-quality, grain-free food to keep her nutritionally in top shape. We also supplement her diet with some raw food and a nutritional supplement, The Missing Link, as well as L-Lysine. Even though we have done all of this, she's still managed to get a bacterial infection.

For about the past year, Hannah's been sneezing (with icky colored discharge & blood) off & on, had a stuffy nose, and lots of congestion. I can't tell you how many times we've been to the vet in the last year, with the same symptoms. She takes an antibiotic, then she gets better, then a month later, she's sick again. Last Tuesday, she was coughing so much that it scared me. Mark decided we were going to the vet (again!), but to a new vet (again!). He called up the cat-only vet, made an appointment, and off we went to The Cat's Meow Veterinary Hospital .

Dr. Bean was wonderful! She was so good with Hannah. She asked lots of questions to find out what we were doing, what was working, what we'd tried, and what we'd done that didn't work. After a thorough exam, she proposed that we do a culture of the gunk going down Hannah's throat since it's the same stuff coming out her little nose, and it's easier to get a throat culture than it is to get a culture from her nose. Hannah was super and it took Dr. Bean and her assistant no time to get the specimen. We were told that it would take about 4 days to get the results back from the lab, but we'd know exactly what we're dealing with (viral or bacterial) and we'd be able to more accurately treat it. Dr. Bean sent us home with an antibiotic (Zeniquin) to start on Friday of last week, since we were going out of town and that would stress Hannah. This morning, because we still haven't left town (that's another topic for another time), I called the vet and found out that Hannah has a very nasty bacterial infection which is causing her herpes flare up. We'll continue to give her the Zeniquin, but when we get back home, we'll probably change to another drug.

Because Hannah has Herpes, any treatment will take longer since her immune system is compromised. Most likely, it will have to be treated with a longer course of antibiotics and/or more than one antibiotic. Other than Herpes, Hannah's a perfectly healthy, active, and beautiful kitty.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Night Stitch Progress

Because I'm not sure when (or if) we'll head out tomorrow, I wanted to post a pic of what I got stitched today. I'm almost finished!! I only have a star and a deer to stitch and that's it!! I got in 4 hours of stitching time throughout the day today and I almost managed to complete my ornie.

Not Much Progress

This is all I've managed to get stitched on my ornament this week. It's been a crazy week, and I've not had much stitching time. I'll be working on it today and I'll take it with me next week when I go visit my dad. Certainly, I'll be able to get it finished within the next week!

I'll also be taking my LK Flip-Its piece and LHN's City Stitcher, Country Stitcher with me. Not sure how much time I'll have to stitch, but I'll definitely have enough to stitch on!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Jingle, Sparkle, Joy Update & Other News

Last week, I sorta fizzled out on stitching, so I didn't get much accomplished from Wednesday to Friday. I did pick this back up yesterday and have gotten a bit more stitched on it. Here's my progress as of this morning. I hope to get a little bit more done before heading to work this afternoon.

I'm still planning on either tea bagging it or using coffee grounds on it once finished. I have no experience with either, so it'll be interesting to see what happens!

In other news, Mark & I will be heading south for Thanksgiving. We've not seen my family for over a year now, we usually make at least 1 visit to them a year, and my 96-year old grandmother isn't doing so well. This will be our first long trip since Mark's accident last October, so it'll be interesting. Should be a great visit, though. We'll get to meet my cousin's wife and little baby. They've been married for a few years and their baby was born just before Hurricane Ike hit on the Texas coast. I'm hoping to see a few of my other cousins as well. It's been many years since we've all been together. Our plan is to head out this coming Saturday and return next Saturday. That will give me Sunday to do laundry and rest from our trip. We'll be traveling with the kitties, who always do great in the car. They have beds and stuff at my dad's so it'll be like a home away from home for them. Of course, Callie will hang out in the closet on the mound of blankets and Hannah will be scouting out the house and seeing what kind of trouble she can get into! Should be a fun visit.

We'll also talk with my dad about moving up here with us. He brought the subject up last week, which freaked me out, but if he's open to it, we'll be glad to have him in our home. He's in his mid-70s, has some health issues, but I think his major issue is loneliness. There are lots of things to take into consideration, mainly leaving a lifetime of familiarity behind and unloading the house he's lived in since 1972, not to mention other family members. Thankfully, it's not a decision that has to be made immediately. I think in the spring, we'll bring him up here to visit for a couple of weeks so he can decide if he really wants to move. I think he's ready for a change and some company. Seems like life is all about change.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday Night Stitch Progress

This past Saturday was SNS over at Only One Ewe (OOE), my home away from home on the net. I pulled out Little House Needlework's City Stitcher, Country Stitcher. I started this last year (I think). I know I was working on it when Mark was in the hospital and that was last October.

Here's where I was before Saturday:

And here it is after my Saturday night's stitching:

I'm back to my ornament for the rest of the week!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thanksgiving Exchanges Received

I love posting stitching pics! This past Tuesday was mailing day for our Unfinished Thanksgiving exchange at OOE. I stitched for Robin and Chris stitched for me. Thanksgiving is my all-time favorite holiday. It's not always been that way, but Thanksgiving was the last holiday we celebrated together as a family with my mom before she passed away in 1996. After that, our family changed forever, for more reasons than just my mom's passing.

Okay! Back to the topic at hand. (Thanks for letting me reminisce.)

First up is the exchange piece I received from Chris. This is stitched on "Autumn" linen using DMC threads. It's a Leisure Arts design and is so unique! I love it!

Next, is the piece I stitched for Robin. After much diving through my stash, I decided on Waxing Moon's "Give Thanks". I remember last year when I "discovered" this design on the WM website, she liked it and wanted her own copy. Knowing that she hadn't stitched it yet, I stitched it for her! :) It's stitched on 32 ct. Vintage Palomino linen from R&R using Crescent Colours fibers and one GAST color. It was such a delightful stitch, but that turkey body got old really quick!!

Tonight's the Saturday Night Stitch and I'll be stitching on LHN's "City Stitcher, Country Stitcher". Look for an update tomorrow!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Finish, A Start, and Something Yummy!

I finished my Unfinished Thanksgiving Exchange piece for Robin. Unfortunately, it's not made it all the way to Virginia, so I can't post a pic of it...yet! However, when I know it's been received, I'll be sure to post a pic of it. It's so doggone cute and I love the way it turned out.

Since I finished my exchange piece and got it out in the mail, I decided to start an ornie. I wanted something quick and easy. I decided to stitch Jingle, Sparkle, Joy, a complimentary design from Midsummer Night Designs found on the designer's blog, Midsummer Night Musings . It's the October 25th entry. If you click on the black & white chart, it'll take you to the download page. I'm stitching mine on 32 ct. Light Sand linen using the called for DMC. I plan on tea dying it a bit when I finish. Here's my start.

Now for the yummy part!! These are my favorite, quick to bake, taste so good, warm in your tummy muffins. As my friend Jan says, they're "easy peasy"!!

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins
2 C biscuit/baking mix (Bisquick)
3/4 C plus 2 T sugar, divided
2 eggs
1 C (8 oz.) sour cream
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries*

In a large mixing bowl, combine the biscuit mix and 3/4 C sugar. In a small mixing bowl, combine eggs and sour cream; stir into the dry mixture just until combined. Fold in the blueberries. Fill greased muffin cups (or cheat and use paper liners like I do) three-fourths full. Sprinkle with remaining (2 T) sugar. Bake at 375ยบ for 20-25 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 mins. before removing from pan to wire rack.

*If using frozen blueberries, do NOT thaw before adding to batter.

You can also use any combination of berries to equal the 1 cup measurement. I sometimes use a combination of blueberries and raspberries and they're great!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veteran's Day!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Thank you to all of those public servants who put their lives on the lines for our safety everyday. Thank you to our military men and women who faithfully serve our country here in the US and abroad.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Saturday Night Stitch Progress

I only got to stitch for about an hour and a half last night, so I didn't get much accomplished. I had such high hopes, but alas, it was not meant to be. I did finish the flower, though!!

Please excuse the dark picture. I was having a fight with the scanner and just gave up! LOL

Today, I'm working on my former incentive stitching piece, LHN's City Stitcher Country Stitcher.