Saturday, September 27, 2014

It's a doggie-dog world...but we are making due :)

Just thought I would start my post with a "hello" from our old dog, Bruno. He is so happy to get a new bed. Bruno is a very old dog - 13 years old - and his poor joints aren't what they use to be. Prior to this bed, we actually gave him the boys' old crib mattress, as it was only taking up room in our closet. Well, Bruno's claws finally shredded the baby crib mattress to bits and pieces after using if for a little over a year. So after cleaning up his "bedroom", we purchased this nice soft doggie bed. He was very happy to get it.

Anyway, yesterday I did muster up the courage to start stitching the burning bush onto the torah panel. Here is where I am right now...

Each time I designed it on my iPad and then stitched it (the practice burning bush and the one that is being stitched on the panel) the outline of the bush and the flames slightly changed. But I like how the outline came out on the panel. 

I decided to stitch the outline using 3 strands of floss, just like the hebrew lettering; and I stuck with the moss color. For the flames, I am going to use just the magenta-red color (#816) and gold (#729), but I am going to stitch with only 2 strands to give it more of an airy, light, watercolor like feeling.

I appreciated the comments from Shelly and Cucki. While I loved their ideas, I, unfortunately couldn't use a brown to stitch the burning bush because it wasn't an approved color listed on the Torah Stitch by Stitch website. They want the entire torah scroll, which will consist of over 1400 panels stitched by over 1400 people, to look uniform. So we just had 7 colors on the approved color list. None were brown and none were orange, which really would have helped the flame appearance. Oh, well, I am making due. :)

Today, after working in our store...where I dipped the strawberries, apples and bananas dipped in was time to get home and feed our youngest son so he will be energized for his hockey game this afternoon. 

Time to sign off...hope your weekend is off to a good start. Until next time, take care and remember...
Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Practicing the stitching of the burning bush is a good thing...but does not make one really prefect

Let's just say it is a good thing that I am stitching a practice piece before I actually stitch my Burning Bush onto my Torah Portion panel. This pseudo-designing thing is really difficult! Kudos to all those stitching designers out there, I don't know how you do it. To take something that you have in your mind, a piece of clipart or design ideas and then translate it onto graph paper and finally in colorful X's. Definitely not going to be a career for me :)

So here is my mess...

Things I love -

  • I love the design
  • I love the outline in moss (DMC #731) - for you know that the burning bush was on fire, but the fire didn't consume it. So it seems appropriate that the trunk of the tree, it's branches and some foliage that shows is still a greenish color 
  • I love the top part in gold (DMC #729)
  • I love how the reddish (DMC #816) mixes well with the moss and the moss stands out. 
Things I do not like -
  • The middle section, this is where I am stuck. 
  • I was thinking about using the rose (DMC #223) color for the middle area, it was suppose to act like the orange-ish color you see in a flame between the yellow and the red...rose just wasn't going to act that way
  • A stitching friend of mine suggested maybe I should blend rose with red and/or gold for that area...I appreciate her input, but it is just not working either.

So, I am thinking that I will just keep it simple - use moss for the outline/branches/trunk of the tree, use gold for the outer/top portion of the flame and red for the bottom/lower portion of the flame. And kind of make it look like a watercolor painting of the burning bush, where the outline is vivid and strong, but the yellow and reddish part of the flame bleeds a little past the outline and fills in the drawing.

This morning I went back to the drawing board and manually manipulated the graph of this design to simplify it. I have been using the StitchSketch program on my iPad to help create the graph for this illustration. Anyone out there ever use this? It is pretty simple, yet I am definitely not a pro at it.

Now there are only 3 colors represented on this. I think that I graphed the design how I would like to stitch it. So, I might be ready just to stitch it on the official panel. Just need to take a deep breath and make that first X on the panel. Need some courage!

On another note...the first few days of Autumn brought us some wet weather, at least in the morning hours. Might have gotten about 1/2 inch of rain over those 2 days. We will take anything!
But today, the sky is clear without a cloud in sight. Come on raining season, lets get a start...California needs it!

Time to get a start to the day as I seem to be dragging. Hope you have a good Friday. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The end of summer and a partial finish

Happy Autumn

In some places, the leaves turn colors because it is that time of the year. But here, in California, most of the trees seem to be very distressed and have been looking a little brown and sad for quite some time. Yet, there are those areas where the trees were taken care of, either with sprinkling of recycled water (or by some of us who decided to water our lawns and endured the high cost of doing so) where the trees will start turning lovely shades or red, orange and gold. 

Hopefully, with the arrival of the new season, the rainy season will start! Maybe we need to do a rain dance to get it started?

Well, this weekend I was doing a small happy dance! Yes, I finished the lettering of my Torah Panel! And here it is:
(Exodus 4:12-15) My Torah Panel for the Torah Stitch by Stitch project
Here are 4 lines of my portion and their translation:

Exodus 4:12 -
 וְעַתָּה, לֵךְ; וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה עִם-פִּיךָ, וְהוֹרֵיתִיךָ אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר.
Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt speak.'

Exodus 4:13 - 
 וַיֹּאמֶר, בִּי אֲדֹנָי; שְׁלַח-נָא, בְּיַד-תִּשְׁלָח.
And he said: 'Oh Lord, send, I pray Thee, by the hand of him whom Thou wilt send.'

Exodus 4:14 -
 וַיִּחַר-אַף יְהוָה בְּמֹשֶׁה, וַיֹּאמֶר הֲלֹא אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ הַלֵּוִי--יָדַעְתִּי, כִּי-דַבֵּר יְדַבֵּר הוּא; וְגַם הִנֵּה-הוּא יֹצֵא לִקְרָאתֶךָ, וְרָאֲךָ וְשָׂמַח בְּלִבּוֹ.
And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and He said: 'Is there not Aaron thy brother the Levite? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee; and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.

Exodus 4:15 -
וְדִבַּרְתָּ אֵלָיו, וְשַׂמְתָּ אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים בְּפִיו; וְאָנֹכִי, אֶהְיֶה עִם-פִּיךָ וְעִם-פִּיהוּ, וְהוֹרֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם, אֵת אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשׂוּן.
And thou shalt speak unto him, and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

While I have completed the stitching of the lettering, I am planning to stitch a border around the edges and an illustration in the lower left-hand corner. Because there is some constraints set by the organizer of this international project regarding margins/edges, I have just emailed photos of the completed panel to her to get some directions on how wide my margin should be and what my limitations are on the bottom. They do a good job on responding, so I will wait to hear from them to begin. 

However, since I do have a design in mind for the illustration - which is a burning bush (can't you picture Moses standing in front of the burning bush during this conversation between him and God?)- I have started to stitch a practice piece. I wanted to make sure that the sizing and the color adaption would be right before I stitched it on the panel.

So here is the designs I found:
And here is the beginning of my adaption of the two -

For the Torah Stitch by Stitch project, we are limited to the following colors:
#917-magenta, #816-red, #223-rose, #729-gold, #731-moss, #3810-aqua, and #3750-indigo. So, I have chosen moss, red, rose and gold to stitch the burning bush. I thought moss would be the perfect one for the branches and the trunk of the tree because according to the commentary for this portion, the bush appeared to burn but really wasn't. So, the branches and trunk should stay green. Any way, we will see how the flames turn out. Yellow will definitely be on the top and rose somewhere in the middle. I'll show you what it turns out like when I finish the practice piece.

Well, time to hit the road with the running shoes. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Just 4 more...

Just 4 more....words
Just 14 more...letters

And then I will have finished with the lettering
And then I will have finished making X's in black

I was able to sit and stitch yesterday. I so want to finish stitching my Torah Portion. I am enjoying this and there is great meaning to be doing this, but you know what it is like to be stitching in the same color for a long period of time...especially black. I miss colors.

Yes, I could pick up one of my many WIPs and pull out a vivid color to get my color-fix; but I feel that it would be wrong to set my Torah Portion aside, even for a few X's of a WIP, because I am slightly delinquent on finishing my Torah Portion.

I can do it...I can do it..I can do it
I will finish those black X's by the end of the weekend
If not sooner!

Well, in order to sit and stitch later today, I need to get my sitter outside and jog for a while!
Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fruity Friday!

Happy Fruity Friday. 
My son received his care package I sent a few days ago. 
It contained HoneyCrisp apples. 
Fall is here now that the HoneyCrisps have arrived. 
Those big, crisp, juicy apples are so delish! There is nothing like them. 
He was very excited when I texted him this morning to let him know that the packaged had arrived (I was stalking it on the USPS website). In between classes he went to his post box and got the box...and it looks like he tore it open so that he could get a bite of an apple.
A little silly, huh?
Well, we are a big fruit and vegetable family.
Being away from home he is doing his best to eat like he is use to, and the food at Phillips Exeter is pretty good. But when you are use to having fruit available at all times, it is hard. He said during a phone conversation over the weekend he is getting bananas from one of the dining halls...and he did grab a Red Delicious Apple, but it was "icky"! So he is sticking with bananas only.

I haven't made time to do any X's on my Torah portion the last few days. I have been in a little funk and experiencing a little headache lately. The micro-climate situation where we live in California has been providing us with a little humidity where we live. Several of the surrounding areas received a little rain yesterday (which we desperately need); however we didn't see a drop. But there was a rainbow nearby yesterday morning:
It was so bright and vivid. I swear, I probably could have walked through the park and found the pot of gold. Yah, right...lovely thinking :) 

Well, with out much news here, I probably should sign off. Have a great weekend - take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Wednesday...

Happy Hump Day. This week seems to be flying by. I have seen some of my stitching friends start counting down to Christmas (there are 98 days as of today). That just seems scary. There is so much living that needs to take place now, I can't even go there :)

We had a quiet weekend, which was nice. There seems to be a lot of time on our hands with only one kid at home. I did get some X's made on My Torah Portion (again, sorry for the wrinkly photos):



Yes, this week's is more wrinkled (ha, ha)...but, I did finish 2 more lines. I just have 1.5 more lines to stitch and then I will have completed the hebrew letters of the torah portion. It will be such an accomplishment to have that done. I am so tired of stitching in black!

On Monday, the mailman (or should I say postperson to be politically correct?), brought my copy of:
I was so excited. So many of you out there in blog land received your copies earlier than I was worried; even contacted Just CrossStitch to confirm that it was part of my subscription. You can down load an electronic version if you have a subscription, which I did. But there is nothing better than having the hard copy in hand. I know that there are a lot of things that have gone to electronic versions - books on kindle, e-versions of class room books so that our students don't have to lug big heavy books. But there is just something wonderful about turning pages, looking at the colors, flipping through the book/magazine. I do care about our planet and sometimes worry about all the landfills...but I am also old fashion and like my hardcopy!!!

And since I am so tired of stitching in black, flipping through a beautiful, colorful magazine filled with colorful cross stitched ornaments is so wonderful :)

Well, time to go out for a little walk this morning. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Trying to get back into the "swing of things"

The morning greeted me with a deep turquoise sky filled will little puffy, cottony clouds. It is nice to have little clouds as it will help keep the temperatures down here, but I wish that these were rain we are in desperate need of that wet stuff that falls from the sky! Hopefully this winter season will be a rainy one. We can hope, right?

Well, it has taken some time for me to get back into the swing of things since returning home from the East coast. One would think, since it is 3 hours earlier in California that it would be easy to get up and get going. But I think that this old body takes longer than it use to when trying to get back into routine. I think that today is the first day that I feel like myself (which is 6 days since I have returned home).

With only one child at home, I have noticed a few changes...such as: I don't have to go to the grocery store as often to buy milk or any other food, the house stays a little cleaner, I only have to drive down to the rink 2-3 days a week instead of 6-7 days a week. Thus, I have found I have more time to be home. So I have actually found some time to sit and stitch this week. Can I have a...


So I took out my torah portion, which is waaaaaaayyyyyy over due. I did sign a promise that I would have it stitched and sent back to Toronto in 6 months, but we are coming up to 9 months. I was able to stitch a few word this week. Here is photo update of where I am right now:

(I'm sorry for all the creases). I have about 2 and 1/2 more lines to finish stitching. I do have a border in mind as well as a design of a burning bush I am planning to stitch at the bottom. 

If you want to see what some of the finish panels look like that have been sent back, go to this link:

If you want to see what the exhibition concept looks like (how the finished panels will be put together and presented), go to this link:

I am always overwhelmed when I look to see what other's have done with their panel pieces and I get excited to be a part of this huge project when I take a look at how the exhibition of this will be done. It will be truly amazing.

Well, it is time for me to sign off and get a few things done around the house so I can sit and stitch today. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Last part of my trip out east

Once my son was settled in his room, I really didn't have anything to do on Thursday (Sept. 4); although I did purchase a few more hangers for his clothes and a yoga mat & bag for him. I was fortunately to run into him while he and one of his hockey buddies were walking around downtown Exeter - so I handed him the bag with the stuff (thus, I didn't need to go back to his dorm/house and bug him anymore). I also got a brief hug; the kind that say "I do love you mom, but I cannot really show my affection because a friend of mine is standing near us." So for the rest of that Thursday, I just vegged out in my hotel room; catching up on some sleep before I headed down to Washington DC for my cousin's wedding.

Sun coming up on Friday, Sept. 5 over a boggy area in Exeter, NH
I woke up early Friday morning to get in a nice jog before I had to head to the airport. The cool, crisp air was such a blessing. And the beauty of the landscape as the sun rose was overwhelming.

The view of downtown Exeter from across the pond as the morning sun shined down
My plane left Manchester, NH around 12:30pm. Manchester is just about 30 minutes from Exeter. Not too bad of a drive. I arrived into Washington DC around 3pm, where I met up with my mother and father. We shared a taxi to the hotel. After getting unpacked, we decided to take a little walk down to the White House.
A selfie with my mother and father in front of the White House - definitely goofy!
That evening, since we weren't invited to the rehearsal dinner, my parents, sisters and brother-in-laws had a wonderful meal together. It was fun to get together with the family...something that we don't get to do very often.

Saturday morning, I got up early and had a very good and inspiring run: I passed the White House, Washington Monument, Capitol, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, WWII memorial, Vietnam War memorial, etc. It was really nice (hot and humid, but inspiring!).

Saturday evening was the wedding. Unfortunately it was outside, where the temperature was 91 degrees and the humidity was 100%...nevertheless, it was a beautiful wedding.
Congratulations to my cousin Charlie and his beautiful bride Kelli!
The photo on the bottom right is me with my cousin Katie
Well, now back home. Only one kid here in the house. Robert is doing well 3000 miles away at school. We have heard from him daily. Which, when I think about all the technology now-a-days, it is nice! Back when I went to college, I had one phone (land-line) in my room which I shared with my roommate. We did have computers, but internet and email wasn't around yet. So my conversations with my parents were just limited to two or three times a week. On the other hand, Robert has texted us daily as well as called several time. Although, we will see how long that will last :)

Any, that should bring you up to date. Just getting use to the new routine here with one kid to deal with - take to school and to hockey. I am finding that there is more time at home and less time in the car on the way to the rink. So, maybe...just maybe...I will find more time to sit and stitch; you think?

Until next time...take care and remember,

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch Often!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The first paragraph in the next chapter of life has been written

Well, I find myself alone in my hotel room - and Robert is settled in his dorm/house - and tomorrow I depart, leaving him behind. However, this has been a fun week. A great opportunity for a Mother-Son week before leaving him at Phillips Exeter.

Last weekend was the Labor Day hockey tournament in Salem, New Hampshire. There he was on a team with some of his Exeter hockey teammates as well as other hockey players from other prep schools in the New England area. Robert's team did well...and the most exciting part was Robert scored the first goal of his team to start off the season and then scored the tying goal to get them into the quarterfinals. Nevertheless, they lost the quarter final game.

After that last game on Labor Day (Sept. 1), we headed north to our destination of Waterville, ME. It was close to a 3 hour drive from Salem, NH to Waterville, ME. We stopped in Portland, ME for a late lunch/early dinner at Eventide Oyster Co. When we travel, we like to find new places by using Yelp or Urban Spoon apps. We pick a town and see what restaurants get good reviews. So, Robert Yelped and found this spot in Portland. It was amazing and was a fun foodie experience.

Left Side Column: Maine oysters on the half shell; Roasted Jumbo Winterpoint Oysters (Korean BBQ, Slaw, Fried Potato); Eventide Lobster Roll on a steamed bun. 
Middle Column: Name of the Restaurant from the oyster list; photo of the oyster bar/drink bar with the oyster shuckers were hard at work; a Side of mini-biscuits w/soft butter with was sprinkled with salted bacon crumbs and chives
Right Side Column: Beet Salad (Tonnato, Trout Roe, Crispy Quinoa), Tomato Salad (Tahini Vinaigrette, Eggplant Puree, Fried Onion), Corn on the Cob (Aioli Sauce, Salted Bacon Shavings, Sweet/Spicy Peanuts)
Everything was delish! It definitely was an experience in food! Robert and I really enjoyed ourselves.

We finally arrived at our hotel around 5:30pm and, after unpacking the car, we plopped on our beds and relaxed. The purpose of us being in Maine, was to visit Colby College. Last August, Robert and I visited this college as part of our New England college trip. We decided to come back up here so we could take another tour of the campus, for Robert to have an interview by a representative of admissions and to meet with the hockey coaches. It was a great meeting and it sounds like they have some interest in Robert; so he will definitely be re-applying to Colby.

We departed Colby, drove down through Brunswick where Robert had an interview at Bowdoin, and then headed on to Exeter, NH.

Yesterday, Wednesday Sept. 3, was the big day. Robert checked-in at Phillips Exeter, got his key to his room and received his ID. We spent a good part of the day unpacking and setting up his room.
Robert outside his house: The Dutch House. A boys residence; 8 boys will be living there this year. Robert has a double room on the second floor.
On the first floor is the common room which has a living room area with couches and tv. Opposite the living area is a small kitchenette, where the boys can keep some food in the refrigerator. There is also a little hot pad, microwave, sink,  filtered water station and coffee pot. Off this area are two single rooms. The stair case is very narrow!
Robert's Room: 2 beds, 2 desks, 1 book shelf, 1 armoire and 1 closet. The door with the mirror on it leads to the bathroom. On the second floor there is one more bedroom which is also a double. The four boys on the second floor share the bathroom.
When Robert's roommate arrived, we got a chance to meet his parents and his grandparents too. They live about 2 hours from the school. After his roommate finished unpacking, we all decided to move the furniture around, putting the beds on either side of the room and putting the desks in the middle near the window which leads to the fire escape.

We couldn't do much unpacking until later in the evening because Robert's boxes we shipped a few weeks ago to a packaging company in Exeter, which stores such things until move in day, didn't arrive until 6pm (which was very frustrating to say the least). Nevertheless, as soon as those boxes arrived, we opened them up and got them unpacked within 45 minutes.

Robert's Room
Bed made, shirts/ties/pants hung, towels folded and put away...and his Minnesota Wild flag hung up. He is set and my job here is done!

So he is off and ready to go. School for him officially starts tomorrow; today he has some orientation activities as well as some workout plans with his hockey teammates.

It is bittersweet...I am so excited for him. This is such a great opportunity - he will get a great education and be able to play hockey. Yet, it is kind of is time for him to move to the next chapter in his life.

Well, on that note I will sign off. Until next time, take care and remember...

Live, Love, Laugh and Stitch often!