Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas Gifties and Goolies!

My children really know me. For Christmas, I mostly get gift certificates to the bookstore and time and space to spend them! In Boston, Jason took me there, dropped me off with an offer of Starwars coffee...ugh, not know which coffee I mean....:p... And, off I went shopping books. Here are the results.
"Atonement," we all have to read before we see the movie, right? "Tiger Claws," is the sequel to "Temple Dancer," which I already highly recommended to all of you, and still do as a fabulous and exotic read for your 2008 list.
"Mary," is a novel about Mary Todd Lincoln...Abraham's wife, and is soooo good...I'm already sneaking reads of it and I just can hardly put it down. It's so much about how they used to institutionalize women in the US (and Europe) without real cause, and women were just helpless and had no way out with men in power.
"Heyday," is an interest book about a group of people during 1848 (an English gentleman seeking to reinvent himself, a muckraking journalist/ pleasure-seeker; a dangerously damaged veteran of the Mexican War; and a free-thinking actress & part-time prostitute with whom the Englishman falls in love...all headed for the frontier and the California Gold Rush. And, "relentlessly tracked, unbeknownst to them, by a cold-blooded killer bent on revenge." Doesn't this one sound good?! LA Times and others gave it rave reviews...
"World Without End," sequel to "Pillars of the Earth," by Ken Follet, which has been keeping me up nights as I read it in great 100's of pages at a time! It's wonderful, even if it is an Oprah pick. I love it..full of stone cutting, cathedral building, revenge, love, witch and bewitching, medieval life and monkish devilry. You have to read this series.
"The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox," is the story of a woman who was locked away for 61 years in an asylum and is now being released, unbeknownst to her great-niece who now becomes her prospective keeper. It's the gothic story of lost lives, family secrets, dangerous truths, jealousy and betrayal. Review: "This haunting and extraordinarily engrossing novel--part gothic mystery, part tangled family drama--reminded me why I love reading in the first place: it's because a well-written book has the power to carry us away to a place we've never been but always suspected was there."
"Flesh and Bone," A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass, who is the world's top forensic anthropologist and his co-author. I will admit it here that I am a huge fan of Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell....Nancy Grace... CSI...Bones...Court TV...Criminal Minds...and anything Forensic on television and on paper!!! I just have this fascination for the whole thing. In my next life, I hope I can tolerate blood and guts enough to work as a forensics person like Tempe on the tv program "Bones!" Hence, the above-mentioned book. I also firmly recommend anything by Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell...and also Jeffrey Deaver. This would complete my dark side....:[ or some of it.... for now....
"Knitting for the Holidays," great little over-sized paperback book with smallish projects for winter. You have to be ahead of the game, of course, so I would have to start NOW to get these done. Don't you love the scarf above, despite my very crooked scanning?
More Christmas presents coming in the next blog entry!
BTW....did anyone find out who the SECRET SANTA is?????? I think I have a clue!!! :)

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Home from the Holidays!

Back home from Boston, and what a wonderful Christmas holiday I had! It was just perfect! My son, Jason, met me at the airport bringing in a rush of crisp, wintery cheerfulness, and we headed off to the Cape through light traffic and crystal snowflakes. Boston was beautifully lighted for the Season with brilliant reds and whites over the City; and, drivers were surprisingly courteous! It was so good to be "home for the holidays." The cold was a shocker to the system for a bit, but, I was warm and snuggy in my coat which I affectionately call, The Bear, because it's so big and soft and furry. The best treat of all was watching my little granddaughter, Hadley, all week as she talked and talked and enjoyed her Christmas. She is 18 mos old and favors trucks, cars and Barney! She calls me "Daddy's Mama" instead of Grammie...LOL It's a long story....:) I had a great time with many blessings.

Now, I'm back to stitching and reading and thoughts of New Year's plans:
*Making new friends is my first goal.
*Finishing stitching projects for Jessica is my second.
*Keeping old friends and enriching those friendships
*Getting our Neighborhood RR rolling again and finished
*Finishing our HAED RR this year
*Getting involved in a new RR somehow, somewhere???
*Working on my Chatelaine Designs
*Working on my favorite WIPs and SALs: Cirque; Bride's Treasures , Colonial Coverlet; HHRH; Canadian/Sanibel Island Journey; Samplers; Marie Antoinette, etc....
*Planning to read "War and Peace," and many new books this year!

Finding New Personal Goals in 2008:
*Doing more geneological research - I found another interesting link to our Plymouth, MA, family. A "Riggs House" in Glouchester, MA, built in the 1600s....
*Thinking about taking French lessons...I've never learned to speak french
*New exercise in the sunshine program 3 times per week....walking and swimming, at least! UGH....I need help with this one!
*Recycle!! Unravelling the mass of boxes of STUFF accumulated over the years...recycling them to Goodwill, etc.. I need to simplify my home and life this year. I need to learn to let go of the unnecessary so I can let in the light!
I want, also, to thank each and every one of you for your heartfelt comments this season about Christmas memories, holiday losses, and struggles both by your blog comments and to me through personal email. Maybe in some small way, it was a comfort to know that we all cared and shared the good and the heartbreaks through the support of those who know.... You are so special! Here's to good friends throughout the year!!
Love and hugs,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

"Cirque.." Progress 12-9-07

Stitched a while on my "Cdc" this Sunday, though I didn't manage as much time in as I had hoped for. Stuff happens!! The new section is of the darker over-dyed thread where the glass piece is pointing...and the lower continuation of the color to the left-hand side.

I blended the lower section thread 1 ply with a thread of Balger med. gold metallic to soften the color and add more sparkle so it would work with the upper right-hand corner medallion. I like how that worked. So, now it's a matter of choosing "strengths" of color, and knowing when to blend metallic.... and when to change to the next over-dyed hue as I move along!

Seriously changing the subject here:
Christmas is a difficult time for so many. When I think of how many suffer over the holidays, my heart just goes out to them. And, when I remember the times in our own lives that Christmas was a mess, and not wonderful in the memory of it...I feel so deeply saddened that I couldn't wipe it away and make it all better; as if it were just a story on a page, or a drawing in chalk that could so easily be redrawn. Life, as they say, just isn't that way.

As you get older, or maybe it's just me, one tends to hold up their lives and actions as if it were possible to make some sense of it all. To see through all the pattern of it like a piece of lace held up to the light. We each have good and perfect people, places and things that cross our life paths, and also, nightmarish, sad and regretful things. One just hopes and prays that she has loved enough and given enough of her "good heart-side" to make the rest pale in comparison. One hopes and prays that at the end, the lace itself with be enough to be remembered as a moment of beauty in time and space. An overall pattern of knots and open spaces that was difficult to make, and caused some pain and trouble, but resulted in something that could be seen as a thing of encouragement to others in the end. Something that said, love made it through brilliantly.

But, maybe it doesn't always seem that way to others...maybe it's just too difficult for children to lose their dad at such early ages, and it's something that truly "ruined" their lives in a way that can't be "fixed." I don't know.

I used to hope I could make it bearable by being there and loving and showing tremendous support for my children. I gave it all I had to give as a mother. I suffered my own grief, walked my own road, made good and awful decisions that effected us all; and tried my level best to give my children a core family, love, understanding and respect; as well as an A #1, sterling USA education that was all money could they could have a great foundation for their own futures. That with alot of prayer and guidance was all I knew to do.

But, you know what? Nothing can really take the place of a real dad. Nobody else can fill the gap. No one can nurture and love a child like their real father....nobody really loves them that much, no matter how much they try. The hole that's left can not be filled. Whether by scores of "father figures" through schools, sports and family and a "new" dad...or by tales/stories of how much their dad loved-- would have been so proud-- was just like you--- so much like your brother--would have wanted to be a part of that--- would have loved guiding you and talking with you, reading with you, playing music with you, touring France with you, choosing a law school with you, helping you find your first apt. and car, seeing you married, watching you with your newborn child, knowing his grandchild... None of that really can make up for the fact that, "My Dad died. I was too young to really know him. I didn't have, don't have, and never will have my dad. I can't look forward to spending time with my dad and child, because he's not here. He was and is gone, and that is final, and I will never see or know him as an adult....ever. And, neither will my child."

Tough to hear, tough to know, and tough to live and still live with as a mom. Never underestimate the value of being a parent and of your children having their parents. It is so basic and so foundational, and; yet, we, in this modern age, have forgotten that it is a fact. Children need to know where/who they came from. Christmas is the perfect time to let them know with pictures and stories of their family heritage.

Christmas isn't the easiest time in our family. We have broken hearts that are patched together, and laced with love and good things.....but we have a hole in our Valentine. Nobody else can fill it, all we can do is look at it a quick moment together and recount how we've survived, and how we made the best of it we could, and acknowledge how much it still hurts. How angry it still makes us.

I hope if any of you are or have experienced sadness at Christmastime, you'll take heart in the thing that gives me the most comfort:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (even the lowliest we can think of type of person...) believes on Him (believes that He came to take us out of the prison of darkness and to set us free from our own harmful choices against eachother and ourselves, and to lead us like a loving parent would through this life with it's difficult challenges and opportunities...) will not die, but will go on to live an everlasting life (in paradise, where He causes there to be no more tears and sadness, no more evil and unkindness, no more heartbreak, no more misundertandings, no more empty spaces....only love and light and understanding and reunion of hearts and loved ones)." Because we know that this world and this life is fleeting and fragile, and that there's no hope except in Love. Every single one of us knows it in our heart of hearts. Love is eternal, never ends, never dies, doesn't keep account of wrongs, hopes the best for us, forgives and forgets, protects and comforts us. Love is all there is that matters. Love is the reason we live. "God is Love."

I'm off to Boston for Christmas...and I'm carrying a renewed hope for a wonderful time of love and celebration in this new generation of Duncans. Because my little granddaugter has a daddy. And, he's going to stay!!! And, I know it will make all the difference.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Don't Fold Cold Laundry & Other Tastey Bits of News

A sneaky little preview of Harmien's McGoblin Buster (aka Voodoo Boy/Girl)!

What have I been doing today? Sorting and washing and folding laundry while I'm online visiting you, emailing and being nosy about new stitching freebie hideouts. By the way, one of my serious pet peeves: I don't fold cold laundry!! If my DH takes it out of the dryer and doesn't fold it, it can sit there 'til Kingdom come! I'm not gonna fold it unless it's hot from the dryer and ready to folded without creases. Just thought you'd like to know ....a fond piece of trivia. PS: I hate laundry@!

And, here we have Grampie's idea of what his grandson's (ages 12 & 10, living in the Boston area), will just love for Christmas! Yep, they were/are real...and they have original, sharp teeth. Debi had to put "Beware!" and "Watch Out!" tags on the boys' Christmas bags this year. Oh, yes, Merry Christmas!! Let me know if you, too, want one or two...they're $15.00. Grampie will be glad to go back to the Everglades City store to find you some! This is why I hold my breath sometimes, I'm sure of it...:[

Above is the type of scary thing I like to make and send! Harmien couldn't wait to see her McGoblin Buster (aka Voodoo Boy/Girl) in progress. So, here SHE is, Harmien! She's coming along nicely with all her glitz and glamour. I had a feeling your McG's were just in desperate need of some "female entertainment" of the type most of us stitching girls are unwilling to provide! So, she's coming over soon to help you out!!...and to get those nasty boys out of your way! Now when we say, "You go, girl!" the McGoblin's will get the drift!!! It's an easy enough chant. :)

She's stitched on 32 ct., hand-dyed Silkweaver fabric in a name I can't remember. I've used mostly my own choices of metallic/Balger threads. AVAS, DMC...the Swars. crystal for her eye...and some over-dyed in GAST. Still playing around with her, so she will probably channel to me what her other "accessories" are meant to be! Harmien, you'll have to name her, yourself....:o

Last, but far from least! A beautiful Christmas gift from Nicole (Island Breezes) came yesterday. Beautiful crystal and silver fobbie with threader in a tin. Nicole, thank you so much. You know how I love collecting tins of all kinds, and the fob is so pretty! It was such a surprise and delight to get your unexpected! Thank you! Isn't it sweet?! Nicole left the tin's insides for me to finish, and I'm going to do just that! Time I learned to at least finish a tin!

I'm leaving for now to go stitch on my "Cirque..." for the evening. It's just a joy to stitch. Hope each of you is enjoying your evening and having some time to smell the Christmas roses.

Hugs, Deb

PS: I saw 2 new Designing Ladies boxes of the type I pic'd last time with Judy O'Dell's finishes....I think they were on Elegant Stitch...or Hoffman Dis. Co. I'm still voting for the Mary Queen of Scots!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Night Owls Unite over Mary Queen of Scots

I've been stitching on Harmien's McGoblin Buster (aka Voodoo Boy) and I think the McG's are itchy. Last night I spent an hour stitching metallics in one general area, only to find I'd missed a stitch which multiplied into a problem and I had to rip a bunch out! I just stared at it in utter amazement. Couldn't believe it got past me when I was so careful! Stitching with pure metallic isn't the easiest on a good day, so I take care in these things....I think the McG's were seriously on my case!
:[ I'm starting on it again today in the daytime. Can't give you a small peek because it's a surprise, though Harmien knows I'm stitching it for her... sorry...

So, this brings me to a happy, non-emotional-venting place, where I can share with you that I found this piece above online tonight, and I want to know why none of you has brought this to my attention!!! Knowing how much a fan I am of all things Queenish and particularly of a Franco/Scots/Anglophile nature... How could you and I have missed this one!? I love it to pieces. I must find some elves to stitch it for me along with my other WIPs, only I want the sensation of kitting it up, feeling the fabrics, threads and silk ribbon and stitching some of it....okay? Thank you very much. Guilia Punti Antichi -- of course-- ;)

For those of us who stitch Chatelaine (see her new one coming out 2/2008): isn't it interesting that it's the identical format as GPA's? This is Martina's new "Dragonfly Boudoir" Online Class. I thought that was very noteable. Is it the Judy O'Dell connection? Because we had that connection with "Leporello." Hmmmmm Which came first, the chicken or the egg? GPA's chart is $16, and I can't remember Martina's cost for hers.

I've been flying around tonight blog-hopping and catching up with some friends I haven't seen for a while. What wonderful things you all are stitching, and what great adventures and misadventures you're all having. Gosh, it's fun to read and see it all!! I know why I blog when I see you all. I'm so happy you're my friends. I'm so happy you're kind enough and so creative you share your lives with me and all of us! What a difference you've all made in my life this year, my first year of blogging.

If I haven't said so before:
Happy Holidays, and Merry Christmas to each of you. Thank you for making this year one of the most enriching and memorable I've ever had in my stitching life. I just think you are terrific. Yep, I mean YOU, if and when you're reading this.

Hugs and love, Deb

PS: I must direct you to see the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog (see my side list)...she and her friend, though not Best Friend, Hyacinth, made some fabulous cookies!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Cirque Update

Dear Sweet Friends, Thank you so much for your encouraging comments about my fabric and thread choices for this piece. You make me feel so great about everything I put my hands to. Thank you all for your comments...really, you give me more credit than I deserve, though!

Here is my weekend's work on my "Cirque des Cercles" SAL! Yay! My first circle is finished. I just love stitching this. You can't see from my picture, but each of the "petals" of this has been enhanced with balger sparkling thread. I'm going to further embellish it, but that will come later this week. The thread is also over-dyed and has very subtle varigation, which I don't think shows in this pic. But, I'm happy with it irl. Fun stuff!

Other news is just plugging along on Christmas projects for narrowed down to trying to finish Jessica's DH's afghan. UGH! Crossing my fingers on this one.

I helped a friend start a new blog. She is skeptical, but wants to start it as a journal as she's leaving very soon on an around the world cruise. Check her out with a warm welcome please at: She's not a stitcher, but she's a reader, and one of my group of girlfriends who suns and chats at the Club pool with me. She's very down-to-earth and fun. Since she's a novice, please let her know where you're from when you comment. Thanks!!

Nothing else going on...except that Harmien and I are starting a new little Voodoo/McGoblin boy stitching circuit going around. Don't be surprised if it shows up at your door sometime this coming year! If you've been following her posts, my comments to her in their regard and some others...she's been visited this past year with some pesky little McGoblins that have just been worse than gremlins and Murphy's Lawish thingies. So, I'm stitching her a little guard against them. She, in turn, is stitching one for our other friend who's expressed a need....and, it will travel from there, I'm supposing!! Look out, McGoblins! We are on to you!!! :{

Here's a pic of the chart

Harmien and I are, of course, ad-libing our own threads, charms and things. These little McGoblins have to be very individual to fit the user and the purpose!

Meanwhile, have a happy week and happy stitching. Keep warm and toasty, too! Deb

PS: Forgot to mention that the darling scissors fobbie was a gift from Helen this past year! Isn't it the sweetest?!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Angels Wings and Cirque Materials

She's got her wings, and she's ready to finish as a topper. I'm not putting the additional border on her. Don't want to make her Christmasey. Sorry for the "Cabbage Rose" tape. I always use this as a way to secure the fabric when I'm stitching smallies.Here is my fabric and thread toss for "Cirque des Cerqes." I'm doing the SAL with Dani, Kathy, Vonna, Nicole and others on the Snowbirds SAL. I have to start mine on Sunday. I want it to look like a Las Vegas Cirque de Soliel show! So, I'll be adding more glitz to mine...balger threads and sparkles in crystals and beading, I hope. Have to see as it progresses....
This fabric is so much darker and so much deeper in blue color. I have an old Sony digital camera, so my pics are never that true, but close enough, I guess. The flash makes them a little lighter than they actually are.

This is my New Year's promise to myself...albeit an early one...I don't adhere to dates necessarily. I'm going to read "War and Peace" this year. Newsweek magazine had an interesting piece this past week or so about this new translation that is more authentic to Tolstoy's words and meanings. So, I had to have it...and I'm going to read it! I've always wanted to because I know it's a historical novel, but mostly I know it's supposed to be a great love story, as well. Surely, the man who wrote "Anna Karenina" knows how to write a good story!

I know I'm supposed to be taking a break from blogging...but I can't help myself! I just love keeping in touch with you! Hugs, Deb

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Secret Santa and Progress Pics

Some progress made on my Prairie Schooler angel. I hope to finish a wing tonight. I also stitched a smallie fob for a tiny present; which design came from the PS's Christmas Noah's Ark design from some time ago. I love the animals and the birds and swans on this design grouping.

For our And They Sinned SAL, I just want to share some progress pictures with you that I thought might be fun to see. We're getting back together with renewed hope. So, any of you who are interested in joining us...please email me and I'll link you with Kathy who's our organizing leader. This is really a marginal amount of progress in 2007, but I'm hoping to kick up the volume in 2008. Some of our SAL group are just starting! AnnieBees asked me which threads I'm using...I've used only GAST, which I love for this piece. I've worked it the whole time on stretcher bars and's so big and has kept clean and neat this way. I was happy to allow my LNS to cut my fabric exactly to size and to whip stitch the edges for me....that way, all I had to do was take it home and start stitching. I didn't want to be incumbered by trying to measure out the long size for myself.

And now the Mystery of the Season!!! The Secret Santa giftie! Yes, I was just amazed and puzzled and tickled to receive one in the mail when I got home last week. I've done some sleuthing and I'm pretty sure I know who the Secret Santa is...but, I'm not absolutely certain. So, I'm holding my peace and seeing how the Mystery continues to develop before Christmas. Who knows, maybe the little Santa has more tricks up her sleeve!! I don't know what to think!!! :0 At any rate, Santina, thank you so much for including me!

Bye for now!! Hugs to you all, Deb