Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cross-Stitch Kits I Bought This Spring

Sometimes I think I've become obsessed with cross-stitch.  I don't know why I should be as whenever I start a cross-stitch project I do nothing but curse counting stitches.  I almost always get lost in the diagrams and end up finishing a row  or column ahead of where I should be.  Then I have to rip it all out and re-do my stitching.

But, when I come to the end of the cross-stitch I'm always pleased at the results.  On the other hand, my brother usually isn't happy when he knows how many cross-stitch or craft projects I'm working on for gift giving.  The reason is because it inevitably ends up being work for him. You see I love to finish my cross-stitch in wood shadowboxes and I need him to help me make them.

Actually, I think he complains just to put on a show - he really does love working on the projects with me.  And, I love working in his shop.  It's really amazing.

In any event, I bought a few (well, make that many) cross-stitch kits this Spring.  In fact, based upon the list below you might say I went a little overboard! Ya think!

Here's what I bought:

Monday, June 28, 2010

Well, They Had Their Way - Yet Again!

As a reader of my Linda's Blog and The Dollie Storage Room Blog you are probably well aware that my dollies have minds of their own. Maybe that's even an understatement. They have strong wills and strong points of view.

Plus, they have a distinct advantage over me in sheer numbers. There are literally thousands of them in the "Dollie Storage Room."

Yes, I know - my creative juices have gotten the better of me in the last few years. I, simply, have made way too many dolls. That's neither here nor there now. The fact is there are a lot of them. And, when they want something - well, THEY WANT IT! They're just so demanding.

The other day I heard rumbling and knew right away that it was coming from "The Dollie Storage Room."The "dollies" were up to something and making a lot of noise. I could only wonder what that was all about. So, what do they want now?

For sure, I knew it would just be a matter of time before they told me - or demanded something.

Well, it seems the "dollies" had gotten together and decided that 4 years was long enough to wait. They wanted to put on another "Dollie Fashion Show."  The last one was in 2006 and this was 2010!

This time they decided they wouldn't even ask me if that was "okay." My opinion, I guess, no longer matters. They wanted to do this, and so they will. Since ours is a democratic household, they out number me 1,000 to 1, there wasn't much I was going to be able to do. Even if my vote were to count double or triple or more, they'd still far out number me.

A little while later I got a message that "Doris Marie" wanted to see me. Whenever the dollies want to smooth things over with me they always sent "Doris Marie."

After all, she is named after my Grandmother and, well, you pay attention to your Grandmother - don't you?. So, Doris Marie came to see me. And, it seems she'd brought a picture, flowers, and a list with her. Hmmmm...... This was interesting..... Hmmmm????

Well, the dollies decided that they really didn't want me to be mad at them or feel excluded. So, since they were going to put on a fashion show (for a good cause - their own!) they decided to smooth things over with me.

They wanted some advice - at least that's what Doris Marie told me. Of course, what they really wanted was me to write about a few of them in a "The Dollie Fashion Show" series on my Linda's Blog  and The Dollie Storage Room Blog .

It seems Doris Marie had brought a framed picture of me in my one and only fashion show, flowers, and a list of the dolls participating in the fashion show. They figured I'd love the flowers - which I did. And, they figured I'd love the picture of myself - which I did. That, of course was over 35 years ago - in my youth when I looked really good. Okay, I still look good - just older and a lot heavier!! Ah, the aging process is wonderful - isn't it?

In any event, the list was so I knew who to write about. After all, each of the "dollies" wanted their own post. With 1, 796 dolls (most of whom were participating) this was going to take a very long time. I only hoped that several would be walking down the runway together so I could write about some of them as a group. One can hope!

Well, Doris Marie is just so darn cute it's hard to refuse her. She knows that I can't win when it comes down to a battle of the brains debate. She always wins. She's just too darn smart. Either that, or I'm too darn old and tired.

In any event, since the "dollies" had already decided they were going to do this whether I liked it or not all I could do was refuse to write about them. But, what good would that do. They'd pout and shout and stamp their feet 24 hours a day 7 days a week and hubby and I would get no sleep - let alone peace in the house. So, I agreed to write about them in another "Dollie Fashion Show" series.

They decided that they wanted the theme of the fashion show to be "Everything and Anything!" With that kind of theme you never know what you're going to see. So, I walked over to "The Dollie Storage Room" and stood on the podium.

"Okay, ladies...Um...I mean "dollies" settle down. Please settle down."

"Ladies, Um..Gentlemen, Um..Girls, Um....Boys, Um..Snowmen, Um...Raggedies. Um... I'd like your attention. I'd like to say a few words to you."

"You're trying my patience!" I said. "If this room does not quiet down in the next minute you are all going to the bottom of the "dollie" scrap material pile - never to be seen or heard from again. Maybe even taken apart to be remade into something else! Like a pillow or a crazy quilt!"

"YIKES!" And, with that statement you could hear a pin drop in "The Dollie Storage Room."

After all, the "dollies" all prided themselves on their own beauty, their own uniqueness, their own wonderfulness, their own individuality. They could never allow themselves to be taken apart for scraps of material to make a pillow or a crazy quilt. No way! Why that was just inhuman!

But, alas, they were only "dollies" and I could do what I wanted with them. Talk about the ultimate power.  I could make them into crazy quilts if I wanted to. But, I wouldn't ever do such a thing - would I?

None of the "dollies" wanted to take that chance and find out. No sireee!!!! None of them. So, they all settled down.

"Okay, ladies and gentlemen -- I mean "dollies, animals, snowmen, raggedies, primitives, witches, pumpkins, dolls...." When I say "dollies" I mean all of you, okay? Not male, not female. Not boy, not girl. Not animal, not snowmen. I'm using the term "dollies" to encompass all of you. Okay?"

"If you're in agreement, please raise your hands," I said.

And, with that all of the "dollies" raised their hands (that is, if they had hands). Some of the animals raised their paws and some of the other crafts tipped their heads, bowed, honked or did something to indicate they were in agreement

I said, "I just wanted to let you all know that I think another "Dollie Fashion Show Series" is a fabulous idea. And, if you had come to me to ask if you could do this - I would have said okay and we wouldn't have had all this noise - all this fuss - all this too do."

"I would have said yes right away. See, you don't know me as well as you think you do! "

With that all the "dollies" felt bad and started to rush the podium. I was overrun with "dollies" trying to make amends. Trying to hug and kiss me.

I raised my hand and said, "Stop! I know you all feel bad about this. I really do and I thank you for wanting to hug and kiss me but, you can't all do it at once. So, just blow me a kiss and that will be enough."

Well, with the number of "dollies" all blowing a kiss at the same time I knew there would be a wind gust. So, I held on to the podium and smiled and thanked them and then went to comb my hair.

I guess it's time for more fashion shows. I'd better get to writing.........

Fall Is Just Around The Corner And I Can Hardly Wait!

It's hard to believe that Fall is just around the corner. One of my all time FAVORITE times of the year.

Every time I think that I couldn't possibly make any more dolls or design any more patterns - Fall happens. And, then my creative juices just take off.

Of course, I don't let on to hubby that this is happening as he already thinks we don't have enough room in the house to fit any more dolls. I, of course, know that I can always make room. But, that little secret is between you and me.

For now I'm just excited that Fall is just around the corner. I'm hoping you are, too.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Our Hearts Are Broken

Our hearts are broken. We had to make the hardest decision of our lives - to lay our "baby", our "Bud" to rest.

If you're a reader of our Linda's Blog you know that our "Bud" has been the center of our life and king of our household. You also know that he had a really tough Spring last year from spleen surgery to seizures, which I wrote about in a blog post entitled "He's Our Baby and Our Bud!".

What you don't know is that last July the hits just kept on coming for him. He was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease and a thickening of the walls of his intestine. He wasn't eating, was throwing up and had bouts of diarrhea.

At first we weren't alarmed about his not eating as he had always been a picky eater and had a day here or a day there where he didn't want to eat, but it was never for multiple days in a row. More like once a month or every other month he'd have a day where he didn't want to eat or drink.

Before he was diagnosed with diabetes his not eating or drinking water every once in awhile for a few hours or a day wasn't as much of an issue. After the diabetes the drinking of the water became more of an issue as we didn't want him to get dehydrated. So, on those occasional days when he wouldn't eat or drink the vet gave us mini plastic syringes and showed us how to get water into the sides of his mouth.

This time, after a second day of not eating and drinking water we became alarmed and took our baby to the vets. The vet did some blood work and recommended an ultra sound. She thought it could be inflammatory bowel disease which, while incurable, could be treated with a special diet and/or medication or it could be cancer of the intestines.

After several ultra sounds they determined that he had a thickening of his intestinal wall, but our vet and the specialized vet could not determine whether the thickening was caused by cancer or something else. They would need to take a biopsy of the tissue which required major surgery as it would be difficult to get at this particular layer of the lining.

We refused to put Pepper through another major surgery after he had recovered from his spleen surgery and seizure episodes in the Spring. Our vet told us that the treatment for both was basically the same so first we started him on a specialized diet.

Well, our little guy who was a picky eater from the start ate the specialized "yuck" food for about a day and then refused to eat it. Nope "our king" wanted good food - not vegetarian "yuck!" So, that was a no go.

We also put him on several medicines that had shown promise with inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal cancer in pets. The cancer medicines made him very sick so we discontinued those.  Some of the other medicines seemed to give him some relief, but very quickly he reverted back to not eating, throwing up and diarrhea. So, we increased his medicines. The increase seemed to work for awhile and then stopped working. So, we tried a different medicine. It, too,  seemed to work for awhile and then stopped working.

The medicine that had shown the most promise for inflammatory bowel disease in pets was Prednisone, but was not an option for our little guy as he was diabetic and Prednisone reeked havoc with diabetics and their insulin levels. Well, when we got to the point where he was losing weight, not eating for days at a time and we were going to lose him the vet recommended we put him on Prednisone.

The Prednisone worked wonderfully for several months, but it too, eventually wasn't working as well. We were at a point where we needed to increase the Prednisone which we didn't want to do as the medicine to help him caused some of the very symptoms he was suffering from along with incontinence. Our little guy was mortified every time there was an accident and we just didn't want to put him through that again.

During the last few months our baby would have periods where he was okay for a few days and then he'd have a day when he was sick. Then he was okay and he would be our old "Bud" again, then he'd be sick.

One of the major side effects of the Prednisone was bloating and his little belly just kept getting more and more bloated. His stamina was slowly failing. But, every once in awhile he'd have enough stamina to walk down the street to see one of his pals which always filled us with hope that maybe he was getting better.

Our hopes were short lived - it was not meant to be and when he started having trouble breathing we made the hardest decision of our lives. We laid our baby, our "Bud" to rest. He was finally free from all his health issues and free to "run like the wind" and, as we imagined, jumping from cloud to cloud.

We had our little guy for thirteen wonderful years. He was our constant companion 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He was always with us and involved in everything we did.

We miss seeing him under the sewing table, in his favorite room - our sunroom, laying between us on the sofa, hogging the bed, following us from room to room always involved in everything we did, running outside like the wind, laying under our feet at the dinner table, gently staring up at us when he wanted to go for a walk or when it was time for him to eat something, barking at his favorite electronic toy, and jumping in our laps.  We miss seeing him come running in the house after one of his walks and jumping from rug to rug.  He'd stop short where ever I was sitting and look at me as if he was saying: "Did you miss me, Mom! Did you miss me!"

He was the joy in our lives and helped us through the health crises and subsequent death of several family members during his short lifetime. He was our rock and the steadfast love of our lives. Our hearts are broken and the house is so very empty. We can only hope that he is waiting at the gates of heaven - waiting for us.

Rest in peace "Bud" until we can be with you again.

A Bridge Called Love

It takes us back to brighter years,
to happier sunlit days
and to precious moments
that will be with us always.
And these fond recollections
are treasured in the heart
to bring us always close to those
from whom we had to part.

There is a bridge of memories
from earth to Heaven above...
It keeps our dear ones near us

It's the bridge that we call love.

Author Unknown

Tribute To A Best Friend

Sunlight streams through window pane
unto a spot on the floor....
then I remember,
it's where you used to lie,
but now you are no more.
Our feet walk down a hall of carpet,
and muted echoes sound....
then I remember,
It's where your paws would joyously abound.
A voice is heard along the road,
and up beyond the hill,
then I remember it can't be yours....
your golden voice is still.
But I'll take that vacant spot of floor
and empty muted hall
and lay them with the absent voice
and unused dish along the wall.
I'll wrap these treasured memorials
in a blanket of my love
and keep them for my best friend
until we meet above.

Author Unknown

My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes.

Unknown Poet 

"Your paw prints will be forever in our hearts."

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

When You've Become The Oldest Generation!

This past weekend was the Memorial Day weekend and, as such, that got me to thinking about Memorial Days in the past and about the fact that with the passing of my Mom in January that my brothers and sister and I are now "the oldest generation" alive for our family.

Boy, when I was younger I never thought I'd see that day. We always talked about reaching the year 2000 and how OLD we'd all be. I would be 46! YIKES and to me back then that was ancient. Now at the age of 56 I'd like to have those 10 years back.

Memorial Day was established as a way of remembering and paying tribute to the military heroes who lost their lives in service. However, when I was a child Memorial Day was also a day to pay respect to our ancestors and always preceded by going to the florist and getting all the flowers that we would be putting on the graves of our deceased relatives the next day.

At the time this was a BIG tradition for my family and lots and lots of flowers were bought and displayed. My grandmother, grandfather, older brother, and I would travel around to the various grave sites and display the flowers, say a prayer, spend a few minutes and then be off to the next grave site.

In total we may have visited 3 or 4 cemeteries - I can't really remember. What I do remember was I had to wear my Sunday best for the visits and that it was very, very important to my Grandparents. So, I always tried to be on my best behavior- which for a young child was not always possible. Especially, when you had an older brother who was constantly - or should I say incessantly - teasing you.

In any event, that was a long time ago and I can't remember when the last time was that I actually visited all the grave sites. It's been awhile I know. Somehow with the passing of time, the many moves of families nowadays, and my own life getting in the way my family has lost the tradition of honoring our deceased relatives on Memorial Day by visiting their graves.

While I didn't visit the graves of my deceased relatives this weekend I can still honor them by showing you a picture of some of them.

My Parents

My Mom's Side Of The Family

My Mother, Grandparents, and Great Aunt

My Grandparents

My Mother and Her Brother

My great-grandparents

My great-grandparents

My Dad's Side Of The Family

My Father, Grandmother, Grandfather, and Aunts & Uncle

My Grandmother

My Great Grandmother 

Also,  I have thought that as the "oldest generation now" there is a way I can truly honor them for all eternity. And, believe it or not - it would be by setting up another blog. That is, when I had time (now that's a laugh!!!)

It would be a family history blog to house all of the wonderful old pictures I have (including some of those on metal plates - they scan beautifully) and to let all of my relatives see what their ancestors looked like.

And, what better way to do this then through a blog. That way it is online and always accessible to them no matter where they are located in the world. An heirloom type of blog. I think it would be a great way to honor all of those who have gone before us.

Until my blog is done - to those who have gone before us:

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal. - Meaningful Quotation by From a headstone in Ireland

For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. - by William Penn

What we remember from childhood we remember forever - permanent ghosts, stamped, inked, imprinted, eternally seen. ~Cynthia Ozick

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." ~ Thomas Campbell

"Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy." ~ Eskimo Legend

Life is eternal; and love is immortal; and death is only a horizon; and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight. ~ Rossiter W. Raymond