Not hot here

As I look at weather reports across the US and Canada, I “know” that the reporting of temperatures is correct. Having said that, I sit in my craft room with long pants, long sleeves and a too cool breeze coming through the window. At night I am more than pleased to have my comforter and an extra sheepskin for the recent cool nights.

I made a reasonable dent on Part #4 of Vampryum – a scattering here and there on the second side wing and more than a dent in the bloody fanged creature in the middle

and Ms Yellow Mushroom now has legs. Even with all the stitching I have put in on her – I am barely past the 50% mark..

Tomorrow is Monday. I don’t need to go anywhere, but have two more SAL sections dropping in my lap… ummm into my email accounts

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I actually have a calendar in a bound journal in which to track stitching, projects, and release dates for stitch-a-longs – among other things. The additional fancy pages and suggested challenges are beyond what I wish to play. But the basic calendar on which to record everything? Great help. Along with the listing of finished projects at the back of the book.

Today is the 20th. Two releases dropped today: Part #4 of Vampyrum by Noctiflora & the 4th/6 Endangered Species from Lindy Stitches.  As is often the case with SALs, the designer just releases an update of the whole pattern. That is fine for the purposes of having the whole pattern together as far as late starters and placement of the new portion. It can be a bit of a pain for someone using PatternKeeper who is actually tracking stitches per day. If it isn’t obvious, I can describe the painful process of marking off previous portions stitched and deducting off those stitches from what now seems like a huge total of stitches. 

I really prefer the method that Lola Crow does by including a single chart of just the new portion in her patterns.

Anyway – I put in more time on Ms. Yellow Mushroom this morning, completing her “skirt” and starting on her legs


before moving on to Vampryum

that greys&black&white wing thing ran close to 600 stitches. The critter above and frame piece are from the last portion. I have a rather large weird creature for the middle to stitch and the mirror of the grey wing to go. 

I might have gotten a serious more amount of stitching done had it not been for the WNBA All-Stars vs US Women’s Team game. The game was amazing (WNBA won) and it will be fun to follow the US Women’s team in the upcoming Olympics. 

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Deadly Aquarium Part 8

was released today. I managed to stitch both this release and work on the small bit of frame remaining to be stitched.

This week it was the two sting rays and some plant or another.

It was another day of not going anywhere or doing much of anything. This was where I started on Miss Yellow Mushroom (this, thank goodness, is the third of the three..)

I would like to claim I am making rapid progress, but really, I guesstimate that I had about 1800 stitches left in that “skirt.”  The 600 + today  helps but that still leaves me with arms, legs and an almost equally huge mushroom cap..

I ended my evening by listening to Shabbat Services from University Synagogue. They have the remote broadcast technology down flawlessly. Why this one? Well, I have a decades long friend who is part of their choir…

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Halloween SALs

I am a sucker for Halloween Stitch-A-Longs. The great thing about NOT being on Facebook is that there are a fair number which I never hear about. The others? Well, my hard earned pension has gone in dribs and drabs to more than one designer.

For example, Luminous Fiber Arts has a four part SAL which will be completed by the end of August.

This is part 1/4

I already showed you the Haunted Clock. I have a couple of others on hand which I have decided not to stitch. Either they are annoying or not PatternKeeper Friendly. Also, at this point, I am appreciating anything that I can finish prior to heading out with George on our Iceland/New England trip.

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The real Bastille Day

Yes, I know that the actual date should be today, the 14th. There is a lot of appropriation of culture, celebrations, clothing, names, food… Frankly anything can be taken over by another person/organization often for connivence or commercial purposes.  And a lot of us are frankly tired. There is only so much one can push back against…

So this particular Sunday I went back to stitching on the Modern Folk Embroidery pattern. 

and then moved on to the second of three ArtsyHousewife patterns I am doing just for fun. You have already seen the Owl. This one is called Dreamer. I have the rest of that rather large flower to finish.


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We took him to brunch

At Saul’s at the late morning time when you can order off either the breakfast or lunch menu. I like the food and they have excellent vegetarian options (plus no chance of pork being involved in greasing any pans). But I don’t care for how jammed together everyone one and the noise level is much higher than I like. Needless to say, I didn’t need any food for the rest of the day.

I otherwise had a quiet day spent working on another ArtsyHousewife pattern – this one having a flamingo & I think hot chocolate in the mug. Again, I hit the fancy floss bin for a couple of substitutions.  I hit 49% and will include a picture tomorrow.

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making a coffee run

first thing in the morning is either an act of love for your partner who will appreciate the latté or desperation for a high dose of caffeine without any of the accompanying waiting for the coffee maker to finish deciding to process those magic beans with hot water. In any case, Peet’s is just right down the hill and the city doesn’t charge for parking before 0900. Since this was before 0700, I zig-zagged through the few blocks and headed inside, thermos mugs in hand. The staff knows me well enough that the one barista just said “the usual and paying off the app?” Of course, was my reply. I bring mugs to avoid paying Berkeley their $0.25/disposable cup fee. Plus, this has the added side benefit of having hot coffee when I get back to the house.

Anyway, I made the coffee run and spent a goodly portion of the day at an “on-line
retreat” dropping in and out of discussion rooms. Since I wasn’t participating in any of the challenges or games, I just enjoyed chatting with people (and yes, the Australians were up and on-line at 0200 their time) and seeing what they were stitching.

Part #7/13  of the Deadly Aquarium was released this morning. The part included the orangey squid, the white nasty looking fish thing and that rest of the boulder behind it. Considering it was only 750 stitches all told, I managed to finish it before moving on to a bit here and there on other projects,

I am starting to hit the really tired again, so off to bed early.

Oh, yes, I am aware that Bastille Day is 14 July. It seems like the organizers were more than willing to take capitalize on another country’s major independence holiday in order to be in line with the theme of their planned entertainment. OTOH – I don’t think it would have been any more difficult to have had this event early on a Sunday evening than on this particular past Thursday.

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Bastille Day

Which, not being a Francophile doesn’t mean a lot to me. But there was a concert in the Redwood Grove that is a part of the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. George loves the location, thought he would enjoy the concert and got tickets. It is his birthday so I was reasonably willing to go along with it.

In truth, the only positive thing I find about outdoor concerts is that those around me don’t get terribly wound up about someone sitting there quietly knitting in the very last riser row. I started my fourth lap blanket and made decent progress.

The Redwoods meant that it was cool, but sheltered. The mosquitos and gnats were minimal and all but one family kept their children under control. Overall, I will call it a win.

I spent the last portion of the concert looking up –

to even more trees.  The music was French – sort of. The vocalist was pretty much local, and, although she introduced the other five members of the group (clarinet&sax, violin, bass, 2 guitarists) I don’t remember her saying where they were from.

I am headed to bed early, since I gave up and got up at 0430. Stitching, coffee, medical appointments, two zoom webinars, and some errands. I am beat.

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I was thinking as I drove to the Oakland VA Clinic yesterday about how much of the freeway system here is elevated. In some places there are overpasses on top of overpasses while roads travel beneath as city streets. As I headed down the last few blocks of Martin Luther King Boulevard, I decided to count. There are seven in a one block stretch. All filled with vehicles of various sizes and shapes: headed West toward the Bay Bridge & San Francisco, headed North toward Contra Costa County, south toward Hayward & San Jose, or East toward 24 and the cities beyond the hills toward Concord or beyond. And this is earthquake territory.

I mentioned the bridges and overpasses when I was getting my vitals taken. My nurse sat down. She described heading home from work and just exiting the Bay Bridge when the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake hit. Totally shaken (sorry, this was her wording, not an attempt at a bad pun) she finally was able to make her way home. Her phone was ringing as she walked in the door. Her mother was on the phone calling from the SouthEast. The earthquake was on television all over the US. There was a small red car – her make and model, dangling off one section of a bridge….  If you are interested in learning more about this particular disaster whose long range effects have been amazing on the SF water front – here is the Wiki link.

. What is really interesting in the article is that it clearly details all the follow up work to include road construction.

This was a lovely day not to go anywhere. I have managed another small bit of clean up, received the next section of “A Field Guide to Dragons,” added another 400 stitches to the frame and 800+ to the Chinese Dragon. I would hope to finish him up tomorrow – but I have a couple of Zoom sessions, an on-line retreat, a medical appointment, and an early evening concert. 

Oh, yes, and it is George’s birthday. 

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doing the math

Ok, it isn’t math, it is basic arithmetic. This morning I had 494 stitches left in the leaves. I have nine (9) double strands of floss left in this particular color. Getting 50 stitches out of a meter of floss is easy even with needing to make complete stitches (over dyed floss) rather than half stitches down a row and return.)  So my usual 50 stitches per isn’t going to make it. Stitched a leaf and some stem, then another one. Looked at the amount of floss left after completely 80 stitches. Oh – my usual calculation is based on doubling my thread. Whew. I should be ok?

It is at this point my brain recognizes an acute need for coffee plus I need to leave for a medical appointment in Oakland. Bleh.

——————— >-8 ——————

It is now evening. I survived waiting first in my car, then in the clinic till I got seen. Bringing along knitting – mindless knitting of lap blankets.  It seems to make this particular physician happy to see me. Unlike many of the other patients, I have housing, food, and follow instructions most of the time. I also made the wonderful discovery that Podiatry doesn’t need a referral and I scored an appointment for Thursday.

Unlike returning from San Francisco, it is just a jog down MLK and up the hill to home. And then I went back to the Owl. I had enough floss and he is now complete

Stitched on the leftover section of 16ct Autumn Orchard from Fiberlious with a few DMC and all the rest is over dyed Threadworx (the blues, the browns, the leaves).  Personally I think he is pretty cool. Once I have a couple more sections of SALs completed I will stitch her other two ( once a flamingo and the other a raven, each with a totally different relation to their beverage).


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Not listening to the news

No, not me. I don’t find that it does anything but upset me or make me really aggravated. I certainly have no interest in all the talking heads rehashing the same information over and over and …. It does mean that I miss the occasional positive story. But I can get those from skimming the headlines from the San Francisco Chronicle or the New York Times. Honestly? I don’t care about sports player trades either… I am paying attention to what I can do in my local community, if there is something on which I can make a difference. Realistically, right now there isn’t much. Most of the organizations around here either are looking for individuals to do things that are physically outside my abilities (loading cars or bags at the county food bank), or are completely mindless (stuffing envelopes).

Maybe I should sign up to be a poll worker in November?

Anyway, while looking for one thing this afternoon I found three others that are going to find a home with someone else. And I did find what I was looking for – so it is a win all around. With all that good energy, I also cleared one shelf and started on another.

Then went back to stitching. I made great progress on the Owl –

and I should be able to finish him up tomorrow…..

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Second Mushroom Girl

Almost all of her stitching was finished yesterday which left me beads and backstitch this morning. It could have been worse. I easily found where I had tucked the beads and tracked down the same chocolate colored silk that I used for backstitching on the previous Mushroom Girl

So here she is in all of her pink&red colors and beaded glory. 

Having less sense that usual, I decided that I really needed an Owl. So here is the start (38%) on You Got This by The ArtsyHousewife. The fabric is the remainder of the Autumn whatever that I used on the Haunted Clock I showed you a few days ago.

I didn’t even bother to look for any of the called for fancy floss, just went for the DMC substitution. Then thought about it and pulled out three Threadworxs for the blues, 2/3 for the browns, and something or other instead of 3865. I have maybe 40 stitches left on the Owl followed by the rest of the coffee mug and some plants curving up to frame the piece yet to stitch…

Obviously, I didn’t go anywhere or see anyone other that family!

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Triple Six

No – not temperatures or anything else. I was staring at my phone and looking at the total number of “unread” emails in all various accounts which added up to 666.  Now, this particular number can refer to (previous) US highway, a street address,  Christian mythology of revelations (Number of the Beast), or part of a phone number. It brought to mind this particular number sequence used with humor by an Urban Fantasy author as Satan’s phone number (666-666-6666).

I don’t think my email is invaded by evil. I could actually move about 90% of those messages to folders with ease. I always do as soon as travel, events, purchases, family messages have gone past the relevant dates. Then there are those messages which I need to answer and the few messages I keep just to have easy access to older emails or relevant information.  And then there are those from the past which, in filing,  get relegated to the permanent past. I have been around enough years. Knowing people older than I, means  that those numbers are starting to dwindle. Sometimes I find out by accident when tracking down a repeatedly bouncing email. Other times I have been notified by friend or family of the person.

This was not meant as a morbid or discouraging discussion, but one of keeping organized or perhaps relating totally irrelevant information between various aspects of my life.

Anything to avoid planning the organization of this craft room. So instead I made a significant dent on the number of stitches left on the Mushroom girl (now at 95%) leaving me only her legs, some edging, backstitching and beads. I should be able to finish it all up tomorrow morning. I have a couple of small projects I would like to do next. But not starting anything else till this one is done.

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Not as hot

as it was predicted.  Instead of the 30-31 predicted, it made it to 26 on the flats (all in Celsius).  What should also be no surprise, apparently everyone didn’t manage to use up all their fireworks yesterday so we were bothered by more than the occasional amount of noise and explosions. And no, fireworks are not legal here. Since, as I might have mentioned, it just isn’t that far to Nevada, it doesn’t seem to be stopping anyone.

All of this idiocy is in the face of the Thompson Fire in Northern California just starting to be under control.  Near Yosemite National Part has The French Fire (from the French Camp Road) has intermittently caused closure of HWY 140 (main entrance road to the park).  I am mentioning all of this in general support of why I don’t see the point of increasing fire risk. So far I haven’t heard from anyone who really, really likes/wants fireworks.

So I accomplished a minimum of picking up and organizing – stitched the most recent release in the Deadly Aquarium – which was the section involving that openmouthed creature at the bottom of the section closet to the sign. What with 650+ stitches of black, plus the critter, plus a bit more on some frame sections I added another 1200 stitches to this piece.

Then there is the current Ms Mushroom –

and am working my way down her skirt. It is huge with a bit more than 25% of the stitching remaining. Of course, that includes ~120 beads… always the beads.

Oh – you also need a picture with the start of Smaug –

which is obviously the back ½ of the dragon. This is part 1/12 stitched on 32 ct linen with Dinky Dyes silk

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Does there have to be fireworks?

I am truly sorry if you are a fireworks fan, but really. Fireworks are loud, dangerous and not particularly safe for the environment – not in the mining of the minerals, the making of them and certainly not the lighting of exploding things in an area under fire watch.  And, as I remember, personal fireworks aren’t even legal in California. Obviously, the police, fire, and ambulance personnel have more than enough work secondary to the idiots injuring themselves and others while setting fires to not have time to drive around issuing citations.

The noise didn’t stop till well after 0200 (obviously I was awake in spite of being exhausted) and some fool started up before 0700 this morning. The back ground snap, crackly, and boom has been pretty consistent over the day.

We had a late lunch with the youngest two and may see Daughter #2 and our SIL this evening. The weather here has been otherwise lovely with a nice breeze.  I managed to fix my errors made about 0300 this morning on the current Mushroom girl and finished Part 1 of Smaug (Tempting Tangles SAL).

I would say that I am headed early to bed, but what really is the point with fireworks till late?

And no, I don’t think fireworks have anything to do with patriotism. I will stack my 33 years of military service against someone’s pile of fireworks and let you be the judge. Actions please, not noise and destruction.

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While the warmth

of the western sun (US Pacific Coast) is most welcome in the winter, it can be a bit much late afternoon in the summer. At least that is the way it felt yesterday afternoon when I was attempting to find a location that would 1) not leave my laptop in direct sunlight 2)  not leave me in direct sunlight) 3) not be facing direct sunlight while I was on Zoom calls.

I really didn’t succeed all that well. During the day, it really isn’t much of an issue. But late afternoon, especially for a call that is 1700-1900 it is a bit of a challenge for about the 60 days starting mid June. So that was yesterday. I otherwise managed a small bit of organizing, stitched on both the current Ms Mushroom and No Time followed by a serious look at potential projects. I am not in love with this month’s Fabulous House from Cottage Garden Sampling so will choose to put those 7k+ stitches into something else (one of my left from prior year projects).

Today was a trip to the SF VA. For a change, the traffic was almost sane with no significant back-up on the Bay Bridge or the Toll Plaza. I will not say the same thing for the way home. It is about 18-20 miles which took under 40 minutes this morning. It was almost 2 hours to get home once I hit the merge  on HWY 101 and the approach to the SF end of the Bay Bridge. If that wasn’t bad enough, it was even worse on the East Bay end where the bridge traffic merges with I80/I880/I580 or some strange combination there of.

Too tired to trouble you with photos today. I will make an effort tomorrow.

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Four projects

some waiting. Ok, yesterday was Monday. In most, but not all of the developed world, it is the first work day of the week.  I was just pretending to be functional.

For three of the projects – it was a new section in a stitch-a-long. I think I have shown the Herbalist one in the past. In any case, there was a cup – 87 stitches there of. Ant then there is the Haunted Cuckoo Clock from Tiny Modernist. I found this 16 ct Autumn colored fabric from Fiberlicious (came in a FOM club back in 2020). It looked perfect for what I wanted. And what I wanted was to not spend the rest of the day filling in the face of the color with three different shades of orange.

I think this works just as well. I can always go back and do that later. So that is two. The third was a new dragon which I will share on Thursday. And then there is the current Mushroom girl.

No cleaning was done….

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July starts

with garbage trucks. That is not as dire as it seems. Our weekly pickup for garbage and recycling is Monday morning. And that is regardless of rain, shine, or public holiday.  In my min I see this parade of trucks leaving their home to venture out with various lines and groups peeling off in different directions as they hit major city junctures. We are at the start of the service. The first truck through comes up our section of Euclid, a left turn from Eunice at 0630.  Euough said.

I made a morning coffee run to Peet’s and now am pretending to plan out a productive day. Or week. Or month? Right.

process on the second mushroom girl. I hope to get back to her after completing a couple of SAL sections that drop on Monday mornings.. Otherwise, just a normal day*

*and hopefully I haven’t jinxed myself

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Summing up June

Another month, half the year gone  Fast? Slow? It seems like both and neither.

First half of the year – birthdays for the Eldest, the Guy, the Youngest, and Lev. Birth of Ilan – grandson number two.  Almost no travel (and no transAtlantic or TransPacific cruises). Some cat sitting, 5/6 Chemo cycles completed (explains the no long cruises doesn’t it?)/

Cleaning and organizing not really done. Two stitched items completely finished and up on the wall (that was February).  A ton of dish towels machine embroidered and gifted for a retirement present.  A lot of cherries and pistachios eaten..

Cross Stitch – 41 projects finished this year – five this month. I have three current single patterns (NTLTP, Mushroom, 324) and six (Sapphires, Halloween, Dragons, Aquarium, Vamprym, Herbalist)  in progress, and  down to five (4 SALs & one sampler) left over from previous years.

Today is Zoom calls, perhaps a knitting meet up, some stitching, and I am thinking pattern sorting….

Meanwhile – Ms Mushroom –


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I am working very hard on pretending that yesterday didn’t really exist. Shall I just leave it at “it wasn’t a great day.” I should have expected it. I finished the 5th cycle of chemo just a couple of days before and today felt almost like a withdrawal. I have gone off caffeine a couple of times in my life, neither of which were particularly fun. This was along the same lines minus some of the headache severity.

Anyway – I was looking for small accomplishments. Three loads of laundry topped my list. One was bed linens, the other two just the normal amount of personal clothing that accumulated over the last week or two. 

Every time I attempted to do anything else, something went wrong. I rapidly became frustrated at having to pull out stitches and do them again. Giving up, I retreated to computer games. The worst that happens is that I have to reboot the computer if I totally screw things up. 

Things this morning seem a bit saner. I have managed to nuke the last of yesterday’s coffee and put in a few hundred stitches on some new coral in the current release for the Deadly Aquarium.

From there? Probably work a couple of hours on one of the left over SALs from previous years before putting sometime into the current projects. 

The morning fog (marine layer) has gradually pulled back so that I can now see across the street and partly down the hill from the upstairs windows. There are faint outlines of trees, but the Bay isn’t visible yet. OTOH – no thunderstorms or tornados – so there is that. 




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