Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Gary and Penny 2018

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Spring Cross – Framed

I’m sad to see this series at an end. This is what it looked like before I framed it:

Spring Cross 11-1-18

I told you that I went with mats that were much different than what I typically would pick. However, I think that they really set this piece off very well. Are you ready?

Spring Cross Framed 12-8-18

Sorry about the reflection. I couldn’t find a place where I wasn’t getting something reflected in the glass. If I wasn’t so cheap I would get the non-reflective glass (which is REALLY neat, but it adds about $60 to the cost of the glass). The inside mat is a soft yellow and the outside is a coral color. You can’t tell in this picture, but the frame is a brownish gray, which really goes great with all of the gray in the cross.

Since this ends my Cross series, I’ll repost all of them.

Christmas/Winter Cross:

Winter Cross Framed 4-18-15

Summer Cross:

Summer Cross Framed 8-16-16

Autumn Cross:

Autumn Cross Framed 2-3-18

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Gary’s Unexpected Guest

Lately things had been a bit rough for Gary.

Gary Magnum PI

While attending a Halloween party dressed up as Gary P.I., he’d been trying to impress some ladies when he fell off of the deck railing and broke his neck. It was not good. Luckily he had been wearing his helmet!

But he spent the next few weeks in traction…

Gary in Traction

When a storm trooper’s weaker spots get injured it takes them a lot longer to heal than a normal person. He was released from the hospital, but was ordered to wear a neck brace for another month to make sure everything was healed.

Gary's Neck Brace

Oh, and yes, Gary kept his mustache from the Halloween costume. He thinks it makes him look distinguished and mature.

Gary Watching TV

Despite his manly mustache, Gary was beginning to feel depressed. What had he really done with his life? Sure, he had a pretty nice house and good friends, but he missed the travel that came with his military career. Maybe he should take a long vacation to an exotic location. As he sat watching M*A*S*H re-runs he decided that Klinger made Toledo sound like a wonderful place. He might even be able to take in a Mud Hens game! Toledo is probably beautiful in the Fall, too!

His musings were suddenly interrupted by the ringing of the door bell. Gary wasn’t expecting anybody to stop by, so he was confused when he opened the door.

Unexpected Guest

At first he thought it might be an Ewok, but then he realized it wasn’t chubby enough. Who could this be? That’s when a voice said…

Gary and Penny Meet

“Gary, I’m your daughter…”

Daughter? What? How? Who??

Penny G Nelson

He was so shocked that he didn’t stop her when she opened the door and let herself in. His daughter? She must have been about 5 years old and he’d only been out of the military for three years or so.

Vivian's Letter

“Momma told me to give this to you,” the little girl said as she handed him an envelope. Gary opened it and read:

Dear Gary – Guess what? You’re a daddy! Okay, so I probably should have told you sooner, but I’ve been a bit busy. Also, you didn’t leave me your number or anything. I happened to be reading a blog about sewing and model airplanes when I came across a post about you. That’s when I realized how unfair everything has been for me. You are off on pool-side vacations and driving tractors while I’m putting my dreams on hold. I can’t be a fashion designer with a child. I mean, how am I supposed to stay out all night at parties with famous people if I have to get up and hand the kid a can of spaghettios as she walks off to school? It looks like you have it pretty good, so it’s your turn. When I’m rich I’ll try to remember to send you some money for her. Talk to you later! ~ Vivian.

Gary staggered back towards the couch. A daughter? How could this be? Then he flashed back to one of his last shore leaves. His unit had just finished searching for some droids and decided to hit up a pretty interesting cantina. As he was sipping a beer he looked over and noticed a gorgeous woman making eyes at him. He had swaggered over, hoping that he looked enticing to her, and said, “A penny for your thoughts?” She giggled and said, “It’s going to cost you a lot more than that, mister.” His buddies warned him that she was there ‘for business’, but he didn’t care. Looking back now, perhaps he should have used the money for more beer.

Pick Me Up Daddy

“I’ve always wanted a daddy!” the girl said excitedly. “When Momma said that I was going to come and live with you I was so excited! Pick me up! I want a hug!”

Penny and Gary

“I just know that you’re going to be the best daddy!”

Gary finally found his voice and asked, “What’s your name?”

“My name is Penny Guiseppe Nelson. Momma used to say that apparently thoughts come with a much steeper price than she had realized. I’m not sure what she means by that. But she had a picture of you that had the letters M-I-L-I-T-A-R-Y-I-D on it. I used to look at it all the time because I wondered if you loved me as much as I love you. And I have so much to tell you! There was this one time that I was walking to school…”

Penny launched into a story about a pretty rock she had found once and how many colors were running through it, but Gary interrupted her, “Penny! Slow down. You don’t want to stay with me. You must miss your momma, right?”

Penny vehemently shook her head, “Oh no! Not at all. I’ve always dreamed about having a daddy and now I do! Daddy, can I have a kitten?”

Penny Meets Tina

Instead of a kitten, Gary introduced her to Tina. Tina was so excited to have a little person to play with that she could barely contain herself. And Penny instantly fell in love with the miniature camel.

Gary’s mind was still reeling. There clearly was no denying that the child was his. She had his eyes and his build. He had wanted adventure, but he never thought that it would be the adventure of being a parent. Things were definitely going to be different!

The Nelsons

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Dreaming of Summer!

Red Roses 6-8-18

Literally. Winter has barely reared its ugly head (and technically we’re still in the Autumn season) and already I’m dreaming of roses in summer. Kind of.

I dreamed that I was walking around my neighborhood garden center.

Garden Decor

I turned a corner and they had a rose bush that was marked down to $.90!! I knew that I had a dollar bill in my purse, so I scooped it up. It was a climbing rose that had some buds on it so I could see the colors. It was an usual bush as it had both peach and blue blossoms (no, there aren’t any actual blue roses… they are all various shades of purple).

Purple Roses - Biltmore 7-6-17

Some were a deep peach and the others were a periwinkle blue (although they called it delft blue). The problem I had is that it’s essentially winter so I can’t plant a rose bush right now. How was I going to keep it alive until at least April? I figured that as long as I kept it watered and in sunlight it should be okay. I talked to somebody at the nursery and they told me what nutrients to give it to keep it happy without encouraging it to grow.

Boogart's Rose Bush 6-3-16

I spent the next twenty minutes walking around trying to find the stuff that he had suggested, but all I found was candy. And it was a lot of sponge candy that I can’t eat. *sigh* Finally I gave up and decided that I would just go home and order the stuff online.

As I was driving home (again, this is all still in my dream) I realized that I don’t really have a good spot to keep it in my house all winter. Besides trying to keep the cats from eating it, I would have to find a window that would get enough sun. Since I don’t have any good South-facing windows I decided I would have to ask my mom to keep it for me as it would go perfectly in front of her patio doors.

Snow Pet Peeves

Inside. Not outside in the snow. That was the end of the dream.


I did have another dream that was odd. Even for me.

I dreamed that I had reached down to scratch my foot, but when I pulled my hand back my toe had come off! I held my toe in my fingers! I looked down and it wasn’t bleeding, but I thought it was odd that it would just fall off like that. I know that when you dream about your teeth falling out it means that you’re feeling insecure, but what does it mean when you dream about your toes falling off?

Hurt Toe 4-6-12

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Project Linus Blanket #15

Project Linus Blanket #15 - Winter Blues

“Winter Blues”

Perhaps I was inspired by the permanent color of our sky now, but as I was crocheting this one the colors reminded me of the cold sky filled with snow clouds. If you have lived where it snows you know what I’m talking about. There’s a definite difference between rain clouds and snow clouds, and typically the snow clouds are the same color as this bluish gray in the blanket. I’m getting depressed and cold just thinking about it!

Project Linus Blanket #15 - Detail

I found it to be really interesting that for whatever reason when I was crocheting the variegated portion, the middle band ended up lining up almost perfectly! I know that if I sat down and figured out the math I could probably tell you why it did, but it still makes me chuckle. It’s almost like looking through a fan when the blades are running… you can see stuff moving behind them, but they have a blurry edge to them. Anyway…. that’s blanket #15!

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Woodworking Progress – November

There’s been a lot of activity in Jay’s work shop. The saw dust has been flying!

Although, not so much on the jewelry cabinet:

Jewelry Armoire 11-18-18

The shelves are installed, the doors are fabricated, and the trim has been added. I believe we are to the point of installing hinges… if we had them to install. Those have not yet been purchased. So it sits and waits…

We did manage to get one project together and put to use:

Platform Bird Feeder

The platform bird feeder has been weather proofed and had the screen installed.

Platform Bird Feeder

I haven’t seen as many birds on this as I had expected. I have one mourning dove that gets in there and then refuses to let anybody else in. The sparrows are in there when the mourning dove is not occupying it, but that’s about it.

I went out there one day to see how much seed had been eaten, and I noticed some anonymous critter poop in it! No wonder the birds don’t want to spend time in it! The problem was that I couldn’t identify the poop to know what is getting in there. I told Jay that I wanted to buy an inexpensive camera and set it up so that I could catch the critter in the act. The only critter I’ve seen around is a skunk. Jay saw it around the feeder, and I saw it actually on its back legs leaning into the feeder to get to the seed, but I haven’t seen it IN the feeder. I did a quick google search on ‘skunk poop’ (which turned up a lot of interesting pages!), but none of it really looked like what I’m finding in there. We might have to build a platform to put it up a little higher so that the pooping critter can’t get into it.

(An interesting aside about the skunk… it’s quite a striking creature! If it hadn’t had the tail upright I might have mistaken it for a cat because it’s almost all white! It just has some splotches of black on its head and at the base of the tail. When a rabbit came hopping up a little too close it waved the tail in warning, and the rabbit backed off. Thank goodness!)

The other outside project that I had Jay do for me is an experiment of sorts. I wanted an easier way to cover my rose bushes. Usually I wrap them in burlap and struggle to get the thread sewn through the seam to keep them closed for the winter. Then I struggle in the spring to gingerly untangle the rose bushes from the burlap. It’s a pain. So, this year I’m trying these:

Rose Bush Covers

Yes, the picture was taken from inside because I had already been wet and frozen putting these out there. I had Jay make tripods (actually, quadpods as there are four legs) and then I stapled the burlap to the legs. This way the burlap will help protect against the wind and snow without having to be cinched up close to the bushes. I didn’t cover all of them, just the hybrid teas as they are the delicate creatures of the garden.

Rose Bush Teepee

Last year I had Jay build a wooden teepee for this rose because all of the snow and ice from the roof falls down on top of it. The problem was that there wasn’t enough air movement so when I pulled it off last spring there was a LOT of mold and mildew in it. YUCK! I’m hoping that the wooden support will prevent the ice from doing any damage to the rose bush. We’ll have to see. In the spring when I’m done with the supports they easily pull apart so that I can store them without taking up a lot of room.

The next project is one of mine.

Jesus Nuts

I am going to make these into key chains. You’re probably wondering what in the world are they? They are wooden Jesus Nuts! (Please keep your thoughts pure as these are also made from the old church pews that we used for the Advent Wreath Stand). Thanks to Wikipedia, here is the definition for a Jesus Nut:

(or Jesus Pin) A slang term for the main rotor retaining nut[1] which holds the main rotor to the mast of some helicopters, such as the UH-1 Iroquois helicopter; or more generally is any component that represents a single point of failure with catastrophic consequences. If the Jesus pin were to fail in flight, the helicopter would detach from the rotor and the only thing left for the crew to do would be to “pray to Jesus.” Real examples of the Jesus pin failing are few and far between. However, the pin must be checked before the flight.[2] 

I had found a site that sold silver Jesus Nuts as jewelry, but I decided that this would be a great way to use up some of the scraps of church pew oak that we still have sitting around. You have to admit that Jay does have to do some work for the spoiling that he receives from me. He cut these out and tapped them so that they can actually be threaded onto a bolt. Then he made a mop sander for me to use:

Mop Sander

This sander did a good job of smoothing out the sharp edges. I have some touch-up sanding to do on them and then I get to finish them. Like I said, I’m going to make key chains out of them and hand them out to friends who will appreciate them.

I don’t have pictures, but currently under construction are some Christmas gifts. I already know what Jay is making for me, but I won’t tell you so that you’ll be surprised when you see it. There has been more milling being done as well, but that’s for another post.

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Spring Cross – DONE!!

This was officially finished on November 1st. I started it on February 3rd. Almost exactly 9 months from start to finish! I think that this is the quickest that I’ve stitched one of these crosses. I’m not sure if it’s because it had less stitching (it didn’t seem like it!) or if it’s because I went out of my way to make sure that I worked on it consistently.

Here it was the last time you saw it:

Spring Cross 10-23-18

And now it’s done!!

Spring Cross 11-1-18

I have washed and pressed it, so now I just have to find the time to lace it up and frame it. I ended up having Hobby Lobby make a frame for me because I just couldn’t find anything that had a deep enough frame or that really called to me. I also chose two mats that I think will really set this piece off. Jay was a bit surprised by my color choices because they aren’t the usual colors that you would associate with me. I’m not telling you what they are because I want you to be surprised with the end result.

I did pick out my next big project, but I won’t start on it until after Christmas. I asked Jay for some special scroll rods as gifts and I want to use them next. In the meantime I’m keeping busy with making Christmas presents and I’m still working on the crocheted garland that I want for my tree. I have one 10′ section done, but that’s it. I’m going to put it on this year despite the fact that it will be all alone. As I finish the other ones I’ll either put them on or put them away for next year. I figure I’m going to need at least three 10′ pieces. We’ll see how far I get on those!

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