God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith;
the warmth of Christmas, which is love;
the radiance of Christmas, which is purity;
the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice;
the belief in Christmas, which is truth;
& all of Christmas, which is Christ.
--Wilda English

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Where Did I Put Those Matches???

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, & not be weary;
they shall walk, & not faint."
Isaiah 40:31
_____________________

Remember this???
I posted it on Monday.  It was my start of Good Tidings to You, a Sampler Girl design which appeared in the 2011 JCS Ornaments magazine.  I had stitched it that year for an exchange partner & always wanted one for myself.  When it came time for me to pick a new start, I picked this one.  Here it is this morning.
You are probably thinking "Wow, Easily Influenced Stitcher!  Way to go!"  Well, not quite.  I had actually stitched a bit more than this.  I had finished the word To & was starting the Y in the word You but something wasn't right.  I first suspected this when I stitched the word Good.  I had mistakenly left 2 spaces between the G & the o.  I should have left only 1.  This became apparent when I was stitching the d & didn't have any space to stitch the bottom left part of the letter.  I remedied this by frogging the d & & shifting it over 1 to the right.  This made it closer to the snowflake motif (or whatever that thing is) but I figured I could live with it.  I then began stitching Tidings.  When I got to the end of the word, the s was way too close to that snowflake thingie.  I checked my stitches.  Drat!  I positioned the dot on the second i one space too far to the right.  I frogged the ings & restitched them correctly, but things were still not right.  I couldn't understand it. Everything was positioned correctly based on the letters in the word above.  The snowflake thingie was positioned correctly. What in the world???  Well, it didn't really look bad.  There wasn't much space between the right snowflake thingie & the s but I convinced myself that I was okay with it.  I next stitched the To.  I counted & recounted based on the letters above it.  It was where it should be based on those letters, but still something was off.  It was at this point that I became concerned about the bunny.  What if the letters came too close to the bunny & messed up my stitching of him?  I looked at the chart ... the bunny was positioned far away from both the To & the You.  I decided I probably didn't have to worry.  I then began stitching the Y in the word You & I noticed when I got down so far that the bottom of the Y was going to end up a few stitches underneath the bottom border.  I knew then that something was terribly wrong, but where?  I had checked & checked & checked again!  I checked once more & there it was.  I had made an error & repeated it many, many times when stitching those little horizontal lines in the border underneath & on top of the pieces of pine.  I had counted 5 stitches going across & 4 on each diagonal.  Horror of horrors, I saw that I should have been alternating 5 stitches on the top horizontal lines with 6 stitches on the bottom lines!!!  Naturally this carried over to the right side of the border where I placed 5 stitches on all the vertical lines.  I felt sick.  I thought about frogging everything & starting again but frogging tiny stitches on 40 count fabric is not very appealing.  The thought of just throwing away a 7" square of lovely cream Newcastle linen makes me very unhappy, but not as unhappy as the thought of frogging those stitches.  Therefore, Good Tidings To You, which I have renamed Not So Good Tidings To You, is being sent off to the landfill.  I don't think I can face starting this design again, at least not now, so I am instead going to find something else to start. Wish me luck   : )

On a happier note, the mailman brought me a package yesterday from my dear friend Sally at Stitchyangel's Treasures.
I did a post a while back asking everyone about their favorite teas.  Sally mentioned how much she enjoys Twining's Lady Grey tea.  I had never heard of it.  She offered to send me a few bags to try.  I thanked her but didn't want her to spend the money for postage.  I told her I would look for it at my local market.  She told me not to do that ... what if I bought it & didn't like it?  I would have wasted all that money for a whole box of tea I didn't like.  She said she wanted to send me a few bags instead & I said okay. Well, Sneaky Sally not only sent me a few bags of tea, she sent me a little surprise as well!

Another Sampler Girl design!  I was so excited when I discovered this design & had to laugh because I had thought about stitching the same design for Sally   : )   Thank you again dear friend!  I love it!

Incidentally, the tea is very good   : )

Monday, May 27, 2013

Blooms & Stitches

"Peace I leave with you;
My peace I give to you;
not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled,
nor let it be fearful."
John 16:33
_____________________

Today's iris bloom is nothing unusual, just the typical blue-purple color.  This sadly seems to be the last of the iris blooms I'll be sharing with you.  If I had left them neglected in the pots like I did for the last 2 years, I would've had all kinds of colors ... lol!  Well, I imagine that transplanting them into good soil was a bit of a shock to them & I'm lucky to have any blooming.  If I'm still here next year, I'm sure I'll be able to share more photos then   : )
I've spent some time this weekend finishing a few projects that I've frankly been too lazy to finish for quite some time.  These are things that only needed a few more stitches to complete them.  I ran into problems & just set them aside for another time.  They are now happily completed   : )   I can only show you one of them though.  The others will be gifts.

This cute snowman is from a Bent Creek Zipper kit called Got Carrot?  I think the expression on the snowman's face while those 2 bunnies eye his nose is priceless!  I got quite a surprise when I started working on this kit.  I didn't pay much attention to it when I bought it & chose to stitch it a few weeks ago because I thought it would make a cute ornament.  Well, the kit comes with a rough 18 count linen that looks very similar to burlap & the stitching is done with pearl cotton!  It will make a great small pillow or framed piece but certainly not an ornament. I am thinking about stitching it again on smaller count linen so I can have my ornament   : )   The design included a sort of snowflake arch with blue beads accenting it. I didn't want this so instead I just stitched a few snowflakes as if they are falling down from the sky. 

Got Carrot - Kit Photo
Got Carrot - My Adaptation
Yes, ladies & gentlemen ... the eyes of on the bunnies are indeed colonial knots.  Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do   : )

This next item is a new start of a Sampler Girl design, Good Tidings to You, that appeared in the 2011 issue of Just Cross Stitch Ornaments.  I stitched this design for a swap partner that year & always wanted to make one for myself.  Now's the time   : )   Rather than the 32 count fabric which the design calls for, I am using 40 count & stitching over 2.  
I hope everyone is enjoying their day.  Last night John & I finished watching the 4th season of Doc Martin.  Tonight we are going to start watching Jeeves & Wooster.  We like Hugh Laurie from watching him in the House series.  The character he plays in Jeeves & Wooster will be totally different.  Should be fun   : ) 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Saturday Morning

"Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer & petition,
with thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, 
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts & your minds
in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:6-7
_____________________

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  I hope everyone will be able to enjoy a good weekend!  The weather is quite lovely here this morning in the devil's playground, bright & sunny with a predicted temperature of 70 degrees.  The only thing that would make it a better day is a sudden shift in temperature resulting in a blizzard with below zero wind chills & a couple feet of snow accumulation. Speaking of which, & I know you are all going to love me for bringing this up, but exactly 7 months from today it will be Christmas Day   : )

Our smoke bushes & trees are looking good. In the early mornings the dew accumulates on the smoke plumes, which are made up of many teensy-weensy flowers, & this makes them look sort of frosty.  I was able to get 2 photos this morning.  The first one is when the smoke is covered with dew; the second is how the smoke usually looks.

I've been steadily stitching the mystery design I posted on Wednesday.  I can't share with you what it is or show any updated photos because it's a gift.  I'm sort of nearing the end now & already wondering what I will stitch next.  Do you plan when you will stitch certain things & put them in order of how you will stitch them, or do you just stitch something when it calls to you?  I do the latter.  I've kitted a few things in the past thinking "I'll do this one next," but when it comes time for me to start a new project, I just can't muster up the enthusiasm I had for it when I kitted it!  I then start rummaging through my stash to find something else ... lol!

We had a very nice young couple from Colorado come to see our house yesterday. They are wanting to leave Colorado & the husband applied for a job here.  If he gets the job, they will, of course, need a house. John & I kept out of the way as they & their realtor walked through the house.  We were sitting on the porch & I had to chuckle a couple times because we could hear the wife saying things like "Ooooo!  Look at this!" & "Wow, isn't this nice!"  When they were finished going through the house, they came out on the porch & talked with us for a while & then they explored the yard.  Their realtor knocked at the door before they left to thank me for allowing them to see the house & to tell me they really loved it.   Needless to say, if they buy it or not will depend on the outcome of the husband's job interview.  I can't help but wonder ... is God providing a job for this man so that he & his wife will buy this house?  I have no idea, but even if they move here & buy another house, I am praying God's best for them.  Would you please say a prayer for them too?

Isn't it wonderful when you can give something to God & just lean back & rest knowing that He's taking care of things?  A year or two ago I would've been sitting here fretting about why the house hasn't sold yet, will it sell, where will we go when it does sell, etc.  Thanks to your prayers for me, I am calm & at peace.  Leaving things in God's hands helps us avoid making mistakes.  If the house sells, I'll know it's God's will.  If we can't find a home to rent anywhere except in one particular area, then I'll know that is where He wants us to be.  It's a good feeling : )        

John & I aren't doing anything special this weekend.  Since the weather is a bit cooler, it will be a great time to transplant our Russian sage.  I need to spritz weed killer in a couple places & I think I'll straighten up the garage a bit while I'm at it ... & I guess I'd better get at it   : )   Thanks for stopping by & for your continued prayers.  Many hugs to you all!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Morning in the Life of the Easily Influenced Stitcher

"Lean on, trust in, & be confident in the Lord
with all your heart & mind
& do not rely on your own insight
or understanding."
Proverbs 3:5
_____________________

The sun is shining brightly this morning here in the devil's playground.  I decided to take a brief walk in the yard with my camera to see what I could see.  I would've taken Pearl with me but she is still sleeping.  The blind (me) leading the blind (her) in the execution of french knots was not the smartest undertaking for either of us yesterday.  She needs all the rest she can get.  Anyway, back to the yard.  I don't have any photos of new iris blooms to show you today but here is a rose bush that is already blooming profusely.  These roses actually smell like roses!  It's so hard to find roses that smell like roses anymore.  

While taking my stroll I was excited to see a bluebird!  I managed to capture a couple photos of him ... one on the rain gutter above the garage & another on a fence post.  I have seen him & Mrs. Bluebird flying about the yard now & again but this is the first time this year that I was able to get photos of one of them.  I am glad they are visiting us again this year   : )

Speaking of critters, here's what I have to deal with most mornings when I'm at my computer.  Note that Pearl was so exhausted after our french knot fiasco that she passed out right here on the table!
Thank God I don't have any aspirations to be a hand model!  Look at that fat hand & all those veins & wrinkles!  If horror movies were still in vogue, Hollywood would be beating a path to my door.
"Hey!  Why did you take your hand away?"

I'm not sure what I will be doing today.  My guess is schlepping around the house looking at all there is to do but not feeling like doing any of it.  Yep, another morning in the life of the Easily Influenced Stitcher.  I did do some stitching last night but I'm not ready to show it to you yet.  Maybe I'll do some stitching today.  Then again, maybe I'll just go back to bed.    

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IHSW - Late Posting Again

"A man's mind plans his way,
but the Lord directs his steps
& makes them sure."
Proverbs 16:9
_____________________

I didn't get as much stitching done this weekend as I had hoped, but I did finish 3 things & got a start on a fourth.
Design:  From Me To You
Designer:  The Blue Attic
Fabric:  Lambswool linen 32 ct
Floss:  Recommended DMC

This design is supposed to have the outline of a somewhat large white heart stitched to the right of the peacock but it looked too Valentines Day to me.  I thought about adding something else there ... maybe a little key ... but my husband thinks it looks fine as is, so as is it will stay   : )  

Design:  Tis Better
Designer:  La-D-Da
Fabric:  Some kind of 32 ct linen
Floss:  Recommended Gentle Arts

I've been wanting to stitch this little design since I bought it & I really like the way it turned out.  What I don't much care for is the thinness of some of the GA flosses.  I like my cross stitches to cover the background & that doesn't always happen with GA.  Still, it's a lovely design which I'm sure I'll be stitching again   : )

Design:  I'm not telling right now   : )

I'm keeping this design under wraps for now. It's an odd shape, quite rectangular rather than square, so I'm opting to stitch it without a Q-Snap.  So far, so good!

I've got quite a few things accumulating that need to be finished into pinkeeps or whatever.  I keep trying to talk myself into doing that.  Hey!  Maybe Pearl would like to give that a shot!  I'll have to ask her   : )

I've got another iris blooming!
I forget the name of this one but a nice size clump was given to me last year by Winnie, the daylily lady. She actually loves all sorts of growing things but her favorites are daylilies.  This iris blooms twice a year, once in the spring & then again in the fall.  I wish they all did that   : )   Please try to ignore those sad looking rhododendrons in the background.  Yesterday we had quite a storm.  The rain was pretty heavy at times & we had some thunder & lightning, but the worst of it was the wind!  We had 50 mph winds which actually loosened a downspout on the side of the house!  I am thankful that it was not totally pulled away!  We are predicted to have more storms today so I am sending John up to the foundation block pile at the end of the yard to bring back a block to hopefully secure the downspout until we can get it fixed.  Anyway, I had hoped during all that wind that it was blowing off all those rhododendron flowers, but no such luck.

I hope you all have a lovely day!  I have a lot I should be doing.  What I actually will do, however, remains a mystery   : )   Well, not all of it.  I'll be eating.  Can't let a day go by without doing that!  Wait ... this is me I'm talking about.  I can't let an hour go by without eating something ... lol!  In fact, I think I'll go rustle me up some grub for lunch right now.  Some of you have been showing off your baking skills recently.  Maybe I need to look at my recipes   : )

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Happy Sunday!!!

"And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those
who love Him ...."
Romans 8:28
_____________________

Happy Sunday everyone!!!  I have been having a bit of a struggle this weekend, thus the scripture reference above.  Wise words we all need to remember.  

I know you are all interested to hear how Pearl is enjoying her cross stitch lessons. Well, she's really excited!  I knew she would be   : )   The Q-Snap is a bit difficult for her to hold, but resting it on a pillow is the perfect answer!     
She was so proud of her first stitch ... I just knew you'd want to see it   : )
I promised her that sometime this week I will show her my stash   : )

It is a hot, muggy, humid, miserable day here in the devil's playground.  I discovered this when I ventured outside to take a photo of my first iris of the season.
Unfortunately I don't remember the name of this iris.  I know I have written down somewhere in my files.  You can see the remainder of some of our rhododendron blossoms there on the right, & those ball-shaped things beyond the iris are peonies. Two peony bushes were planted by incompetent landscapers 2 years ago.  One died; the other kind of shriveled to near nothingness.  There was a small lump of roots last year which I dug up & planted in this spot, not expecting it to amount to anything.  Well, surprise!  It will be interesting to see what color this peony is.  I know it will either be pink or red.

I decided to also take a photo of this little area against the garage where the clematis has decided to bloom wildly & the bee balm is happy.  I don't know what it is about this year but all the plants are really healthy & doing great!
I've been stitching as much as possible this weekend for IHSW but I haven't accomplished as much as I hoped I'd accomplish.  Every little bit helps though, I guess.  I'll share photos tomorrow   : )

Friday, May 17, 2013

My Friend Pearl

I was 4 years old when Pearl came to stay with me.  I remember it well.  It was Christmas day.  I opened one of my packages from Santa & there she was.  My mother remarked how we looked like twins!

Pearl & I became inseparable.  We'd have tea parties, picnics in the back yard, & go for walks & bike rides in the neighborhood. I'd take her along with me when I went to visit cousins or on weekends in the summer when I'd go with my parents to our cabin in Marienville, PA.  We slept together every night.  When I started school, I remember the heartbreak of having to leave her at home.  

Time passed.  I don't know what became of Pearl, but I've always missed her.  I've been searching for her throughout the years without any luck.  Oh sure, I'd find Pearl lookalikes from time to time, but my Pearl was special.  She was an original with soft rubbery skin stuffed with heaven knows what.  Her arms & legs were not jointed.  She was wonderful!

I was online a little over a week ago when I mosied over to eBay ... not someplace I usually go ... & I decided to try searching for Pearl again.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw her in a listing!  Yes, there she was! All 17" of her in great condition (the years had been good to her) wearing her favorite babushka & polka dot dress.  She even still had her original underwear ... clean, of course   : )   I wrote to the seller asking for clarification that this was indeed "my Pearl" but I couldn't wait ... I went ahead & made a bid anyhow. It was the minimum bid.  I figured people would overbid me but I planned to keep on bidding until I got her.  

Last week I received a notification in my inbox.  I had won the auction!  No one else had made a bid!  I couldn't believe it!  I couldn't click the PayPal button fast enough!  
Pearl has arrived!  We have so much catching up to do!  One of the first things we did was have a tea party just like we used to   : )  
I am going to show her how to cross stitch this weekend.  I think she'll like that   : )   

It's nice to have my friend back   : )

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Senses Have Returned

I must start this post with an apology for my emotional breakdown yesterday.  I am blaming it on stress.  I know many of you have serious problems to deal with, yet here I am feeling like the world is ending because of my house selling issues.  Last night I was getting a few things ready for John to take to the post office this morning.  I was writing out a little notecard when I noticed a quote written quite small on the bottom of it ...

"Be still before the Lord
& wait patiently for Him...."
Psalm 37:7   

I think God was trying to tell me something   : )   I hope that I will handle my disappointments & discouragements better in the future.  

I received the most wonderful RAK in the mail & it certainly couldn't have come at a better time.  Barb ... Barb's Ramblings - stitching 'n things ... sent me these gorgeous gifts!

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you!  Not one, but two stitched items, both beautifully stitched & finished!  The pinkeep at the top is a Shepherd's Bush design called Simple Joys. The little mini pinkeep at the bottom ... stitched over 1 on 40 count no less!!! ... is a Sampler Girl design.  I can't stop looking at them!  I have them displayed on my dry sink which sits across from my computer table (actually our dining table but we never eat here).  Barb also sent me a little notecard & wrote the sweetest words inside it.  How very blessed I am!  Thank you again Barb, for your thoughtfulness!  I truly am gobsmacked    : )

This weekend is IHSW weekend.  Last night I went through my stash, picked out 3 projects & kitted them up.  Just small projects, mind you.  I plan to give myself lots of stitching therapy this weekend   : )

I have no real plans today.  If you had asked me a few days ago, I would've told you that I would be starting to do some serious packing this weekend.  In fact, I recently ordered some much needed packing peanuts & large bubble wrap.  However, I'm now thinking "Why bother?"  I'm not asking myself that question in an Eeyore sort of way, but if I start packing things I'm not using but enjoy looking at, it will make the house rather empty ... & what if we end up stuck here for another year?  I think I will just postpone the packing until we get a contract.  Of course then I'll be zipping around the house like a tornado, but that's okay.  I'll zip   : )

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

Yesterday I had the possibility of 2 buyers for our home but no place to rent.  Today I have the possibility of 2 places to rent but no buyers for our home   : (

I assume our counter offer was rejected although we were not informed of such.  I imagined that the buyers would tell their agent that they wanted to accept, decline or counter our offer.  I then assumed their agent would inform our agent of their decision, & naturally I then assumed that our agent would inform us.  I haven't heard a thing.  Oh wait ... I'm living in the devil's playground.  Why on earth did I think people here would have common courtesy?  I'm not aiming that at our agent.  I'm sure he would've called if he had received some news.  He obviously didn't receive any.  Still, he could've called   : (

I have not heard from our agent since yesterday afternoon when he called to tell me the people who were supposed to see the house at 5 o'clock were going to have to reschedule due to a medical matter.  He said they wanted him to call this morning to let them know if they could come over today. No word on this either.

I'm a bit discouraged   : (

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sing Along With The Easily Influenced Stitcher



I'm Getting a Little Freaked Out Here

Who would ever guess that it could be so hard to find a nice home to rent when you have several states to choose from.  I have spent hours upon hours upon hours these past few days sitting in front of my laptop trying to find something.  Perhaps it's my own fault that I can't find anything.  I have standards.  

Many homes look pretty nice but the rent is priced way beyond what someone not related to Bill Gates can afford.  I mean honestly ... $6,500 a month to rent a 3-bedroom house?!?!?  Other homes are priced right but they look like condemned buildings, or they are uglier than the ugliest thing you can think of.  

I have found a few homes (very few) that look like real possibilities.  I've emailed the agents & have received no response.  I've then called the agents, left a message, & have received no response.  What is it with these people?!?!? Are they wanting to rent their homes or not?!?!?  If the homes are already rented, can't they be bothered to take them off their websites & respond to let me know they are no longer available?

I have searched various locales in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, western Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, New York, & Connecticut.  I've even searched in Tennessee which as you no doubt may be aware is not known for its snowfall accumulation.  I've even searched areas we previously determined impractical ... like Montana.  With the exception of one lone possibility where we used to live before in Crossville, Tennessee, there's nothing.  I will admit that this one home is lovely from what I can see of it online, & I know the area well so I know it's a good area, but the idea was to find a place farther north, not farther south   : (

Things are getting down to the wire here. We received the offer I mentioned last Saturday, we countered it on Sunday, & the buyers now have until 6:00 p.m. this evening to either accept it, counter it back, or walk away. Meanwhile our agent called yesterday to ask if someone could come here at 5 o'clock this afternoon to have a look around.  They are aware that there is an offer already but they want to be first in line if it falls through. They love what they've seen of the house online & they are cash buyers.  

I did not expect the house to generate offers so quickly.  I certainly did not expect to have trouble finding one to rent!  Someone told me that perhaps God is shutting doors to everything but this house in Tennessee because He wants us there for some reason. Maybe she's right.  Once again I ask for your prayers.    

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Yikes!

Thursday afternoon we had our first viewing ... a very nice young couple with 2 children. They were here for quite some time but did not appear to be too interested.  While they were looking around the house, their realtor came out on the porch & told me they are desperate to find a place because their home has sold & the closing is in 2 weeks.  I was surprised that she told me that. Anyway, our realtor called yesterday afternoon & told me that their realtor called & indicated to him that they were seriously thinking about putting in an offer.  This morning he called to tell me they did make one & how much it is.  We have until Monday afternoon to accept or counter.  He said that we don't have to accept the first offer given to us because he knows the house is going to generate a great deal of interest. The offer is on the low side but of course people almost always offer less than they think a homeowner will accept realizing that a counter offer will probably be made.  If we do end up signing a contract with these people, they want us out of here on June 14th ... thus the Yikes!  We will really have to scramble!

Please pray that we do the smart thing   : ) Also please pray that if a contract is made that it will go through & that the perfect house will be waiting for us to rent it when we need it.

Thank you   : )    

Please Forgive Me

Before I write anything else, I need to ask all my recent giveaway winners to please forgive me.  I have not forgotten you!  I've just been a little ... okay, more than a little ... overwhelmed as of late.  I promise I will get things together & in the mail by the end of next week at the very latest.  I will post when they are on their way   : )

Thank God for Xanax!!!
I think I would have needed to be carted off to the loony bin by now if I did not have this stuff.  I'm sure I've mentioned before that my husband & I have moved many times over the years.  In the past I've always anticipated a new move, looking forward to it as an exciting adventure!  Now I'm grabbing for the Xanax ... lol!

Finding a nice house to rent in a place we've never been is a challenge, to say the least. Here's what I look like sitting at my computer trying to find one.
I've emailed quite a few realtors in several states asking about renting a house & adding that if they did not handle rental homes, could they refer me to anyone who does. I've received a response from two of them & one of those responses was just a curt "we don't handle rentals."

I am doing my best to
I know that if this is God's timing & His will, our house will sell & He will lead us to just the right rental home in just the right town in just the right state.  

"The Lord says, 'I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.  I will advise you & watch over you.'"  
Psalm 32:8 (NLT)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Think, Think, Think

"When he thought, he thought in the most powerful way he could think."

If I had a nickel for every thought I have had concerning where we might move if/when our house sells, well, I'd have a lot of nickels.  In my continuous OCD-ing about which state, which town, which this, which that, I've been hitting some dead ends as far as locations go.  An area turns out to be too remote, the cost of living is too high, there's a high crime rate ... stuff like that.  Therefore, my focus has shifted a bit.

As I have mentioned previously, John & I are going to rent for a while ... maybe forever. We would prefer to rent a house.  Prior to moving to the devil's playground, we rented a very nice house in a 55 & over community in Tennessee.  It was a lovely area & part of us wouldn't mind returning, but the other part of us would.  If possible, we would like to find a similar community in another state but my search thus far has not been successful. 

Where are we considering to go now?  We have crossed off some of the previous locations we had thought about & have replaced them with these two ...

Ohio

Indiana

Can any of you Ohio/Indiana ladies give me any info on possible towns that would be nice to live in?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Easily Influenced?

My blog is primarily a stitching blog even though quite often I talk about other crafts & ramble on about other things.  It did not start out as a stitching blog though.  When I realized that is what it had become, I changed the name & became The Easily Influenced Stitcher ... but why that name?

Well, looking back I think I can pretty much pinpoint the day I realized I have this character trait.  Marly of Samplers & Santas fame had been posting her Prairie Schooler Santa projects over the course of a few weeks.  They called to me, but I turned a deaf ear to their cry.  After all, I had never considered myself to be a "Santa person." However, Marly kept posting & those jolly old elves kept calling.  Then it happened ... her post of December 7, 2011.  A crack appeared in my armor.  Then another post appeared on December 9, 2011.  The crack in my armor became a bit wider.  I sent her an email on December 10th in which I described my visit to the 123 Stitch website where I found PS Santa charts & leaflets & couldn't click "Add to my Cart" fast enough!  I told her that my work was cut out for me ... stitching all those dang Santas before the next Christmas was upon us.  That would've been Christmas 2012.  As of this date, my nimble fingers have not stitched one Santa, but they are in my stash & I will stitch them one of these days   : )

One of Marly's Many Tempting Santa Displays
The Results of Her Influence
(You can read about it here.)
 

The influencing has continued ... most recently in a post by Vickie at A Stitcher's Story.  On April 19th, Vickie wrote a post titled Rabbit Stitcher where she shared a photo of her newest finish ... Rabbit Stitcher by Little Treasures Designs.  As what usually happens when I see something I like in a blog post, I immediately stopped reading & rushed off to the 123 Stitch website to find that chart, but they didn't have it!  I Googled it. No luck.  I finally sent an email to Vickie begging her to loan me the chart.  She very kindly did just that   : )  

Vickie's Rabbit Stitcher
 My Rabbit Stitcher
(I still need to add the little silver needle)
Is my easily influenced nature limited to stitching?  Heavens to Betsy no!  On March 19th of this year, Trace from Granny Trace Scraps & Squares posted a photo of a little book she had won ... The New England Butt'ry Shelf Almanac.  "A very sweet read," she said.

Trace's Book
My Book

Trace also posted some really neat blue reproduction Ball canning jars on March 28th.
Trace's Jars
My Jars
On April 30th, Chris from Tot Hill Farm Stitches did a post asking Have You Seen This Fabric?  Well no, I hadn't seen it before that day, but now I can see it whenever I want!
Chris' Fabric
My Fabric
What can I tell you?  As Popeye always said, "I am what I am."  In my case, that's easily influenced ... not always a bad thing   : )

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

In Mourning

Every year on May 8th I dress in mourning clothes.

I mourn the memory of closing on this house. Yes, 4 years ago today, John & I came to the devil's playground for the closing on this house.  This year, my black pants are currently in the washer, my black top no longer fits me thanks to my high carb intake over the past 16 months, &, well, I never did wear a hat, but one year I bought some black netting to wear over my face.  I never looked so good   : )

Although it is another day of mourning, this year it is also a day of hope.  Well, hope with a mixture of total panic!!!  Yesterday I was contacted by our realtor.  We actually received a bid on our house without ever having a viewing!  Stranger things have happened, I suppose, but this has got to be one of the strangest.  Unfortunately, the couple wanting to buy it was approved for a loan way, way, way below our asking price so we had to turn them down, but this odd bid has gotten me to thinking that we might possibly sell this house much faster than we ever imagined & this is making me a nervous wreck!!!  After telling the real estate agent that we just couldn't sell at that price, I sat down at my computer to try to determine where we will live when the house sells, looking much like the woman in the photo below but sadly without the  Chinese food.  
As if this bid from left field wasn't enough, our realtor was also contacted by our next door neighbor who asked if we would consider selling him the hay field behind our house, roughly 12 acres.  This man is one of the devil's playground's leading citizens so that should give you an idea of what kind of neighbor he has been to us.  When we moved here, we were rather naive.  This is a rural farm community & we imagined friendly neighbors knocking at our door to welcome us after we moved in.  We even joked with each other that some of them would probably bring us a chicken or a goat or something   : )   Well, no one welcomed us at all.  This neighbor saw us outside in our yard plenty of times, but it took him an entire year to walk over to the fence, call to us & introduce himself.  In the next breath he asked us if we were going to have livestock out back.  We said no, & he then asked if we would allow him to graze his cows on that land.  He said he would take care of readying the land & everything else.  We were fine with letting him do that.  We told the person who had been cutting the field that we didn't need him anymore.  One month went by, then two, then three, etc. The neighbor never readied the land, never brought in any cows, & never bothered to tell us he wasn't going to do it.  The hay grew wild that year & we had a terrible time trying to find someone the following year to cut it down & haul it away.  This is also the neighbor I've mentioned a time or two in the past ... the one with the 2 pit bulls that he lets run wild.  He bought these dogs a year & a half after we moved in.  They would come into our yard at all hours, relieve themselves everywhere, eat the food we threw out for the birds, chase cars, & jump all over us & anyone else who happened to be here.  We couldn't leave our garage door open anymore to let air in because the dogs would come in & chew things up.  Two years ago we had landscaping done around our foundation.  It was very pricey.  The day after the beds were finished, I walked outside to find the dogs lying in one of the beds.  They had dug holes in it & tore a downspout & drain off the side of the house, broke it into pieces, chewed it up.  That was the last straw.  We informed the neighbor of what had happened.  The neighbor apologized & said he would repair the damage.  He never did, & his dogs continued to run wild.  John started screaming at them & chasing them away every time they came over here & I think this guy's wife got tired of hearing it because they suddenly built a pen for the dogs.  However, the dogs have been roaming free more & more often recently. They have already walked through the landscaping we had done a couple weeks ago, ate a nest of baby bunnies, & the day before yesterday they were trying to get at some baby birds in a nest in a low tree ... & this guy has the nerve to ask our realtor if we would sell him that back piece of land! Unreal! 

I have some fun stuff to share with you ... maybe later today, maybe tomorrow.  It depends on how the day goes.  I'm going to do a bit of straightening up so the rooms where I have piled all the moving & storage boxes don't look too messy, & I'll see what other trouble I can get into   : )  

Monday, May 6, 2013

Tea Survey

Before I get started on my tea survey, I would like to thank everyone who has commented thus far to my post yesterday.  Please keep those suggestions & opinions coming   : )   I especially want to thank Heather, Karin, & capecodgirl565.  You are no-reply bloggers so unfortunately I am not able to respond to your messages directly.

It has been raining since Saturday night.  Not a hard rain ... just an almost steady spring shower.  The rain has stopped now but is supposed to continue later today in the form of thunderstorms.  I love me a good thunderstorm   : )   As you can imagine, it's quite soggy outside but also very green & you can almost stand at the window & watch the plants grow   : )

Tea!

A cup of tea is always pleasant no matter the season, but it is particularly satisfying on a snowy or rainy day.  Brewing up a nice pot of tea & sipping a cup while standing at the window watching the snowflakes or raindrops fall, sitting by a warm fireplace, or while working on a particularly enjoyable bit of cross stitch or knitting is like a little bit of heaven on earth   : )   

I am rather adventurous when it comes to tea.  I try all different brands & flavors. Sometimes I've wasted my money, but other times I've found tea perfection!  My husband also enjoys tea, but he is a one tea kind of guy.  Bigelow Constant Comment.  I'll admit it's a good tea, but there are others I think are much better   : )

Wallace & Gromit like tea!  I love Wallace & Gromit!  How I would love to have my picture taken with them ... & in front of a tea van too!!!
Do you like tea?  What is your favorite tea? Are you adventurous or a one tea person like John?  Do you prefer bags or loose tea? Do you take milk in your tea?  Sugar?  Honey? Do you make use of a pretty tea set or just boil some water in a pan & dump it in a cup?  Do tell   : )