Monday, July 28, 2008

TIES THAT BIND


Over the past week, my time was divided between many different events and tasks, thus there was little time for stitching.

The beginning of the week met with being a Crew Leader at our annual Vacation Bible School. This year's theme, Power Lab, was a pretty popular choice among area churches and ours was no exception. I have to admit in all the years of my working with Bible school, this year proved to be one of the most exciting for both children and adults alike. As much as I enjoy helping out with this wonderful event, I couldn't help but feel as though I was neglecting my cross-stitching. (Okay...so I know nothing is supposed to take precedence above our Lord & Savior...especially when it comes to doing His work.) But the human side of me wanted to be at home stitching each night. It hasn't been that long ago when I picked my cross-stitching back up after more than a decade, so I wanted to be a little bit selfish in spite of my good deeds last week. I guess the war between good versus evil never ends. :)

Try as I might to steal a few stitches here and there through the course of the week, it was not to be!!! My week quickly turned into the weekend and I was off to travel out of town on Friday with my mom & youngest daughter to be with my aunt who was having a complete hysterectomy done as a result of being diagnosed just two weeks before with Stage 1 Cervical cancer. She came through the surgery without incident even though the surgeon found an undiagnosed tumor that first lab tests showed no invasion of cancer & there was no evidence of cancer having spread to the lymph nodes; which was incredibly good news! Time will tell as to what my aunt's recovery process will hold, but we are praying for her full recovery.

Then Friday went into Saturday and I was off to my family reunion on my dad's side. This reunion is held every two years and it is a wonderful tribute to my grandparents who were the glue that held my family together when they were living. My grandmother on this side is the same grandmother who I mentioned in an earlier post that was responsible for my learning to crochet and cross-stitch. She was very big on family and prided herself on the fact that she & my grandfather had a huge family that they were the patriarchs of! It is without a doubt that each time our family comes together for this gathering, my grandparents are smiling down upon us in their proudest moment in time. These reunions are a wonderful reminder of times past when we as a family would come together to celebrate holidays or one of my grandparents many milestone anniversarys. It also is an awakening to the fact that now that my grandparents have passed on, that those next in line to pass on will be the next generation (my aunts and uncles). While a couple of my aunts and uncles have already made it into their 70's, I'm reminded each time I attend one of these reunions, that time does not stand still and that sooner rather than later we will all one day meet with the end of our roads in time.



(There I am sitting on the end. My youngest daughter, Hannah, is sitting next to my dad & step-mom. On the back row is my oldest daughter, Megan, my son, Cameron & my step-brother, Nathan, his wife, Janelle and their 4 month old son, Caiden. LOVE MY FAMILY!)
Family has become a very important thing for me personally. With the graduation of my oldest daughter from high school in June, never has it been more apparent than this year alone just how quickly the years have clicked off one by one; and how fast time seems to accelerate as it moves constantly and consistently forward. It has truly made me cherish the family time that I do have. Our time is limited and we never know what tomorrow will hold.



(Here are my wonderful 3, Megan-17, Cameron-13, & Hannah-10)
So...another week has gone by and all was not lost. I did manage to get a little cross-stitching done on Sunday night after a long day of playing catch up on chores and the like that had been put to the side to make way for all the other week's activities. But suffice it to say, as anxious as I was to stitch, nothing could possibly compare to the feeling of being among family I had not seen since our last reunion two years before, or the fact that I was doing something worthwhile and pleasing to our Father above.

Maybe we cross-stitch enthusiasts love the craft so much because each cross-stitch we make is tied together to create a pattern. When one thinks of a cross-stitch being made by crossing two stitches, it is very much like that in life. We cross paths with people, be it family or friends who leave an impression on our lives. We think of the Man who died on a cross for our sins. Just as the ties that bind our SAL's, WIP's & UFO's together, the same can be said for the ties that connect us all.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

THE CROSS-STITCH BUG HAS BITTEN!!

Well, it's happened all over again. I've been bitten by the Cross-Stitch Bug...and this time he's bitten me bad and I've been left with the 'itch to stitch'.

It happened a couple of weeks ago. I had been doing a completely different type of stitching as in that of crochet and the ole cross-stitching bug had not visited me for several years. But I happened upon this really cool cross-stitching group on Yahoo groups called "I Love Cross Stitch" and it wasn't long and I had an infestation on my hands. Pouring through the various posts online and visiting many of the blogs of various members of this group, soon gave way to that little critter infiltrating my system and leaving me with this huge urge to stitch.

This time I've been affected differently than I can recall from past dealings with the Cross-Stitching Bug. I say different because since my absence from cross-stitching, there are new fabrics, threads and even BEADS, that I can use to create beautiful works of art! Who knew??? And that doesn't even include all the new acronyms for different cross-stitching terms that I have to learn if I want to keep up with the many posts online. Can anyone say, Cross-Stitching dictionary????

But that will have to wait for the time being because I've got a little WIP that could also be called a UFO (I think that is the term) because I started it over 10 yrs ago and due to the bug biting me, I now have pulled it out and am working diligently on it. (It's the only remedy I've found to keep the itching under control.) Here is the latest photo of my progress as of today (7.20.08).





Yes, I've been bitten bad this time around!!!! All of a sudden I'm finding myself late at night browsing the many, many cross-stitch websites out there that offer FREE patterns or patterns at a fraction of the cost. And then there's EBAY...with its many things to choose from. HELP...I'm overwhelmed! Too much to stitch and soooo little time.

And then that ole bug has caused me to have a problem with indecision. I can't seem to decide what to stitch next after my latest project. Should I finish all my WIP's or just start something brand new...again???? I mean there are just so many cute and elegant projects alike out there. And then Fall and the holidays are right around the corner. The things that I could stitch just for that wonderful time of year. I can feel myself getting excited just thinking about it!!! Oh, no...now I think I've developed a fever! Quick...someone hand me a needle & DMC floss! Oh, well...the bug is here to stay, so might as well learn to deal with being bitten. :)

HAPPY STITCHING!! xxx

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hi & Welcome!

This is my 1st post of my new blog & I am so excited you stopped by for a look. Here you can keep tabs on me, meaning you can check out my progress on all those cross-stitch & crocheting projects I have going. You can help keep me accountable!

You see, I've been a slacker over the past few years. My fascination with crochet came at age 10 when my late paternal grandmother taught me to crochet. One of my fondest memories is of going to visit my grandmother and sitting beside her on the couch watching her crochet at a speed that I could barely keep up with, yet slow enough to pique my interest and be utterly amazed at how a skein of yarn could be turned into a blanket. To my knowledge no one else on my dad's side of the family dabbles in crochet except for me. I remember making 'mini blankets' as I liked to call them because they were just big enough to keep my baby dolls warm at night. I remember making my dad this Carolina blue and white scarf because he was a huge UNC Tarheels fan. I very proud of my accomplishment because making that scarf came under the guidance of my grandmother to ensure I was doing everything just right! But then after a brief stint of a year or so of making various things, I lost interest and put the crochet needle down for other things that took precedence back then like turning 13, then 16, 18, graduation, marriage, kids...well...you get the picture. So it wasn't until last year that I picked up crochet again at age 40...almost 30 yrs later!!! I had to basically reteach myself because my grandmother is no longer here to guide my hand. I made a few scarfs for old times sake and even crocheted my very first afghan for my mom.


Then there was cross-stitch...I am self taught; although my influence again can be credited to that same grandmother who also liked to embroider. So at the ripe ole age of 20 I took up cross-stitch after getting married. One would think at age 20, there would be much more to life, but after marriage and before kids what else was there??? I discovered cross-stitching when my ex-husband worked 2nd shift. It helped pass the time and I found it to be quite relaxing. I have made everything from pictures, Christmas ornaments, blankets, Christmas tree skirt and Christmas stockings. Most of the items I made I gave as gifts and only a mere 3 things I've cross-stitched in my lifetime I actually did for myself. I have 3 children, 17, 13, & 10. The older two had the honor and privilege of my making them a Christmas stocking that was done just in time for the 1st Christmas each. However, my 3rd child, sadly to say, has never experienced the feel of having her own cross-stitched stocking from MOM. Suffice it to say, my intentions were good. I started the stocking when I was pregnant with her and well...what can I say...life got in the way. It's been almost 11 years since and still a WIP that is so very long overdue. So.....after all these years, I finally have the stocking out and working fervently on it in hopes of completing in time for this Christmas.

So what was my excuse or reason you ask for waiting a mere decade to complete this particular WIP? Well...maybe it was the fact that I've recently joined a fabulous cross-stitch group who has inspired me to no end. Or wait, maybe life has finally slowed down a bit...(okay...that one was a stretch)...or perhaps it is the simple reality check I had this past June as I watched my oldest child graduate from high school! Suddenly it occurred to me that my Megan was my youngest daughter's age (10) just last week (okay...so it seems that way) & now she's college-bound in a few more weeks & these last years have really flown by! So, that can only mean one thing...I'd better get busy. My Hannah's stocking is a Needle Treasures Counted Cross Stitch from Red Farm Studio called "The Christmas Blessing" that I purchased in 1997.







In addition to that, I am also working on a couple of crochet blankets for Christmas gifts and want to try and squeeze in a set of placemats for my stepmom as well. I've definitely got my work cut out for me between now and Christmas, but if things keep going like they have over the past few weeks I believe I will meet all my deadlines.

Needless to say, I am very happy that I've decided to take up both cross-stitching & crocheting again after all these years! So far its been fun and I'm looking forward to trying a lot of new things in both that weren't around 30 years ago. I know somewhere up there my grandmother is smiling down and watching my every stitch!