It's been a week around here. We refinished our double front doors, which were looking fairly shabby for the past year or two, as the old finish wore off and the wood started to dry out. The doors are not fancy - they're the original builder's-grade doors from when the house was built in the early 1980's - but they're pretty, fully paneled with a carved floral section in the center. They are meant to look like old-fashioned Spanish-style doors (our house's exterior is designed in the pueblo style, with Spanish touches; the interior is standard four-bed, two-bath ranch with two living areas). We looked into having the doors professionally refinished but the contractors' quotes made me cry, so we did it ourselves. Basically, there were many phases of sanding interspersed with many phases of varnishing, all to the local 80's-only radio station because it gets you going. The doors stayed open all day long, which was actually nice, but we needed to finish the job while we're in the window of good weather for leaving double doors wide open all day (tediously, the deadbolt and doorknob had to be reattached every night before bed). It was a lot of work but the doors look much better now and they'll have better sun protection. Oh, that relentless high-desert sun. It's lovely, especially right now, but it can really do a number on your stuff.
Meanwhile, regular life continued - work, school and homeschool, doctor's appointments, minor medical-insurance struggles (ugh), school meetings, kids' lessons, the odd cat on the roof late at night (yes, it kept me awake for hours; I think it was having trouble finding a way down). I meant to blog days ago but I never got around to it. Today is my day "off." I went grocery shopping, put all the food away and repackaged the meat into smaller portions for dinners. I washed and dried a load of towels. I cleaned the kitchen and the bathrooms. I don't have to do any school driving today, luckily. The Bear is doing it both ways. Whoop! We're a good team.
I've had very little downtime lately, but when I have had some, I'm finding myself working on the My Sweetiepie ABC's sampler by Alicia Paulson, which I began stitching in September. It's meant for my sweetiepie GB as a Christmas present. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself to get it done in time (I plan to have it framed, so I'll need to leave time for that as well). I do hope to finish it in time, though. I think it will be a nice gift.
Just look how neat and tidy...I love seeing the flosses laid out like this. I used my best handwriting, too. Always important. The colors in this sampler are really pretty. I like the way they range from neutrals and pastels through brighter, more saturated tones. The fabric is 28-count Cashel linen in a putty-beige color, I'd call it, but to me it also has a pinkish tone. I think the colors look really good against it. I'd expect nothing less than beautiful color sense from Alicia, though.
I really like how the sampler pattern is broken down into quadrants. Alicia says in the instructions that you can start with the apple for A if you measure so much down from the top and in from the left side, so you don't really have to start in the center of the design. This is a new approach for me; I've never started a cross-stitch project, even a tiny one, anywhere but dead-center. I like this a lot. I'm almost finished with the upper left quadrant. I hope the motifs are self-explanatory.
The house is my favorite so far. It took me about six hours altogether to stitch. It was so relaxing! I've said it before, but nothing soothes me like cross-stitch. Gosh, I love it so much. Look at the windows! And the red door! So sweet.
I still have an ice cream cone to stitch before I finish this first quadrant, but it's small. I'm excited for some other things later on. There's an octopus! Miss GB loves octopi, she draws them often and recently wrote and illustrated a story about an octopus family. They wore eight-legged jeans, which amuses me so. She doesn't know this sampler is for her, though she has commented several times that it would be "really nice for a girl's room." Perhaps she is dropping hints? Well, she is in luck because it IS for a girl's room - MY girl's room. I'm really glad to be making it, for her and for me.
What's new where you are? October shines and glows here. The weather here just won't quit - it's warm and sunny day after day after day lately, not a cloud in the sky, ever. It's lovely and slightly eerie. But the nights and mornings are nice and cold now, just the way I like them to be, and layering is easy. I'm pacing myself: when the wind is howling across the roof in January, I know I'll miss these balmy afternoons and sweater-worthy mornings.