Friday, December 28, 2007

The Project that went around the world!

Presenting the first of my finishes in the Stitching Diva's Round Robin.

This cross stitch project just returned home a few weeks ago, after a long trip around the world! It started out in my family room in February of 2007, where I stitched the center square (#5) and the one directly below it (#8) as well as the border. Then it went to Miami, FL, where Denise Grenfell stitched square #7. From there it went to Fort Nelson, BC, where Suzanne Baker stitched square #9 in April. In May, the piece found its way to Whitehorse, Yukon, where Viv Bales stitched block #6. By July, the project had traveled to Mooroolbark, Victoria, in Australia, where Coral Cummingham stitched block #1. Coral then sent the piece to Essex, England, where Irene Forrest stitched square #4 before sending it on. Next was Sara Sowers who lived in Hope Mills, NC at the time, and she stitched block #2. The only block left was #3, which was stitched by Teresa Dorn in Foristell, MO, and then it came back home to me.

I think I will make a throw pillow out of this piece. It is a piece that I will treasure always, as it was stitched by good friends.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, Tony!

He is 27 today! It seems like just yesterday that he was born! When Viki was asked if she wanted a baby brother or a baby sister, her first response was that she wanted a Wau-wau (a puppy). When she was told that was not possible, she then insisted that she will have a baby brother, and never even considered the fact that she only had a 50-50 chance of being right. Perhaps she knew more than we gave her credit for at age 2!

So, have a happy birthday, Tony!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation

Despite all good intentions, my detailed account of the trip to Hungary just didn't happen. But, in case you have some time, you may want to look at my photos at:

Monday, November 26, 2007

A difficult finish

I finally finished the American Soldier Memorial Project piece. It has been framed and is just waiting for me to deliver it to the mother of the soldier. As hard as this piece was to stitch, the delivery will be even harder.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Now Appearing Daily at:

Our Lady of the Brook, in Northbrook IL.

I will be there every weekday from 8 to 4. It is very peaceful, and definately less stressfull than my last place of employment.

Friday, October 05, 2007

We interupt this blog.....

to bring you this public service announcement:

I got a new job!!!!! And I gave notice today. My last day will be October 26th, and I start the new one October 29th.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our first full day in Hungary!

We awoke Saturday morning right on time without an alarm clock, and went down to breakfast to see many familiar faces, and to meet some new people. After breakfast and introductions, we proceeded to the old gym for our first workshop session.

Miklos Manninger was our first instructor and he was delightful! He didn't speak German, but with the help of a few interpeters, and some hand signals and demonstrations, he taught us part of a dance that he put together from a number of simple historical folk dances.

After dancing all morning, we broke for lunch, and then went into the roomier new gym for a presentation on the Hungarian school system and the German circiculum at the Friedrich Schiller Gymnasium where we were staying. The speaker was Dr. Zoltan Guth, the director of the gymnasium.

Then on to more dancing. After and full afternoon of dancing, we were served dinner, and then spent the evening getting to know some of the other participants.

It was a full day and we were ready for bed, but sleep was impossible as the dog next door could only bark at night, and he barked, and barked, all night long.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

THE TRIP Part 1 - Getting there is half the fun!

Finally the long awaited post about my trip. I will write an installment every few days, so keep checking back so that you don't miss anything.

The trip started out at O'Hare airport, where my two travel companions, Anni and Karen, and I sat waiting for the aircraft to arrive. It was a bit late, but we finally boarded, Anni and Karen in business class, and me in economy. Then we sat, and sat, and sat, ..... at the gate. Some repairs needed to be made to the cockpit door and a seat. We finally left three hours late. We landed in Frankfurt Germany, and missed our connection to Budapest. I was put on one of those courtesy carts and driven off to get re-ticketed, Anni and Karen were told to follow the crowd and get in line.

I was taken to special services and told I was on the 9 PM flight to Budapest, and due to privacy laws they wouldn't tell me if Anni and Karen were on the same flight. Anni and Karen were standing in line somewhere.... since it was only 12 noon, the rest of the day ahead was certainly going to be interesting. This was one of those times that being a native German speaker comes in really handy. The staff wasn't going to dismiss me quite so easily. I managed to finally get Anni and Karen's flight information and yes, they were to be on the same flight. Then I talked them into paging them. Although the staff was reluctant, they were dealing with Frau Rill, and finally did as I asked. Anni heard the page, went to the information desk and had them call special services. Once we knew were the two of them were, I commandeered a wheel chair and a good looking Lufthansa guy, and off I went to join them.

We had a lovely lunch/dinner/meal at the restaurant overlooking some runways and tarmacs and looked all the different airlines that flew in and out of Frankfurt. (Evi's travel tip: always make sure you have local currency with you when you arrive. That way you don't have to pay the high exchange rates at the airport, and you can actually eat if you are stuck there for awhile). After the meal, we needed some chocolate - Ritter Sport Trauben Nuss - and Coka Cola Light.

I managed to call Stefan who would be picking us up in Budapest, to let him know of our change in plans. When it was nearing time to go to our gate, another wheelchair appeared this time with a nice lady, to guide us to our gate, which was sooooo far away, I think it might have been in another state! There must have been at least two passport check stations and 3 security checkpoints that we had to clear before we got to the gate. Here we met up with the only surly Lufthansa employee in the world. He made everyone in the gate area get up and stand in line so that he could check our boarding passes, so we could sit down in the gate area again. After we finally boarded, the captain announced that there would be delay in take off, as they had loaded the wrong cargo on the plane, and needed to correct that mistake.

The flight to Budapest was not very long, about 90 minutes tops, and soon we were landing at midnight, Hungarian time. A wheel chair with a Hungarian paramedic met me at the plane and off we went to claim our baggage. All the bags were there, and Stefan was there to meet us! The drive to Werischwar took about an hour. Once we arrived, we found out that our rooms on the first floor near the elevator had been given away, so off to search for another room. We were put in a room on the fifth floor, again near the elevator, but the door to the vestibule with the elevator was locked on that floor, so we had to get off at four and then go up another flight, quietly, in the dark, with lots of luggage.

We quickly washed up and fell into bed, only to discover that out of the three of us, no one brought an alarm clock! We managed to get up on time the next morning, get unpacked, showered, dressed and down to breakfast on time! The entire group assembled in front of the building after breakfast for the day's activities.

The group was off to German Mass at the Church, followed by a trip to the Heimat Museum in town. Both of these destinations were in opposite directions from the Friederich Schiller Gymnasium, where we were staying, and walking was the mode of transportation. I was told I could not walk that far, so I stayed behind and read a book about Budapest.

Here is a picture of the entire group that took part in this wonderful conference.

Stay tuned for part 2 - Anni and Karen dance!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Panda gives birth to cub at Austria zoo

By VERONIKA OLEKSYN, Associated Press Writer 43 minutes ago
A giant panda on loan from China gave her Austrian zookeepers a surprise Thursday: the first panda cub born in Europe in 25 years.
Caretakers at the Schoenbrunn Zoo detected the cub on a surveillance camera after hearing little squeals coming from an enclosed compound where the mother, Yang Yang, had retreated. Zookeepers had not been certain Yang Yang was pregnant.
A photograph released by the zoo showed Yang Yang, a first-time mother, holding the tiny creature in her mouth and looking up toward the camera.
Zookeepers estimated the cub weighs 3.5 ounces and measures 3.9 inches.
"'Yang Yang' means sunshine, and that's what she is," zoo director Dagmar Schratter told reporters with a broad smile outside the panda enclosure.
The last time pandas were born in Europe was in Madrid in 1982, the zoo said on its Web site. A panda gave birth to twin cubs through artificial insemination.
Mother and cub will remain in the enclosed area for the next two to three months. The cub, whose name will be picked by the Chinese, will likely start crawling in about four months and will probably make its public debut around that time, Schratter said.
The cub was born 127 days after Yang Yang mated with the male panda Long Hui, the zoo said. The two pandas are in Austria on loan from China.
Schratter said an Aug. 6 ultrasound had not shown any signs of the pregnancy but caretakers became suspicious a few days ago when 7-year-old Yang Yang started taking material into the area where she delivered her cub Thursday. She had done so before, however, without giving birth.
Schratter said the pregnancy occurred naturally. Female pandas often are artificially inseminated after they mate to raise the chances of a pregnancy, said Regina Pfistermueller, a zoologist who co-wrote a book about pandas with Schratter.
"We decided to pass on that step," Pfistermueller said.
Cubs are vulnerable at birth, with about a 60 percent survival rate in the first year, Schratter said. She noted it was a good sign that Yang Yang had accepted her offspring, but the zoo had an incubator and artificial milk ready just in case.
Pfistermueller said animals in zoos occasionally reject their young, leaving it up to staff to raise them. That fate was met by Knut, the polar bear cub being raised by zookeepers in Germany.
"This is a good omen, also for the Olympic Games 2008," said Lu Yonghua, China's ambassador to Austria, who went to the zoo to offer his congratulations. Beijing will host next year's Summer Games.
Approximately 1,600 giant pandas live in the wild, according to the World Wide Fund for Nature.
The species' future remains uncertain because its forest habitat in the mountainous areas of southwest China is fragmented and small populations live isolated from each other, the WWF's Web site says. Poaching also remains a threat.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Blame Viki

She is at fault for this post. She tagged me,

1. Bakery clerk
2. Church organist
3. Bank Teller
4. Office Manager

1. Ried im Innkreis, Austria
2. Chicago, IL (more than one location in Chicago)
3. Des Plaines IL
4. (see #2)

1. MASH (reruns)
2. Andy Griffith (reruns)
3. Gilmore Girls (now off the air)
4. 7th Heaven (now off the air)

1. Marktl, Germany
2. Rome, Italy
3. San Antonio, TX
4. Budapest, Hungary

1. Chocolate (any kind!)
2. thin crust pizza
3. grilled salmon
4. anything Mexican

1. on a sailboat (stitching)
2. on a cruise ship (stitching)
3. Vienna
4. in the mountains (stitching)

1. anyone left who didn't do this yet?

1. Welcome Stitchery
2. Coldwater Creek
3. Kohl's
4. Barnes & Noble

Now, consider yourself tagged. Here's what you're supposed to do. Post this on your own blog or on my comments. Copy all, delete my answers and type in your answers. Can't wait to see your Four Things...

Monday, August 20, 2007

I fixed it!

Yesterday, I had a bunch of people over for a bar-be-que on the new deck. (this is the third time I have planned something out on the deck, and the third time it was raining!)

Due to the rain, everyone was inside. SOMEONE pushed a lot of buttons on the remote for either the cable box or the TV set, and I could only get sound in Spanish on channel 2, and no sound at all on many of the other channels. Tony couldn't fix it, I couldn't fix it, so I called the cable company, and they couldn't figure it out, either.

I came home late this evening, and tried again. This time I was successful! Now it all works just fine.

On a side note, I am still waiting for a few more picture to be e-mailed to me so that I can do a "proper" trip report.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wedding pillow:

Not the greatest picture, but here it is. It was finished in time for the wedding.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Introducing the new Mr. and Mrs. Cohen!

I tried to post this right after the wedding, which was three weeks ago today, but blogger kept eating my post! So I gave up and went to Europe.

Here are Kristin and Jonathan at their wedding reception! They look so happy and cute, but then I am a bit biased!

Watch this blog for a travel report. It will have to wait until after we move the office next week, but it will be worth it, I promise.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Recent stitching...

Although I am plugging away on Kristin's wedding pillow, and it will be done soon, I won't post a picture until it is done. I had to mention it though, so that Kristin doesn't have a meltdown!

I finished this piece for Coral's Round Robin, she chose the color red and asked for individual squares.

Irene also asked for individual squares, and her color is purple:

And I finished the botton band on Viv's Round Robin:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kelly, don't look!!!!!

I just finished Kelly and Travis' wedding sampler. Off to the framer this weekend, so that it will be ready to give to Kelly and Travis when they are here for Kristin and Jonathan's wedding.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Finished Haranger Runner:

Here it is all finished, after a nice bath and ironing. It took 73 1/2 hours to stitch, and is from Mary Hickmott's Easing into Hardanger.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Here is the Hardanger Table Runner, almost finished.

Just a few more filling stitches and then the hem.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The stitching is finished - time to start cutting

I finished all the Kloster blocks and ships and now I am ready to start cutting. Not too much longer and it will be done.

Friday, April 13, 2007

This past week's stitching:

I made some more progress on the American Soldier Memorial Project. At this point I am a little more than half way finished.

I also started this Hargandger Table Runner on Easter Sunday. I am about 2/3 done with the center motifs. It will be a raffle prize for the Youth group's fashion show at the end of this month. Hardanger is a Norwegian embrodery that involves cutting threads and filling stitches. I haven't done any cutting yet, I want to get all the Kloster blocks and other embroidery stitches done first before I cut and then fill in.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Rocky Mountain Christmas - 110 hours of stitching.

1065 Stitches this 10 hour session
13,566 total stitches so far
This was started in February of 2006. I figure about 2 1/2 years to complete, stitching 10 hours each month (I am 40 hours behind right now, hoping to catch up soon).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Easter!

I stitched Balerina Bunny just in time for Easter! She is for the color Round Robin I am a part of, and is for Sara. Sara's color is 'rainbow' and she included some varigated rainbow floss to be used on her piece.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Another Update

Here is Rocky Mountain Christmas at 100 hours. I stitched 1321 stitches this session and have done 12,521 total stitches to date.

To answer a few questions that have come up. When doing a project of this size, I start by gridding the fabric. By running a thread every 10 stitches (20 threads because I am stitching over 2) vertically and horizontaly, I end up with 10 x 10 stitch squares that correspond to the the darker lines on the chart. Each 10 x 10 square is 100 stitches. It helps me make sure my thread count isn't off between stitches if I skip around.

As I stitch, I mark off the stitches on the chart with a yellow highlighter. At the end of each 10 hour session, I count how many stitches are highlighted total, subtract what was done before, and end up with a stitch count for that rotation. Counting is easy as a completed 10 x 10 square is 100 stitches.

Clear as mud?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rocky Mountain Christmas update

Here it is at 90 hours. I did 1227 stitches this 10 hour session, and have done a total of 11,180 stitches so far. I did a lot of white, grey, light blue and lilac snow this time, so it doesn't show up too well. I am still 50 hours behind schedule, but don't have time to catch up right now. Watch this space for future updates.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Today is PI Day (3.14)!

Take the quiz to find out what kind of pie you are.

My results:
You Are Lemon Meringue Pie
You're the perfect combo of sassy and sweetThose who like you have well refined tastes

Monday, March 12, 2007

Love Quilts for Children

The EGA (Embroiderer's Guild of America) Chapter that I belong to has chosen Love Quilts as this year's outreach program. Love Quilts is an organization that makes quilts for sick children. Cross stitchers from all over the world stitch a square and send it in, and then the quilters piece them together and quilt them. The finished quilt is given to a sick child to help them know that others are thinking of them. Our Chapter chose to stitch quilt squares that could go to any child, instead of picking a specific child. Here is the square that I stitched:

If you would like more information about Love Quilts, please go to

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Round Robin finish
This is a square for the Color Round Robin I am doing with a group of friends. This is part of Teresa's piece. She sent individual squares that she will eventually finish into a quilt. She didn't pick a color, so I chose Jig of the Ladybug by Bent Creek because it complimented the first piece that was done for this Round Robin. It goes in the mail on Monday to the next stitcher, and I should be receiving another package with the next Round Robin piece soon.

Friday, March 09, 2007

A Model Finish

I finished this piece about two weeks ago. It was done for the designer of the piece, Sue Hillis, to use as a Trunk Show Model. Sue sends out an assortment of finished pieces for cross stitch shops to display, in an effort to interest stitchers in the charts. I will be mailing it off to Sue next week, and she will attach a charm (a gold bag of potato chips, and some chips dangling from the bag) in the upper left hand corner, on the red block, and then frame it before sending it on to shops across the country.

It was fun to stitch, but it made me hungry!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Two Hearts for Two Angels

Recently, a friend's daughter gave birth to twins, a boy, Dayne, and a girl, Danielle. They were born very prematurely, and both only lived a few hours. I have stitched two squares that will be part of two quilts in memory of these two little angels. Hopefully the quilts will bring comfort to the grieving family.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Just in time for St. Valentine's Day!

Here is the hardanger piece that I received in the hardanger exchange that I posted about a few weeks ago. I received this lovely heart ornament from Kate from Massachusetts. The stitching is beautiful, and the filling stitches are expertly done. I need to learn how to do picots, Kate's are just perfect! Her finishing is amazing! Thank you Kate!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The next time I see this piece, it will be all finished!

This is Quilt Sampler 1 by Linda Myers, and I am doing it as my piece for a Color Round Robin. For you non-stitchers out there, a Round Robin, or RR, is a piece that is sent around to the members of a group and everyone stitches a part of it.

This is a Color RR, and I have chosen blue. There are 8 of us in this group, and since the piece has 9 squares, I did 2 of them and the border.

Before it is finished, it will travel all across the US, and to England and Australia. Every 6 weeks, a new piece will show up in the mail for me to stitch on, and then send it on. When finished, all 8 of us will end up with some beautiful pieces.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Thoughts on running a youth hostel......

There must be sign on the expressway somewhere that says " please take the next exit for Jugendherberge Rill" This is the only explaination for the visitors that keep showing up at my door for a few nights lodging. Either that, or one or more of my children have put an ad somewhere on the internet to that affect.

We had visitors this weekend from the Donauschwaben Youthgroup from Cleveland, Ohio. Lisa Rimpf, brought her brother Tony and his girlfriend Gretchen, and their friends Manny and Kristian. Kristian was supposed to stay at the Mayer's but he spent at least part of one night at our house.

The reason for their visit was to attend Trachtenball, an event at our German Club, where all the young ladies (and some not so young ones) wear very old traditional garments that their grandmothers wore. It gives them a real appreciation for the comforts of modern clothing, and teaches history and tradition.

I should add that Lisa has been here before....a number of times.....and I don't think it is because she enjoys my company. Tony is the only other person that lives in this house. Could it be that she is really visiting him?

Monday, January 22, 2007

What's in the works?

My daughter asked what I was working on. Now, Viki, when have you known me to not have a stitching project going?

Usually I have three projects in the works. Rocky Mountain Christmas, which I work on for 10 hours each month (well, 20 hours until I am caught up), a medium sized piece (currently ducky borders on bath towels for JC's Birthday in August) and a medium-small piece (currently a model for Sue Hillis).

As soon as I get the model piece and two quilt squares done, I will be stitching on the American Soldier Memorial project exclusively until it is finished.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

What is it?

I finished this hardanger piece last evening. I needed to do a small piece for an exchange, so I chose this one because I wanted to learn how to do the Scandanavian four-sided edge stitch. I am happy with the results. But, I need to figure out what it is I made. Is it a coaster, or is it an ornament, or is it something else?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Did you know that I am inspiring?

This chart is named Eva's Garden. Laura Tilson of Snapdragon designs, designed this a few months ago, and named it after me! She said I inspired her! I got my autographed chart before Christmas, so now I must make time to stitch it.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

To Honor the First Responders:

This quilt square is for the Hurricane Katrina Quilt project, to honor all the rescue workers from around the country who went to help. It is being organized by the same person that did the World Trade Center Memorial Quilts, which are very moving. I saw them in person in Nashville in August of 2005. Kathie Baumgardner does a remarkable job, and you can read about her work here:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thank goodness for bad weather!

Yes, that's right, I am thankful for bad weather today.

The bad weather prevented the protesters from protesting at today's funeral for a young man killed in Iraq. 10 or 11 were scheduled to fly in today, but the ice and snow grounded their flight.

Fred Phelps and his small group have been in the news garnering disrepute as they cross America and stage vulgar demonstrations at funerals of American soldiers killed in the Iraq war. Phelps, a disbarred attorney, calls himself the reverend of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka Kansas. While they call themselves Baptists, there are no other recognized Baptist churches associated with them.

These zealots have now staged well over 100 of these funeral protests in the name of God. They are delusional because their methods are not projecting God’s love, but rather their own hatred. During the protests, Phelps’ zealots hold up offensive and profane placards protesting the war in Iraq, abortion, homosexuality and even the Catholic Church.

As mourners arrive at the funerals of their loved one, they are faced with scripture quotes, vulgar slurs and offensive signs stating that the death of their loved one is God’s wrath on America because of our sins.

We are thankful that the weather prevented their coming to St. James. The family and friends of this young man are having a difficult time as it is, and didn't need to see these idiots.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Poor Tony!

The imaginary girl friend thing just wasn't working for him! So now, by his own admission, his "new girl" is Cassie, the new dog whose ownership is still unclear. Tony's relationship with Cassie is working out rather well. She seems to be rather low maintenance, and is not very demanding. It will be rather difficult for Tony though, when he needs to bring a date to his sister's wedding.....

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

American Soldier Memorial Project

War is hell. Every mother (as well as other family members) lives in constant fear of a visit from the military when they have a son or daughter in the service. One of the women who is active at the church where I work lost her 20 year old son when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq a few weeks ago. I have been involved in the planning of the services for this young man, but really wanted to do something more concrete as a memorial to him. The American Soldier Memorial Project is an effort by stitchers to make a memorial piece for the families of our fallen servicemen and women. I will be stitching this piece in memory of Pfc William "Will" Newgard.

Once it is finished and framed, it will be presented to his family. They can choose to keep in their home, or have it hung at the church or in the Illinois state capital.

If you would like more information about the American Soldier Memorial Project, please visit their website:

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Another Rocky Mountain Christmas update
Here we are after 80 hours of stitching. I should have been at this point at the end of September, but wedding and Christmas got in the way. I stitched 970 stitches this 10 hour session, and have completed 9953 stitches total so far.
I have completed pages 2 and 5 of the chart, (there are 6 pages total) and am more than 1/3 finished with the project. If all goes well, I should be done around August of 2008.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tony and his new girlfriend:

Please don't tell him there is no one there. He has never had an imaginary friend before, and we don't want to burst his bubble. He looks so happy.

The great thing about this imaginary girlfriend, is that she hardly eats a thing, and doesn't take up much space. She's a real cheap date, too.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Rocky Mountain Christmas.

Last February, Nancy Jantz and I started this piece together. The plan is to stitch 10 hours on it each month. If we keep it up here is what it will look like when finished.

I am a bit behind. I just completed 70 hours, so here is where I should have been at the end of August. So far I have put in 8983 stiches and am almost 1/3 finished.

Hopefully I will catch up soon. I estimate the project should take about 2 1/2 years to complete if I stitch 10 hours each month. Watch this space for future updates.