Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Birthday at the Bean

Happy Birthday, John!

Today was John's birthday. He has been very sad about this birthday as friends who were going to get tickets for the Neil Diamond concert in Green Bay today were unable to get them.

I planned something even better, though. We started the day by
taking an Architecural tour of the Chicago River. Then we strolled around Millenium Park, and saw "the Bean". The sculpture is actually called Cloud Gate ( and is even better in person than in pictures.

We had lunch at the Grill at Millenium Park, as well as cocktails, and then headed over to the Bank of America Theater (formerly known as the Shubert Theater) to see Jersy Boys ( What a great show that was, hearing the music of our youth! We ended the evening by having birthday cake and ice cream back at my house. I think he really enjoyed his special day, and admitted that this was much better than seeing Neil Diamond.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Just Ducky!

Two years ago, I started stitching duckies on this towel set and finished the two hand towels. I just never got around to even starting the bath towles and the wash cloths. The hand towels looked cute in John's bathroom, amoung his rubber duckie collection. However, somehow there was something missing on that towel bar.

So, this year I was determined to stitch the bath towels and wash cloths by his birthday. And I reached my goal. His birthday is tomorrow, and I finished taking the waste canvas off the wash cloths during my lunch hour today.

I am however, really sick and tired of stitching those damn duckies!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thanks Dawn B!!

What a lovely surprise this morning, to find that I was nominated for this award by Dawn B.!

Its exciting to receive awards like this!

The rules of the award are:
1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.
2. Link the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you’ve nominated.

So, here are the 7 that I nonimate (although I could nominate at least 30!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympics Vs. Stitching

And the Olympics won! I haven't been stitching very much because I have been watching the Olympic Games every chance I get.

I did manage to get a little bit of stitching in during the commercials, and managed to finish the August Flip it block last evening.
Here is the entire piece, with January through August plus part of the border finished. It is now 2/3 complete. It will be completely done in December sometime.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Left Behind

Last week, you met Gnorbert, who stowed away in a suitcase full of cross stitch supplies and ended up in Richmond Virginia. If you will recall from that blog entry, there was another gnome that also volunteered for that trip, but there wasn't enough room for him. So he was left behind. Here is his story:

Poor Gnikolaus! He was left behind in Des Plaines, Illinois, when his friend, Gnorbert, went off to the wilds of Virginia. He stood gnear the door waving good bye tearfully as he saw the suitcase being driven off in gnifty gnew car.

Gnow, Gnikolaus is a friendly little guy, he even carries a sign to welcome people, gnomes and animals alike. Seeing this, the homeowner lovingly placed him gnear the front entrance, so that he could meet and greet all that came by. He certainly saw a lot going in the gneighborhood from his vantage point. Although this isn't the heart of the city, it is a rather quiet subdivision, but there is more going on than in a rural area. Every day, Gnikolaus would see the homeowner and the young man who lived in the house go off to work and other activities, and he would cheerfully greet them with his welcome sign upon their return. He also saw many gneighbors walk their dogs past the home but they gnever once threatened Gnikolaus, who remembers the story of poor Gnorman's demise at the hands of such beasts. The gneighborhood children rode their bikes and skateboards and scooters back and forth, other gneighbors waved as the drove their cars past the front garden which he guards.

After a few weeks, the young man who mows the lawn thought that Gnikolaus might be bored standing guard gnear the front door in the same spot all the time, and he started moving him around to different areas of the front gardens. Every week, Gnikolaus had a new place to stand. He stood gnear the pretty yellow flowers, he stood gnear the red roses, he stood gnear the pink roses, he stood gnext to the bushes....the possibilities are endless! He seems to be enjoying his gnew home, and we hope he will be with us for a long time.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Henry Winkler was in Milwaukee today to unveil a statue of "the Fonz" on Milwaukee's River Walk.
I love the statue and think it's great that the city of Milwaukee erected this statue to honor this fictional Milwaukee character!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oma's Spaetzle Recipe

Spaetzle [SHPEHT-sluh; SHPEHT-sehl; SHPEHT-slee] Literally translated from German as "little sparrow," spaetzle is a dish of tiny noodles or dumplings made with flour, eggs, water or milk, salt and sometimes nutmeg. The spaetzle dough can be firm enough to be rolled and cut into slivers or soft enough to be forced through a sieve, colander or spaetzle-maker with large holes. The small pieces of dough are usually boiled (poached) before being tossed with butter or added to soups or other dishes. In Germany, spaetzle is served as a side dish much like potatoes or rice, and is often accompanied by a sauce or gravy. The cooked spaetzle can also be pan-fried with a little butter and onions (usually a good left-over idea).

So, now that you know what they are, and have had time to order your Spaetzle press from, here is the recipe:

Spaetzle (also known as Oma Noodles)

2 eggs
½ cup milk
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
2 to 3 tbsp. butter, melted

Fill a large pot 2/3 full with water, add about 1 tsp salt per quart and bring to a boil. Reduce heat for a gentle boil
Beat eggs and milk with a fork.
Combine flour and salt and add to egg-milk mixture and stir until flour is blended in and dough is smooth.
Fill dough into the Spaetzle press and suspend over pot of boiling water, then slowly press the dough into the pot of water.
Cook until Spaetzle rise to the top.
Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in a colander to drain thoroughly, then quickly rinse with cold water. Shake as dry as possible.
Turn the Spaetzle in the melted butter. Serve warm.

Spaetzle also freeze well.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

And Yet Another Olympic Fencing Update!

The US Men's Sabre Team took the team Silver medal today! France took the gold, and Italy beat Russia for the Bronze medal.

I have had the priveldge of watching Keeth Smart fence live at one of the national tournaments. It is even more remarkable because Keeth was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and missed a few months of training. During his treatment, he lost his mother to cancer. He is a true Olympian.

This makes 6 medals for US fencing at this Olympics. The is higher than the total medal count for US fencing in the last 60 years combined!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Olympic Fencing update

I know you are waiting patiently to read about the gnome that was left behind, and to get the Spaetzle recipe, but first, news about USA fencers at the Olympics!

In team competition, the women's foil team took the Silver medal, (Russia took Gold and Italy took Bronze)
This pictures shows Erin Smart, Hanna Thompson and Erin Cross on the podium shortly before receiving their medals. In the center, Hanna, is an Ohio State Alum, and was on the Ohio State fencing time while Kristin was also at Ohio State. Kristin fenced foil junior and senior year, and she and Hanna were real team mates! It's very exciting when you know the medalists personally, and Kristin was quite excited to see her on TV last evening!

The women's sabre team of Zagunis, Jacobson and Ward who swept the medals in individuals finish the team competition, winning a bronze medal, finishing behind the Ukraine (Gold) and China (Silver).
Way to go, ladies!!!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Spaetzle Press

We interupt this blog to bring you a public service announcement.:

Spaetzle Press now available at!

What is this contraption, you ask? It is a Spaetzle Press! Yes, you too can make yummy Spaetzle (also known as Oma Noodles). And to think it is available at for 39.99 and ships within 24 hours!

Just think, in that short time, you could be making your very own Spaetzle, much to the amazement of your family and friends.

Do not be fooled by other gadgets. Some people will try to sell you this type of Spaetzle Maker

Although it does the job, it is slower, harder to clean, and not the one Oma or Tante Evi uses!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Meet Gnorbert!

You may remember my blog entries about Gnorman, the gnoble gnome. Just in case you missed it, please go here to read about him:

After Gnorman's demise, the Hillis household was very quiet and gnomeless. The Hillis grandchildren were sad, and the flora and fauna in the gneighborhood were quiet. They all missed their friend Gnorbert. The United Brotherhood of Gnomes had offered a reward for the apprehension and gneutering of the perpetrator, but alas, all leads met a dead end. Travelocity spokesgnome, Roaming Gnome, called a meeting and asked for recommendations. The assembly voted to send another gnome to watch over the Hillis gardens.
Two young gnomes volunteered for the job, and found their way from the Jewel/Osco in Elgin, Illinois, to Des Plaines, Illinois, where they tried to stowaway in a suitcase headed for Richmond, Virginia. Unfortunately, the suitcase was packed full of cross stitch supplies and only one of them would fit. They flipped a gnickle and Gnorbert was the lucky fellow to get the empty gnitch of the suitcase. As luck would have it, he picked just the right suitcase to stow away in. Once the suitcase was opened at it's destination, he found himself right on the Hillis property. He was lovingly placed on the front porch, gnear the front door, so that he could greet visitors and oversee the gardens. He is seated on a mushroom with magic solar panels that light up in the dark, keeping him safe from the wild animals that caused poor Gnorman's demise.
So what happened to the gnome that was left behind? You will have to come back tomorrow to find out!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Another Teapot Finished

I finished this one the other day, but still need to give the kite a tail! This is stitched on 30 count Sky WDW linen, with WDW and GAST fibres.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Stitching Gift

Last year, Coral and her husband, Peter, stayed with me while they were in Chicago. It was great fun to show them around, and learn of the differences between the US and Australia.

Coral brought me this lovely stitcher's pillow that she made. She not only stitches, but she quilts (or 'does patchwork' as they call it down under!). The panels on the front are all hand embroidered, as are the panels on the inside.

The inside contained my very first pair of Gingher designer embroidery scissors in the upper right hand pocket. The lower right pocket holds a lovely floral note pad and pen. The row of pockets on the left hold bobbins of DMC floss. Besides the other stitching items, it also contained some Cherry Ripes (a wonderful candy bar found only in Australia, similar to Mounds Bars but thinner and the coconut is drenched in cherry juice - yummy!). Sadly, the Cherry Ripes are no longer around.......

Thank you again, dear friend, for this wonderful gift from your hands and your heart. I will treasure it always!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Latest Finish

I finished this chart on Saturday evening. It is by Lizzie Kate and is stitched on 28 lambswool (I think) with WDW and GAST threads.
It needs no other comment, the stitching says it all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Women's Sabre Team Sweeps Event!

The first medals won by the USA were won by the US Women's Fencing Team in Women's Sabre. Silver medalist, Sada Jacobson, Gold medalist Mariel Zagunis and Bronze medalist Becca Ward are pictured right after the medal ceremony. I have seen all three of these young women fence in person, and if I remember correctly, at least two of them (if not all three) fenced against Kristin at one time or another. Mariel fenced against Kristin at her very first national tournament, where Mariel took first place and Kristin took 8th place. I think Becca fenced against Kristin in Reno at a North American Cup tournament. Kristin did very well at the tournament, but I don't remember the exact outcome. Kristin probably fenced against Sada at one point while Kristin was at Ohio State, either in a NCAA tournament or a NAC tournament. I miss taking those fencing trips with Kristin.
Congratulations to all three medalists. What a great moment for US Fencing and the USA!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Shopping and Lunch with other stitchers

A group of us met this morning at Welcome Stitchery, in Crystal Lake Illinois for some stash enhancement. We we all very well behaved, and managed to relieve the shop owner of a good deal of inventory. This first photo is of Val (on the left) and Eileen, shopping in the front part of the store. Unfortunately, Eileen has quite a reputation for unorthodox shopping.......she usually ends up crawling on the floor so that she doesn't miss any of the Lizzie Kate charts that are displayed near the floor. Well, today was no different. It didn't take her long to end up on the floor. She was determined to fondle every single Lizzie Kate chart in the store.

Unfortunately, her behavior rubbed off on the usually quiet and shy Val, and before we knew it, Val was on the floor going through some sale baskets. After realizing what she was doing, Val was too embarrassed to go to lunch with us, so Pam, Denise, Eileen, Trudi, Tracy and I headed around the corner for lunch and comparing of the stitching treasures we had purchased. Pam got the prize for spending the most money, by my bag was the biggest.
Next stash shopping trip will be to the south side. We will be meeting up at the Patio for lunch and the heading over to the Country Cupboard in Orland Park on October 26. The shop will be opening just for us.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Let the Games Begin!

The opening ceremony will be shown this evening, so I will record it to watch when I get home after tonight's rehearsals. Even with all the controversay regarding the host country, the Olympics are still exciting to watch. I will certainly be watching as many events as I can, and getting highlights of each day's events each evening.
On the Wagon Message Board, ( the moderator has come up with a Stitching Olympics. The events are:
The Sprint - these are for projects that literally are ALMOST done - they lack maybe a few hours stitching, a few beads, etc. A prize will be awarded in this category for the most completions of Sprint projects. This also is where you can enter if you want to stitch a bunch of smalls this month.
Rotation Relay - for all you lovelies with more projects in rotation than stars in the sky. Work for at least two hour on each project. A prize will be awarded in this category for the most projects worked on.
Long Jump - if you are trying to finish a giant project with lots and lots of thick stitching this is your category. A prize will be awarded for the most 10x10 sections of solid stitching completed.
Finish Line - for those who have lots of projects just sitting around waiting to be "finished" finished - made into ornaments, boxes, framed, etc. A prize will be awarded for the most pieces fully finished. Bookmarks and cards WILL count here, as well as "assemble it yourself" framing where you purchase the mat and frame but lace and put it together yourself. Professional framing does not count.
There are prizes being awarded in each category. I will have to see what I can enter!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Hungarian Sampler Part 3

I finished part three of this sampler last evening. It was a ver quick stitch, as the section was smaller than the last two.
I have realized that although the Vicki Clayton silks I am using are nice, I am just not that impressed with them. Some stitchers are raving about them, but I don't see why other than the price. They are priced considerably lower than other brands of silk but I don't like them as well.
I prefer Gorianna Silks or Dinky Dye Silks, they are much smother and silkier!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Seti and his Human

Who is Seti? Seti is the rectory dog at the parish where I work. Fr. Tom is Seti's human and Seti rules the roost! He was a rescue, and is thought to be part husky and part yellow lab, but he thinks he is a lap dog. All 130 lbs. of him! He has two different colored eyes, and is very vocal.
He seems to want to go out every hour, on the hour, to make sure the outside is still there. Sometimes he takes care of business while he is out there, and sometimes he needs protection from the big brown truck.
When he comes back inside, he immediately comes to my desk and sits next to me. If I am not ready with a treat, he lets me know immediately. He then needs to be petted and told what a sweet dog he is, and then goes reluctantly back into the rectory.
On Monday mornings, he does let me know that my absence over the weekend was unacceptable. He is truly in charge!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

EMS Rose Sampler update

Part 8 was finished last evening, so now there are only 4 more parts to go. I also have to wait to finish my initials as the "R" in that particular alphabet hasn't come up yet.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Another Nomination!

It seems that people think I'm a creative blogger and have given me an award to prove it! I've seen it on many blogs lately and was quite suprised that I was nominated by Kati Thank you, Kati, for your inspiration!

The rules

1. The winner may put the logo on her blog.

2. Put a link to the person you got the award from.

3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to the blogs.

5. Leave a message for your nominees.

It is going to very difficult to nominate only 5 blogs as I read so many more regularly both in English and in German. I feel that of thosethat I do read, more than 5 deserve to be awarded as they are not only a joy to read and look at the beautiful projects/photos they make, but also becuase they inspire, both to reach out and try new things/techniques/crafts as well as to excell in the craft that I do do.

There are so many more I could mention, but some have already received the award, and others don't allow comments so I couldn't notify them.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Picnic - German Style

Ever since I was a very little child, my family went to 4 picnics each summer - Memorial Day, 4th of July, 1st Sunday in August and Labor Day (later moved to 3rd or 4th Sunday in August). They were held in Lake Villa, Illinois, right on Cedar Lake. You may think this is a normal thing, but these picnics were (and still are) anything but normal.

The day started with what seemed like a very long drive (in reality it is only about an hour). Many people didn't own a car, so a big yellow school bus or two were rented to provide transportation. The men were dressed in dress slacks and sport coats, short sleeved shirts and ties. The women were wearing dresses and hose. The kids were a little more casual, but not dressed for playing out doors.

We arrived at the picnic grove, and found a table, covered it with our table cloth and covered the benches with towels to protect our good cloths. The men bellied up to the bar to start the day with a shot of Schnapps. Mass was said outdoors and most people participated, although a few die-hards started playing cards the minute the table cloths were on the tables. A few minutes before Mass was over, there was a mad dash to get in line to buy lunch. Not a hot dog, or a hamburger or even a steak was in sight. The menu included Hungarian Goulash, Schnitzel, pork roast and Hungarian Bratwurst, with sides of sauerkraut and German Potato Salad. Of course there was apple Strudel and various other German pastries for desert. The Bratwurst also made good sandwiches between two pieces of rye bread for dinner!

For the rest of the afternoon, men were at the Kegelbahn, a very primitive sort of bowling, and kids would hang around setting up the pins for them, earning some tips to spend at the ice cream truck later on. Other men were still playing cards, hardly stopping to eat or answer nature's call. The women spent a greater part of the afternoon waiting in line for the bathroom.

At one point in the afternoon, the Youth group and Children's groups marched around the grounds and them put on a cultural program of songs and dances and there were lots of speeches. After the program, a band would begin to play and many picnickers danced late into the evening. At some point after the program, once I was a teenager, we would sneak through the hole in the fence of the real picnic grove next door that had a beach and go swimming. Once the hole in the fence was fixed we actually had to walk around and pay a few dollars to sit on the sand, and occasionally put our toes in the water, or get thrown in by the boys.

And 50 years later, there isn't much difference. I only to go one of these each summer, today being the day. People aren't quite as dressed up as they used to be, and the Kegelbahn is gone, but the food is still the same. Paper plates are used now, so that no one has to be in the kitchen until midnight washing dishes. The beer and Schnapps are still plentiful. Everyone has a car now, so no one rides a yellow school bus to the event. The picnic grove next door is closed and the beach is also no longer available as homes have been built there.

But the little ones still dance and sing. Here is the children's group before their performance. The youngest are 3 years old, and performed with the group for the first time today. They were so excited they forgot what to do, but they made it up as they went along, and stole the show! I have been working with this group since about 1982, and for the last two years, my daughter Viki also works with the group. I think she has as much fun with the kids as I do.

The youth group still dances, and here is an action shot of some of the group. I have been working with this group since 1972, and lots of these kids are the children of former members.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

July Progress and August Goals

Since I have begun listing my stitching goals and keeping track of progress, I find my stitching is more organized, and I get more done. So here is this months progress report and goal list.

July Progress:
10 hours on RMC - done
July teapot - done
part 7 EMS Rose Sampler - done
July Flip-It - done
2nd duckie bath towel - worked on it
Hungarian Sampler part 2 - done
start mystery sampler part 1 - done
LHN Schoolgirl lessons - done
1 block on Northwoods afghan - done
finish ornament model -done
breast cancer square done
scissors fob - done
start 40 ct gauze piece - nope!
Eat Drink and be scary - done

August Goals
10 hours on Rocky Mountain Christmas
August Flip-It Block - Lizzie Kate
Part 8 EMS Rose Sampler
August Teapot - Just Another Button Company
1 block on Northwoods afghan
Hungarian Sampler Part 3
Papillon Mystery Sampler part 2
2 duckie wash cloths
finish 2nd duckie towel
2nd ornament model
40 count gauze piece
diva's ornament
Christmas Mail Art piece

Friday, August 01, 2008

Last Finish for July

I put the last stitches in last evening. This is Eat, Drink and Be Scary by Waxing Moon. It is done on 28 count Stormy Gray Wichelt hand dyed linen, with Gentle Arts Sampler Threads.
The bug, bat and candy corn buttons as well as the frame with painted spider webs and such are on order. As soon as they arrive, the piece will be complete and ready for Halloween!