Friday, August 12, 2016

The Big Save....

~ Greetings Friends and Warm Welcome ~
I first want to start off this post with a very sincere

"THANK YOU"

to all of those that left positive notes/comments or personally sent me positive notes/comments.
You do not know, how much your kind, considerate, thoughtful concern touched my heart.
I was struggling, I truly was, with a multitude of things that occurred over the last 2 months and it wasn't just Katie's move to college, albeit that was a very large concern.

You see...
I also resigned from my position outside the home.
For the last 23 years, I have juggled a job, a home, a family, volunteer positions, a job inside the home...and I found it very fulfilling.

8.5 years ago....
I started working at this small county hospital here in my city. What I thought would be the perfect set up, I soon realized was much the opposite. A very difficult to get along with coworker, who was in a place of authority, coupled with the fact that the hospital (due to the healthcare climate in our country) changed ownership 5 times during the last 8.5 years - spells n-i-g-h-t-m-a-r-e. That meant, any counseling, any write-ups, any issues at all in a person's HR file was wiped clean with every change of leadership. The perfect storm to cover up a perfect problem employee. After a very critical situation that I was once again placed in because of this person, and the resulting "our hands are tied, we can't do anything about this" being told to me yet *again*, I resigned. You see my job outside the home, which was in a part-time capacity, with part-time hours, and although I begged for years to be put into a  "position"..... I was never granted one. Why? Because it looked "good" on paper. I was the cheapest person on the books, because they kept me (who was working regular, part-time hours for 8.5 years) as a Per Diem employee (PRN).  What does that mean? It means: I was never paid for holidays, never got paid vacation, no sick time, no leave, no nothing. 
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
What were the benefits for working? A lot of hell and a lot of stress.
So...starting a new chapter of life. 
My last "crash and burn" blog...
was written 2 days after I had worked my last shift at the hospital. 
Yep, I didn't walk out. I had agreed to cover the vacation of a co-worker who was taking a 3 week vacation. So...I kept my word, my dignity, my values...and worked those agreed to days.
I left with my pride and my dignity.

Not only did all that happen...
but I'm also the "funeral luncheon lady" at our church Starting June 30 and continuing the following 3 weeks our parish had unprecedented deaths. 6 deaths in 3 weeks. The last week I had 2 funerals in one day and both families requested me to sing the Funeral Masses. So that meant 2 meals to plan and execute (garnering donations for the meals, ordering fried chicken, setting up, cleaning up, etc) and 2 choral practice sessions as well as 2 Masses. Katie and I arrived at 8 a.m. and left at 7 p.m. 

Some of you may be thinking....
WHY? didn't she have help? Well I did have help and donations were given, etc. However smack dab in the middle of the 6 funerals, my co-chair quit and so where I would have leaned on her, I was left to stand alone. But I got it done. I have recruited NEW CO-CHAIRS (I refuse to be the only ONE in future left to deal) and things have calmed down.

I have been learning to say NO!
I'm not good at it...but I am learning.

On to Katie....
She was delivered to college safely. 
We had a fabulous, spectacular day. I could feel of you who were praying for me. I was calm. I was cool. I was collected. Not a tear was shed in her presence. We left her in high spirits and she has continued in her little college world just as I knew she would. 
Here is a pictorial review of the 

"Dorm Day"

Katie's Room 

  Dorm desk

Dorm Panorama

Us all together one last time before we left....

Dorm Day

Katie sent me this picture the very next day....

Dorm 2016


Katie on the Canal

Katie's Scavenger Hunt Team

She is attending...
Indiana University - Purdue University of Indianapolis
(IUPUI)
She is majoring in Electrical Engineering (EE). 
She is the only female in the 2020 class of Electrical Engineering (thus the boys above)...apparently EE is one of the hardest engineering disciplines and not as popular with females as Mechanical Engineering or Biomedical Engineering, which both have high female percentages. Because she is the only identified female in the 2020 EE class...she is garnering LOTS of attention from the Engineering Dean and Professors, as they want her to be a success story for the program (and thus a sort of feather in their cap). 
Could I be more proud? 
Probably not.

I also want to highlight....
that God provides. Katie has been struggling with the fact that it may be difficult to get to Mass. She's in downtown Indy (not known for it's safety) and the Catholic Church is quite a hike, straight through the middle of downtown Indianapolis. There is not a Newman Center on Campus that holds Mass on the weekends. I have been praying about this.
Wednesday I got a text from Katie with a GUESS WHAT?!
Well, it turns out...the young lady with the glasses in the picture above is Catholic, she doesn't consistently practice, but was raised as Catholic. She saw Katie's prayer books on her bedside and crucifix and asked her Wednesday if she could be her "Mass Buddy" because she said: 
I want to practice my faith and grow my relationship with God.
If that is not an answer to prayer, I don't know what is. 
Prayer works...

In the meantime....
my other three kids started school on Wednesday, August 10. 
Here is their yearly: First Day of School Picture

First Day of School 2016

They are growing and thriving. The boys are becoming very "manly" if I do say so myself :)
Ellie is in 5th grade
Ian and Jacob are Juniors /11th Graders.

We recently celebrated Ellie's 11th Birthday, right before Katie left for college on August 5th

IMG_3581

IMG_3605

I've been busy in my Finishing Service...

MB_LHN Loving You HC_Brittercup Designs Kitty Tree HC_Brittercup Designs Britty Kitty HC_Brittercup Desgins Poinsettia GS_CCN Snow in Love GS_CCN Holly Jolly GS_Angel Star NS_TLS Cardinal NS_Land of Liberty bag NS_CCN Happy Holidays LW_Bowl Fillers DH_LHN Under the Tree DB_TSH America Class Set DB_Dried Marigolds DB_PSS Bowl of Scaries 1 CS_PSS Serial Bowl CS_PSS Daily Labors of theBee

This isn't even all of the finishes I've done in the last couple of months...but you get the idea ;)
LOTS

Until next time...
I'm marching on, feeling good, and being a supportive, good neighbor to those that need a shoulder to lean on. Because the good Lord knows, that when I needed positive, kind words most of you were there for me and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Thank you!

Love in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

The Big Crash and Burn....



~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends ~
I hope this post finds you well, hale and hearty!

First off...
I've been remiss in sharing this lovely new series from Little House Needleworks here on my blog. 
If you follow me on Instagram (@VonnaPfeiffer) or on Facebook or on YouTube(Vonna Pfeiffer)
You will have heard all about this, but for those of you that loyally follow me here on this little patch of cyberspace, I have been very remiss and for that I apologize.

May I introduce....
Little House Needleworks
ABC Samplers - No. 1 ABC"
LHN ABC 1

These delightful little darlings stitch up very quickly and can be sewn into sweet little pillows to incorporate in a big wooden bowl or basket! Would be lovely done up like that! 
OR
They can be stitched together into one amazing Sampler Series.

Here again is a close up of the sweet little pumpkins laying in the front yard of sweet country mansion of the little lady out front tending her pumpkin patch :)
CUTE!
LHN ABC 1 pumpkins

The designs come with a simple stitched frame around each one individually but I have chosen to have mine all stitched without the individual frames and just stitch a broken frame (stitched in Sassy Brassy - Classic Colorworks) and a larger solid frame just one stitch away (stitched in Caterpillar - Classic Colorworks). This way I felt it will sort of give a "village" feel to my sampler...just a tiptoe from country home to country home all together inside one large frame surrounding. I really love my start.

My sampler is being stitched on 32 count Vintage Examplar by Lakeside Linens. I'm using all the called for Classic Colorworks and DMC colors...
If you stitch it like me the design is roughly 12 inches by 12 inches (I'm leaving 2 stitches in between the house sides, tops and bottom) on 32 count fabric. 

Here is what "ABC Sampler, No. 2 DE" looks like and where it will go...
LHN ABC 2 placement

And here is the colors all pulled for it. I substituted Brandied Pears for Gingerbread because I felt that the Gingerbread blended too much into my fabric and I wanted it a little darker. 
You can see that Caterpillar and Sassy Brassy for my frame will look awesome with all the colors...

LHN ABC 2  colors

It's going to be a sweet simple, country style sampler... Diane always does the best series that are cute and simple and just add up to the most darling finish! Check out the series and get on board today!

This summer we added a new addition to our family....
we adopted:
AUGIE...
Augie 
Short for Augustine Pfeiffer, he came to us just 8 weeks old. The runt of the litter. We adopted him on a Friday and by that following Monday...he was so sick I thought he was going to die. 
Luckily I got him to our Vet as soon as they opened...he had pneumonia. Was very, very ill and the doctor had him on antibiotics immediately. He didn't have much hope that Augie was going to make it, but I TLC'd him until he didn't have a choice but to get better. I put him in the litter tray, force fed him 4 times a day, gave him intravenous saline under the skin of his back for hydration, wiped his hiney and 7 days later...good as new! Here he is this week at 12 weeks old :) 
He's a rascal!

This summer...
particularly in the past two weeks, we have been gathering supplies for Katie's new destination in life...
Here we are with a packed trunk after a shopping spree at Target...

  Katie haul 1

Here we are after a shopping spree at Walmart...


Katie haul 2

And here we are...awaiting transport this coming Sunday, August 7, 2016 to her college dorm room...
with every step we have taken this summer, my pride glows with the young woman she is...but my heart aches with every step. 


Now we come to the crash and burn segment of my summer...
I get many e-mails throughout the years I have shared my life in this blog about...
"How do you do it?" 
"You go go go!"
And...
all that is true...I do go, go, go. Without stopping.
100% of the time, I give, give, give to everyone else in this world...
but I don't give to me.
Many in my life...
take advantage of this fact, because they know that I can handle a lot. I DO handle a lot. 
This summer though...
there has been many things that I'm not handling well. 
Not handling at all in the "Vonna fashion" that everyone has come to expect.
I'm tired.
I'm depressed.
I'm exhausted.
I feel like I have to give, give, give, but no one (even when I struggle and even when I say: IT'S TOO MUCH) listen to me and heed my words and try to lessen on adding more and more stress to me.

Yes...
I'm crashing.
Yes...
I'm burning.

This Sunday...
I move my very first baby to college. 
Pray for me.
I know I'm not the first to do it. 
I know I'll make it through.
This has been a very stressful summer in more ways than one. Things that don't have anything to do with college or anything like that...
Just pray that my Katie will be safe.
That she will fly like I've raised her to fly.
And this Mama bird will dig deep and...
be well.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A couple of questions on finishing...


QUESTION:


Hi Vonna,

When making a cube how do you attach the cording? Do you sew it on like you do the pillow ornament? or do you glue it on?


Thanks,

Sue C.


ANSWER:
On a cube, I lay a light line of glue right along the edge of the complimenting material on the sides of the cube...all the way around the "face" of the stitched piece. I begin with one end of the cording at the BOTTOM MIDDLE  of the cube, pressing the cording into the glue line all the way around. I also pin it as I go with straight pins along the cording about every 1-2 inches. I just push the pins through the cording and into the styrofoam. This adds additional integrity and holding power for the cording all the way around the "face" of the stitched piece until I meet in the bottom middle and end off by sewing the end of the cording with matching thread, cutting the cording, placing a dot of glue on the cord ends and pressing the edges of both cords together to make a seamless transition. Secure bottom ends with pins as well. 
Thank you Sue C. for your question! 



QUESTION:
Dear Vonna,
You are a very talented lady. I love all of your stitching and finishes. My question for you is how do you come up with ideas on how you see a piece being finished? Do you search the internet for ideas? Do you keep a notebook of your finishes and refer to it? 

Thank you, 
Carolyn

ANSWER: 
No Carolyn, I don't keep a notebook or search the internet for ideas or inspiration. While I'm stitching my own projects, I think of what my use for them will be. I have these questions (literally) running through my head while I'm stitching or looking at designs to stitch.
Is it large? How much time is it taking me to stitch it? What do I want it to be? How do I decorate my home? Is it seasonal? Is it useful? Does it have a purpose? 
For example: Small Seasonal things, I rarely frame, most of these type of seasonal stitches will be ornaments, flatfolds, wall hangings, etc. These are things that are in and out of storage and that are not out all year round. 
Small Pillows that I tuck into bowls, shelves, hang from door knobs, may be out all year long and I use them as little extra details for my home decorations
Large projects that take much time, I frame. 
I don't look on the internet for inspiration, but of course if you are on Blogs, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, you can't help but be inspired by other stitchers...and they may influence what I stitch, but the finishing is usually my own creation.  I can see details of how I want things to look, in my mind's eye and I rely on my own creativity for my finishes. Not to say that I am not inspired to stitch or finish in a manner that is similar to things I have seen somewhere, but I have come up with ideas for finishing just by sitting and dreaming: examples of things I have come up with over the years are: tag ornaments, the embroidery hoop boxes, twig frames, mounted ornaments, recently I had an idea about finishing a Mill Hill ornament by making a "tag" using scrapbook papers .... all of these things I came up with by dreaming, tried it out and it worked. Anyone can have creative finishes, you just need to spend a little time dreaming to become inspired to try! I feel like some of my "best" creations came from trial and error and my dreams, of course!
Thank you for your question, Carolyn!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Ask Vonna....Washing your project....

QUESTION: 
Ladybeans writes, "Dear Vonna, love your blog! You are so helpful to us stitchers. I do have a question that comes up frequently with my stitching friends..'Do you wash all of your pieces after you finish stitching them?' Thank you!"

ANSWER: 
Hello Ladybeans, thank you for your kind words and question! Here is my personal answer to your question: I do not typically wash my projects after I get done stitching them. Here is the reasons why:

*I don't stitch in hand. I stitch always with a Q-snap (or my smalls on stretcher bars) and typically on my floor stand. (You can read all about my floor stand at this link: Needlework System 4 )

*I don't wear (when I am stitching) hand lotions 

*I don't eat when stitching

*If I take my projects out and about, they are always carried in my project envelopes (link to making your own project envelope on my YouChannel: HERE ) They are also stored in my project envelopes in between stitching sessions (or if loaded on my floor stand covered with a light, old bed sheet that I've cut down and sewn to cover my stitching work and stand in between working sessions. 

*I stitch two handed and my hands rarely touch my linen and if I do it is my fingertips only

*I typically use hand-dyed fabrics on most of my projects and a large number of my projects are stitched using over-dye cottons/silks, both of these products do not lend well to washing/soaking.

*If I do see visible dirt or smudge on my piece, I spot clean. My personal solution of choice that I use is: Dawn liquid detergent diluted with water in a small squirt bottle. My ratio is roughly: 1-2 drop of Dawn to 1 oz. of water. Dawn dissolves grease and it is safe/gentle. (they use it on wildlife exposed to oil spills!)  I don't squirt it all over, AND definitely not on red/dark threads...but I merely lightly blot using the end of a soft cloth damp or cotton q-tip with the Dawn solution on the spot of dirt/grime. OR I take a Q-tip soaked in the solution and "pretreat" the area for about 5-10 minutes and then begin to gently blot with a cloth damp with the solution. Once the grime is gone, I then hold a cloth under the piece and I use a new cloth soaked in water only and blot, blot, blot to remove any of the solution left on the piece. I do this likely 3 times with different areas of the water soaked cloth until it is free of the Dawn solution. One time recently my hands must have been dirty and I was stitching SNOW and my snow looked like a garbage truck had driven through it. I gently used this process of blotting the stitched area and it came out perfect- sparkling white like fresh fallen snow!  Just take time/care and go SLOW. 

*BLOOD...sometimes I do prick my finger and won't know it and blood will end up on my stitching. Being I work in the healthcare field, I am familiar with blood ending up on clothing at some point or another. Don't freak out! You can get it out (even if it is dried) Take a small container (like a small medicine cup from cough medicine) fill half with lukewarm tap water and the other half with hydrogen peroxide and dip a q-tip in the solution and blot, blot, blot the area with this. The blood will begin to fizz and foam (and that's good!) Once done, blot, blot, blot with damp cloth and the blood will disappear. 

Now then...if you feel the need to wash your stitching things as I know not everyone has a floor stand and washing is a fine thing to do. So, if you need to wash, there is no harm in it. Probably better to wash in these circumstances than not. . . I have links here to some of the most trusted stitching sites personally known by me and share them with you to make your own decisions. 






There you go! I leave you with your research and your own decision making about washing your own projects. (Or buying a floor stand like mine! HA HA HA!)

Hugs in stitches, 
Vonna xxxx

Monday, June 06, 2016

Graduation and other things stitchy....

~ Greetings and Warm Welcome Friends ~
well...
On Saturday, May 28, 2016....It happened!

One day she was still my baby...
and the next she was an adult. 

Here are some photos that I took at a local Limestone Cutting House (Woolery Mill) that is just about 1/2 mile from our home. It's very industrial and I believe adds interest to the background of a photo. People come from miles around to take their pictures here and it is literally in my backyard. :)
On a side note: Our limestone is in a lot of federal buildings in DC and also the Empire State Building....yep, all right here from good ol' Indiana...quarried and skillfully sculpted by artisans.

Katie Cap 8x10


Katie Column 8x10


Katie Standing best 8x10



and...a whole lot of this happened for her Open House Celebration on Sunday, May 29, 2016 at our home. 
2016 Scrolls

Diplomas

Grad hats

Katie Grad Girls

I also made 100 cupcakes with homemade buttercream icing in her 4 favorite flavors: Carrot, Red Velvet, Vanilla and Chocolate. We also had, Homemade cream cheese mints along with mixed nuts, berry fruit salad and fresh cut pineapple. For drinks I had wee bottles of milk (you know milk and cookies), bottled water and soda. It was a fabulous day! Lots and lots and lots of people came to show their support of my beautiful girl and offer their sincere congratulations. We couldn't have been more proud!

Katie is going to attend Indiana University ~ Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI).
She has already been accepted into the Purdue School of Engineering on the IUPUI campus. 
She is majoring in Electrical Engineering.
 (just like her Daddy...you talk about his chest being all puffed up!)
She will be approximately 1 hour from us, so it will be OK...that's what I keep telling myself.
She's ready to fly....


My girl graduated with Honors...
she earned a 4.3 gpa and many other academic awards
(Principals Elite Academic Honor Diploma, Indiana Scholar Athlete, National Honor Society Scholar...there are more, but you get the idea)

Bursting....
with pride. 

This week on Thursday and Friday she will go off to Orientation at IUPUI.
The end of July will see us moving her up there for the year (She's taking "bridge" classes early to get the hang of campus life and such before all the students return)

So the hubbub continues.... :)


On to all things stitchy....


I finished Country Cottage Needleworks, darling design entitled: "Stitching Time"
I did a few changes...
made the girl chubby to fit me, also gave her blond hair but most notable is I changed the color scheme from light cottage colors to darker color palette to fit my home. It is stitched on 32 ct. Mocha using DMC in my own colors as described.
I love how it turned out!
CCN Stitching Time

I finished the next row of...
Summer House Stitche Workes "Calico Sampler"
Again I have switched it all up changing the colors from Gentle Arts to Classic Colorworks cottons, I'm stitching it on 32 ct Wichelt Amber and I'm doing all of the letters in the same color rather than having them different colors. 
Loving this one too!

SHSW_Calico Sampler

Since I'm nuts about Floss Tube on YouTube and have watched hundreds of videos of people doing Mill Hill Kits, I finished this one:

Mill Hill Holiday Sled

I've also been working on:
"All Creatures Great and Small" by Barbara Ana Designs

Barbara Ana _ All Creatures Great and Small

and lastly...
last year I bought into the "Serenity Harbor" by By the Bay Designs. I got the patterns every week and I was excited to start but life kept getting in the way. 
First I had problems with finding the Fabric Flair fabric that was being made specifically for the piece. Then finally when I got it, it was out of stock...long story short I finally got a piece and well...it STUNK. I was not happy with the color, at all, I felt like photos I had seen of it were much prettier, more mottled than my piece appeared. So I was a little disgusted and put it on the back burner. 

I kept looking at many finishes of this sampler and it spoke to my heart like the very first day I saw the design. It reminds me of St. Augustine. I think the reason it reminds me of St. Augustine is because of the lighthouse and church in it, not to mention the water and the pelicans flying overhead in the sampler. But when I think of Serenity, St. Augustine is my place. After many years of going there for our family vacations and visiting there as a girl....it holds lots of special memories.

Since this year we will not be vacationing there...
:(

I decided on the week in June that we typically travel to St. Augustine for our yearly vacation, I will begin to stitch this design. In memory of our fun that we have. In order to do that...
I had to have some fabric that suited me. 
SO...
I bought some liquid rit in Pearl Gray, cut a piece of 35 ct. linen and went to town. 
THIS....
is what I wanted for my piece. 
First try, nailed it!

fabric for Serenity Harbor


I've also been finishing...


MW_Bunny Fobs MW_Christmas MW_St. Patrick's Day PG_JBW Snowman DJ_Quaker Box Topper MW_Believe MW_HoD January Chalk MW_JBW Ornaments MW_LHN Season's Greetings MW_Lizzie Kate Summer Exclusive MW_New Year MW_Peace HIH MW_WTNT Word Play BJ_Heart pillow

So that does it...
until next time. I've got lots of work to get done :)
Believe me.

So in an effort to switch things up, because I think sometimes people get stuck in a rut seeing the same 'ol same 'ol and skip over my endings. 
I'm going to switch things up. 

I tell my kids this almost every day: 

Treat others how you wish to be treated.
You never know what others are dealing with...treat them kindly.
SMILE!
No one likes a know it all.
Stand for something you believe in, don't be a doormat.
Say what you mean, then do what you say.

Love in stitches,
Vonna xxxx