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Long and rambly post aheadCollapse )

Well, Ryan just got up (and let himself out of his room, despite the gate being up!), so I should go. Happy Friday!

Crap

Official diagnostic on the car: it's blown its transmission. The mechanic is doing some research on prices for parts, will call us later today or tomorrow with quotes. I have a feeling we'd be better off junking it and getting a newer car. Can't really afford a second car payment, though. Maybe our bank would let us consolidate what's left on the van into a new loan. *sigh* I'll worry about this later, I'm too tired to think about it now.

Too Much Stress!

I need to ventCollapse )

Ok, rant over, go back to your lives.

Bleh

It's been a while since I've posted much. Life's been pretty crazy. I was getting frustrated with my wolf cubs, so I've put them away for a while. I've been working exclusively on a graduation present for my niece. Her high school's colors are blue and white, with the ram as a mascot. I'm making a pillow with a ram, her name, the school name, and "Class of 2010". Didn't finish it in time for the party yesterday, but oh well. Here's a couple of progress pics, the first from middle of last week, the second as of yesterday.

pictures back hereCollapse )

Though I've made pillows before, this is my first time working with waste canvas. In the past, I've used aida on the inside of the pillow to keep my stitches even. I like that with the waste canvas, I can have the fabric on the front, so I'm not having to flip back and forth to find the holes. But I don't like how loose the weave is. It shifts around pretty easily, and there are places I don't feel like my stitches look very clean because of that. But I'm getting the hang of it. I just hope it pulls out as easily as advertised!

John's been making good progress on his dragon. He finished the section of the dragon on the bottom left page a couple days ago, and is starting on the frame in that corner.

more pictures back hereCollapse )

I am so proud of him on this piece. It is going to look amazing when it's done!

In more general, Andrew's finally out of school for the summer. The last few weeks have been so hectic. It seems like every day had something major going on in his class, that I either had to remember to have him wear certain clothes, or send something in, or fieldtrips that needed his carseat left with him when I dropped him off...I'm pooped! And I was heartily sick of the school begging for money. Okay, so the budget was next year was tight, and alot of the extra programs the Davis school district are famous for were facing cuts. My son is qualifies to get free lunches, I dont' have any money to spare. Stop trying to make me feel guilty that I couldn't write a check for $300+ dollars. Maybe if it truly was a "dollar a day" donation, where I could write a check for $30 each month, I could have done it, but not a whole year's-worth all in one go. My child goes to public school because I can't afford to pay for his schooling. That's what property taxes are supposed to be for.

Okay, sorry, rant over.

I finally got word from State Farm about our tow fee. We got back $110 towards the $640 we paid. Not great, but better than nothing. I really need to send in that AAA membership.

Andrew turned 7 yesterday. I can't believe he's that old already. He had fun at his party yesterday. With monetary help from grandma, we were able to have a "karate party" at the dojo. I wish more kids could have made it, though. Next year, I need to remember to plan the party a good month beforehand, and to have it the weekend before school gets out, before everyone's left town. Still, it was really nice being able to sit back and let Sifu Matthew take care of the decorations and entertainment.

My business is doing okay. Not great, but okay. I lost a client that moved out of the country, so things are a little slow right now, which is not helping our financial situation. John's had several days off waiting for other contractors to finish their parts of the project so he can start his next step, which isn't helping either. He's still making more than on unemployement, but still, it would be nice if he was working a little more. I need to schedule a meeting with a CPA I know to get some tax advice. I want to make sure that with both John and I self employed, I'm withholding enough money to cover our taxes without short-changing myself on cash for our day-to-day expenses.

I also want to talk to him about what the rules are for tax deductions for self-employed people's health insurance. I would really like to get the whole family on Blue Cross (or is it Blue Shield? I always get the two mixed up...anyway, not important). Our doctor at Sutter takes Blue Shield, but doesn't take the state-run insurance I have the boys on. They were assigned to a doctor at the community clinic. Well, last week Ryan had a really bad cough, and since he's prone to bronchial infections, I wanted to have him seen. I call the community clinic, and was told that the first appointment they had was in over a week, but that if I really thought he needed to be seen, I could come in and put my name on the waiting list and hope an appointment opened up. Spend all day in a waiting room with a sick little boy, hoping I get an appointment? Losing a whole day of work in the process? I don't think so! I called the old (real!) doctor, and got an appointment for that afternoon. I had to pay out of pocket, but when I told her what happened , she said she'd code the visit as one of the cheaper procedures, on top of the 30% discount they give for paying at the time of the appointment, and gave me free samples of one of the medicines she wanted him to take. She's awesome, and the community clinic sucks.

Anyway, it's about time to get Ryan ready for bed, so I'd better go. Have a good week everyone.

Catching up

Wow, has it really been almost a month since I posted anything? Sorry about that!

This is really long, so I'll put it behind a cutCollapse )

I'll try to post some updates on our stitching projects tomorrow. :)

Blackwork Update

Here's the latest on the present for Emily.



Almost done! ^_^

I can't think of a clever title.

As always, first up my cross stitch update (mostly because I copy it from my post to cross_stitch) XD

Pictures ahead!Collapse )

In more general news, it was a decent week. I didn't get a whole lot of actual work done, because I was dealing with too much personal junk. But I did get the boys' primary care physician changed to one in town (as opposed to the one out near Arco Arena the health care company assigned them to). I also took Misty to the vet for her infected toe; she's on antibiotics for it now. Getting her to swallow her pills has been tricky, but I think she's realized it's a lot easier to just swallow it, after I let it dissolve on her tongue while holding her mouth closed the other day. This was after she'd spat it out five or six times.

I took the Saturn in to have the oil leak looked at. I was anticipating a hefty bill, but it was a simple worn gasket plug. Parts and labor for that, plus an oil change and a new air filter only set me back $74 dollars. Woo hoo!

I also went through quite a bit looking into finding Misty a new home. She's been driving us crazy, and after she peed all over the chairs in the library, I had had it. But the SPCA said they would probably not be able to find a home for her, and that if I turned her over to the County Animal Shelter, she would probably be euthanized. I did not want that, so I started doing some research on outdoor cat enclosures. There are some really nice ones, but they have really "nice" prices too, so I'm working on designing one to build myself. I found these cat flap adapters for patio doors. I figure if we get one of those, I can set it up so it lets into a tunnel that would take the cat into something like this. I really like these ones, but they are for rich people. O.o The ones from this company are pretty amazing too, but again, out of my price range.

The boys have spent most of the weekend out in the back yard, which has been wonderful. If I could just keep them from making mud puddles with the hose...

Only ten more days until John and my trip to San Francisco!

Blackwork update

I've finished the green corner now. Not as happy with it, but it'll do.



I decided I didn't like the red in combination with the other colors. I didn't really have any variegated here that I liked, though. I almost went with a pink/rose, but Emily is about as fond of pink as I am, which is to say, not at all. So we went to Michaels today, and I found one that is a green/blue combination that I think will look nice. If I can find a teal color to match it that I can use for the solid color hatches, I think it will look nice.

I also decided what to do for the blank spaces in the middle. I found a site with Celtic knots, and found one that is similar to the knots on the pattern. Then I found a blackwork sampler and picked a pattern similar to the one on the pattern. So the middle parts will be the similar-but-differnt knots and hatches I found, with the knots in variegated grays and the hatches in black. Then I'm going to finish it as a wall scroll, mounting the piece onto some fabric from my stash, though I haven't looked through it to decide which one yet.

I hope to have this done by next weekend!

Update Time

First up, my cross stitch projects.

I finished the stitching on my lions cubs!



I'm glad I went back and added the grass, it was needed to fill out the piece. Though I had to get a little creative winding it through the letters. Still not 100% happy with it around the "ec" in "Hector", but I don't feel like messing with it anymore. I bought a frame for it today, need to wash it and frame it.

I'm almost finished with the first wolf pup.



I want to do his backstitching before I start on the other pup, which means I need to finish the moon along the back of his head first. :( All that yellow is so tedious.

Next up to start is my niece's graduation present, a pillow in the school colors with the Ram mascot.

John is flying along on his dragon.



He's working on page 2 now, following the curve of the dragon's back.

In more general news, we finally got our tax return! I e-filed the second week of February, and it took until this week to get our money. *eyeroll* Oh well, at least it meant we didn't have to buy groceries on credit this weekend, which we were going to have to do. I put a bit in each of the savings accounts, and plan to use the rest to pay down a good chunk of our credit card debt. We should probably use some to have the Saturn looked at, too, it's leaking oil. And Misty seems to have some sort of infection growing between her toes on the foot she injured last summer, so I really aught to take her to the vet. *sigh* If it's not one thing, it's another.

The boys are officially on Healthy Families. We have to pay $26 per month, which includes health, dental, and vision insurance for both boys. Yeah, I think I can handle that. Unfortunately, the physician that they been going to since I was pregnant with each of them is not an authorized Healthy Families physician on the Health Net plan. Her group does take Blue Shield, which of course Healthy Families no longer offers in Yolo County. *GRRRRR* The boys have been assigned to a doctor in Sacramento, which I am so calling to change tomorrow. There has to be a doctor in Davis they can go to, or at least Woodland or Dixon. There's the Community Clinic, if nothing else. And honestly, I think for their annual physicals, I'll probably still go to Dr. Patterson and just pay out-of-pocket, using the insurance for emergency purposes. The boys are old enough now that they both go once a year, six months apart, I think I can save up for that.

Andrew stayed at his grandma's houes this weekend. It was nice and quiet around here. Yesterday we went to the Farmer's Market, because I really wanted strawberres, and they have the best ones there. We enjoyed all the samples they were giving at the stand that sells humus. I could easily spend $50 at that stand alone, their stuff is SO GOOD. We wound up just getting a couple containers of humus, but I want to go back next week and get some of the other spreads, and some of the garlic pepper sauce, and maybe some falafel. ^_^ And of course, you can't go to the Market without getting a bag of freshly popped kettle corn. We decided to get lunch from one of the restaurant booths while we were there. We went with Katmandu Kitchen. We got a combo plate, and it was plenty enough to fill up both John and I. It was spicier than we expected, so John when back and got a drink. And came back with a surprise he bought for me.



Isn't it pretty? And it's so fragrant. He's such a sweety! Then we swung by the karate school to get our tickets for the Extravaganza next month and came home. After putting Ryan down for a nap, I spent a couple hours in the back yard sitting out on the grass and stitching, very relaxing.

Only three more weeks until John and my vacation in San Francisco! *dances*

Well, that's about it. Hope you are all doing well! Happy spring!

Mystery Project WIP 3

Here's where I'm at on Em's present.



Just need to do the border on the purple section and I'm done with the top half! I think the variegated colors on the purple showed up a lot better. I figured out a better way to work with the thread.

I need to decide whether or not to put something in the blank space between the corners. Opinions? I have some vague ideas of what I might put there if I put anything. Maybe I'll sketch out my ideas this week and see how they look. I also need to decide if I want to put some sort of border around the whole thing when all four corners are done.

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