Saturday, January 20, 2018

Christmas 2017

A trip to Dubuque for Christmas dinner and gift exchange.  Now that gifts have been given, I can share photos.

On our cruise, one of the channels on the TV was Disney Junior.  Periodically between cartoons, the channel featured "Muffalo Potato," who was a sock puppet.  With his human companion, John, they taught kids how to draw using just numbers and letters.  Being the cruise channel, the drawing lessons encompassed a dolphin, a whale, a sea turtle, and an octopus.  I found this octopus online and stitched him up as a cruise memory for Dennis.

One of my online classes this past year was "Autumn Crackers," designed and taught by Marilyn Owen.  I have stitched two of the four so far, and finished them into ornaments rather than crackers.  I gave the pumpkin ornament to my sister-in-law and the owl to my Dad.

My major Christmas-gift stitching will wait until Easter.  My brother in Germany will be back for a visit then.  He usually comes in the fall, and we have Christmas early.  This year, we're having Christmas at Easter time, which works out well since I would not have had time to finish the items for giving at Christmas.   The stitching is now done, and the pieces are soon off to the finisher.

The finish I am most proud of this year was "Elegance Cubed" by Kurdy Biggs.  I switched  the background color to blue.  This was my first 3-D endeavor, and the first project I've done that was so heavily beaded (beads upon beads upon beads).  It looks pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Monday, October 23, 2017

A lot of small projects

For some reason, I've been working on small projects lately.  I just sent off in the mail three Christmas ornaments which I stitched as a member of the CyberStitchers Chapter of the EGA.  These are going to an auction to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

And, enough of Christmas.  I found two ornament kits on Ebay, with threads in an autumn color palette.  Here's the first one.  I have also ordered threads to stitch this in a Christmas color palette.

"Framed: Sisley" from Kick Back & Stitch
And in amongst the stitching projects, we went to see "The King and I."

Daisies and Nitclubs

I purchased a new receiver for my TV/stereo system several months ago, and it and I are not getting along.  For some reason, on some channels or some shows, the background music overwhelms the dialogue. I've tried all the adjustments I can find, to no avail.  I finally decided to turn on my closed captioning so I could watch those programs when I could not clearly hear the dialogue.  I've discovered that some closed captioning is better than others.

My father mentioned once that he doesn't really care for closed captioning because it moves so quickly that it's hard to keep up.  Another problem, I've discovered, is that the captioning can be quite garbled and nonsensical.  Case in point: a character says, "These days he's..."  The captioning reads, "These daisies..."  So not only do you have to read quickly, you have to try to decipher what was really meant.  The one captioning flub that made me laugh was when a character talked about a nightclub, and the captioning read "nitclub."  I wonder if nitclubs are where lice go to unwind after a hard day.

I got a lot of stitching done following the cruise.  I had taken stitching along, but never got it out, just dragged it along.  This Curly Girl Design kit by Mill Hill was one of the pieces that went halfway across the world before I finally started it back home.

"Someday is made up of a thousand tiny nows"
Another piece is Patriotic Heart by Gay Ann Rogers.

And while I was on a Gay Ann Rogers kick, I also did this two-sided ornament/banner, "Joy to the World."

And speaking of Christmas, I dug out a piece I had started many months (years?) ago but never finished.  Finally, it's done!

Nature's Joy, from Treasury of Cross-Stitch Ornaments

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Iowa/Denmark/Nigeria Connection

There were so many people needing a wheelchair to get to the gate that we ended up on one of those motorized carts.  Another woman in the business lounge and I hopped on the back seat, while her husband and Dennis headed to the gate on foot.  While I chatted with her, learning that they lived in Copenhagen and were flying to the US to see the eclipse, visit friends in Minnesota, and visit New Orleans, Dennis was learning that the husband had done mission work in Nigeria.

When we all got back together at the gate, I mentioned that my parents had been missionaries in Nigeria.  The husband asked where, and I responded Bukuru, and went on to explain since I was sure he would never have heard of the tiny village of Bukuru, with Jos as the nearest town of any size. But the husband got a big smile on his face, nodded, and responded, "TCNN?"  So, not only did he know of Bukuru, he knew of the Theological College of Northern Nigeria.

What a small world!

And the cruise ends in Copenhagen

By this point in the cruise, I am feeling lousy.  For some reason, my normal seasonal allergies which are controlled with antihistamine, were running amok.  Non-stop running nose, post-nasal drop clogging up my throat, lots of coughing to clear my throat, and no stamina.  As in walking half a block, stopping to rest, walking a bit more, stopping to rest.

Our arrival at Fredericia, Denmark was greeted by pretty much the whole town.  There was a cannon salute (with the tiniest miniature cannons I have ever seen).  Apparently we were around the fourth cruise ship to dock there this year.  At most of our other stops, we were among 4 to 8 cruise ships docking per day.

At the end of the day, the town, including local dignataries, turned out to give us a band concert, with people in historical native attire, waving flags and waving at us.  It was great!

I decided to skip the shore excursion to Copenhagen, and thus missed the statue of the Little Mermaid. And I ended up having to resort to a wheelchair at the airports.  We had paid for a shuttle bus from the ship to the airport, but it was ahike to the bus, and then the bus dropped us off at terminal 1 and we needed to be at terminal 2.  By the time we got to the ticket counter, I was done in.

Since we had "premium economy" tickets, we had access to the business lounge, which included comfortable waiting, soup and a variety of snacks, and assorted beverages.

Family Reunion in Germany

Our next stop was Warnemunde in Germany, where we met brother Robert.  There was a cruise center (read "tourist-trap") with a gift shop and little restaurant.  We found seats in the restaurant area, had some pop, and caught up with a nice chat. Then Dennis and I headed back to the ship, while John and Renee headed with Robert to a tour of the city.

View of our ship from the pier in Wurnemunde

View of Wernemunde from the ship

Latvia and Lithuania.

Next stop on our cruise was Riga, Latvia.  Unfortunately, it was too windy.  There is a narrow channel into Riga Bay, and the wind was just at the point of being too strong to safely traverse the channel. And, the winds were forecast to get stronger in the afternoon. Sooo, assuming the harbot pilot decided it was safe to enter the harbor, it was iffy whether we would be able to get back out.  So, we waved at Riga as we turned and spent the day at sea.

Next stop was Lithuania, where we had a shore excursion of touring an amber factory.  The amber factory was way too hot and stuffy, and lots of standing, so I opted for sitting on a bench outside in the cool shade and light breeze.

Then on to, guess where - the amber factory's gift shop outlet, where we had some amber tea and amber cake, then "got" to spend time looking at all the amber jewelry and other giftware.  I bought a pair of earrings, Dennis bought some amber dust and raw amber.

What I found very interesting on our tours, was the disparity with which the individual Scandinavian and Baltic countries saw Russia.   Some countries were proud of their past and current relationship with Russia, others were quite disparaging of how they were treated by Russia during World War II.

For example, the following joke was told by our tour guide in Lithuania, as we drove past obvious Soviet-era apartment complexes that all looked the same.  There is the story of the man who went home from work and went to the wrong apartment.  He didn't notice because they all look the same. His key worked, because there were only a few different keys.  And his furniture was what he was used to seeing, since there were only three choices in furniture.  And so the story goes on.
Pictures of Klaipeda from the ship