Monday, December 23, 2019

A Blue Christmas

Hi, stitching friends!

Here we are, Christmas Eve Eve, and I am writing this with a heavy heart. We came home from our awesome, amazing, wonderful-beyond-belief vacation on the Oregon Coast, and I had routine scans Monday morning once we were back home.

Good news and bad news. The good news is that my cancer is still in the bone. That's REALLY good news. The bad news is that it has progressed. The last few days have been a flurry of doctor appointments and planning. I'm having surgery Friday to have a titanium rod inserted in my femur to stabilize it and keep it from breaking. After that, we'll be looking at several weeks of radiation to various parts of my body to kill the cancer and reduce pain.

After that, I don't know. Lots of fighting with insurance, probably. Maybe more chemo. One day at a time.

So. Much. Fun.

We've decided it's wise to stay close to home this next year, so we cancelled our 2020 Ireland/Scotland trip. But we are not sad. Shawn and I can have fun anywhere, doing just about anything together. Grocery shopping can be an adventure.

And, I'm so thankful that I have cross stitch as a hobby. I can't count the number of life challenges that stitching has helped me through. It keeps me centered. And I will have plenty of excuses to stay off my feet in the near future.

I would appreciate your prayers, though. Pray for strength, pray for healing, pray for wisdom and skill in my doctors.

In the meantime, we will have a wonderful Christmas. My mom is here with us, and with any luck, a family friend will be able to join us as well.

"Blue Christmas House," freebie from Live to Stitch

Blue Christmas House Freebie

My Christmas gift to you is a little ornament I designed called "Blue Christmas House." The design is based on a painting by Charles Wysocki called "Cape Cod Christmas." Click here for a PDF of "Blue Christmas House."

I owe the New England charm to Mr. Wysocki, though. I just adore his work. Here is the original painting:

I made some changes to make the ornament my own, but the spirit of the house is there. I hope you enjoy it!

Sweet Seventeen

My son turned 17 last week! I can hardly believe it. He is growing up to be such a kind, thoughtful young man, and I couldn't be prouder.

I asked him what kind of cake he would like for his birthday, and he said red velvet cheesecake. I made a red velvet cheesecake cake, and wow.... let me tell you, it was amaaaaaazing. See that picture above? That's MY cake! It turned out better than I expected, and my son was so thrilled. I have not been eating sugar since August, but I made an exception and had a piece of this. It was worth the calories. Click here for the recipe.

With that, I'll sign off for now. It may be a while before I post again, as life is about to get a lot more complicated for me. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and an amazing 2020!

Friday, December 13, 2019


Hi, stitching friends!

We enjoyed our last full day here by going to the waterfront in Newport. We saw the sea lions sunning themselves on the dock, browsed the gift shops and stopped at Beverly Beach again on the way back. It was pretty windy today and the tide was high, so we are saving our beach walk for tomorrow (fingers crossed). I finally pulled out my hat, scarf and coat today!

This evening we checked out the clubhouse at the condo and made a mental note to bring our swimsuits next year. Heated pool...check! We shot a few games of pool, and while I am not good, I am happy to report that I won two out of five games, so it wasn’t a total embarrassment.

After we check out tomorrow but before hitting the road, we hope to squeeze in one last walk on the beach. And, stitching friends, Shawn insists that I go to Starlight Stitchery in Corvallis one more time. What should I get? They have so many things I’ve never seen.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday hustle and bustle, and I hope you are taking some time to pamper yourselves. Thanks for all your sweet comments!

Thursday, December 12, 2019


The ocean view tonight from the back patio

Hi, stitching friends!

The storm seems to be passing, but the water and wind are still wild tonight. We hibernated yesterday and watched the waves crash on the rocks, and I worked on writing Christmas cards. After dark, we turned off the lights and snuck out in our bathrobes to skinny dip in the hot tub! Nobody needs to see that! That’s one huge benefit of visiting in the off-season. The condos on both sides of us are vacant. (Thank goodness.)

We drove north to Tillamook today to visit the cheese factory and get ice cream. They have a fun self-guided tour and free samples.

Shawn took five turns going back for free samples. The man loves cheese!
Yours truly!

Shawn loves to get ice cream at Tillamook. Last year they had a limited-edition flavor with maple syrup and bits of pancake in it, so he was looking forward to some of that. They didn’t have it this year, so he got FIVE big scoops of birthday cake ice cream AND a big scoop of praline pecan. I envy that man’s metabolism! I got ONE scoop of white chocolate raspberry.

Hey! Who ate all my ice cream? You did! You ate all your ice cream!

On our way “home,” we stopped at a post office in little Hebo, Oregon (population 231) to mail our Christmas cards and a Christmas package to my dad and his wife. They are hard to buy for, but I found some socks for them at the novelty sock store in Depoe Bay. Here’s what I sent them:

Socks for my dad and his wife, Marcia

He will think her socks are funny, and she will think his socks are hilarious. Perfect!

Until next time, friends, I hope this finds you happy, healthy and finding lots of time to stitch!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Storm Clouds Brewing

Hi, stitching friends!

I took this picture just a few minutes ago out the back patio of the condo. Beautiful evening. Those dark shapes on the left aren’t hills; they’re storm clouds rolling in. The waves are starting to crash high and hard against the rocks. It’s going to be a wild night!

Today was sunny and calm so we took a long walk on Beverly Beach. I love the Oregon Coast this time of year. We have the beaches almost to ourselves, and while others may think it’s too cold, we think temps in the 50s are perfect. I haven’t worn my coat since we’ve been here.

After Beverly Beach, we drove down to Newport and visited Bridie’s Irish Faire and met the owner, Susan. Earlier this year we signed up for a tour of Ireland and Scotland in 2020, organized by Susan, so it was fun to introduce ourselves. A lot of people going on the trip are from Oregon, so we are the Idaho contingent. (If you ever want a small-group tour of Ireland, click here to visit Bridie’s online. Next year will be Susan’s 17th tour!)

Lunch at Nana’s Irish Pub next door followed, and now we’re back at the condo, ready guessed it... watch Monday Night Football!

Wish you were here. There’s a lot to love!

Until next time, wishing you fun and lots of time to stitch!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

A Good Day

Hi, stitching friends!

Photo from

Today was a good day. Shawn and I slept in, watched some football in front of the fireplace, and had a nice breakfast (although we found out that our well-stocked vacation kitchen had no salt!).

We ventured out to Fogarty Creek Beach just up the road from our condo and walked on the beach. I took lots of pictures with my Nikon, so I’ll have to wait until we’re home to show you. (I don’t have a way of transferring them to my iPad.) I borrowed the above photo from, and it shows one of the pretty bridges we walked on at Fogarty. It was a gorgeous day, temp in the mid 50s. We forgot our rubber boots back at the condo, so we’ll be back again with boots maybe tomorrow so we can get wet and check out the tide pools.

After Fogarty, we went to the Christmas store in Lincoln City and bought some pretty ornaments. This Jim Shore Celtic Santa is my favorite.

We stopped by Walmart to pick up a few necessities (salt!) and came “home” to have some salads and watch football. I love our week away and how we can take it easy every day. Lots of down time. The perfect vacation for us.

I brought several projects with me, but I’m currently stitching “Simply Winter” by The Drawn Thread. After this, I’ll just have the autumn one to go. I decided to stitch with two strands of thread rather than the called-for one strand because I wanted the colors to be a bit bolder.

The light in the condo isn’t good for stitching, so I’m happy I brought my portable stitching lamp from home. If you travel and have a hard time with finding good light, I highly recommend this lamp from Amazon; it disassembles and packs in a suitcase. Here is the link on Amazon.

Tomorrow we plan more beach combing and exploring if the weather continues to cooperate.

Mr. Wonderful is sleeping now, pretty typical when Sunday Night Football is on and the fire is warm and cozy. It’s been a good day.

Wishing you joy and lots of time to stitch!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Hello, Oregon Coast!

Hi, stitching friends!

We made it to the Oregon Coast this afternoon.

During our flight, I snapped a picture of the Snake River and the snowy mountains in the distance, the clouds blanketing everything. It was a smooth flight, but as we started to descend, my ears felt like someone was stabbing them with an ice pick. I hate getting my ears to pop, especially when I’m getting over a cold.

On our way to Depoe Bay, we stopped at Starlight Stitchery in Corvallis, a real life needlework shop! I was in heaven. Shawn waited patiently as I browsed. “I’m almost done,” I kept reassuring him. “Take your time,” he said. Is there a husband-of-the-year award? I mean, for real? He deserves it.

I picked out some new things to add to my stash:

I think our friends might appreciate “Cabin Sweet Cabin” as a thank you for hosting us at their cabin so often. I wanted “Winter Saltboxes” the moment it came out, and “Autumn ABCs” is just a must-have.

I picked up a few small-project charts as well, and I asked Shawn if he saw anything he liked. He showed me this:

I have so many Halloween stitches already, but I can’t resist when he picks something. I love the colors.

Shawn told me we can stop at the stitchery store on our way home, too, if I want. I don’t think we will, but he is so sweet. How did I get so lucky?

Our home-away-from-home in Depoe Bay, a rental condo, is gorgeous and cozy. The ocean is right out the back door.

I hope you all find time to be in your happy place. You deserve it! Looking forward to a week of exploring, relaxing, stitching, and being with my favorite person in the world.