Thursday, September 30, 2010

Assessing Sept Goals, Setting Oct Goals

SEPTEMBER GOALS. I didn't do as well as I would have liked, mainly because I chose a rather complicated and time-consuming chart for the round robin. The other factor impeding my progress was work ... this being the beginning of the academic year, there was a lot of overtime cutting into stitching time. On the other hand, I did go a long way toward catching up to my various ornament making goals.

Linda's RR: Start, finish and mail Debra's angel piece by 9/15. DONE.
Town Square SAL: Begin work on Val's Stuff's Train Depot. AFRAID NOT, THOUGH IT IS KITTED UP.
Bride's Tree SAL: Finish May-September ornaments. FINISHED MAY'S BIRD IN A NEST,

Thanksgiving Ornaments:
Finish stitching and assemble PS Turkey from Harvest Time. DONE.
Finish stitching and assemble PS Pumpkins from promo card for Farmer's Market. DONE.
Assemble Kreinik Cornucopia. DONE.
Stitch and assemble two CEC ornaments using motifs from Thanksgiving Circle. THIS WILL HAVE TO BE MOVED FORWARD TO OCTOBER.

BAP: Finish Section 1 and start Section 2 of TW's Autumn Faerie. SHAME ON ME - NOTHING THIS MONTH.
Medium Project: Resume work on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler. HANGING HEAD IN SHAME, YET AGAIN.

SURFACE EMBROIDERY: Continue work on Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square, mastering the boullion stitch. NADA.


NOT ON GOAL: Stitched and assembled Blue Ribbon Designs Perched on a Pumpkin Hallowen Ornament from Sept. 2010 JCS issue.


SALS and RRs
Linda's RR: Stitch and mail the last piece to Linda by 10/15. I haven't even received this in the mail yet, so meeting this goal seems problematic already!
Town Square SAL: Val's Stuff Train Depot.
Bride's Tree SAL: Catch up to October ornament.
Rachel's Halloween SAL: Stitch a Halloween ornament from the JCS issue.

Thanksgiving Ornaments: Stitch three ornaments from CEC Thanksgiving Circle to catch up to goal of one ornament a month.

BAP: Finish Section 1 & 2 TW's Autumn Faerie
Medium Project: Resume work on The Sweetheart Tree's Holly and Hearts Sampler.

SURFACE EMBROIDERY: Continue work on Encrusted Crazy Quilt Square, mastering the boullion stitch. The aim is to get in at least one hour a week.

SEWING PROJECTS:Finish-finish ornaments to date and stitch up two larger projects from the finishing basket.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #38

The weather cooled down a wee bit this weekend and I finally felt inspired to do a little Fall decorating in my entryway. As I get more areas in the house decorated, I'll post a few more photos. But for now, here's a shot of the antique washstand in my entryway, all decorated for Halloween. I believe I have room to squeeze in just a few more ornaments ... I quite liked five of the charts in JCS Halloween ornament issue and would like to add those to the mix this year.

As promised, a photo of the ornament I have managed to finish finish during the third week of this designated Catch-Up Month of September ... though, unless I devote every waking moment of the next five days to stitching the remaining backlog of ornament goals, October will be a catch-up month as well.

The Prairie Schooler Turkey [from the Harvest Time leaflet] stitched on 28 ct raw Glasgow linen in WDW and GAST cotton overdyes. Edged with Mill Hill beads in frosted orange [2042] and matte ivory [3016]. I am really pleased with this one but then I always like the shapes that go beyond the usual circle, square/rectangle or heart. The color change in the browns is not nearly so glaring in real life as it appears in the photo ... particularly, when viewed under the soft lighting of my entryway. This makes 8 Thanksgiving ornaments for the tree I keep up from late September through February in my entryway ... changing out the ornaments from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to Valentine's Day. My wedding anniversary is January 10, so I set up the heart ornaments as soon as I take down the Christmas ornaments on Jan 6 [Little Christmas, aka the Feast of the Epiphany]. I plan to make two or three more Thanksgiving ornaments before Nov. 1 which ought to fill the tree up quite nicely.

The May Bride's Tree SAL ornament: Bird in a Nest [from Aury's blog], representing Security. Stitched on 28 ct raw Glasgow linen in Belle Soie Chester Blue, Chocolat, & Fern Frond. I made a counting error on the backing which I only discovered when I went to pin the back to the front for stitching up as a fringed pillow ornament. So I frogged out the entire right side and a third of the bottom of the border and, in total disgust with myself for being in such a hurry, set the whole thing aside till Monday brings a better mood and the oomph to re-stitch the darned thing correctly. That's what I get for being in such an all-fired hurry to tick off my goals.
And a WIP: Once I finished the above-mentioned frogging, stitcher's ADD set in and I just had to start a Halloween ornament from the recent JCS issue. I chose to work on Blue Ribbon Designs Perched on a Pumpkin since I dearly love owls as a decorative motif. as a symbol of wisdom and as a gift of nature to warm my bird-watching soul. I'll post a photo once I get beyond the border stitching ... very basic and not yet visually interesting. There are four other ornaments in the September issue that I want to stitch ... it'll be interesting to see how I'll manage to fit them on my Halloween Tree.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting it done

I am so thrilled to be doing my own projects again that I am building up a fairly strong momentum. I just finished stitching the Prairie Schooler Turkey ornament and should be able to start work on the assembly and final finish tonight after work. I also bit the bullet and frogged back the part of the border of my Bird in a Nest ornament for the May installment of the Bride's Tree SAL. My original border, which followed the shape of the design was too irregular and sloppy for my very linear brain to accept ... I have re-stitched it as a rectangle with softly rounded corners ... much less jarring on the old optic nerves. Now all I have to do is stitch the monogrammed back and assemble the ornament. I should certainly have that done this weekend.
I have also kitted up the June Fruit Basket ornament for the Bride's Tree SAL, so I can segue into that smoothly the very second I finish the Bird in a Nest. I once used the image of the "stitching equivalent of chain-smoking" when I wrote about a series of Sue Hillis Santa designs I did one after another [4 in total] ... I do believe that metaphor applies to this series of Thanksgiving and Christmas ornaments I am working on now. I feel a certain energy, even a compulsion, when I am working on them ... I almost resent the time spent away from my stitching chair doing mundane things like eating, sleeping, bathing and working ... okay, I don't resent taking time out to eat ... but as for the rest of it ... yes, indeed!
I am going to hold off taking any photos until the end of the weekend ... I am challenging myself to have at least three fully stitched and assembled ornaments to show my readers. Dare I say four ornaments?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September is Catch-up Month

September was supposed to be catch up month, with only a few days at the beginning devoted to the Round Robin. Well, things didn't work out quite that way with the round robin consuming stitching time till 9/15. But half a catch-up month is better than none. The first order of business will be working through the list of ornaments that fell by the wayside when things got a wee bit crazy with work and other stitching. This is what I have to do in order to get back on schedule

Thanksgiving ornaments, one a month.

--July: Prairie Schooler Turkey from Harvest Time leaflet. Using a lovely raw linen [28ct Glasgow] and substituting my own conversions of WDW and GAST for the DMC, this one is nearly done. I have just a few more hours stitching and this one will be ready for assembly. I have already cut and padded the boards for backing and selected my backing fabric. I will have to pull a skein or two of DMC to make the necessary cording.

--August: Cross-Eyed Cricket Indian from Thanksgiving Circle leaflet. I have a suitable strip of 28ct Country French Latte linen, probably long enough to make three ornaments from the CEC leaflet, which I will finish as fringed pillows with twisted cord hangers. I won't kit up with floss until I am actually ready to start.

--September: Cross-Eyed Cricket Female Pilgrim from Thanksgiving Circle leaflet. Same linen, same floss as above.

Bride's Tree SAL Christmas ornaments, one a month, all in Quaker style. I may have to design a few of these myself since I have been unable to find suitable freebies.

--May: Bird in a Nest. Using a chart from Aury's blog. This was stitched on 28 ct Glasgow raw linen using Belle Soie Silks Chester Blue, Chocolat, Fern Frond. I still have to stitch a backing, though I may do some frogging on the already stitched ornament as well ... I don't like the way I stitched the border and want to make it more regular.
--June: Fruit Basket. Using a half a chart from Workbasket's Complimentary Charts section, basically a flower pot that I am using as the "basket" to which I will add a topiary arrangement of round Quaker motifs as apples. This will be stitched on the same 28 ct Glasgow raw linen as all the rest and will also use Belle Soie Silks, colors yet to be determined.
--July: Fish. Again same linen as above and Belle Soie silks, as yet to be chosen. This one I will probably have to design myself since I have been unable to find a suitable chart. I have been toying with the idea of using the basic shape of the Christian icthus symbol, outlined as a simple band of alternating upright and upside down triangles, with the scales suggested by quaker triangular motifs or semi-circular motifs. I am still mulling over how to suggest fins and tail. By the time I sit down to doodle on graph paper, my sub-conscious brain should have worked out most of the details.
--August: Rose. There is a complimentary chart on the Workbasket site that with a few color changes should work very well for this one.
--September: Teapot. I haven't even started looking about for a Quaker chart of a teapot as yet. Though I can always combine a conventional teapot chart, used for the outline and general shape, with any Quaker motif that suits my fancy as the design on the pot.

I guess the moral of this whole story is don't fall behind on your goals if you are an obsessive A-type personality because you will only be that much more determined to meet them. Which isn't really all that bad, since I will enjoy every bit of stitching along the way. Realistically though, I don't expect to be caught up completely until the end of October. [Note Freudian slip that just occurred here: I just typed August, and had to back-space and re-type October ... I guess I am not mellowing with age as much as I think I am].

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Promised Photos

The digital camera battery is now re-charged, so here are some photos of my latest Thanksgiving ornaments.

Prairie Schooler's Pumpkins from the promotional card for Farmer's Market, stitched on a 28 ct country french latte linen using Belle Soie silks Carrot Cake, Creme de Menthe, Enchanted Forest and Glissen Color Wash Silk 536, a progression of yellow to pale orange.

The Kreinik's Cornucopia using a 32 ct Silkweaver linen called Mississippi Mud and the called for Kreinik silk mori.

Today, I'll work on finishing up another Prairie Schooler ornament, the turkey "medallion", from the Harvest Time leaflet. It feels good to be working on a September goal: catching up on all my ornament starts. I expect it'll feel even better when I tackle the backlog of ornament goals. I have to come up with a June, a July, an August and a September Quaker Style ornament for the Bride's Tree SAL and I am still two ornaments behind on my monthly Thanksgiving ornaments, even after finishing the three mentioned in the post.

On another front entirely, I bought 6 pots of mums from the church sale and will be putting them in the new stone planter box in front of my townhouse tomorrow afternoon. Now all I have to do is find time to get down to the nursery and find two small "Christmas" trees for the backyard patio pots. Some three foot or four foot cube planters are also on my to buy list before Fall advances much further. I want to start filling them with alternating layers of garden soil and fallen leaves this year so that I have wonderfully leaf mold enriched soil for Spring planting in 2011. I also need to do some much-needed pruning of old wood on my Van Houten Spirea bushes above the retaining wall ... they didn't bloom this past spring since all the old wood has choked out new growth. My husband and I really missed the lacy white blooms. They don't last more than a week or two but they make a gorgeous show while they're here. Having a townhouse means not having much of a garden, but I do enjoy putterring with what little I have.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekend Progress Report # 37

It has been a light stitching week. Monday is the beginning of the new Religious Education Program Year, so last week involved a lot of late hours prepping for the coming week. Furthermore, I was stitching on the round robin piece right up to the deadline of the fifteenth. So I only had Thursday-Sunday to work on my own projects. And just to throw a bit more activity to the mix, there was a craft festival to attend this weekend. The first, on Saturday, was a craft fair at a winery ... rather a duty visit since my daughter's non profit organization, Four Legs Good, had a booth. Just getting there was an adventure, dealing with congested northern NJ traffic, jug handle turns, and our exit sign which was completed obscured by a big orange Road Work sign placed immediately in front of it so my husband and I could only read the street name as we passed the exit. The event wasn't the largest or even the best craft fair I have ever attended but I did buy a dozen absolutely scrumptious home-made shea butter soaps with enticing names like Black Magic, Witches Brew, Apple Caramel Crunch, Autumn Wreath and Pumpkin Crunch. I will use some of the soaps for stocking stuffers but will keep a few for myself. And I signed a rather important petition at the Four Legs Good booth, to prevent several boros in northern NJ from classifying feral cats as wildlife, thereby opening up the possibility of hunting them with rifles and bow & arrow. There is the added danger that as wildlife or game, their meat could be sold and consumed. UGH!!!
In any case, I did manage to finish stitching the Prairie Schooler Pumpkin ornament and prepped the Krinik Cornucopia ornament for lacing and assembling ... but that was about all. Photos will be forthcoming when both ornaments are fully assembled and when the digital camera's battery is re-charged.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mine, Mine, All Mine

After nearly five weeks of stitching angels for two successive round robin rotations, I am finally working on a project of my own, albeit a very small one: Prairie Schooler's Pumpkins. I hope to finish stitching this today and finish it as an ornament for my Thanksgiving "tree". I have also begun the assembly process of my Kreinik Cornucopia ornament, padding the cardboard and selecting the backing fabric. It will be lovely to have a few finishes that I get to keep, instead of mailing on. Who knew I was so selfish and greedy where my stitching was concerned???

And to further delight and please, I came home from work Thursday to find these beauties in the mail: a totally unexpected gift of hand-made note cards from Karen who had won one of my giveaways a few months ago. Since I don't scrapbook myself and don't know anyone who does, I had no idea how lovely home-made cards really are. These cards have a texture, weight and depth that you just don't find in your average Hallmark store ... and the colors are so rich ... my photo doesn't do justice to these deeply saturated colors. Thanks, Karen ... my only problem will be finding occasions worthy of these cards.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finally finished Winter Angel

I am pleased to announce that the Winter Angel piece is done. I am packing it up to mail immediately, exactly on deadline even though I started on it so early ... I am that eager to get it behind me and return to my own projects. I should have a day or two before the next and [blessedly] last piece of the round robin arrives. The last piece should be fun and funky and easy ... a change from the last two labor intensive and time consuming pieces. Participating in a round robin has been an interesting experience and one that I am glad to have had ... but I am equally glad it is coming to a close.
The next photos you see should be of Thanksgiving ornaments, Christmas ornaments and Teresa Wentzler's Autumn Faerie. I am absolutely determined to work exclusively on my own projects for the remainder of September. I have a lot of catching up to do with my ornament goal of one Christmas and one Thanksgiving ornament a month. Things fell apart in May and I am only now getting back on track.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Christmas Ornament Exchange

I received this little lovely from Melissa in Friday's mail. Not only is it absolutely adorable and
beautifully finished but it plays music as well: a little medley of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Jingle Bells. It's just
too sweet not to share so I am planning on using it as the package trim on one of my little grand-daughter's Christmas gifts.

I also got word that my package was received but I suspect my exchange partner, Vickie, was not as pleased with my ornament as I was with Melissa's offerring ... all I got was the simple, spare notification that it was received safely. Oh well, not everyone shares my taste for the austerely elegant Ink Circles abstract designs.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #36

Another week has gone by with very little stitching being done. And I really could have used the blood pressure lowering benefits of said stitching since this week has been quite the wild ride.
...Monday, Labor Day, was deceptively relaxing. If I'd had even an inkling of what was to come, I'd have left town.
...Tuesday started with one near death experience brought on by an impatient teen age girl driving like a bat out of hell in the southbound lane, while chatting on a cell. It seems she didn't want to wait for the person in front of her to turn into the driveway of the H... H... Hospital so she swung, at high speed, into my northbound lane, missing me by approximately 3 inches as I swerved to my right, ending up with the two passenger side wheels on the sidewalk ... which was free of pedestrians else I wouldn't have had anywhere to go [happily for me, most suburbanites have forgotten how to walk]. Luckily the curb is rather low at the point directly across from the hospital: so no bent rims or exploding tires. I pulled over into a bus stop a few hundred yards down the road and the guy behind me pulled in as well to see how I was doing. He apologized that he hadn't been able to get the kid's license plate # but it all happened so quickly. At the rate she was going, she had probably gotten to her high school class 4 miles away by the time we pulled over ... okay that's a bit of an exaggeration but not by much. The day did not improve as it went on.
... Wednesday I had to drive down to the local bulk mailing post office where I dealt with the usual bureacratic rigamarole [PO employee: you've got an outdated form ... Me: when did you change the form ... PO employee: we change the form at least four times a year ... Me: why ... PO employee: because we like to mess with our customers, that's why - okay he didn't really say that, but that's what he meant ... Me: Where can I get a copy of the new form ... PO employee: online ... Me: Gee, I don't happen to have my pc with me, could you perhaps print one out ... PO employee: We are not required to do that ... the conversation got ugly at that point]. To make my day truly perfect, I arrived home from work to discover my kitchen floor under about an inch of water ... the filter leading to the refrigerator [with automatic ice-maker] had split at some point during the day. It took me a wretched fifteen minutes to access the valve and get everything turned off and another two hours to mop up and clean up ... just what I wanted to do after a long day at work. I then stripped to the skin ... do you know how difficult it is to pull off a sopping wet slim line denim jumper over your head? It fits loosely and modestly enough when dry but, when wet, it becomes a straight jacket.
... Thursday: daylight revealed that my one year old laminate kitchen floor was coming up at two seams after the flood and that the dining room rug was damp. I had to leave work to meet the plumber back at the house just as a volunteer was arriving to help with textbook inventory. Had to send the volunteer home and didn't have time to do the inventory myself when I returned from seeing the plumber. Also got some bad health news about a family member ... all fixable but tedious and requiring major life style shifts in eating and food planning in my household. Also received a phone call from a catechist I thought was going to be teaching a second grade indicating that she couldn't teach after all ... this was only just balanced out by the fact that I was able to recruit my sixth and last 8th grade catechist. So I am still two catechists short [a 2nd and a 5th grade] and classes start a week from Monday.
... Friday: God took pity on me and sent one of my long time catechists and three students to the rescue ... they did the textbook inventory and a few other office tasks while I continued to work on catechist handbooks. The inventory revealed that the textbook company had failed to send 11 catechist manuals between grades 1-6. Apparently, they sent only the complimentary manuals [1 free with every 30 texts ordered] but ignored the additional manuals I ordered and was prepared to pay for. I called them and asked for one-day delivery only to be informed that this is their busy season and they don't offer rapid delivery service at this time of year. I pointed out that it was their error that put me in a bind. That didn't seem to make a difference to the charming customer service rep on the other end of the phone line. The only other cloud on the horizon was that I still have some 50 families not yet registered [registration packets went out last April and were due by June 30]. Late registration closes Monday 9/13. I am betting that most of these characters show up to register at 4:30pm Monday.
... Saturday: Tried to call the installers of the laminate flooring to set up an appointment to have the floor repaired ... all I got was the answering machine. Continued to air dry [with fans and open windows] the dining room carpet ... no doubt there will be mold issues ... but I don't know what else to do at this point. I can't afford to replace the carpeting. Did two weeks worth of laundry that had accumulated while I dealt with all the other issues plaguing me at this very busy time of my professional year. To put this all in perspective and remind myself that there is a world beyond my petty concerns, I spent some time following the news of the 9/11 observances and controversies here in the metro NYC area.
... Sunday: dear God, tomorrow is Monday and I have to start all over again!

Friday, September 10, 2010

And the Halloween Giveaway Winner ...

... is #17, cindi j, using the handy dandy on-line randomizer. I'll be e-mailing her today to get a snail mail address. I am pleased with the response to this giveaway ... for some reason Halloween charts always seem to garner more entries than any other sort of giveaway. But 32 responses sets a new record. The average response is 16 participants.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Weekend Progress Report #35

Labor Day Weekend: so I am posting this report on Monday rather than Sunday, as is my usual practice.

It's been another week when what little stitching I have done [only about an hour a day] has been devoted to the round robin. The good news is that I am nearly done, the bad news is that the round robin is consuming too much of my stitching time. I will concentrate on this piece for the remainder of the day so that I can move on. There is only one more leg to this round robin: the organizer's piece. I think I can be reasonably certain that she stuck to the rules and blocked out a space no larger than 70x70. Consequently, I should be able to move quickly on her piece ... which will be a relief after the last two pieces.

In any case, here is a photo of my progress on the Winter Angel: wings done, hair and head done, hands and feet done, most of the back-stitching done ... all that's left is the drapery lining and any of the back-stitching that touches the lining. Since I'll be changing out the colors on the drapery lining to silver/grey instead or orange/gold, there will be a lengthy comparison of tones and values followed by a floss toss ... a trial and error process that may add an hour or two to the project ... I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist. But I hope to have this done tonight.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

September Giveaway

Since Halloween is approaching, I have chosen that holiday as my theme for the gift pack of charts: Rosewood Manor's Six Silly Spiders, Shepherd's Bush's Be A Witch, Glory Bee's Happy Halloween, Lavender Wings' Hitchin' A Ride and Harbor Light Designs' Jack o Lantern Bargello Pillow. But this time I will add a lovely 12" square of 36 ct Silkweaver linen [Shadowbrook] on which to stitch either the Rosewood Manor or Lavender Wings chart.
If you wish to enter your name for this giveaway, the usual conditions will apply:
-- open to all stitchers
-- leave a comment below as to why you are interested in the giveaway
-- include an e-mail address in your post if clicking on your name will not lead me to an e-mail link
-- a winner will be selected on the 10th of the month and informed by e-mail
-- winners are asked to commit to PIF charts to other stitchers through message boards, guilds or stitching groups or to donate the charts to a women's shelter or prison, a nursing home or some other venue where a stitcher would enjoy them.
Good luck to all who enter.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Order and Symmetry in the Mathematical Universe

Just saw this on a message board and had to share it.

The Beauty of Mathematics !!!!!!!
1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?

And look at this symmetry:
1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Granted, other people will look at these formulae and think quite differently ... but my first thought was of Aquinas' proofs for the existence of God [Prime Mover, etc.] ... the one about being the source of all Order came to mind.

My second thought was "Who the heck has a mind that works in such a way to come up with this stuff?"

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Winter Angel progress

I am determined to get this piece done and behind me so that I can concentrate on my own projects for the rest of the month. So I put in some serious stitching time on this before work, nearly finishing up the crescent moon. I am still waiting for a response from Debra about whether she'll mind if I use a bit of blending filament in the wings and a bit of rayon floss for the drapery lining. In the meantime, I'll work on the hands, head and as much of the backstitching as is feasible. Other members of the round robin have chimed in on our Aimee group, endorsing my proposal but not the Debra as yet. I may have to try e-mailing her directly.
On another topic entirely: I have gotten serious again about weight loss, prompted by my recent surgery and the consequent changes in my allowed foods list. Since I returned from the hospital I have dropped 10 pounds and hope to drop another 20 or 25 by Christmas. But if I am to accomplish this, I will have to develop some discipline as regards regular exercise. I started this morning by using my Sansalone Walk-Along [1 mile] exercise DVD and plan to alternate it with a Tai Chi DVD. That will give me a varied exercise program throughout the week for the next little while. Once I have managed this program for a while, I'll move on up to the 2 mile DVD. We shall see how things go. To keep myself honest, I have added a weight loss goal gadget to my sidebar.