Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, Monday

Last day of November and some people out there are typing furiously trying to reach 50,000 in Nanowrimo. I declined to participate this year, but I did make a donation and thus have my halo. November is not a good time usually for me to be attempting to write 1,667 words a day. (Blog posts and facebook status updates do not count!) It's okay. I made peace with not trying back on October 31st. But I do have a great idea and did preliminary research for a ghost story. Though I may have to check out the Saw movies to be certain I'm not creating a duplicate story. (Pretty sure I'm not.)I've never really attempted the Stephen King type thing before and when I started writing I was scaring myself. Need to develop some detachment...or this could get truly weird.

How's this for a Thanksgiving photo? Our bird - prepared via the spatchcock method. Cut out the backbone, break the breast bone, lay flat (mine was lying on carrots, celery, and onions and covered with fresh sage). Takes less time to roast and the this method seems to equalize the cooking of the white and dark meat.

Still plugging away at the bra bag. I spent some time contemplating it and I'm thinking of undoing some of what I did yesterday. Like I said, this project is going to kill me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Still Have My Head

But woke up this morning realizing I have a very quick deadline piece that needs to be in the proper hands by Friday. Bra bag's gotta wait.

Here's photo of Constantinople. Colorway is based on Watercolors - Cheyenne.

My update on Martina Dey's Tsunami Charity Sampler. Colors are loosely based on originals from photo. I'm using Crescent Colours instead of called for silks.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yup. Bra Bag

This thing is going to kill me. Yesterday I got out the sewing machine and created a drawstring top for a closure for it. Then came the difficult decisions. Did I want to try resurrecting my idea of beaded paisley pieces appliqued on to it? Sure enough I did. I spent quite a bit of time on this project. Now I am no longer certain I will use them. But I have four pink beaded paisley pieces ready to be installed. Last night while watching the Big Lebowski, I kind of went in a different direction. Like I said, this thing is going to kill. My head is going to explode. Or something.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Everyone made it out alive yesterday. No one succumbed to the turkey coma.

I attempted to make progress on my bra bag yesterday. Thinking about it, I guess I did make progress. But the shape of this thing is killing me. Every idea I have is either wrong, or too painful to stitch on that bra. It is difficult getting the needle through the fabric and padding. I need to find a solution soon as this is supposed to be finished for debuting at the holiday luncheon. Status: progress, but not enough. Off to peruse photos of these online in an attempt to find alternate ideas to the ones in my head. I need the ones in someone else's head. Last chance solution involves feathered boas.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

The agenda for the day is flexibility. Timing is on a loosely structured belt. And I will not be bothered.

Had a bit of problem yesterday as new recipe for parker house rolls was a total bomb. Not sure why. But new dough is rising right now and soon I will be forming rolls.

A big thank you to all who come here to read my drivel. I'm grateful anyone bothers.

Found time yesterday to stop by the used book store and found a copy of Kaffe Fasset's Glorious Needlepoint. I found a copy of the 1987 edition. Most of the covers I see online while looking are from the 1992 edition and there were apparently at least three different covers on this book. Any. Way. The link goes to his website and if you've never looked around there before it can be quite delicious. I also have his Glorious Color for Knitting and Needlepoint (a signed copy, too!) that I found in the Peabody and Essex Museum in Salem, MA last year. I really wouldn't have paid much attention to this man, except this fabulous designer of crewel work recommended the color book to me a few years back. I don't know if he stills designs for Ehrman, but he did.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Game Time

Got everything finished yesterday that I wanted to. Even made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Son came home with a friend and all the leftovers are now gone. That's good because the last thing you need right before Thanksgiving is a fridge full of leftovers.

I sat down last evening to stitch on my Tsunami Charity sampler while waiting for daughter and boyfriend to arrive from Massachusetts. Was chugging right along on the motif that has given me fits - I have frogged it twice. I thought things were going swell, until I realized that I had again made a mistake. I will be so happy when I finally see this part in my rear view mirror. In fact, I'm afraid when it's finished and framed all I will see is this part that has given me fits for no good reason. I mean, it's straight up cross stitch. Nothing fancy. I don't know why it's such a problem area. With luck the sun will shine again here in Virginia and I'll get a photo.

Off to bake. Just call me Julia today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Time for organizing is over and it's time to move on with the cleaning. But by my advanced calculations I should have time soon to set up sewing machine and do some finishing and some mending/altering. As I don't remember the last time I had the sewing machine set up, this should be challenging fun.

As per my usual plans, I haven't got as much done as I wished to have done by this point in time. Big surprise. But I can live with that.

And tomorrow, let the cooking commence. Need to decide which bread/rolls to bake. And what deserts. Pumpkin pie is a definite - with brandy laced whipped cream. I'm always sad to see all those cans of aerosol whipped cream lined up for sale in the grocery stores. Real whipped cream is the way to go. And though I can do it by hand, that's what a Kitchen Aid mixer is for.

And speaking of pet peeves. I just need to say that I am horribly disappointed to find that all the commercially produced and sold plastic gallon sized bags have had their dimensions changed. The products on the shelves now are not long enough to hold a sheet of paper. I am bummed by this development. I suppose I can always order a gross of them.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stitching Demons

Thankfully my stitching demons seem to have flown away. I'm still not quite up to speed, but at least I got to stitch with some enjoyment on my part.

As part of my cleaning, I found two old issues of Woman's Day magazine. One is from May 1952. The other one is from December 1954. Back then the magazine cost 7 cents. If anyone is interested in owning them, leave me a comment. I'll send them to you. No cost. I can't tell you how interesting the ads are. I had to explain to my children about vacuum tubes and any number of other things.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Was There Ever Such a Miserable Day?

Do you ever pick up your stitching and everything you do goes wrong? That was my Thursday morning experience with my stitching group. I thought I'd work on my Tsunami Charity sampler as I desperately need to push on this one if I'm finishing it by the end of the year.

First - a section that I had to previously rip out and restitch, was stitched with the wrong color. As I don't like that color, I eventually ripped it out again. This particular motif may kill me. I don't like it and apparently it knows.

Second - okay. Move on to the motif that's in green. I start stitching. Immediate mistake. Rip it out. Start again. Oops. Another mistake.

Okay. This is three strikes and this project is out.

Fortunately I had Constantinople in my bag and I got that out. Yup. Right off the bat I made a mistake - crossing my x's the wrong way.

Made two more mistakes, before finally getting everything to work in a smoother manner.

Meanwhile it was now lunchtime. And I had passed on bad stitching karma.

After lunch, things were much smoother. But still. It's not pleasant when time you've set aside for stitching turns into a battle.

On Friday I finally finished the green motif and started the real problem child over again in a better color. Maybe this will all proceed normally...

On Saturday I cleaned and rearranged the bar. Removed junk. Put things away. Moved bookcases. And for added pleasure rearranged the bookcase with all my stitching/crafting books. I merely rearranged them. Did not take time to sort out that things no longer needed. But now the sampler books are together. The canvas books have their own shelf. The surface embroidery books share a shelf with the ethnic needlework books. Minatures are together. Beading books together. If I want something now, it should be much easier to locate it. But I really need to go through all the magazines. And binders. And binders. And binders. But that's a pleasure I will have to save for another day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Threadworx has a new journal/newsletter/whatever they are producing. You can sign up here. You will receive a confirmation e-mail with a clickable link to verify your e-mail. Will commence in January.

They have also extended their line of fibers to include metallics and perle cottons, even have some #12 - just not enough colors yet. I am as happy with their overdyed cottons as I was with the Needle Necessities.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Didn't Know

And if I didn't know, some of you may not know either.

But the Gift of Stitching magazine has a blog. Throwing down challenges and all sorts of cute ornaments currently being profiled.

And for those who really didn't know, the Gift of Stitching is a digital magazine profiling designs and designers from all around the globe. Delightful stuff. Really.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Just a Joining Fool

I can't really say why I have resisted so long joining the Loudoun Sampler Guild other than the Saturday meeting thing that cuts into family time. Last Saturday I went with friends and joined up. (For those who are counting that makes 2 EGA chapters, 1 ANG chapter, and this guild.)

What a fool I have been! I am definitely among needlework sisters here. So many pretty things. So much talent. But I won't waste time berating myself for not joining sooner. Will just enjoy what ever happens from here on.

The project for the day, which I was too late to do, was a scissor fob by Sharlotte Devere based on her black raspberry biscornu which was based on her Piecework Excellence in Needle Arts Award winner in 2008. I was able to buy the kit to do the biscornu. And also bought the kit to do her second award winning design that was in the Sept/Oct 2009 Piecework magazine about miniatures. This is the pin and earrings on silk gauze. I purchased the blue/green version.

While the class was ongoing, I sat and stitched on my Indigo Rose - Catherine Agnes sampler and made some good progress. Had a wonderful pizza with friends after the meeting. The day was so terrific I didn't even mind the rain.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oh My My

What I see outside now...

What I will be seeing in January.

We purchased my ticket to London yesterday so I guess it's official that I am going for a week at the end of January. Any tips, advice, etc. you want to pass my way? I'd welcome anything. I've never been to England. I'll have two full days of my time to spend at the Victoria and Albert Museum and I'm doing my research now. Leon Conrad wrote a great article once upon a time that was published in Fine Lines about what to do as a needleworker visiting the V & A and that has given me a great head start on my plans.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ha, Ha

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Recent Finishes and a Start

First up we have Les Bon Mots. Amazingly there are many webpages explicating the translation of this phrase. It's from Le Petit Prince which I did read in French in prep school.

Ah. From the beaded cabochon class on Wednesday. Beautiful. Terrifically proud of myself. Not that difficult. Takes a couple of hours even for a newbie. My stone is carnelian, though that did not photograph well. Need to go to the bead store and purchase matching beads to make a necklace part.

And lastly, on of my favorite places to fritter away some time, The Waste Knot, has new bags. Clear plastic. Long handles for the over the shoulder carrying. Large enough so my 11 x 11 stretcher bars have plenty of room. Zippered closure so I could safely go out in the rain with my project yesterday.

Inside the bag is my start for Constantinople, a canvas design through ANG. Sage green canvas and the beautiful Watercolours known as Cheyenne.

P.S. Thank you, Coni. I'm touched and will share your moving words with my husband.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Day

There may be some of you out there that still need to thank a Veteran. I can hug mine for you!

Felt slightly guilty at leaving him, but my EGA chapter held its meeting regardless of the holiday. And I went.

And I beaded a cabochon.

And it's pretty cool.

Photo tomorrow 'cause right now it's all gray, dark, dank, and dreary. Remnants of Ida, indeed.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Repeating a Link

From the Lake Stitcher's blog comes a story from the Baltimore Sun about a couple's dream house.

This is Barbara Hutson's house of the Queenstown Sampler Designs. Don't forget to look at the photo album attached to the story.

If you ever met Barbara, you know she's a lovely person. And will gladly tell you stop by the house on your way to the beach. I got to meet her one day in the Scarlet Thread when she was doing her shop visits with her newest samplers.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The I Forgot to Take the Photo Finish

This is the birthday present I sent to my sister-in-law back in September. I was in such a rush to mail it, that I forgot to take its photo. She nicely took one for me.

Abbey Lane Designs. Changed things slightly. Of course.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Too Many Ideas

I woke up this morning as DH headed off downstairs. Rolled over and fell back asleep. In the next 45 minutes I swear all I dreamed about was stitching.

I had been on the verge of deciding not to do the President's Challenge for my guild for next summer. But I had a dream that showed me what to do. Also was dreaming of doing something with Judy's crazy quilt hearts that are on her Freebies blog. (See sidebar.)

Dunno. Maybe I should roll over and fall back asleep more often...

Am going to my first ever American Needlepoint Guild meeting tomorrow. Had a nice little trip yesterday with a friend to find supplies. I already had the Watercolours in my stash, but needed to hit two stores to get everything else just right.

Took a drive west of us today. Yes! - there's a Sonic in Winchester. Oh how I have missed Cherry Limeade in the past nine years. And if anyone needs to know, the Potomac Bead Company in Winchester is huge. I just popped in for a quick look around. Did not purchase anything.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


I love November for it encourages people to write. For those of you participating in NaNoBloMo and are trying to blog a post everyday of November, I say thank you. You're giving me more to read. Which I love to do.

Started a new project - gifty type thing so no details will be given. It's small. Uses DMC floss. Called for a brownish color fabric, but I'm using Picture This Plus' Heritage. Mine looks more green than brown. I bought a piece of this at Celebrations in NH when I stopped there to visit some friends - was that 2007 or 2008? Doesn't matter. But it's a good illustration of the cross stitch pattern that says in Latin - if you buy the fabric, the pattern will come. I bought the fabric and finally found the pattern.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Alas, No Stitching

Did not manage a single stitch yesterday. But I did visit a bead shop, the Bead Artist, in Leesburg. It's a bright, charming space filled with plenty of wonderful stuff. And a very nice customer service oriented worker bee. I got my not-so-frequent buyer's card and signed up for their e-mail list.

What I was searching for was cabochons. Found a couple, but they're not exactly exciting. Got a book on beading cabochons last week - Beading with Cabonchons by Jamie Cloud Eakin. The only thing I dislike about the book is the author's dance around naming actual names of supplies. Apparently didn't want to commit to writing things like Timtex or naming needle manufacturer's - just referred to them as needles made in England - John James, for those who don't know. edit - Wait. The beading needles' package says Beadsmith. But it is the same colors, etc. as the John James tapestry needles. Have a class in this next week. Yippee!

Also voted yesterday. Always a treat to walk into an elementary school in the fall to vote and have the opportunity to do this on a bright and sunny day and kick through the leaves just like I was eight again. So satisfying.

And attended another cooking demo class at William Sonoma with a friend. Menu was potato and gruyere tarlets, roasted veggies with sage butter, turkey cutlets with gravy, and a cranberry upside-down cake. All good.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sad News

Teresa Wentzler is closing up shop.

TW Designworks
has an announcement from her on her website.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Quiet Weekend

Didn't do much. Tried a new recipe for a savory bread pudding with kale and butternut squash from Food & Wine. Was okay. Needs something though. I added nutmeg, but I think some hot sauce or something would help.

Finally watched the Sex & the City movie. Who wrote this dialogue? They need to be strung up. Loved the fashion. Loved the city. But the characters were sometimes acting out of character. And Carrie would never show up at her wedding with dark roots. You don't see them in the wedding scenes, but you do see them clearly at the Mexican resort the day after.

I stitched on my Quaker diamond project. This is from an EGA class by Pam Darney of Guild House Samplers. Unfortunately no link as her website is under construction. Let's just say she gave a us diamond shape and Quaker motifs and the challenge to fill the diamond. Stitching with the Belle Soie on Lakeside Linen is a total pleasure. It just glides right through the fabric. Didn't have to frog a single stitch. And my diamond matched up with no problems in counting. Always good with something whose dimensions are 90 x 90.

Sun is shining after a weekend of rain. I'm going for a walk now.