Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Post of 2009

I'm not much for looking backwards so soon. I'm much more fond of remembering years and years ago. I play let's reminisce with anyone, anytime, at the drop of a hat. And because DH and I have been together for 32 years now (married 25), we can play this reminisce game for a really long time.

That said, let's look forward instead. Where to start?

How about here:

What this is: a threads collection I pulled and purchased one day this year while at Needlewoman East in Falls Church. I was there with a friend who was looking for threads for an original project. And I just started going through drawers when I stumbled on the browns and decided I needed to see what else I could collect from around the store. When I had them all together, I decided that this is an original piece of my own which I shall call "Chocolate Soup" and will be worked on canvas. The shiny metallics didn't photograph too well which is a shame. Some day soon I'm going to mount the canvas and just begin stitching without any true plan. Doesn't that sound like fun? Yuppers. It does.

Here's wishing everyone in stitching blog land a safe and prosperous New Year! I'm off to pop a cork while waiting for the beef stew to finish cooking. No big party plans. Just a nice meal in a warm house with family.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Spent a few hours reorganizing the stash. Unlike some, I don't have an entire room to devote to this and if I don't occasionally take a stab at putting things back where they belong it devolves into total chaos.

The threads are now all back where they belong. The projects - both in progress and kitted - are all together and some are sorted by category. The crewel work is all in one place. The canvases are together, but in multiple places. That's the fault of the stretchers bars. The three big pieces in progress are together, but not with anything else. But I'm confident I could find whatever I am looking for - at least for right now.

Still need to comb through the Elfa bins. The top two drawers of each unit have become a sort of catch all. And I'm determined to organize them. And quick look through the fabric drawers wouldn't hurt. And patterns and magazines are another thing entirely. So are books.

What I need is some add-on here to count my projects in several categories. Does anyone know of one? When I google search all I find are hit counters for tracking visitors.

To begin:

My headstart are divulging my stash:

My list of perforated paper Santa kits yet to be stitched:

From the Willmaur Corporation - Heirloom Santas:
the Baker Santa and the Equine Santa

From the Janlynn Collector's Series -
Kodiak Santa, Aleutian Santa, Yukon Santa, and Kris Kringle

Bucilla - Needles 'N Hoops - Noel Santa

Mill Hill - Starlight Santas - the Southern Cross Santa
Medieval Santas - Avignon Santa
Appalachian Santa - Smoky Mt. and Blue Ridge Santas
Rocky Mt. Santa - Beartooth, Teton, and Pike's Peak

That's 14 perforated paper Santas. I have one in progress somewhere. One stitched, but not finished, and five on the tree.

What To Do? What To Do?

In breaking news: Here we have a cat paralyzed by a banana!

Why anyone made a catnip stuffed banana is beyond me. But both cats seem to have a fondness for this toy. Elvis doesn't seem to be affected by catnip. But Zoe will come downstairs at night and have a fit over this banana. She'll hiss if Elvis is too close to it. She roll on it briefly, maybe 10-20 seconds. Then run. She is such a spazz.

Next we have the almost perfect pie crust. From Mastering the Art of French Cooking - I present the Pate Sucre Brissee (anyone know how to type accents?) or Sweet Short Paste. This is the recipe I will be using the remainder of my cooking career. Thank you very much, Julia!

Really? Between Blogger and Picassa they had to turn this photo sideways? Sigh. I improved the tree this year by eliminating the tinsel garland and replacing it with poinsettia garland and ribbons. I like this much better.

Had a fun trip to the Stitching Post yesterday. Did not purchase that much...One old Prairie Schooler Santa - the Gardening one from 1993. One Mill Hill Santa - the Southern Cross. And Cherished Stitches "Blueberry Etui." Purchased fabric and fibers for this one - two of the called for threads. And a green colored fabric. Bought some miscellaneous threads. And the Owl pin from Just Nan to go with Humbug I bought a few months ago. Honestly I was very good.

And next door at the Seminole Sampler I bought some small cuts and ultra suede. The fabric is various Christmas/winter pieces for finishing all those ornaments I'm going to stitch, right?!?

Then my friend and I drove off for a wonderful lunch at the Candlelight Inn - a charming upgrade from the sandwich shop we usually visit.

Now what to do today? I think I'll start with trying to stash all my stash back into its allotted space.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On the Goals and Deadlines Front

Because it is that time of year when we talk of things we'd like to do or change or accomplish in the coming new year, I have decided to publicly state a few things instead of just letting them rattle around in my own head.

Stitching goals: Immediate goals within reach - My Quaker Diamond Sampler - which I continue to make progress on. And I have a special little project that I've decided is within reach of finishing in time for Woodlawn. I bought a doll-sized deck chair this past year. I have the fabric and threads to stitch a new seat for it. I believe a canvas version of one of these was at ANG National Seminar a few years ago. Which is what prompted me to purchase that deck chair when I saw it in a thrift shop.

Blogging goals: use more labels! use more photos - which means take more photos.

Near term project: this is for both stitching and blogging. I am going to follow Jeanne's lead at Just String and start posting photos and details of all works in progress. This may take more than the month of January. When I'm finished, I'll have a detailed account of everything started and will move on to everything kitted.

Will this morph into another year of stitching from my stash? When I did this a few years ago, my rule was that I was not allowed to purchase any new projects without finishing an old project. I was allowed to buy fibers and fabric, etc. to finish what I already had. Maybe it will become a less new projects bought year. We'll see how it develops, but it seems I'm not ready to totally commit to this idea.

Tomorrow - off to the Stitching Post's annual inventory reduction sale with a couple of friends.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Perspective from December 26th

One of our Christmas gifts - the snow is melting. The ice that was supposed to rain down from the sky never arrived. It is/was all rain. It's a balmy 45 out there right now all the snow is melting. Parking lot battles will soon officially be done.

We had a lovely day yesterday. Everything that I wanted to do, I did. Made two terrific deserts thanks to Julia Child.

Today will be about doing nothing. My darling girl has offered to make dinner - she has this insane mac and cheese recipe. Uber rich. Calls for ten slices of bacon, five kinds of cheese. Okay. Count me in.

And I am sitting here contemplating making Christmas ornaments for everyone next year. I haven't even counted up how many that would be. But I figure if I can stitch three or four every month, I can do a lot. All this shopping, buying, wrapping, mailing - gets me down. And I love the stitched ornaments on my tree. Is this why I have purchased all those ornament cuts of fabric over the years?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Gift to You (And to Myself)

Perspective. There. I said it. And you might need some right about now.

There is such a thing as good enough.

Nobody is perfect.

M.Stewart? Phaw.

Take a deep breath. Take several deep breaths.

Everything will work out. If it doesn't, you'll have some great stories to tell in years to come.

Though right now my car is telling me my tire pressure is low when it really isn't. And my shoulder/neck is singing me a painful song. And I still have presents to wrap. And I have desert to make (this year I'm celebrating the Julia way. Queen of Sheba Cake and Apple Tart.) and Golden Crescent Rolls to create. I will not panic. It will get done. I will maintain perspective.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


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What kitteh does while all around him are losing their heads.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


What Jeanne wrote on her blog, Just String, got me thinking. Always dangerous, I know.

When it comes to stitching... I try not to set deadlines. Occasionally I'll have one for finishing a correspondence course, but I haven't even been trying to meet those this year!

I'm curious. Who else does this? Do you set deadlines for your stitching, or are you of the "it gets done when it gets done" mindset?

My take on this:

When I have a piece that has a deadline, be it gift or challenge or class piece or a self-imposed deadline, my mind set changes and I begin to think of it as "obligation" stitching. Sometimes my obligation pieces are still pure pleasure, i.e. my Quaker Diamond Sampler whose deadline is the end the 23rd of January (also known at my house as the day before we fly to London.) Not all obligation pieces terrorize me. But some do.

Somewhere back towards the beginning of December I mentally ditched all my deadlines. Told myself if I finished something - good. If I didn't - so what? the world would not come crashing to a halt.

I did make three deadlines in December - two ornament exchanges and one challenge piece - the bra bag. (Yikes I still need to post a photo of this.) The Quaker piece is a challenge and it might not be finished, but enough will be done to make me happy. (Though if I can get it stitched, I can get it framed and entered at Woodlawn - deadline around Valentine's Day.) After that I have another casual challenge - the Pomegranates and Peas Purse - deadline in March for Regional Seminar.

Let's examine the deadlines I chose to ignore.

Two other ornament exchanges - okay. This was easy as I have not always received ornaments equal what to give, IMHO.

One gift project - somehow progress is very slow on this piece and I am not certain why. May have to consult with a therapist to figure this one out. But by extending this deadline to next Christmas, I will certainly finish it.

My Master Craftsman piece. Oh, what kind of idiot am I? I really want to do this. On the hand, I don't. Hmmm. Where is that therapist? MAYBE someone should start a stitching blog called "The Doctor Is In" and devote it to counseling us wayward stitchers...

Never did work on my Shining Needle Society project. File this one under it can wait.

Hardanger Correspondence Course. I've still got time. And at least I have all the materials. Let's call this procrastination rather than ditched.

Every other ditched deadline I have was a self-imposed deadline. Mostly things I thought would be interesting to finish for the Woodlawn Needlework Show in March. And why do I ditch these things? Mostly it is because something else comes along and just demands my attention. Stitch me! Stitch me!

I'm not perfect. I'm easily distracted. Led astray even. But I've made peace with myself on this issues. And no longer waste time beating myself up mentally. It's all in my head and that's a very interesting place to be.

Monday, December 21, 2009


DD made it home through the slush and badly plowed roads. Happy to have her here!

It's amazing how many sight lines are blocked at intersections out there. I took DS to work this morning. Dropped by the P.O. where they were truly a marvel of efficiency. Honestly. When I walked in my number was 17 and they were on number 66. I only got to listen to three songs on my MP3 player (Dixie Chicks, followed by Lady Gaga, followed by Aerosmith's "Pink.") What an interesting combo that was. Perfect match for what was going on around me. Really - the people working there couldn't have been nicer. It was amazing.

Grocery store was another matter. I think it was all the missing space in the parking lot - the space that is meant for cars, but is currently occupied by snow. And once again I will repeat my vow to always use the self-checkout line because these people do not know how to bag.

Off to make meatloaf and baked potatoes. Slushy hugs to everyone!


I need a full-body transplant. Nothing like removing feet of snow to make you feel that way. I've managed to stretch most of the kinks out. But the one that is going to pain me most is my right thumb. It's either from the shoveling or trying to brush two feet of snow off the cars. Advil, here I come.

Snowplow finally arrived in my neighborhood last night about 22 hours after the snow flakes fell. Now to find out how the Avalon handles in these conditions. LOL

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter Wonderland

Sun is coming out right now and it's amazingly beautiful out there.

Time to start thinking snow removal...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Unrelenting

Okay. By noontime we had a foot of snow. Now before dinner, it's more like two feet. If any of you have ever lived here in the Washington D.C. area, you know how bad this is. It is not showing any signs of stopping. Even the squirrels and birds aren't moving out there. And this is supposed to continue for another 6 hours or more? Don't know where we are going to put the stuff when we finally decided to deal with it.

This is ridiculous, Balki.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Let It Snow

Because apparently there is nothing I can do to stop it. If I could delay it by a few days, I would.

What goes on here in the metro D.C. area when they forecast a foot of snow is pretty darn amusing to this New Hampshire girl. No shopping carts to be had at Harris Teeter. I had to wait for someone to empty their cart and snag it. I refuse to look at the local news because I won't be able to take the hysteria...

DD is going to have to stay in Massachusetts for a few extra days. She was planning on driving home tomorrow. Bad, bad idea. Sunday won't be any better. So we're looking at Monday.

Boo. We want her home now.


But I've got my supplies and my stitching. And the remainder of the shopping will just have to wait.

Let it snow...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Public Service Announcement for the Month

Did you know that the Textile Museum in Washington D.C. runs a program called "Ask-a-Curator, Ask-a-Conservator"?

Ask-a-Curator, Ask-a-Conservator programs are held the first Wednesday of each month (September through May) from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The program is free for Museum members and $5 for non-members.

If you don't live near, or plan a visit to D.C. in the near future and you have a textile piece that you have questions about - you can go here to the American Institute For Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works. There is a link to find a conservator which would point you the direction of the nearest source of information.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Catching up on Photos

These first two are pictures of my Quaker Diamond in progress. Work is progressing slowly as I deal with all the other things happening this time of year.

All I could really say when I saw this sight was wow! I present you with this photo of 36 perforated paper santas all stitched this year by a lovely lady in the Loudoun Sampler Guild. I asked for permission to take a photo and post it. This makes my lifetime effort with these santas seem totally pathetic as I have completed exactly 6 of them and have 13 more in the stash. Yikes. I am so far behind...

Lastly we have my ornament for the ornie exchange. This is part of someone else's design and my own. I added the Loudoun Sampler Guild in place of the name on the design. Happy with how this turned out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Saturday S.E.X.

Like my stash needed enhancing...but I couldn't resist. Honestly.

I went the Loudoun Sampler Guild's Holiday potluck on Saturday with friends. Oh did we have a great time. In fact, we might have been the loudest table there. Thanks to a story about a dog. But, I digress. And I don't want to interrupt any one's holiday sleep with nightmares.

There were several designers and one shop present as vendors. I started with one piece of Catherine Jordan hand-dyed linen. It's 30 count Ulster linen large enough to accommodate whatever sampler I choose to stitch next.

Then I moved on and decided that I really did need Little House Needleworks Fa-La-La ornament. And thanks to the astute shopping of my friend, Kathy, I also got the last copy of Joyeux Noel by Blackbird Designs. Sixteen designs. I want to stitch nearly every one of them!

Sat down had a nosh. And then continued shopping again. This time I decided that the Queenstown Sampler Designs' Quaker Friends needed to jump into my bag. This is one of Barbara's original samplers and if you look closely you'll see her signature white squirrel in motif on the top right. At this point in time, I am certain that I can't have too many Quaker inspired pieces. More on this later.

At the next table I found that someone had done my work for me. Last September I jotted a note to myself that has been sitting beside my computer. It said plaid pumpkin. And here they are already designed. Samplers Revisited Tartan Pumpkins. Now I don't have to design my own, unless I really, really want to.

Unfortunately I can't show you my biggest purchase - Pamela Darney of Sampler Guild House's Garden Gate Sampler. This is an original Quaker design by Pam done for a guild. Limited edition. I bought the last kit. Can't show it to you because she doesn't have her website up and working yet. And I google image it and found nothing. But trust me. This piece is magnificent.

For added enjoyment I got a copy of the Sampler and Antique Needlework Vol. II book in the gift swap. And - an ornament stitched by Sue Jennings, former owner of Needlewoman East and stitcher extraordinaire. How happy am I?

For the past year or two some of you may have been reading about the dabbles into Quaker stuff I have had. Right now, I am full-blown into it. I'm working on our guild challenge piece that was designed by Pam Darney. A Quaker Diamond. She gave us dimensions, motifs, and then challenged us to see what we could produce. I'm working with Belle Soie on Lakeside Linen and every stitch on this piece is such a pleasure.
Not just a little bit of pleasure. A great big tremendous pleasure. A joy and a pleasure. That silk just glides through the linen like water over marble. I'm in love. With my stitching. There. I've said it. LMAO!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I'm Still Here

I've got photos to load, but someone deleted Picassa. Not me. Anyway have that little problem nearly resolved and will catch up soon.

Meanwhile, I've been to 4 parties in 8 days. And I've got 2 more this week. Plus a guest for dinner tomorrow night.

Which means I've got to finish decorating.

And all I want to do is sit and stitch. Sigh.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Know - Broken Record

The link to the story of the Plimoth jacket from the Boston Globe.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


In my neighborhood you don't have to worry about the cat if you're a bird. Our neighborhood wandering cat is not that fast. But apparently you do have to worry about this guy. Two different birds had hit our front window by the door, which my cat and I thought was strange. And then 10 minutes later when I got up to go to the bird store this guy popped up from the ground under the bird feeder to the fence. He stayed there long enough for me to take photos. For which I am grateful.

And if you haven't been over to the Thistle Thread's blog to see the Plimoth Jacket in its entirety, now would be the time. She's been unveiled to the world today.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

I Can Hardly Believe It

But there I was scanning this scientific article and what did I see?

CoNi-rich particles!

Too funny, Spinster Stitcher, eh?

Pickles from Sunday 12/6


Yeah. I know stereotypes. But it still made me giggle.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Back to Mt. Vernon

Today it's back to Mt.Vernon. Twice in one week. Amazing. Saturday evening DH and I were there for the candelight tour. Remember how I said it snowed here on Saturday? Well, east of us, right along the Potomac River, it didn't really stick. Basically, we were walking through rather authentic colonial mud.

This was our first time inside the new visitor's center that opened in 2007. We'll have to return another day to view the exhibits. We were the guests of one of George's dentists. As we were waiting inside to begin, we were treated to some magnificent period music while admiring the many Christmas trees and the wonderful model of Mt. Vernon. Then it's time to go outside were the paths are lit by candles and smudge pots. More music, cookies and hot spice cider and chance to visit with Aladdin, the reeanactor camel. George, apparently, was a terrific host and one year rented a camel for his guests' pleasure.

After our muddy walk approaching the house, we entered and were welcomed by George's manservant. Then Mrs. Washington entertained us in the parlor and gave us her recipe for Great Cake which called for 40 eggs! We met Martha's granddaughter, Nelly, in the hallway, a maid upstairs, a doctor in the study, and the cook in the kitchen. Listening to some of the other people on the tour, I would not recommend this as your first visit to Mt.Vernon. This is meant an entertainment, not so much as a fact finding historical tour. We enjoyed ourselves and by the time we left, the snow had ceased and the stars were beginning to appear.

Today I return there with friends for my other EGA chapter's holiday luncheon. (I know - I have another luncheon on Saturday. A party tomorrow night. A party on Sunday. And that's just this week!)

Who has time for wrapping? not to mention stitching.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Tree is Up and Decorated

And this year I eliminated shiny garland type stuff and I'm very happy with how it turned out. Kitty said thank you and immediately went to sleep underneath it. Other kitty said - what the freak? and tiptoed around the tree skirt like it was going to bite her little toesies.

Met two friends today at a LNS for needlepoint. Bought a Sudberry box for a present. And kitted up a largish Christmas needlepoint. This is going to be fairly ordinary, nothing too elaborate. Had lunch at Crisp and Juicy. Peruvian chicken with sauce. Um. Yum. I don't normally eat the skin, but this time I did. And I can see heading back for more. Soon.

Swung by the second shop on the way home and found an owl canvas and a Norwegian Santa who is of course, a Viking, by Kathy Shcenkel. I'm tossing all my old deadlines to the wind to do what I want to do. Bwah, ha ha!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Way I Figure This

I have a comment from Sharlotte DeVere on my post back in November. I'm going to assume she found me maybe by searching for her name or her design name - The Queen Stitch. Welcome, Sharlotte. Glad to see you again. Hope to see you next Saturday at the Loudoun Sampler Guild. I enjoyed listening in to your class last month and am looking forward to someday taking a class with you. I got to see a finished fob yesterday at the Oatlands EGA holiday luncheon. You did mention when I bought the biscornu kit that there should be enough material there to do the fob. And sometime next year I plan to sit down and stitch both of these pieces.

Yesterday was our holiday luncheon and to be certain we were in the proper spirit for the season, it snowed. Unfortunately that kept a few people from attending, but the majority made it through the snow and cold to join in the festivities.

Here's the ornament that I stitched for the exchange:

This was, I believe, a Prairie Schooler freebie once upon a time. It's a tiny chart.

Stitched on some leftover linen that I didn't keep track of the name of with the called for DMC. Finished with cording made from the DMC and In the Burgundies silk ribbon from the Thread Gatherer.

This is my own design. A Rhodes Shamrock Pin that I will be teaching in February for my EGA Chapter. Splendor silks on congress cloth. Jinny Beyer fabric on the back with some white delica beads.

Off to erect a Christmas tree and bedeck and bedazzle it.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Cross Stitch on TV in Cake

Yes. Charm City Cakes did a cake of a Shepherd's Bush stocking.

Here's a link to their blog: CCC blog.

Here's the schedule for the Merry Cakemas episode from the Food Network:


Dec 06, 2009

5:00 PM ET/PT

Dec 08, 2009

8:00 PM ET/PT

Dec 09, 2009

3:00 AM ET/PT

Apparently they did not know that these stockings were not designed by the woman who stitched them. But several astute views pointed them in the right direction and they have given credit where credit it due.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Two Finishes, No Photos

My big push to get things done by the deadlines continued yesterday as I flipped my calendar page and realized that I had nearly missed a deadline. I am supposed to have the finishing done on a pin I'm teaching in February at my EGA chapter. Duh. Last night while listening to and occasionally watching Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, I finished the finishing. NO photos till the weekend.

Today I finished an ornament for the exchange. I think the finishing may have taken longer than the actual stitching, what with the cording and silk ribbon, etc. But it's finished and I like it. I like it enough to be proud of sending it out into the world. Now to go wrap it and find a card to include. Details, details. Again - photo this weekend, most likely Sunday.

I've got one more deadline to meet by tomorrow and I'm not talking about this one.

Then comes the bra bag and a maybe a quick stitching job for a present. I'm hoping I already have a frame that's suitable. Will be good to get the bra bag done and sewing machine off the dining room table.

Then comes the next deadline - decorating for Christmas!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I Waited in Vain

No gutter guy. And it's going to rain, so no clean gutters today either. C'est la vie.

But I did get to Bead Obsessions in Alexandria, VA. And I purchased more beads to make a necklace for my cabochon. And then bought more cabochons and beads...right. Like I didn't know that would happen. Picked up some jasper, carnelian, and sodalite. Looked at the expensive glass beads - there was one calling my name, but it's $25 price tag stopped me. I do have my limits.

And then I figured since I was right near Rt 1, I might as well drive down to In Stitches. Where I found an ornament I had to have. And this silk gauze piece - snow globe - from Kreink. A few skeins of overdyed cotton...two skeins of silk...and some yarn holders for crocheting. I think that was all. Just enough to keep me happy.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Waiting for the Gutter Guy

He's an hour late already. I was told he was starting on my house around 8. For those who have the type of house where you can safely clean your own gutters, I say bully for you. That 3 story drop in the back of my townhouse keeps me off the roof and I don't have a ladder long enough for that. Ah for the good old days when Julie and I would put up our respective ladders and race to see who could finish first while the kids and dog played in the front yards. I believe I have used days of my lifespan raking leaves. Then coming back the next day and doing it all over again. And again. I don't miss it.

After the gutter guy comes and goes, I will head off to continue my search for a special product. And maybe head to Bead Obsession to get beads to match my cabochon so I can make a necklace for it.