Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Small Town on the River

A small town on the river.
It's nothing but small, old town on the river. 

Thanks, Bill...

My home town. The view down river from the mills looking back at them. The water is rarely this still as this is a tidal river from the mills on. Some of the mills have been turned into condos. Some are unoccupied. And there's still a tiny bit of business still happening here. The granite buildings are huge, imposing, and amazing considering they were constructed 170 years ago. 

Terrible view of one of my favorite places in my home town. The library. We lived just a block or so west of here and I spent a considerable part of my youth here as there were no books in my house until I got old enough to start buying them. 

Below, an old-fashioned fishing weir. 

Took these photos yesterday as certain family members had to attend a funeral, leaving me with my daughter and boyfriend. After spending the day at the lake, we had dinner down town and then took a walk down behind the mills. 

Haven't done a ton of stitching. A bit of needlepoint. And a bit on my current Quaker sampler. Tomorrow is Boston and Fenway!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Home At Last

Yesterday's ride home was at speed and uneventful. My husband agreed to a small detour in Connecticut and I got to stop by Thistle Threadworks in Glastonbury. I bought some on sale small cuts of linen, Mary Arden needles, my first package of Tokens and Trifles perforated paper cuts, two Victoria Sampler kits of the state hearts, and one Mill Hill beaded pin kit - the flamingo. I'm planning on attending EGA national seminar next year in Naples and have been gathering a few flamingo things in preparation. 

I did get to stitch a bit in the car. On Friday I started working on my Beth Russell kit that we bought at Liberty in London back in January. And I continued adding to the background in the car. It's a good thing that I love the color blue because this background is going to seem endless stitching of blue. 

All is well at home and today we'll get to see our darling daughter and her boyfriend as they are coming here for a couple of days. Rearranging and scheduling dilemmas abound, but we'll work it out. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Going Home

You know, the truth is, no matter how long I live somewhere else, in my heart and in my head New Hampshire is home. And that's what I'm thinking about - how I'm headed home. 

Yes. There will be lobster. And beer, too. And lots of other good things.

Stitching bag is packed, but I may make an adjustment or two today. Funny how I saw something on another blog and thought - oh, I should bring that with me...

And speaking of the blog - I've deleted a couple from my blog list that haven't had a new post in months - and added a few more.

Off to pack my clothes now. I've got a busy day ahead of me.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Productive Tuesday

By the time I left home to take the car to the auto dealer for routine service I had, changed the sheets. Done a load of laundry. Taken care of the dishes. Watered the yard - if I don't do this every day, sometimes twice a day, things are going to die. And in general felt pretty good about following my new mantra of "If you start something, finish it."

I did my hour of time in the waiting room watching the World Cup and stitching on Lemons and Tequila and listening to music on my MP3 player. Which I happy I remembered to take with me because there was this woman who talked on her cell phone the entire time. Not quietly. And about stupid shit. I expected her to get to - you hang up. No, you hang up first. Overgrown adolescent in the body of a middle-aged woman. I heard far too much even with my headphones blasting Paul Simon and Lady Gaga at me.  

Thus, feeling like I was in control of my day, I headed over the mall at Tyson's. A place I have been avoiding for the quite some time due to the construction in the area for the Metro. One more idiot encountered - if you are driving a big ass SUV and are trying to park in a tight space, hang up the damn cell phone and use two hands to park your boat. No matter that she was inconveniencing the rest of us who can drive. 

Did not find the things I was hoping to find. But I did get the current (for us) issues of Stitch and Inspirations magazines. Both of which I can highly recommend. Found some absinthe glasses for my son who has developed a fondness for the green goddess. And in general enjoyed my time goofing off. 

Came home and finally located a project that had gone missing. I knew where it was before I picked it up and put it away. Sigh. 

Finished stitching Tequila. Made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Dragged out the relocated project. Changed the threads. Cut the linen. And because this is for the President's Challenge in our Chapter, I can say no more. I think I can do this. Involves some things I am not that great at when I get to the putting together stage. Right now, I'm hemstitching a narrow hem. And that's just the beginning. 

Got kind of tired and was afraid of making a mistake, so I moved on to crocheting a cozy for my water bottle. Got that started and realized it was after 10 p.m. And that there was no way I was staying up to watch the entire Red Sox game. I love that we play the west, but could the games start earlier? LOL

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chatty Cathy I Am Not!

Apologies for the erratic posting. I just haven't felt that chatty lately. Summer has swung in here with a wallop and we've reached the hot and humid high 90s and my motivation has crawled into the freezer. 

I'll try to thaw things out a bit. But we are planning a trip to NH so posting may stay a bit on the iffy side. 

Fun part of planning a trip, is planning what to take to stitch. Now that I've learned I can stitch in our current car, that's hours of stitching time. Though I'll probably be the one to drive away from the house at oh-dark-thirty. And when I say oh-dark, I mean anytime before 5:30 a.m. This gets us to our destination while avoiding all major cities during rush hours. 

Back to what to bring:  stitching in the car stitching. Something where I don't need to look at a pattern that often or ever. Maybe I should go look through the hand painted canvas pile. But I have to choose carefully because I don't want to be in need of laying tool either. Maybe some hardanger? 

I've been contemplating taking a BAP with me like Stars. And nothing else - the idea being that I'm forced to stitch on that. But really. This is not what a vacation is all about. 

I've got a cute little Fern Ridge kit sitting out - the Nautical Knots one. I might bring this. Will be making final choices on Thursday. And will likely take too much. Part of this becomes show and tell for me with relatives that rarely get to see what I'm making in person. I almost always overpack stitching and accomplish far less than I think I will. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thank You!

I've had some input about my question of changing the name of the blog. And I believe I will reinstate a subtitle. I used to have one - though it was essentially pointless drivel. I'm going to think about my wording for a bit and see what makes me happy. 

I was a reading a typical women's magazine the other day - so typical that I can't even recall which one it was - and there's an article asking for advice of Nate Berkus. If you don't know who Nate is, you haven't watched Oprah in years. He's an interior designer who lost his partner in the 2004 Tsunami and he's about to get his own Oprah backed television show. Not that any of that matters. 

Some woman wrote in to him asking for advice dealing with laundry. Seems she's overwhelmed by piles of the stuff. Sound familiar to anyone besides me?

His advice - finish what you start. Let me say that again. FINISH WHAT YOU START. 

I would like to take this as my new mantra for dealing with life. Not just for things like laundry and dishes. But for anything. If you bring in the mail, deal with the mail. Don't leave it in a pile to deal with later. Because you won't. If you buy a new plant, plant the darn thing. Don't leave it on the deck in its too small nursery pot where it's root bound. And mostly, if you start stitching something, finish it! 

To that end - here we have the Sunflower Seed's lemons piece:

 I'm sorry that the color is off. The linen is way more yellow than this is reading. The threads are Carrie's Creations. Two or three hours and this should be finished. Started when? 2007? 2006? I don't really remember. 

And on the finish it side, I give you this piece purchased last Saturday at the LSG meeting from the French Needle.

The lining - red polka dot that matches the ribbon - had an opening in order to do the stitching. Which I have sewn closed so I can use this if I want to. It is just the cutest thing ever. Only took a couple of hours to stitch. The company name is Les Brodeuses Parisiennes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Help Me - I Need Input

Back in 2003 when I started this blog, I gave little thought to the title of my blog. I was going to start writing and see what happened. Of course, when starting a blog on blogger, one of the first things you do is pick a title. I wanted to get down to brass tacks, not spend time futzing around. Thus my title reflected my unhappiness with my location in relationship to needlework shops. That, literally, was the first thing that came to mind. I had moved from northern Virginia where I had a choices and could even visit more than one shop in a day to a place where getting to any needlework shop was an occasion.

Given this confusion some people have as to where the name comes from, I have considered renaming my blog. In fact, I've thought about this for the past five years, ever since I moved back to northern VA and the status of my proximity to needlework stores  changed back to "paradise" (relatively speaking.)

As I see it, I have several choices. Leave things alone. Change the title completely. Or attempt to modify current title. I kind of like Needleworker Paradise. Any thoughts???


On C in DC's comment - easy to explain via my own internal illogical logic. 

The "maj" is major which derived from an aol screenname - majmoxie. The travaux, French for work, comes from a rough translation of needlework - travail à l'aiguille or travaux d'aiguille. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Second Saturday

You know, I should just hit myself over the head every time I think about how much fun I have at the Loudoun Sampler Guild meetings every second Saturday of the month. Why did I wait so long to join? I should have been here five years ago. That's five years wasted. 

Today we had Lisa from the French Needle who brought a trunk show for us to shop and she participated in the program. If you haven't explored this website for its fine French imported needlework goods, you need to, and you're in a for treat. Lisa has a discerning eye for lovely things. I admit to buying a small kit and there's another one on the website that I want - the Lily of the Valley pincushion. 

The program was a panel discussion with designers. This guild is so fortunate to have so many talented people as members! I'm going to have to apologize at the start because I don't know Jane's last name, but she designs with her heart and prayers and from her I learned a new phrase - girlie whitework! I will remember that and work it into a conversation someday. Betsy Morgan of Willing Hands who does not sell her designs except through classes, designs these extraordinary pieces, some with many smalls, that are simply too lovely for words. From here on, if Betsy is teaching the piece, I am taking the class. And Betsy if you stumble upon this while googling yourself, I really would love to stitch Gustav's Graffiti...Pamela Darney of Guild House Samplers has a website under construction. I participated in her Quaker Diamond class last fall and am stitching her Love and Live Happy sampler right now. Plus I have two more of hers and I'm taking another class with her in September. Can we just say quality linen and Glorianna silks? Pam does these throwdowns in her classes with yards of Glorianna silks and everyone has a delightful time. Patty Y. of Samplers Revisited stitches both lovely reproduction samplers and her own original pieces. I have her Tartan Pumpkins and a German repro sampler in my stash. After years of travel and family, it's great that she finally gets to do what her heart has always loved. Our last designer in this group is Barbara Hutson of Queenstown Samplers. Barbara is a delight. I first met her when I was in a LNS and she was touring the shops with her newest designs. Okay. I admit that I've got five or six of her samplers. Earlier this year one of my local shops had her trunk show and that was like wow! I think she's amazingly prolific, though she probably doesn't think so. It was tremendously insightful and funny day. Wish I could do this every Saturday. And to think I was reluctant to give up any family time on weekends before...

 And before we go:
Michael Boren's Starry, Starry Night done in a truly unique way. No one is ever going to reproduce this because I used a limited edition silk floss. I hand painted my ecru canvas. And I mounted it on a handpainted artist canvas. Wow! I think the canvas size is like 5" by 3 1/2". Color me happy!  

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Why Does My Neighbor Keep Stealing My Recycle Bin?

This is beginning to piss me off. I've got a blue recycle bin provided five years ago by AAA because I called them when we moved in and they brought two new ones. (I gave one to another neighbor as I didn't need two.) One of my newer neighbors suddenly thinks it is hers. I guess she doesn't want the blue cracked one that came from BFI, but was with her house when she moved in. I've got my house number on mine and everything. I don't really want to drag the broken one to her house and demand the return of mine, but I guess I'm going to have to. Silly, but there it is...

Today I finished my carnival bright colorway of Starry, Starry Night. Photos sometime tomorrow? Thus far, I'm having difficulties getting the color to show correctly. 

And I've ordered the newest Mill Hill Santas  -The Captain Santa, the First Mate Santa and Bo'sun Santa. I'm not sure why these three thrilled me so much when I first saw them, but they did. Family connections to the sea? Which I do have. Got an ancestor that served in the Navy during the Revolution. And the family lived for centuries on Great Bay in New Hampshire. Whatever. I love the ocean and these just speak to me.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

EGA Wednesday

This morning is a meeting of the D.C. Chapter in which Michael Boren is teaching his Starry, Starry Night. Hey, I stitched that already. Last fall. In Culpeper.

I stitched this piece and finished it the night of the class around 1 a.m. But I finished it yesterday. I'm happy with how it turned out.  And because I can't help myself...

Today's version! 

I had the metallics and the silk in my stash. I did make a quick run to my LNS for the Grandeur and Wildflowers. Got it home and couldn't decide. Ecru canvas or black canvas. Finally decided that the metallics on the black looked too much like Halloween. And that the ecru was too boring. So I painted the canvas. Simple solution. (The diamond pattern on the canvas is from the window...) And yeah - I have a white colorway to do on the black canvas. It's a quick stitch and makes an elegant little ornament. Or pin. Or even a framed piece.

And then tonight - Board meeting for Oatlands Chapter. Makes for an interesting day.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Quick Stitchy Update

 I am farther along than this photo of Constantinople shows. All four corners are finished. And I did the pulled work in one of the rectangles, but it needs more than that. And I started my first row of couching on the border. What I really think is that the Watercolours color named Cheyenne is gorgeous. And could be a great starting point for other projects. 

I had to put this down to work on some finishing. I'm hoping to do the actual finishing on my Michael Boren ornament - Starry, Starry Night - as he's teaching this piece tomorrow for the D.C. EGA. I'd like to bring it finished. And I've been trying to finish Catherine Jordan's Sailing Away also. 

And they both need to just sit there this morning because I'm off to get my haircut. Or as we used to say in Colorado, I'm going to go sit on the beach (because we all left Shonna's house with lighter hair.)

Monday, June 07, 2010

June's Stitching Blogger Question

Tell us about something that you have stitched or plan to stitch for any father in your life.  Maybe it’s for your father, your father-in-law, your children’s father, your grandfather, your godfather, or someone who was or still is an important father-figure in your life.  Why did you choose this particular piece of stitching?   Tell us the story behind it. 
And because a simple one part question is never adequate, let’s go some more:
Often times we identify our love of needlework and our skills with our mothers or grandmothers or other women.  It’s understandable because often they were are first teachers or role models.  Now let’s think about our stitching life as it relates to our dads.  Is there anything about our approach to stitching that we can recognize as traits of our fathers?  For instance, does your dad (or any other important man in your life) have an approach to one of his interests that you can observe and think, “Hey….if I substitute the word “needlework” for “fly fishing”, we’d be pretty darn similar!”  So tell us about it.

There are so many ways I could answer this question. I'm going to stick with my initial thoughts.

For the first seventeen years of my life, my father was the ideal dad. Tall, handsome, smart, never impatient. Then he did the unthinkable and imploded my parent's marriage. I lost my best friend. We still saw each other, but that father/daughter relationship was never the same. I couldn't trust him and held him at arm's length for the next twenty-three years. 

But sometimes I paid homage to those early days. And one of the ways I did that was when my father and I started exchanging cow related gifts. Not just any cows - Holstein cows. It was our own private joke. And it went on for years until his wife begged me for a moratorium (it was the mooing cookie jar that did it.) Somewhere in those years I designed and stitched a cow among the flowers for him. Nothing big or elaborate. Just simple black and white cow on 18 ct aida with colorful little flowers around its hooves. I think it fit into a 5" by 7" frame. I remember that the frame was blue. And when we went to visit, it hung in the kitchen. Even after all the other cow stuff went away. 

I managed to forgive my father, but it took decades and his near death from a stroke. I was given the grace of two more years with him for which I am grateful. I think of him whenever I see a Holstein or a deer or a race car or a hawk. Whenever I take a walk in the woods or swim in a lake. I know you did your best, Dad, and I thank you.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Friday's Fun

Where I went yesterday to have fun with my friends. 

This is the Hollingsworth Mill museum in Winchester, VA. On exhibit now are about two dozen schoolgirl samplers from the Frederick County area. 

Exhibit is small, but nice.

Old mill stones on the property.

Right next door is Abrahm's Delight, the oldest house in Winchester. 

Looking at the confusing info I find online, I think this house was built later than the original house. It was built by the son of the original settler and was used as a Quaker meetinghouse. 

Whatever. All I know is that I have a tremendous fondness for stone buildings.

We left there and we to a lovely Italian restaurant on the mall in Winchester - Violino's. Had a terrific lunch and lovely time talking and laughing. I wish everyone had been able to attend who was supposed to be there. You know who you are and you know that we all missed you! 

Current progress on Love and Live Happy. I agree with Natasha. I love the motif in the upper left corner. The Glorianna Pacific Blue is so beautiful. I'm now thinking that this piece is destined for our bedroom because of the blue.

What happened? I thought I uploaded a photo of Constantinople, too? Oops.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Friday Fun

Off for good times with my Friday stitching group. I've got the camera! 

But first - a tiny update. I did drag my Constantinople canvas piece out of the darkness. It's happy to see the light of day. And I'm happy to see it, too! 

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I Promise. No Pizza.

Fortified by the great success I had with this round of my mystery samplers exchange, I've been perusing all those unfinished canvas projects I have stacked up. I can hear them calling me. 

But I didn't feel like dragging my stand to Thursday stitching group, so I brought my Quaker, my Sailing Away box, and a Mill Hill bead kit. 

I was going to start right in on the beading, but I decided I need to get that wrinkle out of the linen first. 

Next I moved onto Sailing Away and I've finished the top of the box. Now need to stitch the inside. 

Didn't feel like stitching the inside, so out came my Love and Live Happy Quaker piece. I've only managed to complete the word "and" - and it's just hanging there by itself. But I knew my counting abilities for over one are compromised when stitching around these ladies, so I moved on. And started the box that will contain my name and eventually started my name. 

I was just jumping all over the place, finding it difficult to land and concentrate. 

I guess it's those darn canvas pieces lined up in the stitching closet calling my name. 

And just for fun and because I sometimes have no will power, I have ordered Carlene Harwick's "Royal Wind" through the ANG. 

But wait. That's not all.

I also ordered myself a copy of the Goodhart Samplers book. Good reference book and all that. 

And I kept my promise.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

What's Next?

Hot dogs seem inspiring. Got a few comments. What's next? Pizza? 

Okay. I've had my breakfast and need to get food off the brain.  

This should help. Here's Love and Live Happy on Monday at the garage. I finished the motif in progress - upper left - and started in on the lettering below it. I'm lovin' it.

 A few years back, my son and I planted some lilies. He picked the lovely yellow ones that unfortunately every year we lose at least one to errant newspaper delivery. I guess I should move them, but I'm lazy that way.

The orange ones are mine and they've multiplied like crazy. I wish I could find upside down tiger lilies like the ones my father and found growing wild on the side of the road when I was young. We transplanted two of them at the camp and for years they did their lovely graceful swaying. I've never looked for these online before, but I will. Right now. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

For Those Who Like Hot Dogs for Breakfast

A few years ago, I dunno, maybe 10 or 12, I saw a segment on Good Morning America about what to do with your leftovers from a BBQ. 

And, no kidding, this is what Emeril Lagassee suggested for leftover hot dogs. 

Heat the hot dog - microwave, sautee pan, whatever - and roll it up in flour tortilla with shredded lettuce, cheese, and salsa.

Take a minute. 

Does that sound good or bad to you?

I'll tell you that I deliberately grilled an extra hot dog the next time I was cooking to try this. 

And I don't know why hot dog tacos haven't caught on. 'Cause they are really good. 

And every now and then I do this taco thing with my hot dogs, though I am usually a traditionalist who likes the works on my half smoke at Nats Park. And at home I go for mustard, relish, and celery salt on a proper New England style bun - thank you Wegman's for making these and selling them here in the mid-Atlantic states. 

Other ways we serve hot dogs at my house:

In the late spring and early summer - boil a mess of beets and beet greens and new potatoes and throw the hot dogs on top at the end. Eat the beet greens with vinegar. Yum. Other variation - substitute fresh from the garden green or yellow beans for the beets.

In the winter - once a decade or so - resurrect the old Pillsbury Dough Boy classic of hot dogs and cheese wrapped in crescent rolls and baked. Why is America fat? Anyone?

And finally - the stand-by Saturday lunch while watching Candlepin Bowling - hot dogs, bean, and brown bread. With lots of ketchup. 

There you have it. My hot dog post for the week. 

I think I've gotten it out of my system.

Grill Fizzle

So I fired up and grill. And ran out of gas. How disappointing. One more errand to run now.

I thought maybe I'd swing by the service station this morning and see if I could trade in my rejection sticker for an inspection sticker on my car now that we have new tires, but it being the first of the month, there were already eight cars in line at 7:30 a.m. Argh. Not my fault it took this long to get the darn tires. And NTB still hasn't called me to tell me that they are in, after assuring me that the tires were in a local warehouse. It was a good thing we found them somewhere else. 

I really should consider going back soon and waiting my turn in line. 

P.S. Do you know that both times when typing the word "sticker" in the above paragraph I started to type "stitc"? Talk about a brain on automatic pilot.