Sunday, December 23, 2012


SSomeone thinks he hears reindeer hoofbeats, but he's a little bit early. Elvis is in a state of high alert.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

In the Vault I Go

Normally at this time of year we've been to the US Botanical Gardens to view the amazing displays. Due to scheduling this year, we're taking a pass. That and I've got an infected toe that's making walking less than pleasant. (Don't worry. Been to doctors - have antibiotics - and they have some serious warnings on the side that scare me. Am taking my probiotics hoping to ward off the dire predictions.) But the Botanical Gardens recreate D.C. landmarks with all natural materials. And they add to their display every years with trains and plants galore.

So much of my stitching right now, I can't show here. Thus I went diving back into photos from years gone by. I cherry picked a few that I like a lot.

I stitched this little beauty for my sister the year she turned fifty. She started a Red Hat chapter. Which unfortunately fell apart after a year or two. But I loved stitching with red and purple. It was a Just Nan. I think I gave this pattern away. And I had no desire to stitch one for myself two years ago.

Here's another piece in my sister's possession. It's the Pine Tree Cottage by Elizabeth's Needlework Designs. I stitched this for my sister's 25th anniversary. This year they are at year 38. Sometimes I'm still amazed she hasn't done him in. LOL (Just to be clear here - this is a joke.) 


Speaking of diving into the past - this is a Goode Huswife, if my memory is correct. I think this had four different shades of white or near white. It is sitting in my unframed, but finished drawer. Maybe this year I'll delve into that drawer. Because I am still in love with this one.

And this time of year, nothing is more fun than watching our cat, Elvis.

Any day involving paper strewn across the floor is a bonanza for him! 
These photos are from 2005 as his parents don't put bows on his head, but his human siblings do! 

I'll be traveling soon and am unsure how much posting will be accomplished. Merry Christmas to all! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Update

Busy, busy, busy. So many things to do and not enough time to do them all. 

But I keep trying. And mostly I try not to take on the stress. What gets done, is what gets done. Feeling badly the entire month of November meant that nothing got done in November. So if any members of my beloved family don't get their presents until January, that's just the way it has to be. 

As for stitching, I graphed and stitched this weekend. How could I have forgotten what I meant to do for a certain someone? Fortunately, it's not big and things came together quickly. Now if I can replicate this process one more time...I can't show what I am doing here now. 

Started my Scarlet Letter progress. In fact, I washed and ironed 3 pieces of linen last week all from Scarlet Letter. Let's talk about this process one more time. 

All 3 pieces of linen were from SL kits. So I soaked them individually in room temperature water. There wasn't any bleeding of the dye, not even on the dark green piece. Then I hold up the linen and let it drip. Then I roll it in a clean white towel and pop it in the freezer. If I knew I wasn't going to iron it the next day, I would put it in a plastic bag before freezing. 

The next day I remove this from the freezer and very carefully unroll and separate the linen from the towel. And iron it frozen. The wrinkles, even the fold lines from linen that has been folded for 26 years, iron right out. 

I believe I once read something trying to scientifically break down this process. Something about going from ice to steam. But I've never been able to find what I think I once read. If anyone else knows more about this, please share with us.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Phew Still Catching Up

I have this amazing stitching friend. Her name is E.B. and she turned 85 at the end of October. She only does crewel. She's tried to do cross stitch, but we no longer let her. It only ends in tears and frustration. LOL - things are so much better when she doesn't have to count. This is one of her recent finishes. She's been accomplishing so much as she has goals like wedding samplers for grandchildren and other gifts for family members.

She's a definite role model for me. I had another role model like her in my life. My husband's great Aunt whom we called Auntie. Before she had cataract surgery she had been reduced to stitching on plastic canvas, but once she got her bionic eyes, she stitched fine work including making dresden wedding plate quilted pillows for her "grandchildren" well into her 90s. I think of her often with fondness especially at Christmas time when I bring out some of the decorations she made for us. 

In other stitching news: 

Yes. I did sign up for Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year - link here.

I'll be writing about my plans as soon as I receive a certain shipment in the mail...

And I finished this Grab N Go kit. Started it Tuesday evening. Finished early Thursday. Maybe 5 hours tops? It's wool felt blanket stitched applique, otherwise known as penny rugs.

My peppermints are not lined up too well. If I had given this any thought I'd have made a pentagon template to mark my placement. But as I plan on having a candle sit on them, I'm not too concerned. To see more Grab N Go kits, look here. This truly is grab and go. My kit had a glue stick instead of pins and even a small pair of scissors for cutting my floss. I might have some more of these in my stash...

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Catching Up

I have been bad about blogging. I've even been bad about reading blogs. I'm sorry. 

Lots of things happening and I'll catch up here on a few things. 

Went with a group of ladies from the Washington D.C. EGA Chapter to the National Cathedral for the Angel Tour and Tea. I did the Needlework Tour here a few years ago. And have also done the Stained Glass Tour with my family. I can recommend all their tours, though right now the Stained Glass Tour might not be at it's best. Keep reading and you'll see why.

The August 2011 earthquake in Virginia caused some damage to the Cathedral. Chunks of stone fell off. Like these pieces displayed in front of the Cathedral.

Inside there are protective nets placed below the clerestory windows to catch anything that may fall while the Cathedral is being repaired. The netting seriously detracts from viewing the windows.
And while our tour guide was talking about angels, I was busy snapping more photos of needlepoint. These are kneelers from the Children's Chapel. 

Don't think I haven't been stitching. I have. But not a lot. I've been having some arthritis issues with my right hand. 

But I do the finishing on this Little House Needleworks piece (which I finished stitching last year.) Look closely. It's crooked. I didn't realize until I was taking to demonstrate finishing for some friends. This piece should have been blocked. This is as straight as I could make it. Lucky me, though. The finishing is reversible. So after the New Year, I will take this off the tree. Take it all apart and see what I can do about making it straight. 

Here's another one I finished. This was stitched a few (how many???) years ago, but I never finished it. I'm no longer in possession of this one as it was given in an ornament exchange last week. I think I still have the pattern somewhere in my stash - I believe it was a Caron publication. Stitched with Waterlilies Passion and gold beads.
I've got more. But will save it for later.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Public Service Announcement

You know one thing I forgot to say about our trip to New Mexico was that my husband was hit while driving our rental car on I-25 by an uninsured motorist. He wasn't injured. But the car was undrivable.

It was definitely the other guy's fault. The other guy driving a 1991 Toyota pickup with no insurance.

The bill from Avis came today. 

I've left some phone messages Avis and my insurance company. We'll see who gets back to me first.

My public service announcement is this: 

Be certain you have uninsured motorist coverage on your auto policy. 

We do. But this still isn't going to be any fun. At all. 

I spent some time reading sob stories by people whose lives have been ruined by an uninsured motorist. Literally something like this could change the course of your entire life.

Did you know that in New Mexico 26% of the drivers are uninsured? 

As someone who has followed the rules her entire life, I'm appalled by stats like this. Ooh. They're poor and can't afford insurance. You know what? Then don't drive. Because all this does is drive the cost of insurance up for everyone. If everyone who was supposed to have auto insurance by law did, it would cost less. Because we wouldn't have to be paying for deadbeats. 

I once was poor, too, but I always paid my insurance bill. Because it's the right thing to do. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stash Enhancement

I have finally satisfied my desire for stash enhancement. Last Saturday morning I announced my desire to support Small Business Saturday - which prompted my husband to ask me if that was a euphimism for needlework shopping. 

See how well he knows me? I managed to get myself to one needlepoint shop and a fabric store. And then my phone rang and instead of going to other needlepoint shop, I joined a friend on a trip to a quilt store and an Amish market. 

On Monday I managed to get back to the other needlepoint shop where I found this cute little owl canvas.  
Which kind of continues the theme of what I bought on Saturday - this snowy white owl.
But really what I came here today to talk about is this magazine - Sampler and Antique Needlework Quarterly.
When this magazine was first published I was a charter subscriber. This totally fed my sampler addiction. I had the first three years. And then one day, after they stopped publishing it and I had kind of let go of my stitching addiction, I gave away all three years. In my defense, I wasn't using them. And we were getting ready to move (again) and I was cleaning out. 

Well, you all know what happens when you do that. 

One day, they started publishing it again. And I had to have all the issues. So off to the internet I went where I spent some money recreating the collection I once had. A few of my early issues are the black and white photocopies that SANQ themselves sold. But I have them all. And I wouldn't part them now for a significant sum of money. 

The cover of this issue in particular made me happy. I love these little purses. This one is by Kimberly Servello who is also the designer of the Peas and Pomegrant purse that I have half-completed. Kimberly is a charming teacher and a font of information on Elizabethan/Jacobean needlework. She's got a blog with some beautiful things here:  Baroque Embellishments.

Friday, November 23, 2012


I did a manage a few stitches on Wednesday evening. But mostly I was too exhausted. Must have been that Manhattan..

This is where I am at on my Pacific Coast Collage by Laura J. Perin. Right now this project is saving me from total loss of stitching mojo. Not too difficult, not too easy. Just right. Five out of the six boxes are done - except that one corner that I forgot on the waves. I've got more ribbon to do and the shells in the last box and then the border. I'' be sorry when I reach the end of this one because I've enjoyed it tremendously.

Have we all seen enough pictures of food? 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Defeated by Technology

I have been sitting here trying to take a photo and post it here. But my phone keeps turning my photo. And when I try to outwit by turning what I'm taking a photo of, it turns it yet again, so that now it's upside down. 


I promise to get out the big girl camera tomorrow and try to post a progress photo by Thanksgiving. 

I am finally feeling better. Still not 100%, but definitely an improvement. 

And this means the housework and laundry are calling. I finally washed the last of the clothes that went to New Mexico today! That's pretty bad. But it was the unusual stuff that I don't need that often so I could afford to let it slide. 

Meanwhile, there's all kinds of sheets and towels piling up. I am so glad I don't have to do any of this by hand. 

The past two nights we have been watching Ken Burns' documentary on the Dust Bowl. I have to say there wasn't much about this that wasn't depressing. But all I can think of today is dust and dirt everywhere and how awful that must have been living with the constant threat of dust storms. Anyway. My china hutch and sideboard are clean - all that glass - and I went and bought new lightbulbs so everyone can see the shiny stuff. The punishment for collecting bric-a-brac is that occasionally you have to clean it.

With renewed health, comes the energy to pick up a needle and thread. I've been working on my Pacific Coast Collage and that's what I wanted to show. There's nothing complicated about this piece and it's just the right speed for me now. Well, I say nothing complicated, but doing bullion knots with pearl cotton and a size 24 tapestry needle is quite interesting. I finished my starfish last week and need to start those scallop shells this week. Though I might put them off to the end and work on the border, etc. I've got some other things I've been working on, but nothing I can show here online. 

Tomorrow is the deadline for early registration at EGA Seminar 2013. I did sign up for my first four-day class. Ever. Four days. One teacher. I'm ready for it. 


Friday, November 16, 2012

Sampler Wall

I owe huge thanks to Barbara Hutson for telling me to look for the sampler wall at the International Folk Art Museum in Santa Fe. It's funny, but when I asked at the desk where I'd find this, the nice young lady did not really know what I was talking about. At first, I was afraid that these samplers were no longer on exhibit, but were hidden back in storage. And then I turned a corner and found them! An large free standing wall filled with samplers. 

There's an amazing lack of information about these samplers. So I can't really tell you much. But I can show you some of them. 

 I love this one with the two-headed eagle. Anyone have any ideas on country of origin?

 Is this a man with a hot-air balloon?

 The one with the weeping willow is the only sampler with American origins.

 Yikes. This one has some serious goldwork. But I just have to wonder what got cut out?

 Now remember. If you're ever in Santa Fe, you need to stop here. I wish I had got decent photos of all of them, but alas glass and lights sometimes interfere with cameras. In fact, the entire Girard collection is amazing. Everytime you turn a corner, you have no idea what you may see!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Macedonian Wedding Dresses

This is currently one of the main exhibits at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. I'm sorry that not all my photos came out - most of the ones with the close-up detail are blurry. Not used to taking detailed photos with my phone...

But I'm pretty sure you can get the idea from what I can show you.

 They have one of these dresses that you could try on. It weighs over 30 lbs.