In my part of the world we say you are a fool if your passion for a pursuit overcomes all practical sense. I am a stitching fool, and I stitch foolishness.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Done, done, deliriously happy that I'm done!

Ann Scutt is finished!!!!!

Here is her last band.

And here she is, top and bottom. (I could not entice Dearly Beloved into holding this one up for photographic purposes or any other reason. He said his legs would stick out and it would look ridiculous. I think he has cute legs but apparently that is insufficient.)

I stitched this as part of Nicola's Scarlet Letter Year. I'm thinking of doing another Scarlet Letter repro, but it's going to be a small project. I'm not sure what it will be, but it will be smaller than Ann.

Meanwhile, I'm in the dithering stage of my stitching journey. I've noticed a pattern that occurs when I finish a project. Instead of planning what I want to work on when I finish a project before I finish that project, I start buzzing from one idea to another like a hyperactive bumblebee in a field of wildflowers. Then I spend several weeks stitching on this, that, or the other until I become obsessed with something and focus on it until it's done. Then we start the whole process again.

With this three-day week-end, I hate to waste valuable stitching time dithering, but having spent a good bit of the morning doing just that, I can't see a way around it. I may just close my eyes,  grab something out of the basket, and start stitching.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

There's a light at the end of the tunnel

And that means I am one step away from finishing Ann Scutt!

The alphabet is done--thanks to the fact that I can now sit and stitch again--and thanks to all of you who sent good wishes and sympathy. Between that and better living through chemistry (pain pills and muscle relaxers), I'm to the sore-and-achy point instead of the even-breathing-makes-my-back-hurt point. I can also get up and down without assistance, something that Dearly Beloved appreciates.

I have only the attribution line to stitch, but I'm not pushing my luck tonight.  Hopefully tomorrow will see this one on the list of finished projects.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cranky, cranky, cranky

I have a muscle spasm in my back, which means that I can comfortably stand or comfortably lie down, but sitting is possible for only a short period of time and only when necessary.

I have been to the doctor and I am drugged--muscle relaxers and pain relief--which means that it's safer to lie down than do anything else. I did try to stitch while flat on my back. That was not a good option.

However, it meant that I was able to view almost the entire season of Longmire in yesterday's marathon. I do love that show, love the books by Craig Johnson even more. Sadly, there is nothing as good on today, but the spasm does seem to be easing so hopefully tomorrow will be a normal day.

Or as normal as I get.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Flash and the final floral band

We went to see The Flash this week-end.

I promise, the child does have a very cute face. It just seems that every time I try to take a picture, he has something he wants to show me. In this case, it was a giant plush shark.

He's into sharks.

He can identify every variety of shark. He thinks I'm a little backward because I can't.

(And, yes, the grandparents bought the shark for him.)

Surprisingly, I was able to stitch in the evenings. So Ann Scutt's final floral band is complete.

I just have the alphabet and the attribution band to stitch and she will be done, done, done!!!! If I weren't so tired from the drive back, I would be twirling about the living room. Please tell me why simply sitting in a car can be so exhausting. Dearly Beloved drove back, so all I had to do was remark on the scenery and be responsible for backseat driving.

I am starting to think about the next project. I have been auditioning samplers, but I'm beginning to think I may want to do something very different. If I can get Ann finished before the upcoming Labor Day week-end, I will have three days to play in the stash and get the next project or twelve sorted out.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


At least that's what this one looks like to me.

And how it came to be stitched is a story in itself.

When I got ready to leave work for home yesterday afternoon, I was caught in a cloudburst.  I would like to emphasize that an umbrella is insufficient protection when the skies are dumping gallon buckets of water and the wind is blowing those gallons sideways.  I was soaked to the skin. As I am a large and lovely woman, that was a lot of skin to be soaked.

To add to the general discomfort, I'd been fighting a headache all afternoon. Not one of those blistering OMG-my-eyelashes-even-hurt headaches, but one of those ker-chunka, ker-chunka annoying throbbing headaches.

I arrived home, dripping and head-pounding.  Dearly Beloved was just starting to pull dinner together since I had an ANG meeting scheduled and he was handling kitchen duties.  He suggested that I take a couple of aspirin and a quick shower, since I was going to have to change clothes anyway, then lie down for a few minutes to see if the headache would get better. I'd still have time to grab a bite to eat, throw on jeans and a tee, and get to the meeting.

Sounded like a plan to me, so I dosed, showered, and stretched out.

The next thing I knew it was very quiet and dark and the clock was reading 3:04 a.m.

3:04 a.m.

Apparently I had gone to sleep and was so soundly asleep when Dearly Beloved came up to tell me dinner was ready that he decided to let me sleep.  He fixed a plate for me and stowed it in the frig.

Now I was wide awake at 3 in the morning.  And hungry.

So I got up, came downstairs, and ate my dinner.  I was still wide awake. I guess after almost nine hours of sleep, I should be.

And Ann Scutt was just sitting by my chair, so I picked her up, threaded up a needle, and started.

Apparently I can turbo-stitch from about 3:30 to 7 in the morning.

I do not plan to make this a regular practice.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hitting the Wall

Last night I plopped myself down in the wing chair and picked up the scroll frame holding Ann Scutt.



I hit the wall.

I. Could. Not. Stitch.

I could not make myself thread the needle. I couldn't even make myself pick up the needle!

Runners will tell you that you should just power through the wall and keep on trucking. The wall can be knocked down, overcome, risen above and you'll get your second wind.

(This may be why I'm not a runner.)

I think I've been so intent on getting this sampler finished that I've burned out. So, last night, instead of stitching, I played in the stash and cruised through several blogs and checked several shop sites to see what's new.

Ironically, I can't stitch tonight. I made my annual trek to the eye doctor today to make sure my cyborg eyes are still functioning as they should, and my eyes are so dilated that I can't stand the amount of light needed to stitch. So I'm just going to sit in my corner and . . . do nothing, I guess . . .

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Enough carnations already!

The carnation band is completed and I'm glad . . .I got reeeeeeeeeeeeeally tired of stitching carnations, which were also called "pinkes" but since there is nothing pink on this sampler, I'll stick with carnations.

In Ancient Times (otherwise known as my youth), I was in a lot of weddings. In the Olden Days, weddings were not usually quite the extravaganzas that they have become unless you were high society, royalty, or a celebrity. The men in the wedding party almost always had carnations as boutonnieres, rather than something that coordinated with the bride's bouquet. To this day, when the scent of a carnation wafts by, or when I'm stitching them on a sampler, I flashback to (usually) uncomfortable shoes and (only a couple of times) memorably ugly bridesmaids' dresses.

Now I had planned to do some finishing every week-end, but I am so close to finishing Ann, I'm going to continue working on her. With any luck, there is a finish in my near future!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Springing out all over

So I started on the central motif of this band and it looks like it's gone berserk with tentacles and sprigs and wild things springing out all over.  There will be more carnations at the top--at the moment I'm trying to decide whether to get one of them worked or if I want to fill in the center of the thing-that-will-be-a-knot in the middle.

If this is the most important decision I have to make in the next few days, this will be a good week-end!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

And then the phone rang . . .

All I have managed to do tonight is stitch this one little corner, and it's not for lack of trying.

So far, we've had two calls from charitable organizations requesting donations, a call for Baby Girl from her Alumni Association, also requesting a donation (she hasn't lived here for almost three years and they still can't get their records corrected), a wrong number (three times) from a rather inebriated individual attempting to make a dinner reservation for Friday night, and a call from a neighbor wanting to know if we have seen her dog. We haven't.

And don't want to. We like dogs, cats, horses, and assorted other mammals and birds and have loved and lived with them all. We do not like her dog. It likes to bite. She calls them "love nips." Dearly Beloved, who has a remarkable rapport with four-legged critters, can't even tolerate this one--and we have seen him calm bucking horses and growling dogs. I can't repeat what he usually calls the animal. We don't even call it a dog, actually--we call it "the animal."

Dearly Beloved just said that it has probably been picked up by whatever alien spacecraft left it here--that it was most definitely not a canine from this planet but an evil alien from another. I am not going to mention that to its owner. She already thinks we're strange.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

better than nothing . . . maybe?

I could never get the picture I took of the framework on this band of Ann Scutt to load, and this one took almost half an hour.  I'm not sure if there's a problem with our innerwebs connection--it's been wonky ever since our power went out Monday--or if the blog is rebelling against my less than stellar skills as a photographer.  Whatever it is, I wish it would straighten itself out.

Anyway, here are the first two carnations on this band. The lower one looks like a butterfly to me, but it really is part of a carnation.

I decided to do something different on this band. I'm completely finishing each motif as I come to it, instead of getting all the outlines done and then filling them in.  This close to the end, anything that keeps the interest and the momentum going is good.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Main Frame

The framework for the last "big" band of Ann Scutt is stitched.  And, I'm thrilled to announce, there was no reverse stitching in the execution of this band.

There is a picture which Blogger will not let me load.

Given the problems I've had with technology this week, I'm not surprised.  So I'm going to bed.

Monday, August 12, 2013


This has been a Monday and then some.

I bebopped into work this morning with as cheery a demeanor as one could have on a Monday morning, and for about an hour and a half, everything went well.

Then the tracking system I use went down.

The last time this happened, some yo-yo in IT had decided to play with space allocations on the various servers we use and OOPS removed some of our space. This may have happened again. We immediately fired off emails and entered a service request.

That was OK, I had things I could do with the social media part of my job.

Except I couldn't access my administrative log-in.

I was beginning to wonder if my services were no longer being required when I found that no one else could log in either. That was something of a relief.

A group of us went out to lunch to welcome a new coworker and that was lovely.

And back to work, where nothing was working. Still.

You may have noticed I don't handle boredom well.

At least, I thought, I had things to do at home after work. I even worked out a very efficient timetable in my head during my drive home:  walk in the door, set down my things, and immediately drag out the vacuum cleaner and get the downstairs vacuumed. As soon as I finished that, I planned to put some potatoes on to boil so I could make potato salad for the rest of the week (it's really better the next day). While they were cooking, I would iron Dearly Beloved's shirts. Then I could throw dinner on while the potatoes cooled enough to handle and we could eat, then I'd put the salad together. After all this industry, I'd grab a quick shower and then settle down to stitch the rest of the evening.

I walked in the door to find that our electricity was out.

No vacuuming, no ironing, no potato boiling.

We had a sort of lackadaisical conversation about going out to eat, but that would have required Dearly Beloved to  change into clothes that could be seen in public. We then briefly discussed having Chinese delivered, but the place we loved has changed hands and it hasn't been the same since.  It's cloudy again, so I couldn't see to stitch. I could read, so I read yesterday's newspaper while Dearly Beloved viewed the interior of his eyelids.

He finally decided we could grill hamburgers for dinner and set out to do that, only to have it start raining.

I made PB&J for him and a tomato sandwich for me. We ate.

And about fifteen minutes ago, the lights came back on.

At this point, I'm over the idea of being industrious in any way, shape, or form. And, quite frankly, I'm a little afraid to try to stitch since I have a feeling I'll have to fight off the frogs if I do.

It would fit with the way the rest of the day has gone.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

One jam-packed week-end.

This week-end zoomed past.

Friday I headed up the interstate to spend the week-end with Baby Girl. We had Plans with a capital P.

Saturday morning we went to the Piedmont Heritage Sampler Guild meeting. Since about half a dozen members are working on the Cabinet of Curiosities class, the program dealt with what we've been doing and learning.  I wish I had not forgotten the camera--two members, Louise and her daughter Robin, had most of the smalls from the class stitched and assembled. They were beautiful.

If you live in the Greensboro/Burlington/Chapel Hill/ Durham/etc area and are interested in samplers, this group has some great programs coming up, along with a workshop next year stitching two North Carolina samplers reproduced by Praiseworthy Stitches. Yes, I'm signed up. So is Baby Girl.

After the meeting, we went shopping. Baby Girl wanted to look at shoes to go with her bridesmaid dress for her BFF's wedding. I need a dress/suit/outfit for the same wedding.

I came home with a new pocketbook. Baby Girl came home with three pairs of jeans. We did not succeed in our original objectives.

We had sushi with two of her friends, then home for TV and stitching.

And this is where Ann Scutt is now:

All the sprigs, twigs, and tendrils are filled in. The band is complete.

And here is her close-up:

On to the next band.

I did not forget my vow to work on some finishing every week-end.  I was up fairly early and putt-putted home before noon so I had time.

And something else has left the finishing basket:

This was a special kit Merry Cox offered a couple of years ago at Christmas in Williamsburg. The kit included the painted box. (I'm neither crazy nor talented enough to attempt to paint! This woman knows her limitations.)  Obviously, the stitching had taken no time at all to accomplish. Actually the finishing took much less time than I had anticipated. It makes me wonder why I put things in the finishing basket instead of just going ahead and finish-finishing them.

Oh, yeah, finish-finishing terrifies me.

And I could really use another day to do all the other stuff that didn't get done this week-end.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Planting Pansies

The pansies on this band of Ann Scutt are done.

I now have to fill in a lot of areas with little squiggly things in gold.

If you read the previous post, you may be thinking that I made my decision to continue on with Ann Scutt from a mature, logical, adult viewpoint.

Um . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .no.

It was sheer laziness.

After all, to start a new project, I would need to rummage around for the correct size scroll bars. I would need to iron the linen and sew it to the scroll bars.  I would need to sort the threads. I would need to read over the directions. I would need to do some basting.

And there was Ann Scutt, already ironed, sewn, sorted, and read. With no basting needed.

So I'm working on Ann Scutt.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

It's a dilemma

Last night before I went to bed, I looked at my Elizabethan casket again--and I decided, other than the lid, it wasn't really half bad.

One of my last thoughts before I went to sleep was that it's a shame that I'll have to wait until November to take another class from Betsy, since I'm afraid I'll forget some of the things I've learned on this project of hers.  When it comes to finish-finishing, I am, like Winnie the Pooh, a bear of very little brain.

In the middle of the night, I all but levitated off the bed when I woke up to the realization that I have another class project from her. It was a class that "away Swans" were able to get when Betsy taught for the Swan Sampler Guild.  And I have it.

Here it is:

It has colors I love and motifs I adore.

Now here is the dilemma.

I have a list of things I can finish or finish-finish by the end of August. It is a sane and logical list. It is not my usual pie-in-the-sky list that I could accomplish only if I gave up sleeping and going to work. It does not include starting another major project.

The sane and logical adult part of me is saying I should stick to the list before I drown in a sea of PhD's (projects half done) and WIP's.

The spoiled stitching brat is jumping up and down and shrieking, "Pretty, pretty, I want it NOW!"

Of course . . .I could use this as my reward for getting some things done and/or finish-finished. . . if the brat who insists on instant gratification will just shut up.

I'll let you know who wins.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Another one bites the dust

The last two smalls that accompany the Elizabethan Etui are done, assembled, finished, and completed.

The spine on the needle book has a very cool woven ribbon spine and that's a technique I will use again.

So I get to add this project to this year's finished list and file away the leftover threads and instructions.

Do you keep a record of what you stitch? I list the pieces that I complete each year. At one point, I wrote down every project I started and/or bought, then entered the date each was completed. That got to be way too depressing, since the list was ever growing and it seemed to have very few dates of completion. I finally decided to accept that I suffer from both SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy) and SINS (stuff I'll never stitch--although I always plan to).

I did make a list of things I'd like to finish during the month of August, then projects I'd like to complete by the end of the year. However, I'm not sharing either list. It seems that the minute I list something I want to have done on the blog, it's almost as if it's already completed and I don't have to think about it any longer. Therefore I will keep my little piece of paper in the basket by the chair and see if what's on it gets done.

I would pick Ann Scutt up for a couple of hours of attention tonight, but I have a feeling I'll be in bed early. I got sucked into a book last night and turned out the light somewhere around 2 a.m. when the book hit me in the nose. Then I woke up at 7:30 this morning and no matter how I twisted or turned or punched pillows or consciously relaxed body parts, I could not get back to sleep. So I got up and I've been up ever since. It's starting to tell on me, so I think I'm going to crash and burn soon.

Very soon.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

All in all, a pretty good day

There was progress made on Ann Scutt:

Three of the five smalls for the Elizabethan Casket are assembled:

And the mailman brought something very pretty for me to stitch:

This kit was made available through the Swan Sampler Guild.  As always, I'm looking forward to stitching it.

And, yes, I know I'll have to put it together at some point.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I've been slaving over a hot printer most of the evening. A new lesson for the Cabinet of Curiosities Class (aka the casket class) came out today.

There are 135 pages in this one lesson alone--plus another 35 on the project that accompanies it. When people ask me about the cost of the class, I just mention that I have over a hundred pages of incredible close-up pictures of a casket showing details that could not be seen by viewing through a case in a museum somewhere--and that's only in one lesson. And there are 18 lessons in just this course.

People also ask where I am in the design process for my casket. I pretty much know which motifs will be used on each of the two caskets I plan to stitch, but I'm still putting together ideas on the execution of those motifs. With each lesson that is posted, I see more stitch combinations and color ideas and tweaks on motif design. I truly do not plan to start stitching until the end of the second course, the one on stumpwork.

And, yes, I did say two caskets, as well as two or three mirror surrounds and a couple of trinket boxes.  And toys to go in each casket.

I have a tremendous talent for biting off more than I can chew.

Meanwhile, while I'm feeding paper to the printer and plugging in new ink cartridges and estimating just how many packages of sheet protectors I need to buy, I'm also stitching away on Ann Scutt.

One of the things I love about this band is the architecture of the foundation--those twisted motifs and the sprigs and leaves attached to them as well as the stems and leaves for the pansies. It's almost a shame that I'll soon start embellishing all this and the structure will be somewhat hidden.

Paradoxically, it's the embellishing that looks like it's going to be so much fun to stitch!