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.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Up on the Rooftop

Mary Otter has a roof and chimneys. They are floating in mid-air, but the mansion is begun:

Meanwhile, in this household, The Great Christmas Tree Installation has begun.

We finally got our tree on Friday evening and have started decorating it today. Dearly Beloved is doing the light dance. He and the strings of lights get themselves all tangled about and then get untangled and he flails about and the suddenly they are wound around the tree.

I should not mention that there is a spot where the lights seem a little thinner than in other areas.

I should probably put more ornaments there and just not say anything about the light imbalance.

And on to the great event of today. Mother is 90. Dearly Beloved, The Saint, and I went to visit her in her retirement center yesterday. I asked her if she now planned to live to be 100. She said she wanted to.

Today when I called her to wish her a happy birthday, she very proudly told me that she is 100.

The Saint and I have decided that we aren't arguing with her about anything. She's very happy so why upset the apple cart?

So today is either Mother's 90th birthday (according to the calendar) or her 100th (according to her).

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Raising the Roof

Home again, and back to Mary Otter. She did not visit Williamsburg--she needs her own special tote bag to travel due to her size, and we already had filled up the trunk and the back seat with stuff that Dearly Beloved felt was necessary to take--just in case the zombie apocalypse occurred and we would need a case of bottled water, for example.

Anyway, I have started on the roof of her house.

I'm assuming her house had a slate roof that had a blue-ish cast . . .

Hopefully I can add some more tonight, but it may not happen. Along with delightful memories, I seem to have brought a head cold home from Williamsburg. I woke up at about 5 a.m. Monday morning feeling like my head was full of cement--and it had hardened--and sniffed and sneezed all the way home. Due to better living through chemistry, I managed to avoid sniffing and sneezing (too much) at work, but it appears that pill is wearing off.

Oh, well, 'tis the season. If Rudolph needs a night off, my nose will be red enough so that I can substitute.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Well, I brought the laptop, fully intending to blog about this whole trip--but we were so busy and so much was going on that I'm finally putting words to computer on the night before we leave for home and reality.

We had what may have been the easiest trip ever--no wrecks, no delays due to highway construction, we rolled right onto the Jamestown Ferry without a wait, we picked up our annual passes at the Visitor Center, visited Haus Tirol, and checked in--everything smooth as buddah.

Early Thursday morning, we wandered around the Historic District for awhile--and found our favorite decoration for this year:

Here's the staff at the Weavers' Shop and their Sheep "Wreath." They were absolutely delightful to talk to, just like everyone else in Williamsburg always is.

That evening we had the opening banquet, where we received this year's special ornament:

Jackie du Plessis designed and donated the ornament--which looks incredibly complex. Looks are deceiving--it's another one of her very clever assemblies.

And the next day I had the first day of classes with two of my favorite teachers.

It occurred to me when I was taking pictures that I basically stitched squares for three days.

Catherine Theron designed a beautiful whitework sampler. I haven't met one of Catherine's samplers that I don't love, but I have to say this one has moved to the top of my list. Catherine goes over every single step of the instructions in her classes and she demonstrates the more complicated stitches. I'm looking forward to working on this one in the new year.

It was even nicer to have a good friend sitting beside me in class!

Then, in the afternoons I worked on another of Jackie du Plessis' lovely etuis--and stitched more squares:

This is going to become a pinkeep, also probably in the new year. Jackie also covers every step of the process in her classes and with every one of her classes I take, I'm more confident of my finishing abilities. And that is saying something.

Alas, we have to go back to reality too early in the morning. We have a stop on the way so we can take Baby Girl out for a birthday lunch--but then, it's the grind again.

However, I have already signed up for next year--something to look forward to.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


This lovely pink and green band marks the center of Mary Otter!

Now there is a rather large house with an even larger yard--and the yard is all over-one--to stitch.  I'm afraid it's going to take more time than the first half has, but I've decided not to think about it too much. After all, it's the bottom scene of the sampler that made me want to stitch it.

However, the rest of today is going to be devoted to preliminary Christmas decorating and preliminary packing. It's that time of the year--we're heading to Williamsburg so I can take classes with Catherine Theron (morning sampler class) and Jackie du Plessis (afternoon etui) at what I still call Christmas in Williamsburg although the new owners call it Annie's Needlework Festival. I'm not taking any early bird classes this year so that will give us a day to wander around the Historic District before the crowds that arrive for the Grand Illumination show up. I have a list of places I want to go.

And I've decided The Big Boot is going, too. My Achilles tendon is still acting up and I've decided to be proactive and protect it before I re-injure it further. Stupid Achilles tendon . . .

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thing Two and Thanksgiving

The second parrot on Mary Otter is complete and I'm on the band that marks the halfway point.

This parrot is much closer to both the verse and border than the first one. This is the second sampler I've worked that had a similar situation. Sarah Williams also seemed to run out of room for the motifs on the second side.  In addition, Mary had to cram some words together to get them to all fit inside the border she had stitched. So . . . that leads me to believe that at least these two girls stitched borders first and then made everything else fit into them.

I may take a break from Mary today to work on the 2017 ornament from Barbara Jackson. It's one of my favorites from the ones she has designed for SNS, and that is saying a lot since I've loved every single one of them.  I have started doing some Christmas decorating, and I want this one on the tree, so I need to get that needle moving, too.

Now if you came for stitching, you can stop reading right now. The rest is about our not-quite Thanksgiving.

For a variety of reasons, this year Dearly Beloved and I were planning to have Thanksgiving alone. Mother can't travel any longer, the Saint had an invitation from a friend, Baby Girl has to work Black Friday, the Big Kid not only was scheduled to work, but then his whole family came down with some kind of virus that we would really prefer that they keep in West Virginia and not bring to us.

So we decided we would have a turkey breast instead of the usual humongous turkey, the green bean casserole that only Dearly Beloved will eat, I was going to try to replicate Mother's macaroni-and-cheese with no one here to critique it but me, sweet potatoes, and whatever other vegetable I felt like throwing into the mix.

I went online and through several cookbooks and the general consensus on thawing out turkey is to give it 24 hours for every four pounds. We had a six pound turkey breast. That meant probably Monday evening until Thursday evening would be ample time, actually more than enough, for the thing to thaw out.


Either the "authorities" were all wrong or we have a wormhole to an Arctic planet in the back of the frig, because when I took the thing out yesterday to start cooking for our evening meal, it was still hard as a rock and had a chunk of ice in the middle.

So I did the thing where you put the turkey in the sink with water and change the water every hour and it finally thawed out. It finally got into the oven. It finally got roasted about 9 last night. At that point, we had had barbecue sandwiches from the barbecue we bought earlier in the week and Tater Tots and salad for dinner.

Tonight we're going to put the sides together and gently warm the turkey slices and try it again.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Thing One

Short hiatus from blogging for few days--first I was under the weather for a couple of days, then I was out of town for a few more.

However, we now have the first parrot on Mary Otter!

Quite elegant, isn't he?

There is a second one on the other side, and that's what I'll start on tonight.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Little Posies, Part 2

All the little posies have their darker petals stitched, and Thing One has a hill and a tree to sit upon.

And since it has been Monday the Thirteenth all day, I am going to bed with my book.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Little Posies, part 1

Today was gray, gloomy, cold, yucky--so I spent the day wrapped up in an afghan and stitching.

All the itty bitty leaves and the last blimp leaf are stitched, and I've made the first circuit with the lighter pink for the posies. My needle is threaded and I'm going to start on the next go-round with the darker shade of pink.

And then I get to start on Thing One, aka big honkin' parrot.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Big Mouth

There is no stitching to report on today. We went to visit my mother.

She is getting more and more confused as the days pass, but she's happier than I've ever seen her, so we're taking that.

However, my big mouth got me in trouble.

Dearly Beloved took a few moments for a pit stop and while he was gone, Mother asked if I were planning to marry That Man.

I said I thought he was already married.

Fifteen minute lecture, during which time Dearly Beloved returned to the room and was totally confused by the lecture.

Keep in mind, this is not the first time he's been tarred and feathered through no fault of his own. When it became obvious Mother should stop driving, we bought her car. Dearly Beloved drove it home.  I called later that evening to let her know we had arrived safely home only to hear this:

"Some old man stole my car! I stood on the sidewalk and saw him drive it away. I was waving at him to stop and he just waved back and drove on!"

I'm not sure if he was more insulted by the thought that he would steal her car or by the fact she called him an old man.

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Friday Flop

As I was driving to work this morning, I was planning my evening stitching. I had Mary Otter all set up with needle not only threaded but also placed in the appropriate spot to start all those itty bitty leaves. Based on the length of time it took me to work itty bitty leaves across the top of the border for the saying, I had a strong feeling that I could get just about all of them worked tonight before heading to bed.

Not so much.

I came home and flopped into the wing chair and that was pretty much it.

About an hour ago, I forced myself to stitch a bit.

I'm down to the next big blimp leaf on this side.

But that's it for tonight. Dearly Beloved and I have been yawning at each other all evening, and we've decided it's time to head to bed.

And it isn't even 10 p.m. For people who at one time were the last to leave a Friday night shindig, this is really sad. The fact that I used the word "shindig" is probably very sad, too. I'll have to ask Baby Girl if this is even an acceptable term any longer. I will likely get a blank look.

How the mighty have fallen.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Going Around the Bend

I made it all around the saying with the vine and the ends met up!

Given some of the other stitching problems I've had lately, I feel a great sense of relief.

Now I have to get all the little bitty leaves and stems stitched and then add the flowers. That will be a good thing to do while we're visiting Mother over the week-end.


Today is a special day for me--had he lived, my father would be 100 years old. The older I get, the more I appreciate all he lived through, and what a gentleman and gentle man he was in so very many ways.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Change in schedule

It's cold. It's raining. I've reached an exciting point in my book.

Therefore, I am not stitching tonight. I am crawling into bed, pulling the covers up to my chin, and reading until it's time to turn out the lights.

And I have hereby kept to the letter of the law for daily blogging in November.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Definitely Crazy

I was going to say that maybe I am crazy.

No, I'm definitely crazy--but I'm very, very happy.

Here is the carcass for another Cabinet of Curiosities.

I know, I already have one and I haven't stitched a stitch for it yet--but Tricia Nguyen offered a class to work a small stumpwork casket. I absolutely was not going to take the class--then I saw the design and it sang to me. And it's different from the design I want to stitch for my big casket. And I love 17th century embroidery.

I'm definitely crazy.

And I'm going to live to be 485.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Less than Before

Last night I was slipping Mary Otter into her pillowcase for her well-deserved rest when I noticed something.

An egregious error.

A major mistake.


And this after staring at her for two days.

Foul language was heard throughout the land.

Anyway, I have taken several deep breaths. I've slept on it. I have taken several more deep breaths. I put it out of my mind all day while I was at work.

And tonight I took up the pointy scissors and the sharp tweezers, and I have very carefully removed the offending stitches.  All of them.

And tomorrow I will put them in. In the correct spot this time.

Sigh . . .

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Move along--absolutely nothing to see here

Unless, of course, you want to see more Queen stitch border stitches that look just like the Queen stitch border stitches on the other side.

I'm not finished with this side. It is possible that I could have been, but I spent the morning rearranging the stash in the living room and sorting some things by priority and making decisions for life after Mary Otter.

I also made chicken salad for lunches this week and meat loaf for supper.

And I spent some time taking care of Dearly Beloved, who took a tumble in the middle of the night when vertigo attacked. Basically, he leaned over to pick something off the floor that he had knocked off the bedside table . . . and he kept on going. Right off the bed. Right onto the floor.

Luckily we keep meds in the house for just such an event, so he spent the day staring off into space or napping, which is why I could spend the day rearranging stash, etc. He is feeling better tonight, but he has gone on to bed since the pills make him drowsy. If he is not significantly better in the morning, I will haul him to the doctor.

Never a dull moment . . .

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Border Wars

One side of this section of the border is complete. The framework for the other has been started.

I had hoped to be farther along at this point tonight, but it isn't going to happen.

I blame it on lack of sleep.

If I get 8 hours a night, I can conquer the world with one hand tied behind my back. I am bright-eyed and alert and able to leap tall buildings step over small obstacles with ease.  If I get 7 hours a night, I can function. But if I get only 6 hours of shut-eye, I become a shambling, stumbling zombie.

I've averaged 6 hours or less every night for the last week.

So today, if there was an error that could be made, I made it.

Hopefully I am finally tired enough to fall into bed and stay there for a few more hours than usual. And I get an extra hour tonight.

Keep your fingers crossed. My eyes certainly are.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Leafing out

We have leaves.

I'm trying to decide if I can stay awake long enough to thread the needle again and start the strawberries.

I can always try one or two and see if I can still count.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Celebrating November 2

This is the day that Dearly Beloved made his appearance on earth.

It is possible that he arrived in the usual way. It is also possible that he was dumped here by a passing spaceship.

The man does not like birthdays. He doesn't want cards, birthday salutations, parties, or presents on his birthday. He doesn't even want birthday cake!!!

Yet another reason for me to think he may be an alien life form.

Anyway, we had Chinese delivered on Thursday instead of Friday in honor of his natal anniversary, and then I settled down to stitch for a bit while he looked at the book that somehow appeared in his spot on the couch without wrapping paper or any other fanfare.

And there is the rest of the vine for this side of the border and I've started stitching in the leaves.

Any more excitement tonight and I might doze off . . .

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Random Wednesday

This may be a little more stream-of-consciousness than usual. I should be in bed.

I have an earlier day than normal tomorrow, so I left my sampler guild meeting right after the program presentation and came home to take a warm and soothing--but fast--shower so I could get  to bed early.

The shower was warm and fast--but instead of making me drowsy, it woke me up.

This was not the plan.

Anyway, the meeting was delightful, as they usually are. This year our program planners are presenting different projects that could go in a sewing box or basket. Last month we got the materials for a wooden needle book.

This is what came home with me tonight:

We have beeswax and molds to use to make waxers and a little box to put it (them) into. I need to go shopping for ribbon because I really liked one of the ideas for a waxer and I want to make a couple of them. The jewelry cap with the tassel is just because they're shiny and sometimes I want shiny in my life.

Mary Otter continues to get the majority of my stitching attention. Most of the vine for one side of this quarter of the sampler is done.  I hope I can get the rest of the vine done tomorrow evening and can start on the leaves that go around the strawberries.

Am I delusional to hope that I can get the right and left borders for this quarter done by the end of the week-end?

Don't answer that.

Because there's something else that I am definitely delusional about.

It's November, the month that traditionally sees a blog a day from devoted bloggers. 

I did this last year, and at the end of the month, I said I would never do it again until I had retired and had more time than I do at this stage of my life.

So I'm not going to say that I will blog every day in November, even though I feel horribly guilty about the way I've neglected my little blog this year. I will say that I am going to try to blog more frequently, at least during November.

And then we'll see if that carries through into December and beyond.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Catching Up

There have been things going on in my little corner of the needlework world.

I took a class from Sherri Jones with the Carolinas Sampler Guild. The scrims are for the Winter Garden Workbox. I did a tiny bit of stitching but we spent most of the time going over the design and the finishing.

Sherri's classes are always fun and I always learn something, and I picked up some of the tools that she recommends for better finishing since I need all the help I can get.

And why is there a walnut shell, you ask? We had a mini-class on Friday before the main event on Saturday. We're going to make a pin cushion with the shell as a base.

Sherri gave us the chart for a monogram and I was all set to stitch that--but then she showed us other ideas for things to do, including making a little basket with Mokuba ribbon as the handle. I should not be given too many options--now I can't decide what I want to do. And should I get the ribbon before I do anything in case that affects what I stitch? And what should I stitch? All something to consider when I wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep.

Mary Otter has not been abandoned. Her verse and attribution are now complete and I don't have to do cross stitch over one thread for the rest of the sampler.  Yeeeeeee----hawwwwwwww!

(You may get the impression that I am not enthralled by cross stitch over one. I'm not. I much prefer tent over one. Any time.)

Poor Mary isn't going to get much time for the next few days. Tomorrow is Halloween. Wednesday is sampler guild meeting. Thursday is Dearly Beloved's birthday. Per his request we are not celebrating (remember, he doesn't do birthdays) but we are going out to dinner. I'm not sure how that doesn't constitute a celebration, even if it's a low-key one, but even after forty-one years married to this man, I have given up on understanding his logic.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Gloom and Doom

Well, here's another gloom and doom verse on a schoolgirl sampler.

It seems like all of them have a variation on "life is short so you may as well be miserable."

Just once I'd like to find one that says something like:

Life is short.

Misery is optional.

Take joy in the time you have!

This has been interesting to stitch, though. Because of the time period, some of the s's look like s's and some look like f's. And the t's and r's look very similar. And on the third line, Mary definitely had to cram a longer line into a smaller space than allotted.

Mary is getting a day off this weekend. I'm going to a workshop with Sherri Jones, and I am SO looking forward to it. Sherri is teaching her Winter Garden etui at my sampler guild, and I've been looking forward to this for a long, long time.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

It's a . . . dragonfly . . . ?

There's a bunch of these little critters flitting around Mary Otter's sampler. Some look possibly like butterflies, but this one looks like a dragonfly to me.

The beginning of the teeny little floral border is stitched:

It took longer to stitch than the bigger border above it.

I think that's going to be the story of this quarter of the sampler. With very few exceptions, it's stitched over one, either tent or cross over-one. 

I've decided to go ahead and stitch the verse--letters, you know--not my favorite part of a sampler to stitch. Then I may get the Queen stitch borders on the sides worked in, and then go back to the floral border that twines around the saying.  And then there are the parrots on each side.

Oh, didn't I mention that there are parrots?

There are big honkin' parrots in this part of the sampler. Just wait and see. . .

Tuesday, October 17, 2017


In the last twenty-four hours, my mail carrier has done his best to provide me with diversions.

This beautiful assortment of lovely stitching things will eventually become Racheal Kinnison's limited edition ornament for 2017.  I am absolutely craving to start this and to work on last year's ornament as well. I'm also trying to avoid drooling all over the silks.

And then more diversions:

A new Marvel movie and a new Virgil Flowers book from John Sandford.  Hmmmmmm . . . I can stitch with a movie on but I haven't figured out how to read and stitch at the same time--at least not with the printed page.

But I am remaining faithful and true to Mary Otter.

The next vine is started and I'm having to watch it like a hawk.

For one thing, there's a leaf that looks sort of like a dirigible.

Well, it would if the picture weren't quite so blurry.

For another thing, Mary got a little distracted and the vine doesn't exactly follow the same pattern from one curve to another.

I choose to believe that Mary wanted to go out and play rather than stitching away on her sampler because she was all over the place on this. Some curves go up, some go down, some meander off track just a tad.

I guess I'll just meander with them.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Poor neglected blog

I feel like my blogging mojo has flown out of the window.

But it has been a little bit hectic around here . . .

The first quarter of Mary Otter is stitched!!!

The second quarter is all over one. I think it may take awhile to see much progress.

Then I spent some time in the dentist's chair getting my teeth cleaned AND a permanent crown installed, all on the same day. My jaw felt like it was unhinged. It still does, a little . . .

Then we had trouble with both cars, which is never a good thing for the budget . . .

And then we went to W Va for the week-end to help celebrate The Flash's ninth birthday. He had a tremendous birthday party and lots of goodies and he may come down from the excitement in about a  year when it's time for his next birthday.

However, we have discovered the trick for at least a temporary calming effect. We gave him a book. And like his parents and grandparents and Aunt Baby Girl, he can be mesmerized by the printed page. And he was.

And I am now going to bed very early since tomorrow is Monday and I need to rise and shine. And hopefully have a somewhat less active week.

Friday, October 6, 2017


I didn't think I would ever get this part of Mary Otter stitched.

I like Queen stitches, really I do--but there are a lot of them in this border. The vine isn't so bad but the strawberries and their little leaves involve a lot of starting and stopping. A LOT of starting and stopping.

Normally I do all of the borders on schoolgirl samplers, just to get them out of the way. Mainly it's because, after a while, they get boring. Really, really boring.  And I like getting them out of the way before I start the fun parts in the middle--sort of like eating all your peas and carrots so you can have dessert.

However, at the moment, I think if I have to do another Queen stitch, I might start frothing at the mouth.

So I'm going to do some of the fun stuff in the middle before I go back to more . . . and more . . . and more Queen-stitched strawberries.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Deadly Dull and Boring

That's me.  Since the last time I wrote, this is all I've managed to stitch on Mary Otter. Or anything else.

In my defense, I did have to work late three days out of four this week, and I had an EGA meeting on the other night.

Ironically, I never get anything stitched on guild nights, no matter what guild it is. I talk about stitching, I look at stitching, I get excited and inspired by stitching, but I don't get to actually stitch.

And that brings me back to Mary Otter.

She is one big, beautiful girl.

And she is a model for a designer, which means she takes priority. After her teaching career ends, she'll come back to live with me, but until then, she really belongs to someone else. So I need to put the pedal to the medal and the nose to the grindstone and sharpen the electric needle and avoid any other cliches and get 'er done.

When I first looked at her photograph, I thought I might be able to stitch her by Halloween. After getting the charts, I thought it would be closer to Thanksgiving. Now, after really studying all her details, I think it might be Christmas.

Which means that Mary Otter will be about the only subject of the blog for awhile.

So, I can talk about Mary for the next three months.  Or I can let the blog go dark. Or I can let you, Dear Readers, weigh in.

What say you?

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friends and Family

Not much stitching to report this week. Mother had another episode which is not unexpected when you're almost ninety, and we had friends from Key West in town, waiting to get the all-clear to go home. Mother is back in rehab for a few days, and the Floridians are wending their way home as of today.

And Mary Otter has had a few (very few) stitches:

After the past week, I really, really, really need to have some quiet time with needle in hand.

And that is exactly what I plan to do all day tomorrow.

Friday, September 15, 2017

September Strawberry

I've started stitching Mary Otter.

It is a very good thing that I like stitching Queen stitches because the entire border is made up of Queen stitch strawberries.

I have not counted to see how many there are.

I don't believe I will do that.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

There and Back Again

I was not planning to go dark for so long--but with my sore finger, stitching was not on the agenda for almost a week.

Actually, as I was packing for my expedition to Salty Yarns, Dearly Beloved asked (somewhat plaintively), "You are going to get to stitch while you're gone, aren't you?  I think that will put you in a better mood."




Obviously the stress-relieving qualities of time spent with needle in hand cannot be overstated.

Anyway, Baby Girl and I took off for Ocean City for a relaxing week-end. She wandered around on the beach and boardwalk. I took another lovely class with Jackie du Plessis.

This is what I hope to eventually approximate:

It is called Tsubaki and the picture does not do it justice.

This is what I managed to stitch:

On the bottom are the pieces for the scissors fob. On top are the first two outlines for what will become the thimble cozy.

Now, what I'd love to tell you is that I am going to work on this project until it is completely done.

Not so much.

Because the materials for Mary Otter are staring at me and I am going to put a stitch or two into that first. Actually, the plan is to work on Mary in the evenings and Tsubaki on the week-ends.

And we'll see which one gets to the finish line first.

(As usual, the hospitality at Salty Yarns and the Lankford Hotel were unsurpassed. It's become my favorite venue for classes.)

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor Day Stitching Report

Friday night I stayed up way too late to get the second chamber of Frances Burwell's sampler filled in:

I love this pansy--something about the red petals really liven up the sampler.

After two days of fiddling with teeny tiny pieces, Afternoon Leisure Basket is complete:

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that there's a missing piece. There should also be a darling velvet strawberry. There is not.

I very carefully cut out the piece of velvet to make the strawberry's body. I stitched the seam exactly where I was instructed to stitch it. With great care, I turned the body right side out--and the whole seam shredded.

All I could do was stare at it for a minute or two.

So I very carefully turned it wrong side out again and did yet another seam, and then I overstitched the second seam, and then, holding my breath, I again turned it right side out.  

The only problem is that instead of having a nice, plump strawberry, I now have a skinny, shriveled up strawberry that the cap doesn't fit. I am mulling over the best way to handle this--I'm thinking I'm going to have to get another piece of velvet and start over.

And here we are on Labor Day. We have a holiday from work, and you'd think that I would have had a threaded needle in my hand all day.

Not so much.

I cut a chunk our of my left forefinger with the rotary cutter late yesterday afternoon. This is the same finger I sewed on the sewing machine about 20 years ago. This hurt almost as much and certainly bled a lot more.

As I do not wish to leave excessive amounts of DNA in any project--what am I saying?--I don't want to leave any DNA in any project--I am avoiding needlework until my finger gets better. So, I'm doing some preemptive packing for the coming week-end and a workshop at Salty Yarns.

Assuming Hurricane Irma doesn't interfere.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

One down, two to go

The first "chamber" on this band is complete!

I had to use a sharp needle to work the satin over the double running stitch outlines, but I am happy to say that I have left no DNA behind.

I realize that I have now jinxed myself and will stab myself with my needle repeatedly and painfully throughout the rest of the band.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Back to School

First, the obligatory stitching content:

Here is where I am on Frances Burwell. I need to work the double running outline of a big flower and then I'm going to cover all the double running up with satin stitch. This may mean a sharp needle. As I haven't left any DNA on this project thus far, I suppose it's time.

And now the Back-to-School part:

Our local schools went back into session today. The start of the school year always feels like it should be the real start of the year. I have managed to restrain myself from buying notebooks and markers and a pencil box (do people even use pencil boxes any longer?), but it's been a close thing. I want stickers!

The big thing is that I've decided it's the perfect time to give myself a kick in the posterior and restart the year.

My stitching has been drifting all over the place this year. With a couple of notable exceptions, I haven't been passionate about anything I've worked on. Don't get me wrong--I love the things that are in my stash and I want to stitch every single solitary one--but I can't seem to settle on anything. The number of things I've started since January--and that have never seen the light of blog--is a little scary. And I've spent way too many evenings staring at the TV without working on anything--a most  unusual waste of time for me.

Because I tend to make lists, just for the sake of making lists, I started listing things I want to do. Everything falls into one of five categories:

Seventeenth Century
Special Stuff (like whitework and goldwork and my lunchtime crewel projects)

I've made the decision I need to get into a routine. Notice I'm not saying "rotation" or assigning projects to specific days of the week, but a simple routine that I can follow without feeling constraints. I don't do well with rules, even the ones I make for myself.

So, the plan at the moment is to use my weeknights after work for a project that is ready to go when I plop into the wing chair after the dinner dishes are out of the way.  It can be anything in one of those categories that is ready to go when I am.

When I have a long expanse of time--like Saturday afternoons while the laundry is churning--I'll do thing like all the cutting and pressing and sorting of bits as needed to assemble the smalls I stitch, then don't get around to finish-finishing.   I found that worked really well on the Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet--I got everything cut out and sorted so all I had to do was pick up a piece and sew on it. This also includes sewing linen to the scroll bars or tracing designs to be worked on later.

I think I am going to reserve Sundays for pieces that need real concentration. That worked well on Eve in the Garden.

Holidays and vacations--anything goes.

And I am going to try blogging more often. If I blog, I stitch. I will not even try to blog daily--last November showed me that won't work with my life as it currently works--but I'll try to blog more often--maybe because I might have more to talk about if I'm stitching more.

I already feel better about getting some things done.

Baby Girl says that I'm overthinking. She is probably right.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

More pretty little things

While the Finishing Fairy seems to be smiling on me, I thought I would start putting together all the pretty pieces for the Afternoon Leisure Basket, designed by Sherri Jones. I took the class last year at Salty Yarns, prepped most of the pieces, and then (what a surprise) was distracted by something else.

I put the basket pieces together in class. In the last few days, I put together the two needle books.

I still have to do the mattress pin cushion, the pin keep, the strawberry, and the scissors sheath. I believe that may keep me out of trouble this week.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Big Ta-DA

The Virgin Queen Stitching Wallet is complete!

I'm very happy I chose the red for the lining:

And for once, I am very, very happy with my finish-finishing!

I didn't expect it to go so smoothly because I'm still a little weary from Mother's hospitalization. She's in rehab now, but there was a period last week when I went 34 hours more-or-less awake.

24 of those hours were spent in the same clothes and I only got to brush my teeth once during that time (yuck).  20 hours of those 24 hours were spent in hand-to-hand combat with my supposedly frail and fragile 89-going-on-90-year-old mother.  She was absolutely determined that she was going to disconnect and detach every monitor, IV needle, and oxygen tube.  I was determined that she wasn't.

She managed to break the oxygen tube. I was the one who got bruises.

(Is it elder abuse if the elder who is abused is abused by an even more elderly elder?)

She is giving them a run for their money in rehab. 

And the Saint and I are even more convinced that she's going to outlive us both.

Bless her heart . . .

Sunday, August 20, 2017

What a week

Mother was taken to the hospital on Tuesday. She was there until late Friday afternoon when she was released to the rehab unit at her retirement center, where she will spend the next two to three weeks.

All I can say is that little old ladies with mild dementia and issues of control do not make for cooperative patients.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

And now for something completely different

Bet you thought you were going to see a completed Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet after this week-end.

Not so much.

I did get the Skirtex basted and linen and silk interfaced and things folded and pinned. I was planning to do the pressing needed before starting the assembly, but The Boot informed me that I needed to sit down and prop up my ankle before I sentenced myself to a longer association with said Boot.

So I did.

And while I was sitting there, I picked up Frances Burwell and finished one of the small dividing bands and started on the next big band:

And I do have the bits for the Virgin Queen corralled for the next time The Boot will allow me to stand for any length of time:

Obviously, I don't have time to get bored.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Small Ta Da

Now all the accessory pieces that will go into the Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet are finished.

Unfortunately, the actual Virgin Queen's Stitching Wallet still needs to be put together.

I've decided I need to take a lovely Saturday afternoon nap before I tackle that.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Prep work

I've been cutting out stuff that will be used to assemble the Virgin Queen etui. I now have little piles of materials in a state of organized chaos on my worktable.

I had plans to do some pressing and folding and mitering, but The Boot had other plans.  It announced that I had done quite enough, thank you very much, and it was time to prop up my aching ankle with an ice pack. So I have.

Monday, August 7, 2017

filling and fobbing

I got a couple of things accomplished while I was propping up my foot inside The Boot yesterday.

The flowers on the band are now filled in. I don't know why it was such drudgery to get them done, but I was beginning to think the gremlins were coming in during the night to remove what I had already stitched.

There was also some finish-finishing.

The fob for the Virgin Queen is assembled.

Nothing else is.


We'll see how The Boot and I get along tonight.