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.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

On this last day of 2015, I managed to stitch the last bit of Merry Cox's Young Lady's Workbox.

I am now waiting for midnight (or the latest moment in which I can keep my eyes open) for the Ceremonial Dumping of the Ort Jar.

It's very full this year.

I've done a lot of stitching, but have very few finishes for 2015. I think it's because I've worked on a lot of smalls, which to me are not finished until they're made into something.  And I have fallen down on the finish-finishing.

As the last week of the year has drawn to a close, I've heard from friends about their stitching to-do lists. I've read blogs whose authors have written about projects to finish and to start. I stand in admiration.

For my part, I've decided to forego lists. I'm not doing resolutions, either. The minute I make a list or a resolution, something comes along to distract me and the list or resolution gets tossed in the trash.

What I've decided to do this year is to make a list of hopes.

  • I hope to fall back into the seventeenth century and work on band samplers, casket toys, mirrors, boxes, even possibly my first casket.
  • I hope to continue working on smalls and their finishing.
  • I hope to stitch every single day, even if it means I take the laptop to another room so I'm not distracted by Pinterest--which can really suck time majorly.
  • I hope to continue to blog, if not daily, at least every other day. Yes, I know we bloggers are a dying breed, but I love to read other people's blogs and I like to putter around with mine.
  • I hope to take advantage of workshops and online classes.
  • I hope to have more time to hang out with friends, stitching and otherwise.
  • And I hope that the weather improves enough so I can walk for my mental and physical health again.

So Happy New Year's Eve to all!  See you on the other side!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nunning Around

Today I worked the Nun stitch border around the tray part of the workbox.  I thought it was going to just fly. It didn't, but it's done now.

I need to stitch in some basting lines that will be used to shape this into a tray, then I can move on to the needle page.

My original intention was to stitch all day, but we undecorated the Christmas tree instead. It didn't take as long to take the ornaments off and pack them away as it took to adorn the tree, but the clean-up afterwards . . . live trees eventually start to shed needles (the reason we decided it was a very good idea to remove the fire hazard) and, while this one didn't shed as much as some we've had, there was major vacuuming to be done.

And no matter how meticulous, there will be needles which have hidden themselves, only to reveal their presence at some future date. We used to joke that we'd get the very last needle about the time the plastic grass from the kids' Easter baskets would start appearing. We no longer have Easter basket grass, but we still have persistent fir tree needles.

An artificial tree is starting to look better all the time . . .

Monday, December 28, 2015

Daffy Duck

I woke up in the middle of the night trying to remember Daffy Duck's name.

I could remember Donald Duck, Scrooge MacDuck, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie (although I burned out a few brains cells trying to remember how to spell the trio's names correctly--and I'm going to google them after I post this to find out for sure).  I had the whole Disney pantheon--but couldn't get the Warner Bros duck's name. It finally came to me before I turned on the light and came downstairs to google him.

I think I'm losing it.

Maybe it's the weird weather. For the first time in my personal history, we ran the AC in December. And we live in the Northern Hemisphere.  I am sitting in my living room in a short-sleeved tee, and have had to wear summer nighties so I can sleep comfortably at night.

Maybe it's the difference in this year's end-of-year staycation. I plan all year to take the week after Christmas off. Most of the holiday insanity has ended by then, and I can sit and enjoy the decorations, plan meals around the holiday feast left-overs, and stitch until my fingers cramp.

Not this year. What with Mother's increasingly difficult personality--which I understand, she's frustrated and angry and taking it out on people--and dealing with various unexpected domestic difficulties, relaxation has yet to happen. It does not appear that it will happen this year.

In addition, we are getting delivery of our new appliances this afternoon, which means we had to move two bookcases that usually line the hall that leads to the kitchen where the washer and dryer live, so that there would be room to bring them in. This means that all the books had to be unloaded and the bookcases moved. I have a path through the living room just wide enough to negotiate, and my kitchen table is loaded down with even more books, knick knacks, and DVDs. I used to think I wanted a home library. At the moment, I'm not so sure.

I have been stitching, though.

I have four pairs of birds to stitch, then work Nun's stitch all the way around, and this pieces will be complete.

I thought that would finish off the pieces so I could . . . maybe . . . work on finish-finishing this coming week-end. I decided to look over the finishing directions this morning, only to discover I still have another little bit to stitch.

Since I can't do anything else until we get the house back into some semblance of order, I'm going to stitch.

And take a deep breath. Or two.

And try not to think about why in the world I would wonder about Daffy Duck's name.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Boxing Day

Mother and The Saint came for a slightly belated Christmas celebration today.  It was a nice visit, although too short for The Saint and me--we were having fun relating tales of Christmas Past. However, Mother now gets a little antsy if she is away from her apartment at the retirement center (someone might do something that she doesn't know about if she's not there to observe) so they left earlier than we had hoped.

So our Christmas festivities have officially come to an end.

However, I gave myself a gift yesterday and today. I sat myself down and stitched. For several hours. And it felt good.

I'm back to Merry Cox's workbox and plan to finish the stitching on it before I move on to anything else.

I was going to start a bunch of new projects with the Winter Solstice, but I couldn't find a couple of things I wanted to work on in the mess that is my stash room. This is a situation that will be rectified in the new year. I need to inventory my stuff, and organize it, and decide what I'd like to keep and what needs to go to other homes.  Then I looked around at the things from the Autumn basket and I want to continue working on some of them.

So, I've decided to continue with last year's plan:  work on what I want to work on, when I want to work on it. 

That seems doable.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Eve Eve

We were allowed to come home early from work today, which is the best thing that has happened in the last four or five days.

We have been beset by a series of domestic disasters. Everyone is (thus far) uninjured and relatively healthy, but let's just say that Dearly Beloved is getting four new tires for Christmas. I am getting a washing machine. Neither gift was planned prior to the last forty-eight hours.

And it's raining again.

And I can't see out of my new glasses.

Have I stitched? not much . . . this is it for the last five days:

I finally stitched in the flowers and leaves for the basket, and it was not without a struggle. If there was a way to miss a thread, I found it. I think I probably stitched enough stitches to do all the flowers three times over.

Now the plan is to scurry around and do the final dusting and de-cluttering for our Christmas get-together--which will happen on Boxing Day this year--so that I can bask in the light of the Christmas tree and breathe for the next couple of days. And possibly stitch.

And not think about tires and washing machines . . .

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Starry, Starry Night

I finally managed to stitch this year's Stitch for a Cause project.

I should have managed to get it stitched in a few hours--basically an evening--but there have been distractions.

They were:

The shopping

We still have a few gift cards to pick up, but the other shopping has been accomplished. Why is it so difficult to find a long-sleeved, not flannel, nightgown for an 88-year-old lady? It also can't be nylon because that can get hot, but it can be a knit. And it shouldn't be something a floozy would wear.

I'm keeping the receipt in case the nightgown found is not to specifications.

The social life

There have been Christmas/holiday parties this week. Actually, three of them were scheduled on the same evening. And, of course, the one that was a command performance was the one I had the least interest in attending.

I went anyway. Command performance.

The tree

It's still a work in progress.  It has lights and at least 200 ornaments--and I am not overstating that number, Dearly Beloved has counted--but this tree turned out to be much larger and thicker than it appeared to be on the lot.

What happens is that either Dearly Beloved or I will find ourselves gazing at the tree when a spot that needs more ornamentifying appears. This means that I must heave myself out of the wing chair, totter to the corner of the couch where the last big box of ornaments is sitting, rummage around in it for something of the appropriate size and weight, and then totter over to the tree to hang the ornament. If the spot is higher than I can reach, Dearly Beloved must heave himself out of his spot on the couch and hang the ornament. Then we flop back down in our respective seats and gaze at the tree some more.

The bead incident

Starry, Starry night has a few beads sewn on--you may not be able to see from the photo, but they adorn the corners.

The beads came in a tube with a little stopper. When I got to the point where I needed to sew on the beads, I had to wrestle the stopper off the tube so I could put the beads in a beading tray.

When the stopper finally popped out, so did half the beads in the tube.

Technical terms were used.

The beads were (mostly) corralled, but in attempting to shake a few more into the beading tray, the tube squished and more beads erupted.

And the stopper rolled off the table and hid itself somewhere on the floor or in the basket by my chair or, who knows, possibly in the Christmas tree stand. Nothing would surprise me.

More technical terms were used.

I managed to sew the beads on without piercing myself with the beading needle (there was a Christmas miracle for sure) but spent the rest of my evening looking for an empty bead container for the rest of the beads.

Anyway, tonight the last stitch was stitched and I just have to find the fabric I thought of using for the background and put it together.

And hopefully, there will still be a place on the tree where it can fit.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

beginning to feel a little like Christmas

We are finally getting the tree decorated--I do not remember when we have ever been so late in this particular activity, but it may have just a little to do with the fact that the temps are in the 70's and it doesn't feel like the Winter Solstice is coming or that Christmas is right behind.

This is the very first thing that goes on our tree every year:

I stitched her years ago, mostly in metallic threads, not long after the Big Kid was born but before Baby Girl arrived. The angel has graced our tree for over thirty years now.

I realized something when Baby Girl was about six, skipping around the house in her red Christmas jumper with her hair in pigtails.

The angel's face looked a lot like Baby Girl's.

As we referred to Baby Girl as The Holy Terror in those days, it would have been nice if she had been more angelic. Luckily she grew out of that stage and has been a delight ever since.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Let it snow!

Actually, we had temps in the 60's today in the sunny South, but I'm stitching snowflakes tonight.

This is the snowflake ornament I started last night and it's just what the doctor ordered for this stressful extremely busy time of the year. There are only two motifs repeated all the way along each of the two bands, and it's easy to memorize them so I can just sit and stitch and let my mind wander.

I just hope it wanders back so I can get the next pile of things on the to-do list done.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Ornamentation Not

I went digging into the fabric stash last night because I knew, just knew, that I had put all my holiday and Christmas fabrics in a very specific place. I knew this with no doubt in my simple little mind.

Apparently my simple little mind then decided somewhere else was a better place and moved it and didn't bother to remember where.

However, I did find a couple of things that I may be able to use:

For some reason, they're reading orange-ish in the photo; they're actually both truly red.

So I was set to do some finishing tonight--at least that was the plan last night.

I have been promising Dearly Beloved that I would make lasagna this week. I was thinking in terms of this week-end, but he took the meat and sauce out of the freezer to thaw overnight in the frig, so when I got home, there it was, all ready to be assembled.

Which meant that I constructed a pan of lasagna tonight instead of stir frying chicken and snow peas and some other stuff--which would have taken far less time--and by the time that was done and in the oven and I had talked to Baby Girl and Mother on the phone and done a couple of things around the house, I had lost all motivation to cut and sew.

So I dug out another Christmas ornament to work on. This is another Jackie du Plessis kit, one I bought in the boutique last year and have had aging in the stash since.  It is easy to stitch and blissfully repetitive and about what my simple little mind can handle at the moment.

So I am going to stitch a few more snowflakes and go to bed early and hopefully either deck the Christmas tree or make ornaments to do so tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Oh, Tannenbaum

And this made my decision for me.  We went out and dragged a Christmas tree home, which appears to be tilting in this picture but actually isn't--at least, I don't think it is.

After wrestling with the tree stand, Dearly Beloved is not inclined to wrestle with the lights tonight, so I am just breathing in the aroma and getting things together to start putting the Christmas ornaments I've been stitching together.

Yes, I've made up my mind as to what I will be working on for the next few days. I am twisting cording and cutting comic book boards and deciding what fabric to put on the backs of the things I've stitched. I thought I had put all my Christmas fabrics in a very specific place, but I looked there . . . and it isn't there.

The search and destroy mission is now underway.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What to do . . . what to do . . .

We had to leave Williamsburg today. We had to. We both have to work tomorrow, and go back to being responsible adults, and take up our regular lives again.


The only good part of the trip home was the detour to take Baby Girl out for a belated birthday lunch, and to deliver her birthday present to her. The rest of it was just grim.

To distract myself, I thought about the classes I had taken and what I wanted to do when I got home.

I've started some of the bits of A Moment in Time, and I stitched half a thread into the needlecase from Joanne Harvey that was the early bird class this year--and I realized I hadn't shown that yet:

While it isn't much, it is most definitely a start.

And, like all brand new projects, I'm very excited and motivated and want to jump right in.

Then we walked into the house and the basket of current projects and the basket of things to be assembled and engineered and tasseled and corded were both jumping up and down and waving at me. I felt guilty, falling in love with something new when the faithful projects had been waiting patiently for my return.

So do I abandon the old and flee with the new?  Do I regretfully push away the new and return to the old? Or do I try to balance both?

(Cue rising organ music.) Tune in tomorrow to see what decision I made (because, quite frankly, I'm too tired tonight to lift a needle, much less figure out how to use it!)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Haul

Yes, I did go to the boutique.

Three charts from Gentle Pursuits, a box with smalls from Hillside Samplings, and a Christmas ornament chart from Blackberry Lane.

And of course I found goodies from Jackie du Plessis, including the tray that goes with the Moment in Time class I took while I was here.

I now have to live to be 485.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Little bits

I made a ladybug and a macaron today in my afternoon class with Jackie.

One is a pin cushion, the other is a waxer. Both need additional fiddling before I'll be happy, but I could say I'm going home with two completed projects. It would be stretching it, but I could say it.

Tomorrow will be the last day. I look forward to this event all year, and it vanishes in seconds. I have one last day of each of my classes, one last morning to meander around the boutique, and one last chance to see people from around the country and the world whom I only see here.

It's enough to make a grown woman cry . . .

Friday, December 4, 2015

Lots to do, little done!

I am the very first to admit that I don't stitch much in stitching classes. Usually there is a lot of information to absorb and I have notes to take. Today was one of those days.

I'm taking two classes this year, and the morning class for these three days of the seminar is Elizabeth Gooch:

The center panel of this sampler is pretty much all reversible cross stitch, the outer two panels are free hand embroidery.

As we all know, I require the security of the wing chair to tackle reversible cross stitch.  I require the security of the wing chair and an adult beverage to tackle free hand embroidery--which is weird, because the first needlework I did was crewel. This project will happen after I get home, although, like the excellent directions of all Joanne Harvey' samplers, you just need basic literacy, two functioning brain cells, and the ability to thread a needle to stitch a remarkably accurate reproduction. She definitely has the most complete instructions of anyone.

Then this afternoon, I had Jackie du Plessis' Moment in Time:

We spent most of the afternoon going over the assembly directions for the pouch. I actually think that I am starting to speak finish-finishing, because I understood everything that we're supposed to do with this--and even more, the logic behind it! This is a miracle, pure and simple.

And I did get a needle threaded in this class:

Hey, it's a start!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The first day

Well, it's not quite over, but I've had my first day of classes at Annie's Needlework Seminar, which I still call Christmas in Williamsburg in my head.

And of course I didn't notice the reflection off the plastic when I took the picture--this is Joanne Harvey's Queen Stitch Needlecase. It was based on an antique calling card case. I suppose it could be used for business cards, but it's been sized up to work as a needlecase.

I love taking classes from Joanne, but she has pneumonia. Having suffered from that particular malady myself in the past, I know it takes awhile to recover, and her doctor forbade her to travel. Period. So we have a sub in the class.

After a quick run-through on the instructions, we spent most of the class watching a slide show of antique implements. There were some lovely pieces shown, and of course, made me want to finish-finish all the stuff in my finishing basket so I would have my own toys to play with.

I do love stitching toys . . .

And then there was a trip to the boutique . . .and that is a story for later. I need to think about getting ready for the banquet tonight, although I think my getting ready is going to consist of brushing my hair.

And maybe I'll  get a needle threaded tonight. I've been here for two days and have yet to take a stitch.

That's just weird.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Strawberries in December

We have arrived in Williamsburg. I have already acquired stash:

Barbara Jackson sends special things to Haus Tirol every year. Here we have this year's offering. I understand they sold out the first day and that Barbara is shipping more that will arrive tomorrow.

And here are two previous offerings that I felt I had to add to my stash as well.

Now that the important stuff is out of the way . . .We left early this morning in a pea soup fog, made very good time, had a chance to look at samplers at DeWitt Wallace (Dearly Beloved tolerated that part), and had dinner at Christiana Campbell's.  As I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and was not able to go back to sleep, I am about to fall facedown into the keyboard.  I think I'll fall facedown on the bed instead.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

All my bags are packed

and I'm ready to go--well, I will be as soon as I post this and pack up the laptop.

Dearly Beloved is busy packing the kitchen sink. You think I'm kidding, but the man doesn't travel light.  It would appear that we are heading to the South Pole for a winter in Antarctica and need to take enough supplies to get us through.

He is driving me slightly crazy.

And I can't stitch tonight because I have packed my stitching bag, including magnification, and I don't have anything I can see with cyborg eyes and my reading glasses alone--the perils of preferring high counts of linen.

However, last night I was able to finish the leaves--the many, many leaves--on the Merry Cox piece. The basket was stitched as well. I'm still trying to decide if I want to take it or not.

I think the decision was just made. We are now taking a box of books and DVDs so Dearly Beloved won't get bored while I'm in class.

I wonder where I'll be able to pack my boutique purchases to bring home . . .

Monday, November 30, 2015

Back online!

Thanks to the Genius at the Apple Store, the Mac is back!

However, when you're basically unplugged from the universe--fighting with the tablet does not count--it is amazing what you can accomplish.

The halls are decked.  Except for the tree, but we get a formerly live one and will wait until we get back from Williamsburg to get it. For some strange reason, we think it's a bad idea to go off and leave a tree unwatered for almost a week.

The last of my Barbara Jackson Williamsburg ornaments is stitched.

Finishing is needed, but since we don't have the tree yet, it can wait until we get home.

I finally finished the stitching part of Chrysanthemum in Autumn.

I have no idea why I was dreading the base of the flowers so much, but the day after Thanksgiving I gave myself a stern talking-to, sat down and did them.

I should have dreaded the monogram that goes on the lid. Why cross stitch over one thread seems to take so long I do not understand, but I thought it would never, ever end.

So now this goes into the finishing basket.

And I've almost finished the leaves on the garland which will be in the tray that fits in the box that goes with Merry Cox's Young Lady's Workbox.

There are a lot of leaves. A lot of them. Many, many leaves . . .

Now I'm trying to decide what project to pack for my expedition to Williamsburg. Keep in mind that I am taking three classes. Remember that there is a boutique.

But I will be there for parts of two days before the first class or the opening of the boutique and I might have a minute or two for stitching. . . it's amazing what can be rationalized . . .and, besides, I need to get my stitching supplies together tonight.

I'll decide on clothes later.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today I am thankful for

  • A loving family and supportive friends
  • Having enough of what I need
  • A good job
  • Access to the geniuses at the Apple Store on Monday, when they will hopefully cure my extremely ill laptop
  • Use of this tablet to stay in touch with the outside world, although typing on its keypad is laborious and I can't figure out how to load pictures
  • And next week I leave for Williamsburg and the Just Cross Stitch seminar
As you may have gathered, somehow I got malware on the laptop, and nothing we've been able to figure out has removed it--so we have an appointment with Apple on Monday. Baby Girl said I likely fell prey to one of those scams directed towards senior citizens who are savvy enough to avoid Nigerian princes but who can be picked off by something that looks legit.

I guess I'm a senior citizen.

Sigh . . .

Anyway, since this tablet is likely to become a Frisbee if I get any more frustrated with typing on it, the blog is likely to be quiet for the next few days.

This will actually give me more time to stitch.

There is a silver lining.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Swimmy Headed

Last Monday morning, I threw my back out.


Apparently I have what my doctor calls a "fragile" back.

Anyway, with the pain meds, the muscle relaxers, and the anti-inflammatories, I have been in an altered stage of consciousness for a week. One of my great aunts used to describe this feeling of not-quite-being-in-ones-body as being swimmy-headed, and that describes it about as well as anything.

However, despite all that, I have made it into work every day. I cooked and hosted our family Thanksgiving feast yesterday--Dearly Beloved and I will have a less extensive and intensive version on the real Thanksgiving Day--and I managed to get two more of my Barbara Jackson Williamsburg ornaments stitched.

Obviously, neither is finish-finished. If my back continues to improve, that may happen during the long holiday week-end. I have Friday off as well as Thursday, and I am planning to do a little bit of Christmas prep while I'm at home.

Assuming I'm over the fear of moving the wrong way and having to be swimmy headed again.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Cold Wind

Somehow that seems appropriate, since we woke up to temps in the 20's this morning. That's a bit nippy for the Carolinas.

Anyway, Barbara Jackson's 2015 ornament through SNS is stitched--notice I said "stitched" but not "finished."

I love the worlds that Barbara creates so I rummaged around in the stash and found an ornament from Haus Tirol that came out last year. I started it last night.

I have two more ornaments in last year's series, and I am getting into a "deck the halls" mood, so I may just keep on working on them for awhile. Then the plan would be to set up an assembly line and get them all finished in time for this year's tree.  Right now, I seem to be in a mosey-along-and-stitch-on-whatever-strikes-my-fancy mood, and these ornaments definitely strike my fancy.


Like everyone else, I am shocked and horrified by the string of terrorist attacks throughout the world, with Paris first on my mind. We can't forget the loss of life from the bomb on the Russian airliner and the attack in Beirut, either. I cannot fathom the depth of hatred that could precipitate these abominations. I pray that a way to change the minds and hearts of those who plan and carry them out can be found.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

And then this . . .

Because it was on the top of the basket  by the wing chair and because it's the last part that will go into Merry Cox's workbox, I started the piece that will make the tray.

I am absolutely thrilled to pieces to have the lettering done and out of the way (well, except for the attributions that go at the top and the bottom). I just don't like stitching letters. No clue why, but it may account for why I vastly prefer band samplers from the 1600's to any other sampler I might stitch. They rarely, if ever, have letters.

The best part of this--aside from having it done--is that it's tent stitch over one and not cross stitch over one.

I was going to stitch the pretty basket that appears on almost all of the pieces of the set, but the same thread is used for the vine as for the saying and there was still some in the needle when I stitched the last letter. Well, a threaded needle is a threaded needle, so you may as well go ahead and use the thread instead of taking it out and then having to thread it back in later--so I started on the vine. And then, once the vine was started, I figured I may as well finish it.  And then, once one side was done, may as well do the other. And then I wanted to get a few leaves worked in. And so the basket wasn't stitched.

Meanwhile, I got into trouble again with Shining Needle. Carole Lake and Michael Boren have been doing a fundraising project, called Stitch for A Cause, almost every year, and this year's entry is currently available.

Starry, Starry Night is what they're calling a Flash Class. You can sign up and get a pdf for immediate download if you want to stitch from stash. However, if you would prefer to have the threads and canvas in a kit, that option is also available. Each kit has enough materials to do two ornaments, so if you need an ornament for an exchange, you'll have that covered as well. There are seven potential color ways if you go the kit route.

As I am looking for the most stress-free possible holiday season, I decided not to dive into the stash room to look for canvas and threads. I have opted for a kit.  I'm going for the version called Snow White, which flips the colors in the original, although I was vastly tempted by the ones called Quicksilver, Holiday Red, and Holiday Green. Actually, there is an option to get additional kits in different colors, but I was trying to be reasonable.

Sadly, I'm not sure how long I can maintain my reason in the face of such temptation . . .

As usual, I offer this information only in an enabling capacity.  I am always happy to get other people into as much trouble as I stay in.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Reindeer Games

Well, maybe they're not reindeer, but it is a Christmas ornament . . .

I have the stitching for the second lesson of Cold Wind Doth Blow completed.  This is nothing short of amazing . . .I'm actually keeping up with an online class!

And even more surprising because I decided at 4:30 a.m. the other morning that I was not going to worry about any arbitrary deadlines for the rest of the year.  There are some things that I have to pay attention to--deadlines at work, for example, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to arrive on their appointed dates whether I have the picture perfect holiday organized or not--but I am not going to make myself crazy over anything else.

I have even removed the notepad by my chair at home that I like to use for lists. Other than grocery lists, I am avoiding the lined paper with places to check off accomplishments. I already feel more relaxed.

And I decided that I wasn't going to make myself crazy trying to come up with a blog post every day in November.

Being the contrary soul that I am, getting rid of the to-do list--which makes me resent having to do all the to-do's--may result in being more productive.

Wouldn't that be a kick!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Framing it Up

Last night I tacked The Wind Doth Blow onto its stretcher bars and got started.

Well . . . it's not much, but it gives me starting places for everything else!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Rainy Days and Mondays

And it's been both.

Enough of that.

There was a little more stitching last night, just enough to finish the pin cushion for Merry Cox's Schoolgirl Workbox.

There is only one piece left of this set to stitch and then it can go into the finishing queue.

However, a dear, dear friend took pity on me and sent me a set of 7" stretcher bars so I can start The Wind Doth Blow tonight. And that is exactly what I plan to do.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Yippy skippy

Daylight Savings Time is OVER!

I may be the only person in the continental United States who doesn't like DST, but it finally feels like my internal clock is functioning correctly and that I'm not off-kilter. At least, no more off-kilter than usual.

And I have used my extra hour to advantage today.

It occurred to me that I had not worked on the background for Eve in several weeks, so this afternoon I got this little section filled in.  It's slow work, and I'm going to need to budget time each week to work on this. I would like to have the background filled in by the time I have my vacation days at Christmas.

Wish me luck.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Decisions, decisions

I'm trying to make up my mind about the week-end's activities.

I haven't been able to stitch much this week. In fact, this tiny little pin keep is the only thing I've managed to stick a needle into for about the last four days:

It's one of the bits that fit into Merry Cox's Schoolgirl Workbox.  I could work on the other two pieces that go with the set.

Or I could finish the last piece on Chrysanthemums in Autumn and put it all together.

Or I could start something new.

If I could find the fourth 7" stretcher bar--if you have three 7" stretcher bars, it may be assumed that there is a fourth, right?--I could start "The Wind Doth Blow," which is Barbara Jackson's 2015 ornament for Shining Needle Society.

If I dug in the stash, I could assemble the materials for this lovely set that just arrived from the Swan Sampler Guild.  They do take such good care of their away-Swans!

Or I could jump into this project, offered by Needle in a Haystack with Jackie du Plessis:

This is Part Three of a six-lesson finishing program. Each lesson teaches a different finishing technique. As I am finishing-challenged--you may have noticed this--it's a wonderful way to learn the tricks of the trade while sitting in my corner at home.

I could also make up my mind about blogging in November.

For a number of years, there was a standing challenge to the blogging universe to post every day in November. It was lots of fun to travel from one blog to the next, reading posts and gaining inspiration from the projects being worked. Alas, blogging seems to have fallen on lean times, with fewer and fewer posts. Some of my favorite bloggers have vanished completely, little realizing what a hole they have left.

I'll admit, I haven't been posting as frequently since Mother's "event" which is what she is calling her stroke--when she admits anything at all happened. I'd like to get back in the habit again. Maybe daily blogging will kickstart that effort.

Maybe I'll just flip a coin on all of this and see what happens.

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Not much stitching has been going on around here for the last few days.

I almost have the workbox case for Merry Cox's Schoolgirl WorkBox stitched.

But that's not much for the last few days, mainly because I have been totally and completely distracted by this:

I have been carrying this around like a security blanket and reading it like a bestselling novel since it arrived. There is more than a wealth of information in its pages. With this, Tricia Nguyen's Cabinet of Curiosities online classes, and Amy Mitten's instructions for her Casket Toys, I think I can stitch anything and have it look like its 17th century predecessors.

Of course, I have to pick up a needle to do that, and there has been another distraction.

Dearly Beloved and I are getting serious about downsizing, and we have been working on doing just that. Quite frankly, I can't tell a lot of difference yet, but then again, we have been living here for about 25 years and we have a hard time letting go of things. We're not hoarders (other than books, needlework projects, and woodworking tools) but it would be nice to simplify.

And the good thing is that I found the telescoping magnet wand I've been searching for so that the next time I drop an entire box of pins or an elusive needle,  they will be easier to retrieve. Dearly Beloved is very tired of locating them with his feet.

Monday, October 19, 2015

More Good Things

I haven't been blogging much lately. My fingers have been busy stitching rather than typing.

Betsy Morgan's Can't See the Forest is assembled:

I do love this little box and wish I could figure out why I didn't just go ahead and put it together as soon as the workshop ended. I could very easily have done so.

I've finally worked enough of the gold background stitch on Eve in the Garden to meet the motif:

I've made the executive decision to fill in the large areas, then go back and work around all the little curlicues and fancy bits.

Just out of curiosity, the other night I turned off the lights and lit a candle near the design. The gold simply sparkles in candlelight, so I completely understand why this type of stitch and material would have been used in the 16th and 17th centuries. I'm just afraid it's going to take me months in the 21st century to finish. It will be worth it, I keep telling myself.

All the leaves are finished. I still need to work the bases of the flowers, but I decided earlier this evening that life and sanity would be better served if I did them in daylight.

And this lovely thing appeared in my mailbox the end of last week:

This year's Barbara Jackson Christmas ornament has moved onto my list of fall-into-winter projects. It has occurred to me that I never got last year's ornament assembled. There may be a Barbara Jackson finishing frenzy one week-end to come.

Now I'm trying to figure out what I want to work on tonight from the fall-into-winter list. I'm leaning toward the Merry Cox project, especially since I think it's on the top of the pile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Good Things

There have been good things happening in my little corner of the stitching 'verse this week.

The first good thing:  Chrysanthemums in Autumn is moving right along:

I'm really pleased with the way the leaves look--it's been awhile since I did much surface stitching, but it's all coming back.

The directions said to just work detached buttonhole between the petals, but I liked the way it set off the design, so I outlined each petal completely.

If I am diligent and industrious, I could potentially finish the stitching on this by the week-end.

The second good thing:  Betsy Morgan took pity on me, and sent me a piece of silk so I can finish Can't See the Forest. That's on the to-do list for Saturday. And this time, I have highlighted the measurements I need to cut so I won't think I'm doing one thing when I should be doing another.

The third good thing (and this is a blatant plug for somebody and something):  SNS is offering Jane-Ellen Balzuweit's Royal Garden as an online class.

Of all Jane-Ellen's wonderful whitework designs, this is my absolute favorite. Actually, I started it a long time ago--I am ashamed to admit it has been languishing, partially stitched, for over ten years--and what's worse, I think the lady is the only element that needs to be worked.

So I am auditing the class.

The problem with whitework is that it doesn't photograph as beautifully as it looks in person, but believe me, this is one gorgeous piece, worked in about 35 or 40 different stitches. To see the whole thing, you need to look at the information at Shining Needle Society, and if you're not a member (it's free to join and you won't be driven crazy by multitudes of emails), contact Kate and she will get you on the mailing list.

I will repeat again. I am not remunerated for plugging SNS. I'm just so happy it exists, if for no other reason than to get me into trouble, that I want everyone else to have the opportunity.

And I am really happy that this class is going to push me to finally finish a piece that has deserved to be on display for way too long.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


I finally filled in all the petals on the chrysanthemums!

Marsha had suggested that we manipulate the color runs in the overdyed threads so each petal would be a different color. I looked at the strands that I have, and I have pretty short color runs . . . sooooooooo I would either have to drag the thread from one petal to another fairly often, or end off and restart threads. Both methods use more thread, and I was a little concerned that I might not have enough if I used either technique.

So I decided to make sure that I didn't start any petal in exactly the same place and that I altered the brick stitch pattern from petal to petal. I still have to do the detached buttonhole stitch around each petal, which will add texture and help delineate each section.

This project is moving much faster than I expected it to. I had planned to rotate among my fall projects, but I have such good momentum on this one that I may just continue working on it for a few more days.

And momentum is always a good thing.