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 31, 2017

New Year's Eve

I'm posting now because I may not be up at midnight for the ceremonial dumping of the ort jar:

That thick layer of white was caused by the threads withdrawn when I was working on Isabella earlier in the year. It took me a minute to remember that I had dumped those threads in the ort jar.

As for stitching in the last couple of days--I've laid a few bricks on Mary Otter and thought about projects for the New Year--but Dearly Beloved and I spent time yesterday undecorating the Christmas tree and removing it from the premises, then vacuuming--and vacuuming--and vacuuming up the needles the tree left behind. There are still needles popping up in areas that we both know one or the other of us went over--and went over--and went over.

Today we finished undecking the halls and I puttered. I got all the Christmas boxes back in the closet.  I did some cooking for the week ahead. I talked to Baby Girl (twice), The Big Kid, The Flash, and Mother.  I folded up some laundry and got that stowed. I read the newspaper and spent time online. I read the new issue of Victoria.

I also shivered. It's COLD. It's not negative digit cold, but for the sunny South, it's nippy.

Now I think I'm going to go boil myself in the shower and get into my nightgown and robe, then curl up in the wing chair with a blanket--which I may well throw into the dryer to warm it up before I wrap up in it--and say farewell to 2017. I have to say, I'm glad to see this one leave. And I'm looking forward to the new year--I love the idea of a fresh start!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Stay-cation, Day 7

Oh, the days of my stay-cation are dwindling down . . .

But I made up my mind on the spangles. I decided to add some randomly around the flower.

The original design had about three times as many spangles as I used, which is historically accurate. Since I am not a pre-teen living in the 17th century and don't feel the need for an over-the-top presentation--either because of being a pre-teen or living in the 17th century--I went with accents.

Alas, the opening in the candle screen was too small, so I'm back to framing or ornamentifying. I'm leaning toward framing.  This is subject to change.

And working on Mary Otter in the evenings has resulted in a second floor that is almost complete.

I really didn't think I'd get the whole flower done as quickly as I did, so I hadn't decided what to do next while stay-cationing. I may lay a few more bricks on Mary Otter while I'm thinking about it.

Or something may pop up and demand attention.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Stay-cation Day 6

All the petals and leaves are filled in:

I am really, really, really happy with this.

And there is yet a step to do.

The background is covered with paillettes (which auto-correct is insisting is palettes and I'm insisting is paillettes and if I have to change it again, I may throw a hissy fit).

For historical accuracy, there would be spangles (another word for paillettes which auto-correct is not correcting) all over the background. I'm afraid it might detract from the design.  Dearly Beloved has suggested just scattering a very few hither and thither, and I may try that later this evening to see how I like it.

The next question is how to finish.  Somewhere around here I have a candle screen that might fit. There's always the traditional framing and then the decision as to where to hang it. Or, as I've taken pictures in front of the Christmas tree, I've been thinking about finishing it as an ornament.

So . . . opinions?

What is your stand on spangles?

How would you finish?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Stay-cation Day 5

I'm almost halfway.

I'm surprised I got this far today.

I had a little bit of a learning curve using the silk purl. I've used purl purl in goldwork, but the silk purl is--how do I put this--a lot livelier. There were a couple of times that we were engaged in hand-to-hand combat. I wanted it to do one thing. It wanted to do another.

I finally pulled out the big guns--my goldwork tools--and the sight of the burling irons (big tweezers with wicked sharp pointy ends) tamed the beast.

And then there were issues with the Tire silk used to couch everything on this project.

I love Tire silk. I adore Tire silk when it comes to couching gold in goldwork pieces. I am so taken with Tire silk that I have three unused spools in my stash so that when the Zombie Apocalypse arrives and the needlework and sewing shops all  close and stitching supplies are not available, I will still be able to work on projects from my stash.

But the card of Tire silk in the kit has misbehaved. I don't know if it's a batch of silk that was silkier or what, but it would not stay in the eye of the needle. First I tried doing that lasso thing around the eye of the needle. The silk laughed at me and loosened itself completely.

Then I decided to show it who was boss so I literally tied it in a knot around the eye. At this point, it was rolling on the floor and LOLing itself into hysterics.  It immediately untied itself.

Of course, those were the knots I wanted. It was very happy to tie itself into knots.

This went on all day.

So, after that, I've decided to do what I did last night when I still felt like stitching but didn't feel like taxing what was left of my brain cells.  Mary Otter, who was going to take the week off, came out of her pillowcase last night.

Tonight I'll either lay more bricks--or maybe I'll fill in a window or two.

At least I won't have to do it with Tire silk.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Stay-cation, Days 3 and 4

Since we had our family Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve, we relaxed yesterday. Baby Girl headed home in the morning to beat the traffic, Dearly Beloved settled down for a long winter nap, and I piled up a stack of Christmas DVD's and CD's to watch or listen to and stitched all day.

Literally all day.

And this is the result:

I love the idea, I love the design, I love the spot motifs on the lower section of the ornament.

Now the plan was to do the finishing this morning.  Notice, that was the plan. While I was sipping the first installment of the day's caffeine allotment, the project on top of the pile of potential 2018 projects starting sending out signals. Loud signals. Extremely loud signals. 

And I succumbed.

So today I went back to a workshop project that's been aging in the stash for almost ten years.

Jacobean Silk Purl Flower
Tricia Wilson Nguyen

I spent the day very carefully couching gilt thread around the outline--if you look closely, you'll see there are two curlicues left to do. Once they're done, I can start filling the the design with silk purl.

There is a method to my madness. One of the projects I want to do in 2018 is the mirror surround from Part II of the Cabinet of Curiosities class. Many of the flowers in the mirror surround use the same techniques as this project, so this is serving as my practice piece.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Stay-cation Day 2

We basically had our Christmas celebration today. Baby Girl is here, The Saint arrived in time for the midday feast, we exchanged gifts, and ate ourselves silly. Actually, we have only a few cookies and a chunk of of Roast Beast left.

After everyone collapsed into a carb coma, I stitched.

At the moment, it looks as if our happy couple is out in the woods with their little dog, searching for the perfect tree, and it appears that they have found it. Tomorrow I hope to change the scene so that you will see them decorating said perfect tree.

I cannot tell you how much I'm looking forward to the coming week. Baby Girl gave me the first season of Victoria on DVD, so I have something to binge-watch as I stitch. I have a couple of new books to read and plenty of projects to poke a needle into. If the weather will cooperate, I hope to get back into the habit of a daily walk, even if I have to wear the Big Boot. And, if I can, I hope to sleep in a few mornings. I was almost tempted to set the clock for the pleasure of turning it off and turning over to go back to sleep.

I decided that was a really terrible idea, so I'm not going to do it. However, I am heading to bed in the next few minutes with one of the new books. And if I want to stay up all night reading, I can.

This is my idea of the perfect vacation.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Stay-cation Day 1

Actually, we didn't stay home today.

We took Christmas presents and cookies to Mother in her retirement home, had a lovely lunch with her and The Saint, and came home this evening. We are currently watching "Fred Claus" to be followed by George C Scott in "A Christmas Carol."

And I am working on this year's ornament from Barbara Jackson through Shining Needle Society.

Mary Otter is taking the week off. I had thought to work on one and only one project during my week off, but then decided I want to stick a needle in several things. So that's my Christmas present to myself--I'm going to play with different projects and then go back to plying my needle on Mary after the first of January.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Stay-cation Day 0.5

Well, the switchboard at work was turned off at one, so we were free to leave early today.

And I did a few minutes later when Baby Girl arrived in town for a long-awaited lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant.  She had Lunch A which had ramen in one bowl with shrimp on top and another bowl full of something else that looked delightful. I had Lunch B which was an assortment of nigiri and sushi and salads.

Originally we had made plans to go home and immediately start on the cookie extravaganza. We changed the plans over lunch, deciding that we both needed time to decompress.  She is knitting herself a sweater.  And Mary Otter has window frames:

We finally were hungry enough to have leftover lasagna for dinner and then got down to work. Well, we sort of halfway got down to work. I had made the cookie dough the night before so it could chill. We decided that we could do half of each recipe to take to Mother's tomorrow, then do the rest some other time over the week-end.

At one point in my past as a Domestic Diva, I would make ten or twelve different varieties of cookies every year. At the time, we had children in and out who would take care of eating them. Now that we don't have an easy cookie-disposal system--and Dearly Beloved and I don't need to eat hundreds of cookies--we have settled on the two recipes that everyone loves and make those.

Although I'm very tempted to stop by the grocery store tomorrow to pick up flaked coconut and apricot preserves because there is a new recipe I'd kind of like to try ...

No, I do not need to do that. No, I do not. I really don't.

I'll sleep on it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Still Laying Bricks

and cooking and baking and wrapping and decorating and stalking the mail carrier and UPS truck and going to work every day.

That pretty much sums up the last few days.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Laying Bricks

We have reached the stage in construction in which we are laying bricks.

This is a quite unusual brick pattern, with very light, creamy bricks alternating with brick-colored bricks.

It's made me wonder--was this Mary's house? Or was it one she admired? And I wonder if the brick pattern could give a hint as to where Mary lived. It's going to be quite a stately house, high on a hill with a fancy fence around it and flowering trees adorning the property. And there will be a carriage driving toward it before this is all over.

But tonight I need to see if I can get the third bin of ornaments on the tree--or if I can persuade myself that there's enough and more would be gilding the lily.

Or overburdening the tree.

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.)