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, November 29, 2018

Williamsburg Adventure, Day Two

Today I had an early bird class with Jackie du Plessis.

And this is the lovely thing she introduced us to.

It's a scissors case for a special pair of scissors-and I have a very special pair to put inside it.

It was another enjoyable class, and tomorrow's looks just as good. I do love coming here to take classes every year, and some of my favorite projects have been started in Williamsburg every year.

No more.

Instead of this event, next year Annie's is going to sponsor a nine-day tour of Italy with Giulia Manfredini as teacher and guide.

Change is inevitable, but not always what you want.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Williamsburg Adventure, Day One

We did manage to heave ourselves out of bed and onto the road early--we pulled out at 5:05 a.m.--which enabled us to avoid some of the construction tangles and delays on I-85.

And that meant we drove off the Jamestown Ferry right at noon, headed to The Carrot Tree for lunch, picked up our annual passes at the Colonial Williamsburg Visitors' Center, wandered through their bookstore and gift shop, drove to Haus Tirol so I could start the stash enhancement portion of the festivities, then checked into the Kingsmill Resort where the seminar will be held through Sunday.

There is always a gingerbread creation in the lobby at Kingsmill:

Yes, it is that big.

It is Mr. Squeaky's Sweet Shop. Please note the No Cats Allowed symbol on the door.

But, you say, what about the stash enhancement?

Barbara Jackson creates an exclusive ornament for Haus Tirol every year. Here is this year's entry--and now I don't know whether to stitch this first or the SNS project.

I also found premie scissors to go into the scissors case I just finished from Merry Cox's Sweet Little Blossoms Etui.

And there is red linen for a project that I found in the closet a couple of weeks ago.

But what did I bring to work on in the room tonight--I've had inquiries--Joanne Harvey's needle case won out.

Do I have enough energy to stitch it?

I don't even have enough energy to go out to dinner after getting up at 3:45 a.m. We are having cheese and fruit in the room whenever Dearly Beloved wakes up--he's been snoring for the last hour--and I may be sound asleep shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Decisions, decisions

We are leaving for Williamsburg before dawn tomorrow (if all goes well and we can manage to heave ourselves out of bed on a cold, cold, cold dark morning).

Clothes are packed.  Drinks and munchies are packed. Dearly Beloved keeps loading my pocketbook down with stuff. There will be a few last minute things added in the morning, but for the most part, we're ready to go.

Except for one thing.

I can't figure out what stitching project to take with me.

Not like I won't have anything to stitch. We're going by Haus Tirol tomorrow. I'm taking two classes. There will be a boutique and a teachers' showcase. I just have to make through about 24 hours between the time we hope to arrive and the first class.

There are several candidates.

This year's ornament from Barbara Jackson for SNS arrived yesterday.  "How Great Our Joy" would be perfect . . . but because some of the supplies were delayed, the first lesson won't be posted until Saturday.

I've done a lot of Barbara's designs and all of the ornaments, so I could muddle through with what I have. Inevitably, though, there will be a hint or a suggestion about color placement in the lessons that I will want to know.

There is also this:

This is from a past class in Williamsburg, a needle case reproduced by Joanne Harvey. I started it at the beginning of the year as my travel project--28 count linen and Queen Stitch and a pattern that repeats so it would be easy to work on in a hotel room--but I haven't been traveling nearly as much for work as I once did (thank heavens!). Most of my other trips this year have either involved family events that extended into the evening or stitching events where I quickly had something new to work on. It's been neglected and I do want to get it stitched, so it's a candidate.

Then there is the silk gauze piece from an earlier workshop. I've been poking at it for a couple of evenings to the point that I have only about an hour's worth of work more to do. Then again,  last night I ripped out six stitches for every seven stitches I worked.

And, you ask, what about Frances Burwell?

We have parted ways.

I burned out.


I'm hoping the drawers in the textile area at the museum will be open while we're there and I can look at the original. With luck, that will jumpstart my desire to finish her by the end of the year.

And, if not?

There's always next year.

And I still haven't decided what to take tomorrow.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Random stuff

And this is what's been going on the this week:

  • We had our family Thanksgiving the Saturday before the actual day.
  • I  decided there was enough pumpkin spice in the world when they came out with pumpkin spice potato chips, so we had an applesauce cake with orange glaze instead of pumpkin pie.
  • This was unanimously approved, so this will now become the holiday tradition.
  • We realized the only person who really loves pumpkin pie is Mother, and she isn't able to travel to the family Thanksgiving dinner any longer, so we can change tradition.
  • Dearly Beloved and I have finally succumbed to general decrepitude.
  • We bought an artificial tree instead of a real one.
  • I don't like it.
  • I plan to enroll Dearly Beloved in weight training classes so he can go back to wrestling a tree into and out of the house.
  • The tree isn't decorated yet.
  • We're going to try to do that this afternoon.
  • Also along the lines of setting new traditions, we had the last of the turkey in a pot pie Wednesday night, and I made lasagna for Thanksgiving.
  • That was weird.
  • Otherwise, Thanksgiving was very quiet, so I did some finish-finishing--more on that in a minute.
  • Friday, there was very good mail:
  • Sorry about the blurry picture--this is the kit for the Gawthorpe Needlecase from Jenny Adin-Christie.
  • It has been wrapped and will be placed under the Christmas tree.

  • On Thursday and Friday, I did some finish-finishing:

  • All the bits and pieces of Merry Cox's Sweet Little Blossoms have been assembled, except for the carrying bag, which requires setting up the sewing machine. 
  • That will happen this week--early in the week since we're heading back to Williamsburg on Wednesday.
  • Yesterday we went to visit Mother.
  • She is adjusting--finally--to her new living situation. She laughed and talked yesterday.
So now you're all caught up with the week.

Meanwhile, I've been musing.

Poor blog has been neglected for the better part of a year. I've admitted this and have realized that it's very easy to get out of the habit--so easy--why aren't other habits as easy to abandon?

I'm going to try to get back to blogging more regularly. I know, I've said this before.

But . . . recently I read an entry from another more-or-less lapsed blogger about the state of blogging. She was coming back to blogging after realizing that so many of the blogs she loved have simply . . . vanished . . . with no explanation . . . and she missed reading about projects and lives and enabling. I do, too.

I miss Just String, who's been gone for at least six years--she and I have taken many of the same classes, and she has the same attitude I have--it's just string and you can make it work if you try.

I miss Plays with Needles, whose designs were always inspirational, even though I don't do the same type of embroidery. I think of her every time I pull a needle from the needle book she designed, and which I use almost every day.

I miss Thread in Hand, whose stash looks very much like mine--although, since she is retired, she gets to stitch every day, and I, who am still a wage slave, don't have the time to stick a needle into everything I want.

And there are many, many others who have stopped for one reason or another, simply drifting away to Facebook or Instagram or dropping out of view completely.

I know that there are compelling reasons for all of them to stop--whether family issues or unpleasant situations or simply losing interest in blogging.  I just miss them and I wish they'd return.

So, again, I'm going to try to stick with it and be more present--and stitch a little more than I have so I have something worth blogging about!

Friday, November 16, 2018

well, it's about time!

What I thought would take . . . maybe . . . a couple of evenings has taken all week.

All week.

Just wasn't feeling the love.

But the motifs for the other side of the house are finally, finally, stitched!

And I finally, finally, get to turn the scroll bars.

Except, even though I'm turning the scroll bars, I think I'm going to do a little finish-finishing this week-end.  And that will happen after the family Thanksgiving that we're doing tomorrow. Baby Girl has to work on Black Friday. The Saint has an invitation to a friend's for the actual Thanksgiving. And Dearly Beloved and I don't care if we do the feast tomorrow or Thursday, as long as we get together with at least part of the family.

Besides, it gives us an excuse to have lasagna on Thursday.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Back from Williamsburg

We went, we saw, we want to go back.  (Actually, we are going back in three weeks.)

Dearly Beloved and I tottered around and periodically sat on a bench to recuperate and people-watch while The Flash, his parents, and Aunt Baby Girl roamed around us. I spent a lot of time at the Milliner's, Baby Girl spent time with the Weavers, Dearly Beloved was disappointed that the Cabinet Makers were not there on Saturday, and The Flash fired a cannon.

This is the only picture I got before my camera battery died.

This gentleman was demonstrating the processing of flax.

And after seeing how much waste there is, and how little product at the end of the processing--well, I now understand why my embroidery linen, especially the really good stuff, is so expensive.

Then we had to come home.

And it's raining again. And it's cold, And it was Monday all day.  Phooey.

Frances Burwell did get a few stitches--not many, because the hotel room we had was not at all designed for anything but lying flat on ones back and staring at the big screen TV.  It's a good thing we didn't have to spend much time there . . .

And, now that I'm home and back in the wing chair, I'm trying to decide what I want to do tonight. Frances is really close to a finish--but the finish-finishing directions for Merry's Sweet Little Blossoms were posted today.  I think I'll flip a coin.

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Happy Birthday

Despite pouring rains and wrecks hither, thither, and yon, we have finally made it to Williamsburg.

I should be facedown on the bed--but I couldn't let the day pass without this:

My father was born 101 years ago today. He's been gone for almost twenty years but I still think of him just about every day.

So, Happy Birthday to a Dear Man!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Can't see the Forest for the Trees

Between laundry and packing--and why do you always have to do laundry before you can pack?--I have the last little tree and the branches on the strawberry tree stitched.

I would like to stitch some strawberries tonight, but I think it might be a good idea to pack Frances up so she can go to Williamsburg tomorrow.

I don't think the drawers in the textile gallery at the DeWitt Wallace are open on Saturdays so I won't get to visit the original Frances this time--but we're going back right after Thanksgiving and I'll be sure to see her while we're there.

And maybe I'll have this Frances finished by then.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The problem . . .

The problem with going to a sampler guild meeting is that you come home and you want to do nothing but stitch.

But if you're a working stiff, you have to do things to be ready to go to work the next morning, and that means you don't have time to stitch.

Retiring is beginning to look better all the time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Second Verse, Same as the First

I'm trudging through the motifs on the other side of the house on Frances Burwell.

You would think, having done this before, I'd be just zooming right through.  For some reason, though, doing the exact same thing is booooooooring.

And when I have to force myself to stitch on something, it's time to dig into the basket again.

Frances is going to sampler guild with me tomorrow night, and she's also traveling to Williamsburg this week-end. After all, the original Frances lives in Colonial Williamsburg's textile collection. So she isn't being totally neglected.

We're just taking a little time off tonight.

Monday, November 5, 2018

More glorious threads

I bought more threads.

They came today.

I have some metal threads, some limited edition colors in Facette Gimp, a really neat metal and silk trim piece--all for my casket.

One thing I'm finding is I need different textures for some of the design. And I, who am not all that fond of green (maybe because when I wear green, I look like my liver died), need many different shades and textures of green thread to get the effect I want for hills and dales and trees and leaves.

And I think I'm going to need more.

And I also think I'm going to have to change some of the plans for my castle, which will be on the back panel of the casket. I was planning to have a shining white and grey stone castle, but apparently there are few shades of gray and white in the historical embroideries. So . . . I need to decide just how gleaming my castle on the hill is going to be.

Back to the drawing board.

Sunday, November 4, 2018


When I went to bed last night, I was planning to stitch all day. I figured after a day of dusting and vacuuming and sorting and hauling, I needed a day with a needle in my hand.

But then I needed a new needle--I've managed to kill another needle with my acidic touch--so I started digging in the basket by my chair for my needlebook. And project bags started piling up. And I started wondering just what all I had in the basket. And the next thing I knew, I had things strewn all over the living room.

Believe it or not, this is the reorganized basket.

I have about half a dozen projects that either need to be assembled or require only few days of stitching to complete. Those are now on the top, so I can move to them as soon as Frances Burwell is finished.

I wish I could say Frances will be finished this week--but I'm working late Monday and Tuesday so I can get my desk cleared early in the week. I have sampler guild on Wednesday, an appointment with the dentist on Thursday, and then we're planning to leave at noon on Friday to drive to Williamsburg for a family week-end with The Flash and his parents.

So this is going to be one of those stolen moments weeks, when I grab a minute here or there, whenever possible, to stitch. Let's see how much I can get done.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Flotsam and Jetsam

This pitiful little tree to the left of the strawberry tree is all the stitching I've done today.

We have been doing the deep pre-holiday cleaning in the living room today. This includes dealing with the four boxes of stuff we brought from Mother's apartment when we closed it out. The Saint felt that the boxes contained things we might be able to use. After going through them, and purging the contents, we also felt the strong urge to purge our own belongings so that our children will not have to go through all this with our junk.

So we have been deep cleaning and throwing stuff out and filling the recycling container--several times--why would we want greeting cards so old that the paper was turning yellow and why did Mother hang on to them for so long without using any of them?--and we suddenly realized we hadn't had dinner yet--so frozen pizza to the rescue--and by the time I threaded a needle, I had just enough energy to stitch a little-bitty tree.

And that is all for tonight.

I am going to boil myself in the shower and go to bed with a book. Whether or not I have enough energy to actually read the book is debatable.

Friday, November 2, 2018

A strawberry tree?

Doesn't this look like strawberries growing on a tree?

But strawberries don't grow on trees.

But did they somehow train strawberries to grow so they looked like they were growing on trees in the early 18th century?

Well this sent me down all kinds of rabbit holes.

On my lunch hour, I found out about espaliering fruit trees and training vines in decorative shapes. But strawberries don't grow on either trees or vines . . . so then I started looking for illustrations for 18th century gardening practices. That continued after I got home.

I have yet to find a strawberry tree.

So if any of my readers know anything about 17th/18th century gardening practices and can enlighten me, I would appreciate it.

Or maybe little Frances was clueless and just stitched strawberries on a tree.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Rara Avis*

*Five years of Latin in high school and college and I finally get to use a phrase appropriately!

It is a rare bird indeed that can levitate itself into the air without flapping its wings--and I have three of them on this side of the roof.

I've never seen birds that have horizontal stripes, either.

But, please note, all the bricks have been laid on Frances Burwell's house.

I am now going to make a proclamation. In 2019, I will NOT stitch a house with bricks. Just about every sampler I've done in the last few years has had a honkin' big house built out of bricks. I am tired, tired, tired of laying bricks. I plan to avoid bricks for at least a year.

Please remind me of this if I succumb to the lure of a sampler with a brick building next year.

Meanwhile, I plan to continue with Frances tonight, even though I have the first assignment for an SAL. With the sugar buzz I have going, it's probably best to stay with something relatively brainless to stitch.

You see, we had candy at the office for the children and grandchildren of employees yesterday. We had a lot of candy. We had very few children. This means we still have a lot of candy. Somehow some of the mini bags of Skittles made their way to my desk, along with Lifesaver  Big Ring Gummies.  OMG, where have Lifesaver Big Ring Gummies been all my life and why didn't I know about them before yesterday?

Obviously this was something I didn't need to know.