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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Construction Zone

I've been finishing Christmas ornaments today. I have left some DNA in various places, but luckily nowhere that can be seen.

I had hoped to get all four of the ones that needed finishing finished today, but I don't think I have enough pearl cotton on those two spools to do all of them. This means stash diving. And since I always get distracted when I go wandering around my stash, I'm not sure I'll get back to this tonight.

Who knows what I may find to distract me . . . and there's always tomorrow . . . 

Friday, November 29, 2019

And now for something completely different

After yesterday's stitching marathon, I was determined that today I would figure out what I wanted to use to personalize the bottom panel, that today was the day I was going to chart it out and stitch it, and that today I was absolutely going to start the construction of Tsubaki.

I didn't do any of those things.

I still can't make up my mind what to say.

So, I decided to pull out the next project I was going to do as part of my Zen stitching and trooped upstairs to get it. The plan was to start Ode to Jane Austen after Tsubaki.

So I pulled Ode out of its storage bin.

And while doing that, I noticed another project that would work well for Zen stitching and pulled it out.  It's been aging in the stash for quite a long time.

So, here it is:

And, instead of finishing Tsubaki or starting Ode, I did this:

What can I say?  I'm a fickle stitcher. And Ode did come downstairs with me.

And I almost got really fickle since this arrived in today's mail:

Amy Mitten offered this brilliant set of decorations, one for each day of Advent. They're stitched on a relatively large count of linen with a fine wool thread. And to add to the excitement, Amy offers a little gift to go in each mitten, so you get a goody each day of Advent.

I have to say, I had a brief moment of madness. No, I'll take that back. I had several moments of bugnutz craziness when I thought I could start working on the mittens today and stay ahead of the calendar and get one stitched for each day of Advent in advance and have a mitten to put each day's goody in. And then I could take the goody out of its mitten and open it.

This might work if I didn't have a job and if we weren't going to Williamsburg next week.

So, I've decided I'll work on them at a more leisurely pace and have them ready for Christmas 2020.

However, I'm going to open one goody each day this year.

Could you resist this?

I am going to try to withstand temptation to the point that I open only one a day.

And I get to start on Sunday!

Thursday, November 28, 2019


First of all--Happy Thanksgiving!

Next--usually when I write a blog on Thanksgiving, I list the things I'm thankful for--and I am truly grateful, again, this year, for all of those things.

But today, the thing I am very thankful for, is that I have finished the last big panel for Tsubaki!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Planting flowers

I did get all the leaves stitched on this panel of Tsubaki:

And, as you can see, I've started filling in the flowers.

There are fifty-something flowers. Each flower requires three steps. I've done the first step on the ones you've seen.

This is going to take some time.

I did think about having three needles threaded and completely working each flower as I came to it, but then I decided it would be more efficient to do each step separately. However, I do not think I'm going to have the entire panel stitched by Thanksgiving morning--which was my goal.

This is what happens when I set goals in my stitching. I always think I can get more done in less time than I actually can. So . . . I have decided that I am not planning to get anything done for the rest of the year. That way, if I do, it will be like a Christmas present to me!

Along with this project, I decided to pick up the crewel piece I started a couple of years ago. It was going to be a gift for my mother, mainly to help out an ugly green chair she had in her apartment. Before I got it done, she had her first stroke and ended up in extended care, and the ugly chair moved to The Saint's house. The Saint had it reupholstered so it's no longer an ugly green chair. (Now it's an ugly gold chair, but don't tell The Saint I said that.) Anyway, I'm taking it to work with me to entertain myself on my lunch hour. Stitching in the middle of the day, even for 20-30 minutes, is making a tremendous difference in my mood.

And it's much more productive than playing games on my phone after I finish my sandwich!

Sunday, November 24, 2019

little bit of stitching, lot of eating

I have been cooking and baking all week.

We had our office potluck on Wednesday. We should have just closed the office that afternoon--the entire group was in a carb coma after we ate.

Then we had our family Thanksgiving get-together yesterday. Baby Girl and The Saint arrived in the pouring rain, we ate more than we should have, and then there was another carb coma.

I am going to avoid carbs until Christmas.

With all the cooking and baking, there hasn't been much stitching. Here's this week's progress on Tsubaki:

I'd love to finish the leaves this afternoon, but we are also planning to put up the Christmas tree, so it will be toss-up between ornamentifying and stitching. With basically a week less between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, we've decided we absolutely have to get a head start!

Friday, November 15, 2019


I've been really good about carving out my two hours in the evening to stitch.

I've been really bad about remembering to take a picture of what I've done.

So this is what's happened since I last posted:

I have one more big panel to stitch and I have to decide what to put in the middle of the open section in the piece above, chart it out, and stitch it.

And that means letters. Which I don't enjoy stitching. Or charting, for that matter. I'm trying not to think about it at the moment because, until I can decide what to say, it's all a moot point.

On a totally different topic, I wasn't quite ready to have January in November. I know there are other parts of the country with snow and ice--and we haven't had either--but I am already tired of shivering. So I'm going to put on another layer and thicker socks and stitch for the entire evening.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Need more Zenning

This week has lasted a long, long time, and I am looking forward to tonight's two hours of Zen stitching.

This is where I'm starting:

We'll see where I end up.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

A wee tiny finish

I have a tiny Christmas ornament finished--but, hey, it's a finish!

This is an example of a couple of things that you should never take short cuts to do.

Like pressing everything flatter then flat. I skipped that step so there are a couple of little bulges in odd places.

And measuring for the hanger twice to make sure your threads for the twisted cording will make a long enough cord.

But it's done.

And when it's on the tree with lights and everything else, who is going to notice? (Aside from me, Baby Girl, and everyone who reads this blog.)

I repeat, it's done. And sometimes that is sufficient.

Monday, November 4, 2019

not much Zen-ning

Well, this was just about all the stitching I did over the week-end.

This part of the design has a sweet border around a wide open space for personalization. I know (I think) what I want to put there but I need to sit down with graph paper and chart it out. And hope it all fits.

Anyway, I planned to spend a good bit of the week-end working on the demo pieces for the program I'm supposed to present at my sampler guild meeting this coming Wednesday evening. I was busy cutting out the bits and pieces on my kitchen table when my back decided I had been leaning over in the worst possible position for too long. And it spasmed. The upshot is that I spend a good bit of time on Saturday evening and most of Sunday in la-la-land. Muscle relaxers are wonderful things when you need them--but they certainly do interfere with your real life.

So, now that everything has relaxed, I'm going to finish getting my program together tonight and go back to Zen tomorrow.  I will NOT be leaning over the table. I will be leaning over the dryer, which is higher than the table.

Best laid plans . . . 

Sunday, November 3, 2019


This is the picture I wanted to add last night. Blogger finally let it happen. I do not know what the problem was, but at least it's here now.

I love this stitch pattern.

I'm going to do some more of it today.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Pretty flowers

I've added the pretty flowers to this panel.

I would show them to you but blogger won't let me.

Sigh . . .

This after spending way more time than I wanted to spend looking for the package of red Mill Hill beads that I know are somewhere in this house, but not where they are supposed to be.  Wherever they are, they're probably hiding out with the Christmas scissors that I also know are lurking in a very logical place. I just can't remember where that very logical place is.

I give up. I'm going to bed and enjoying my extra hour of sleep.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Zen Stitching

The last couple of months, between work and Mother, have been a wee bit stressful. I've been lurching in the house like a brain-dead zombie after work, collapsing in the wing chair, and staring at the TV until it was time to stagger upstairs, just to get up and do it again the next day.

There has been little or no stitching. This is most unlike me.

I realized that the only times I've actually stitched and enjoyed it have been Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons.

As I tend to try to analyze everything to the nth degree, I looked at what I was doing--Jackie du Plessis' Tsubaki on Fridays and Joanne Harvey's Queen stitch needle book on Sundays--and realized that the patterns I've been stitching  have been very repetitive and soothing. Jackie likes to reproduce the look of fabric in some of her projects, and the whole needle book is covered with Queenies, so the patterns are simply lovely and the stitches challenging enough to keep my attention.

This is where I am on each at the moment:


Needle Book

It's all very Zen . . . and I'm going to stick with just these projects for the next bit.

The other thing I realized is that I am on track this year for the fewest projects finished ever. Yes, I keep a list of everything I finish each year. No, I don't know why I do it other than I like lists. Anyway, I was appalled when I looked at this year's list and there is hardly anything on it. Why it matters, I don't know, but it does.

So I decided to see which year had the most projects done. And it was the year that the Big Kid was seven, Baby Girl was two, and Dearly Beloved was traveling all the time for his job.

It was one of those times when nothing ever seems to get done. Just as you fold the last towel and put it in the linen closet, you look at the laundry hamper and discover it's half-full again. You get the last Lego off the living room floor, turn around, and find a whole Fisher Price village, complete with little people and their cars, has risen in the dining room. You get ready to unload the dishwasher, only to find that, while it was running, the gremlins have dirtied another sink full of dishes.

I was talking to one of my neighbors about feeling like a hamster in its wheel, and she emphatically told me I absolutely had to carve out time for myself. She told me that when her kids were little, she got up at four in the morning so she could sew until six when her kids got up. And she told me that everyday when she finished, she took a picture of what she'd done. Then when the day got to her, she could look at her pictures and realize that she was actually accomplishing something.

She was a brilliant woman.

Now I was not going to get up at four for anything less than the opportunity to go on a road trip--but I did have both kids in bed by eight, and I could then give myself permission to stitch until ten. After all, it was obvious that the house was never going to be spotlessly clean until the Munchkins were--well, to be perfectly honest--out of the house completely.

Anyway, that was the year I finished 47 projects. (Do not fall over in amazement. About two dozen of those projects were Christmas ornaments and most of the rest of them were UFO's that didn't need much more stitching to finish.)

And every night I took a Polaroid picture of the results of the evening's stitching, which I kept in a photo album so I could realize that I could actually get something done that stayed done.

I do not anticipate getting 47 projects completed in the next 12 months. I do anticipate allowing myself to relax with needle in hand.

I can't take a Polaroid picture--do they even still make Polaroid cameras any longer?-but I can post a picture on the blog. It will probably be boring for my readers, but it will be a good way for me to keep a record until life settles down again.