Friday, December 21, 2012

Is it December 21st Already?

And we're all still here? Those wacky Mayans and their unfinished calendar. Guess I can start thinking about 2013.
My theme for 2013 is JOY. That's all. Joy in absolutely everything that has to do with life, living and existing on this here Planet Earth.
The last six months of my life have been anything but joyful. They have been full of homesickness, missing my husband and sons, and the loss of my sweet lab Heidi. I wasn't there for her and  it devastated me at the time.
I've been in Tennessee taking care of my mother since June 7th of this year. When I came I didn't have a clue that I would be here this long. It was just supposed to be for a few weeks, maybe a couple of months. But now the time has come to make long term care decisions for momma because I have a family at home in Florida and Tennessee is no longer home.
I have to admit that the first few months were kind of sweet. I mean people here talk like me! It's been so long since I've heard "home" in people's voices. Then another shock was seeing all the UT t-shirts. Been a very long time since I was in Big Orange country.
Here are a few things in my WIP pile:
 A friend of my mom's gave me her mother's last quilt squares to finish. Her momma would piece with whatever fabric was around and a few of the blocks had this creepy clown fabric in them. They don't really go with the other rail fence blocks so I have pulled them out and will make them into a true lap quilt. Something to keep in the car when you have a few things in your lap and don't want them tumbling into the floor board. There are a few blocks that haven't been turned into bigger blocks so I think I will make those into a mug rug because what goes better with coffee than a creepy clown?

 Here are the four completed clown sections. I think I'm going to back them in a yellow gingham but I'm not sure. It'll be a nice car quilt, especially as a lap quilt or even as an impromptu beach picnic quilt. Just the right size. If I make it to the big city this weekend I'll see what I can find for backing at JoAnn's or Hobby Lobby. I do love getting to make a quick road trip to Jackson, TN.
 I managed to complete this very long term WIP. Hester's Needle's Liberty Sampler. I started this back in 2001 I think. I can't remember exactly. It's been quite the traveled piece of needlework. I've worked on it in Rochester, NY, quite a few airports, especially when I spent the night in the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport when I was flying standby on my way to Grand Rapids, MI to hook up with some stitching friends and couldn't get a seat on a plane to Michigan. The coldest place in the world remains the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport at 2a.m. It's also had a good bit of quality time at the Panera in Ft. Walton Beach where I would sit and stitch and wait on my sons to do their mall business. What ever that is for a kid these days. So it's all stitched up with many, many memories. I finished it in November I think. I pulled it out to finish on election day and had way more to stitch than I remembered.

Since being here in Tennessee, I started a hand piecing project. This here is my pile of what I'm calling my Tennessee River Log Cabin. I have been acquiring orange fabrics from where ever I can, the local Walmart seems to be my main source, a few here and there from random trips to Jackson when momma would let me run in JoAnn's for some comfort. Believe me a trip to JoAnn's can offer a bit of comfort and joy even in July when the biggest excitement is getting to run over to the Walmart in Savannah, TN. JoAnn's is like Saks Fifth Avenue for a deprived crafty chick. My blocks are all different sizes. Some so much smaller I kind of freak out when I see them, some huge. Whoops! I am ruler challenged, obviously. But I think I know how I will set them all together when I get home to Florida so I'll keep cutting and piecing and sewing until I get home and then I'll put them all together into a wonky hand pieced log cabin that I hope will be somewhat pretty! There's questionable piecing and questionable fabrics but this is all about handwork and working with what I have readily available to me. Makes it fun and stressful at the same time.
And my current focus project is Time & Tide from Long Dog. I'm stitching it on 32ct antique white linen using good old DMC.

I have missed blogging so much and found that while I wanted to, I didn't have much to contribute beyond whining and crying, now I'm jumping on my JOY theme and going with it.

May 2013 be a joyful year for all of you. Thank you so much for reading and inspiring me with all your stitching and sewing and cooking.

May every little X you make over the next year be crossed with joy and happiness. May we all see the light in our lives during 2013 and fewer shadows. It's so easy to let the shadow suck us in. It's so easy to let misery take hold and our sadness wrap around our heart like kudzu. Let's fertilize our hearts and stitching with JOY in the coming days and weeks and months.

To quote Granny Clampett:

"I got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay".

Wishing you all a Blessed Holiday Season and a new year filled to overflowing with joy and happiness.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A Bit of Stitching

Since June 7th I've been in Tennessee staying with my momma. In the not too distant future we will have to make hard decisions but right now I'm here with her away from the spousal unit and the sons. While I feel right now I'm where I need to be, there's this fear that when I do go home, I'll be the stranger, I won't quite belong any more. I guess that is my homesickness talking. But enough of that!

My stitching time is a bit limited but I have made a good bit of progress on Long Dog's Time & Tide sampler. I'm stitching it on 32ct antique white linen using DMC as charted. I had planned to stitch it on 40ct using HDF silks but I kitted it ages ago and the 32ct is easy to see in regular light and I'm very happy with how it's stitching up. I love the bright colors and while the stitching is slow, if I'm lucky I get about an hour in the morning before momma wakes up to stitch, I do manage to complete a motif or two every morning.

The sweetest part of my day is my early morning stitching time. Needle and thread slipping through fabric, listening to my audiobook. Right now it's Gone With the Wind which I am enjoying a lot. This is a reread but a first time listen and I look forward every morning to the little bit of time I get to spend with Scarlett, Rhett and Mellie. It's a touch of normal for me while I am in this alien world that has not been home to me in 26 years.

I could go on about going back home, the demons of childhood, being an adult child taking care of a parent and the struggles that ensue. But not now. Now it's all about the sweet hour of the day. Stitching, an audiobook, and a steaming cup of coffee. BLISS!!!

I am so very grateful for these quiet moments.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Testing to See if My Blogger is Working

Why hey there y'all!

Life has thrown me some curve balls recently and I've been in Tennessee at my momma's since June 7th. I've been wanting to get back in a blogging routine but since I'm in a time warp where wi-fi is a magical, mystical thing requiring the powers of a wizard I'm left at the mercy of my iPad and wasn't quite sure how that would work. Also the first few weeks if my my stay here in the land of my childhood my bitter inner child reared her ugly head and do you all really want to read that? No of course you don't. So junk journaling, popularly referred to as Smash Book as taken the anger out of my journaling and put the smack down on my inner child. I now think I'm in a better place mentally for blogging.

If a picture pops up in this post it should be of my bear sampler. A sampler I put together with the help of my friend Pam. We used my Patternmaker software and the houses on either side were adapted from patterns provided with the software the rest were just drawn randomly from images we found. It was inspired by a sampler I saw a while back and if I can figure out the whole link think on this app I'll add a link later. The only thing I borrowed from that design are the words, "Haters Gonna Hate". The hatred for Mr. Bear around my 'hood was pretty fierce. I love the bear. Nuisance or not, a bear wandering through one's neighborhood in the year 2012 is a thing of wonder. He's beautiful and I love that I live somewhere where seeing a bear is a possibility. Much nicer than the day to day site of humans, cars, etc.

Keeping my fingers crossed when I hit publish this post actually posts!

Sure feels good to write something!

Monday, April 09, 2012

Sometimes Finished is Enough

The back of the quilt. Yeah, I uploaded the pictures backwards. Just keeping it real!
There is so much wrong with this quilt that the light from right will take 10,000 light years to reach it. I decided a few weeks ago that finished would be good enough. I started this quilt when my now sixteen year old was five. Many of the novelty fabrics are very representative of his childhood and tv addiction and the once WWF which is now the WWE. I think it's kind of cool that mixed in with Bob the Builder(which he never watched but I was in need of a few more squares) and SpongeBob are The Rock's and Stone Cold Steve Austin's logos.
Every block in this quilt was hand traced and cut out with scissors, the top was has handpieced. Yeah, eleven years ago I was terrified of the sewing machine and to this day I have a love/hate relationship with the beast. I happen to be one of those rare people that enjoys handsewing. I like the slow pace, I'm never in too much of a rush when it comes to sewing. I think that's why the slowness of cross stitch has never bothered me too much. I know a lot of people find building a picture with X after little X torture, but I don't. I also don't find building a quilt top one block at a time frustrating. I enjoy it. Along with my loathing of the sewing machine I also dislike the rotary cutter. I bought my first one twenty five years ago and just recently started to feel a little comfortable with it. I like tracing and scissors, the magic and fastness of the rotary cutter is only just now starting to impress me.
The binding is a mess and I decided to tie it so that I could call it done even faster. I'm not sure I did any of the tying right, and I know the binding is wrong, I just wanted it DONE. FINIS! So this weekend I sat down, figured out how to wind a bobbin on my sewing machine and grabbed my packages of Wright's quilt binding and went to work. It took me two days to get the binding handsewed to the back.
My intention had been for this to be a sort of I Spy quilt and one that he could drag out in the yard to play on, build a fort with, read a book under a tree with surrounded by his favorite cartoon peeps. The backing fabric is a fishing lure print I found at JoAnn's many, many years ago and is a reminder of how much he used to love fishing at our pier with his dad. When I bought this fabric they were fishing almost every weekend, then we had Hurricane Ivan, lost our pier and only over the last couple of years has it been rebuilt and reopened and is now the longest pier in Florida if I have my facts right. Now he's too cool to fish with dad so it's kind of sad thinking about those days so many years ago when they'd spend hours waiting for a bite and now he just doesn't have the patience and has better things to do. But that's ok. His dad doesn't make it to the fishing pier too often any more either.

The binding is awful! I'm not showing this because I'm proud of it, I'm showing because sometimes finished is enough. Finished is good, and even when finished poorly, it gives us permission to move on to the next project. To take the mess from the finished project, the knowledge gathered and mistakes made, to the next project and know that we can do better. To know where we need the most patience, to slow it down and do it right or more right. While sloppiness or poor workmanship is nothing to be celebrated, finishing something is and knowing that the finished product is not perfect, but knowing that next time, and yes there will be a next time the maker will take the time she needs to do it right. Or at the very least to be aware of what she previously did so very wrong is also something to celebrate. Each finished object is an educational experience. I have determined that I love piecing but hate with a passion the quilt sandwich and binding it! But they are part of the process. I have another very ugly quilt top, I pieced it twenty one years ago, all by hand, and my stars, is it fugly, but I plan to pull it out and use it for sandwich/binding practice before attempting to sandwich and bind the top I made for my oldest son.
So celebrate with me my finish knowing that I absolutely know it sucks! But yes, sometimes finished is enough.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Update From Wrinkledy McWrinklerson and Froggy McFroggerson

Other wise known as my February WIPocalypse Update:

First up Wrinkledy McWrinklerson a.k.a. Sarah Elizabeth Brooke:

Sarah Elizabeth Brooke

The Scarlett House

36ct light examplar linen

DMC, Crescent Colours

You can find out more about Sarah Elizabeth at: The Scarlett House

Tanya has some exciting things in the works. So check her blog out often!

If you know me you know that I obsess over finding samplers with family names and Sarah fit my criteria, Sarah Elizabeth was my sainted great grandmother's name and Brooke, without the "e" and add an "s" for Brooks is my other great grandmother's maiden name so I thought it was pretty cool that both great grandmothers were represented in the name of this sampler. I also love the red house and the verse and it's just an all around perfect sampler.

I thought I would be showing you a finished SEB today but that so did not happen as you can see. I think the only thing I accomplished was completing some of the grass. I'm a sad panda. But there's always February and of course my March update so stay tuned!

Now Froggy McFroggerson a.k.a. Prairie Schooler's February:


Prairie Schooler

32ct lambswool


I had to frog the roof of this house not once but twice because I stitched the same exact mistake twice. I don't know what was going on with me at the time but focus and that counting thing were definitely issues. All is frogged and will be restitched in the next couple of days. I hope to finish this before the end of the month, but we'll just have to see about that.

Which brings us to Berthe DuPont. Berthe is pretty darn beautiful in my very humble opinion. She is a free chart, there are 23 parts and she can be found here:

I believe the chart is available to purchase from her boutique if you don't want to search the site looking for all the parts. I converted the DMC to Vikki Clayton Silks. I love her silks.

Berthe DuPont


40ct Creme Brulee linen from Hand Dyed Fibers
HDF silk

Now to my very slow WIP, it's a triptyche from Heaven and Earth Designs the part that you see is Dark Waters with the top most part being a teeny tiny bit of the center panel(just water and sky). The design can be viewed here:

and if you really have to see the center panel just do a search for Dark Waters and the center panel will pop up, it's just more water and sky. I have loved this since I first saw the artwork. It's going to be pretty freakin' awesome when I finish it when I'm, oh, 89.

Bright Skies, Dark Waters

22ct antique white hardanger

DMC, 2x1, full cross

And I have another Heaven and Earth Design started, this is Red Silk Mermaid. I had been planning on doing my bedroom over with a red and white color palette, I started this back in 2007. My bedroom is still not red and white, it's still modern American clutter covered in cat and dog hair. But one day it will be a room de romance. Maybe.

You can see the completed piece here:

When I started this piece my fellow HAED stitchers were just starting to embrace the tent stitch for these insanely large projects in that hopes that they might actually move from slow works in progress to finished projects. So I thought Red here would be a good test stitch for me to see how I feel about tenting. At first, way back when, I didn't really care for the tenting. It felt wrong. Now, after picking this piece back up and working on her here and there for the last week or so, I kind of like working over 1 on the 28ct fabric. I know, it's insane, right? I keep having dreams where my beloved little X comes and flogs me with floss because it feels I have betrayed it. But I have to say I never thought I'd ever be a person that looked forward to working over 1 on 28ct. And I do. I'm loving this process, I'm getting more and more comfortable with it as each stitching session passes. I will still do some of my HAED in full crosses but I think the ones without so much detail will definitely be tented.

I get asked all the time why do you want to stitch HAED, why not just buy the art, and really, what drew me to cross stitch all those many years ago was the fact that my dad could draw anything and my poor hangman didn't even make it to the noose my drawing is so bad. I saw cross stitch as a way to create art on fabric. Sure it's someone else's art that I'm recreating but I still love that process.

And at the same time I discovered cross stitch as art, I also was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and in The Long Winter she writes about Laura cross stitching. Laura Ingalls Wilder cross stitched! How very cool that information was for this 11 year old. So stitching art is something I'm not going to give up and I do believe that a HAED and reproduction sampler can happily reside in the same house. Like my hero Tim Gunn says, "Make it work!" and I plan to!

Red Silk Mermaid

Heaven and Earth Designs

28ct tea dyed Monaco

DMC, 2x1, tent

For more information about the WIPocalypse check it out here:

This next project is sad yet joyful. Last year I lost a sweet stitching friend named Chelsea. Chelsea was one of the most amazing people I have ever met. She had waited a long time for a heart and double lung transplant and eventually it was her turn. She thrived, she married her long time love, she taught kids how to swim, she crammed as much life into every single day of her life that she could. In July, due to complications, she died. It was unexpected as she had been doing so well and every single day I miss my sweet friend. When I get down, when I start feeling sorry for myself I ask myself what would Chelsea do and you know what? Chelsea would grab life by the horns and make it good! So I am trying very hard to live by that. Life is short, cram as much life into every single day that you can.

Some friends got together to make Chelsea's mom a memorial quilt. The artwork is from Hannah Disney and is titled Chelsea's Gift.

Here's a link to the art on HAED website:

I'm pretty sure my square is the very bottom right corner. This is my project so far and it's not as much as I would like but I'm getting more comfortable with tenting and feel less like I'm going to make a mess of my square.

Chelsea's Gift

Heaven and Earth Designs

25ct lugana

DMC, 2x1, tent

Me and the spousal unit at the beach a month or so ago.

A Kitten Darkly(Yep, I'm lame, named her Darkly from A Scanner Darkly)

This was taken in back in the autumn as you can tell.

My attempt at bokeh. The lights are supposed to be heart shaped. I need to get a 50mm lens. It's on my list!

Anyone loving Project Runway All Stars like me? I want Austin Scarlet to win. I've loved him since season 1 and thought he was robbed.

I don't enjoy 24 Hour Catwalk. I can take it or leave it.

Revenge(ABC Wednesday nights)! My favorite show. Downton Abbey(PBS Sunday Nights)! Also my favorite show!

Also enjoying Grimm(Fridays on NBC) and Once Upon a Time(Sundays on ABC).

And people, new episodes of The Walking Dead start this Sunday(on AMC) check it out on Netflix if you haven't watched it and then we discuss all the zombie craziness!

Please Game of Thrones start back soon! I think it returns in April. (HBO Sunday Nights).

I just started listening to The Final Empire: Mistborn Book 1. The book starts out, the evil overlord has won. I thought that sounded interesting and so far I'm enjoying the first hour of the 25 hours. I have several friends that love this series.

I'm reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley(hope I got the author's name correct). It's a nice cozy mystery and exactly what I needed after wrapping up Stephen King's 11-22-63. I loved that book. I will be honest, I do believe Mr. King got caught up in his world building. I think he loved late 50s early 60s and certain parts of the America that used to be. I felt like I was there, but I really, really wanted him to get to Oswald and take care of business, and there's this feeling of impending doom and I wanted it to get it over with already! I was pretty tense listening to this story. It dragged but that dragging was so very important. I didn't give up on my characters. Over all it sucked me in, maybe for ten hours too many but never the less, the ending, that final scene was worth every dragging moment of the story. Really and truly it was.

So that's my life and stitching update for the moment.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my ramblings!

Monday, January 09, 2012

2012 WIPocalypse-The January Edition

WIPocalypse-January Edition

2012 has gotten off to a very slow start for me, at least in the needleworking/crafting portion of my life. But my mojo has finally kicked in and I found myself working on Sarah Elizabeth Brooke from The Scarlett House. My intentions had been for this project to my last finish for 2011 and as you can see I was no where close on December 31st. I had also thought that my needlework would be less wrinkledy in 2012 but my iron has gone missing so I stretched and flattened as much as I could. I am stitching Sarah Elizabeth using DMC and the Crescent Colours conversion for the grass area.

Sarah Elizabeth Brooke

The Scarlett House

DMC & Crescent Colours

36ct Vintage Light Examplar

A new start for 2012, in an attempt to get more seasonal stitching accomplished, is Prairie Schooler's February:


Prairie Schooler


32ct Lambswool

Not much progress but I still have a good bit of time before February 1st.

I hope everyone has a very successful year of stitching and success can mean finishing that BAP or squeezing in a few stitches whenever there's a quiet moment.

Thanks to Measi and Measi's Musings » WIPocalypse: Basic Info I hope to make significant progress on many older projects and add some new into the mix. I also hope the challenge encourages me to blog a bit more in 2012.

Keep your fingers crossed that my iron shows up between now and my next post which hopefully won't be a month away.